Abstract:

When we explore the theme of this year’s conference, namely “Body and Sexuality: theological-Pastoral Perspectives of Women in Asia” we bring into focus the particularities of culture and tradition. India today is a country of class and caste inequalities based on caste and sex discrimination. Women are victims both of caste and gender – trapped in a value system that is coterminus with Indian society.

To understand the sexuality of Indian women, we need to look at the Karmasutra. This is an ancient Indian text written in Sanskrit in the seventh century B.C. It is part of a trilogy of work concerning the aims of lide; namely material goods (artha) assure survival; erotic practice (kama) assures the transmission of life; and rule fo behaviour, a moral nature (dharma), assure the cohesion and duration of the species.

It is a known fact that misconceptions about the Karmasutra abound. It is the study of erotic practice (kama) which is not confined to sexual positions [this is the commercial marketable theme often used] but encourages exploration of power, intimacy, creativity, attention to detail (of senses, mood, atmosphere, etc.) between loving couples. Questions that arise are: Is the Karma Sutra used in its sacred form or is it just another tool for the marginalization of women?

Looking at Christian Sexuality – the biblical understanding become relevant and will be explored. God intended that a man should have a wife, and that they become “one flesh”, and cleave to each other. This paper would also explore four areas that lead to healthy Christian sexuality: communication – sexual, verbal and non-verbal; working toward healthy bodies – the way to a healthy sexual life; prayer – meditation on the sacred and spiritual experience of sexual love; surrender – the need to look at surrender to the other in the light of self-fulfillment.

Finally, identifying the main pastoral concerns of Christian sexuality in the light of prevalent karmasutra practice, and attempting to address them through a theological reflection on chapter thirteen of Corinthians – as Christian witness for love – mutuality and sexuality.

Valerie M D’Souza is a doctor of ministry candidate at the Catholic Theological Union where she also finished her MA in Pastoral Theology, major in Liturgy. Her doctoral thesis is on “Choreography and the Sacred: Exploring Bharata Natyam as a Feminist Strategy in Celebrating the Eucharist”.

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