Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

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

Rate this book
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 beautiful new edition makes it a pleasure to read about the postures of lovemaking, how to attract and what to look for in a partner, recipes for enhanced virility, and more. Although the centuries have passed, the Kama Sutra remains timeless.

272 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 300

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Mallanaga Vātsyāyana

80 books149 followers
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 Himalayan range to influence the hill tribals to give up the pagan cult of sacrifices. He is said to have created the legend of Tara among the hill tribes as a tantric goddess. Later as the worship spread to the east Garo hills,the goddess manifest of a 'yoni' goddess Kamakhya was created. His interest in human sexual behavior as a medium of attaining spirituality was recorded in his treatise Kama Sutra.

At the close of the Kama Sutra this is what he writes about himself:

"After reading and considering the works of Babhravya and other ancient authors, and thinking over the meaning of the rules given by them, this treatise was composed, according to the precepts of the Holy Writ, for the benefit of the world, by Vatsyayana, while leading the life of a religious student at Benares, and wholly engaged in the contemplation of the Deity. This work is not to be used merely as an instrument for satisfying our desires. A person acquainted with the true principles of this science, who preserves his Dharma (virtue or religious merit), his Artha (worldly wealth) and his Kama (pleasure or sensual gratification), and who has regard to the customs of the people, is sure to obtain the mastery over his senses. In short, an intelligent and knowing person attending to Dharma and Artha and also to Kama, without becoming the slave of his passions, will obtain success in everything that he may do."

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
1,471 (23%)
4 stars
1,582 (25%)
3 stars
1,856 (30%)
2 stars
822 (13%)
1 star
431 (6%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 521 reviews
Profile Image for Cindy.
257 reviews265 followers
October 27, 2011
"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's testicles boiled in sugared milk increase sexual prowess."
...Can I have some more Rocky Mountain Oyster Pudding, grandma?

"If a man anoints his penis with datura, black pepper [maricha], and long pepper [pippalī], crushed and mixed with honey, its use will allow him to bewitch and subjugate his partners."
...Or at least cause them to be doubled over in fiery pain.

Once you're done mucking about with spicy peppers, priapisms, and testes, why not try this ancient recipe:

"By rubbing one's hand with the excrements of a peacock, which has been made to take haritāla [yellow myrobalan] and manashilā [red arsenic], everything one touches becomes invisible."

Okay, in an attempt to save you, Dear Reader, a ton of time may I present:

All You Will Ever Need To Know About the Kama Sutra*
1) There are no pictures in the original Kama Sutra, much to the chagrin of reviewers on Amazon.
2) For the naughtiest parts, go straight to Chapter Six
3) You aren't going to learn any new tricks unless you're a sweet, innocent teenager.
4) The Kama Sutra is extremely repetitive. (This explains my low-ish rating - I'd probably put it at a 2.5. And those stars are just there for the aforementioned chuckles at the insanity. Ancient people were batshitcrazy. It's a miracle we're still around.) There is a good reason for the repetitiveness - as a teaching text, a student is supposed to read the original with enlightened commentary. Unfortunately this translation includes 2 extra commentaries after every paragraph. The translator even apologizes in the intro for its "maladroitness." Even with good reason, doesn't make it fun to read.
5) A lot of the advice is violent - scratching, slapping, bleeding, etc.
6) The Kama Sutra wasn't exactly written by Vātsyāyana - he collected the "erotic science" sections of the Kama Shastra (which were becoming harder and harder to find).
7) The history of the Kama Sutra is interesting, as is the background of the three Shastras - go learn about them. Maybe I'm too dense, but I didn't learn much about history by reading the original text.
8) The Kama Sutra tries to explain all sexual practices, even those that are not recommended or are forbidden. Vātsyāyana felt it very important to be complete. Which I can get behind.

*(unless you are an ancient Indian scholar, of course.)
Profile Image for Adam.
4 reviews3 followers
August 25, 2016
Unable to read. Pages were stuck together.
Profile Image for Nguyên Trang.
519 reviews499 followers
January 10, 2022
Sutra nghĩa là kinh. Phàm kinh cổ thì cứ nên đọc hết, bất cứ thuộc tôn giáo tín ngưỡng nào thì cũng đều hay cả. Hay thì nó mới thành kinh và tồn tại tới giờ ;)) Kama nghĩa là khoái lạc thì lại càng nên đọc lắm =)) Tóm lại, Kama Sutra hay vì nó đúc rút từ cả một nền văn hóa rực rỡ, tồn tại qua thử thách thời gian và quan trọng nhất: Nó rất là thật, rất con người, điều sách vở hiện đại vốn đạo đức tới vô đạo đức thường không có =))))

Đến cả một người thuộc diện ham đọc như tôi mà giờ mới đọc Kama Sutra thì đúng là cuốn sách này bị hậu thế lãng phí quá :"> Kama Sutra thì tất nhiên là có các thể loại sex position mà tất cả các bạn có ý định sex đều nên học hỏi ;)) Nhưng khác với sex thông thường bắt đầu bằng động chạm thì Kama Sutra bắt đầu từ suy nghĩ, tức là dạy cách tán nhau á =)) buồn cười vãi nồi có dạy cưa vợ kẻ thù rồi thì làm sao để moi hết tiền của đàn ông và đá họ gọn gàng =))

