The Kama Sutra (Part II Chapter IV On Pressing, Marking or Scratching with the Nails, page 1 of 3)


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When love becomes intense, pressing with the nails or scratching the body with them is practised, and it is done on the following occasions: On the first visit; at the time of setting out on a journey; on the return from a journey; at the time when an angry lover is reconciled; and lastly when the woman is intoxicated.

But pressing with the nails is not an usual thing except with those who are intensely passionate, _i.e._, full of passion. It is employed together with biting, by those to whom the practice is agreeable.

Pressing with the nails is of the eight following kinds, according to the forms of the marks which are produced, viz.:

1. Sounding.

2. Half moon.

3. A circle.

4. A line.

5. A tiger's nail or claw.

6. A peacock's foot.

7. The jump of a hare.

8. The leaf of a blue lotus.

The places that are to be pressed with the nails are as follows: the arm pit, the throat, the breasts, the lips, the jaghana, or middle parts of the body, and the thighs. But Suvarnanabha is of opinion that when the impetuosity of passion is excessive, then the places need not be considered.

The qualities of good nails are that they should be bright, well set, clean, entire, convex, soft, and glossy in appearance. Nails are of three kinds according to their size, viz.: Small. Middling. Large.

Large nails, which give grace to the hands, and attract the hearts of women from their appearance, are possessed by the Bengalees.

Small nails, which can be used in various ways, and are to be applied only with the object of giving pleasure, are possessed by the people of the southern districts.

Middling nails, which contain the properties of both the above kinds, belong to the people of the Maharashtra.

(1). When a person presses the chin, the breasts, the lower lip, or the jaghana of another so softly that no scratch or mark is left, but only the hair on the body becomes erect from the touch of the nails, and the nails themselves make a sound, it is called a "sounding or pressing with the nails."

This pressing is used in the case of a young girl when her lover shampoos her, scratches her head, and wants to trouble or frighten her.

(2). The curved mark with the nails, which is impressed on the neck and the breasts, is called the "half moon."

(3). When the half moons are impressed opposite to each other, it is called a "circle." This mark with the nails is generally made on the navel, the small cavities about the buttocks, and on the joints of the thigh.

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