NSFW Video – “There are lots of ways to watch sex in this world, but here’s a unique and illuminating perspective: sex from inside a vagina. Highly informative, yet in no way safe for an open-office floor plan, this clip — narrated by scientists who explain the body’s various contractions, secretions, and reactions…. The final result is a video that was made purely for scientific study, showing every moment of their encounter.
The triple-star code, created some time in the first part of the 20th century, identified the printed works that were considered too hot for the general reader to handle.
Playboy was once classified with a triple star. So were raunchy pulp novels, fliers for Times Square massage parlors, business cards offering phone sex for $2 a minute, even playing cards with illustrations of naked women.
For decades, they were kept in locked cages, accessible only with special permission and viewed in a small, secured area in the main research library.
More recently, hundreds of works that make up the triple-star collection have been liberated from the restricted controls. An adult with a library card can simply fill out a request and peruse the material on the premises. (The library maintains a filter system to restrict access to erotic materials on the Internet.)
“Erotica was not something we were particularly going after, but we needed to collect life as it was lived,” said Jason Baumann, a collections curator. “We needed to understand and document for history what the city of New York was like. That meant collecting the good and the bad. It was always part of our mandate.”
The triple-star collection is a miniature version of the vast archive of erotica at France’s National Library. That collection, called “L’Enfer” (“Hell”), dates from the 19th century, when the library, in Paris, isolated any work considered “contrary to good morals.” In 2008, the National Library mounted its first major exhibition of highlights from the collection. It drew record crowds; no one under 16 was admitted.
The New York Public Library, by contrast, has never had a similar exhibition. The materials are not as rich, and the standards of what is considered proper for an exhibition in a public institution differ in France from those in the United States.
And unlike France’s National Library, whose sexually explicit material is contained in one archive, only a part of the Public Library’s erotica was designated triple star. The rest is dispersed in other collections in the building, including in the Berg Collection of English and American Literature (rare books and manuscripts) and the Spencer Collection(artists’ books and illuminated manuscripts).
A guided visit to the library revealed some of the richness of its erotic (or pornographic, depending on who was doing the classification) material. The works are hidden treasures, many of them awaiting discovery. Not even the curators and librarians know everything that is there.
“There were many materials in the library’s special collections that I had never seen before,” Mr. Baumann said. “The range and depth of our collections never ceases to astonish me.”
The main building of the Public Library had such an impact on the neighborhood that there was once a massage parlor a block away on West 43rd Street named the Library. A 1976 flier in the *** collection advertised its $10, tip-included service, with “7 Beautiful Librarians to Service You.” The flier shows a longhaired “librarian” dressed in a necklace and high heels. A large bunch of feathers covers her private parts.
As part of the library’s mandate to collect life as it was lived, small teams of librarians were dispatched in the 1970s to Times Square pornography shops to scoop up representative samples of the latest erotica. Among the paperback titles in the collection: “Animal Urge,” “The 48-Hour Orgy,” “Beach Stud” and “All Day Sucker.”
“The bookstore owners hated it when we showed up,” said Christopher Filstrup, a former librarian who was part of the shopping brigade. “But we loved it. Books and magazines were organized just the way librarians do it, by subject — fetish, S and M, black and white, that kind of thing. Since I was head of the Oriental Division my assignment was Asians.
“Oh, I did chubby, too.”
The pulp novels and sexually explicit how-to books were printed on such poor-quality paper that the bulk of them were preserved on microfilm; the original books were discarded.
But hundreds were kept, including books disguised as sociology whose aim was titillation. They had titles like “Mass Orgasms: A Study of Group Sex Activity” and “Fornication and the Law.”
The library was one of the first major American institutions to invest heavily in the collection of erotic gay and lesbian literature, and it now boasts one of the country’s finest collections in American gay history. “We collected in the heyday of midcentury gay erotica,” Mr. Baumann said. “Looking back, we were pioneers.”
The library’s collection was enhanced in 1988 when it was given the archives of the New York-based International Gay Information Center, much of which dealt with gay and lesbian sex and sexuality.
The library has highbrow erotica as well. Deep in the Berg rare book collection, for example, is a work that has never been publicly displayed: William Faulkner’s pencil drawings of him and Meta Carpenter Wilde, his mistress, having sex.
Ms. Wilde gave the drawings to the library on condition that they remain inaccessible until the death of Faulkner’s daughter, Jill Faulkner Summers, who died in 2008.
“No researchers have been in to see them, but they certainly could do so,” said Isaac Gewirtz, the Berg’s curator of literary manuscripts.
Asked why the library had not publicized the availability of the drawings, he replied, “I thought it would be unseemly, since we know the identity of the persons in the drawings. They’re listed in our catalog for anyone to see.”
Mr. Gewirtz displayed the drawings on a long table along with other prizes in his collection, including Henry Miller’s typewritten manuscript for “Tropic of Capricorn,” with his handwritten edits; a 1947 humorous, pornographic cartoon by the novelist Jack Kerouac; a first edition of a pornographic poem by W. H. Auden; a first edition of Vladimir Nabokov’s English-language novel “Lolita,” published in Paris in 1955 after Nabokov failed to find a publisher in the United States.
