Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra

  • Ruth Vanita


The Kamasutra is perhaps the world’s most famous work on erotics. However, it is much more than that. As its opening definition of Kama indicates, it is about all types of desire. It defines Kama as the mental inclination toward the pleasures of the senses—touch, sight, taste, and smell. Contrary to texts that identify procreation as the aim of sexual activity, the Kamasutra, while giving procreation due importance, states that Kama “finds its finality in itself.”2


Twelfth Century Female Friend Male Friend Vaginal Penetration Mental Inclination 
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  1. 2.
    KS I. 2:12. Alain Danielou, The Complete Kama Sutra (Rochester, Vermont: Park Street Press, 1994), 29.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Kumkum Roy, “Unraveling the Kamasutra,” Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 3:2 (1996): 155–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 9.
    Sanskrit text with Hindi translation by Pandit Madhavacharya, Kamasutram (Bombay: Venkateswara Steam Press, 1911, reprint 1995).Google Scholar

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© Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai 2000

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  • Ruth Vanita

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