JOY OF SEX; Drop the Beard and Give Him a Six-Pack Says the Bearded and Rounded Son of the Original Author

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), August 22, 2002 | Go to article overview

JOY OF SEX; Drop the Beard and Give Him a Six-Pack Says the Bearded and Rounded Son of the Original Author


Byline: MARIA CROCE

1972

AS he sits behind his desk at the Scotland Office in a smart suit and tie, Nick Comfort looks every inch the archetypal civil servant.

But first appearances can be deceptive - for this softly-spoken, bearded political advisor is the man entrusted to update the world's most famous sex manual.

Nick, 56, is the son of Dr Alex Comfort, the author of The Joy Of Sex. And, 30 years after the book first worked its way into bedrooms across the country, Nick is bringing out a new version for a new generation.

And it's meant some of Nick's friends and colleagues have suddenly realised his connection with the country's father of sex, who died two years ago at the age of 80.

Former Record journalist Nick admits: "I've had the odd teasing email, but a surprising number of people didn't know I had anything to do with it."

He's been given permission by his boss, Scottish Secretary Helen Liddell, to promote the book - but he's at pains to point out this is completely separate to his Government job.

He says: "I've been cleared to do it because it's family business and everyone's been very reasonable about it. It's not taking up an enormous amount of time."

Nick also says he has not suddenly become a sex expert. He insists: "That was my father's life, not mine. I'm very proud to be associated with it - but I'm not an expert in this field.

"I've had American lads' magazines ringing me up asking me for tips and I've had to say I'm not a guru and that they'll have to consult someone else."

Nick sees his work editing a new version of the book as a way of honouring the memory of his father, as he'd discussed possible changes with him before his death.

The book has been updated in several ways - and although Nick himself sports a beard, one of the changes is that the bearded man in the original's illustrations has been replaced by a clean-shaven one.

NICK says: "I grew my beard when I worked at the Daily Record 10 years ago, but it's a sheer coincidence that the man in the book had one and I have one.

"The point about the original book was not whether the participants had beards or not. It was the first time anyone had been able to depict these things in a book without the book being banned. And it had to be done carefully and tactfully."

As a whole generation has grown up since the book was first published, some of the language has inevitably been updated.

Females were previously referred to as girls, but are now women, and where the book used to say man and wife, it's now written as partners. There is also a section on the implication of Aids.

Nick says: "Clearly, HIV has been the biggest change in the past 30 years. My father's book came out at a time when sex was a safe activity. That's changed and the book has had to be changed, too."

There's now a section on safe sex, including recent contraceptive methods, and there's also reference made to Viagra and HRT. When vasectomy is mentioned, it's noted that men can now store sperm in a bank in case their circumstances change.

The section on prostitution has also been changed, saying a woman's major motivation is economic rather than, as previously stated, a hatred of men.

Dad-of-three Nick, who is married to second wife Corinne, is now at the same stage of life as his father was when he wrote The Joy Of Sex. …

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