Saturday, September 6, 2008

Why Joy of Sex?

Perhaps the most interesting - and at the same time frustrating - question I'm being asked right now is the "why" question. Why, in short, did I bother writing the book?

Don't get me wrong - everyone is being hugely excited and supportive. (That is, apart from the Alan Titchmarsh Show where he and his two guests just giggled like embarrassed schoolkids for five minutes - which was rather endearing seeing as their combined ages were probably more than the number of pages in the book).

But despite their enthusiasm, at some point absolutely everyone asks the 'why' question. Why does the book need a rewrite? And, why does the world need another sex book?

The answer to the first question is that it's a matter of timing. The Joy of Sex itself hasn't lost its essential appeal - telling people that they can take sex further and more pleasurably than they thought they could. But in the 36 years since publication, the science has developed enormously and the presuppositions have shifted completely. We now know about hormones, pheromones, the importance of the clitoris; we now have internet sex, teen pregnancy and the Venus Butterfly. The original was groundbreaking - but even cultural icons occasionally need a makeover.

The answer to the second question, however, is that it's a matter of common sense. My interviewers may have got sex totally sorted, but the majority of the rest of us haven't. With my agony hat on, I still get letters from thirty-something men who don't know where the clitoris is, and thirty-something women who don't realise that they need one. Plus, we have never been under more pressure to achieve in the bedroom: - to have good sex, to have more sex, to have better sex than the Joneses - despite the fact that the Joneses themselves, due to all the pressure, probably aren't having sex at all.

I passionately believe that there is still a need for a good sex book. There is still a need for a book that doesn't trivialise sex, regard it as junk food, see it in fluffy pink - a book that takes sex seriously, as a powerful and important force in our lives.

There is still a need, above all, for a book that encourages us to relax and take pleasure and show love when we make love.

There is still a need for a book that reinspires us with the joy in sex.

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