While I would agree with their cause of more sexual freedom, I somehow do not agree with the fact that
The evidences put forth in support of this argument often comprise of ancient Indian sculpture/paintings like those at Khajuraho,
Although I have no doubts that ancient
An even more cursory glance at today’s society will reveal that the lifestyle of the rich and elite, the P3P’s in today’s parlance, is far removed from the lifestyle of the masses. Indeed, the amount of sexual promiscuity in the privileged section of the society is far more than that in the less privileged one. I have reason to believe that it was so in the ancient times too. Kings were kings – absolute monarchs – what was to prevent them from breaking the sexual norms of the society – whatever they were.
One of the fundamental natures of the Indian society has been different codes of conduct for different sections of the society. The Kshatriya was allowed to eat meat, hunt, play dice, keep as many wives as possible, drink alcohol – a lot many vices were allowed, in fact, almost all of them. A Brahmin was supposed to lead a more austere life. Eat what is called “satvik” food. Refrain from sexual promiscuity etc etc. Thus, while Kunti can bear a child without marriage and Draupdi can take five husbands at a time, Ahilya was turned to stone for a crime she did not even commit. Indra and Chandra were repeatedly punished for misbehaving with the wives of Brahmins while they could freely watch Apsaras dance in their own court. Clearly the rules of the game were different for different people.
In light of all this, what the evidence merely suggests is that only a certain (upper) strata of the society was sexually liberal rather than the entire society. Even today the upper class in sexually liberal so there hasn’t been much difference. The lower strata are conservative and I believe that it was conservative all along.