When you hear “kama sutra,” chances are, contortionist sex positions come to mind. It’s not entirely wrong, but the concept goes beyond what you’ll find on page 69.
So what is it exactly? And why should you have it on your radar?
A sex book is just a book about sex. But a book filled with sex, desire, pleasure, intimacy, connection, and the how-to’s — that is Kamasutra.
What Is Kama Sutra?
The Kama Sutra (also written as Kamasutra) is ancient Hindu text on sexual and emotional fulfillment in life. The phrase is made up of two Sanskrit words, each with its unique meaning.
Here’s a closer look at them individually:
- Kama is made up of both sensual and aesthetic desires. However, in the Kama Sutra book, an emphasis is placed on sensual desire.
The word can mean “love,” “desire,” or “pleasure.” This pleasure is not limited to sexual desire but rather a broad term encompassing all the pleasures of life.
- Sutra means “line” or “thread.” It is the same root as the English word suture, the strands of a line that are used in medicine to seal wounds. However, sutra, here, refers to a thread of verses that form a manual.
Put together, kama sutra translates to “scriptures of desire,” according to the late Psalm Isadora, intimacy and tantra expert. (She, unfortunately, passed away in 2017, but her teachings are still available on Mindvalley’s Tantra Touch Quest.)
She says, “Our soul is here to have an experience.” And kama sutra is one to practice for a life of pleasure and virtue.
What’s the history of the Kama Sutra?
The origins of the kama sutra are unknown. However, it’s believed that the texts on this sacred practice were written somewhere between 400–200 AD by the Indian philosopher Vatsyayana Mallanaga.
He claimed to be a celibate monk and didn’t record these teachings from personal experience of a thriving sex life. Rather, he compiled and condensed sexual teachings and wisdom from the Kamashastra (the Rules of Love), which was composed hundreds of years earlier.
Now, who wrote the English translation of the Kama Sutra? That one is credited to the British explorer Richard Burton.
Simply titled Kama Sutra, the book was made available in 1883. While it was as widely popular back then as it is now, there’s an ongoing debate about whether it was a direct and comprehensive translation or just a selective interpretation of the Sanskrit one.
What Are the Main Teachings of Kama Sutra?
The book may contain illustrations of very graphic sex positions, but it’s not the entire point of the book. Actually, the Kama Sutra covers a wide range of topics regarding living a pleasurable life:
- The philosophy and nature of love
- Different forms of marriage and family life
- What triggers desire (and what sustains it)
- Proper etiquette
- Surviving alone and acquiring a wife
- Self-care and grooming
- The practice of various arts, such as perfume mixing, poetry, and cooking
- Balancing feminine and masculine energies (in oneself and within a partnership)
- Many other faculties of (non-sexual) pleasure-oriented facets of life
With its teachings, “you’ll break through all your inhibitions,” explains Psalm. “You’ll experience yourself and sex in a way that is mind-blowing and beyond anything you ever thought possible before.”
Exploring the Kama Sutra Book
The sacred text has 1,250 verses. Those are then split into 36 chapters and further organized into seven different parts.
1. Dattaka: General remarks
The Dattaka prefaces the entire book with snippets of wisdom and philosophy on topics such as how to acquire knowledge and how to live honorably.
It provides the background of the four goals of Hindu life, also known as “rules of existence”:
- Kama: Desire and love
- Dharma: Fulfilling one’s duty here on Earth; virtue and truth
- Artha: Abundance, success, and material wealth
- Moksha: Release from the cycle of rebirth
Although every life goal was highly valued, the first section of this ancient Hindu text emphasizes the importance of both men and women fulfilling kama.
2. Suvarnanabha: Amorous advances or sexual union
This part is perhaps what the Kama Sutra book is most known for — the sexy stuff. It explores the physical stimulation of desire. It details 64 different types of sexual acts.
These topics include (but are not limited to):
- Types of embraces
- Kissing and caressing
- Sex positions
- Oral sex
Additionally, it discusses partner compatibility and potential intellectual pastimes, aphrodisiacs, magic, and sorcery.
3. Ghotakamukha: Acquiring a wife
Ghotakamukha focuses on living life as a bachelor and how to go about courting a woman for marriage. These methods may be outdated for modern times as they are mostly based on astrological compatibility and the benefits of marriage for the families involved (caste systems).
Furthermore, it discusses how to make a virgin wife feel comfortable, relaxed, and confident in sexual intercourse and connection to awaken her inner sex goddess.
4. Gonardiya: Duties and privileges of the wife
This section discusses the duties of the wife: cooking, cleaning, and catering to the husband.
While these one-sided gender roles may have made sense 3,000 years ago, they aren’t (for most parts) practiced in present-day relationships.
5. Gonikaputra: Other men’s wives
The fifth section examines the behavior of both women and men and discusses the evaluation of sentiments in a relationship. For instance, how to get to know one another on a deeper and more intimate level, which, perhaps, can help overcome sexual anxiety.
The more outdated information in this section refers to the king’s pleasure and his numerous wives, as well as his behavior in the women’s quarters.
6. Charayana: About courtesans
The focus of this section is the necessity for a man to have experiences with courtesans, or prostitutes, to build confidence before pursuing a wife. It also gives advice on mending past relationships with friends and lovers, attaining wealth, and finding a committed partner.
