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The Art of the Kama Sutra: The New Illustrated Edition of the Classic Indian Guide to Sexual Pleasure

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  5,415 ratings  ·  405 reviews
Although the Vedic sage Mallanaga Vatsyayana's guide to sexual etiquette is more than a millennium old, its teachings are still potent. It not only illuminates the countless ways to give and enjoy sexual delight, but also offers up a scientific account of the art of love, from the psychological to the physical. With its stylish silk binding and high-quality design, this be ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by Watkins (first published 300)
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Average rating 3.48  · 
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Start your review of The Art of the Kama Sutra: The New Illustrated Edition of the Classic Indian Guide to Sexual Pleasure
Cindy
"Get a bigger flute!" "Increase ur Size! 6" "Don’t walk with tail between your legs." "V|agr.a, C|a.li5, and Phen.term.|ne CHeep!!"

Was the Kama Sutra the original idea for spam email?

"Take pomegranate and cucumber seeds, extract the juice of elabāluka (eluva, Gisekia pharmaceoides) and bhatakataiyā (Solanum indicum, eggplant). Cook in oil over a low heat. Use it to massage the penis. It will remain swollen for six months."
...It didn't sound so bad until I got to the last line...

"Ram's or he-goat
...more
James
Apr 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
before biff and chip, before the alphabet books, this is the first book i ever read. i remember well being read this book as i nodded off to sleep, and the pleasant dreams that would follow. as a
four year old this book meant a lot to me, it completely shaped my views on literature and what a book meant to people. at age 8 i killed a man. that has nothing to do with this book, just thought i'd mention it. anyway, without this book i would never have got that job as a basketball player for the det
...more
Erik Graff
Jul 18, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gupta culture fans
Recommended to Erik by: parents
Like most children, my brother and I knew where everything was in our house, paying particular attention to the things we weren't supposed to know about. This book was contained in a shoebox in the closet of my parent's bedroom.

The Kama Sutra is commonly mismarketed as a sex guide or as pornography. Although courtesans are mentioned, it is not about the sex trade but includes discussion of marriage, adultery, transvestism, homosexuality etc. Most memorable from the childhood perusal of it is the
...more
Allen
Jun 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Coming from a strong background in philosophy and the Classics, I found this book to be an invigorating read.

In general, nobody has any idea what Kama Sutra means, what the books is or what the author intended it to be. Simply put, dispel yourself of any preconceived notions before you read even the first paragraph of this opus or my review.

I was consistently intrigued by the exotic perspective and expansive scope of the Kama Sutra. In a sentence, the book is an exposition of the author's perso
...more
Nathan
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Arguably the hottest non-fiction book I've ever read - the translator has done a fantastic job of not only providing a translation of the original text, but also including translations of the commentaries by ancient Hindu authorities.

The book is less pornographic than you would think - I have seen countless "reproductions" that merely involve couples photographed in the positions. These detract from the content of the original, as does the reputation that proceeds this book.

This actually is more
...more
Rachel Aranda
3.75 stars

Admittedly I was curious as to what this book actually was. It's an infamous book that has made it on to numerous "must read before you die" and "taboo" book lists, but that doesn't necessarily mean I knew what it was. When I had the chance to read this small snippet of it I took it. I remember hearing it was a guide of sorts on sex. It isn't necessarily a "how to" guide on sexual positions so don't come with that mind set if you want to read it. There are descriptions and pictures on
...more
Adam
Dec 19, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Unable to read. Pages were stuck together.
Scarlett
Oct 12, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
admittedly i did not read cover to cover, but i read enough to get a good sense. i was surprised to discover that much of it read like emily post's book of etiquette but for subjects such as kissing, scratching and biting (as in love play), how to behave toward the first wife if you are the second wife, personal adornment, and lying with courtesans.
Scott
Jun 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always wondered about this book after I heard about it in my history class in 8th grade. When I was downloading things on ibook I saw this and I felt myself enough of an adult to finally read it without being embarrassed.

It was a historical guide to relations with the opposite sex in all different castes in India. So this included the beggar all the way to royalty. To be honest much of it was tiresome and repetitive, but then every once in awhile you would stumble on something interesting l
...more
Katelyn Jenkins
A seemingly antiquated theory of finding love, giving it, and keeping it. As stated prior. I do wish to respect all religions, especially those of the Hindu dharma. Although there are some good points in here, most is thorny, demeaning to women, and misleading to men. It's not very poignant in it's explainations or tied to any real truth. It bothers me.

I find there are better ways to advise love. Honestly. The truth is differnent from the media's interpretation of what Kama Sutra is, which woul
...more
Shyam
That man over there . . . is a lover who fell madly in love with you at first sight. He has never been afflicted like this before, by anyone else, he is suffering terribly, burning up. It is quite possible that he will even die of this today.

On reflection, it appears that all of human life is permeated by sexuality . . . That is why the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad says, ‘Man is sexual.’ Sexuality is the semen of the mind.
—Devadatta Shastri, Jaya Commentary
__________
Richard Schmidt, the German tran
...more
K.D. Absolutely
This is a funny book! Since the book was written in the ancient India, many of the non-sexual instructions like courtship, concubines, courtesan, prostitutes, are just passe and ridiculous!

However, the sexual parts (which is just 1 out of 7 parts of the book)are still thought provoking and could still bewilder one's imaginations! This being an instruction book and an undeniably an indespensable part of classic literature is nothing but a must read piece of work of art.

