Book: “The Complete Illustrated Kama Sutra” edited by Lance Dane

Oh my gosh… That was something I didn’t expect to happen – this book was a cultural shock for me. And of the rare books I am really disappointed about. I red this book till the end, though.

First, it didn’t find any information that would approve what was said in the [latvian] abstract of the book: ‘would help men/women to learn how to control their sexual desires, instead of letting the body whale’.

Such a fuss around the Kama Sutra… But I have never heard anything concrete – what it is exactly. So, in my mind, the idea about it has developed as a guide to various postures during the sex act – information about what, how, why? But when I started to read the book, I was literally culturally shocked. What I read was certainly not what I had been expecting from this book of love aphorisms, that was created around the 6th century. If its annotation says that the book (Art of Kama Sutra) teaches how to control ones desires and to be able to control the animal instincts, then I have missed it somewhere… It seemed that the only thing you could read there – how to fu*k everything that moves.

It is hard to understand that this was once the ancient culture of India. And even more difficult to accept it as a kind of guide to erotic love / sex, that has been called a “bible” for so many centuries. It might be that I am old-fashioned, but the ideology described in this book, brutally speaking, in my perception, would be equivalent to all that, what in Western countrie can be put under the topic ‘pornography’.

The book is really richly illustrated, so it was a bit strange to read it in public transport. Both the illustrations and the annotation initially gave me hope that it will be possible to learn something really useful, but all I got was heavy disappointment.

Everything in Kama Sutra (ranging from group sex in various combinations, wife / husband cheating, multiple parallel relationships, homosexual relationships, to prostitution, relationships in a harem and even to what I, in my perception, would call as rape and pedophilia) is supposed to be normal and belongs to a culture that, after judging by how the book is written, everyone must know and accept.

For example, a wife must accept that her husband cheats her with another woman. As it is supposed to be a normal thing (because everyone does that), she has to accept it and even help that other woman to make her husband satisfied, if it is in harem – she must even raise the children of other women as her own. Man can cheat with all, except those that are placed in the category ‘ugly’. And, according to the book, a man can also conquer the wives of other husbands, but only if his goal is to acquire other benefits rather than bodily pleasure… Prostitutes 1500 years ago were considered respectable and respected, but in principle they were just ‘sucking out the money’.

Likewise, the described theatrical behavior and the instructions on how to treat each person or what to say, seemed very absurd to me. For example, if necessary, woman must pretend being angry so that the man would grovel to her and eventually the woman would forgive him, because he would have done it (groveling) masterfully.

I read the book till the end, without stopping to wonder what I am reading. Well, despite all that, two quotes seemed somewhat reasonable:

  • Love affairs have neither a numbered list nor a strict law. As soon as lovers join in, they are guided by the instinct of passion.
  • No matter how strong a man loves a girl, he will not be able to conquer her without long talks.

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