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Literature / Kama Sutra

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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.

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 and Naveen Andrews. So something for everyone there. Not to mention numerous 'ahem!' educational DVDs.

Trope Namer for Comic Sutra, which is actually apt. Every single concept described in the Kama Sutra is given a name — even when it doesn't really warrant one and merely describing the concept would probably suffice. The names are fairly reasonable and tame, however.

This book has is associated with the following tropes:

  • Anatomically Impossible Sex: This is usually the stereotype associated with the book, by people who never read it.
  • 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.
  • 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 (see: Orientalism).
  • 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).

This book has examples of the following tropes:

  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: Downplayed Trope. Men are divided up into 3 categories by penis size: "hare", "bull", or "stallion". However, the same is done for women: "doe", "mare", or "elephant". The question then is not about the absolute size of a man, but his relative size compared to his partner. Equal-size unions are considered the best, and 2 degrees of size difference are considered the worst. 1 degree of size difference is considered middling, and in such cases, then it says the man being slightly larger (termed "high-union") is preferable to the woman being slightly larger (termed "low-union"). That said, there are tips later on about sex positions that can help accommodate all sorts of size differences.
  • 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.
  • High-Class Call Girl:
    Now when a courtezan takes up with a man from love, the action is natural; but when she resorts to him for the purpose of getting money, her action is artificial or forced. Even in this latter case, however, she should conduct herself as if her love were indeed natural, because men repose their confidence on those women who apparently love them.
  • 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).
  • Matchmaker Crush:
    ...a woman who having made an agreement with some other woman to act as her go-between, gains over the man to herself, by the means of making him personally acquainted with herself, and thus causes the other woman to fail. The same applies to a man who, acting as a go-between for another, and having no previous connection with the woman, gains her over for himself, and thus causes the failure of the other man.
  • The Modest Orgasm/The Immodest Orgasm: Not all women are the same.
    Some women enjoy themselves with closed eyes in silence, others make a great noise over it, and some almost faint away. The great art is to ascertain what gives them the greatest pleasure, and what specialities they like best.
  • Pose of Supplication: If a woman is angry at you, kneeling at her feet is recommended.
    When the girl accepts the embrace, the man should put a "tambula" or screw of betel nut and betel leaves in her mouth, and if she will not take it, he should induce her to do so by conciliatory words, entreaties, oaths, and kneeling at her feet, for it is an universal rule that however bashful or angry a woman may be, she never disregards a man’s kneeling at her feet.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    A woman who, having observed the mutual passion of a man and a woman, brings them together and arranges it by the power of her own intellect, such an one is called a go-between who takes upon herself the whole burden of the business. This kind of go-between is chiefly employed when the man and the woman are already acquainted with each other, and have conversed together, and in such cases she is sent not only by the man (as is always done in all other cases) but by the woman also. —The above name is also given to a go-between who, perceiving that the man and the woman are suited to each other, tries to bring about a union between them even though they be not acquainted with each other.
  • Three-Way Sex:
    • Of the one-man, two-women variety:
      When a man enjoys two women at the same time, both of whom love him equally, it is called the "united congress."
    • Of the one-woman, multiple-men variety:
      In Gramaneri many young men enjoy a woman that may be married to one of them, either one after the other, or at the same time. Thus one of them holds her, another enjoys her, a third uses her mouth, a fourth holds her middle part, and in this way they go on enjoying her several parts alternately.
  • Wall Bang Her:
    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".