Also in the Berg Collection, in the archived papers of Terry Southern, the writer, is a carbon copy typescript of the comic, erotic novel “Candy,” with emendations in Southern’s hand.
Up a flight of stairs, in the gray metal rare-book stacks, Mr. Gewirtz showed off a shelf of pulp fiction books, yet to be cataloged, from after World War II. The books were acquired to help document the change in sexual attitudes that coincided with anti-establishment literary movements. They helped provide historical context for writers like William S. Burroughs, whose papers the library possesses.
May your new year be filled with unexpected pleasures.
The naughty gingerbread figures were created by a woman who met me for the first time and found out I was a sexologist. She shared the photo when I mentioned I would like to share it with the followers of the Salon.
HAMBURG — Christmas markets are one of the seasonal joys of Germany.
From late November to Dec. 23, civic squares across the country suddenly sprout bustling fairytale villages of crafters and vendors in kitschy wooden huts, sparkling outdoor cafes and wine bars, grills of bratwurst sizzling over open fires and, of course, convivial crowds of shoppers, drinkers, eaters and gawkers.
But the Christmas market in the St. Pauli neighbourhood of Hamburg comes with a unique, sometimes startling sizzle that has nothing to do with bratwurst.
St. Pauli, you see, is home to Hamburg’s once-notorious (now consumer-friendly) Reeperbahn red light district. And the local Christmas market reflects the port district’s native customs and practices in all their gaudy, salacious glory.
Instead of manger scenes and salad bowls, the wooden crafts on sale tend to be hand-carved dildos. The designer chocolates are usually in the shape of various parts of the human anatomy. And the elves are likely to be exotic dancers wearing tassle-tipped pasties (for modesty’s sake, if not thermal sense) as they go about Santa’s business.
The combined craft fair/winter carnival/erotic supermarket is called Santa Pauli Christmas Market and it covers two blocks of open space in the middle of the Reeperbahn, sandwiched between the street that gives the area its name and the battalion of parka-clad (and legally sanctioned) prostitutes lining the sidewalk near the local police station.
A Salvation Army youth group carries a wooden cross past street prostitutes in Hamburg’s Reeperbahn red light district where the X-rated Santa Pauli Christmas Market is held every December.
The Santa Pauli Christmas Market is not for the faint of heart, but it’s also decidedly tame compared to some of the more extreme entertainment options — from S&M clubs to bustling bordellos — offered just down the street behind closed doors.
There is a striptease tent set up at one end of the Christmas village, but its occupants are members of what’s dubbed an “American-style” burlesque troupe that specializes in the naughty-but-nice titillations of classic 1950s bump-and-grind routines. (Santa would be so pleased.)
A more ribald entertainment tent is the nearby “porno karaoke” where boisterous patrons are invited to supply running dialogue and commentary on porn movies (with the sound turned off) as they throw back glasses of glühwein (hot mulled wine — a ghastly German winter tradition) and schnapps.
At the other end of the market is an open-air stage where bands and cabaret acts perform nightly as bundled-up visitors crowd the outdoor bars and make themselves comfortable on all-weather sofas under heat-spewing gas torches.
In between, the dozens of booths selling crafts, candies, novelties and other sexual (sorry, “erotic”) merchandise are relatively innocuous — certainly no more flagrant than the window displays in the sex shops lining the Reeperbahn. Even the local pro soccer team, FC St. Pauli, has a booth in the market selling fan gear.
Chief organizer Jochen Bohnsack, who started the Santa Pauli Christmas Market in 2006, makes a point of keeping it that way — naughty but not nasty. He even keeps out the big sex-supermarket chains (a thriving industry in Germany) so the small entrepreneur is showcased. And he also gently steers away any oblivious crafts people who don’t understand that the Santa Pauli market isn’t like most other family-oriented Christmas markets.
One very popular vendor hut is the WaldMichlsHoldi display selling wooden dildos handcrafted by a multi-generational family business. With more than 70 different shapes and sizes (and a variety of colours), there’s a WaldMichlsHoldi to suit every taste and inclination, patriarch Elmar Thüry says — and he says the spruce gooses finished in a non-toxic, environmentally friendly varnish are guaranteed not to splinter.
As I said, not for the faint of heart. And not particularly Christmas-y either — except for the cutaway Santa costumes and jingle-bell pasties worn by the strippers.
But when in Rome, do as the Romans do. And when on the Reeperbahn in December, go to the Santa Pauli Christmas Market.
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4 Videos Below-Readings are only recorded at the request of the presenter.
Monica Day performance/reading two poems: The Fifth Year and This is My Body for January 2013 Erotic Literary Salon
M. Dante reading SKIN dedicated to the art and inspiration of Heide Hatry for December 2013 Erotic Literary Salon
Frances' reading,“Go the Fok to Sleep”
Dr. Susana Mayer’s NBC10 interview of “50 Shades of Grey”