The New and Approved ‘Joy of Sex’

Published November 12, 2008 by Patty Brisben

There are many things that happen in life that make the kind of impact that stays with us forever. Most people who were around in 1972 certainly remember the stir caused by a book called The Joy of Sex. This provocative book filled with sexual positions and other topics on sexuality took bookstores across the country by storm, and some would argue even played an important role in the ongoing sexual revolution.

Back then, it was a clever and strategic move for author Dr. Alex Comfort to soften the blow with metaphorical subtitles such as “appetizers”, “main courses” and the ever-phallic “sauces and pickles”. I can certainly relate to his efforts to de-vulgarize sexuality and make it more accessible to the everyday mainstream public. Part of the reason it was such an immediate bestseller was because it succeeded at making people feel more comfortable about the highly stigmatized topic of sex.

Times haven’t changed much since the early 70s in the sense that sex continues to be a difficult topic for many people to talk about – even after all these years! During many of my own book signings for Pure Romance Between the Sheets I was gently warned to be careful of what terms I used when discussing my “controversial” book on intimacy. Even “Sexual Health” is surprisingly perceived as a dirty word to some; this astounds me for how can we ever get to a place where we can have a healthy sexuality when we fear to even say the phrase in public?

Today, this iconic book has been released in an updated version for 2009 by a relationship psychologist who was selected by Comfort’s son to reinvent the book. Unlike the original version which targeted a mostly male, heterosexual audience, the updated version will targets couples and include new topics such as the Internet, phone sex, self esteem issues, sexually transmitted infections and intercourse during pregnancy. Interestingly the revised version has a resource section with research on the female orgasm and the use of sex toys which the publisher felt were “considered too outrageous to admit to.” Well, it’s time to not only admit it, but also shout it from the rooftops; almost every home in America probably owns some sort of bedroom accessory, and believe me when I say that Pure Romance has the customer base to prove it! It’s time to let go of feelings of shame and embarrassment still often associated with sexuality and I’m glad that books like The Joy of Sex are still making a substantial impact today.

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