The history of sex includes research into the kama sutra and other sexual books like the perfumed garden. Books like The Joy of Sex helped break new ground for sex practice.

Sexual Positions History

Sexual positions have been written about more, and have generated more interest regarding methods and guides, than any other topic in the history of sex writing. Since sexuality is inherent, it’s only reasonable to assume that the practice of performing and exploring different sexual positions predates any recorded history on sexual positions.

Guides teaching the methods of sexual positions can be traced back to about 1 BC to 1 AD, when the first two books of Ars Amatoria ("The Art of Love") were written by the Roman poet Ovid. It was written in verse and covers heterosexual love and sex, making it one of the earliest sex and sexual position manuals.

In the 4th Century, Vatsyayana wrote the Kama Sutra detailing almost 529 sexual positions, and it was considered the standard work on love and sexual positions. Life-size stone sculptures of heterosexual couples performing practically every sexual position were carved on the temple walls of Konarak in thirteenth-century India. These sculptures are considered the finest erotic art in the world. In North Africa, Arabs produced the sexual positions guide, The Perfumed Garden for the Soul’s Recreation, in the early sixteenth century, and the thousand-year-old Japanese medical text, Ishimpo, instructs students on healing sexual positions.

Illustrations of sexual positions present can be found in almost every religion and race as well. The Kama Sutra included sexual position illustrations while the classic Japanese erotic art style, Shunga, offers a unique rendering of sexual positions.

Early sex and sexual position reseachers include Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing, whose 1886 book, Psychopathia Sexualis, recorded a number of unusual sexual abnormalities. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Sigmund Freud developed a theory of sexuality from his clients, while Otto Gross and Wilhelm Reich, two Freud scholars, conducted revolutionary studies around human sexuality.

In 1919, Magnus Hirschfeld founded the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute for Sexology) in Berlin, but when the Nazis took power they destroyed it. Alfred Kinsey also studied sex and sexual positions and in 1947 founded the Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University at Bloomington, now called the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction.

© 2005