Tất nhiên có những vấn đề nhỏ như quan điểm trọng nam, rồi dính líu tôn giáo nữa và thành thật là có nhiều cái không xa lạ gì nhưng kiểu gì cũng học hỏi được không nhiều thì ít. Mà chả học hỏi thì sách cũng có tính giải trí rất cao =))) Nên đọc nên đọc (nhưng đừng giới thiệu cho người yêu đọc hoho)
Profile Image for Allen.
7 reviews5 followers
July 4, 2010
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 personal experience of and his well-read study of carnal enjoyment. I found this perspective to be particularly interesting because you must set the narrative within the context of a highly stratified caste society with little to no social/economic/spiritual/political mobility. This book forced me to recognize that this society elevated, at least theoretically, carnal pleasure to a spiritual and cultural (pseudo)-science whereby these stratifications may be bent, re-interpreted and, to use a word in its literal sense, humanized. Do not underestimate the empirical and scientific level at which the author has applied his mind. I am certain that Aristotle or Aquinas would have been enraptured. Surprisingly to me, the scope of the Kama Sutra did not extend to other aspects of carnal pleasure to include among other things the culinary sciences. Perhaps, this is because the arts of cooking and the enjoyment of taste were not within the purview of the audience of the Kama Sutra.

Speaking of Aristotle and the Greeks, the Kama Sutra contains an interesting comparative comment on the nature of prostitutes and their differing capacities in the Indian and Greek worlds. In the method of pre-Industrial revolution works, the author enjoys "scientific" proofs of his arguments by natural analogy. For example, the author supports his conclusions on that natural behaviors of mankind by analogies to his empirical observations of nature and animal life. This method, of course, will be immediately recognizable to any student of philosophy.

The books follows a logical plan, which comprises of small treatises regarding specific aspects of the topic including the opinions of previous scholars and the author's agreement or disagreement with them. The work starts with an exhortation to the study of Kama, its benefits and its general nature. The book also includes treatises on the nature of man and woman, the nature of desire, the nature of union both carnal and spiritual, the nature of a wife and, the most unusual part in my opinion, the nature of the prostitute. Unfortunately, a collection of only a handful of the thousand of verses of this work has received notice and attention by the modern world - namely the verses, which describe the 64 arts of Kama ranging from cooing and biting to sexual positions and the appropriate setting for such sexual union. I do not understand why people believe that they will discover some sexual awakening from a book, whose focus is spiritual and philosophical in nature; if you are looking for this, there are obviously more available sources of this information.

I conclude my review with a longing that the many works and authors, which are cited in this book, are unavailable and lost as far as I can tell. The book is a good foothold in Hindu culture and philosophy and has encouraged me to download the Rig Veda to my iPad/iPhone.

The Kama Sutra deserves a read by any curious mind and has earned a solid 5-star rating.
Profile Image for Hoda Elsayed.
399 reviews801 followers
February 2, 2016
الكاماسوترا: نص هندي قديم يتناول السلوك الجنسي فى المجتمع الهندى فى المقام الأول.
تحدّث عن الضرما والأرثا والكما، عن أوضاع الجماع.
عن استمالة قلب المرأة الهندية، واستمالتها للرجل، وطقوس زواجهم.
عن الزوجات، وزوجات الآخرين.
الطريف هُنا هو مسميات الأشياء فمثلًا تجد قفزة الأرنب، ووثبة الكلب، وجماع قطيع البقر. :'D

الكاتب يناقش الموضوع بأسلوب أبعد ما يكون عن الألفاظ البذيئة.
الأمور هنا تتم بروحانية على الطريقة الهندية.

يقول فاتسياتانا مؤلف الكتاب:
"ما دامت هناك شِفاه تُقبَِل، وعيون تُبصِر
فإن هذا الكتاب سيبقى وسيهب لك الحياة"

Profile Image for Erik Graff.
4,995 reviews1,102 followers
May 28, 2012
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 long listing of positions for coitus, many, if not all, of them named for various animals. This was weirdly fascinating, not for any erotic charge--there isn't any--but for the suggestions it implanted about how strange Indian culture must have been.

I suppose Mom and Dad must have been disappointed also, neither of them having evinced any particular interest in the mores of medieval India.
Profile Image for Rachel Aranda.
869 reviews2,259 followers
September 22, 2019
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 certain positions but not "put hand here while licking neck of partner" kind of instructions. A few people I know thought that which makes me laugh now because how is any of that sexy haha.

This was a quick read version with art and words of long ago that I enjoyed reading. You have to appreciate that someone took the time to make a guide promoting equality in sexual pleasure. Heck some people don't even believe these things even now. If you think you'll be embarrassed to read the Karma Sutra but are still curious then I suggest giving this edition a shot. It's short at only 64 pages so won't take too much time to finish. I wouldn’t mind reading a different version for comparison in the future.
Profile Image for Nathan.
30 reviews5 followers
January 6, 2012
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 of a list of erotic behavior than it is a manual - anyone that reads this will never have a need to read an issue of 'Cosmo' again. (but then, anyone who has gone further than the missionary position probably doesn't need to read Cosmo either ;)

Instead of a "sex manual" it is more of an insight to the sexuality of middle-ages India - there are entire chapters on biting, scratching, sexual positions, courting, seduction, quarrels and fights, "emergency cures and potions," as well as whole sections on homosexual behavior. The commentary (which was originally written a century or so after the original text) gives further advice, stating that certain behavior is not "suitable" for people of certain castes, or that women of certain regions prefer certain behaviors but shun others, etc.

