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5. KAma SUtra — Sex, Potions, Magic, and Toys

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

A woman’s vagina was very powerful in the Kāma Sūtra. Stimulated properly, it offered many health benefits. There were six great nerves in the vagina. If her lover stimulated a certain one, putrī, the woman would stay young. If her lover stimulated another, duhitrinī, she would have sons. If the two nerves were stimulated at the same time, she would have sons into same-sex sex.

The penis was very important too, and if a guy had one that was “rabbit gauge” the Kāma Sūtra offered a magic recipe to make it bigger:

Take shūka hairs — the shūka is an insect that lives in the trees. ... Kill the shūka before using its hairs. Take hold of the insect with small pincers and rub it on the sides of the penis. The hairs become detached, torn out by the rubbing. They must then be spread out by massaging with oil. This causes swelling. When the swelling is sufficient, let the penis hang through a hole in the bed board so that it gets longer. ... Then cool with soothing mixtures eliminating the pain. ... The swelling caused by the shūka will last for life.

There were also potions and magic for becoming attractive and for good luck in love. All you had to do was to harvest the eye of a peacock or tiger during their mating season, cover it in gold foil, and hold it in your left hand or tie it to your right arm. But the eye had to be freshly harvested.

In order to marry, both partners must have been from the same caste. They must also have had auspicious astrological charts, compatibly sized sex organs — rabbit, deer, bull, horse, or elephant (dildos could be used to satisfy a woman if the man was very small) and similar sexual temperaments — slow, fast, average. And it was best if the couple enjoyed the same amusements, pleasures, and tastes.

The Kāma Sūtra offers many different positions for coitus. Here a few examples:

Bhgnaka — Bent

The girl raises her thighs, which she clasps with her arms. The boy, too lifting his knees, grips her and fucks her.

Jrimbhitaka — Gaping

She raises both her legs and places them on the boy’s shoulders. It is the knee-joint that rests on the shoulder.

Utpῑditaka — High Pressure

The girl folds both her legs, which the boy presses against his chest. The boy puts his arms around the girl’s neck and presses his chest against her retracted legs. Both their chests are compressed, which is why it is called “high pressure”.

Kārkataka — The Crab

Like a crab folding its claws, the woman, lying down, folds her bended legs over her vulnerable part, the boy pressing his navel against her legs. Intercourse in this position is called the crab.

Within or outside of marriage, the Kāma Sūtra was all about pleasure. All kinds of it — and for both partners. Vatsayana said “it is not possible to name all the parts of the body where men put their lips.” But “whatever the man practices on the woman should also be practiced on him by her.”

The Kāma Sūtra acknowledged that women were more sexually vigorous than men. It also had a solution to equalize them: When the man was exhausted and the woman wanted him to keep going, she had to behave like a man. She should mount him and use a dildo to penetrate him through the anus so that he got “the taste of one pleasure after another”, until he was roused again.

There was no shame associated with this kind of “inverted intercourse”. Kṛishna himself enjoyed his divine consort, Rādhā, penetrating him anally. The Kāma Sūtra encouraged women to use dildos with one another, anally as well as vaginally. It reminded them, and men, to stimulate the clitoris with one hand while moving the dildo with the other. In fact, there should always be lots of foreplay before any kind of intercourse so that both partners were very ready for it. Both partners must be pleased and there must be no shyness in their sex play. Men should be careful not to act on just their own desires but in reaction to the desires of the women they are with.

The Kāma Sūtra advised that sex with another man’s wife could be dangerous, but it could be rewarding, though naughty, and it could cure lovesickness. So it offered a magic recipe to make a guy invisible so he could get into a harem without being seen:

This is the procedure: without letting the steam escape, cook a mongoose’s heart, long gourd fruits, snakes’ eyes. Crush them all together to make eye salve. If applied to the eyes, one can move about without one’s body or shadow being visible.

That and other recipes seems like marlarkey, today! But, all in all, the Hindu yearning for the practice of love — kāma shāstra, embodied in the Kāma Sūtra, has brought insights, pleasure, and the sense of sexual freedom to millions around the world.

Jon Knowles, author: How Sex Got Screwed Up


Twitter: @HowSxGotScrewed

Vernon Press Book One

Vernon Press Book Two

Quoted text from Alain Daniélou, Trans. (1994). The Complete Kāma Sūtra. Rochester, Vermont: Park Street Press.

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