The Politically Correct Kama Sutra

A how-to guide to intimacy for concerned progressives everywhere


| November-December 1996



kama-sutra

Image by Flickr user: justanotherpumpkin

The Kama Sutra is justly famed as the most ancient and greatest of treatises on the art of love—but anyone who opens it can see right away that it originated in a culture whose values are radically different from our own. Many of its recommendations, no matter how sensuous and exciting they may seem, enshrine sexism, ageism, abilitism, and looksism. As more and more people find a place for Eastern wisdom in their daily lives, the need for a Kama Sutra that is in line with a postpatriarchal, postcolonial, postgender, and perhaps even postcoital world has become painfully apparent. These excerpts represent a modest beginning, and I am happy to dedicate them to sexually concerned progressives everywhere. 

The Kindling of Love
When the lover first meets a new beloved—an earthly goddess with half-moon brows and eyes that glitter like twin daystars; whose divinely formed body swells with the fullness of the tamarind in season; or a second Prince Arjuna whose manly frame seems carved from jade; whose thighs are as strong and supple as carob trees and whose lingam puts the boa constrictor to shame—the lover should ask himself or herself, Is this really a nice person? Does he or she have a good sense of humor? Are our values compatible? What part does body image play in my sexual choices?

If the lover is satisfied on these scores, she or he may then inflame the beloved with honeyed words:

“I’d like to have you help me with my shame.”

“You know, I think a really complicated sexual position would help us with our trust issues.”

“You’re very empathetic for a Brahmin.”