Female Homosexuality condemned in Manu Smriti

Please bear in mind that Kaama sutra is not a Vaishnava text, it is for those engaged in material activity and not for the spiritually minded who are trying to become free from worldy sensual plasure.

Below you will find some reflections from Manu and Kaama sutra on homosexuality, deeds considered homosexual acts, and the results.

175. A twice-born (brahmin) man who commits an unnatural offence with a male (homosexuality), or has intercourse with a female in a cart drawn by oxen, in water, or in the day-time, shall bathe, dressed in his clothes.

Verses 369 and 370 of Book VIII of The Laws of Manu read:  "If a female virgin has homosexuality to another female virgin, she should be fined 200 (pennies), be made to pay double (the girl's) bride-price, and receive ten whip (lashes). But if a (mature) woman does it to a female virgin, her head should be shaved immediately or two of her fingers should be cut off, and she should be made to ride on a donkey in publi" (Laws of Manu 1991, 191)

Actually, manu has a lot more to say, and it's a bit more complicated., The Laws of Manu conflate impotency, homosexuality, transvestitism and being a eunuch in the word "kliba" (Laws of Manu 1991, 328), marking male homosexuality, by association, as transgressive primarily because it is non-procreative.

 "In contrast to the modern notion of homosexuality which is defined by a preference for a partner of the same sex, homosexuality in ancient India was determined by a typical gender behavior - especially coital. The Sanskrit word kliba includes a wide range of meanings under the general rubric of ‘a man who does not act the way a man should act', a man who fails to be a man, a defective male, a male suffering from failure, distortion, and lack of heterosexual desire. It is a catch-all term that traditional Hindus coined to indicate a man who is sexually dysfunctional, including someone who was sterile, impotent, castrated, a transvestite, a man who had oral sex with other men, who had anal sex, a man with mutilated or defective sexual organs or, finally, a hermaphrodite." (http://www.gautamindia.com/sexuality.htm)

 "In ancient erotic and medical texts, male (and female) homosexuals were thus part of a larger class of “queers” who belonged to the “third nature” (tritiya prakriti), characterized by the lack of procreative ability or will. In general, male homosexuality in ancient India was either ignored or stigmatized. Sexual activity between men was punished, though mildly: a ritual bath [Manu 11.174] or the payment of a small fine [Arthashastra 3.18.4]." (http://www.gautamindia.com/sexuality.htm)

 In the Kamasutra, fellatio is regarded as the defining male homosexual act. Thus although the text quickly dismisses the cross-dressing male, it discusses the fellatio technique in the homosexual encounter in considerable sensual detail. Fellatio is explicated in the longest consecutive passages in the text describing a physical act, and with what might be called a considerable gusto. Moreover, as in several other cultures, the active partner in the homoerotic encounter was not stigmatized as the passive partner was. The Kamasutra's man-about-town who uses the masseur's mouth for sexual pleasure is thus not considered 'queer'; the masseur is. Two verses that immediately follow this section describe men who seem bound to one another by discriminating affection rather than promiscuous passion, although these men, too, engage in oral sex. Vatsyayana grants that some women, too, perform oral sex, though he strongly disapproves of it. Fellatio,  therefore is permitted for (some) men, and not for women.(http://www.gautamindia.com/sexuality.htm)

"The controversy over the lesbian relationship in Deepa Mehta's film “Fire”, sent many people scuttling to the Kamasutra to find out whether lesbianism was part of ancient “Indian culture.” The answer ? Yes, it was but disapproved of by all “authorities”. Lesbian activity is described at the beginning of the chapter about the harem in a brief passage. These women use dildos, as well as bulbs, roots, or fruits that have the form of the male organ, and statues of men that have distinct sexual characteristics. But they do this only in the absence of men, not through personal choice characteristic of modern lesbian activity. As for lesbian activity in the modern sense, it certainly existed when we read that Manu says that a woman who corrupts a virgin will be punished by having two of her fingers cut off a hint of what Manu thinks lesbians do in bed. The stringent punishment of the woman, as compared to the mild ritual bath prescribed for male homosexual activity, probably has to do more with the “deflowering” than the sexual aspect." (http://www.gautamindia.com/sexuality.htm)

Men who have sex with hijras generally do not identify as homosexual. In modern India, the partner who penetrates retains his masculine identity. The penetrated partner, to the contrary, is seen as effeminate or queer. While hijras are eunuchs, many female-to-male prostitutes (she-males), known as jhankas or zenanas, keep their male genitals and stereotypically take a passive role in sex. Other men take a passive role in anal sex but dissimulate. Parks, in particular, are venues for clandestine same-sex male encounters.

The Kama Sutra, written in approximately the third century C. E., describes a "third nature" (2.9.1). The third-natured male, like a hijra, is described as wearing clothing perceived as appropriate for women, and providing oral sex to male customers (2.9.2-5). Masseurs who dress as men also provide oral gratification (2.9.6-24). Ancient Sanskrit medical texts identify fellatio, along with masculinity in women and impotence, as markers of essential, pathological sex/sexuality/gender difference.

