The Joy of SexThe Joy of Sex was a ground-breaking sex manual by Alex Comfort, M.D. published in 1979 It was the first explicit, serious book about sex to gain wide distribution. Earlier works, such as the 1966 Human Sexual Response by William H. Masters & Virginia E. Johnson, were more circumspect and clinical. Conversely, The Joy of Sex is rather circumspect and clinical in comparison to The Guide to Getting it On, published 30 years later.
The actual names of the authors (said to be an anonymous husband and wife in the introduction to the first edition) have never been made public.
The book features sexual practices such as oral sex and various sex positionss as well as bringing "farther out" practices as sexual bondage and swinging to the attention of the general public. The book contained numerous illustrations by Chris Foss, based on original photographs of the book's art director and his wife. The illustrations have become somewhat dated, mainly because of changes in hairstyles.
Both the illustrations and text are titillating as well as illustrative, in contrast to the bland, clinical style of earlier books about sex.
More recent editions feature new artwork, and added text emphasizing safer sex. The added text does not blend well with the original material, leading readers to wonder whether it was added solely out of liability concerns.