Monday, December 12, 2011

Sex Manuals of the Past, Part 1

This is part one of three about three of the more popular sex manuals from the past.

For as long as humans have been been on this earth, we have engaged in sex. Sex is a necessity for our existence, and since we as human beings have been on this earth for thousands of years, we can assume that we have been having sex as far back as the first human walked the earth. While we know that we have been having sex, the practices of sex have changed much over time. I have been fascinated with those practices, but more specifically why those sexual practices came to be and within that how those practices of the past have shaped those of today. I hope that withing this paper I can offer some explanations of those practices as well as give some light as to the history of the sexual practices of present day.

Unfortunately, today only some of the texts and documentation have survived for us to study. While much has been done to restore some of those old texts, they have been translated from and into many languages, we still can only guess at some of the practices from before human civilization first started to form around the middle east. We can, from research done into artifacts, drawings, and remnants of our very early existence draw conclusions as to what we as humans did in the dark of night. Reay Tannahill discusses this in his book “Sex in History”(1980) neanderthal humans had some preliminary “rules” for sex. From the first taboo of incest, which came about after small tribes of neanderthals started to gather into clans for hunting purposes, then bringing about gatherings that out of which came multi-tribe pairings. That even at this early stage of existence, without the knowledge of DNA and the problems that can come from inbreeding, that we knew that we had to pair with those outside of our own family. This instinctual knowledge followed us into the first civilizations. It is known from what we have been able to ascertain that sex was used as a show of dominance within a tribe or clan. While dominance still remains within the sexual arts throughout time, at the beginning of the human race it is believed that it was much more prevalent then at any other time in our history. It is after this time that we start to see the documentation of sex and relationships in the writings of the first civilizations.

While there were some texts about sex with early Egyptians, Greeks, and Rome, they were all mere mentions as opposed to full information within one volume. They did document some of the practices of those times, and made some strives in both sexual freedoms, explorations, and thoughts. This is not to lower the stature of the sexual exploration of those times, but there was not definitive text as of yet in those civilizations. These early civilizations did influence that later full texts that were to emerge in the next stage in the evaluation of human kind.

Of the few texts that still remain today about sexual practices, the most commonly known is the Kama Sutra. It should be noted that while the Kama Sutra is a text about sex, relationships, and courting, it is only one of three volumes (Dharma for moral values, Artha for material goods or wealth, and Kama for erotic practices) that were intended to be read as a whole. It was though in those texts that the collection as a whole were the best practices to become a better person. While lots of people will focus on the just the Kama Sutra, more commonly it is just the sexual positions within the Kama Sutra that are publicized. The Kama Sutra was much more then just a collection of positions, it goes into great depth of how to prepare your body to perform at its best during sexual activities. From the suggestions that women should learn a fighting art form to learn control, balance, and conditioning. It also suggests that men should learn to sing, not only to help in courtship but also to learn breath control and increase stamina.

The Kama Sutra also goes into great depth as to how to relationships. From the proper ways of the time to contact a woman to the ways to interact with a married women that you wish to proposition for sex. These relationship interactions were taken vary seriously by all of the time. The relationship, as per the Kama Sutra, also spelled out what could be expected within that relationship. Discussing the duties of both parties in and out of the bedroom. This lead to much less misunderstandings between lovers, whom would have know what was expected of them as well as what they could expect from their partner. I find this to be a very enlightened idea that many people today could take a page from, so to speak, by removing the possibilities of misunderstandings by having expectations laid out before hand.

The Kama Sutra also talks about how to increase ones sex drive in many forms. From changing the location of your sexual activities, to the first use of incense, objects, or even media in the form of statues and paintings to increase the sexual desire of both parties. It discusses what scents bring forth sexual desire, and even what scents bring out what type of sexual desire from peaceful to aggressive. It talks about the use of phallic shaped objects being used to help in pleasure for both men and women. It even says of materials these objects should be made. This could be taken as the first use of porn as a way to increase sexual desire. It also makes a mention of learning your partners sexual desires, or what turns them on in modern terms, which could also be taken as one of the earliest documentation of fetishes. From research we know that while in present day, the Kama Sutra might be one of the most popular of the ancient texts about sex, it is not the earliest.

Keep it kinky!


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