Categorized | Literature

The Politics of Sex and Money: Reflections on the Kama Sutra

Posted on 16 October 2013 by admin

By Nadia Chowdhury



So, this article is on one of my favorite topics. Sexual pleasure, satisfaction and economic necessity. What a fantastic way to start your day, eh? With an article on sex and money.

Clearly, this is my favourite topic.

Indeed, money and sex go well together.

Kind of like blood and stone. Or fire and water. Oh, or sex and pistols.

Which could be very violent. And orgasmic.

Unless one ends up dead from a gunshot wound to either the testicles or the vagina. Whoever the shooter may be.

This does not sound very pleasant, does it?

No, it does not.

Well, anyway.

Back to my bhodro writing.

Know what bhodro is?

Bengali word for “polite”.

To reiterate and start again.

In South Asian culture, the management of sex and sexual growth moves along certain bylines of conduct. After our sarees, cholis, ghaghras, shalwar kameezes, lahengas, kurtas, sherwanis, paghs, tupis, burqas, pajamas, dupattas and so forth, are we to be told that we are supposed to pretend like sexuality in us does not exist despite wearing such colorful and sexy outfits?


We know that we not only look sexy, but had our cultures been a bit bolder, every man and woman at every South Asian wedding would be humping each other. We look so hot. And we are so hot.

Yes. I am not ashamed to admit it.

We South Asians are sexual. Perhaps it would do us good if we accepted it.

It was in South Asia that we got the Kama Sutra and sure, it’s a great piece of literature-cum-erotica, but an interesting note of observation regarding the Kama Sutra is that the majority of texts and prose contained within the piece of literature relates to men and women enjoying sex in well-lit, well-decorated rooms with curtains, beds covered in fine linen and gracious palaces, gardens and hallways.

Now that could only mean the sex got more comfortable, but on the other hand I find it interesting to observe that the majority of texts on the Kama Sutra portray a certain class background, with the well-lit, well-decorated rooms, the curtains, beds covered in fine linens and of course, the gracious palaces, gardens and hallways.

What could this mean?

Those having sex in the Kama Sutra are rich. And wealthy. And if I was alive back then, I would have been one the mistress of one of those well-hung men.

Oh well. Opportunities will always come again.

But what is the other message?

That only the rich and the wealthy could make sex-and sexuality-an identity issue, since everything else-livelihood, upkeep and economic maintenance-is already covered.

 For the poor, survival itself is precarious.

Where is the time to think about sex if there is no food on your table, no money to pay your medical bills and none for education?

When your tin house is about to be blown away in the next tornado? Or swept away in the ongoing floods?

An interesting observation, don’t you think?

Western narratives group sex and sexuality as primarily an issue of liberty and freedom. As a South Asian, having lived in South Asia and seen the abject poverty people live in and survive against, including incidents in which property and money is stolen from people either because of greed or malice, to see the sun tomorrow is considered a blessing. When one’s survival itself is dependent on a commodity which is no longer present, how can anything else be considered more important? When one knows that a depleted bank account is no longer enough to ensure survival, where does one go?

Where do people go then?

In other words, to write a book on sex would require slaves and/or servants to come every day into the writer’s room, deliver tea, breakfast, lunch and dinner, wash his or her clothes, and be a rich badass. To write in the first place would require knowledge of a common, well-used language and to know it properly would require access to a good educational institution, which would be connected to your family’s caste, religion, color, and/or marital status.

In other words, the rich only get richer. While the poor get poorer. Sex or no sex.

What does that mean again?

Where in hell will I have the time to think about SEX if I know that I will be DEAD in a few days? Due to a lack of food, money and care?


Sex at the end of the day, is only enjoyable if you are doing it in an A/C room. Sigh.

To conclude, I have decided that maybe I will not have sex until I get a mansion for myself or at least an affordable apartment. Or when I buy the latest version of the Kama Sutra off the internet. Second-hand.

Damn. Life is hard.


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