To browse Academia. Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Songyos Pongrojphaw. Updated and reillustrated editions were published in , , , and by Mitchell Beazley, an imprint of Octopus Publishing Group Ltd. Originally published: New York : Crown, ; 1st American ed.
Includes bibliographical references and index. Sex instruction. Sex customs. Quilliam, Susan. C As with the rest of human natural history, I had notes on it.
My wife encouraged me to bring biology into medicine, and my old medical school had no decent textbook to teach a human sexuality course. Joy was compiled and, very importantly, illustrated, just after the end of that daft and extraordinary non-statute in Western society, the Sexual O cial Secrets Act. For at least two hundred years, the description, and above all the depiction, of this most familiar and domestic group of activities, and of almost everything associated with them, had been classi ed.
When, in the sixteenth century, Giulio Romano engraved his weightily classical pictures showing sixteen ways of making love, and Aretino wrote poems to go with them, a leading ecclesiastic opined that the artist deserved to be cruci ed.
My immediate predecessor in writing about domestic sex, Dr. Eustace Chesser, was unsuccessfully prosecuted for his low-key, unillustrated book Love Without Fear, and even in there was still some remaining doubt about whether Joy would be banned by the Thought Police. That kind of reassurance is still needed. I have had both answers. One can now read books and see pictures devoted to sexual behavior almost without limitation in democratic countries, but it takes more than a few decades and a turnover of generations to undo centuries of misinformation; and of this material, much is anxious or hostile or over the top.
Where unanxious books dealing as accurately as possible with the range of sexual behaviors are most valuable is in encouraging the sexually active reader — who both wants to enjoy sex and to be responsible about it — and in aiding the helping professions to avoid causing problems to their clients. It is only recently, as ethology has replaced psychoanalytic theory, that counselors have come to realize that sex, besides being a serious interpersonal matter, is a deeply rewarding form of play.
Children are not encouraged to be embarrassed about their play; adults often have been and are still. So long as play is not hostile, cruel, unhappy, or limiting, they need not be. One of the most important uses of play is in expressing a healthy awareness of sexual equality.
This involves letting both sexes take turns in controlling the game; sex is no longer what men do to women and women are supposed to enjoy. Both are essential and built-in to humans. For anyone who is short on either of these elements, play is the way to learn: men learn to stop domineering and trying to perform; women discover that they can take control in the give-and-take of the game rather than by nay-saying.
This book has changed considerably since its rst edition and it will be revised again in the future as knowledge increases. What will not change is the central importance of unanxious, responsible, and happy sexuality in the lives of normal people.
For what they need — in a culture that does not learn skills and comparisons in this area of living by watching — is accurate and unbothered information. The availability of this, and public resistance to the minority of disturbed people who for so long limited it, is an excellent test of the degree of liberty and concern in a society, re ected in the now-old injunction to make love, not war.
It is a socially relevant test today. Alex Comfort, M. I well remember the original publication of Joy, and the awed giggles with which I and my friends read, discussed, and then put into practice its suggestions.
So I know rsthand what over the decades proved to be true: Joy is an astonishing and inspirational child of its age, born not only out of social but also political changes that irreversibly altered the sexual landscape for individuals, couples, and society. In its wake came increased female education, emancipation, and self-belief, as well as a whole host of liberalizations, sexual and social — increasing permissiveness, more frequent cohabitation, easier divorce, more available erotica, and gay rights.
Joy was not only a product of this revolution, it also helped create it. The text and illustrations were designed to both reassure the reader that their sexuality was normal and to o er further possibilities with which to expand their sexual menu. He was hugely e ective in his intention — 8. More than that, it was a key in uence on the social changes of the late twentieth century and has been a byword for sexual vision ever since. Why, then, reinvent?
But the very changes that Joy itself wrought in society have meant that the book has come to need updating in a more fundamental way. This was my task — to re-create The Joy of Sex for the contemporary world; to do what Alex Comfort would have done had he been writing today.
The majority of the text remains the same, but substantial additions have been made. Many of these are informational; there have been countless key scienti c discoveries in recent years in the elds of physiology, psychology, psychotherapy, and medicine, while the advent of sexology — the specialist study of sexual matters — has resulted in both rigorous academic research and a more widespread public awareness of, and skill in, sex. Alongside these informational updates, a great deal of refocusing has been necessary to re ect social shifts.
