Six reasons why you should take a second look at the Kama Sutra Manual

By Ian Kerner, Ph.D., LMFT

Not enjoying sex as much as you feel you should? It could be that you haven't yet discovered the best position (or positions) for providing the both of you with maximum pleasure. While the missionary position is nice, there is a world of alternative bodily arrangements out there. For some of the best, I suggest turning to the Kama Sutra.

The Kama Sutra is an ancient Hindu love manual. It was once considered valuable for its psychological insights on love and relationships, though most people today know it primarily as a how-to text on sexual behavior. In reality, only one section of the book, out of seven, focuses on sexual intercourse. Still, it's a valuable section (especially for our purposes) and it's where you should turn when considering alternative sexual positions.

The best way to go about this is to flip through your new book together and bookmark the positions you find most intriguing. It's all about personal preference, but one of my faves is a variation of the missionary position, in which the man rocks his body in order to assist the woman in bringing her legs pressed together within his. Let's take a look at our handy guide below to find a position or sex tactic that best fits your desires.

1. Want eye contact? Another one that's great requires the man to sit in a chair with his legs relaxed. The woman, facing him, straddles him, her feet on the floor. This one is great because it offers a maximum of upper body, and eye, contact.

2. Don't want to leave your bed? Another beneath-the-sheets position has the man spooning the woman from behind. These are some of the easiest Kama Sutra positions. Some positions may require more practice, but the effort will be well worth it.

3. Want a deeper connection? Tantra is a religious philosophy in which practitioners seek to harness the divine power that flows through the universe (including their bodies) in order to attain their goals. Most novices associate the word "Tantra" with the practice of tantric sex (though this is only one small aspect of the overarching philosophy). Tantric sex refers to sexual intercourse that is utilized as a form of meditation. Couples can use it to become more attuned to each other and experience longer, more intense and more satisfying sexual sessions. Before throwing yourselves fully into tantric sex, it might help to prepare with some tantric yoga. Exercises like yoga have been shown to help those suffering from sexual dysfunction and can also improve flexibility.

4. Yoga fanatic? Those who practice Tantra recommend Kundalini yoga in particular, because it's been shown to have tantric benefits, especially if you perform the poses with a partner. How can Kundalini yoga improve your sex life? For one thing, it can increase your levels of sexual energy by relieving your stress and relaxing your body. Stress is a well-known libido killer,and exercises that relieve both physical and mental tension can enhance your ability to enjoy sex. In addition, it is a yoga of awareness and your ability to sense and understand your partner's sexual needs will improve with practice. Finally, it helps to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which will be important later on when you're attempting to delay your orgasm.

5. Stock up on candles. Set the mood by lowering the lights, lighting candles and perhaps even playing some soft music. Enjoy an activity together that allows you to relax, and do it in the nude. Shower together, or give each other massages, or even share a glass of wine and chat. Then, settle down and attempt to harmonize your breathing. Sit across from each other and gaze into each other's eyes, and try to match your breathing to your partner's. Do this for five or ten minutes.

6. Get in touch with your partner: Next, experiment with touch, caressing each other's bodies and discussing what feels good. As you naturally transition into foreplay, maintain eye contact, and continue to harmonize your breathing. Keep it slow, and concentrate on giving your partner pleasure. Move into slow, sensual sex, using mindfulness and the exercising of your PC muscles to keep your orgasm at bay. If you feel yourself heading toward the brink, pause in your lovemaking, relax, tighten your PC muscles and breathe. Then continue for as long as you can manage. While there's something to be said for hot, sweaty, quick and dirty sex, the slow sensuality of tantric sex has the potential to take your pleasure to a higher level.

There are a number of Kama Sutra books out there worth trying. Among them: Kama Sutra 52 contains a year's worth of positions: one for each week. Kama Sutra Step-by-Step offers photographic instructions of different positions, including a number of variations and enhancements. And Nerve's Position of the Day Playbook has a position for every single day of the year. And my own book, 52 Weeks of Amazing Sex, is filled with positions and pleasure-scenarios.

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