A Sexual Art Form

It is the most popular and widely read text of sexual practices and artistry. It has been rewritten to target specific audiences. Even Winnie the Pooh and his friends are knowledgeable about this text as viewed on a Web site. This text is the Hindu Kama Sutra.

For millennia, this text has been read and spread across the globe by people seeking sensational and unparalleled sexual experiences. Compiled sometime in the 4th century, the Kama Sutra continues to attract lovers of all types, and its success is evident by its incorporation into so many cultures around the world.

During the 4th century CE, a Hindu priest (Brahmin) and scholar named Vatsyayana discovered several texts dating back to the 4th century BCE. He compiled them into what is now known as the Kama Sutra.

The words “Kama Sutra” can be translated as the verses of love, or the verses of eroticism. The text itself is not pornographic. It is a poetic compilation of methods by which one can seduce, entice and pleasure a lover. There were no pictures or accompanying art until later in its development and translation.

Despite its modern universality of application, the text was not originally meant to be for people of all classes. In classical Hinduism, society was divided into classes, or castes, based on social duties. A person was born into his or her caste and worked hard to fulfill the duties necessary to gain a positive rebirth in the next life. The Kama Sutra was meant for people of the higher castes, especially the nobility.

During the time of the Kama Sutra?s compilation, sex was an art form meant for the “civilized” and more “refined” citizens who had the time and resources to devote to such activities. The common worker would not have the time to devote to such detailed practices of lovemaking. This art extended far beyond the Kama Sutra and included a time of courtesans.

Courtesans were not prostitutes nor were they vulgar. These women were highly trained professionals who were knowledgeable in the arts of seduction, eroticism and pleasure. There were also women known as temple dancers and devadasi, who would perform several types of dances, including erotic ones. These women were an acceptable part of society and seen to heighten the quality of living through acts of pleasure and love.

Many women also taught other women who were to be married or seeking marriage how to seduce and pleasure a man. It was seen as part of the woman?s duty to love her husband and to do so in proper and successful manners. However, this does not exclude the man from any responsibility. He, too, had a duty to make his wife happy and keep her satisfied.

To love one?s partner effectively, one needed to know how to attract and seduce a lover. The Kama Sutra offers commentary on several techniques meant to entice a lover of either gender. There are chapters on acquiring a wife, which include what marriage was, how to make the girl feel relaxed and comfortable and how to keep the wife successfully. There were also chapters on the wife?s privileges.

Included in the Kama Sutra are chapters discussing embraces, petting, kissing and sexual positioning. The Kama Sutra describes how to excite a lover, how to make love and even gives information on how to sustain the feelings of pleasure after the sex act itself has ended.

The Kama Sutra does not just appeal to married couples; it also gives advice for homosexual partners, sodomy and forms of sexual practices. These are not prominent, however, and the main focus is on wife and husband.

Today, the Kama Sutra is still widely read and practiced. Several magazines, including Cosmopolitan, offer advice under the Kama Sutra name. Many companies produce items labeled as Kama Sutra enhancers or aids. People are familiar with the text and even if many have not read it, they know the gist of it enough to raise an eyebrow and give a nod of understanding.

The Kama Sutra is, as mentioned earlier, not meant to be pornography. It is meant to be a guide for lovers who seek to give and receive sensational sexual pleasure. One need not practice yoga or be a gymnast to perform the techniques outlined. All one has to do is pay attention to his or her lover and react to them appropriately, according to the texts.

The Internet has several sites concerning the Kama Sutra practices and even Tantric sex (an offshoot of the Kama Sutra found primarily in Vajrayana Buddhism). The one I found most interesting was The Kama Sutra of Pooh , a site dedicated to the animals of the One Hundred Wood Acre. It not only shows the modernization and pop culturalization of the Kama Sutra, but does so in a non-offensive manner ? so long as you?re older than 18 and don?t have qualms about viewing “plush porn.”

Contact Michelle Demeterat oracleopinion@yahoo.com