On October 21 1992, Madonna’s “Sex” book was released by Warner Books, Maverick and Callaway Books.
The 128-page coffee table book of erotica and sexual fantasies was written by Madonna, with photographs taken by Steven Meisel and film frames shot by Fabien Baron. The book was edited by Glenn O’Brien.
The spiral-bound, metal-covered book was wrapped in a silver mylar bag and included a copy of the “Erotic” CD single (an exclusive version of the “Erotica” song). The package also included an 8-page comic book and it was priced at $49.95 US.
How old were you when you first bought or read through Madonna’s “Sex” book?
On October 13 1992, the “Erotica” single was released. Originally credited to Madonna & Shep Pettibone, Pettibone’s partner Tony Shimkin was later granted co-writing credit for nearly all of the Pettibone collaborations on the album, including “Erotica.” The debut release to feature the imprint of the fledgling Maverick Records, the song was produced by Madonna & Pettibone.
As several leaked demo versions of the song can now attest, the track had gone through numerous incarnations before Madonna settled on lyrics that positioned her in the perspective of Dita – the alter-ego she had created for her Sex book. The song’s original chorus (“You thrill me…”) was reincorporated into the song when Madonna performed it during her 2006 Confessions Tour. Alternate verses were also used to create the track “Erotic,” which was included with the Sex book – these lyrics were also featured in a William Orbit remix that was included on the “Erotica” maxi-single.
French art director and photographer Fabien Baron designed the artwork for the single, the album and the Sex book. He also directed the “Erotica” music video, which included footage he had shot on Super 8mm during the making of the book. Baron recalled his first meeting with Madonna to discuss their potential collaboration in a 2009 interview with Hint Fashion Magazine:
“I met Madonna at her home on Central Park West to talk about working on her Sex book. It was very comfortable but very uncomfortable at the same time, which is a very interesting feeling. She’s very imposing and knows what she wants. She’s very informed and opinionated, which makes her genius. She takes you in and swallows you up — and you don’t mind it – you actually enjoy it. There’s an unspoken seduction that goes on. I was young…she was young, too – and beautiful. That was an unforgettable era. She put that book out at the best moment. She timed it very well…she knows what she’s doing. And such drive. Some people want to lift stones to see what’s under them. She’ll be on a beach with millions of stones and want to lift every one of them.”
On October 2 1992, Madonna’s “Erotica” video premiered on MTV.
The “Erotica” video was directed by fashion photographer Fabien Baron, and featured a masked Madonna in a dominatrix costume. It also featured celebrities such as Naomi Campbell, Isabella Rossellini and Big Daddy Kane. The video was highly controversial, being aired by MTV a total of three times, before becoming Madonna’s second video to be banned, after “Justify My Love” in 1990.
MTV spokeswoman Linda Alexander said, “The themes of the video are clearly aimed at a more adult audience. It is not appropriate for a general viewing audience”.
The footage of Madonna lip-synching the song in her S&M dominatrix costume was filmed on August 22, 1992 at The Kitchen in New York City, while the rest of the footage for the video was shot during the photo sessions for Madonna’s “Sex” book.
In order to imitate the look of old home-made movies, the entire video was shot with Super 8 film.
On September 23 1992, Madonna was featured in a public service announcement titled “The Diva” for MTV’s Rock The Vote series.
The three-and-a-half-minute skit was directed by close friend Alek Keshishian (Truth Or Dare), who would later use a similar premise in his television ads for Madonna’s 1999 Max Factor campaign.