Do's and Don'ts for Detective Writers Dealing With Sex
By The Editors of Spicy Detective Magazine

The following requirements were laid down by the editors of Spicy Detective back in the thirties:

  • In describing breasts of a female character, avoid anatomical descriptions. (Dan Turner himself must have come up with this one!-ed.)

  • If it is necessary to have the girl give herself to a man, or be taken from him, do not go too carefully into details...

  • Whenever possible, avoid complete nudity of the female characters. You can have a girl; strip to her underwear or transparent negligee or gown, or the thin torn shred of her garments, but while the girl is alive and in contact with a man, we do not want complete nudity.

  • A nude female corpse is allowable, of course. (Of course!-ed.)

  • Also a girl undressing in the privacy of her own room, but when men are in the action try to keep at least a shred of something on the girls.

  • Do not have men in underwear in scenes with women, and no nude men at all.

The editors concluded by reminding readers that "The idea is to have a very strong sex element in these stories without anything that might be interpreted as being obscene or vulgar."

From Snobbery With Violence by Colin Watson, which was reprinted in The Book of Literary Lists, compiled and edited by Nicholas Parsons (London: Sidgwick & Jackson, 1985), which is where I ripped it off from.


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