Sunday, March 14, 2010

Open Forum: Does the Kama Sutra Address Asexual Orientation?

The Kama Sutra an ancient Hindu text considered to be a manual on sexual behavior has long been studied and revered for its breakthroughs in the field of human sexuality. Upon closer examination it appears that there are sections that speak to what we quite possibly today call asexuality or grey-a that may have been ignored by readers with a sexual perspective.

The Kama Sutra recognizes that just as sexuality falls along a spectrum and some are gay, bi, or straight, that sexual desire falls along a spectrum as well. There are nine kinds of unions described based on the level of sexual desire of an individual.

There are those labeled "small", "middling", or "intense" to describe their level of sexual desire and interest.

"A man is called a man of small passion whose desire at the time of sexual union is not great, whose semen is scanty, and who cannot bear the warm embraces of the female.

Those who differ from this temperament are called men of middling passion, while those of intense passion are full of desire"
(Sacred Texts).
The text then goes on to discuss the length of time a person sustains themselves sexually indicating that the verses above are not about the length of the sexual act but merely the desire and intensity of the behavior.

All people who are sexually involved find that there are times they are more desiring of sex than others. Is the Kama Sutra referring only to periods of time that people are not as sexually inclined, or may the authors have been speaking to those who are to some degree asexual, or quite possibly both?

2 comments:

Shawn Landis, Philadelphia Asexual Examiner said...

English translations are inexact, but this translation does not seem to speak to asexuality specifically and it could be talking about a person with infertility problems, a gay man or just someone with a low libido.

The passage quoted does not assume a person can haveno desire for sex.

Nancy Green said...

There are chapters of the Kama Sutra that advise prostitutes how to retire rich. Politicians should study it--

http://kmareka.com/2008/03/15/advice-to-prostitutes-from-the-kama-sutra/

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