Sexual references permeate Ayurvedic texts beyond what one can imagine. Sometimes as therapy, sometimes as a natural urge and sometimes as a vice. And yet, today we talk about sex in hushed voices behind closed doors. So lets lift the veil and and see what our learned sages had about procreation before you and I were created!
Firstly, Ayurvedic texts have no mention of monogamy. In fact, a lot of references point towards polygamy, at least for men. The Ashtang Hrudayam, one of the oldest Ayurvedic texts has numerous prescriptions for men to be sexually entertained by different type of women, the type depending on the season. Yes, that is correct! The company of more voluptuous women is recommended during winter for extra warmth and young lovers with lotus shaped eyes wearing pleasant fragrances are the go-to for outdoor love making in the spring. While in the summer, statues of women that serve as water fountains is the extent of the action that you can revel in.
Homosexuality, on the other hand did not make it to the Ayurvedic texts. However, other written works like Kama Sutra and and tantric paintings show that varied sexual orientations and the desire for man to explore is not recent.
At the same time, the sexual references in Ayurvedic texts seem to be very male dominated, to the point of chauvinism, using women only as objects. However, the silver lining is that one of the many names for vagina is “Upastha” which literally means organ of pleasure. Now, we hope the pleasure is for the woman and not the receiving male. At the same time, the Yoga Ratnakar, the most recent authentic Ayurvedic text (mid 17th century) mentions several techniques for enhancing female pleasure. As man and civilization evolved, so did the each subsequent Ayurvedic text or Samhita. If a Samhita were to be written today, I wonder what it would say. Would it endorse monogamy? I am rooting for the needs of the woman to be addressed!
While all this is intellectually arousing, let me end by stating points that are useful and relevant to us today. Sexual urges are considered to be natural and important. If withheld, can lead to urinary disorders, diabetes, obesity and even depletion of semen. At the same time, sexual intercourse with a pregnant or menstruating woman will hurt the health of the woman. A student is to refrain from any type of sexual activity. Sorry, young fellas! And indulging in excessive sex or masturbation can also lead to the depletion of ojas, the basic life force.
In terms of seasons – in the winter, couples can indulge in sexual activity as often as they like. The man must replenish himself with milk and other Ayurvedic aphrodisiacs. In spring, intercourse is advised only 1 in 3 days and in monsoon as well as summer, not more than once in 15 days.
In terms of time of day, couples should indulge in intercourse only at night. The summer and monsoon season are exceptions to this rule.
And when it comes to doshas, Kaphas can indulge in sexual activity the more often than the other doshas. Pittas can indulge in sexual activity in the presence of fragrances, moonlight and milk consumption. While Vatas must preserve their energy and engage carefully, replenishing themselves with the right aphrodisiacs!
What about you? Got plans tonight?