The Oy of Sex

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Sex Our Bodies,Our Junk isn’t the first book Mike Sacks has, at least in part, written. It is, however, the first book he doesn’t want his parents to read. “My father told me that he was at Barnes & Noble and he mentioned that there was only one copy of the book left,” says Sacks. “He ended up buying a John Grisham novel instead. He hasn’t read [my book], he doesn’t want to read it and I’m not begging him to.”

Would anyone beg his father to buy a parody sex manual containing chapters titled “Foreplay: Penetration’s Waiting Room” and “Masturbation: Sexuality’s Midget Sidekick”? Probably not. Let’s not even get into what parents would think of the illustration of a couple spending naked time on a bean bag chair.

Fortunately, Sacks can shoulder the blame with his co-authors, Emmy Awardwinning former The Daily Show writer Scott Jacobson, former The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien writer Todd Levin, actor and writer Ted Travelstead and The Onion’s Jason Roeder. For the purposes of this book, the authors wrote in character, specifically as the comically ineffectual sex researchers comprising the fictional think tank The Association for the Betterment of Sex.

The idea to make fun of the inherent ridiculousness of landmark sex manuals such as Our Bodies, Our Selves and The Joy of Sex seemed so obvious and ripe with material that Sacks was shocked to find that it hadn’t been done before.

“As kids, everyone sneaked a peak at their parents’ books,” Sacks recalls. “Apparently, no one forgets the first time he has the images of ‘hairy hippies getting it on’ burned into his mind.”

Referencing the patently unsexy and mildly disturbing illustrations of naked Kris Kristofferson clones, Todd Levin laments, “I remember reading Our Bodies, Ourselves, and I probably would have had sex five years sooner if I hadn’t.” There’s a cruel irony in filling a sex reference full of images of the last people anyone wants to see having sex. This irony certainly wasn’t lost on the writers.

“Reading The Joy of Sex is like talking to a complete creep,” Levin adds, specifically referencing the sections of the book that compare sex to making soup. “The fact that the illustrations are watercolors of the author adds an extra layer of creep.”

So, what exactly qualifies a bunch of pasty comedy nerds to write about sex?

“Nobody understands how awkward sex can be more than creepy nerds,” offers Levin. “Sex is just this awkward arrangement of bodies that is just inherently funny. It’s even funnier when you try to explain it.”

Given the subject matter, one has to wonder if the members of the Association For The Betterment of Sex decided to take a more hands-on approach and conduct their own field research.

“There was a lot of bumping up against people,” explains Levins, “and long cuddles.”

“Our wives and girlfriends wanted nothing to do with this,” laments Sacks, “so, naturally we hired whores.”

Sacks then admits that the crew did no hands-on research except for the one area in which they all excelled: masturbation. In that arena, their fact-finding couldn’t have been more thorough.

When asked which member of The Association is the best at the actual practice of sex, Todd Levin named Travelstead as the group’s prime swordsman.

“He has the most body hair, which probably creates the most friction. Ted is a very robust man,” offers Levin.

However, there’s only so much one can glean from reading a sex manual. Thankfully, Sacks, Levin, the rest of the Association and a few special guests, including comedians Jessi Klein and Allison Silverman, will be on hand at the Greenlight Bookstore’s monthly Steamboat reading series Sept. 23 to ultimately bring a more interactive element to the text.

“We’re gonna hand out ponchos to the first two rows,” Levin muses. This will certainly be appreciated should the reading turn into a glandular Gallagher performance.

Sacks also mentions the possibility of the authors reading their parts in characters they’ve cultivated in the book.

“Ted is going to show up in a laboratory smock,” Sacks explains. “I’m hoping he reads shirtless. It usually doesn’t take much to get Ted to take off his shirt.”

“Ted posed for our cover,” Sacks explains, referring to the illustration of the burly, naked, bearded man who looks like the Brawny Paper Towel Man recovering from spring break.

“No airbrushing there,” boasts Sacks.

Sept. 23, Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton St. (at S. Portland Ave.), Brooklyn, 718-246-0200; 7:30, Free.

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