An intimate relationship is a very di erent animal from what it was in And all that is set beside high rates of pregnancy, abortion, and sexually transmitted infections. All of which is why the many changes made to Joy have been underpinned by what remains the same — an absolute yet pragmatic optimism around sexuality and its place in our lives. Running throughout the original book was a rock-solid seam of positivity that sex is a good thing and that mature adults, given the right information and inspiration, can be trusted to treat it as such.
Despite the headlines and scare stories, I still deeply believe in what Alex Comfort proposed — that sex should be and can be a total joy. I too want to present knowledge in an accessible form. To encourage mature decision-making and o er the skills and strategies to do it. To protest attempts to enforce inhibitions on human sexuality.
To see sex as the ultimate in human play, but at the same time a developmental essential that helps us grow as people and partners. Just as true today. It is so quite new a thing. Muscles better and nerves more. This, if you think about it, summarizes the justi cation for learning to make love. Love, in the same way as singing, is something to be taken spontaneously. On the other hand, the di erence between Pavlova and the Palais de Danse, or opera and barbershop singing, is much less than the di erence between sex as our recent ancestors came to accept it and sex as it can be.
And there are now enough books about the basics; we are largely past the point of people worrying about the normality, possibility, and variety of sexual experience. This book is slightly di erent, in that there are now enough people who have those basics and want more depth of understanding, solid ideas, and inspiration. Gourmet sex, as we de ne it, is the same — the extra one can get from comparing notes, using some imagination, trying way-out or new experiences, when one already is making satisfying love and wants to go on from there.
This book will likely attract four sorts of readers. Third, most people will use our notes as a personal one-couple notebook from which they might get ideas. In this respect we have tried to stay wide open. One of the original aims of this book was to cure the notion, born of non-discussion, that common sex needs are odd or weird; the whole joy of sex-with-love is that there are no rules, so long as you enjoy, and the choice is practically unlimited.
We have, however, left out long discussion of very specialized sexual preferences; people who like these know already what they want to try. The nal group of readers are the hardy experimentalists, bent on trying absolutely everything. The worst you can get, given sensible safety precautions, is sore, anxious, or disappointed. However, one needs a steady basic diet of quiet, loving, night- and-morning intercourse to stand this experimentation on, simply because, contrary to popular ideas, the more regular sex a couple has, the higher the deliberately contrived peaks — just as the more you cook routinely, the better and the more reliable banquets you can stage.
One speci c group of readers deserves special note. A physical disability is not an obstacle to ful lling sex. The best approach is probably to go through the book with your partner, marking o the things you can do.
Talking to other couples where one partner has a problem similar to yours is another resource. In sum, the people we are addressing are the adventurous and uninhibited lovers who want to nd the limits of their ability to enjoy sex. That means we take some things for granted — having intercourse naked and spending time over it; being able and willing to make it last, up to a whole afternoon on occasion; having privacy; not being scared of things like genital kisses; not being obsessed with one sexual trick to the exclusion of all others; and, of course, loving each other.
By feedback, we mean the right mixture of stop and go, tough and tender, exertion and a ection. This comes by empathy and long mutual knowledge. The starting point of all lovemaking is close bodily contact; love has been de ned as the harmony of two souls, and the contact of two epiderms.
That includes our feelings of identity, forcefulness, and so on, and all of our fantasy needs. Elaboration in sex is something we need rather specially and it has the advantage that if we really make it work, it makes us more, not less, receptive to each other as people. Those are the assumptions on which this book is based. Granted this, there are two modes of sex — the duet and the solo — and a good concert alternates between the two. The duet is a cooperative e ort aiming at simultaneous orgasm, or at least one orgasm each, and complete, untechnically planned release.
This is the basic sexual meal. The solo, by contrast, is when one partner is the player and the other the instrument. The instrument does lose control — in fact, with a responsive instrument and a skillful performer, this is the concerto situation — and if it ends in an uncontrollable ensemble, so much the better.
The antique idea of the woman as passive and the man as performer used to ensure that he would show o playing solos on her, and early marriage manuals perpetuated this idea. Today, she is herself the soloist par excellence, whether in getting him excited to start with, or in controlling him and showing o all her skills.
Solo recitals are not, of course, necessarily separate from intercourse. Solo response can be electrifyingly extreme in the quietest people. The solo-given orgasm, whether from her or from him, is unique — neither bigger nor smaller in either sex than a full duet but di erent; sharper but not so round. And most people who have experienced both like to alternate them.
Trying to say how they di er is a little like describing wine. Differ they do, however, and much depends on cultivating and alternating them.