A Position on Positions
Many associate the Kamasutra with being a book of sex positions. Imagery and other colorful literature calls to mind lurid descriptions and feats of sexual congress. You will find in your study that this is but one aspect of the Kama sutra. They are not the completion of your sex knowledge, rather, the beginning. However, the positions listed in the work are important in the completion of love, and should treated with respect and consideration before attempting. Keep in mind, learning from the kamasutra book can improve your love life both physically and emotionally, but that doesn’t mean it is a manual for being able to perform sex marathons. Couples should engage in intercourse at appropriate times and measures.
There are sixty-four different positions detailed specifically for when engaged in sexual intercourse. Each one is unique, and serves a specific purpose. Overall, these positions serve as a means to achieve the epitome of desire. The kamasutra refers to this as the completion of love; in modern times this is known as reaching orgasm. Each position is designed to stimulate the sensations of love and desire- but that doesn’t mean you can just bend your partner into whatever maneuver you think would be the most fun, and go to town, because that is neither thoughtful, nor conducive to fulfilling desires. Not everything is meant to happen all at once, after all. Learn to take your time and enjoy each other before moving onto the more acrobatic feats. Fancy sex moves can be all well and good, but communication is far more important than some fancy tricks. It is vital to understand your partner or spouse’s wants and desires before plunging right right in, proverbially and literally speaking.
Not every position is designed with every single individual person in mind. Of course it’s possible to perform all the maneuvers listed- that doesn’t mean you should try all thirty-one flavors at once (or in this case, sixty-four).Be aware of your body, as well as your partner’s body, before diving right into the more complicated maneuvers. More importantly, know your limitations- especially before attempting certain exercises. There is no reason to put your health at risk just in an effort to spice up your sex life. When joining with your lover, a trial-by-error may not be the most beneficial approach. Your health is paramount as well. Don’t attempt the more challenging positions right off the rip. Love and pleasure, as with all things, come in time. Also it is important to recognize the desires of your partner, so that you may properly reciprocate. Many positions are situationally specific, or even chronological in some cases. Each position documented within the Kamasutra is for the purpose of heightening the experience of love, because desire can be derived from any measure or angle.
It’s okay to start off small, then go big (no pun intended). Overambitious attempts at the more demanding exercises can result in romantic disaster. But you shouldn’t let the more complicated moves intimidate you, nor should you let it dampen the intimate experience with your partner. Not everyone gets it right the first time, and as the kama sutra emphasizes, practice makes perfect. Making love to your partner should be more nuanced than riding a bicycle- especially if you’ve found yourself in a relationship slump.
However, keep in mind that love doesn’t have to be complicated. We all lead busy, hectic, regular lives- our love lives shouldn’t be difficult. The positions in the kama sutra serve to heighten your pleasure, but they don’t create it. You do that when you make a connection with your partner. Physical expressions of love can be as simple as they can be complex- so don’t get hung up on the acrobatics when sometimes just the right look will do. The kamasutra teaches us that we can enjoy fully ourselves with practice and moderation.
Gender Fluidity & the Kama Sutra
Both men and women have their own assignment within the kamasutra. That is to say, each lover fulfils certain roles in regards to desire and romance. Man and woman are equals in regards to the experience of pleasure, yet they are not the same in achieving it. Thus, the Kama sutra addresses both men and women on equal terms when analyzing desire.
The roles of men and women are respectively defined, as lovers, as spouses, as partners. This is not due to some ancient cultural norm or the caste system; but rather, because those who contributed to the kama sutra understood that women and men are fundamentally separate. Women and men are different, both biologically and physiologically. As sexes, we are biologically different from each other. Men and women have different working parts, so to speak. But we also have differing reactions and responses, on top of being individuals. Therefore, we each perceive pleasure uniquely. The ancient Hindu sages understood this. In this regard, you could call Vatsyayana and the others who contributed to the kama sutra the earliest progenitors of sex education.
When considering the breakdown of Kama, or desire, the ancient vedas adopted a scientific method approach. Superficially put, they gathered empirical data, analyzed it, and published a report based on their observations. To that end, they studied the reactions of men and women equally, discovering what exactly is pleasing to both the fairer and hardier of the sexes. Thus the kamasutra came about as a guide to the expediency of intimate pleasure, and served as groundrunner for every pamphlet of adult sex education that came afterward.
While not explicit, the kama sutra is addressed to married couples; in that the achievement of pleasure is viewed through the scope of two people who have come together on equal terms with the intention of spending their lives together in union. The physical and emotional union of two people who love each other is one of the greatest things a human can achieve, according to the writers of the kamasutra. Thus within its pages, women and men are treated on separate but equal terms, with specifics in regards to each. There is something for you and your lover to discover together within these pages- with entire sections devoted to the individual genders, as well as to couples in union.
