The Kamasutra is extensively famous today, even in the advanced western world. Life has changed drastically from those times; but the Kamasutra remains perennially fresh. When you read the seven books of the Kamasutra, you get the impression as though it were written just yesterday keeping the modern youth in mind.
The Kamasutra is a journey of the life of a man through different sexual stages. It beings with boyhood when the first pubertal changes begin to surface in the body of the man right up to old age when the man loses his sexual virility. This range of a man’s entire sexual life is divided into seven stages, and hence there are seven books.
In the first book, Vatsyayana tells how a boy first begins to notice the changes in his own body. This makes him more aware of the world around him, and how he can relate to the correlation between himself and the universe. Not only is this a time of sexual advancement, there is also a social idea ingrained in the boy’s mind at this time. This is generally the stage when the boy decides what his place in society is. Just as the boy becomes more in harmony with society, he also develops a friendlier bond with his own body. He begins to understand how his body, especially the genitals, reacts to various changes around him. Sexual desires make their presence felt at this stage, and the boy learns to satiate himself by masturbation. Different masturbatory techniques for men are described in this book.
The second book is about sexual blooming of the boy into a young man. The young man learns what sex is all about, and goes into the world to seek his satisfaction. Different men get themselves satisfied in different manners. The very extensive section in this book pertaining to sexual positions is what the Kamasuutra is most remembered for even today. The book discusses at length how different sexual positions affect the mental and biological state of a man’s being. The relative merits and demerits of the positions are discussed at length.
Once this stage is past, the young man strives to gain a wife for himself. This is no easy task either, as he will need to woo the wife and perhaps have to pit himself with several competitors. Once he is victorious, he has the right to his wife, and nobody else can lay a claim on her. He has a moral right to fight anybody who trespasses the decency of his wife. This book also tells how a man and his wife can enjoy sexual bliss. It tells about how a woman must help her husband masturbate if he so desires.
The entire Kamasutra is written from the point of view of a man. However, in book four, Vatsyayana directly addresses women. He tells them of the proper mode of conduct in a marriage, of how to remain faithful and dutiful to their husbands and how to protect their modesties from other men. The point that a wife must provide her husband with good sex, and get good sex in return from him, is also emphasized.
The fifth book lays bare the deviant nature in all men as they approach middle age. This is the time when the wife no longer holds the same attraction, and men try to hunt for other men’s wives. Though this is immoral, the Kamasutra maintains that this is also inevitable. So methods of luring other men’s wives are present in this book of the Kamasutra. The Kamasutra goes as far as saying that only if there is extra-marital sex will there be peace within a marriage.
The sixth book makes man seem more adventurous, primarily because of his diminishing sexual drive. This is the time when the man has earned enough money, and he doesn’t mind squandering a bit of it on carnal pleasures. Man would visit prostitutes and such other women in order to get his pleasures.
In the seventh and the last book, the stage of man after he has lost his sex drive is mentioned. This is when man returns fully to his wife, and engrosses himself in spiritual pursuits. In order to keep his body in good health, he may divert to Ayurveda and Yoga and make the best use of his remaining years on earth.
So this is what the Kamasutra is all about. Naturally, people the world over think that the Kamasutra is only a book about sexual positions, though this is as far from the truth as it can be possible. The Kamasutra is a whole treatise on sex.
In today’s world, the basic argument against the Kamasutra – and a very justified one at that – is that it objectifies women. The entire work treats women as nothing more than sex toys for the male. This goes very much against the teaching of almost all cultures of the world. Also, despite its very blatant description of all things sexual, the very popular oral sex has been uncannily kept out. There is no mention – supporting or contradictory – of oral sex at all.
But the book on sexual positions in the Kamasutra is still a very valuable work. This is the inspiration for several of the cave sculptures of India, and they are also quite universal in their approach. Couples can derive much pleasure by trying out the different postures mentioned here.