Applying Kama Sutra in the 21st century

You don’t have to try out every one of its acrobatic sex positions to explore the Kama Sutra. If you’ve read our previous article, Kama Sutra: A Guide To The Art of Pleasure, you will be familiar with the Cliff notes on the ancient text. But, as mentioned, in a modern, feminist, gender-fluid world it’s not without its limitations. So, how can we take the principles of a millennia-old text and apply them to 21st century living? 

  1. Pleasure is all around us.

The Kama Sutra is about deriving pleasure from all aspects of your life. There is joy to be found in all manner of things: understanding your emotions, self-love and development and cultivating loving relationships with friends and family, the arts, learning, and living honourably. Take a look at our previous articles for ideas on how we define and incorporate pleasure in our daily lives. 

  1. Sex is about pleasure first.

The Kama Sutra says sex should always be joyous for both parties. And so do we. It also focuses heavily on women's pleasure, and acknowledges that some people take longer to become aroused than others. Being patient and attentive to your partner’s pleasure leads to a mutually satisfying sexual experience for both parties. 

  1. There’s more to sex than penetration.

You don’t have to tell us twice! Plenty of non-penetrative activities are detailed in the Kama Sutra as potential sources of pleasure, some of which fall under only the most tenuous definition of foreplay. One suggestion, preempting Jack Dawson drawing Kate Winslet like one of his French girls by centuries, is that men draw their lovers prior to sex. On top of that, the Kama Sutra instructs men to ensure their partner has at least two orgasms before penetrating them. 

We never advocate for a prescriptive approach, but the golden rule that a receiving partner should be aroused prior to penetration is a good one to follow. Whether you’re sharing aphrodisiacs, playing in the shower, or using a vibrator, foreplay and outercourse are brilliant precursors - or alternatives - to penetration. 

It’s not all about back-breaking or physics-defying sex positions. In theory and in practice, the values in the Kama Sutra around pleasure, intimacy and joy are as relevant now as ever.

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