The Perfumed Garden - Introduction

The Perfumed Garden - Introduction

The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight is a revered Arabic sexual manual written byMuhammadibn Muhammad al-Nafzawi. The fifteenth-century erotic literature outlines the qualities that men and women should possess to remain attractive. The book also elucidates sexual techniques, warnings about sexual health and remedies to overcome sexual maladies. The book is believed to have been written between 1410 and 1434. The book has wider  readership and accepted as one of the great works in the field of sexology and sexual wellness.

Some of the highlights of the book include:

  • Guidelines for 'proper' sexual practice. It outlines wheres, whens, know-hows and know-whos to have sex with.
  • Lists of names for the male and female genitals and different sizes and shapes of male and female organs.
  • A section about interpretation of sexual dreams
  • A mention that god has created the parts of woman that won't know the pleasurable or satisfactory feeling unless and until the same has been penetrated by a male instrument and similarly the sexual organs of  a man remains numb unless it enters those of a female
  • He has also gifted her with eyes that inspire love, and with eyelashes like polished blades.
  • An elaborate description of all sorts of sexual positions. The author comments that reader is welcome to make their own comfortable position.
  • At many instances, the author presents a story about how to seduce a woman and what to do when you win her, when not to ejaculate and what to do when you happen to ejaculate.

Critics opine that Perfumed Garden is completely written from the male point of view towards sexual pleasure and women's point of view is completely neglected. In the Arabian Society traditionally men were the seekers or hunters, and women are the prey. The author being part of the Arabian society, his views are thoroughly justified and women have less option in many cases than to accept the advances made by men and remain submissive.

However, due respect was given to the women in the book and as it is mentioned that a woman don't necessarily have to 'give it up' when a man wants her, rather the man has to 'win' her over completely in order to have sex with her.

It is mentioned that it is woman's job to look as beautiful as she can (personality and not just physical appearance) so as to attract her man to her.

The book does not by any means propagate a negative technique, the book do emphasis sexual compatibility, which modern day sexologists agree. Many agree that Perfumed Garden can be compared to Kamasutra, a well known Hindu manual for sex.

Perfumed Garden is revered for the intensity of erotica involved which is sure to stimulate the reader. The book offers practical insights to leading a healthy and satisfying sex life.

The book came to be known among English-speaking world through the translation by the French author,Sir Richard Francis Burtonin the year 1886. The author asserts that Perfumed Garden can be compared to the renowned French Book 'Conjugal Love' by Nicolas Venette.