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.