Kama Sutra acknowledges that physical embraces “indicate the mutual love of a man and a woman who have come together”. Human touch is essential to maintain a healthy equilibrium, without it we become depressed, despondent and we cease to thrive.
Lovers fulfil primal needs in each other through their tender, playful embraces. In some cases lovers withhold embraces from each other in order to stimulate a mild anxiety, which heightens sexual pleasure, and in other cases ‘embraces’ may be considered as brutal. Our needs for intimacy are fundamentally the same but the ways in which we express them are varied and complex.
Embraces are our means of maintaining our affections and communicating our intentions to fulfil our desires at some future point. Kama Sutra outlines simple embraces and follows them through to intertwining bodies and full sexual arousal. It recognises the importance of initiating intimacy through basic embraces.
The twining of a Creeper
“When a woman, clinging to a man as a creeper twines around a tree, bends his head down to hers with the desire of kissing him and slightly makes the sound of sut sut, embraces him and looks lovingly towards him, it is called an embrace like ‘the twining of a creeper’”.
Climbing a Tree
“When a woman, having placed one of her feet on the foot of her lover, and the other on one of his thighs, passes one of her arms round his back, and the other on his shoulders, makes slightly the sounds of singing and cooing, and wishes, as it were, to climb up him in order to have a kiss, it is called an embrace like the ‘climbing of a tree’”.
The Mixture of Sesame Seed with Rice
“When lovers lie on a bed and embrace each other so closely that the arms and thighs of one are encircled by the arms and thighs of the other, and are, as it were, rubbing up against them, this is called an embrace like ‘the mixture of sesame seed with rice’”.
The Milk and Water Embrace
“When a man and woman are very much in love with each other, and, not thinking of any pain or hurt, embrace each other as if they were entering into each other’s bodies either while the woman is sitting on the lap of the man or in front of him, or on a bed, then it is called an embrace like a ‘mixture of milk and water’”.
The eroticism of the embraces escalates to whole-body contact, including genital contact, but Kama Sutra emphasises controlling the man’s arousal so that he doesn’t get too carried away too soon and have to have penetrative sex, it recognises that once the point of control has been exceeded the rules can go out of the window.
The Embrace of the Thighs
‘When one of two lovers presses forcibly one or both of the thighs of the other between his or her own, it is called the ‘embrace of the thighs’”.
The Embrace of the Jaghana
‘When the man presses the jaghana, or the part of the body from the navel downwards to the thighs, of the woman’s body against his own, and mounts upon her to practice, either scratching with the nail or finger, or biting or striking or kissing, the hair of the woman being lose and flowing, it is called the ‘embrace of jaghana’”.
The Embrace of the Forehead
When either of the lovers touches the mouth, the eyes, and the forehead of the other with his or her own, it is called the ‘embrace of the forehead’”.
The Embrace of the Breasts
“When a man places his breast between the breasts of a woman and presses her with it, it is called ‘the embrace of the breasts’”
It is easy to see how some of these embraces simulate intercourse and play an important part in sexual intimacy, but the added eroticism of delaying intercourse is beneficial to increasing levels of arousal and is a key principle of Tantric Sex. It works on the psychological principle that every human action is driven by its desired, often unconscious, pay-off, which becomes frustrated if it’s fulfilment is delayed. Playing with that frustration can be a most delicious way to heighten the payoff when it finally arrives!