Literature / Kama Sutra
The only image we could use without offending prudish users.

"Hey Marge! This guy looks like Apu."
Homer Simpson picking up a copy of the Kama Sutra, The Simpsons, "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy"

A couple of thousand years or so ago, a man called Vatsyayana Mullanaga got it into his head to compile a book of all the sex tips he could find in his homeland of India. This tome was called the Kama Sutra (lit: Pleasure Sayings) and even today it is a byword for sexuality around the world. Yet, like so many classic literary works, it's one of those famous works that a lot of people have heard of, but few have bothered to read (in full). Pop-Cultural Osmosis has reduced it to supposedly being nothing but a pornographic book with a lot of naughty pictures. In reality there is an entire philosophy behind the sexual acts described in the book. Another Urban Legend claims it is a religious work, which isn't true either, although some cultures may regard sex as an act of worship.

There are a couple of other Eastern sexual wisdom texts, the Ananga Ranga and The Perfumed Garden, but these are referenced far less often.

There is also a film, released in 1996, starring Indira Varma (Lucius's wife in Rome, Suzie in Torchwood) and Naveen Andrews (Sayid from Lost). So something for everyone there. Not to mention numerous 'ahem!' educational DVDs.

Trope Namer For:
References in Other Works;
  • Hipsters: Given to a less experienced character.
  • Shanghai Noon: In the sequel, Shanghai Knights, Roy happens upon a copy in the Big Bad's personal library and becomes distracted from the mission at hand.
  • The Last Remake of Beau Geste: During his bedroom scene with Flavia, General Pecheur picks up and reads an illustrated edition of the Kama Sutra. He holds the book horizontally at first, then turns it at a 90-degree angle to study the pictures better.
  • In Arthur C. Clarke's Imperial Earth, travelers from Saturn to Earth have a few hours of zero-gee halfway along, while the ship is flipping over to decelerate.
    No wonder that the most popular item in the ship's library these last few days had been the Nasa Sutra, an old book and an old joke, explained so often that it was no longer funny.
  • In Dragon and Slipper the book Merlin looks up the recipe for the love potion from is the Kama Sutra. By the way, this is a children's cartoon...!
  • The Simpsons
    • Homer picks up a copy in "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequency".
    • Marge and Homer are given a copy by Apu in "The Sweetest Apu".
    • In "I'm With Cupid", when Apu and Manjula are having a fight, a copy of the book is thrown out their window and found by Homer, who decides to read it (while driving).
    • In "O Brother, Where Bart Thou", Bart uses a digital version to try and get Homer and Marge to conceive another baby, but it ends up putting them both in traction.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Mentioned by Raj while wooing Sheldon's sister Missy.
    Raj: Have you ever heard of the Kama Sutra?
    Missy: The sex book.
    Raj: The Indian sex book. In other words, if you ever wondered, wondered who wrote the book of love... it was us.
  • In The Nostalgia Critic's review of Cool as Ice, the Critic calls Vanilla Ice's questionable dance moves as being like "five pages of the Kama Sutra."
  • On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Dr. Zimmerman asks a female alien if she's familiar with the book.

This book has examples of the following tropes;
  • Anatomically Impossible Sex: This is usually the stereotype associated with the book, by people who never read it.
  • Anything That Moves: More of a trigger to this than a philosophy it espouses.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Although the advice usually assumes a couple.
  • Design Student's Orgasm: More people have probably just looked at the erotic paintings displayed in the book than those who tried to read it. It must be said, though, most editions use beautiful ancient Indian art as illustrations.
  • Erotic Eating: Plenty of advice on how different tastes in food can enhance things.
  • Erotic Literature: This is the oldest sex manual in existence and probably the most famous.
  • Foreign Fanservice: A large part of the appeal of the book among people outside India is that it provides exotic eroticism from the mysterious Orient.
  • Hot-Blooded
  • It's Not Porn, It's Art: The book is a bit more enlightened than just being a collection of "bawdy" pictures. It doesn't just describe sexual positions, but also provides advice about romantic and erotic affairs and help and tips about masturbation, marriage, prostitution, harems, bathing, oils, perfumes, massage, decoration of the house in preparation of being together with your lover, sex problems,...
  • Lotus Position: One positional approach (her, not him).
  • Sex Tropes: Pretty much all of them on the list that don't involve cultures not found/invented yet or devices not yet imagined (although some devices are Older Than They Think).
  • Wall Bang Her: From the book
    When a man and a woman support themselves on each other's bodies, or on a wall, or pillar, and thus while standing engage in congress, it is called the 'supported congress'.