An art reprint of the book proves that it's not just about sex. You can also spice it up and practice it from a distance with the best remote control vibrator.
You also thought that the Kamasutra was only synonymous with more and more inventive sexual positions? A re-edition of the book makes it possible to see it very differently. The Kama Sutra of Vātsyāyana is not just about sex. Only up to "a seventh," according to publisher James Rose at The Idependent.
The Sanskrit word kama (one of the four goals of the Hindu way of life) means love and pleasure as much as sexual satisfaction. Much of the Kamasutra text also deals with the philosophy of love and family.
The book is described as a "user's manual for a holistic life" by the philosopher Watsyayana, its author. Written on palm leaves, the text was intended to instruct on the most virtuous way to live one's marriage. It was intended for an enlightened, healthy and (mainly) male audience.
For James Rose, the editor of this new version: "It's more than just sex. It's more about living a happy life, with all its pleasures. And, part of it is about sex, of course, but it's also about being married or mastering the sixty-four arts and sciences that you need to learn in order to live life to the fullest.
The range of skills to be learned is vast: how to control your inner demons, how to make money, how to hold and caress a penis in your mouth and, the extremely useful, how to teach your parrot to talk after breakfast. "That's just the list of the craziest things you need to do," Folio Society marketing manager Christine Grant told The Independent.
While the text was originally written for men, it also focuses on female pleasure: "The book explains very carefully how a man should make his wife happy: how to approach her, how to be gentle with her, how to satisfy her sexual needs and desires. It's incredibly detailed and very relevant today," says Christine Grant.
A brief history of the Kamasutra
The edition is based on the first translation of 1883 by the Indian scholar Bhagwan Lal Indraji, revised and corrected by explorer Sir Richard Burton and civil servant Forster Fitzgerald Arbuthnot in a story almost as interesting as the book itself.
The two men directing the translation were fascinated by both women and the overall perception of sex. They felt that Victorian marriages did not work and that the text could help achieve greater harmony within the couple.
For Arbuthnot, if men made better love to their wives, the whole population would benefit. He said he understood "the feelings of a woman indignant at the harsh exercise of the 'rights of the husband', whether the master either swoops down on his prey like a vulture or just sins by his ignorance... Either he's a cruel brute or a stupid creature".
The anonymous publication of the book led to its discovery in the West. In spite of the shock and the censorship following the publication, the Kamasutra was quickly translated into French, then republished in India.