What's so funny about the Kama Sutra?

Posted at 12:03 PM Nov 20, 2008

By Bonnie Ruberg

This makes me giggle and I can't figure out why. Today on my doorstep arrived Kama Sutra in a Box, a pink and black novelty set of sex position cards and a how-to book from DaCapo Press. Instead of being thrilled to see a naughty review copy first thing in the morning (which trust me, normally I would be) I just shook my head and laughed. Another Kama Sutra book? How silly.

I opened the box set wondering: well, why is it silly? Because this is sex advice for the mainstream public (which is normally so unsexy)? Because it's trying to be transgressive but actually it's all vanilla, hetero, romantic nonsense? Maybe because the softcore porn photos that illustrate the book and cards are clearly an excuse to show off hot, naked people in the name of sex education? No, I realized once I'd given things a harder look. Kama Sutra in a Box is silly just because. Take these suggested positions for example:

- "Sesamum Seed with Rice," in which a man lies on his side behind a woman (and no actual food is involved!). "This gentle and universally favored position... is a perfectly natural one in which to then fall asleep." No clean up? Sorry, Kama Sutra, but post-sex pass-outs are a thing of the movies.

- "The Pair of Thongs," in which a woman sits on a man's lap, facing away. The card says this one puts the woman in full control, since she can "bounce up and down at her own pace and rhythm." Bounce? Really? For a book that's all about cheesy, sensual pleasure, that seems a bit porn star.

We won't even get into "The Hanging Bow," which requires a woman to bend over backwards and support her body weight with her arms while her partner penetrates her upside down. Then there's the chart on genital size, which informs readers that all people fit into one of three categories: "hare," "bull," and "horse" for men, "deer," "mare," and "elephant," for the ladies. Thanks, Kama Sutra in a Box, now not only am I giggling, I'm also vaguely traumatized by the idea of an elephant vagina.

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