As someone interested in both anthropology and sexology, this volume is indispensable - but if you're someone looking for a quick, kinky read, I wouldn't recommend it.
Profile Image for Katelyn Jenkins.
204 reviews6 followers
February 25, 2020
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 would be, an intuitive guide to basically all concievable sexual positions.

It's a lot more than that. This book is a religious text, meant for followers of the faith a guide to fullfilling love life. It's a way out there culture, for me, an American. Being said, it is a good break into what ciuld be an influential finding of human behavior. Not of love, but what could be. It's interesting, but can also cloud good judgement, and obscure rightous conduct.

All I have to say, thank you all. Please do not let my review discourage you from diverisfying your views, this is just my take, make wisdom of what you find.
Profile Image for Cristina Boncea.
Author 6 books683 followers
August 8, 2016
Am comandat-o de pe Book Depository acum ceva vreme și i-am acordat vreo 30 de minute de răsfoială și acum vin cu un verdict, cei drept, cam precar: this is something. Dacă analizezi cartea prin ochii cuiva care trăiește în 2016, vei găsi nu doar o voce foarte misogină care tratează femeile ca ceva ce poate fi doar “gained” dar supune și bărbații la aceleași standarde imposibil de atins (bogăție, sănătate, nobilime, etc.); oferă chiar o listă de 60 și ceva de chestii la care femeile trebuie să se priceapă, pe lângă sex, bineînțeles, pentru a fii respectate și privite ca egal al bărbaților cu elemente precum: să știe să tatueze, să scrie poezii ș.a.. Cartea îndrumă de asemenea și la cele mai înalte forme ale manipulării în scopul atingerii diverselor interese, susținând că X filosof indian susține acest timp de comportament și îl consideră justificat, ca pe o excepție de la regulile obișnuite. Practic, orice regulă îți impune cartea asta în relația dintre un bărbat și o femeie, e perfect ok dacă o încalci în numele narcisismului. Sistemul de valori pe care îl propune pare nebunesc doar fiindcă e pus în cuvinte, altminteri nu am mai fi așa de șocați dacă ne-am uita puțin în jurul nostru și am realiza că exact acesta e felul în care funcționăm și noi. Oamenii nu sunt perfecți, se lasă tentați, corupți, devin confuzi când au în față acel ceva pe care și-l doreau de mult timp. Nicio problemă, autorul s-a gândit și la acest lucru și de aceea există pedepse pentru cei care se abat de la reguli dar eșuează, pe când cei care fac același lucru dar încununați de succes sunt aclamați de societate… pentru că nimeni nu știe cum au ajuns acolo oricum, nu? Mi s-a părut distractiv cum la început erau descrise poziții sexuale cu denumiri foarte ciudate pentru situații la care nici nu m-aș fi gândit (nu știam că eunucii erau ceva comun în India) și după aceea se vorbea despre căsătorie și cum fata trebuie să fie neapărat virgină (pe lângă frumoasă, dintr-o familie bună, bogată, populară și talentată). Misoginismul se continuă prin distincția făcută între femeile “ușor de câștigat” și “greu de câștigat”, că doar suntem numere la loto, ce naiba, ca ulterior să poată ajunge “femei plăcute de soții lor” și “femei neplăcute de soții lor” (pentru care trebuie să facă curat în casă când sunt plecați și să le spele picioarele când se întorc sau să execute orice comandă a lor) – goals in life achieved. But wait, there’s more! Bărbații au și ei chestii imposibile de făcut, reguli stricte de urmat, și asta e partea care mi l-a făcut simpatic pe Vātsyāyana, autorul textului, care pune totul sub scuza trăirii sub Dharma (dobândirea meritului religios), Artha (dobândirea bogăției și a prosperității) și Kama (iubire, plăcere și gratificare senzuală). În opinia lui, dacă îi urmezi în tocmai regulile, vei duce o viață fericită sau ceva de genul.

Așadar, bărbații trebuie să aibă conversații cu femeile, să vadă în ce stare mentală se află, să urmărească reacția lor, să nu facă sex cu ele fără preludiu și alte chestii din astea la ordinea zilei. Îmi place că acest filosof poate spune că femeile trebuie respectate dar că trebuie să-și trateze bărbații ca pe niște zei în același context. Bărbații de asemenea trebuie să fie virili, să le fută bine, mai pe românește și într-un fel, să le lase să profite de ei, în sensul că bărbații oricum știu că ele asta vor dar se bucură când le umflă egoul (citat parafrazat din carte). Mi-au rămas multe chestii în minte, precum dacă un bărbat și-a revanșat față de o femeie și ea tot îl respinge, el trebuie să o elimine din viața lui sau dacă ea îi dă semne de la prima întâlnire, e o femeie ușoară și astfel de femei nu merită iubite (alt citat parafrazat).

Dar trebuie totuși să respectăm femeile – Vātsyāyana sec. II Î.Hr.

