The Kama Sutra is a sex positive manifesto for its culture.
The customs of Vatsyayana's time were vastly different than today's. The privileged caste in ancient India was obsessed with sex, seduction, and the pursuit of pleasure. Leisure was common, so the intrigues of romance became the center of attention.
By any standard, we'd have to recognize that they led exotic lives dedicated to sensuality in all its forms. They studied sex, practiced sex, shared techniques with friends, and passed on their secrets to the next generation. Sexual pleasure was out in the open in contrast to the way we keep it behind closed doors.
In their pleasure-oriented culture, sex was embraced as an integral part of a full and complete life. Yes, Vatsyayana did comment at times negatively on regional differences where non-mainstream practices like oral and anal sex were accepted. But whether or not you agree that his opinions were moral, just, and right, you have to acknowledge that the people of that time lived in what we would call a "sex positive culture."
You might frown on how they made seducing other men's wives a sport. You might have resisted serving as a go-between in a friend's nefarious love schemes. You might denounce the secret use of aphrodisiacs or the public use of mood-enhancing herbs. You most likely are horrified at the whole practice of prostitution and wouldn't enjoy appearing in public with a pimp or hooker on your arm. Yet all of these things, and much much more, were fodder for the erotic sage's pithy sayings.
Face it, few of us today live in a sex positive culture. In the modern West, for all our advances in medicine, communications, and sexual equality, the sexual revolution is far from complete. As one sexually unsophisticated modern woman commented recently, "The sexual revolution may have come already, so why haven't I?"
In contrast to the culture of 3rd century India, we don't honor or talk about sex the same way. Instead, we react to biological forces and social conventions with a lack of consciousness resulting in immature behaviors like...
- dirty jokes
- sexual harassment
- sexual perversion
- sexual abuse
- sex connected with violence
- child molestation.
In other words, from reading the Kama Sutra we can learn that our culture is retarded in its view of sex, sexuality education, and the role of sex in a healthy life, as the next page on Kamasutra Sex Education points out. Press continue to, well, continue.
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