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Beefcake magazines were magazines published in North America in the 1930s to 1960s that featured photographs of attractive, muscular young men in athletic poses. While their primary market was gay men, until the 1960s, they were typically presented as being magazines dedicated to encouraging fitness and health: the models were often shown demonstrating exercises. Because of the conservative and homophobic social culture of the era, and because of censorship laws, gay pornography could not be sold openly. Gay men turned to beefcake magazines, which could be sold in newspaper stands, book stores and pharmacies. Beefcake magazines were often the only connection that closeted gay men had to their sexuality. Gay pornography pioneer Bob Mizer's Athletic Model Guild, or AMG, produced Physique Pictorial, the first all-nude and all-male magazine, and the film Beefcake documents his work and the growth of the Beefcake magazine industry.

In the 1960s, the pretense of being about exercise and fitness was dropped as controls on pornography were reduced. By the end of the decade, however, gay pornography became legal, and the market for beefcake magazines collapsed.

Young Physique magazine was a prime example of this genre. It had a centerfold with a young model wearing a posing strap (g-string) with creative sets designed by the well-known gay photographer James Bidgood. Showing total nudity was illegal before 1962, so all models had to wear posing straps. Since Young Physique was widely available in drugstores and magazine stores all over the United Statesmarker, even in smaller cities and small towns, buying a copy of the magazine is the way most young homophiles in the 1960s made their first contact with the gay world.

In the 1980s and 1990s, beefcake magazines enjoyed a resurgence due to a heightened interest in male gym culture as well as the onset of the AIDS epidemic. Numerous titles found success, such as Men's Workout, Exercise for Men Only, and Men's Exercise. These magazines are highly visual-oriented with extensive pictorials in contrast to fitness magazines that focus more on text such as Men's Fitness. Many of the images feature homoerotic or suggestive sexual imagery, such as male models unbuttoning their pants or almost full nudity. Some have included profiles of male strippers and some of the male models have also appeared in Playgirl.

Alan B. Stone

Alan Bentley Stone (1928-1992) was a Canadian photographer who was a major contributor to beefcake magazines in Canada and the US. Working from the basement of the home he shared with his mother and aunt in Pointe-Claire, Quebecmarker, a suburb of Montreal, Stone created tens of thousands of photographs of Montreal-area bodybuilders that were published in American magazines and in Physique Illustrated, and Face and Physique, which Stone published. Alan B. Stone's work was given shortly before his death to the Archives gaies du Québec (Quebec Gay Archives), a community-based organization in Montreal. This organization now holds copyright to his vast collection of work which spans several decades.

The American magazines typically did not pay Stone for his work, but gave him free advertising space which he used to sell photo sets directly to customers. Stone frequently took driving trips across Canada with a model as his driver, and photographed the model in beautiful wilderness settings. Stone also took photographs of Canada on these trips that he sold to camping and travel magazines.

Athletic Model Guild

See: Athletic Model Guild


Full-size magazines

  • Beach Adonis
  • Demi-Gods
  • Face and Physique
  • Mr. America
  • Muscle Boy
  • Muscles a Go-Go
  • Teen Torso
  • Tomorrow's Man Special
  • Young Physique (US, 1958 - 1969) Most popular Beefcake magazine—widely available all over the United States. Had a Playboy-like fold out centerfold of young man in a posing strap (g-string).

Pocket-size magazines

  • Adonis
  • Art and Physique
  • Body Beautiful
  • Fizeek Art Quarterly
  • Grecian Guild Pictorial
  • Male Figure
  • Male Pix
  • Man Alive
  • Manorama
  • Manual
  • Man's World
  • Mars
  • Muscle Teens
  • 101 Boys Art
  • Physique Illustrated
  • Physique Pictorial
  • Scan
  • Tomorrow's Man
  • Trim
  • Vim

See also


  1. The United States Supreme Court ruled that nude male photographs were not obscene in MANual Enterprises v. Day, 370 U.S. 478 in 1962. A number of softcore gay pornographic magazines featuring fully nude models, some of them tumescent, quickly appeared. See: Barron, Jerome A. and Dienes, C. Thomas, First Amendment Law, St. Paul, Minn.: West Publishing Co., 1993, ISBN 0314025812 ; Streitmatter, Rodger and Watson, John C., "Herman Lynn Womack: Pornographer as First Amendment Pioneer," Journalism History, 28:56 (Summer 2002); and Waugh, Thomas, Hard to Imagine: Gay Male Eroticism in Photography and Film from Their Beginnings to Stonewall, New York: Columbia University Press, 1996, ISBN 0231099983 .
  2. Fizeek Art Quarterly:

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