Nu am știut la ce să mă aștept când am deschis cartea asta. Tot ce am știut vreodată despre Kama Sutra e că are legătură cu sexul și pozițiile sexuale, dar nu mă așteptam să găsesc un întreg manual de cum să faci să-ți atingi scopul. Are chiar un capitol întreg despre ce să faci dacă nu te ajută fața, care implică machiaj pentru femei și plante pentru virilitate la bărbați. Cât de actual. Ca să reiau ce ziceam la început, dacă analizezi cartea asta cu mintea cuiva cât de cât civilizat din 2016, te cam scârbește și ți se pare o aiureală. Dacă o privești însă ca pe un fel de lege după care oamenii chiar funcționau, întocmai, acum câteva secole, e o lucrare minunată. După cum scrie pe spate, probabil a influențat multe alte scrieri și mentalități ulterioare, ceea ce nu e chiar un lucru bun. Pot admite că sunt și câteva boabe de adevăr legate de psihologia masculină și feminină pe acolo, dar ideea per-totală e greșită din foarte multe puncte de vedere. Nu am citit cuvânt cu cuvânt dar mi-am aruncat ochii prin fiecare capitol și pot spune mai mult ca sigur că o voi redeschide în viitorul apropiat și voi citi mai atent toate acele reguli impuse de filosoful hindus. Însăși ideea de reguli pentru relația dintre doi oameni e greșită, dar Vātsyāyana pare să urmărească mai degrabă diferite raționamente notând consecințele fiecăruia. “Bărbații au obligația de a încerca iar femeile de a-i refuza” este nu doar principiul acestei cărți ci face încă parte din societatea modernă, lucru incredibil de supărător. Pot astfel să apreciez existența acestei cărți, întrucât realizez că nu ea a dictat mentalitatea oamenilor ci mai degrabă a fost inspirată din aceasta, din firea umană în general, în cea mai naturală și deci josnică formă a ei. Deși relațiile dintre curtezane și rege îmi par ceva străin acum, sunt sigură că în acele timpuri toate situațiile prezentate în carte erau ceva actual, felul cum femeile încercau să obțină bani și alte beneficii de la stăpânii lor ș.a.m.d. Chiar și faptul că în capitolul despre nevestele altora, intră la excepții dorința de a te pune bine cu soțul femeii sau dimpotrivă, dorința de a-l pune împotriva acestuia sau cum în capitolul despre ce să faci când o femeie nu te vrea, o soluție e să te împrietenești cu fratele ei sau cum mama ei e obligată să înlesnească întâlnirile dintre cei doi sau faptul că femeile care recunosc că vor să se fută sau sunt vulgare sunt nedemne de iubire și căsătorie… toate aceste lucruri nu aparțin doar de India secolului II Î.Hr. Traducerea lui Sir Richard F. Burton, deși făcută în 1883, este foarte concisă și ușor de urmărit iar având în vedere că textul este mult mai vechi de atât, nu pot spune decât ce spun după ce citesc orice carte veche: e trist cât de actuală e. Din păcate, Vātsyāyana doar a numit toate aceste probleme, fără să îi treacă aparent prin minte că sunt ceva ce ar trebui îndreptat în societate. Poate el a realizat înaintea noastră că nu e cu putință și s-a concentrat pe ce putem face. În orice caz, aceste mentalități au distrus multe vieți, însăși ideea că bărbații și femeile trebuie să fie într-un fel; în zilele noastre avem parte de foarte multă diversitate și din ce în ce mai mulți oameni afirmă acest lucru în mod public, își recunosc identitatea și sunt aclamați pentru asta. Poate evoluția constă măcar în faptul că am realizat că e o problemă cu toate lucrurile descrise în Kama Sutra și o astfel de societate nu e ceva așa de normal pe cât consemna Vātsyāyana. Mi-aș dori parcă să ne grăbim, să îngropăm de tot slut-shaming-ul, sexismul și valorile impuse de la naștere, înainte să aibă loc mai multe dezastre.

Revenind la carte, a fost o călătorie interesantă, chiar îmi doream să aflu mai multe despre aceste vechi practici hinduse, despre India antică&shit. Mă bucur că acum am idee despre ce e vorba în Kama Sutra și nu e doar o carte despre sex și poziții sexuale, deși sucking a mango fruit e un nume interesant pentru un anume tip de sex oral.
Profile Image for Scarlett.
5 reviews9 followers
January 14, 2008
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.
Profile Image for Scott.
291 reviews3 followers
June 16, 2011
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 like how the women of a polygamist should always be fighting one another unless it causes to much discomfort to the husband. Just all the women's rights just never existed and they were treated worse than cattle, since cattle of course are holy in India.

It would also talk about how best to cheat on your spouse, and how you could tell if someone was cheating on you.

Courtship was also very interesting with its formalities and what was permitted. Pressing with nails and biting were something that always came up in the book as something to communicate to others either by doing it to them, or by biting or pressing you nails on a gift for them like a flower.

There was also a couple chapters on sex, but they can be easily skipped if that's not your cup of tea. Especially the chapter on Eunuchs, just wierd.

