Joy of Sex (film)

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Joy of Sex
Joy of Sex Movie Poster.jpg
Movie Poster
Directed by Martha Coolidge
Produced byFrank Konigsberg
Written byKathleen Rowell
J.J. Salter
Based on The Joy of Sex
by Alex Comfort
Music byBishop Holiday
Scott Lipsker
Harold Payne
Cinematography Charles Correll
Edited by Allan Jacobs
William Elias
Ned Humphreys
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date
  • August 3, 1984 (1984-08-03)(U.S.)
Running time
93 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$4,463,841 (US)

Joy of Sex (sometimes referred to as National Lampoon's Joy of Sex) is a 1984 film directed by Martha Coolidge. It was written by Kathleen Rowell and J.J. Salter, based on the sex manual by Alex Comfort.



Leslie Hindenberg has just entered her senior year of high school. She visits her doctor to have a mole examined, but she mistakenly comes to believe she only has six weeks to live and goes about trying to lose her virginity. However it is difficult for her to accomplish her goal when her father is the school's phys ed coach. Meanwhile, Alan Holt is a teenager whose pals brag about their sexual encounters. He is rather frustrated as he cannot stop thinking about sex and attempts to lose his virginity any way possible.


Cameron Dye Alan Holt
Michelle Meyrink Leslie Hindenberg
Colleen Camp Liz Sampson
Ernie Hudson Mr. Porter
Lisa Langlois Melanie
Darren Dalton Ed Ingalls
Christopher Lloyd Coach Hindenberg


Paramount Pictures paid a great amount of money to secure the rights to Alex Comfort’s sex manual just so they could use the title, which they found to be highly commercial.

In 1978 they hired Charles Grodin to write a script, telling him the movie "could be about anything". Grodin decided to use this exact situation as the premise: a Hollywood writer struggles to write a script based on a sex manual after a big studio acquires the rights. When he finished his first draft, Paramount passed. Grodin finally managed to get his screenplay green lit by MGM in 1985 as Movers & Shakers . In that movie, the sex manual is now called "Joy in Sex".

According to the book Wired , John Belushi was supposed to appear in this movie, but he died before filming began. Penny Marshall sheds more light on this version of the film in her biography My Mother Was Nuts. She was slated to direct (this would have been her first feature film) from a script by John Hughes (which would have been his first script to be adapted for film). This version of the screenplay consisted of several unrelated vignettes. The producers wanted to have Belushi wearing diapers on the poster, even though no such scene appeared in Hughes' screenplay.

Martha Coolidge was fired from the movie for cutting many scenes of gratuitous nudity but declined an opportunity to have her directing credit appear as Alan Smithee. [1] National Lampoon producer Matty Simmons claims to have paid $250,000 to remove the National Lampoon name from the project, saying, "It may have nothing to do with the quality of the picture. We simply don’t like to take credit or responsibility for a picture that we have nothing to do with.” [2]


The film was given a theatrical release in the United States by Paramount Pictures in August 1984. It grossed $4,463,841 at the box office. [3]

The film was given a release on VHS by Paramount Home Video in the 1980s. To date, the film has still not been officially released on DVD.

Eleanor Mannikka of All Movie Guide has nothing but disdain for the movie:

The abysmal teen comedy Joy of Sex is stripped down to just sex in every line and in every joke except where other bodily functions come into play. [4]

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  1. Sleazegrinder (January 24, 2009). "Joy of Sex (1984)". Movies About Girls. Retrieved August 19, 2010.
  2. Pretty in Podcast (July 4, 2016). "Joy of Sex (Part Three 1984)". Pretty in Podcast. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  3. "Joy of Sex". Retrieved March 29, 2011.
  4. Blumstein, Michael. "Joy of Sex – Trailer – Cast – Showtimes –". The New York Times. Retrieved August 19, 2010.