The 8 Best Kama Sutra Books
This wiki has been updated 28 times since it was first published in February of 2018. If you want to add a bit of variety in the bedroom, our selection of Kama Sutra books offers something for every taste, whether you are a little shy and looking for some encouragement to come out of your shell, or are an experienced enthusiast searching for the most adventurous positions. There's even an unabridged version for academic types who want to study the entire text. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
August 14, 2020:
While there aren't new, good quality books published about the Kama Sutra every year, we did widen the scope of our selections to include a few more modern perspectives on the ancient text.
Focusing solely on the physicality of the practice, the Kama Sutra Workout combines fitness with sexuality. While everyone knows that lovemaking can burn a few calories, this book actually identifies the muscle groups being worked and even rates each position by how well it raises your heart rate and improves your flexibility.
At the opposite end of the spectrum we also added The Seven Spritual Laws of Love. Noted guru Deepak Chopra weaves his signature advice on modern spirituality with the timeless relationship advice of the classic. From a cultural perspective it's also refreshing to have this update written by an Indian author.
April 24, 2019:
While a lot of people think the Kama Sutra is just a picture book of complicated sex positions, the reality is that the original illustrations are considered works of art and there is a lot of text involved, including advice and philosophy about intimacy and love, in addition to the creative love-making. To create a helpful list we included choices for those interested in the scholarly origins of the practice, plus more modern interpretations for those people just looking for sexual inspiration.
The “Complete Illustrated Kama Sutra” is ranked first for all 64 of the famous postures the 269 artistic images from art collections around the world, making for an erotic and educational experience. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the racier “A Position A Day” rounds out the list for those uninterested in history and would rather just learn new positions.
What is the Kama Sutra Anyway?
It's not so easy to disentangle the sex and philosophy, though.
The Kama Sutra is less a book and more a collection of manuscripts from a variety of authors, all compiled by an Indian monk named Vātsyāyana around the 2nd century C.E. The most famous portion involves advice on having sex, but it also contains philosophical meditations, moral guidance, and discussions on the nature of love — but people are mostly interested in the sex.
It's not so easy to disentangle the sex and philosophy, though. The text focuses on improving lovemaking by deepening the connection between partners, as well as comporting yourself in a virtuous way in all of your relationships (although the book has some interesting ideas on how to live virtuously).
Besides, some scholars believe that the sexual techniques described inside are merely fantasies. That hasn't stopped people from trying (and enjoying) them, however.
It's designed for both sexes as well. There are sections on how to be a proper wife, as well as how to find a proper wife of your own. Even better, there are guides on how to seduce other men's wives, and how to move on to courtesans once you're bored with all the ladies in the neighborhood.
While this might not be the most righteous way to live your life, one of the more progressive aspects of the text is how it values the pleasure of men and women equally. Unfortunately, it seems to condone men mistreating women, sexually speaking.
Then there's the practice of the dark arts.
One of the sections deals with love sorcery, such as recipes for potions and powders that will enable jilted wives to woo their husbands back, or even subdue sexual partners. If that sounds creepy, it's because it is. There are recipes for aphrodisiacs as well.
While much of the philosophy is outdated, and some of it is downright offensive, the book has remained popular for centuries. That's because sex sells, of course — and sex that could potentially injure you severely sells like hotcakes, apparently.
Picking the Right Kama Sutra Book
The Kama Sutra is one of those things that everyone has heard of, but relatively few people have studied. As a result, many people have misguided notions about what to expect.
Also, it's important to know that many of the books and guides you'll encounter are about the Kama Sutra — they're not copies of the actual text itself. And that's good, because the real thing is incredibly dry and boring.
This is supposed to be fun, after all, so don't push yourself to do something you don't enjoy.
Some texts get pretty advanced, so it's important to find one that matches your comfort level. If this is your first time branching out into something like this, skim through it and see if you can actually do any of the positions inside. After all, nothing cuts a romantic evening short quite like a pulled hamstring.
You'll see a wide variety of explicitness in the instruction as well. If you don't want to see actual nude models contorting themselves in incredible ways, you can find books that have tame illustrations, or even just descriptions. Of course, if you want the nude model photos, those are available too (just tell people you're reading it for the articles).
Speaking of which, take a second to think about what would happen if someone else came across the book. Some have covers that make them look like respectable tomes, while others...well, let's just say others look a little more exciting than your basic anatomy book. If you don't want to have to explain to guests (or worse, your kids) what you're reading, it might be worth it to find one with a demure cover.
Ultimately, finding something you're comfortable with is all that matters. This is supposed to be fun, after all, so don't push yourself to do something you don't enjoy. Just get a book that will allow you and your partner to explore your bodies in a way that's mutually fulfilling.
Oh, and you need to practice to get good at it. You need to practice a lot.
Does This Stuff Really Work?
The Kama Sutra has been built up in popular culture as this incredibly powerful book, like it's a sexual sorcerer's manual or something. But does it really work? Can it really take you and your partner to previously-unimaginable heights of ecstasy?
The answer, as you might have already been expecting, is, "It depends."
It's impossible to say how one couple will respond versus another, as well as how much time and effort you're willing to dedicate to it.
Keep in mind that people have different goals when it comes to having sex.
Also — and this is important to keep in mind — you can never be totally sure whether other people are telling the truth about their lovemaking. So, if you feel like you're not entering a new plane of existence every time you make love while your friends swear that they're seeing God, don't put pressure on yourself. They may not be telling you the truth.
Keep in mind that people have different goals when it comes to having sex. If you're the adventurous type, you might enjoy constantly pushing the envelope in terms of position and technique. If, however, you mainly make love to feel connection, you may find it difficult to do so while you're facing in different directions with your legs over your head. You may also resent having to learn yoga just to be able to have sex.
Still, it's always fun to try new things, so you should at least give it a chance, even if nothing catches your eye. If you find you don't like it, no harm done. If, however, you love it, then you'll have opened up a whole new world of intimacy.
Just take some time to figure out how you injured yourself to the nurse at the ER.