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#1
Old 05-28-2002, 06:02 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2002
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Did Anyone Ever Hear of the Gay Phenomenon of Physique Magazines?

There are many aspects to gay culture. And I myself am just beginning to learn about some of them.

One thing that few people outside of gay culture are familiar with is the phenomenon of physique magazines.

Gay men of the 1950's didn't have many options available to them. Sodomy was still prosecuted. And homosexuality was considered a mental illness. For these reasons, actual sexual contact with other men was rare. But these men still had an appreciation for the beauty of men. And of course visual images then as now, can provide their own form of sexual release. Enter physique magazines.

Most of them were careful to hide their homosexual content. But the authorities still eventually found out about them--invoking the antiquated Comstock laws against them. It could have all ended right there. That is until the Supreme Court got involved. The highest court ruled in Manual Enterprises v. Day that although cheap and tawdry, and appealing to the "prurient interest" of gay men, these magazines still lacked the patent offensiveness necessary to secure a successful obscenity charge. This was especially significant. Because for once, the Supreme Ct. held that gay erotica, like hetero erotica, had certain basic constitutional protections. This opened up the door for a whole new age of homosexual sexography in the 1970's and 80's, up until now even.

Now, gays don't really need physique publications anymore. The two purposes behind them--to act as a "meetingplace" for gays and to act as a type of gay erotica (sans nudity)--has been taken up by a whole host of other publications. But you will still find some that have a small gay audience. You can tell if this is the case by the fact that there is an unusual amount of gay advertisement in this otherwise "harmless" publication. And of course outside of pure nostalgia, there are some gays who need a publication with implied as opposed to explicit gay content. This may be the case if you're still a minor who hasn't come out to his parents or if you simply live in a conservative rural area, etc.

So if you ever see a physique magazine on the newsstand, you can keep this in mind. Don't right away jump to the wrong conclusion though--"hetero"s sometimes read them too!

TTFN
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#2
Old 05-28-2002, 06:05 AM
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Location: London, UK
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Sounds like the running sitcom joke of desperate (hetero) teen lads going for the less embarassing purchase of Health & Efficiency for the pics of lycra-clad ladies within.
#3
Old 05-28-2002, 10:05 AM
Eve Eve is offline
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Goodness, yes. You know that line in Is There Anyone Here for Love, from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes? When Jane Russell sings, "I'm no Physical Culture fan," she's referring to the magazine of that name.
#4
Old 05-28-2002, 11:58 AM
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Location: Central Pennsylvania
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I know when I was an underage, horny gay teenager, I often bought muscle and fitness mags for friction fiction. I was also a regular subscriber to International Male and Undergear, even though they never came within a mile of having anything in my size. International Male was known as "porn for the closet" among my circle of friends in college.

jayjay
#5
Old 05-28-2002, 01:03 PM
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Location: Montreal, Canada
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The whole Athetic Model Guild thing was portrayed in a somewhat interesting Canadian movie called [url="http://us.imdb.com/Title?0187712"]Beefcake[url].

- s.e.
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#6
Old 05-28-2002, 01:11 PM
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Ugh. Damned missing slash. Someone please fix!

- s.e.
#7
Old 05-28-2002, 01:39 PM
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 10,539
Heck, I've often made the same observation about exercise magazines being for closeted guys or guys in small towns. Some magazines, like Muscle & Fitness or Men's Health are on the level; you can tell because they're text-intensive and filled with articles aimed at straight guys, like how to deal with the wife and balance home, work, and the gym.

Other magazines, however, like Men's Workout and Exercise; For Men Only, have loads of photo spreads showing nude men, cleverly positioned to conceal the naughty bits, posed in "art displays exhibiting the rewards of regular exercise." Or they have exercise routines showing two men doing "buddy workouts," like pulling a towel or holding each other as they "exercise."

Puh-leeze, girlfriend! Those magazines have very little useful information in them for men serious about improving their diet and workout routines. They are just wanking material for closet cases.
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