The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana

Translated by

Richard F. Burton

Part 5

Chapter I

Of the characteristics of men and women. The reasons why women reject the addresses of men. About men who have success with women, and about women who are easily gained over

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The wives of other people may be resorted to on the occasions already described in Part I, Chapter V, of this work, but the possibility of their acquisition, their fitness for cohabitation, the danger to oneself in uniting with them, and the future effect of these unions, should first of all be examined. A man may resort to the wife of another, for the purpose of saving his own life, when he perceives that his love for her proceeds from one degree of intensity to another. These degrees are ten in number, and are distinguished by the following marks -

Love of the eye

Attachment of the mind

Constant reflection

Destruction of sleep

Emaciation of the body

Turning away from objects of enjoyment

Removal of shame




Ancient authors say that a man should know the disposition, truthfulness, purity, and will of a young woman, as also the intensity, or weakness of her passions, from the form of her body, and from her characteristic marks and signs. But Vatsyayana is of opinion that the forms of bodies, and the characteristic marks or signs are but erring tests of character, and that women should be judged by their conduct, by the outward expression of their thoughts, and by the movements of their bodies.

Now as a general rule Gonikaputra says that a woman falls in love with every handsome man she sees, and so does every man at the sight of a beautiful woman, but frequently they do not take any further steps, owing to various considerations. In love the following circumstances are peculiar to the woman. She loves without regard to right or wrong, 1 and does not try to gain over a man simply for the attainment of some particular purpose. Moreover, when a man first makes up to her she naturally shrinks from him, even though she may be willing to unite herself with him. But when the attempts to gain her are repeated and renewed, she at last consents. But with a man, even though he may have begun to love, he conquers his feelings from a regard for morality and wisdom, and although his thoughts are often on the woman, he does not yield, even though an attempt be made to gain him over. He sometimes makes an attempt or effort to win the object of his affections, and having failed, he leaves her alone for the future. In the same way, when a woman is once gained, he often becomes indifferent about her. As for the saying that a man does not care for what is easily gained, and only desires a thing which cannot be obtained without difficulty, it is only a matter of talk.


The causes of a woman rejecting the addresses of a man are as follows -

Affection for her husband

Desire of lawful progeny

Want of opportunity

Anger at being addressed by the man too familiarly

Difference in rank of life

Want of certainty on account of the man being devoted travelling

Thinking that the man may be attached to some other person

Fear of the man's not keeping his intentions secret

Thinking that the man is too devoted to his friends, and has too great a regard for them

The apprehension that he is not in earnest

Bashfulness on account of his being an illustrious man

Fear on account of his being powerful, or possessed of too impetuous passion, in the case of the deer woman

Bashfulness on account of his being too clever

The thought of having once lived with him on friendly terms only

Contempt of his want of knowledge of the world

Distrust of his low character

Disgust at his want of perception of her love for him

In the case of an elephant woman, the thought that he is a hare man, or a man of weak passion

Compassion lest anything should befall him on account of his passion

Despair at her own imperfections

Fear of discovery

Disillusion at seeing his grey hair or shabby appearance

Fear that he may be employed by her husband to test her chastity

The thought that he has too much regard for morality

Whichever of the above causes a man may detect, he should endeavour to remove it from the very beginning. Thus, the bashfulness that may arise from his greatness or his ability, he should remove by showing his great love and affection for her. The difficulty of the want of opportunity, or of his inaccessibility, he should remove by showing her some easy way of access. The excessive respect entertained by the woman for him should be removed by making himself very familiar. The difficulties that arise from his being thought a low character he should remove by showing his valour and his wisdom; those that come from neglect by extra attention; and those that arise from fear by giving her proper encouragement.


The following are the men who generally obtain success with women -

Men well versed in the science of love

Men skilled in telling stories

Men acquainted with women from their childhood Men

who have secured their confidence

Men who send presents to them

Men who talk well

Men who do things that they like

Men who have not loved other women previously

Men who act as messengers

Men who know their weak points

Men who are desired by good women

Men who are united with their female friends

Men who are good looking

Men who have been brought up with them

Men who are their neighbours

Men who are devoted to sexual pleasures, even though these be with their own servants

The lovers of the daughters of their nurse

Men who have been lately married

Men who like picnics and pleasure parties

Men who are liberal

Men who are celebrated for being very strong (Bull men)

Enterprising and brave men

Men who surpass their husbands in learning and good looks, in good qualities, and in liberality

Men whose dress and manner of living are magnificent

The following are the women who are easily gained over:


Women who stand at the doors of their houses

Women who are always looking out on the street

Women who sit conversing in their neighbour's house

A woman who is always staring at you

A female messenger

A woman who looks sideways at you

A woman whose husband has taken another wife without any just cause

A woman who hates her husband, or who is hated by him

A woman who has nobody to look after her, or keep her in check

A woman who has not had any children

A woman whose family or caste is not well known

A woman whose children are dead

A woman who is very fond of society

A woman who is apparently very affectionate with her husband

The wife of an actor

A widow

A poor woman

A woman fond of enjoyments

The wife of a man with many younger brothers

A vain woman

A woman whose husband is inferior to her in rank or abilities

A woman who is proud of her skill in the arts

A woman disturbed in mind by the folly of her husband

A woman who has been married in her infancy to a rich man, and not liking him when she grows up, desires a man possessing a disposition, talents, and wisdom suitable to her own tastes.

A woman who is slighted by her husband without any cause

A woman who is not respected by other women of the same rank or beauty as herself

A woman whose husband is devoted to travelling

The wife of a jeweller

A jealous woman

A covetous woman

An immoral woman

A barren woman

A lazy woman

A cowardly woman

A humpbacked woman

A dwarfish woman

A deformed woman

A vulgar woman

An ill-smelling woman

A sick woman

An old woman


There are also two verses on the subject as follows -

'Desire, which springs from nature, and which is increased by art, and from which all danger is taken away by wisdom, becomes firm and secure. A clever man, depending on his own ability, and observing carefully the ideas and thoughts of women, and removing the causes of their turning away from men, is generally successful with them.'

Note -

1 On peut tout attendre et tout supposer d'une femme amoureuse.--Balzac.