Author of 'The Joy of Sex' Dies at 80

2:37 PM EST; March 28, 2000; London, UK (AP and CNN) -- British author Alex Comfort, who gained international fame for his best selling The Joy of Sex, has died at the age of 80. Comfort, who was also a poet and nuclear disarmament campaigner, died Sunday night in Oxfordshire, England. The Joy of Sex, published in 1972, sold 12 million copies worldwide and was translated into two dozen languages. Billed as the "gourmet guide to lovemaking," it contained text and numerous illustrations. The book gained Comfort a reputation -- unfairly in the view of his supporters -- as an advocate for "promiscuity." Comfort, who frequently said he was irritated that he was always remembered for the sex manual rather than his other extensive work, nevertheless acknowledged that it was pioneering. "Before my book, writing about sex gave the impression of being written by non-playing coaches," he once said.

He Also Wrote Poetry, Novels, Textbooks

The Joy of Sex was one of 50 books written by Comfort. He also produced novels, poetry, criticism, scientific textbooks, and books on oriental philosophy. It was followed in 1974 by More Joy of Sex and The New Joy of Sex in 1991. He was a leading anarchist, pacifist, and a member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and was a conscientious objector during World War II.

In the 1970s, he moved to the United States, lecturing at the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University from 1974-1983. From 1980-1991 he was a professor at the Neuropsychiatric Institute at the University of California in Santa Barbara.