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Lesbian pulp fiction turned on men and released women

BEFORE on-demand internet hardcore pornography was piped into every home and lipstick lesbianism sold records there was the popular erotic fiction of the 1950s and 1960s. Top of the heap was lesbian pulp fiction. These included titles like Lesbian Gym, by Peggy Swanson, and The Women of Beaver Mountain – “frustration and boredom drove them to explore newer and newer ways to make unnatural love.” If you knew the way, you could read Libido Beach – “a modern Isle of Lesbos, a sun-drenched Sodom just an hour from Manhattan.”

The lurid, titlating covers were aimed at men. But the best-written stories were for women.

The pick was Ann Bannon (the pseudonym of Ann Weldy), who wrote six lesbian pulp fiction novels known as The Beebo Brinker Chronicles. The “Queen of Lesbian Pulp Fiction” wrote of Sapphic sorority girls and Greenwich Village lesbians.

The first paperback to address a lesbian relationship was published as early as 1950. Women’s Barracks by French-born writer Tereska Torres became a sensation. Published by Gold Medal Books, the story was loosely based on Torres’ experiences in the Free French Forces in London during World War II.

Women’s Barracks sold 4 million copies and was selected in 1952 to become an example of how paperback books were promoting moral degeneracy, by the House Select Committee on Current Pornographic Materials.

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Posted: 17th, December 2011 | In: Flashback, Key Posts | Comment