The Complete Kama Sutra Book Summary - The Complete Kama Sutra Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

The Complete Kama Sutra summary


The First Unabridged Modern Translation of the Classic Indian Text

3.8 (135 ratings)
21 mins

Brief summary

"The Complete Kama Sutra" by Vatsyayana is an ancient Indian text that provides insights on human relationships, sexuality, and pleasure. It explores the art of lovemaking, eroticism, and sensual gratification through a cultural lens.

Table of Contents

    The Complete Kama Sutra
    Summary of 7 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 7

    The Kama Sutra isn’t just a sex manual – it’s an ancient Indian guide to a sensually fulfilling life.

    Many things have changed throughout history, but plenty have stayed the same.

    India in the fourth century may seem unimaginably remote, but one book that originated there is still treasured around the world today – or at least, it’s known. Maybe the best word would be “notorious.”

    The Kama Sutra has an illicit reputation, and it’s not undeserved. It contains many passages about sex that are graphic, detailed, and even shocking. But, as startling as some of these passages are, we shouldn’t let the subject of sex shock us. Sex always has been, and will always be, a part of our lives. As the Kama Sutra reminds us, the survival of our species depends on it.

    And besides, as you’ll soon learn, the Kama Sutra is about much more than sex.

    The key message here is: The Kama Sutra isn’t just a sex manual – it’s an ancient Indian guide to a sensually fulfilling life.

    It’s difficult to be certain about the Kama Sutra’s precise history and origins. It’s most commonly attributed to Vātsyāyana, who probably lived around the fourth century CE or earlier. He didn’t author the book entirely, but rather compiled it from more ancient sources.

    The first English translation was published in the 1880s, in a heavily edited form that nonetheless became infamous. Daniélou’s complete translation, published in 1994, is closer to the original – although it too has been criticized for inaccuracy. It’s his edition that we’re drawing on in these blinks.

    Daniélou includes two commentaries written long after Vātsyāyana’s time. The first is known as the Jayamangala, credited to a scholar called Yashodhara who lived around the twelfth century. And the second is a twentieth-century commentary by Devadatta Shastri that helps to explain the continuing relevance of the text.

    The book and its commentaries together don’t just describe sex; they paint a vivid and often beautiful picture of a sensual and erotically rich life in ancient India.

    Inevitably, however, not every aspect of the Kama Sutra rings true today. Long passages on courtesans, go-betweens, and harems are hard to relate to, and practices like marking your partner with bites and scratches have different connotations today.

    So what we’ll share with you here is just a taste of this fascinating ancient tome – enough, let’s say, to whet the appetite.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The Complete Kama Sutra?

    Key ideas in The Complete Kama Sutra

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The Complete Kama Sutra about?

    The Complete Kama Sutra (1994) is a translation of the classic Indian text, which was compiled in the fourth century. It’s an enduring guide to the pleasures of love and sex.

    The Complete Kama Sutra Review

    The Complete Kama Sutra by Vātsyāyana (3rd century BCE) is a comprehensive guide to love, desire, and pleasure that has fascinated readers for centuries. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Rich in ancient wisdom and teachings, it offers a unique insight into the art of love, encompassing various aspects of human relationships.
    • With its explicit and detailed instructions, it provides practical guidance on how to enhance intimacy and explore new dimensions of sexual pleasure.
    • Through its exploration of different sexual positions and techniques, it challenges societal norms and prompts a more open-minded and liberated approach to love and sexuality.

    Who should read The Complete Kama Sutra?

    • History buffs fascinated by ancient cultures
    • Lovers looking for wisdom and advice
    • People enthralled by erotica

    About the Author

    Vātsyāyana was a religious scholar who lived no later than the fourth century CE. He compiled the Kama Sutra in part from even older sources. The translator, Alain Daniélou (1907–94), was a French scholar and musician who spent many years in India and wrote numerous books on Indian religion, history, and philosophy.

    Categories with The Complete Kama Sutra

    Book summaries like The Complete Kama Sutra

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    The Complete Kama Sutra FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Complete Kama Sutra?

    The main message of The Complete Kama Sutra is to explore the art of love and intimacy in its various forms.

    How long does it take to read The Complete Kama Sutra?

    Reading The Complete Kama Sutra can take several hours. The Blinkist summary takes only a few minutes.

    Is The Complete Kama Sutra a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Complete Kama Sutra is worth reading for its insightful exploration of human desire and passion.

    Who is the author of The Complete Kama Sutra?

    The author of The Complete Kama Sutra is Vātsyāyana.

    What to read after The Complete Kama Sutra?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Complete Kama Sutra, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Why I Am a Hindu by Shashi Tharoor
    • Urban Tantra by Barbara Carrellas
    • Vagina by Lynn Enright
    • Come Together by Emily Nagoski
    • Slow Sex by Diana Richardson
    • The Vagina Bible by Jennifer Gunter
    • Smart Sex by Emily Morse
    • The Science of Kissing by Sheril Kirshenbaum
    • Magnificent Sex by Peggy J. Kleinplatz and A. Dana Ménard
    • Hello Sleep by Jade Wu