N.Y. Times Notes 'Joy of Sex' Revision

Tod Hunter
NEW YORK — The New York Times is reporting that '70s bestseller "The Joy of Sex," which was written by Dr. Alex Comfort and spent more than six years on the Times' best-seller list, has been revised and updated for a re-release next month.

The book, now titled "The New Joy of Sex," has supplemented its line drawings with photographs and added discussion of topics including AIDS, male potency drugs, and online porn — none of which was on the scene in the 1970s.

The revision was done by Susan Quilliam, a British sexologist, advice columnist and relationship counselor, who has said that contemporary people desperately need help in negotiating the culture's bewildering sexual messages.

"Because we are more sexualized, we need something that is credible, accurate and authoritative," Quilliam said. "There's an awful lot of trivialization of sex. I am absolutely in favor of making sex fun, pleasurable, loving, playful. But this is serious stuff. You sleep with somebody and it bonds you to them."

Quilliam brought a female perspective to the revision.

"I'm sure he was a lovely man, but he said that most men, given a young and attractive partner, can always get it up — it's only when a woman lets herself go that he has a problem," Quilliam said. "And you're going, 'No, no, no!' But that is what it was like then."

"Alex was debunking the idea that sex was dirty," Quilliam said of Dr. Comfort and the original "Joy of Sex." "I'm saying: 'Let's normalize this. Most people don't have screaming orgasms every weekend.' Have fun, have love, have sex. But don't give yourself a hard time if you're not doing it 24/7."

The New York Times article can be read here.