vintage secrets of sex appeal: the corpus delicious


Queen’s Quarterly was a New York-based gay magazine that launched in 1969 and ran for about 13 years. Its tag line read “For Gay Guys Who Have No Hangups.” Queen’s Quarterly was out and proud and wanted its readers to be too.

The format was an unapologetic mix of gay lifestyles features, travel, fiction and plenty of sex-related articles.  Well actually, sex featured fairly heavily in the gay lifestyles features, travel and fiction articles, too.

There’s something profound in reading the pages of a 70s gay magazine today. These guys were writing to give voice to their lives and have them reflected in a consumer publication for the gay masses. It took guts for people to buy this thing. The magazine was also forging a future for their cultural offspring — us — to be able to live life more truthfully. That we can read about what these men were thinking, feeling and doing, in a lifestyles magazine format, as modern gay liberation was just taking off is a lesson in our own history.

That said, it’s hard not to chuckle at some of what one finds in the vintage pages. To today’s ears, some of the topics, the advice, the oh-so-gay turn of a phrase can come off as charmingly dated, naive or superficial. (Whoa, that sounds a lot like most of today’s gay magazines.)

This stuff is gay gold and must be shared, so look to Woolf and Wilde for a regular series that will bring out excerpts from Queen’s Quarterly and other vintage periodicals.

In this inaugural post on the subject, we find writer Walter Norris offering his tips on sex appeal. Mr. Norris says that sex appeal can be “heightened considerably by a touch of showcasing, which makes it so much more exciting, it can often turn the most negative cruise into a positive tour-a-lure.”  His article covers fashion, hair, fitness, tanning, and staying young — and we’ll bring them all to you. In the first installment below, he specifically addresses the body beautiful:

Some Subtle Secrets of Sex Appeal
Tricky Teasers for Teasy Tricks

The Corpus Delicious

The basis of all sex appeal is good health and a pleasing body. Now this doesn’t mean that you should begin tossing around heavy barbells, or go in for super-boy muscles, or live solely on macrobiotic foods. But it should suggest that your health be so manifestly exuberant that even the sex sparks which fly from you are packed with vitamins! It also means that you should keep your body slender (a trick: always stay 5 pounds under life insurance standards unless your physician rules otherwise), and symmetrical (with special regard for the form, line and bouncy firmness of the buttocks) through a daily program of moderate exercise you can look forward to and enjoy for your own sake.

Sex appeal is such a total thing…the sum of all its parts, especially good health and good appearance. One does not acquire it by superimposing a variety of ornaments on an indifferent physique, as ormulu applied to a rude kitchen table. It is so important to remember that many gay guys associate the fact of looking healthy with looking sexy…and being healthy with being sexy. Thus the prospect alone of bedding such a paragon of health and fitness can be so overpoweringly exciting one can easily blast off into orgiastic orbit even before getting him home!

Image: Jim Stryker. Photographer unknown, likely attributed to Walter James Kundzicz

Text: Walter Norris, Queen’s Quarterly, Volume 3, Number 6, December 1971
Note: Queens Quarterly claimed to be the number one gay magazine of its day, “selling more than all other gay publications in the world combined.” The publisher’s decision to run full-frontal nudes in the early 70s caused what few retailers they had to pull the magazine from the shelves, but their strong subscription base ensured its steady publication.

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  1. […] appeal” from Queens Quarterly Magazine published in December 1971. You learned all about the corpus delicious. May I assume your weight stayed “5 pounds under life insurance standards”? Just […]


  1. Again, you make my point for me. You cite a statement where I am ginivg my opinion of what I prefer for my own sexualty, and my seem to take my explanation some blanket statement as to why it is wrong for others. I do not feel it is wrong for others again, I stated in my original post, all entitled to their sexual pursuits. (And some are more physically flexible than others.) You reject the hemmoroids anal sex connection. I just did a search on Google, and most of the resources that turn up do not reject this connection, nor do I. Not a doctor, I base my conclusion on the numbers of partners I have had with this problem (a good many young people). There are also sorts of reasons for hemorroids, it is clearly not easily explained in a cause and effect way can be genetic, for example. But stool consistency is frequently cited as a contributor so why would anything else going in and out of there not be? The literature also mention that anal fissures can frequently be mistaken for hemmorhoids fissures (or tears) develop from friction, and anal fissures, even very miniscule or microscopic ones, are very frequently cited as very likely opportunity for the Aids virus (in high concentration in semen) to enter the bloodstream.I don’t accept your history of Aids, simply because there are many points of view on the etiology. Yours is a new one on me, and I have heard hundreds. I can tell you that from a practical point of view, Aids emerged in NYC as a mysterious cancer that no one could explain the victims of the virus did not have the necessary info to protect themselves. (I don’t need a run-down on opportunitic infections and variety of same I am well aware.) Young people today do not have the excuse of lack of information (unless they were forcibly raped or incapable of understanding what they were doing to begin with. Young, uninformed people continue to have sex, so the whole subject is a touchy one.) I have worked in hospitals for many years with Aids patiends, so I feel that I have a pretty good grasp of the progression of the virus. Partly because there are some accepted (but expensive) treatments now, there is a complacency about sex and risk. But this is far beyond what I ever intended to post. Again, my comment was only that about the limited scope of Davey’s statements about one kind of sex. But then again, I would probably bristle at the notion that gay people should do anything at all. Gays are a diverse community of individuals that are pursuing many types of sex, relationships and goals. (As you may have guessed from my original post, I hated the clone look , for example, which was popular in New York if you are too young to remember, it was a fashion that we all should wear leather bomber jackets. Definite peer pressure to buy one of those things. Ugh.) We all should do nothing but lead positive and productive lives in my opinion. I’m sure Davey’s intent was much more light-hearted than the impression I’m leaving, but my response was merely that there is a wide range of sexuality out there, and there is.

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