History of Sex Manuals The Joy of Sex Part 1

About the book The Joy of Sex: A Cordon Bleu Guide to Lovemaking by Alexander Comfort, history, overview and advice from the sexual manual.

The Development of the Sex Manual


Instructor: Alexander Comfort (b. 1920). A physician, poet, biochemist, and expert in the aging process among other things, Alex Comfort is and always has been a rebel--a runaway at age seven; a pacifist during W.W. II (when pacifism was a dirty word); an organizer of a ban-the-bomb demonstration in London in 1962; a member of the sexual avantgarde in the 1970s. (He was an active member of Sandstone, a Los Angeles humanistic sex club.) Yet, in his introduction to The Joy of Sex, he hid under the cloak of anonymity, attributing authorship of the book, which he wrote himself, to a couple who preferred to remain nameless. His reason: fear of losing his British physician's license.

Overview: It looks like a cookbook in that its main categories are titled "Starters," "Main Courses," "Sauces and Pickles," and "Problems." Though you could make an infinite variety of sexual meals from its "recipes," it's quite likely that your pickles might be someone else's main course, and vice versa. But the menu is dazzling: horse (which Aristotle liked to play); doing it in a swing; "discipline," including spanking, beating, birching (though, depending on where you live, you may have to "vacation with a chain saw" in order to get the proper birch switches); the tongue bath; underwater sex (which uses up "vast amounts of air because of the overbreathing that goes with orgasm"); paraphernalia, including how to make a G-string; "mouth music," or genital kisses. Not much is frowned upon except the extremely bizarre, such as hard-core sadomasochism, and the undeniably criminal, like rape and child molestation. Comfort recommends sex as play and suggests that both partners read the book and exchange lists of what they would like to try.

The Joy of Sex tells you how to set up a "sexuarium," complete with ceiling mirrors and an array of tools of the trade. It also suggests what kind of bed to buy--with bedposts for bondage and with the top of the mattress level with the man's public bone (for certain standing positions). The style is light and humorous, studded with anecdotes like the one about the man who could achieve sexual satisfaction only by having intercourse in a bathtub full of spaghetti. Included in the book are color plates of Indian, Chinese, and Japanese erotic art, as well as explicit drawings of a modern couple making love.

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