Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Gay Pulp Fiction, Vintage Erotica from the 50s, 60s and 70s

Imagine a world before internet porn; terrifying isn’t it? Well back in the 1950’s, when it was still illegal to be gay, cheap paperback erotica was the only game in town. Gay pulp was sold alongside other pulp fiction paperbacks that dealt with equally taboo subjects such prostitution, interracial romances, lesbianism and rape. The lurid titles and titillating illustrations were designed to catch the attention of closet cases and flamers alike.

The first pulp paperback to deal openly with homosexuality was 1952’s Men into Beast by George Viereck.  This nonfiction account of Viereck’s imprisonment deals the indignities that men suffer while in prison and of course details man to man prison sex and male rape. Just imagine how erotic this books cover must have seemed to a gay man in the early 1950’s! 

 By 1964 literary novels with erotic content such as Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Portnoy’s Complaint had battled it out with the U.S censorship laws and won. The number of American gay erotic paperbacks soared from 30 in 1965 to over a 100 in 1966! The new paperbacks were explicitly pornographic sold like crazy so small publishing companies sprang up to deal with the demand. 

By the late 1970’s and into the 80’s, the gay pulp market was gradually disappeared, giving way to gay porn magazines and eventually gay porn videos. 

Check this great online archive Gay Pulp Erotic:

Gay pulp fiction is highly collectable these days, some titles sell for more than $40 or $50 on Ebay. Thrift stores such as Out of the Closet are a great place to find these old gems for a fraction of that price.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Jeffrey. They're wonderful. I can't help wondering about the writing. Are any of them readable?