Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (book)

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)
AuthorDavid Reuben
Cover artistLawrence Ratzkin
CountryUnited States
Publication date
June 1969
Media typePrint
Pages368 pp.
306.7 21
LC ClassHQ31 .R436 1999

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) is a book (1969, updated 1999) by U.S. physician David Reuben. It was one of the first sex manuals that entered mainstream culture in the 1960s, and had a profound effect on sex education and in liberalizing attitudes towards sex.[1] It was the most popular non-fiction book of its era and became part of the Sexual Revolution of modern America.[citation needed]

The book was No. 1 best-seller in 51 countries and reached more than 100 million readers.[1] In 1972 it was parodied by Woody Allen in the comedy film of the same name and received a favorable response from movie critics.[2]

The book made a large impact. It was favorably reviewed by the New York Times and Life Magazine, and, after a massive book tour, would go on to be #1 on the New York Times bestseller list for 55 weeks. Reuben became a celebrity, guesting on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and attracting good ratings. As popular as the book was, it attracted critics in both the clinical world, and the public. The LGBT community objected to negative descriptions of homosexuality in the book (for example, Reuben wrote that gay men were "trying to solve the problem with only half the pieces"; lesbianism was relegated to a brief discussion in a section about prostitution). In 1972, Playboy magazine published an article purporting to expose 100 errors in the book.[3]

Reuben wrote an updated version which was published 30 years later, in 1999. In particular, his views on homosexuality, abortion, and pornography were modernized and updated.[4]