Lessons I’ve Learned From 1950s Porno Novels

These are actually detective novels btw but they look somewhat tawdry, don’t they?

My grandfather stashed a dozen pornographic novels from the 1950s behind another row of books on the bottom shelf of his bookshelf. They taught me everything I know about sex (but surprisingly little about McCarthyism), including:

You might be able to cure your impotency by watching another man make love to your wife. It helps if you’re an overworked ad executive named Chet.

Lesson learned from: Swap My Wife, Please by T.A. Allen

The best way to solve a mystery is to have sex with all the suspects. Luckily, the crime occurred at a Daughters of the American Revolution meeting, so no gayishness.

Lesson learned from: (See) Stars and Garters by Philip Bragg

An appreciation for art can help bridge the divide between races. The hottest thing in that hot southern town was their hushed conversations about oil painting.

Lesson learned from: Black Painter, White Canvas by Bill Lee Dorrough

Chess is only exciting to watch when both players are nude. The board was dripping with sensual tension, but otherwise very, very dry. No one used lubricant in the 1950s, apparently.

Lesson learned from: Voyeur’s Gambit by Paul Weiss

World War I was Hell until it was Heaven. For the hero, at least, his pal Jerry couldn’t catch a break. You think he would at least get to go on a date with that freckled nurse or something.

Lesson learned from: As Red As My Cross by E.Z. Windham

You have to follow every lead as an investigative journalist, especially if you are female and really good-looking. Your editor-in-chief will never respect you unless you make him blush when you turn in your report and prematurely leave his wife.

Lesson learned from: Everybody’s Friday by Monica Murrow

You don’t need even a basic understanding of a subculture to write a pornographic novel about it. Beatniks did not literally beat guys named Nick off but that’s okay because the sex scenes did have some of that Jack Kerouac pizzazz.

Lesson learned from: Beatnik Bedspring by Goldy Meyer.*

*Beatnik Bedspring just so happened to be my grandfather’s favorite pornographic novel. You can probably guess how I know that since you’ve read this far into a piece about paperback smut, but, in case you skimmed to the end, the best review is a stiffened page.