An odd book that after reading a few choice parts to my spouse, we were left laughing out loud a few times. I am glad to say that I now have an opinion about this "historical classic".
Profile Image for Amaranta.
545 reviews200 followers
September 27, 2019
Un prontuario su come raggiungere l’equilibrio nella propria vita che passa attraverso le tre dimensioni importanti per l’uomo: Dharma, la verità che si raggiunge solo con la maturità; Artha, il senso di realizzazione a cui si arriva all’apice della giovinezza; e il Kama, il godimento che passa attraverso il piacere sessuale. Kama-sutra quindi letteralmente parlando racchiuderebbe una serie di aforismi legati all’amore e alla sfera del piacere.
Una volta chiariti i principi base, la trattazione diventa molto tecnica e indica i modi di raggiungere il godimento sessuale, da cui tutto ciò che riguarda la sfera dell’amore inteso come raggiungimento del piacere fisico: baci, abbracci, morsi, i rapporti che un uomo può intrecciare con una donna, le varie categorie di uomo e donna che fra di loro possono legarsi, come nelle caste, i vari tipi di amore fino ad arrivare alle famose posizioni utilizzabili per raggiungere il piacere sessuale, che sono nell’immaginario collettivo la più scandalosa delle parti del libro, nella realtà la più noiosa da leggere e meno interessante ai fini del libro.
Se si leggesse di più e si parlasse di meno molti stereotipi verrebbero a cadere.
Nel complesso una lettura interessante, una disamina lucida e dettagliata, depurata di alcune parti che davvero risultano poco appetibili al lettore, per uno scritto che risale al VI secolo d.C.
Profile Image for Nour AlAlii.
339 reviews
September 9, 2020
#مراجعة_كتاب_الكاماسوترا #فاتسيايانا
نص هندي قديم يتناول السلوك الجنسي لدى الإنسان. يعتبر على نحو واسع عمل قياسي للحب في الأدب السنسكريتي. وضع النص الفيلسوف الهندي فاتسيايانا Vatsyayana، كخلاصة قصيرة للكثير من مؤلفات سابقة قديمة مختلفة تعود إلى تقليد يعرف باسم كاما شاسترا Kama Shastra، وهو يعني علم الحب، كلمة كاما Kama تعني الرغبة، بينما كلمة سوترا فتدلل على سلسلة من الحِكَمِ. مصطلح سوترا كان تعبير تقنياً قياسياً هنالك اعتقاد شعبي قديم بأن الفيلسوف فاتسيايانا كان أعزباً ويعتقد أيضا بأنه عاش في وقت ما بين القرنين الأول إلى القرن السادس، في فترة الازدهار الثقافية العظيمة في العصر الغوبتي .أنا مهتمة بقراءة النصوص السنسكريتية لا أعلم لما لكن فلسفتها على مستوى عالي تعجبني بعيداً عن هدفها أو ما تحتويه طبعاً للتنويه القراءة بغير اللغة الأم ستفقدك لذة الكلمات لأن النصوص هذه موزونة ومنظمة بشكل عالي وكأنها قصائد شعرية أو سجع أستمع لها أحياناً داخل فيلم ولكن دون الترجمة لكن تجد فيها لحناً باهراً وانسجام . للوهلة الأولى ستعتبر الكتاب فاسد أو بذيء أو كُتب فقط للذة لكن هذه الأمور هي جزء لا يتجزأ ولا ينفصل عن حياة الإنسان وكان آنذاك كُتب للتعريف بالحب لدى الجاهل والأمي والمبتدأ وللمرأة والرجل كافة، هذا النص ينبثق من صميم الحياة يعطي المرأة مكانها اللائق بها ستفهم أن كل نصوص الكاماسوترا تهدف لغرض وحيد وهو تأليه المرأة وتقديسها باختصار الكتاب أقرب للفلسفة وتطرق للنصائح النفسية والجسدية للمرأة والرجل طبعاً ، ما أحبه أكثر في الأدب السنسكريتي الاستماع لقصص الآلهة المتعددة والمعاركة والمخطوطات والآداب وقوانيهم المعقدة التي يفرضونها وأعيادهم وطقوسهم الغريبة .
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for K.D. Absolutely.
1,820 reviews
September 7, 2009
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 lending me this book! I hope you will find more books like this, read them right away and pass them on to your equally voracious brother!
Profile Image for Lish.
30 reviews1 follower
January 18, 2023
I can respect this book for its culture but man was that a wild ride, I can’t imagine living during that era and having to follow these guidelines 😬 both weirdly progressive in some aspects then it takes three steps back in others
Profile Image for Alina.
75 reviews51 followers
August 13, 2016
Este livro é um autêntico tsunami cultural. Foca-se nos escritos de Vatsyayana (que terá vivido algures entre os séculos I e VI da nossa era), um dos sábios hindus que, através da observação atenta e da própria experiência de vida, escreveu estes Aforismos sobre o Amor utilizando uma linguagem simples e direta, descrevendo o mundo que o cercava em termos de relacionamentos.
Fiquei fascinada com a cultura que encontrei aqui retratada, que desconhecia por completo. Uma grande surpresa que tive foi ao perceber a diferença abismal da perceção que se tinha da mulher (naquele tempo) na Índia e a que se tinha dela no mundo ocidental - a minha surpresa ao descobrir que neste velho mundo retratado por Vatsyayana as mulheres tinham um mínimo de voz, eram incentivadas a adquirirem cultura de maneira a poderem conversar sobre os mesmos assuntos que/com os homens, estudavam o Kama Shastra antes de se casarem para terem uma ideia do que as esperava (e para descobrirem como dar e receber prazer); os homens eram incentivados a conhecerem realmente as esposas, a não forçarem nada que elas não quisessem de livre vontade, entre outros.
Passo a citar algumas das frases (se fossem todas não saíamos daqui) que me chamaram a atenção ou surpreenderam - devido à época em que isto foi escrito - enquanto lia:
- Tudo quanto um dos amantes faça ao outro deverá ser-lhe retribuído na mesma moeda;
- O homem que proceda de acordo com as inclinações da jovem deve procurar conquistá-la para que ela possa amá-lo e depositar nele a sua confiança. [...] Aquele que sabe fazer-se amar pelas mulheres, assim como contribuir para a sua dignidade e criar confiança nelas, tem assegurado o seu amor. Porém, aquele que não devota a sua atenção à jovem, pensando que ela é demasiado tímida, é desprezado por ela por não compreender o espírito feminino;
- [...]por muito apaixonadamente que um homem ame uma mulher, nunca conseguirá conquistá-la sem conversar muito com ela;
- De todos os amantes de uma rapariga, só será o seu verdadeiro marido aquele que possuir as qualidades que ela preza, e só um marido assim desfruta de verdadeiro ascendente sobre ela porque o é por amor;
- O desejo, que nasce da natureza, é aumentado pela arte [...]. Um homem sagaz, que dependa das suas próprias qualidades, que observe cuidadosamente as ideias e desígnios das mulheres [...] é geralmente bem sucedido com elas;
- A dimensão do amor de uma mulher não é conhecida nem sequer por aqueles que são objecto da sua afeição, devido à sua subtileza, assim como em consequência da cupidez e natural inteligência do sexo feminino.
Como é dito nas observações finais da obra, "trata-se de uma obra que deveria ser estudada tanto por novos como por velhos; estes encontrarão nela verdades autênticas, colhidas da experiência e já comprovadas por eles próprios, ao passo que os primeiros desfrutarão da importante vantagem de aprender coisas que alguns nunca chegarão talvez a aprender ou que apenas poderão aprender quando for demasiado tarde para beneficiar dessa aprendizagem."

