Talk about stamina. Of all of the sex books out there, only one has it: the "Kama Sutra."
Packed with passion, positions and poetic verses, the classic handbook for sex has been delighting lovers around the world for thousands of years.
So what makes it the best sex book ever written?
People have a lot of misconceptions about the "Kama Sutra." Westerners in particular seem to think this manual is all about sexual positions, secret moves and sex tips. And while it certainly doesn’t fail to deliver on any of that, the book was actually packaged in an effort to prevent divorce. So it approaches a couple’s union quite holistically.
Far beyond exotic positions and acrobatic ecstasy, the "Kama Sutra" is a manual that presents all aspects of the relationship between men and women. It digs into social issues, harmony, and sensual pleasures. Yet while dishing out prescriptions for living, romance and preserving social order, it always manages to come back to the sex bit – and it doesn’t hold back.
Logic goes: Happy lovers make for happier marriages. So the "Kama Sutra" gets quite "sexplicit."
In regarding the pursuit of love and sensual pleasure as the main aims of life, the "Kama Sutra" encourages couples to approach sex as an art and science. Sex, it says, needs to be studied for a rewarding, complete life. Given that some people today have trouble accepting that, it's mind-blowing to think that early civilizations were, in many respects, more sexually enlightened than we are. So whom do we have to thank for such timeless, detailed sex instructions?
Written around 350 A.D. in India, elements of the "Kama Sutra" can be traced to the early part of the first century. It's "author," a Hindu scholar named Vatsyayana, didn't write the "Kama Sutra" as an original work. Rather, he compiled 36 chapters of 1,250 verses into seven sections in areas like amorous advances, mystical practices and how to choose your wife. (While primarily directed at males, females were encouraged to study the manual, too).
This book of love is the first known attempt at sex and relationship instruction. And it has been a Holy Grail of sex ever since, with its original readers rushing to learn about matters like:
— How to seduce another man's wife (although infidelity itself was not recommended);
— Home decor as a sensual environment;
— Sacred sex;
— The sign of lovers' match in genital size and sexual temperament;
— Courtesan behaviors;
— How to attract others with sex toys, aphrodisiacs and magic spells.
Of course, everything was framed according to acceptable social concepts. Relationship advice -- for example, it is best to marry the one you love, even if you are contracted to someone else -- was dished out as well. At the same time, the book was not moralizing. This was done intentionally, since it was recognized that moral standards evolve and change.
By not going heavy on that kind of information, the work has been able to transcend time and place. But it's hard to fathom that this sex guide was unknown in the West until the 19th century. This is mostly because the first translation of the work's original Sanskrit didn't happen until 1883, when Sir Richard F. Burton brought the work to England.
What's even funnier is that the book could not be published as an actual sex book. Burton had to have it produced and released as a scholarly work, since Victorian England was too prudish to handle a sex guide. Thankfully, Westerners today can enjoy this timeless love manual in better translations of its original form or modern-day adaptations.
And what's remarkable, is the fact that lovers today still have many of the same needs, desires, and curiosities as the "Kama Sutra's" original audience had. Lovers today still need guidance on:
— Building healthier relationships, including trust;
— Passionate loving;
— How to express their emotions;
— How to increase the pleasure in deepening the union;
— How to unite sex and spirit;
— How to fulfill your "sexpectations."
Poetic and erotic, the "Kama Sutra" has been reminding lovers for centuries that loving sex is a journey and not a destination. Perhaps this is what has made it the best sex book ever. Amazing sex knows no ending.
Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright is a sex educator, relationship expert, columnist and founder of Sexuality Source Inc. She is the author of several books including, "Touch Me There! A Hands-On Guide to Your Orgasmic Hot Spots."