Imagine a world where the well-being of the universe depended on the pleasure of a woman, where the art of pleasuring a woman was an integral part of every young man’s education, where not giving pleasure was a punishable crime. This was the world of the Kama Sutra — we missed it by a mere 2,000 years. But they say if you can keep something within living memory, it remains a possibility. It’s time to reclaim this story.

In 18th century Europe, pleasuring yourself was a disease. By the 19th century, it had become the cure. Women “suffered” from an unreasonable illness called hysteria, which could be alleviated by stimulating her with the fingers. Doctors at the time offered this as a service, at a flat fee of $2 per sitting. It was an effective cure, the only problem being it was terribly slow. It could take as much as an hour to stimulate the woman properly — a problem that would be solved some years later with the advent of the mechanised vibrator. Same fee, quicker result, more clients.

The Kama Sutra, however (unburdened by contrived morality), says that the ‘fingers’ are about pure pleasure. The soft fingertip massage alternating with the gently grazing nail, it is utter magic. But also the yoni (they believed) was crammed, full of erogenous points (24 in all), but because of how these points were situated, on different sides and at different depths, the only way to effectively reach them is with the fingers. In the world of pleasure, Ungli Prayog, or the art of the curved finger, was an essential skill for everyone. A woman could use her fingers to pleasure herself, or her partner could do it for her during lovemaking (far from being an alternative to sex, it was the first step). All young men wishing to enter the arena of Kama were taught Ungli Prayog, because the aim of the game was pleasure — lots of it — and frankly, ‘sex’ just wasn’t enough.

The Nagarsarwasvam (an 11th century commentary on the Kama Sutra), goes so far as to state that any man who helps a woman find true orgasms with the use of his fingers will be given a place in paradise, while any man who withholds that pleasure from a woman — either because he thinks it is unnecessary or because he doesn’t know how — will stand accused of bramhatya (1st degree murder) and be sentenced to a thousand years in hell.

A compelling case. According to Ayurveda, the extraordinary magic of the fingers lay in the fact that each finger has its own element (earth, wind, air, water, fire), each element had its own energies, and each energy brought its own sensations, which meant that each orgasm would be different. The fingers were used in different combinations — one, two, or even three fingers at a time in different shapes or mudras, because each mudra would reach different depths and explore different spots. There was a mudra to fit everyone’s needs.

If you are new to sex, you could use the Kamayudh mudra. Shaped like Kamadev’s bow, it helped in widening and loosening the yoni. If you had had many lovers and took far longer to come to orgasm, it was the Kamausadh for you. Here, two fingers join to resemble the crescent moon, and it’s the only way to effectively reach the erogenous points on the ceiling of the yoni, in particular the point just behind the clitoris. The Kamausadh could overcome any obstacles to pleasure.

Or if you wanted to stimulate several erogenous points at the same time, you could use the Karihast, a three-finger mudra where two fingers joined, and one stayed poised above the other two. This one, we are told, could take a woman from zero to 60 in record time.

As the Kama Sutra says, if the fingers are used with dexterity and knowledge, the yoni will be like the proverbial water jar riddled with holes — very wet. Caution: Do not use the index finger on its own. This finger holds the energy of Vayu, and is too powerful to use by itself, it will agitate rather than excite. 2,000 years ago, a woman’s pleasure was considered sacred, to be honoured and celebrated. Don’t let anyone tell you differently now. But remember, pleasure comes from within you. You have to fill yourself with the joy of your own sensuality, and saturate your soul with it for it to radiate out from you. You need to know what makes you happy before you can demand it from someone else.

If you have never felt yourself, today is the day to begin. The Kama Sutra says vaginas come in four different textures — wouldn’t you like to know what yours is like? Also if there are a few dozen erogenous spots, wouldn’t it be interesting to see which ones work for you?

Set aside time when you know you will not be interrupted, and enough time to enjoy the experience. Set the scene — a comfortable place with lots of room to move (you may find yourself rolling around from your stomach to your back). Use lots of lubricant. It is your best friend and your secret ingredient in the pleasure recipe. Let your pleasure be a priority.