Kama Sutra, the first text that gave women equality | Sunday Observer

Kama Sutra, the first text that gave women equality

5 December, 2021
Dr. Seema Anand
Dr. Seema Anand

We all know about Vatsyayana’s Kama Sutra although most of us didn’t read it. However, these days there is a somewhat viral video on Youtube where Seema Anand, a London based storyteller, mythologist, and doctor of Narrative Practices, is in conversation with a Youtuber, Ranveer Allahbadia, about myths on Kama Sutra.

The 13-minute 9 seconds video is in Ranveer’s official Youtube channel BeerBiceps and within six months it has garnered almost a million views which is huge in terms of classical conversations. Through the video, Dr. Seema Anand who recently launched a book titled ‘Arts of Seduction’, not only discusses our wrong notions on Kama Sutra, but also reveals issues of nowadays sexual practices, and romance secrets. As the facts of the conversation are so much valuable, we present its points to Youth readers.


Dr. Seema Anand embarks into the conversation correcting the fallacy that Kama Sutra is about sex. She says Kama Sutra is not about sex, but about pleasure:

“Sex is a very physical act that anybody can indulge in, whereas pleasure is something that only the human mind can understand and indulge in. Pleasure is a much longer lasting thing, it is extremely good for you, and it is something that takes you to a whole different height which is supposed to elevate you, make you reach certain heights that you can’t otherwise reach.”

She also explains the value of the physical intimacy between two lovers or husband and wife according to Kama Sutra:

“In ancient times, (people) believed that everything had to start from the point of physical intimacy. (For instance,) every time a king came to the throne, they would have a version of the Kama Sutra commissioned for their kingdom - there isn’t just one Kama Sutra, but thousands of it. Each time they had it commissioned, they believed that if the couple could share really good mutually pleasurable intimacy, that means the relationship would be stable.

If the relationship was stable, society would be stable. If the society was stable, the kingdom would be stable. They literally believed, back in that time, that success in any part of your life - whether you are worrier, whether you are an economist, whether you are a trader, whatever it is that you did - depended on your success in your physical intimate life. And eventually, if the aim is to reach God, all love has to first begin at the physical level before you can start to elevate it.”

Sexual energy

In ancient times, she states, people believed that the highest form of energy was the sexual energy. This energy, as she elaborates, has all the power to overcome the hardships in life:

“I mean you are a sports person. If you are out there running or doing a certain amount of exercise, it gets your metabolism going. Ancient people believed that when you had arousal, when you were in a state of pleasure and elevating pleasure, there were more ‘metabolism’ in your body than even when exercise, because every part of your body went into some form of activity - your heart rate, breathing and hormones were being secreted. Then, if you carry this pleasure to its final point, this is how you can create life - only God can create life. So, this was considered the highest form of energy, because it’s that powerful.”

Not for average readers

In her conversation, Dr. Anand tries to explain the profundity of Vatsyayana’s Kama Sutra very much. She says that the Kama Sutra is not written for average readers, but for serious readers. “It is a treatise like Arthashastra, Kamashastra, Natyashastra and Bhagvad Gita which were written almost in a scientific manner”, she reviews. According to her, all the sciences in those days were dedicated to God. So they were written in the form of hymns and poetry, and also in metaphors so that one had to read commentaries written for those books to read and understand what they say:

“If you go back to the Kama Sutra, the only thing that makes sense to the normal reader who doesn’t know what the metaphors mean is the little tiny chapter on positions. You understand what a position means. And that’s why most people come to understand that the Kama Sutra is just about positions. We don’t know what the positions are and we don’t know why they were talking about.”


She, next, elaborates a very important aspect of Kama Sutra which is about the language of the book.

“If you think about our sexual vocabulary, all the words that we have for our sexual organs are abusive words. But we go back in time. They talk about all these words with such utter beauty that even the vagina, for instance, is known as the Chandan Mehel, the clitoris is referred to as the Madan Chhatri, the Umbrella of the Love God, and so on. And, I think the words that you use also define your actions. The moment you stop thinking of that as dirty and bad and abusive, your mind already starts to change in the way that you approach something.”

This is a very fascinating insight into the sexual vocabulary because nowadays people, even the parliamentarians, got used to not just an abusive language, but also an abusive culture.

Dr. Anand also discusses the issue of sexual violence or abuse that we see in most places. She reiterates that Kama Sutra never permits any kind of violence.

“Kama Sutra constantly says that you cannot use any kind of violence or aggression. It is the first text that gives women a sort of equality, a platform of equality. And it gives women the right to consent. It says that it is up to the woman to decide if the pressure or the passion that is being used is too aggressive….. So it’s the first time that women are being given the right to consent.”

For men

She also opens the discussion on the difference of orgasm between man and woman. Man and woman, both have very different forms of pleasure. For a man, the pleasure is like a fire, while for a woman it is like water. Kama Sutra, she points out, presents how to go about sexual pleasure. According to her, Kama Sutra is made up of seven sections of which only one section deals with love making and foreplay. It says that conversation is the biggest thing in having a good sexual pleasure and through which both can get into the psyche of the partner. Here, she also describes the intended group of the book:

“The Kama Sutra is not about teaching women how to seduce men, it was actually written to teach men how to pleasure women, because during the three hundred and something eighty AD, women were not taught how to read or write, only the men were taught how to read or write. And hence, this book was written for men.”

Finally, she singles out another important aspect of the book:

“The patron deity of the Kama Sutra is not Kam Dev, not the God of love and desire, the patron deity of the Kama Sutra is Saraswati, the Goddess of music and learning. Because it says that you can be rich, you can be anything, but only when the man is culturally well versed - he is the most desirable lover of all.”

Vatsyayana keeps the Kama Sutra in a context of culturally advanced man or society which is why he is a very serious writer. Anyway, to showing us that seriousness with insightful facts about sexual relationship, we should thank not only to Dr. Seema Anand, but also to Ranveer Allahbadia who conducted the interview with her.