Let’s face it – if you’re going to write a piece of erotic pulp fiction about a married couple, a novel about a happy, monogamous pair just won’t do the trick. A vintage adult paperback has to have an element of sleaze – thus, any book featuring husbands and wives, naturally, is going to have them behaving as wantonly as humanly possible…. and nine times out of ten, the woman is to blame (the poor tempted male, is just a hapless victim of her womanly wiles).
“HE WAS WEAK. SHE WAS WANTON” – the tagline for Grounds for Divorce by Jack Woodford (1948) sums it up perfectly. Sure, the men in these tawdry tales aren’t exactly saints. However, the story is almost always the same: she’s the tempter, he’s the tempted.
Let’s have a look at some paperback covers featuring those misbehaving missus (and sometimes misters) of yesteryear…
“A searing story of a woman with no morals in a small town full of bored husbands!” Yep. The women are to blame: if they’d kept their husbands satisfied they wouldn’t have been so “bored” and susceptible to the Henry’s wife’s temptations.
And poor Henry. You’ll notice a good many cuckolds in these stories as well.
“Keep nagging me and one of these nights I’ll tell you where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing… in juicy detail!”
“My wife made me love her sister” – somehow I doubt there was a gun to his head… but, okay, we’ll keep the “poor tempted male” story alive.
“The well-kept lawns and the fieldstone homes concealed affairs that turned country gardens into hot-houses of lust!”
I love how the men are often described as simply “restless”, whereas the ladies are straight-up whores, of course.
God, even the widow is portrayed as a harlot – having carnal relations beside the photograph of her dead soldier husband. Shame!
The Arrangers doesn’t outright proclaim the woman is the troublemaker; but I think the scene pretty clearly paints her as Eve and he, the helpless tempted Adam.
Also, today I learned, when housewives get bored – they turn to murderous lesbian sex.
“She loved her husband and her girlfriend” and her husband is one-hundred percent down with that.