In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison for a crime they did not commit, meanwhile, in Surbiton behind net curtains Charles Raymond and his wife Edeltraud pose for a series of explicit photos. These become the source material for Raymond and Chris Foss to illustrate a ground breaking new book, ‘The Joy of Sex.’
The Joy of Sex ended up selling more than 10 million copies around the world - over five million in the United States alone, where it stayed in the New York Times best-seller list for a decade.
The book was revolutionary, sweeping away Victorian attitudes to sex. Looking back now, it is problematic. Its attitude to promiscuity had to be revised in the second edition after the HIV/ AIDS crisis. Both editions failed to make any mention of the LGBTQ community other than under the heading ‘Problems’.
“The Joy of Sex Spiked,” is an online Instagram exhibition. This was meant to be a real world show but we're not going to let a global pandemic thwart getting the art out there, even if it can only be digital for now. 20 multidisciplinary artists from around Europe been invited to revisit one of Chris Foss or Charles Raymond’s illustrations. Every day from the 1st February until the finale on Valentines day an artist will expose their reinterpretations of these seminal works.
“This book is a great example of compulsory heterosexuality. It may have spiced up my parents love life in the 70’s but it did nothing to correct their heteronormative parenting. For this gay teenager growing up in the 80’s this manual by omission failed to inspire, in my mind it created a "sex hierarchy" that graduates sexual practices from morally "good sex" to morally "bad sex". “
Marco Puig Curator of ‘The Joy of Sex Spiked.’