This work does not discriminate in terms of the biological sexes. The kamasutra compliments and criticizes each sex respectively, depending on the specific context within. It recognizes that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, but it does not hold preference for one over the other. There is no gender bias in the kamasutra, as its larger goal is to teach sex education. Rather, both men and women have something to glean from this work, and can enjoy studying it together, as well as apart. It is written in the spirit of cooperation, and a sense of equal footing. Another underlying goal of this work is the significance of making a strong connection with your partner.
Yes, physically, mentally, we are all different. But those differences merely distinguish us, not define us. True, he may be the peanut butter to your jelly, but that doesn’t mean you and your partner should stay at opposite ends of the table. Rather, let the kama sutra be your marital guide to forming the cosmic sandwich of love. Each of you can take something away from this book that will heighten your marital experience. True, men and women are different- but those differences aren’t disparaging, they are encouraging. You and your partner are simply matching puzzle pieces in the grand scheme of things. Separate, unique, and yet made to be joined together to create something larger and greater. Because pleasure is but one lens through which we scope the universe.
Khajuraho: Temple of Love (the Chandela Legacy)
There is little physical remnants of the Chandela Dynasty of central India. These extraordinarily devout and diplomatic people carved a kingdom out of the dense jungle when Egyptians were dredging the Nile, and Europe was little more than a band of barbarians. The Chandelas built a city of temples, and fortresses that functioned as pleasure palaces. The few monuments of their time that remain are just that- monumental. But what they are best known for is their work on the vedic scriptures, the Kama Shastra; more specifically, what is recognized today as the Kama Sutra.
Love and desire were recognized and celebrated as universal constants by the Chandelas. Their god was the powerful Shiva, who dreamed the universe into being. Even this great being, known as the God of Destruction and Time, was tamed by the great force of love. It is this love that bore him his son, the hero Ganesha. So you see, love, desire- these were considered to be incredible forces and powerful motivators to the Indian people of the time. Knowing how to give and experience pleasure was one of the steps one needed to take in order to reach enlightenment. Therefore, love and marriage between people was seen as sacred in a way that it was not seen in western cultures for centuries.
The Chandela dynasty was known for producing rulers that were as intelligent as they were benevolent. Their leaders were recognized warriors, but they were noted for their politics and fair rule, as well as their devotion to culture and religion. A testament to this fact remains today, seen at the temple complex of Khajuraho. It was part of a great building project: a medieval city of temples that was intended to be a center of refuge and religious pursuits. A sanctuary hidden within the heart of the jungle, for Jians and Hindus alike. Time and the jungle have crept over once more, and where eighty-five ziggurats once graced the treeline is now a world heritage site. However, the eighty-sixth temple remains standing, preserved beautifully throughout the ages, on a cliff overlooking the entire valley. This was reported to be the most majestic of all the monuments, a masterful piece of art and architecture called Kandariya Mahadeva. Known for its erotic frescoes and graphic imagery, Kandariya is recognized in contemporary civilizations as the ‘Temple of Love’. On par for the course for a people who created what is arguably, the greatest book written in the history of sex education..
Kandariya is not an house of debauchery. The Chandelas did not build a giant structure to worship sex and engage in mindless, senseless fornication. They built a temple to celebrate the union of the god Shiva, and his universal consort, the goddess Parvati. In the Hindu religion, Shiva and his wife Parvati personify the cosmic forces of the universe. For the Hindus, Shiva is the manifestation of time and reality, while Parvati symbolizes power and the nature of change. Thus, their sexual union is a representation of the entirety of existence- all life in the universe is the result of the physical love between them. Thus, for the followers of Shiva, the study of sexual union was as much a pursuit of science as it was an enjoyable pastime.
In a time when Europe was still burning peasants for witchcraft, the Rajput Chandelas were creating a kingdom of religious tolerance and secular pursuits. They didn’t study intercourse for pleasure, they studied desire in order to fathom the mysteries of the universe. The knowledge of that pleasure accumulated into what we know today as the Kama Sutra. Like the Kandariya, the kama sutra was also withstood the ages, because its words are timeless. They have been studied and practiced by people all over the world throughout history. There are no short-cuts or quick fixes- but instead a methodical breakdown of how to provide and thusly receive pleasure. Although the Chandela dynasty eventually fell to the Mughals and were lost to history, their impact still remains. Kandariya, and the monuments at Khajuraho are a testament to their culture, but it is through the kama sutra books that the Chandelas have left their legacy- as the world’s first and foremost authority on sex knowledge.