Masters of Homosex: 9 Vintage Books That Lied About Lesbians

The release of The Kinsey Report and the groundbreaking sex research of Masters and Johnson in the ’50s and ’60s inspired a new trend in publishing: entirely fabricated or otherwise compromised “sociological studies” of human sexuality penned by pulp authors pretending to be doctors who possessed a peculiar obsession with intense erotic descriptions of sex acts. Obviously the homosexuals were a huge focus of this hugely popular genre because we are perverted maniacs! According to lesbian author Jaye Zimet, “many risqué books were able to evade the threat of government censorship by couching lesbian eroticism in medical terminology and including “introductions and testimonials by alleged psychiatrists and M.D.s.” So many alleged doctors with such interest in the down and dirty details of what turns ladies into lady-loving-ladies!

 

9 Books About Lesbian Sex By Men Pretending To Be Doctors

1. 1962 – The Lesbian in Society

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W.D. Sprague, described in his bio as the Associate Director of the (non-existent) Psychoanalytical Assistance Foundation, also took some time to pen the equally obnoxious The Sensuous Hooker, Sexual Behavior of American Nurses, Sex Behavior of the American Housewife and Sex and the Secretary. W.D Sprague is the pseudonym of pulp author Bela W. von Block.

 

2. 1963 – A New Look at The Lesbian

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“Scott O’Neill” is also responsible for such classics as Campus Call Girl and Profile of a Pervert Volume 2. The back of the book promises “hard-core facts” such as “Every woman is a latent lesbian!” and asks Intriguing Questions such as “Is our “Race for the Moon” triggered by Lesbianism?”

 

3. 1963 – The Lesbian

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Ah, Dr. Benjamin Morse, you wily genius! Our dear friend Benjamin Morse was a pseudonym employed by pulp author Lawrence Block, and this particular book has been best described as “collections of short stories linked by a fake sexologist.” The book presented a series of alleged case studies inventing different “types” of lesbians: the college girl, the office girl, the career gal, the prostitute, the matron, the man-hater, the bohemian, the frigid wife, the dull dyke and the unsuccessful heterosexual.

 

4. 1963 – Twilight Women

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Another prolific composer of imaginary sexual case histories was Robert Silverberg, who wrote as L.T. Woodward, M.D.. Other titles include Teenage Thrill Killers and Sex and the Armed Services, which warned of “the service woman who becomes the multiple mistress of many men — or goes lesbian.”

5. 1964 – The Grapevine

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Jess Stearn was a journalist and author who made his living writing “sensationalist speculative non-fiction” about outsiders including prostitutes and drug addicts. Later in life he went on to focus on spirituality, reincarnation and yoga. Before publishing The Grapevine, he wrote The Sixth Man: A Startling Investigation of the Spread of Homosexuality in America.

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To write Grapevine, he attended the Daughters of Bilitis convention, discussed the ’causes of lesbianism’ with a psychologist and allegedly spoke with lesbians from across the USA including married lesbians. He digs deep for descriptions of “butch and femme” and outs some Hollywood celebrities! According to A Book Flog, “the book reads like the ‘cony-catching’ or rogue pamphlets of the 1550s-1600s, the author-investigator leading the reader into the dark recesses of a secret underworld, explaining in-group terms and conventions, feigning occasional moral disapproval while delivering to the titillated reader enticing details.”

 

 

6. 1964 – Sex Behavior of the Lesbian

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Steiner is also the author of The Petting Generation, a meditation on “the fine art of petting,” and Sex Behavior of the Homosexual.

7. 1965 – The Lesbian in America

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Donald Webster Cory is the pen name of professor Edward Sagarin, best known for The Homosexual in America: A Subjective Approach, which was published in 1951 and was “the first widely read non-fiction book in the United States to present knowledgeably and sympathetically the plight of the homosexual as told from the inside rather than the outside.” He is credited as the first to consider gays a “minority” suffering from the slings and arrows of public ignorance and he spoke with compassion about what homosexuals faced in society. However, he did believe homosexuality was a sickness, and criticized the Homophile movement (of which he was a member) for claiming otherwise. He was an outspoken opponent of the progressive gay liberation movement and eventually would claim that Lesbians and gay men were “frequently borderline psychotics.” The Lesbian in America is described as “highly sensational but relatively sympathetic.”

