Jack’s Naughty Bits: The Ananga Ranga

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Jack's Naughty Bits

Every lover should know bedroom Morse code. Morse code? You mean that stuff they used to use for telegraphs before telephones and instant messaging? Yes, dear, Morse code. Short, long, short. Remember? This is how you do it if you’re a man: while erect and inside, give the penis head a little “flex” (i.e. tense the thing so a little extra blood goes to the head; if you do this while you can see it, you can watch the head swell a bit). Short. Now do it again and draw it out. Long. Short, long, short. Pulses, slow dragging. The head of the penis grows, and, in doing so, presses out and back. Your partner will feel the bump deep inside. And can decode it. To spell “more” for example, it’s: Long, long. Pause. Long, long, long. Pause. Short, long, short. Pause. Short. And “I love you”? Short, short. Pause. Short, long, short, short. Pause. Long, long, long. Pause. Short, short, short, long. Pause. Short. Pause. Long, short, long, long. Pause. Long, long, long. Pause. Short, short, long. Not too tough, right? Especially compared to all the other ways we try to say it . . .

And a woman, how does she transmit? With the famed vaginal constriction, of course, sacred knowledge of history’s most successful courtesans. As everyone who knows the right things knows, there are muscles within the vagina that can contract, ring-like, to give the man’s penis a little circumferential squeeze, or to grip what it wants to hold on to, or even, they say, to open a Pepsi bottle. Oh my.

And now it can’t be hard to imagine the Morse code I’m speaking about. He bumps, she squeezes. Short, long, long, long. Bump, squeeze, bump. Tell each other what you want. Tell how you feel. Say yes. Write God’s name.

The excerpt is taken from the Hindu sex manual, The Ananga Ranga, a follow-up to the much better known Kama Sutra. The passage concerns the fineries of woman-on-top sex, concluding with Sir Richard Burton’s delightful footnote about vaginal constriction — and those who know how and those who don’t. His lament, that too few women (especially in the West) are aware of and practice said technique, remains true, over a century after his translation and many centuries after The Ananga Ranga told us how.


From The Ananga Ranga by Kalyana Malla
Translated by Sir Richard Burton

Purushayitabandha is the reverse of what men usually practice. In this case, the man lies upon his back, draws his wife upon him and enjoys her. It is especially useful when he, being exhausted, is no longer capable of muscular exertion, and when she is ungratified, being still full of the water of love. The wife must, therefore, place her husband supine upon the bed or carpet, mount upon his person and satisfy her desires . . .


Whilst thus reversing the natural order in all forms of Purushayita, the wife will draw her breath after the fashion called Sitkara; she will smile gently, and she will show a kind of half shame, making her face so attractive it cannot well be described. After which she will say to her husband, “O my dear. O thou rogue; this day thou hast come under my control, and hast become subjected to me, being totally defeated in the battle of love!” Her husband manipulates her hair according to art, embraces her and kisses her lower lip, whereupon all her members will relax, she will close her eyes and fall into a swoon of joy.


Moreover, at all times of enjoying Purushayita, the wife will remember that without an especial exertion of will on her part, the husband’s pleasure will not be perfect. To this end, she must ever strive to close and constrict the Yoni [vagina] until it holds the Linga [penis], as with a finger, opening and shutting at her pleasure, and finally, acting as the hand of the Gopala-girl, who milks the cow. This can be learned only by long practice, and especially by throwing the will into the part affected, even as men endeavor to sharpen their hearing, and their sense of touch. While doing so, she will mentally repeat “Kamadeva! Kamadeva!” in order that a blessing may rest upon the undertaking. And she will be pleased to hear that the art once learned is never lost. Her husband will then value her above all women, nor would he exchange her for the most beautiful Rani [Queen] in the three worlds. So lovely and pleasant to man is she who constricts.

(Sir Richard Burton’s translator’s note: Amongst some races, the constrictor vagina muscles are abnormally developed. In Abyssinia, for instance, a woman can so exert them as to cause pain to a man, and, when sitting upon his thighs, she can induce the orgasm without moving any other part of her person. Such an artist is called by the Arabs “Kabbazah,” literally meaning “a holder,” and it is not surprising that the slave dealers pay large sums for her. All women have more or less the power, but they wholly neglect it; indeed, there are many races in Europe which have never even heard of it. To these, the words of wisdom spoken by Kalyana Malla, the poet, should be particularly acceptable.)

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Jack Murnighan‘s stories appeared in the Best American Erotica editions of 1999, 2000 and 2001. His weekly column for Nerve, Jack’s Naughty Bits, was collected and released as two books. He was the editor-in-chief of Nerve from 1999 to 2001, before retiring to write full time and take seriously the quest for love.

Introduction ©2000 Jack Murnighan and, Inc.