In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Susie Bright’s legacy in porn criticism and debate is detailed in her latest book, Susie Bright’s Erotic Screen: The Golden Hardcore & the Shimmering Dyke-Core. She is the author of the national best sellers Full Exposure and The Sexual State of the Union, as well as her memoir, BigSexLittleDeath. She is the host of Audible’s InBedWithSusieBright, the longest-running sexuality program in the history of broadcasting. Bright was co-founder and editor of On Our Backs magazine, and the first journalist to cover erotic cinema and the porn business in the mainstream press. A progenitor of the sex-positive movement, Bright taught the first university course on pornography, and brought lasting sexual influence to her role and writing in films like Bound and The Celluloid Closet, as well as by playing herself,“the famous feminist sex writer,”on Six Feet Under. I was hired by Jack Heidenry in 1986 to write for Penthouse Forum, a pocketbook-size sex journal that porn mogul Bob Guccione published during his heyday. I had no idea that Jack’s plan was so experimental . All I knew was that I’d never been paid to write professionally before, though I’d worked tirelessly on newspapers and underground magazines since I was a teenager, including one that got me suspended for distributing birth control information in high school. My first “sex advice column” was written for a 1980s underground magazine dedicated to “entertainment for the adventurous lesbian.” I was always the enthusiastic volunteer of the sexual liberation front. But I’d never watched an X-rated movie. I didn’t tell Jack my secret. It was such an amazing opportunity that I wanted him to think I wrote for piles of money all the time and knew everything about erotic theater. Unlike Guccione’s flagship title with its pin-up girl centerfolds, Forum was full of sexy words instead of sexy pictures, and was read by men and women alike. The Birth of the Blue Movie Critic Susie Bright Heidenry found me because he admired my writing and editorship of a two-year-old, antiestablishment, lesbian sex magazine called On Our Backs. I was shocked he’d even heard of us. Our tiny posse in San Francisco didn’t publish our manifesto with men in mind. Jack asked me to write a monthly column, “The Erotic Screen,” to review and report on the latest in erotic cinema. A year later, he added an advice column so I could respond to erotic film questions. It must have been a red-letter day in 1986 for women’s lib at the Guccione Empire—Heidenry hired me, Veronica Vera, and Annie Sprinkle as monthly contributors. Has any leading circulation magazine in New York ever again hired three talented women as contributing editors and paid them handsomely? I was blissfully out of the loop about how few women worked in these capacities. I was twenty-eight years old. All those famous hardcore films like Deep Throat and Behind the Green Door had came out when I was in Catholic grade school wearing saddle shoes and plaid skirts. When I was a kid, I was curious about “X-rated” movies, of course— but by the time I was a teen, I was a radical, and I considered blue movies , the whole idea of them, to be pathetic. I thought the people who made or watched those films must be lonely, at best. They needed to take their clothes off and go have sex with everyone else at the nude beach. My actual life at the time would have made a good porno. By the time the 1980s arrived, I was creating lesbian erotica every day with a talented band of art radicals at our all-dyke office above a Chinese take-out restaurant in the Castro. I worked at a day job in a closet-sized feminist sex toy shop, the original Good Vibrations founded by Joani Blank. It was the only place of its kind. Our great inventory disadvantage was that hardly anyone in the “erotic” world made anything of interest for women. My vibrator shop colleagues and I talked about “someday” publishing a book of erotic short stories by women—it had never been done. I saw only a few customers per day, and in between talking about the miracle of the Magic Wand vibrator, we talked about how no one seemed to believe that women had erotic, aesthetic interests of their own. At On Our Backs...


Additional Information

Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.