Pequena nota: os Kama Sutras que geralmente se vêem por aí a circular (geralmente recheados de imagens explícitas chamativas) não o costumam ser, realmente. Essas versões mais recentes são já uma mistura de pouco ou quase nada de Kama Sutra (digamos, mais teórico) com uma grande parte de Kama Shastra (ciência prática do próprio Kama - prazer apreendido pelos cinco sentidos, embora seja habitualmente associado ao amor, prazer e satisfação sensual). Esta versão que li não tem o Kama Shastra incluído, embora seja mencionado várias vezes ao longo do texto.
Profile Image for Shyam.
225 reviews158 followers
May 1, 2020
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 translator, would wax lyrical: 'The burning heat of the Indian sun, the fabulous luxuriance of the vegetation, the enchanted poetry of moonlit nights permeated by the perfume of lotus flowers and, not least, the distinctive role the Indian people have always played, the role of unworldly dreamers, philosophers, impractical romantics—all combine to make the Indian a real virtuoso in love.'

The real Kamasutra by contrast, is not the sort of book to read in bed while drinking heavily, let alone holding the book with one hand in order to keep the other free.

This is not a book about sex positions, but it's also likely not as "interesting" as you think it is: even the second book for which this work is famous for. It all gets a bit repetitive.

Best read if you've got a historical interest in Ancient India and related customs.

This translation is very readable and can be recommended purely for the inclusion of the extensive included Jayamangala Sanskrit commentary.

['Y' and 'S' below indicate extracts taken from commentaries, not the main text]
In recommending that the man not touch the woman sexually for the first three nights after marriage, using this time to understand her feelings, win her trust, and arouse her love, Vatsayana takes a momentous step in the history of Indian sexuality by introducing the notion of love in sex. He even goes so far as to advance the radical notion thatthe ultimate goal of marriage is to develop love between the couple and thus considers the love-marriage (which the religious texts regarded as ritually ‘low’ and disapproved of, and which is still a rarity in contemporary Indian society) to be the pre-eminent form of marriage.

Y: A man should not be congratulated
If he happens to succeed tag something without knowing its science,
For it is pure chance, like a bookworm eating a hole
In the shape of a letter of the alphabet.

Childhood is the time to acquire knowledge and other kinds of power, the prime of youth is for pleasure, and old age is for religion and release.

Y: There is a saying:
Until the age of sixteen a man is a child,
As long as he eats rice cooked in milk;
He is middle-aged until he is seventy; and after that he is said to be old.

S: Until the age of sixteen, a woman is called a girl, from sixteen to thirty a young woman. After the first age, when they re equal, the men are much older than the women with whom they are matched; a woman is old at fifty, a man at seventy.

Power, in the form of wealth, consists in acquiring knowledge . . .

Pleasure, in general, consists in engaging the ear, skin, eye, tongue, and nose each in its own appropriate sensation, all under the control of the mind and heart driven by the conscious self.

People should not indulge in pleasures . . . they make a man associate with worthless people and undertake bad projects; they make him impure, a man with no future, as well as careless, lightweight, untrustworthy, and unacceptable. And it is said that many men in the thrall of desire were destroyed, even when accompanied by their troops.

Undertake any project that might achieve
The three aims of life, or two, or even just one,
But not one that achieves one
At the cost of the other two.

When a man has become educated, he enters the householder stage of life and begins the lifestyle of a man-about-town, using the money that he has inherited, on the one hand, or obtained from gifts, conquest, trade, or wages, on the other, or from both. He settles down in a. City, a capital city, a market town, or some large gathering where there are good people, or wherever he has to stay to make a living.

But nothing rash should be done merely because of passion.

Y: For sometimes when a woman has made love with one man she may make love with other men who happen to be there. And so it is said:
A fire is never sated by logs,
Not the ocean by the rivers that flow into it;
Death cannot be sated by all the creatures in the world,
Nor a fair-eyed woman by men.

Y: Indeed, woman want a climax that takes a long time to produce, because they desire is eight times that of a man.

The man is aroused by the thought, ‘I am taking her’, the young woman by the thought, ‘I am being taken by him.’

When the wheel of sexual ecstasy is in full motion,
There is no textbook at all, and no order.