Scholar John D’Emilio notes that “though Cory remained wedded to a view of homosexuality as psychopathology, this book contained three-dimensional character sketches, took for granted that gay women were victims of unjust discrimination and deserved civil rights, and had fine words of praise for the Daughters of Bilitis. In between, one could find a host of hastily composed accounts in which consistency, logic, or evidence played second fiddle to sensationalism.”

 

8. 1965 – The Homosexual Generation

Ken Worthy was a pseudonym for Carlson Wade, a prolific author of defamatory literature. Other titles include Confessions of a Transvestite, She-Male: The Amazing True-Life Story of Coccinelle, Sexual Behavior of the Lesbian, Diary of a Homosexual and The Queer PathIt appears that he went on to become a respected author of books on homeopathy and nutrition, with 44 titles to his name.

 

9. 1966 – The Lesbian Handbook

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Dale Brittenham, it will not surprise you to learn, did not actually have an MA, and he usually wrote under the name Dale Koby, penning such groundbreaking works as Campus Sexpot and Appointment by Sex, which investigated the phenomenon of “supermarket cashiers doubling as lesbian prostitutes who meet the needs of shopping housewives neglected by their husbands.”

Koby taught English at Sonoroa High School prior to pursuing his career as a writer, where he would reward the best male students with his erotic stories and told everyone he was an amateur photographer who often enticed his young female students into posing for him. He eventually was accused of molesting high school students and “run out of town” and writer David Carkeet found out that Koby actually had two affairs with students at a different high school before getting hired at Sonoroa. The 1961 publication of Campus Sexpot, about an affair between an English teacher and her student, “rocked” Sonoroa High with its truthiness. Isn’t this exactly the kind of guy you’d trust to boldly reveal female homosexuality!?

Koby founded The Magazine of Modern Sex in 1964, which contained articles on topics like group sex, fetishes, nudism and aphrodisiacs. It shuttered in 1965.


 

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Riese is the CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York City, and now lives in The Bay Area. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are!

Riese has written 1680 articles for us.

39 Comments

  1. Thumb up 3

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    Wow this is the best list ever written! Thanks riese! I think I am going to have to track a few of these titles down to add to my obscure book collection, just as soon as I work out what Dewey decimal number “entirely fabricated or otherwise compromised “sociological studies” of human sexuality” should be sorted into.

  2. Thumb up 15

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    My girlfriend read a lot of old-timey ‘scientific’ articles about lesbians when she was working on her thesis, and apparently there are DOCUMENTED cases (yes, more than one case) of lesbians giving birth to turtles! The stuff these guys came up with in trying to ‘explain’ lesbianism is just mind-boggling.

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    These people are sick. My proof? How often they use exclamation points.

    “Some Hard-Core Facts!”
    “Some Intriguing Questions!”
    “Every Word is the Scalding Truth!”
    “The shadow world of female homosexuality revealed in clear, uncompromising terms!”

    Man, I’m tired just reading that and I haven’t even had the sex yet today.

  4. Thumb up 1

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    It’s interesting how the author’s of these books all wrote under pseudonyms. If they had so much to say about lesbianism, why didn’t they the cajones to write these books using their real names?

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    This list has gotten me intrigued about the relationship between pulp authors pretending to be doctors and saying ridiculous shit about sexuality 50 years ago and REAL DOCTORS saying ridiculous shit about sexuality 50 years ago. Book #7 is by an actual professor and has a quote from Albert Ellis on the cover! Albert Ellis was an extremely famous and legitimate psychologist. (My understanding is that he and his field had some fucked up views on sexuality at the time, but eventually came around to more reasonable viewpoints.)
    This list is hilarious when it’s pervy hacks writing, but #7 shows that ideas like this were put forward by people with real power too, which is scary.

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    When I was a wee anarchist, I did a book drive in my neighborhood to bring to a homeless shelter I was volunteering at. All the ppl I babysat for gave me books, and you would NOT BELIEVE how many 1960s-70s sex manuals and other erotic non-fiction they gave me, even though, I was like, 16? I had “The Sensuous Man,” several copies of “The Happy Hooker,” the “Penthouse College Files,” Masters and Johnson, etc etc etc. Luckily, (surprisingly?) I did not obtain any copies of these books; they would have made me sad and confused about the role of space travel in my emerging sexuality. I just had three copies of Our Bodies, Our Selves from three different decades to keep by my bedside table.

    One book I read that DID lie about lesbians was The Second Sex. The chapter on lesbians made me worry that I might really be gay because if so I would need to start wearing “felt hats” all the time.

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