50 years on, “The pleasure of sex” is outdated in some parts but still a fun “no harm”

First published in 1972, “The Joy of Sex” Style yourself like a sex cookbook, with placements and predictions presented as loose recipes.

However, as any good cookbook author knows, sometimes people really need a photo to get a sense of the finished dish. The book’s success is largely due to its rich graphic sketches, as well as its playful and harmless approach to sex (“unanxious” is a word the book’s author uses a lot).

For many of us born in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s, “The Pleasure of Sex” changed everything. Not in the way it was intended, of course (as a gourmet guide to making love), but as one that conveys the terrible perception that not only are our parents having sex, but they also want to do it. that in a fun way. In fact, they were so interested that they bought and perhaps read the 250-page porn guide.

That’s how popular the book is (it has sold more than 12 million copies worldwide and has been translated into more than a dozen languages) that it has become relatively common for people to leave it on the shelf or even on the coffee table.

The book’s cover lists Alex Comfort, a physician, novelist, and poet, as the editor. But instead of gently editing the sex advice and escapades of a happy couple, Comfort later revealed that he had self-written book, with the help of his longtime mistress (who was also his wife’s best friend and his future wife). Private Polaroids and his depictions of sexual positions are the basis for many of the sketches in the book, along with photographs taken by the color illustrator Charles Raymond and his wife Edeltraud which Chris Foss used as a reference for his line drawings.

Today, this subterfuge and polaroiding plot adds to what is already a rather unusual read. There’s a lot of talk about dandy suits, butter buns, goldfish, and railroads (not what you think). At the time of publication, the book was revolutionary – perhaps not in its content, but in its popularity. It follows Alfred Kinsey’s books on sexual behavior in men and women in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

In the early 1970s, the sexual revolution was underway, and it is possible that “Sexual Pleasure” also reflected society’s increasing focus on sexual pleasure and had the effect of enhancing it. .

Making love the right way (original title)

At its core, the book’s advice is pretty simple. Comfort urges readers to be more open about sex, explore and experiment, and communicate without judgment. Fifty years on, this is still good advice.

Qualitative research (which focuses on topics rather than data) shows that many people find sexual satisfaction to be reflect openness about sex and willingness to fulfill desires, as well as clearer standards such as orgasm and sex frequency. People actually communicate with their partner about what makes them like (and what doesn’t) and who are willing to talk about the often embarrassing rudeness of sex, tend to report better sex. They also reported better relationships overall (perhaps in large part due to better sex).

And it’s not just good communicators who are generally better at communicating about sex – rather, there’s something special about talking openly about sexual desires and needs. Improves both sexual and overall relationship satisfaction.

It’s not just old-fashioned hair, though

Today, there are many books that are outdated, outdated, or inaccurate. Comfort appears to be associated with sexual perfectionism. Although he refutes some sexual myths (such as inherent superiority about “vaginal” vs. “clitoris” orgasms) he seems to believe that most sexual encounters can (and probably should) be characterized by simultaneous orgasms. Subsequent research demonstrates that when we ask sexual perfectionism (in ourselves, or our partner), we tend to enjoy sex much less.

The book is very heterosexual – a modern reinterpretation of the book will need an enhanced focus on gender diversity and sexual identity, as well as the many ways we have sex. (Note there was modified versions and subsections include “The Joy of Homosexuality” and “The Joy of Lesbian Sex”.)

However, the advice in the original around openly and nonjudgmental communication about gender and sexual needs can work for everyone. And Comfort admits there are groups of people who need other books. Although his language around these issues is awkward in today’s eyes, there is widespread acceptance of same-sex attractions (without citing any evidence). .

There are still many other aspects of the book that need to be revised or updated, but there are also interesting additions in the 1972 edition.

There are many unusual assumptions. For example, when it comes to the men’s first leg (so-called “relegator”), Comfort confidently states:

A stallion, viewed from the back, is a male ‘stag’ – it has long hair, a large rump and an unsteady walk. A cow is not.

In fact, there’s a lot of talk about horses, horse symbols, and rides throughout the book.

Comfort rails resist deodorant and warn lovers never to wear it.

Elsewhere, he helpfully warns:

[…] the only The truly disturbing expression of love music is when the woman laughs uncontrollably – some do. Don’t stress about this.

Today’s scientific support for “Sexual Pleasure” is generally mixed, and the book is dated, simultaneously male-centered and heterosexual. But is it still fun? Yes, that’s right.

The central message – that sex can be a source of joy, love, fellowship and play – remains as true today as it was in 1972. There are also some good tips, if you can separate horses from cows. So excuse me, while I read about the avocado toast.

Fiona Kate Barlow, High-level researcher, University of Queensland

This article was republished from Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read original article.

https://www.salon.com/2022/01/08/50-years-on-the-joy-of-sex-is-outdated-in-parts-but-still-a-fun-unanxious-romp_partner/ 50 years on, “The pleasure of sex” is outdated in some parts but still a fun “no harm”

Caroline Bleakley

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