Sex Books (Illustrated)




    Cadillac Publishing (nn)














The digest-sized book pictured here (printed in New York in 1946) is one of many books -- in many formats -- that promised readers a glimpse of "real sex between a man and a woman." This one boasts "317 instructive pictures," and is written by "America's most-consulted sexologist."

Censors during this period would, of course, allow no such thing to be distributed in any format. Even so, the plain wrapper gave prospective buyers the hint that they might get to see something that was actually sexual. Instead, they were treated to illustrations like the ones I've shown here, which are from the book's interior.

This little scam had been around for quite awhile by this time. In 1929, two writers for The New Yorker decided to pool their creative energies and write a book. James Thurber and E.B. White co-authored a farcical volume: Is Sex Necessary (Harper Brothers, New York). It was both writers' first book, and it was clearly meant to lampoon such "instructive publications." In it, they posed as two "doctors, " Walter Tithridge and Karl Zaner, who were "the deans of American sex." They then proceeded to fill a 197 page volume with tongue-and-cheek psychobabble, accompanied by Thurber's distinctive drawings of guinea pigs, sunfish, and men and women engaged in just about every aspect of life except sex.

It's one of those books that you read, and you either "just don't get it" or you think it's absolutely hilarious.

The illustrations at the bottom were taken from the hardcover first edition.

(Click a picture for a larger image.)