Tired of listening to the radio on the way to work? We could have just the thing for your audio pleasure…
If you’ve ever wondered how one is supposed to read the Kama Sutra and keep the book propped up while, um, referencing it… well, fret no more. A wily publisher in the UK, Beautiful Books, has addressed that very conundrum by releasing an audiobook of the 1600-year-old sex manual. On the audiobook, which was released last month, former EastEnders actress Tanya Franks instructs listeners on 64 different ways of doin’ the do.
“Now there’s no need to feel embarrassed by reading a copy of this wonderful and important book in public – simply download it on to your mp3 player and liven up your commute to work,” says Beautiful Books’ Simon Petherick. “Indeed, the possibilities are endless. Some may also consider using the audio book as a step-by-step manual for improving bedroom techniques, without the need to stop and start with constant reference to a book.”
As it stands, the five-and-a-half-hour audiobook sounds more like a poetic and philosophical paean than it does a ‘left-a-bit, up-a-bit’ manual.
“The various modes of enjoyment are not for all times nor all persons, but should be used in the proper countries, at the proper times and places,” states one passage. “When a woman sees her lover is fatigued by constant congress, without having his pleasures satisfied, she should with his permission lay him down on his back and give him assistance by acting out his part. She should do this to satisfy the curiosity of her lover, and also her own desire of novelty. There are two ways of doing this; during congress, she turns around and gets on top of her lover, so as to continue the congress without obstructing the pleasure of it. The other is when she acts out a man’s part from beginning. At such a time with flowers in her hair and her smiles broken by hard breathings, she should press upon her lover’s bosom with her own breasts.”
Another passage gets a bit more to the point: “The best case is when the man and woman achieve their sexual pleasure at the same time, because that is an equal coupling. But if it doesn’t happen, and the man reaches his climax first, his banner is no longer at full mast, and the woman does not reach her climax. Therefore, if the coupling is unequal rather than equal, the woman should be treated with kisses, embraces, and so forth, in such a way that she achieves her sexual pleasure first. When the woman reaches her climax first, the man, remaining inside her, puts on speed and reaches his own climax.”
Far from being just a sex manual, the Kama Sutra – written by Indian philosopher, Mallanaga Vatsyayana – is a book about the art of living; finding a partner, maintaining power in a marriage, living as or with a courtesan and using drugs. In many modern translations of the text, as well as practical sex advice, all aspects of sexual life have been covered including; marriage, adultery, prostitution, group sex, sadomasochism, male and female homosexuality, and transvestism. Is it any wonder the book has thrived down through the ages?
The last decade has seen the ancient text launch in a number of new guises; in 2003 a pop-up book was released, while The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Supercharged Kama Sutra came shortly afterwards. With the Irish market priced at around €500,000 a year, the sex manual industry is booming.
What’s more, a slew of new titles have appeared after the Kama Sutra and Alex Comfort’s The Joy of Sex. In these Sex and the City-saturated times, the ‘how-to’ guide has become hotter than ever. These new manuals reach out to a generation that know their cybersex from their cunnilingus, and pull no punches with no-nonsense and no-holds-barred instructions.
“The bestsellers in the genre are definitely Kama Sutra titles, with two books on that subject topping our yearly chart so far,” says Marie Dickenson, Head of Purchasing for Eason. “After that, authors Tracey Cox and Anne Hooper are the most popular. The Joy of Sex is always in our top 10 and there are definitely more female purchasers now, with Nancy Friday’s Women On Top placed at number seven in that area.”
Eithne Bacuzzi, sex therapist with the Marriage and Relationship Counselling Services (www.mrcs.ie), hints that the Irish may need more of a helping hand in this area than one might think.
“It’s astonishing how many Irish people don’t have an understanding of their own sexual functions,” she notes. “The lack of education in this area is huge. Men don’t understand the pace of arousal for women. It’s much slower than a man’s, and this creates difficulty.
“There’s a myth that this is a just generational thing, but in my experience it still applies to lots of people,” she adds. “For 30-34-year-olds there isn’t an openness about sex. In school some people were told it was a sin, and this sort of thing tends to stay with you.”
While these books continue to flourish, Eithne acknowledges that a sex manual will only really get a couple so far:
“There has to be a comfort level that you reach within yourself and your own body. That’s the fundamental thing. It’s great to have the factual information presented to you, but (sexual fulfilment) is more something that comes from within. Books can tell you what to do and what can happen… but after that, people really have to feel it for themselves.”
The Kama Sutra audio book is available to download from www.beautiful-books.co.uk for €10.80.