Hinduism Tantra Paganism
Ancient Sacred Sexuality Modern Rediscovery General Other Texts
The dominant world religions treat sexuality as (at best) a distraction from the spiritual path. On the other hand, some spiritual traditions integrate sexuality into their spiritual practice. Some regard sexuality as an integral part of life, a gift to be honored and enjoyed. This section contains classic texts which discuss the sacred nature of sexuality and affirm the postive aspects of sex. Some of these texts (the Tantric) are esoteric and touch on the intersection of the spiritual and the physical. Others (such as the Kama Sutra material) are more rooted in the physical world.
In addition to Tantra, which attributes a spritual dimension to sexuality, India has produced a rich literature of sophisticated sex manuals. In spite of their practical nature, they demonstrate how Indian culture integrated sexuality into everyday life, (including religion and spirituality). This knowledge was supposed to be part of the repetoire of any intelligent and well-educated adult. Several of these were translated in the Victorian Era by freethinking Orientalists.
Kama Sutra of Vatsayayana
The Ananga Ranga
The Perfumed Garden
About these translations
These translations (as well as the Perfumed Garden and the Priapeia) were produced by Sir Richard Burton and Forster Fitzgerald Arbuthnot and published by the Kama Shastra Society (founded 1882).
Sir Richard Burton [1821-1890] (not to be confused with the screen actor) was an orientalist and daring explorer. Fluent in Arabic and Islamic culture, Burton was the first Westerner to enter Mecca (in disguise). He is also known for his unexpurgated translation of the Arabian Nights.
F.F. Arbuthnot did most of the actual work of the translations of the Indian works, while working for the Indian Civil Service in Bombay from 1868 to 1879. He was able to consult original texts of the Kama Sutra and Ananga Ranga and discuss their contents with Indian scholars.
The texts were printed 'for private circulation only' -- a disclaimer required in the stifling atmosphere of Victorian England.
Sacred Sexuality in the Ancient World
In the late 18th century, classical scholars began to take note of a phenomena which they termed 'Priapus worship'. This was a complex of religious ideas in antiquity including phallic votive objects, fertility ceremonies, sacred prostitution, female and hermaphroditic creator deities, and other heterodox aspects of ancient religion. Much of this information had been surpressed or ignored.
The Royal Museum at Naples
Mimes of the Courtesans
A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus/Worship of the Generative Powers
A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus
The Masculine Cross and Ancient Sex Worship
Influence of the Phallic Idea in the Religions of Antiquity
(Latin and English)
Translated by L.C. Smithers, notes by Sir Richard Burton 
An anonymous collection of bawdy Roman epigrams to the phallic garden-god Priapus. This edition is notable for an extensive tour de force appendix by Sir Burton, which discusses in explicit detail the sexual practices of the classical Pagans, including a vocabulary of dozens of Latin terms for male and female genitalia and short essays about classical references to anal and oral sex, bestiality, exotic dancers, masturbation, sex positions, and the lascivious behavior of the Gods and Goddesses. These appendices were so shocking that Burton disavowed any connection with the book, in spite of obvious internal evidence that he is the co-author.
In the 19th century a number of pioneering sexologists started to independently rediscover the basic principles of sacred sexuality that were known in India many millenia ago.
Karezza, Ethics of Marriage
The Karezza Method
The Sacred Fire
The Song of Songs
The Poems of Sappho
The Love Books of Ovid
The Satyricon of Petronius
The Kojiki and Nihongi