Kama Sutra

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Considered the “bible of sex” or the “book of love,” the Kama Sutra (also known as Kama Shastra) is one of three ancient texts written in the Sanskrit language that describe the permissible goals in life. It is devoted to the pursuit of karma. Kama is the Hindu God of love (also meaning desire) and Sutra means narrative or guide.

Historians believe that the Kama Sutra was written somewhere between 400 BC and 200 BC. According to tradition, the companion of Shiva, Nandi, who overheard the God making love to his wife Parvati was inspired to write the Kama Sutra.  In reality, the Kama Sutra is the work of Hindu philosopher, Vatsyayana, who is believed to have lived in the 3rd century.  His interest in human sexual behavior as a medium of attaining spirituality became the inspiration for his treatise- the Kama Sutra.

The Kama Sutra is widely known as a semi-pornographic work of erotica, however this is not the sole topic of its content. The acts of love and sexual congress are divided in eight different methods, each of which may be performed in one of eight different positions. Therefore, there are 64 different acts of love depicted within the Kama Sutra. Aside from sex, topics of heterosexuality and homosexuality are also addressed, as well as female satisfaction. These sections within the Kama Sutra are to help strengthen the bond between both partners.

Although, most people turn to the Kama Sutra for the various sex positions depicted, it also features sections on how to provide pleasure to your partner, how to attract a spouse, how to be a good spouse, and other self help topics. There is also a chapter on courtesans – how to make money, how to behave, and how to be a good mistress.

According to Indian philosophy, the Kama Sutra maintains the four main principles of life (known as purusharthas in Hindi). These four principles are:

Dharma – virtuous living
Artha – material prosperity
Kama: aesthetic and erotic pleasure
Moksha – liberation

“Dharma is better than Artha, and Artha is better than Kama. But Artha should always be first practised by the king for the livelihood of men is to be obtained from it only. Again, Kama being the occupation of public women, they should prefer it to the other two, and these are exceptions to the general rule.”—Kama Sutra

Of the first three philosophies, virtue is the highest goal, a secure life the second, and pleasure the least important. When motives conflict, the higher ideal is followed. Thus, when making money, virtue must not be compromised, but earning a living should take precedence over pleasure.  Furthermore, the Kama Sutra teaches its disciples that a person should learn how to make a living and that youth is the time for pleasure and as years pass, one should concentrate on living virtuously and hope to escape the cycle of rebirth.

In 1883, the Kama Sutra was translated to English by renowned orientalist and author Sir Richard Francis Burton and that is the version widely circulated today. In the introduction to her own translation, Wendy Doniger, professor of the history of religions at the University of Chicago, writes that Burton “managed to get a rough approximation of the text published in English in 1883, nasty bits and all.” The philologist and Sanskritist Professor Chlodwig Werba, of the Institute of Indology at the University of Vienna, regards the 1883 translation as being second only in accuracy to the academic German-Latin text published by Richard Schmidt in 1897.

Although many consider the Kama Sutra to simply be a manual of various sexual positions, at its core, it remains a book of living, about finding a partner, and maintaining power in marriage. It can also be considered a guide toward sexual fantasy and satisfaction.

Author: drmaxmccullen

When Max McCullen first read Alfred Kinsey’s landmark book, Sexual Behavior In the Human Male, he began contemplating why so little is known about human sexuality. Since its publication in 1948 that body of knowledge has grown marginally. Why do we think about sex all the time? How much does sex really influence our behavior? And why do we still know so little about it? He completed undergraduate studies at University of the Pacific and The University of London and then his research led him to the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco. IASHS was founded by Kinsey’s research assistant, Wardell Pomeroy. His initial curiosity soon evolved into a passion, which drove him to acquire his Doctorate of Education in Human Sexuality and Gender Studies. In 2004 Dr. Max began working for GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals (GSK), one of the largest pharmaceutical companies worldwide. This experience contributed to his understanding of medical treatments for male sexual dysfunction. He became familiar with how Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis function on a biological level and their social implications. His expertise naturally transitioned into him working with some of the most prestigious Urology offices in Southern California. These doctors and passionate medical personal, illustrated firsthand the impact treatment of male sexual dysfunction can have on patient care and their overall well being. This experience made him yearn for more direct contact with patients in a clinical setting. So after GSK he worked with Boston Medical Group (BMG), an international, clinic based organization, comprised of board certified Urologists and other specialties. BMG focuses on low libido, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and testosterone replacement therapy. With BMG, Dr. Max was not only their spokesperson doing radio interviews and lecturing but worked as the physician liaison connecting patients with doctors for treatment. He also worked as a consultant for University Specialty Urologicals, based in San Diego, meeting with Urologists all over the west coast to train them on various treatments for men and women's sexual health issues, including hormone replacement therapy. During this time he also hosted online webinars for patients with questions; he also has a written and video blog series and does private consultation for patients. Dr. Max McCullen brings a historical knowledge of the human sexuality field together with the reailties of living in a digital age. “The issues that confronted our elders in the 50’s and 60’s are different today - but no more impactful. Where they were learning about their sexuality and beginning to embark into the sexual revolution we are over exposed to the commodification of sex. This makes the navigation of sex and emotional intimacy difficult” Dr. Max McCullen

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