Once upon a time, porn was kept on the top shelf, or under-the-counter, in discrete brown paper bags, or sent by post in anonymous manilla envelopes. Nowadays, porn is everywhere catering to everyone. And always remember kids, with the Internet, you’re only just one click away from somebody masturbating.
Compared with today’s no holes barred imagery, these pictures of vintage smut from the 1950s-70s, look almost tasteful—the kind of thing that wouldn’t look out of place in ads for Dolce and Gabana, or American Apparel.
The cover for Men Only seems more like an invite to cocktail party, while the S&M mags have more than a hint of today’s latex catalog, rather than something that might frighten the horses. Even the “pin-ups” range from arty sketches to forty-year-old guys sucking in their stomachs.
These magazines were photographed by the best-selling horror-writer, film critic, journalist, blogger and photographer Anne Billson, who for reasons that now escape her, photographed her friends porn collections in the 1980s.
A lot (though not all) of the publications were vintage even then, though nowadays magazines that were published in the 1980s are themselves considered pretty much antique. Perhaps I thought I was performing some sort of public service, or compiling a historical record, or (more likely) vaguely imagining the pictures would come in useful for research purposes in some sort of never-to-be-written article that would one day definitively establish me as a brilliant journalist who dared tackle subjects that writers more prudish than me would never have dreamt of touching with a bargepole.