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On Hinduism$
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Wendy Doniger

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199360079

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199360079.001.0001

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Reading the Kamasutra: It Isn't all about Sex 1

Reading the Kamasutra: It Isn't all about Sex 1

(p.371) Reading the Kamasutra: It Isn't all about Sex1
On Hinduism

Wendy Doniger

Oxford University Press

The Kamasutra, the oldest extant Hindu textbook of erotic love, offers descriptions of the positions in sexual intercourse, the erotic counterpart to the ascetic asanas of yoga. Written by Vatsyayana Mallanaga in Sanskrit, probably sometime in the second half of the third century CE in North India, the text means “desire/love/pleasure/sex” (kama) and “a treatise” (sutra). However, the real Kamasutra is not only about sexual positions; it is also a book about the art of living, from finding a partner to maintaining power in a marriage, committing adultery, using drugs, or living as or with a courtesan. This chapter examines what the Kamasutra says about class and caste, as well as the man-about-town. It also looks at the intersection between sex and ancient India in the Kamasutra.

Keywords:   sex, Kamasutra, erotic love, sexual intercourse, Vatsyayana Mallanaga, sexual positions, class, caste, man-about-town, ancient India

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