She is an acknowledged authority on the Kama Sutra, and her recent book, "The Arts of Seduction", is billed as a guide to having great sex in the 21st century. London-based mythologist and narrative practitioner Kamadevika Seema Anand laments that people are not having "great sex" these days, and that it has been reduced to an "act of instant gratification".
"For the most part, sex is now a brief, tiresome, unfulfilling encounter, something that ‘needs to be done'. For the ancient Indians sex was a poetic experience centred on the nuances of seduction and the subtlety of exploration whereas our idea of ‘great sex' focuses on the tiniest (and possibly the most irrelevant) part of it -- the act of penetration. The ‘Kama Sutra' holds that there is only so much one can do with the genitals. The real excitement comes from what happens before and after, from what the mind can conjure up," Anand told IANS in an email interview.
To explain better, she asks her readers to imagine a feast of their favourite foods laid out in front of them.
"You pick up each thing separately, you savour it, you roll it around your mouth till its flavour fills your brain. Then, and only then do you move on to the next thing so that at the end of it even the memory of each taste will have the capacity to bring a smile to your face.
"Similarly, we are like a banquet of erogenous zones with an incredible capacity for pleasure, where each spot has its own sensations and its own manner of arousal -- imagine the potential," she said.
Pleasure, she said, is the bringing of each little nerve ending tingling to life -- one tiny nerve at a time.
"It needs the indulgence of time and fantasy -- you need to be physically, mentally and emotionally present with your lover. When was the last time you can say you did that," she asked.
Anand reminded that "Kama Sutra" author Vatsyayan's solution for exploring pleasure was to create variety -- variety in everything.
"The only way to keep it fresh is to constantly change what we do. However, that is a challenge in itself -- in our heads we can fantasise to the end of the universe and back but in terms of ‘doing' we never vary things. So if it is the kiss then let there be 500 different types kisses to choose from, depending on the occasion -- kisses that only use the lips, those that use the lips and the tongue, yet others that use the lips, the tongue and the teeth…" she quipped.
Anand said that if there was ever a time to bring back the "Kama Sutra" and its ideas, it was now.
The book, she said, began with an exploration of the incredible literary and cultural heritage which is all but lost to us. "I wanted to unravel those metaphors, to dig up the ancient myths and stories, to unsilence the narratives that made sex such a poetic experience for Ancient India. I wanted to put the seduction back into sex and reclaim the refinement and joyousness of sexual pleasure for the human race," she said on what propelled her to write the offering.
"The Arts of Seduction" (Aleph/188 pages/ Rs 499), the publisher says, will forever change the way one thinks about love and lovemaking.
The book charts several techniques and refinements that can elevate sex to "an altogether different level" -- featuring innovative codes for loves messages, the effects of applying perfume to different parts of body, the many different types of kissing, and, among others, where and how to massage your lover's feet.