According to the book "Woody Allen" by John Baxter, Gene Wilder once said of the making of this movie: "It was like walking on a Bergman set: people talking in whispers, serious looks on Woody's face. He communicates through silence."
Dr. David Reuben, the author of the source book "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)," did not like this movie, and in an interview with the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, said: "I didn't enjoy the movie, because it impressed me as a sexual tragedy. Every episode in the picture was a chronicle of sexual failure, which was the converse of everything in the book."
Woody Allen once famously said the following quotes about sex: (1) "It's the most fun I've ever had without laughing" (2) "Having sex is like playing bridge. If you don't have a good partner, you'd better have a good hand" and (3) "I'm a practicing heterosexual, although bisexuality immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night". When his character in "Love and Death" is told "Sex without love is an empty experience", he responds, "Yes, but as empty experiences go, it's one of the best." Also, Allen once said that he included in this movie "every funny idea I've ever had about sex, including several that led to my own divorce."
The only official filmed adaptation of another person's previously written work by Woody Allen, though several of Allen's movies have been inspired and influence by various movies and novels. However, though little is taken from Dr. David Reuben's source book "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)", the movie hardly counts as an adaptation.
A segment that was filmed, but eventually cut out, was "What Makes a Man a Homosexual?" The sequence had Woody Allen as a common spider, and Louise Lasser playing a black widow. After a mating dance on the black widow's web, the spiders make love and the black widow eats the common spider. Allen cut the sequence as he was unable to find a suitable ending for it. Apparently, some production stills from it have been used for promotional materials for the movie, even DVD covers.
Elliott Gould and Producer Jack Brodsky were the first people to option David Reuben's book, but opted to sell it to United Artists once they determined that the text was too hard to film. The TCMDb suggests that the reason was due to when "Gould and Brodsky dissolved their partnership".
After buying the movie rights from Paramount Pictures, Woody Allen never read the original book by Dr. David Reuben. He rather only glanced on the chapter headings and created the idea of the seven segments for the movie. At the end, four segments have almost the same names as the questions in the book (Why Do Some Women Trouble Reaching an Orgasm?, Are transvestites homosexuals?, What are Sex Perverts?, What happens during ejaculation?) while others are either changed (Do Aprodisiacs Work? was featured in the fifth chapter "Aphrodisiacs", and was spread over several questions, including "Isn't there anything that works?", or weren't included in the book at all (like Sodomy or Findings of Doctors and Clinics on Sexual Research and Experiments).
First of two anthology, omnibus, segment, portmanteau movies made by Woody Allen. The other being New York Stories (1989). In the latter though, Allen only wrote and directed one vignette, whereas in this movie, Allen worked on all of its segments.
The number of vignettes in this movie was seven. The titles of the seven sections are each derived from chapter titles from David Reuben's source book. Also, all of the movie's segment titles, and all of the book's chapter titles, are all formed as questions.
A trailer for this movie, alternated between pictures of Woody Allen, and the cover of Dr. David Reuben's book, with the voice-over "How did this man make a movie out of this book? How did this man make a movie out of this book? How did this man make a movie out of this book? If you want to know how this man made a movie out of this book, you'll have to see the movie."
"Variety" said of this movie that it "borrows only the title (from Dr. David Reuben's Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) book) and some questions (the segment titles)".