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The original sex manual

<strong>The New Joy of Sex</strong>

Alex Comfort and Susan Quilliam

<em>Mitchell Beazley, 288p

Thirty-five years after the publication of the original Joy of Sex, our updated manual for adults who value mutual love and respect, and have genitalia that work, is here to help. Note that the bearded man of the earlier edition has been replaced with Timothy Hutton circa Ordinary People. Our research indicated that while some women were turned on by a fair amount of masculine hair because it looks virile, others were turned off because it looks animal - this seems to be a matter of attitude. Note also that this is a book for established couples (see ropework, page 112.) Expecting great sex with a stranger makes you neurotic. Let us begin.

There is no excuse for the unilateral eating of garlic. If, after brushing, your breath still causes a flinch visit the dentist - it may be the harbinger of something serious. Chemical deodorants are not wholly recommended. A mouthful of aluminium chloride in an armpit is one of the biggest disappointments bed can afford. Open your mind. In cultures less primitive than ours, women stretch their labia and fold them into origami shapes.

Talk. We are mature human adults. Conversing with other couples where one partner has a problem similar to yours is another resource. Have you thought of penetrating your partner with your big toe under the table of a restaurant? It is an outstandingly good trick (see threat, mild, page 34). Avoid silly games with suction (see Croatian intercourse, page 120), but coitus in the naval is practicable. We have even heard of people combining intercourse with scuba- diving (see human papilloma - wart, page 28). At all times communicate. You can't make love without feedback. Mature adults given the right information and inspiration can expect continuous coital play and genital kissing.

Lovers must take their work seriously, but breasts and skin first, please, not a direct grab at the clitoris. There is no excuse for soreness or disappointment. Confidence is mandatory (see Donald Sutherland, page 181), but do not think you are God's gift. With that kind of attitude, you won't even be moderately useful. While performing oral sex or suckling, check for lumps.

If your lover is confused, get counselling. If violent, go to the police. Immediately after a heavy meal is not an ideal moment for sex - you can make your partner sick. Sugary foods can cause yeast infections and oily foods shred condoms (see spinal cord injury, page 250). Never drink or take drugs. If you are serious about sex, develop a liking for mineral water (see strangulation, partial, page 246). Test any ice cube on your elbow first and don't place or leave in any sensitive orifice. Do not fool around with plastic bags (see gonorrhoea, page 99). Those who enjoy sex in a car ought to buy a small van. Again, at all times be on guard for sores, discharge, lumps, bumps and bleeding. Condoms are mandatory. We are mature adults. If symptoms occur, get them checked out. Do not forget this is a medical issue. You need professional help. Have fun.

Unless you want a body on your hands, there are certain things one better not try on a hyper tensive executive (see Reage, Pauline, page 88), but some people favour a "tongue battle" that can last hours, bringing several orgasms for the woman. More pleasant is rubbing each other with a condom-compatible massage oil. Coitus on a Sunday is popular, but brush teeth first, erection or no erection (see bacterial vaginosis, page 96). While out of bed, never refer to pillow talk in anger. This is contemptible. Don't be scared of role play (see scabies, page 96). Be the sultan and his favourite concubine, the dog and a currant bun (see Vatican roulette, page 145). Under no circumstances use alcohol - it is a neutering drug.

Do not ejaculate on flora and fauna without clearing up after you, and never in natural water sources (see trichomoniasis, page 96). You can get semen out of clothing or furnishings with a stiff brush (see anger, pages 126, 185, 195, 260). Surface-wise, the best venue is a sand dune; but if you or your partner like to tie each other to trees, do so only in a walled garden (see viral hepatitis, page 86). Pornography is a turn-on for some, but most women prefer watching Sharon Stone riding Michael Douglas in Basic Instinct (see chlamydia, page 48). Be quick, so that the man doesn't get cramp through being tied. Follow the safety guidelines at all times. Beware infidelity: think of Anna Karenina. Despite hormonal ups and downs, put in the effort. A full and mutually respectful sex life is a basic human right. Be safe at all times. Be joyful (see amyl nitrate, page 114).

Antonia Quirke is an author and journalist. She presents The Film Programme on BBC Radio 4. She writes a column on radio for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 29 September 2008 issue of the New Statesman, The crash of 2008