Thanks again Tata J for le
...more
shakespeareandspice
I picked up this edition today at the Art Institute of Chicago and it isn’t ‘The Kama Sutra,’ but simply a collection of paintings with some random blocks of texts—which I didn’t enjoy reading.
Daniel
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Found this again the other day in an old stack of books I needed to box up for storage. I ended up reading this again and lending it to a friend, as all good books should end up (if you have friends that return books).
I always find this book interesting and not for the commonly thought reasons. Yes it is a book about sex, but it also a book that leads up to the act by discussing social climates, moods and behavior, psychological conundrums and mindset and energy. There are bold pictures here, s
...more
Theresia monica danis rahayu
not just sex n make love, guyzz!!..
Harry Allagree
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It undoubtedly would've been helpful for me personally had I read this classic work as a younger man, rather than as one now approaching his 80's! Unfortunately, most Americans, hearing the name Kama Sutra, immediately think "sex manual". Here's how the 3rd cent. Indian author, Mallanaga Vatsyayanna, in the Epilogue sums it up:

"...One who understands [the Kama Sutra's] essence
will look to virtue, wealth and pleasure,
his own faith, the world around him,
and not act just out of passion...

Learned a
...more
Johanna
Apr 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: classics
The Kama Sutra handles subjects of marriage, hetero- and homosexuality, monogami and polygami alike, how to steal a woman from another man – as well as the life of courtesans, and last mot not least, how to attract a woman by extra ”medicines”.

It handles things quite ”scientifically” and is in no way erotic. In fact, only one out of seven parts discusses ”Sexual Union” while the rest focuses on more cultural issues and etiquette. Most of which are clearly outdated, but hence I have a great gener
...more
Soo
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, reviewed
The Kama Sutra by Vatsyayana is a great book that gives a detailed description on several aspects on sex, love and marriage in Sanskriti culture. There's a lot of cultural information in this collection of tales and advice that is really interesting and rather surprising. These examples are made using the highest ideal/potential one can work towards. It's not the general standard that was actually lived by but the standards a person was meant to aim for.

I would use this book as a part of sexual
...more
Kim
Come on who hasn't at some point in their life picked this up and flicked through it. Turned it upside down, trying to figure out just what is going on. Honestly if you need a guide for this stuff you're not thinking hard enough.
Amanda Spacaj-Gorham
Mar 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthropology
Great book on society and culture and sex...in that order. Not even 100 pages are explicitly dedicated to intercourse. More of the book is talking about what is acceptable in various cultures at that time.

This ancient survey of customs and relationships that were contemporary at the time the pieces were written (it is a compilation of works from various authors) offers unique insight, going beyond the popular conception of the book. It is interesting on many levels. If someone is just looking f
...more
Charles
May 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Kama Sutra is a very interesting book, and gives a very interesting view on ancient Indian Culture. However, I can not see it as this "Ultimate sex guide" people seem to give it credit for. the Majority of the book is about how to interact with people in ancient Hindu society, and of course it's Sexual advice is truly dated. Read it if you want to read a truly classic piece of literature and gain a higher understanding of how Ancient Hindu and Indian Culture works. However, if you are going ...more
Cory Gimmestad
I read the complete original text and I found it interesting in the fact that the content wasn't what I thought it would be. Most of the reading is outdated in the sense that it was written for the culture of that time. For example, I skipped the chapters about how to acquire a wife and what should be included in a dowry. I learned more about Chinese history and culture than anything else.
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Everyone knows what The Kama Sutra is about. Right? Well, for those of you laughing at me or looking at me askance, maybe you don't know quite so much as you think you do. Yes, it is about sex, but, more than that, it is a study of pleasure, of courtship. Only one chapter focuses on sexual positions, although the other chapters do include other sexual acts.

This new edition of The Kama Sutra does not have any pictures of how to accomplish the sexual positions. Disappointed? Well, there's always t
...more
Leny (Helen) Wagner
To be honest I feel a little ridiculous rating a book which belongs to an era and culture so removed from my own. I don't feel that any person born in the west in the twenty first century can truly grasp much of the Kama Sutra beyond its basic meaning, and we certainly cannot fathom its cultural significance in its own day and age.
That being said, the Kama Sutra has probably always been a hard book for any woman to appreciate- it is overtly sexist and makes multiple claims about women being prim
...more
Ola
Feb 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You won’t find any picture there ;) Book describes social norms, custom behaviors related to sexual life, relationships between men and women. For us, living in Europe, in modern times, it’s rather a source of knowledge of different culture, or a comic book, not guidebook telling us how to live. I’m not a big fan of kidnapping women that don’t want to have a sexual relationship with a man or of a thought that my spouse will have few other wives and even more courtesans. In a very detailed way au ...more
Betsy
Sep 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my boyfriend
Wowza! There's some good stuff in here! I recommend reading a copy of this book with pictures. I also recommend practicing the moves on a pillow or stuffed animal before actually executing them on another person. This book is an easy read. I practially devoured it from cover to cover in a day!
Aileen
Dec 31, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It wasn't what I thought it would be. There's some pretty cool historical information and some fun new ways to refer to genitals. I think more than anything it showed a level of comfort with anything sexual.
Stephanie Syphax
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The translation is absolutely flawless. Not only does it provide the original Sutras, but the reader is also provided with descriptions and advice from other parties. It's not just a book to give to your friend at her bachelorette party. It's a fabulous and educational read.
Chris Gager
I can't believe it took me so long to remember this one. Didn't everyone in the 50's & 60's read this? I mainly remember the part about how to enlarge the ole lingum. No idea what edition I had and the date read is a guess. ...more
Kathy Scheiman
A little outdated & chauvanistic.
...more
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Vātsyāyana is the name of a Hindu philosopher in the Vedic tradition who is believed to have lived around 3rd century CE in India. His name appears as the author of the Kama Sutra and of Nyāya Sutra Bhāshya, the first commentary on Gotama's Nyāya Sutras.

Hardly anything is known about him, although it is believed that his disciples went on his instructions, on the request of the Hindu Kings in the
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