What is Kama Sutra? Mastering the Art of Desire

When you hear the term Kama Sutra, do you immediately envision sex positions for people with acrobatic abilities? You’re not alone.

However, the widely held belief that the Kama Sutra is a kind of ancient sexual practice for kinky people isn’t true. Or at least, it’s not the whole truth. What is Kama Sutra? It’s about a lot more than sex.

Ancient erotic statue female figure and breasts

The Kama Sutra Book: Eroticism, Spirituality, and Emotional Fulfillment.

The term Kama Sutra comes from a Hindu book written by Indian scholar and philosopher Vatsyayana Mallanga in around 400 BC. While the book’s legacy has left many believing it is an erotic manual for lovers, only a fraction of the original book is actually about sex.

In Sanskrit, “Kama” means “desire”, “love”, or “pleasure”. “Sutra” means “thread” or “string”. In the case of the famous Kama Sutra, “Kama” refers to the book’s themes of both sensual and aesthetic desire and how to master life’s pleasures, and “Sutra” refers to the book being formed from a “thread” of verses.

“Amorous Advances and Sexual Union”

The Kama Sutra book contains 36 chapters and is split into 7 parts. What is the Kama Sutra book about? Yes, it contains Kama Sutra sex positions designed to increase pleasure and connectedness, but it also contains advice on many aspects of sex and relationships.

Part 2 of the book, translated as “Amorous Advances and Sexual Union”, is the section that describes Kama Sutra sex, including 64 different sexual acts, from embracing to kissing to slapping. It also details things such as:

  • The pleasure of sex
  • Foreplay
  • Duration
  • Sizes
  • The unique qualities of different lovers
  • Types of climax
  • Sexual communication
  • Non-sexual forms of intimacy like biting and scratching
  • Oral sex
  • Experimentation
  • Reigniting passion

And a lot more.

Romantic couple in bed touching each other's faces

The sexual concepts the book is famous for in the West became prevalent at the end of the 19th century when British explorer Richard Francis Burton translated and adapted the Kama Sutra for western audiences.

But the book is more widely about channeling deeper spiritual engagement with your body, relationships, and the world, similar to tantra. As well as detailing the art of lovemaking, the book contains advice on things such as sacred love and connectedness, sustaining desire, finding a life partner, and how to use Hindu principles to live well.

A few decades ago the book was banned in many countries for being explicit and obscene. Thankfully, sex positivity continues to grow and the book and its principles are now widely read and discussed.

7 Kama Sutra Positions for Beginners

It’s true that many Kama Sutra sex positions are pretty… out there. And probably not worth trying unless you’re a yogi or Olympian. However, there is still a range of simple Kama Sutra positions that you can try tonight - without having to stretch first.

Each one is designed to enhance pleasure, intimacy, and connectedness. While these positions were created with hetero couples in mind, they can be enjoyed by both same-sex and differently-sexed couples. Simply modify them according to your needs and any toys you might choose.

Ancient erotic statues carved into wall

What is Kama Sutra sex? Something anyone can explore, regardless of gender, sexuality, or experience.

The Tigress

The Tigress Kama Sutra position is similar to the reverse cowgirl. One partner lies on their back, the other climbs on top, falling their partner’s feet and straddles them, controlling the movement and pace from on top.

Ballet Dancer

One partner stands with one leg lifted, balancing on the other. They wrap their lifted leg around their partner’s waist or hip for support.

Sensual couple in underwear in bed

Splitting the Bamboo

Splitting the bamboo is named as such due to the spread position of the bottom partner’s legs. One partner lies down flat, leans slightly to one side, lifts their upper leg, and leans it on their partner’s shoulder, who kneels between the other’s legs. The leg that is not lifted remains straight out on the bed.

The Milk and Water Embrace

One partner sits on a chair and the other partner sits on their lap, facing away from them. Simple, but effective!

The Clasping Position

This one is a variation of the missionary position. One partner lies flat on their back, the other partner lies on top of them with their stomachs and hips aligned. The bottom partner usually thrusts, but you can both do it. This is a good Kama Sutra position for clitoral stimulation.

View of feet of couple having sex in bed

Queen of Heaven

For the Queen of Heaven, one partner lies on their back with legs bent or stretched upwards. The other partner kneels and faces them, positioning their thighs outside the bottom partner’s and leaning forward.

The Padlock

One partner sits on a stable surface, like a desk, and slightly leans back. The other partner leans in and grips the other’s pelvis, lifting it slightly. The seated partner wraps their legs around the standing partner and clasps their feet behind their back.

There you have it! Our favorite Kama Sutra positions for beginners as well as an overview of Kama Sutra’s sexy philosophy and how the practice is about more than it seems.

What is Kama Sutra? Something for you to start exploring tonight!