Many commentators and critics have noted that while Milo Manara is the master of the erotic comic, he very rarely includes actual shared sex in his storylines. Nudity, arousal, humiliation, exploration, fantasy all abound, but his characters rarely interact sexually, and he almost never depicts penetrative sex. He is not very keen on drawing male genitalia at all, much preferring the clean lines of breasts, female buttocks and vulvas. Maybe he just isn’t very interested in the physical aspects of male sexuality, or maybe he is more concerned with male psychology and men’s all-too-often confused emotional response to the erotic. He clearly has, or at least represents for his readership, a very male gaze, a specifically heterosexual man’s world-view.

But maybe his audience is looking for something beyond the pornographic interplay of sexual organs, which is why his work is so popular, apparently with women as much as with men. He focuses on feelings as much as actions, on faces as much as genitals, so the erotic response works on many levels simultaneously.

This section of his interpretation of Kamasutra includes one of the only erect human penises to be found in Manara’s output, this one even being held by a lover. It also demonstrates how inventive Manara can be with elements like colour, the depth of colour cleverly matching the pitch of the passion.

Manara’s Kamasutra was published in Italian by Edition Erotik; the English version was published by Eurotica in 1998 and has long been out of print. In 2008 Leopoldo Bloom produced a limited 500-copy artist-signed edition of the Kamasutra Artbook, which includes many preliminary drawings and alternative artwork versions for the book.