Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Steve Masters and Seafair-ing Lads

Mike Miksche by George Platt Lynes, 1952
Seafair is a fun annual celebration here in the Pacific Northwest.  It began in the 1950's and continues every August/July with navy ship tours, air shows with the Blue Angels, hydroplane races, parades, and pretend pirates who collect money for good chairities. Fleet Week is especially popular because it's usually when U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, and Canadian Navy ships enter Elliot Bay.  The sexy sailors get to explore the city of Seatte and the local land lubbers get to explore/tour the ships.

Last weekend was the big event with sea-worthy men everywhere, something that artist Steve Masters would no doubt have enjoyed a whole lot.  Steve Masters (Mike Miksche in real life) became a very popular contributor to physique magazines in their 1950's golden era.  Having served in the military himself, for relaxation and fun he drew pen-and-ink drawings of masculine men doing erotic and dominant things to other sailors and then signed with the pen name of Steve Masters (note the initials are SM).  It's believed that some of his 'rough trade' ideas may have been based upon actual straight-identified sailors and the gay men they humiliated before, during and after using them for sexual pleasure.
Married and living in New York City to a woman, it's reported that Mike/Steve Masters continued to enjoy his domination fetish long after those years in the military, and that he eventually met famed sex researcher Alfred Kinsey who he subsequently became an unofficial collaborator with via Kinsey’s Institute for Sex Research. In the spring of 1950 (at Kinsey’s invitation) Masters was filmed engaging in BDSM sex with Samuel Morris Steward.  Mike would later commit suicide by jumping into the Hudson river. After his death, his wife found the erotica that her husband had created (including what's believed to be extreme S/M and domination drawings of sex between men) and burned it. Such a response it typical when relatives uncover gay erotica after a family member passes away.  What remains today is what had been published and what Mike/Steve Masters had already donated to the Kinsey Institute.

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