Learning about sex from Indian temple architecture

sculptures from khajuraho temple

I was a bit taken aback when my boyfriend (now my husband) wanted to teach me how a woman is taken from the back, when I was around 20! It was the late ‘90s. And two decades ago we hardly had any access to quick information on the Net on any topic ranging from safe sex to sexual poses and the art of lovemaking. What we banked on were some soft X-rated porn videos available in some dingy city alleys that our male friends sourced from and for girls it was a complete taboo to even discuss sex.

Related reading: I tried Kamasutra positions with my boyfriend and this is what happened

Though I knew by then my boyfriend and his gang of besties often did sneak in some of these videos on their sleepover nights, I never knew what they were all about. We had common study sessions at a friend’s home often, but my boyfriend never allowed me to be part of his study gang when they were out on their ‘mischief nights’. Hence when he tried to experiment a new coitus pose to give me ‘more pleasure’, I thought he must have learnt it from those videos that I was never encouraged to watch, though later he did bring some for me too. But well, they were not his sex teachers; he learnt them from the sensuous architecture of Orissa’s Konark Sun Temple.

Konark temple
They were not his sex teachers;

Oh! Yes, I too remembered then how on our innumerable visits to Puri, my parents often took me to Konark. Once a guide was hired to explain the temple architecture. But back then what attracted me were wheels of the chariot with a spiritual tag of life’s cycles and not the erotic poses on excavated temples walls.

As a teenager I would be busy observing and romanticising history and ruins. My boyfriend thus felt I was a weird college girl.

And that’s how it all started: our journey through the sensuous and sacred. Being an avid reader and sort of an atheist (I hardly ever enter a temple to offer a puja, not even our own Shiva temple at our house, never keep vrats, never fasted, but believe in a universal energy that I call God) I started reading up interpretation of Hindu temple architecture and idol forms, starting from the Shivling of our own temple. And that’s when we both felt sex is not just about intercourse, but about experimenting beyond known forces that often turn sacred sex murkier, leading to marital rape, dissatisfaction, etc.

Related reading: Touch me like you mean it! What happened when I touched him for the first time…

Indian temple architecture, Khajuraho, Konark et al., celebrates all forms of sex, including modern twosome and threesome sex, where one man is indulged by two women at a time, or one woman by two men. But just as the Shivling reflects amalgamation of a man’s penis (lingaa) and the woman’s uterine structure (Yoni) where all desires end and organs of procreation are worshipped, we too enjoyed our sensuous foreplays as a means to reach the higher self. For us it was not ‘f**king a woman’, as porn videos title the act as, it was ‘making love’ elevated to a spiritual height as proposed by our temple architecture. Years later while reading together Paulo Coelho’s Eleven Minutes, (I must say my husband is a very poor reader, though he was the one who bought this book for me) we realised how a man can worship a female form and vice versa through sensuous strokes.

khajuraho sculptures
How to make love

We rediscovered our passions and love through worshipping the body and mind and it was so very de-stressing.

Just like as children we discover the universe through sights and sounds, we discovered each other through sensuous sex and that did help us to respect and love each other more for sure. Needless to say, we have planned a trip to Konark this month, this time with our teenaged son, who lectured us on how ‘man and woman can produce babies’ the other day. We would love him to learn to worship that act too.

Ruku Taneja and her boyfriend used the Kamasutra as a practical guide, but sometimes with hilarious results. We have an on-going discussion in our Community, started by Shail Gulhati, about ancient Indian heritage and sensuality , if you’d like to chime in.

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Readers Comments On “Learning about sex from Indian temple architecture”

  1. Saloni Maheshwari

    This is quite interesting!

    In many Indian manuscripts, sex was considered to be spiritual and not hedonistic. There are many such theories but the fact remains that these temples are known more for their erotic sculptures than the deities residing inside.

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