Almost half a decade has passed since Alex Comfort published sacrosanct sex bible, The Joy of Sex. But times have changed in the last 47 years, and so has sex—as well as our attitudes towards it. Technology has allowed for the advent of sex toys and robots beyond Comfort’s wildest dreams; never has there been such a focus on female pleasure or self-gratification. The bedroom gospel became outdated, and if there’s one person fit to rewrite it, it’s Betony Vernon.

Though you may know her as a designer—she’s worked for Missoni, Gianfranco Ferré and Alexander Wang to name but three—Vernon is a sexpert. More rightly, she’s a sexologist, or sexual anthropologist, but technicalities aside, few people know more about intercourse, orgasm and everything in between than the author of Boudoir Bible—2019’s answer to Comfort’s classic. Aiming to “empower women and men to enjoy and share greater pleasure,” Vernon’s mission is relentless, and it’s come to a climax with the release of this must-have sex scripture. In light of it’s release, we caught up with Vernon to ask everything (or some of the things) you’ve always wanted to know about sex.

Photography by Elodie Chapuis

First up, what is a sexologist?

Sexology is the scientific study of human sexuality, including human sexual interests, behaviours, and functions. The term sexology does not generally refer to the non-scientific study of sexuality, such as political science or social criticism.

How did you become one?

My design work is often inspired by human sexuality and the human body brought me to understand that there was a huge void in our society’s understanding of the sexual realm and the importance of pleasure in our lives. In order to continue my design work in the sexual realm I was obliged to take a more scientific approach in order to educate my collectors.

What’s the most common misconception about sex?

That great sex is spontaneous.

What question do you get asked the most?

How to rekindle desire in a long term relationship…

Can you tell us something we probably didn’t know about sex?

Sensory constraint facilitates sexual abandon and with sensory constraint I am referring to sight, sound and the 6th sense which is motion.

Is there anything that scares you when it comes to intimacy?

Lovers that don’t consider condoms as necessary. 

Illustration by Francois Berthoud

Does sex get better when you’re an sexologist?

Just like any other topic, knowledge when put into practice makes for wisdom…

What do women need to know about sex?

Take advantage of the fact that sex is not only for procreation but pleasure. Finally!

What about men?

That the ejaculation and orgasm reflexes can be separated which makes for enhanced pleasure for both partners.

What needs to change about the way sex is portrayed?

I think we should discuss about the importance of pleasure in our overall well-being, not just about sex in itself.

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