Vintage Homoerotic Ads

I recently came across this article by the Huffington Post titled “The Most Homoerotic Vintage Ads of All Time.”  I used some of the ads featured in the Huffington Post article, but with a little searching, I found a few of my own to share with you.  Oh the olden days, when men were men… who showered together. Soap seems to be the number one add, but there are a few others.  There’s nothing funnier than unintentionally sexual ads, except maybe unintentionally sexual vintage ads. I’ve scoured the very back-ends of the Internet to bring you the best in early “hidden” homoerotica.

The US military had to have some way to advocate safe sex.  One of the ads below is such an ad for safe sex, though it is more homoerotic than public service announcement.  I remember doing research one time on American soldiers in the First World War.  The head of the French army asked the American General Pershing if he would like the French to set up brothels for the American soldiers (this was customary with the French military so that they could monitor the prostitutes health).  Pershing declined but begged the French general to never mention this to President Wilson, or he would withdraw American from the war.  Wilson (if you know much about him) was a bit of a prude.
During World War II, it seems that Cannon Towels nearly cornered the market with their homoerotic ads of soldiers bathing together.  There is even at least one soldier dancing.
Ivory Soap had its fair share as well.  I guess they needed soap that floats because they didn’t want hands wandering to places that might seem inappropriate.  Ivory Soap just took all the fun out of it.
Underwear and sleepwear seem to have worked their unintentional magic as well.  Underwear advertisements have always been homoerotic in my opinion.
And with bananas, there is always a hidden joke.  Make sure that you read full advertisement.

Of course, no one did homoerotic ads like Abercrombie & Fitch would do later in the early 2000s. Click on “Read more »” below to take a trip down memory lane with the photography of Bruce Weber and A&F Quarterly.


It always amazed me that they were advertising for clothes that the models were often not wearing.  For that matter, most of the models were barely dressed at all.  They sure did have some great campaigns though, and they were quite effective at recasting A&F from an expensive outdoorsy clothing company to a hip and modern clothing company for young people.

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About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

7 responses to “Vintage Homoerotic Ads

  • Jacob Woods

    These look like good times to me! lol They weren't being ignorant to the fact that gay sex happens when you are around a lot of men for a long time.

  • Ace

    I've done a few Queer Theory papers before, and one of my favorite points to make is that all men engage in homosocial behavior in one way or another. Even today, when men seem to be very much against loosing their masculinity by being perceived as gay, they still engage in what could be considered very homoerotic behavior. And yet, we don't let it show in our current society. Even the A&F catalogues seem to need to throw in a few girls to tip the scale. Dolce and Gabana has done the same thing in their ads too. Apparently the inclusion of one woman makes the men lounging all over each other somehow less gay.-Ace

  • JoeBlow

    Very true, Jacob. I've always heard that the Navy is the largest gay organization in the world.Ace, you are right. One girl does seem to make the difference with ads and homosocial behavior. A very straight friend of mine, once told me about a threesome he had with his best friend and a girl–two guys and one girl, always seemed a little "gay" to me, but then again he didn't see it that way because a girl was involved.

  • Ace

    Honestly, Joe, I've seen guys do a lot of pretty gay things and claim it wasn't gay because a girl was there. I've been part of MMF three-ways with guys that say they only have male-male sexual contact with a girl present, not that I mind that. It seems like an interesting way to get past the stigma and take part in the homoerotic activities that used to be common in older times.-Ace

  • JoeBlow

    Ace, "Straight" guys do some crazy things. Too bad we have so many hang-ups these days.

  • jaygeemmm

    I swear, Joe, you just keep coming up with "the stuff". This post just made me smile. Great end to the week!Peace <3Jay

  • JoeBlow

    Thanks, Jay. I was actually having a hard time figuring out what to post today, if anything, and then I came across this at the Huffington Post, and thought it was pretty perfect.

Thank you for commenting. I always want to know what you have to say. However, I have a few rules: 1. Always be kind and considerate to others. 2. Do not degrade other people's way of thinking. 3. I have the right to refuse or remove any comment I deem inappropriate. 4. If you comment on a post that was published over 14 days ago, it will not post immediately. Those comments are set for moderation. If it doesn't break the above rules, it will post.

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