The emotions and fantasies
Conjured up in a moment
In the midst of sexual chaos
Cannot be imagined even in dreams.

With the flowers from her hair strewn about, her laughter interrupted by her hard breathing . . .

Y: As Vasishtha says:
‘But a man who copulates
In the mouth of his wife
Causes his ancestors to starve
For fifteen years.
[*Note: The passage that Y cites from Vasishtha is at 12.23, where the ancestors of the man who copulates in the mouth of his wife do not starve for fifteen years but, rather, are forced to eat nothing but his semen for a month.]

For the statement that ’There is a text for this’
Does not justify a practice.
. . . Medical science, for example,
Recommends cooking even dog meat,
For juice and virility;
But what intelligent person would eat it?

A room of his house dedicated to sex, a room decorated, full of flowers, and fragrant with perfume and incense . . .

Never court a girl
With a disgusting name
That is a constellation, a river, a tree,
Or ends in a syllable beginning with ‘l’ or ‘r’.

For it is commonly said: ‘Young women desire right from the start a man whom they know well and see all the time, but, even when they desire him, they do not make advances.’

Whenever he gives her anything or receives anything from her, he invests it with erotic feeling.

This suitor is the best
Because his very nature is love.

Now, there are ten stages of desire, and their signs are: love at first sight, the attachment oft he mind and heart, the stimulation of the imagination, broken sleep, weight loss, revulsion against sensual objects, the loss of all sense of shame, madness, loss of consciousness, and death.

He carries on a conversation that seems to be about something else but has a double meaning, about her . . .

He cooks the heart of a mongoose, the fruits of a fenugreek plant and a long gourd, and snake eyes, over a fire that does not smoke. Then he rubs into this the same measure of the collegium used as eye make-up. When he has smeared his eyes with this, he can move about without a shadow or a body.

When the man arrives, she gives him a love-gift, something that will arouse his love or erotic curiosity, saying, “This is for you alone, and no one else, to enjoy.”

Yashodhara’s comment on 7.1.25 (‘Do this in such a way that the woman you want does not realize, “A man with something spread on his penis is making love to me”’) has inspired at least one reader to remark, ‘Any woman who would let you make love to her with all that stuff smeared on you would have to be madly in love with you already.’
Profile Image for shakespeareandspice.
340 reviews535 followers
March 6, 2016
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.
Profile Image for Daniel.
607 reviews8 followers
October 21, 2018
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, showing positions and processes that are interesting as well, and yet the overall read drew my eye to the words, with the plates and pictures as a compliment, always.
This stands as one of the greatest works of relationships, in many ways. It gets talked about as taboo or as outright disgusting old adult literature, but I disagree. There are many things going on in this book and the various positions, in talking, touching and physically exercising the usages here are myriad. Make no mistake, this book gets you going in many ways, but I feel that when the mind is stimulated, the heart and body follow along and the entire experiment yields the desired outcome.
Don't hear many people talk about this book anymore. There are variations of the translation out there in multitude, but this one I enjoy the most.

Profile Image for Johanna.
227 reviews6 followers
April 9, 2012
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 general historical interest – I found it both fascinating and, at times, comical to read about how you were supposed to behave around, and treat a woman 2000 or so years ago – also how a woman herself is to treat males of various castes and social standing.

In a way, it is not so different from those classic 19th-20th century ”house wife” books – and when taking time to reflect, it is not so much different from our woman world view before 20th century. The only difference is that in India, it’s been written down in, perhaps you might say, pure scientific matter of fact.
Profile Image for Huda Aweys.
Author 5 books1,319 followers
Currently reading
February 19, 2015
كنت فاكره هاعرف مصدر (سرسوب) الحب الهندي .. و الرومانسية الاوفر :) اللى بيطلعوا علينا من افلامهم دي :) .. طلع موضوع تانى .. بس ما علينا .. لغاية دلوقتى شايفاه كتاب ديني عادي جدا
بيتناول الموضوع من منحى ديني و روحانى ...
المقدس و المدنس ...
لسه موش قادرين نفهم تأويلاتهم و نفرق و نفصل مابينهم .. لسه موش قادرين نعرف ان احنا اللى بنضفي بافعالنا و تصرفاتنا و نوايانا صفة القداسة او الدناسة على اي شئ .. و ان مافيش شئ بذاته مقدس او مدنس غير اللى ربنا عز وجل اضفى عليه الصفة دى .. و الموضوع اللي بيناقشه الكتاب
موش مدنس في حد ذاته
في القرآن الكريم كان فيه تعرض للمواضيع دي من منحى عقائدي زي ما فى الآية الكريمة :
(فَأْتُوهُنَّ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَمَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ)
و من منحى سردي زي ما في سور يوسف ...
و في المسيحية كان فيه (نشيد الانشاد) و اللى عن نفسي باشوفه مجرد شعر رقيق مرهف موش على الحد دا من الابتذال اللى بيحاول يصوره البعض دا غير انه بينسب لسيدنا سليمان و عروسه موش لله عزوجل عموما
فلازم نتقبل مناقشة مواضيع زي دي مادام من جوانب غير مبتذلة .. سواء دينية او علمية .. و لازم نحاول نفهم و نطلع على عقائد و علوم و اديان غيرنا .. لاننا فى مرحلة صدام حضارات دلوقتى :)
6 reviews1 follower
August 23, 2021
Five stars. A great finish.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for John Carey.
77 reviews
January 23, 2023
Soooo this book was a thoughtful wedding gift from very good friends. It was an auspiciously perfect one at that. And I really wanted to like it but alas here I am one star-ing it. Admittedly I enjoyed the beginning two "books" and of course the hilariously lascivious pictures (it can't be overstated how outrageous they are). However the book ends in basically an ancient spam email on how to INCREASE YOUR SIZe and kEeP it TYGHt. I dunno maybe in reality two stars all in all but the ending was really that dumb. Also kinda rapey at times which is suboptimal so yeah I'll keep it at 1.
Profile Image for Harry Allagree.
782 reviews10 followers
January 25, 2013
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 and adept in these,
looking to virtue, also wealth
and not seeking only pleasure
with a passion excessive,
he will succeed in what he does."