This section gives advice on relations with these amorous assistants, how to attain wealth (Artha), mending relationships with past lovers and friends, and ultimately, how to find a steady, committed lover.
7. Kuchumara: Occult practices
This final part of the Kama Sutra is essentially the “sex talk” in written form. It’s an exploration of sexual lore — how to keep things steamy in a partnership and how to arouse any weakened sexual power.
To improve physical attraction, Kuchumara offers advice on proper grooming and self-care, perfumes and oils for the body, and recipes for home remedies to cure a variety of sexual deficiencies.
Its conclusion states that a virtuous and prudent person, attending to the Hindu goals of life without becoming too damaged by and sucked into the pursuit of pleasure, may obtain success in all areas of life.
6 Kama Sutra Positions to Try
Talking about this sacred practice without the kama sutra poses is like talking about the ocean without mentioning the water. And like the ocean and its water, kama sutra positions can help you with energy healing to deepen your connection and intimacy with your partner.
Here are six positions, suggested by Psalm, for you to try with the kama sutra how-tos:
This position puts the woman in charge. It allows her to control the pace and penetration depth, allowing her to orgasm more easily.
And for those looking for ways to enjoy sex after menopause, this is definitely one to try.
How to do it: The penetrating partner lies on their back while the woman is straddling them on top. As its name indicates, it looks a bit like riding a horse.
There’s a feeling of security and intimacy with this position. Given that the entry is from behind, it can also add a dash of eroticism.
How to do it: There are several ways to spoon. However, the traditional way is when both lie on their sides, facing the same direction. The woman can lift her knees slightly while the penetrating partner slides up behind her pelvis and enters her from behind.
3. Doggy Style
This isn’t the most intimate of positions, but doggy style ranks number two in the most searched sex position in America based on 2021 Google Trends.
It’s deep and intense and definitely gets the heart pumping!
How to do it: Like Sexy Spoons, there are several variations of Doggy Style. The belly version involves the woman laying flat on her stomach, with or without a pillow under her pelvis. The penetrating partner is on their knees, entering from behind her. Additionally, more friction and skin-to-skin contact can be added to the equation if the woman lies on her belly.
4. Happy Boyfriend
This one gives a little twist to the traditional missionary. But be aware that it calls for some flexibility.
While Psalm calls it “Happy Boyfriend,” it’s a pose that both parties can actively participate in.
How to do it: The woman is lying on her back, knees bent to her chest. Her legs are spread over the penetrating partner’s shoulders. Alternatively, she can put her feet on her partner’s chest for more control over the depth of the penetration.
5. Sixty-Nine (69)
Sixty-nine is rather a love-it-or-hate-it position. It takes some coordination, given that it requires both parties to give oral sex while enjoying each other’s performance simultaneously.
Regardless, it is undoubtedly one of the most famous. It not only provides mutual satisfaction but also fun. As Psalm says, “This is great for foreplay or when you’re both turned on for that climax to come quickly from the lightest touch.”
How to do it: Both are facing each other, face to the groin, and simultaneously going down on each other. It’s in the name — the position of both bodies makes it look like the numbers 6 and 9.
Turn a regular position into tantric sex and energy orgasms with Yab-Yum. It combines meditation, yoga, and sex so it isn’t an experience to rush.
The position requires both partners to be extremely close with lots of skin-to-skin contact, which builds immense sexual tension. And when they can sync their breathing, it opens the gates to great pleasure.
How to do it: The woman sits on the man’s lap, wrapping her legs around his waist and arms around his shoulders. He wraps his arms around her waist, and both rock back and forth slowly to let the sexual energy flow until they both reach orgasm.
5 Kama Sutra Secrets to Make Your Experience More Mind-Blowing
Learning kama sutra positions is a great way to level up your sex life. But Psalm has some great secrets that can help transform your experience into something beautiful and unique.
Here are five of them that can help deepen your connection and more intimate.
- No judgment. Don’t judge yourself or your partner. Instead, come together in intimacy.
- Synchronize your breathing. Breath transforms everything, so make sure you and your partner practice a technique called bliss breath — long, slow, deep inhale and then, exhale where you can hear that little whispering sound at the back of your throat.
- Secret squeeze. During penetration, add that secret squeeze — “squeezing the vagina around the penis” — to intensify the sexual energy to lift the connection from local orgasm to heart to soul.
- Use feather-light touch. This technique soft strokes as part of foreplay. However, you can still use it during sex to titillate and tease your way to exquisite pleasure.
- Eye contact. The eyes are the windows to the soul, so imagine how intensely powerful it can be when you do it together during intercourse and climax.
While you can do these separately, Psalm suggests trying them all out together in the different sex positions. When you’re able to master it, you can control your own pleasure and what makes you feel good.
Awaken Your “Kama”
There’s more to sex than a quickie. It’s about the synergy of your spiritual and sexual energies so you can have an intimate, mind-blowing experience.
If you want to explore more, head over to Mindvalley, where you can find Psalm’s teachings in the Tantra Touch Quest. Register an account for free and you can get a sneak peek of the first few classes to get an idea of how powerful your sexual awakening can be.
Your greatness knows no bounds. And neither does your kama.