Convenient for Valentine's Day and the timeless cycle of human sexuality, there's a new translation of the Kama Sutra. The classic "sophisticated guide to living well" ($10) comes as a matte paperback featuring artily entwined couples spelling out the book's name. Here are a few selections, if you're interested.
The following women are proscribed for sexual relations: a leper, a lunatic, a fallen woman, a betrayer of secrets, one who solicits openly, one past her prime, one too fair or too dark, a malodorous woman, a relative, a colleague, a nun, and the wives of relatives, friends, priests and kings.
The Courtesan's Clients to Avoid
The clients to be avoided are as follows. Someone with the wasting sickness, with worms in his stool and breath which smells of crows. Someone in love with his spouse. One who is coarse in speech, mean, pitiliess, disowned by his elders, and a thief. A man duplicitous, addicted to black magic. One who is uncaring of honour or dishonour, who can be bought even by his enemies and who is completely shameless.
Embracing/the Theory of Sixty-Four
It is said that sexual union has sixty-four elements ... The followers of Babhravya hold that the number derives from eight times eight. Sexual union has eight parts: embracing, kissing, scratching, biting, coition, moaning, reversing roles and oral sex, and each of these has eight varieties. But these can also be more or less than eight. Besides this, there are other parts like hitting, screaming, the male approach and unusual sex.
Types of Scratch
... Curved marks made with the nails on the neck and the upper part of the breast are called the 'half-moon'. Two of these made face-to-face form the 'circle'. These are applied to the pudendum, the declivities of the bottom, and where the thighs meet the torso.
When she gazes at the sleeping man's mouth and kisses it on her own, it is called the kiss that kindles passion.
Kinds of Union, by Size
In keeping with the size of their sex organs, from the small to the middling and the large, men are typed as the hare, the bull and the horse; and women as the doe, the mare and the elephant woman. Thus there are three equal unions in sex, where the partners are of the same size. On the other hand, there are six unequal unions. Two of these, where the man is larger than the two women next in size, are known as 'the high'; and another, where he is larger still, as 'the highest'. On the other hand, there are two unions called 'the low', and another, of the smallest man with the largest woman, called 'the lowest'. Of all these unions, the equal ones are the best and the highest and the lowest the least good. The rest are middling unions, though in them too it is better for the man to be larger than the woman, rather than the other way round. In sum, there are nine types of union according to size.
The Maiden / Girls to Avoid
Neither should one marry
women with despised names
of constellations, rivers, trees,
or ones which end in syllables beginning
with the letters 'l' and 'r'.
Making Oneself Attractive
What makes one attractive are appearance, quality, age and liberality. A paste of rosebay, wild ginger and plum leaves can make one seductive. So can a salve for the eyes made by grinding these same herbs, putting the powder on a wick and burning it with myrobalan oil in a human skull. ... Licking a paste of honey and ghee mixed with a powder of dried red and blue lotus and rose chestnut makes a person attractive. ... The eye of a peacock or a hyena, put inside a locket of gold and worn on the right hand, also renders one attractive.
Bewitching a Woman
Sex with a woman when the penis is smeared with honey mixed with a powder of thorn apple, black pepper and long pepper will bewitch her into one's power. Using a powder made of wind-blown leaves, flowers left on a corpse and peacock bones has the same effect. ... Cut bulbs of milkwort into pieces, dip them in a mixture of crushed red arsenic and sulphur, dry seven times, then powder them. ... The same powder, when mixed with monkey shit and sprinkled over a virgin girl, ensures that she is not given to another man.
Enlarging the Penis
Place the bristles of certain insects which are born from trees on the penis and massage it with oil. Done for ten nights and then repeated, this will make the penis swell. Then lie face downward on a string cot and let the penis hang down through it. This process should be concluded gradually relieving any pain with cold salves. The swelling lasts for life.
A.N.D. Haksar's translation of the Kama Sutra is available now.