In its current form, gay male erotica is believed to have started about the time of World War II. Thought to be instigated by the homoerotic subtext of groups of young men serving together in uniform, the slight liberalization of sodomy laws, the rise of gay publications, the Kinsey report, and the emergence of gay political groups such as the Mattachine Society, gay erotica began to weave its way into the national culture. Already available from foreign sources, social conservatism in the United States forced authors into the underground. As a result, many erotic short stories and graphics are untraceable back to their original authors.
In the 1950s, Supreme Court rulings on censorship and the opening up of first amendment rights created a significant shift in authorship and publication of gay erotica from Europe to the United States. More pulp periodicals were being produced and a resultant increase in published erotica was observed. Authors such as Eldon Barnard, Phil Andros, Dirk Vandon, and Richard Amory wrote prolifically and their material could be found in magazines and books available at newsstands. The social stigma associated with this subject matter loosened more in the post-Stonewall era and a litany of authors took advantage of this new found freedom to increase the pornographic content of their material.
Although the storylines of erotica in this era are extremely diverse, most stories fall into a specific genre. The protagonist is usually young and inexperienced and finds himself subject to the sexual whims of an authoritative male figure such as a policeman, military member, cowboy, or older family member. The young man is unsure of his budding homosexuality and feels assured by the senior figure that their activities are a normal, if not a secretive, part of life.
Miller, Edmond. (1995). Erotica and Pornography. Essay retrieved from the GLBTQ encyclopedia available online.
Sheppard, Simon. (2007). Homosex: Sixty Years of Gay Erotica. Carroll and Graf, publishers. New York.