The Kama Sutra is eminently practical, but also explains the logical reasons behind what it suggests. I noticed, too, that over & over again it makes "recommendations": recognizing that each person has to approach the subject matter in view of his/her own circumstances, locality, social norms, etc. Such a book, it seems to me, would be an invaluable aid in sex education courses in helping young minds understand that it's definitely not "all about sex".

For the record, this edition, beautifully translated from the Sanscrit by A. N. D. Haksar in 2011, is not illustrated. I didn't actually notice this until I started reading some of the descriptions, and realized that probably I'd have been much too distracted from the content of the work had there been illustrations. Having read it and understood its purpose better, it could be helpful now to find a good illustrated edition for further perusal.
Profile Image for Soo.
2,598 reviews255 followers
January 13, 2012
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 education. A clean, unbiased use of the book would give a decent background to people about what could be possible in a sexual relationship. It's not enough to cram down the negative fallout of what could happen if you have uninformed, unprotected sex. People should learn the varied depth of what emotional and physical pleasure is about.
Profile Image for Aliaa Mohamed.
1,061 reviews2,197 followers
February 23, 2015
سمعت كثيراً من قبل عن هذا الكتاب وعن الضجة التي صاحبته فقررت قراءة الترجمة العربية ،وكلما انغمست ف القراءة وجدت أن ما به لا يستحق كل تلك الثرثرة عنه وربما كان ذلك من شعوري بأن الترجمة خفضت من قيمة هذا الكتاب ، بالإضافة إلى شعوري بأنه مبتور وناقص عن النسخة الأصلية .
ف الإجمال الكتاب ليس بالسيئ وليس بالجيد ويعتبر مرجع عن ماهية الحب عند الهنود باعتبارهم أكثر الشعوب اهتماما بذلك ( إلى جانب الضرما والأرثا )
Profile Image for Kim.
401 reviews182 followers
March 29, 2012
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.
Profile Image for Chetan.
280 reviews5 followers
August 27, 2022
I'm planning on reading classical Indian literature in the coming year and I decided to start it off with probably what's most famous in the west. The supposed bible of sex, The Kama Sutra. The laws/discourses of sensuality.

Historically the Kama Sutra is a custom-made manual, that would teach young men the art of sensuality before marriage. The belief is that if a couple could share a happy, loving, mutually pleasurable, stable relationship. Every other facet of their lives would bask and prosper from it. In hope of that, this was taught so that couples could be one. Mind, body, and soul.

The Kama Sutra is about pleasure. The physical, the intellectual, and more importantly the spiritual. How women get pleasure. How men get pleasure. How to flirt. How to court. How to seduce, and the importance of consensual relations. The difference in body shapes, and the sizes of our sex organs. What positions benefit different physiques. The intimacy it creates. The different types of sexual unions. How to maintain and deepen a relationship further. How to be an ideal partner, to do right by each other. How to run a household. The belief was that love and sex are vital in one's life and that they should be perfected. So it can take its proper place on the periphery of one's spiritual life.

It also goes on to the subjects such as polygamy and how people change during a relationship. How and why couples should separate, be it age-gap relationships (what we might call groomed relationships today) or various types of abuses that can happen. These imbalances in a relationship can lead to adultery, which is justifiable and Kama Sutra promotes. Only to create balance for a stable relationship. A beneficial state of mind for one to progress further on the spiritual path.

To me, it feels as if there are two contradicting sides to this version of the Kama Sutra translated by Sir Richard Francis Burton. There is the traditional Indian side. That is influenced by Vedanta, Nyaya, and all the other Hindu schools of thought. Who has the highest respect for women, where the oldest and holiest scripture the Rig Veda is written by both genders. The culture that worships God in both her divine feminine and masculine form. You see their influences throughout the book when it comes to the subject of sex. Like in the manner in which sex organs are named, the vagina is called the perfume palace. Imagine if you can, the difference that is in this culture. Where the connotation is to celebrate our most intimate organs and actions, instead of the modern-day tendency to use them for verbal abuse.

Then you have the other side of this book, which has statements that contradict the cultural belief. The use of subtle misogyny, indicating that men are superior, and remarks of homophobia that go against the third gender that's a part of the culture of India. Many concepts are foreign and not found in any school of thought. Like the concept of harems, where women live in zoo-like conditions only to be enjoyed by a polygamous man. This can't be something that comes from the same ethos that created this refined sophisticated sexual dialogue.

It's hard to think that this culture would contribute this book in its current form to the world. There is no doubt that in the last 1500 years the Kama Sutra has had foreign influences creep in. These might have come from the translation to Victorian English or the Mughal conquest of India that preceded the British. In any case, the Kama Sutra is a must-read. You just need to go in with your eyes open or find a better translation.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 521 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.