Oral sex techniques are both prescribed and admonished by Vatsyayana, the author of the Kama Sutra. Vatsyayana states his "opinion" that it is not a sin to have oral sex with a prostitute, only other persons (2.9.27). He further notes that "Opinions differ on the matter of purity between the authority of moral codes, occasional local customs, and one's own feelings. One should therefore behave according to one's own inclinations" (2.9.34). (http://www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/hinduism.html)

In Kaama Sutra of Vatsyayana he notes: "According to the Acharya, the masters of learning, this practice is not recommended. It is contrary to sound morals and is not a civilized practice. One is defiled by the contact of the sex with the face" (2.9.26).

Vatsyayana (2.9.40) advises that high-caste Brahmans (priests), educated men, government officials, and famous persons should avoid oral sex. The commentary notes that such a prohibition was not absolute, however. Vatsyayana observes that youthful servants sometimes performed oral sex on "other men" (2.9.35).

 The Laws of Manu 11.58 and 11.174 state that men who participate in anal intercourse are "traditionally said" to lose caste, but also prescribe that a man who has shed semen in another male perform penance.

The conclusion again is that homosexuality (which is obviously, but not exclusively primarily comprizing of oral and anal sex) although present is NOT for the brahminical class of men or women, then what to speak of Vaishnava brahmins.

Vishnu Sutras

1. Causing (bodily) pain to a Brâhmana;

2. Smelling at things which ought not to be smelt (such as excrements), or at spirituous liquor;

3. Dishonest dealing;

4. Sexual connection with cattle;

5. And (sexual connection) with a man (or unnatural intercourse with a woman):

6. Such are the crimes effecting loss of caste.

7. He who has knowingly committed one of the acts effecting loss of caste shall perform the Sântapana[1] penance; he who has done so unawares shall perform the Prâgâpatya[1] penance.

Castration is not Vedic but amputation of limbs seems to be:

"Within the Manu-smriti, capitol punishment, lashings, amputation, branding, and other severe penalties for criminal offenses are all mentioned in the Dharma-sastra text, but it should be noted that there is no prescription for castration or any similar kind of punishment for homosexual men."

Law versus practice

Homosexuality carries on regardless of Section 377 of the IPC


The wise men in government who believe that ‘‘Indian society is intolerant to the practice of homosexuality’’ have a rude shock coming. A recent study of sexual practices in rural India by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) found that ‘‘male-to-male sex is not uncommon ... In fact a higher percentage of men in (the) study reported (having) male-to-male sex than sex with sex workers. This was true of both married as well as unmarried men. Close to 10 per cent unmarried men and 3 per cent married men reported having had sexual intercourse with other men in the past 12 months.”

From urban areas, organisations like the Mumbai-based Humsafar Trust report a high incidence of homosexuality. Several previous studies have postulated similar findings. But none has surveyed as large a sample as the UNFPA study, conducted by researchers from the Mumbai-based International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), in 2002.

The survey covered 50 villages in five districts of five states with feedback on sexual practices from close to 3,000 respondents and in-depth interviews on intimate habits from 250 people. The data is indicative of a reality the government seems unable or unwilling to see.

Ancient texts such as the Manu Smriti, Arthashastra, Kamasutra, Upanishads and Puranas refer, almost casually, to homosexuality among men and women. During British rule, policy makers found the practice common enough to make legal prescriptions necessary. UNFPA findings should not come as a surprise.

An average 42.6 per cent unmarried men and 22 per cent married men reported having extra-marital sex. The survey found also that the most common extra-marital experience for a married man is with a ‘casual’ female partner, followed by a ‘regular non-commercial’ partner, and for an unmarried man a ‘regular non-commercial’ partner, followed by a ‘male’ partner. Just under six per cent of the married men reported extra-marital relations with a regular female partner who is not a commercial sex worker, eight per cent with a casual female partner. Only 2.3 per cent reported sexual relations with a female sex worker and over three per cent with another man. Among unmarried men, close to 10 per cent reported sexual relations with another man, only 4.7 per cent with a female sex worker.

Not a single person reported using a condom while having sex with a man. Condom use is more common among sex workers, a result of the targeted education regarding sexually transmitted diseases, a reflection of the policy-makers’ own perceptions of which segments of the population indulge in risky behaviour. This risk perception is at variance with the reality, a perception that needs to be urgently corrected, given that most common sexual partners for men having extra-marital sex are men and women who are not commercial sex workers.

Homosexual practice carries on regardless of Section 377 of the IPC. But the government stance at the Supreme Court hearing on the public interest litigation filed by Naz Foundation has brought the law into active opposition to the practice. Apart from issues of civil liberties, this has critical implications for the formulation of health policies.