memories of the ’70s – The Joy of Sex

With the matter of factness of an academic and the influence of a cookbook, British author Dr. Alex Comfort made information very accessible with the publication in 1972 of The Joy of Sex.

Modelled on the same layout as The Joy of Cooking, this sex manual included distinctive black and white illustrations and colourful paintings and was divided into sections like “Starters” and “Main Courses”.

Subtitled ‘A Gourmet Guide to Lovemaking’, the manual offered information and advice on sexual subjects such as oral sex, swinging and bondage, as well as incorporating Japanese and Indian erotic images and practises.

Unlike previous books, this manual celebrated sex, and moved away from the strictly clinical discussions. Comfort’s creation was a publishing success, spending 11 weeks as the number one bestseller on the NY Times list, and over 70 weeks in the top five.

In 1973, Comfort released an updated version, More Joy of Sex, A Lovemaking Companion to the Joy of Sex, adding more details and addressing queries that had resulted from the first book’s publication.

And although the sexual revolution was well underway, controversy about this book, especially in the United States, has led to several libraries trying to ban the book and consequent editions.

But for readers, this book was a witty, often funny and instructional manual that encouraged finding joy and pleasure in sex.

About Waheeda Harris

A pop culture junkie with a penchant for exploring our planet.
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