The Kama Sutra (Sanskrit: कामसूत्र About this sound pronunciation (help·info), Kāmasūtra) is an ancient Indian Hindu text written by Vātsyāyana. It is widely considered to be the standard work on human sexual behaviour in Sanskrit literature.
A portion of the work consists of practical advice on sexual intercourse. It is largely in prose, with many inserted anustubh poetry verses. "Kāma" which is one of the four goals of Hindu life, means desire including sexual desire, the latter being the subject of the textbook, and "sūtra" literally means a thread or line that holds things together, and more metaphorically refers to an aphorism (or line, rule, formula), or a collection of such aphorisms in the form of a manual.
Contrary to western popular perception, the Kama Sutra is not exclusively a sex manual; it presents itself as a guide to a virtuous and gracious living that discusses the nature of love, family life, and other aspects pertaining to pleasure-oriented faculties of human life. The Kama Sutra, in parts of the world, is presumed or depicted as a synonym for creative sexual positions; in reality, only 20% of the Kama Sutra is about sexual positions. The majority of the book, notes Jacob Levy, is about the philosophy and theory of love, what triggers desire, what sustains it, and how and when it is good or bad.
The Kama Sutra is the oldest and most notable of a group of texts known generically as Kama Shastra (Sanskrit: Kāma Śāstra).
Historians believe the Kama Sutra to have been composed between 400 BCE and 200 CE. John Keay says that the Kama Sutra is a compendium that was collected into its present form in the 2nd century CE.
1. Doniger, Wendy (2003). Kamasutra – Oxford World's Classics. Oxford University Press. p. i. ISBN 978-0-19-283982-4. The Kamasutra is the oldest extant Hindu textbook of erotic love. It was composed in Sanskrit, the literary language of ancient India, probably in North India and probably sometime in the third century
2. Coltrane, Scott (1998). Gender and families. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-8039-9036-4.
3. Common misconceptions about Kama Sutra. "The Kama Sutra is neither exclusively a sex manual nor, as also commonly used art, a sacred or religious work. It is certainly not a tantric text. In opening with a discussion of the three aims of ancient Hindu life – dharma, artha and kama – Vatsyayana's purpose is to set kama, or enjoyment of the senses, in context. Thus dharma or virtuous living is the highest aim, artha, the amassing of wealth is next, and kama is the least of three." —Indra Sinha.
4. Carroll, Janell (2009). Sexuality Now: Embracing Diversity. Cengage Learning. p. 7. ISBN 978-0-495-60274-3.
5. Devi, Chandi (2008). From Om to Orgasm: The Tantra Primer for Living in Bliss. AuthorHouse. p. 288. ISBN 978-1-4343-4960-6.
7. Alain Daniélou, The Complete Kama Sutra: The First Unabridged Modern Translation of the Classic Indian Text, ISBN 978-0892815258.
8. For Kama Sutra as the most notable of the kāma śhāstra literature see: Flood (1996), p. 65.
9. Sengupta, J. (2006). Refractions of Desire, Feminist Perspectives in the Novels of Toni Morrison, Michèle Roberts, and Anita Desai. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. p. 21. ISBN 9788126906291. Retrieved 7 December 2014.
10. John Keay (2010). India: A History: from the Earliest Civilisations to the Boom of the Twenty-first Century. Grove Press. pp. 81–103.