Sexing the Past: Communal Exposure and Self-Examination in Gay Sex in the 70s



“Sodomy and Justice for All!” was one of the significant messages in gay demonstrations in the early 1970s. In the same spirit, Queers — the anonymous authors of a radical New York pride march leaflet “Queers Read This; I hate Straights” –contend: “We are an army of lovers because it is we who know what love is. Desire and lust, too. We invented desire and lust,” they add. “We come out of the closet, face the rejection of society, face firing squads, just to love each other! Every time we fuck, we win” (Queers, 774 — emphasis added). All-male sexual activities, perhaps the greatest fear (and lust?) of homophobic straight men, are much more than a human need, bodily satisfaction, libidinal force, and stereotypical (gay) male obsession. Homosex is often politicized as a dissident counterpraxis that celebrates transgres-sive desire and its joyful fulfillment. Notably, sex plays a significant role in gay nostalgia as in gay life.


Bodily Satisfaction Sexual Stimulus Sexual Revolution Sexual Culture Sexual Compulsion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Works cited

  1. Benderson, Bruce. James Bidgood. Köln, Germany: Taschen, 1999.Google Scholar
  2. The Boys in the Band. Dir. William Friedkin. Cinema Center Films / Leo Films, 1970.Google Scholar
  3. Castiglia, Christopher. “Sex Panics, Sex Publics, Sex Memories.” Boundary 27.2 (2000): 149–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Castiglia, Christoper and Reed, Christopher. “‘Ah, Yes, I remember It well’: Memory and Queer Culture in Will and Grace.” Cultural Critique 56 (2004): 158–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Celant, Germano. Mapplethorpe. New York: Electra, 1992.Google Scholar
  6. Clarke, Kevin. Porn: From Andy Warhol to X-Tube: A Photographic Journey. Berlin, Germany: Bruno Gmunder, 2011.Google Scholar
  7. Conner, Randy P., Sparks, Hatfield, David and Sparks, Mariya. Cassell’s Encyclopedia of Queer Myth, Symbol and Spirit. London and New York: Cassell, 1997.Google Scholar
  8. Cooper, Emanuel. Fully Exposed: The Male Nude in Photography. London and New York: Routledge, 1996 (1991).Google Scholar
  9. The Day of the Jackal. Dir. Fred Zinnemann. Warwick Film Productions / Universal Productions France, 1973Google Scholar
  10. Downs, Jim. “How ‘The 70s’ Became a Morality Play.” The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide. 13.2 (2006): 8.Google Scholar
  11. Gay Sex in the 70s. Dir. Joseph Lovett. Lovett Productions / Frameline / Heartlove Productions, 2005.Google Scholar
  12. Gerard, Raymond. “Gay Sex in the ’70s.” Advocate. 8 Nov. 2005. 24.Google Scholar
  13. Hanson, Dian and Massengill, Reed. Quaintance. Köln, Germany: Taschen, 2010.Google Scholar
  14. Hanson, Dian. The Big Penis Book 3D. Köln, Germany: Taschen, 2011.Google Scholar
  15. Hooven, F. Valentine III. Beefcake: The Muscle Magazines of America 1950–1970. Köln, Germany: Taschen, 1995.Google Scholar
  16. James, Eddie. “Sex and Sensibility: Why Are Some Men Losing the Latex?” Baltimore Alternative. February 1998.Google Scholar
  17. Kiessling, Claus and Buiks, Joris (Eds). Stripped: The Illustrated Male. Berlin, Germany: Bruno Gmünder, 2006.Google Scholar
  18. Leddick, David. The Male Nude. Köln, Germany: Taschen, 1998.Google Scholar
  19. Lucie-Smith, Edward. Adam: The Male Figure in Art. New York: Rizzoli, 1998.Google Scholar
  20. Néret, Gilles. Homo Art. Köln, Germany: Taschen, 2004.Google Scholar
  21. Paglia, Camille. Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence From Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson. New York: Vintage, 1990.Google Scholar
  22. Queers (1990). “Queer Read This; I Hate Straights.” We Are Everywhere: A Historical Sourcebook of Gay and Lesbian Politics. Ed. Mark Blasius and Shane Phelan. New York and London: Routledge, 1997.Google Scholar
  23. The Ritz. Dir. Richard Lester. Courtyard Films / Warner Bros., 1976Google Scholar
  24. Rotello, Gabriel. “All Things Considered.” National Public Radio. Print transcript by Burrelle’s Transcripts. 1 Jun. 1995.Google Scholar
  25. Saturday Night at the Baths. Dir. David Buckley. B.T.O. Films, 1975.Google Scholar
  26. Waugh, Thomas. Hard to Imagine: Gay Male Eroticism in Photography and Film from Their Beginnings to Stonewall. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Gilad Padva 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Social SciencesTel Aviv UniversityIsrael

Personalised recommendations