The KamaSutra history leads us back to the ancient India, between the 1st and 6th centuries (although the exact year of its writing still unknown). Considered by many specialists as the most important and influent book on the human sexuality, the Kama Sutra (which was actually written by Vatsyayana, a scholar on Indian traditions) is today commonly mistaken as a plain and simple compendium of sex positions, or a manual to the art of sex. Other than that, the KamaSutra is a real document of an important part of Indian customs and traditions, showing many thoughts and ideas that still fit in our today’s society values.
There are, indeed, descriptions and paintings of sex positions on the original Kama Sutra. The author Vatsyayana regarded lovemaking as being much more than physical encounter, but also an important spiritual act of love and learning, a “divine union” as the author refers on the book. He considered that there were only eight possible sex positions, multiplied by eight. The total amount of 64 sex positions being called “The 64 Arts”.
However, only about 20% of the KamaSutra was dedicated to sex positions, and the rest is in fact a compendium on insights about the relationships between men and women and in the ancient India’s social and religious life.
The Kama Sutra only reached the Eastern civilization in 1883, thanks to Sir Richard Burton, who wrote the first English translation for the book. Since then, other two key translations from the original KamaSutra in Sanskrit were made: one in 1970 by Indra Sinha and the most recent one by Wendy Doniger in 2002. However, we may find plenty of “unofficial” translations focusing only on the sex positions (and including several positions not listed on the original), specially on the internet. Most of these versions have little in common with the original Kama Sutra.