Sex in India

India with its vast population and ancient history understandably has had changing attitudes towards sex. The history of sex in India has been affected by many things, the caste system, colonization, and latterly globalization. There has been a turnaround in attitudes towards sex recently and a return to attitudes that were common in ancient times.

Although the Kama Sutra is popularly known today in Western countries as a guide to sex, Indian attitudes towards sex has been almost prudish until recently. An influx of Western culture has slowly seen a sexual revolution unfolding in India.

The Kama Sutra

The Kama Sutra is one of the surviving texts about the sixty four arts of love making. It was not widely distributed by everyone in India. The history of sex in India was always guided by the caste system, as it is today. Sex between castes was often forbidden. The higher castes and those belonging to the nobility practised the sixty four arts. There were many versions of the arts, some of which have been lost forever. These guides were highly influential and spread as far as Japan.

The Kama Sutra comes from a time when India had relatively liberal ideas towards sex. Sex was considered a duty to be carried out by married couples, and husband and wife were to pleasure each other equally. These liberal attitudes towards sex are not consistent throughout the history of sex in India.


Colonization had a very big impact on the history of sex in India. British colonists brought with them a Victorian attitude towards sex and propriety. The establishment of British rule meant that British ideas towards sex slowly spread throughout India. This severely curbed sexual freedom and many respected Indians adopted this form of thinking towards sex.


While the West experienced the beginnings of a sexual revolution in the 1960's and 70's, India remained in its colonial past in terms of attitudes towards sex. It has only started to open up to ideas about sex and sexual freedom in recent years as exposure towards Western standards on sexual freedom has increased.

Depictions of sex in movies and television has been rare, even kissing scenes are considered by many Indians. This however is changing, with sex slowly creeping into the cinema. The liberalization of sexual attitudes in modern India has marked a new chapter in the history of sex in India. The AIDS epidemic has taken hold of India.

The large amount of AIDS cases is largely to do with the population of India. However the problem of poor sex education is also part of the problem. Many people in rural areas do not know they are infected and continue to infect others.