The Complete Kama Sutra Book Summary - The Complete Kama Sutra Book explained in key points
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The Complete Kama Sutra summary

Vātsyāyana

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.

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    The Complete Kama Sutra
    Summary of 7 key ideas

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    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.

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    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.

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    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:
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