Kama in a wider sense means desire and in a narrow sense, sexual desire. Hinduism prescribes fulfillment of sexual passions for the householders and abstinence from it for the students and ascetics who are engaged in the study of the scriptures and in the pursuit of Brahman.
The Bhagavad gita informs us that desire is an aspect of delusion and one has to be wary of its various movements and manifestations. The best way to deal with desires is to develop detachment and perform desireless actions without seeking the fruit of ones actions and making an offering of all the actions to God. This way our actions would not bind us to the cycle of births and deaths.
Hinduism permits sexual freedom so long as it is not in conflict with the first aim, i.e. dharma. Hindu scriptures emphasize that the purpose of sex is procreation and perpetuation of family and society, while the purpose of dharma is to ensure order in the institution of family and society. A householder has the permission to indulge in sex, but also has the responsibility to pursue it in accordance with the laws of dharma. Marriage is a recognized social institution and marriage with wife for the purpose of producing children is legitimate and in line with the aims of dharma. Sex in any other form, including sex with wife for pleasure is adharma. (Here we are explaining the logic of the Purusharthas. We are not advocating an opinion.)
One of the important sects of Hinduism is Tantricism. It recognizes the importance of sexual freedom in the liberation of soul. The Tantrics accept sex as an important means to experience the blissful nature of God and the best way to experience God in physical form. They also refer to the concept of Purusharthas to justify their doctrines. They believe that sexual energy is divine energy and it can be transformed into spiritual energy through controlled expression of sex.
Just as the dharmashastras were written for the sake of dharma, and artha shastras for artha, kama shastras were composed in ancient India for providing guidance in matters of sex. We have lost many of them because of the extreme secrecy and social disapproval associated with the subject. What we have today is Vatsayana's Kamasutra, which like the Arthashastra seems to be a compilation of various independent works rather the work of a single individual.
In the Puranas, Kama is the king and lord of the apsarases. He is pictured armed with a bow and arrows: the bow is often represented to be of sugar cane, the bowstring a line of bees, and each arrow is tipped with a distinct flower which is devoted to, and supposed to preside over, one of the senses. He is also often represented as a handsome youth riding on a parrot and attended by nymphs, one of whom bears his banner displaying the Makara, or a fish on a red background.
The attributes ascribed to Kamadeva in exoteric literature rarely depict the full sway of this cosmic force or entity in its multifarious ranges of activity. Kama is not only a cosmic principle or entity but also is inherent in every unit of the innumerable hosts of entities which compose the cosmos. Thus kama is the fourth principle in the human constitution; and, just as in its cosmic activities and relations, kama is both a superior and an inferior activity; indeed, it may be said to be divine in its higher aspects, just as it is physical in its lowest fields of action.
Spiritual - Theosophy Dictionary on Kamadeva