Marriage is neither heaven nor hell, it is simply purgatory.

Abraham Lincoln

Book 3 is a detailed section on marriage and courtship. It shifts its focus from romanticizing marriage and instead emphasizes on its strategic nature. Kamasutra encourages the union of equals through marriage. It recommends the family as well as acquaintances to prepare and facilitate the union in myriad ways. It is in this sense, that marriage becomes a social contract between two families.

Source: Marriages, theories of (Shoshana Amyra Grossbard, 1999)

After marriage, Kamasutra proposes a rigorous ten day stoic observance for the couple, when they are recommended to sleep on floor, eat without salt and pay respects. They are to abstain from coitus till the tenth day. During this period, Vatsayana asks men to gently win a woman’s confidence and to refrain from forcing her to comply to his will. He insists on the importance of making love erotically.

Vatsayana proposes suggestions that are equally playful and seductive. He narrates a gradual process of ensuring consent without ruining the amorous air. Through lingering touch, embraces and building tension, Vatsayana makes sex an act of communication that simultaneously enable boundaries and open up opportunities for soulful embodiment through the other.

Courtship and its guidelines are recommended in detail. Vatsayana repeats how words are futile devices in romance when actions go a long way. He insists on building it gradually with adequate gaps for anticipation and modesty to facilitate temptation and tension. A thorough grasp on the 64 arts is also considered beneficial in the art of romance.

The book also discusses on various types of marriages. Gandharva marriage which is to be carried out in private and often in a clandestine way is recommended if all other means aren’t plausible. Vatsayana recommends the use of deciet and deception to ensnare a wife. Though seemingly ridiculous, when read in context, it was a laundry list of tactics for an age when marriage was less about love and companionship than it is today. This way, Kamasutra depicts weddings as the union of individuals for strategic social negotiation.

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