You can have all the intellectual talk you want but have you ever discussed sex or conversed openly about it? OH NO? Tell you what; it is the need of the era to educate yourself about sex and NORMALISE TALKING ABOUT IT! While in conversation with Seema Anand, she explains what Kamasutra is really about
Words by: Amisha Shirgave
We live in the 21st century. Yeah, I had to reassure it because despite the fact that our country has evolved through centuries, unfortunately, having or talking about sex is equivalent to a crime. I mean unless you are married (You still don’t talk about it). And I don’t blame anyone because it is their upbringing that has made them believe it but what I can blame one for is not educating themselves enough about it and changing the scenarios because c’mon, why not be the change you want to see? Knowing that Kamasutra has its origin in ancient India, people still don’t want to know what it actually is about and just go on blabbing about how it is a sex book that describes different positions.
Well, Seema Anand, mythologist, storyteller, and author of ‘Arts of Seduction’ has cleared it all for us. She is a Kamasutra expert and I cannot think of someone who has such deep knowledge and understanding about this and the way she talks about it is a bliss to one’s ear. Only if magazine pages could talk. While in conversation with her, she gives answers to all the questions and clears myths about Kamasutra.
It is a popular belief that Kamasutra inflamed passions and spread immorality in ancient times but a deep dive into these books suggest that the books were written to create a better social and moral structure, especially for women. According to Seema, we have a wrong idea of Kamasutra and that is why people think it inflames passions or spreads immorality. People aren’t ready to change their perspective of looking at certain beliefs. Seema explains that in ancient times people said there are three pillars to life - Dharma, Artha, Kaam and it was believed that if one lives a life with all these pillars, it leads to perfect life and they will attain moksha. Kamasutra isn’t really about inflaming passions or immorality; it literally taught society about leading a good life. Seema says the reason Kamasutra inspires her is because the book is originally to teach men how to socially live the right way, to teach men the social conduct. The really interesting part according to Seema is the second section of the book which is about the love arts because this is where she finds the change in narrative in how they approached women, in what they thought about a woman and the way she deserves to be treated. The fact that the book mentions the rights of women to have pleasure itself describes the change in narrative.
As mentioned earlier, The kama sutra is not completely about sex but is misunderstood for one. It teaches a way of life. The 64 Kalas (skills) are also a part of the scripture and the one who has mastery over all the kalas will attain enlightenment. It is all written in the scripture and we’re not sure if it is relevant today. Seema says that basically, the text in the Kamasutra says that one is supposed to learn the 64 skills and that would make one a more desirable lover, not a better lover but a desirable lover. A desirable lover is someone you’d want to be with; somebody that you’d have as a partner and the idea behind these skills is that pleasure comes from so many things. Pleasure is not only attained from having sex. Pleasure comes from music, it comes from dance, and it comes from looking at flowers etc. so the 64 skills encompass all these teachings or the basics as Seema would like to say. The real idea here is that it shouldn’t be about changing partners for experiencing pleasure, it is about building a relationship with that one person you love and seeking pleasures that life has to offer you. As a matter of fact Seema told us that there was an 11th century comment on the Kamasutra written by a Buddhist monk called padmashri, it’s called nagarsarwaswam and in that he has translated Vatsyayan muni (author of kama sutra book) in the introduction and he says, anybody who becomes too perfect is also boring and they leave the other person with a sense of huge insecurity. So, one shouldn’t try to be too perfect. The way he looks at the psychology of desire and the psychology of pleasure is very modern. The Kamasutra gives you practical reasons for wanting to practice these skills and live a good life. And as far as the relevance today is concerned, having an interesting and diverse personality is very much important in today’s times, says Seema.
Being a woman who has just entered her 20’s, I’ve had many queries and raging questions about the stupid beliefs and traditions the society has decided for women in India. The purity of a woman according to the majority of people in India is considered to be intact until she is a celibate and only the man she gets married to has ‘rights’ over it. It has always angered me as to how normal it is to just decide about a woman’s character based upon if she has had sex or not and how talking about it isn’t a part of Indian culture and ‘Sanskar’. It led me to thinking that is that all a woman is to the society? Does she get an official approval to have sex only after she is married? Seema says that it is an individual’s decision to decide whether to be a celibate or not. Also, it is so unfortunate that marriage is seen not only as permission to have sex but it becomes a woman’s duty. So a girl is told that sex is bad thing for her entire life till she gets married. The moment she gets married, despite her likings for the man and his personality, she is suddenly told that it is now okay and is given an official permission to have sex. She is told that it is her duty to make sure that her husband is satisfied with her and gets pleasure. Nobody ever talks about the woman’s pleasure or at least tell her that sex is a good experience and she should equally enjoy it. Sadly it is not even considered as a thing. Women are taught that her pleasure lies in the pleasure of her partner and if he’s happy, she should be satisfied with it too. This is where the teaching goes wrong, says Seema. That parent-child conversation especially when children enter teenage is of utmost importance. Though majority of parents don’t come from a background where it is okay to discuss changes in your body or talk about sex, they need to try and adapt the change for their own kid. Nothing matters more than being there for your child when they need you the most.
Seema is also a storyteller by profession and no wonder she is so good at having conversations. Trust me when I say this, it was a complete bliss to listen to her during this conversation. There’s beauty in the way she expresses every word and everything really becomes so easy to understand. Her storytelling ability is a gift so I couldn’t resist but ask her secret behind it. She explained that Storytelling is a form of art and that she is a trained storyteller. She says that stories are very powerful. We learn and understand more through stories than we learn from any philosophical sentence. Life as a whole is a story so if one desires to learn the skill, they need to have patience and dedication towards it, says Seema. If word limit wasn’t a thing, I would have written half the magazine about our conversation over this. But our readers can definitely read more about it on our Instagram page where we also might soon interact with Seema.