Erotic depictions of women in drawing, painting, sculpture and photography from the dawn of man to the present.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Venus revealed: The Pubic Wars 5

Laura Misch, February 1975

NOTE:  This post has been replaced by my series of the Pubic Wars which goes into the matter in far more detail.  Just look at the appropriate section in the sidebar to the right.

Whilst Playboy decided not to follow Penthouse down the exposed labia route it came up with an approach that has since stood them in good stead by enabling them to show enticing spread legs shots without being too explicit: see-through lingerie. Here, Playboy Playmate of the Month for February 1975, Laura Misch, gives us Playboy’s first spread legs centrefold whilst remaining relatively modest.

The following month, after four months of modest Playboy type poses Penthouse came back with Susan Ryder in a new soft-focus style which would be characteristic of Penthouse for over a decade. Whether this style was a clever way to get more explicit shots through or was just Guccione genuinely following an impressionist bent is not clear. We suspect a little of both.

Marguerite Cordier August 1975

The rest of 1975 saw Penthouse following this soft-focus approach as some of the girls showed their bits and some didn't. Increasingly, too, Penthouse was showing soft-core faux masturbation shots like this one of Marguerite Cordier from August 1975. You can't help thinking that Penthouse wouldn't have come up with something this bold without the vaseline on the lens approach.

December and January were often the issues where both Playboy and Penthouse would push the limits of what was acceptable (coming as they did just before subscription renewal time) but Penthouse's Miss December 1975, Susan Waide’s, pictorial was rather modest by the Penthouse standards of the previous few months, when a lot of soft focus labia had been in evidence. This all changed with her centrefold where the soft-focus had been dialled back and Susan was shown in all her glory.

Susan Waide, December 1975, gets her bits out in crystal clear clarity
Playboy hadn't quite retired defeated and in January 1976 gave us Daina House indulging in some very un-Playboy like self appreciation.

Daina House has a little feel in January 1976
This was nothing compared with 22 year old French Canadian Laura Favie's pictorial, however. There was no more waiting by Penthouse after pushing a boundry. After Susan Wade's clear pussy centrefold Laura had this full page picture.

In March 1976 we got Playboy's final salvo in the Pubic Wars shape of Anne Pennington. Anne's sister Janice had been one of the first Playmates to show her fur in May 1971. Anne showed a lot more than Janice however, flashing her bits in several photos including this one which would really be the high water mark for Playboy explicitness for many years to come.

Anne Pennington gives us a very naughty shot for Playboy in March 1976

Just to show that Playboy wasn't going down without a fight we have Patricia Margot from May 1976 who flashes her bits as well.

Patricia Margot, May 1976

Playboy's Debra Peterson also had some pretty bold poses in June but they were nothing compared to Penthouse's Miss June Anna Grimwood. Anna was an English girl who had been flown to Rome for her pictorial whilst Bob Guccione worked on Caligula there.

Anna Grimwood pictured with Caligula scripwriter Gore vidal and star Malcolm McDowell. They think they're making Art!

In fact, Anna's pictures were taken in Caligula screenwriter Gore Vidal's Rome apartment. It's not clear if Anna appeared in Caligula or not. We suspect not as her pictorial said that the film hadn't started shooting at that point. The other dozen or so Pets who did feature flew out to Rome the following year.
Anna does really, really naughty

Whatever, Anna's pictorial was the most explicit Penthouse had ever done. She was the first Penthouse Pet to do the pussy from the rear pose and in her rear-end masturbation shot became the first Penthouse girl to show her anus.

Anna's centrefold takes no prisoners

Playboy decided not to compete in this area and the girls who did show a glimpse of their labia disappeared. They only resurfaced in Hefner's magazine in late 1983 and 1984 when Playboy was facing a challenge from cheap pornographic videos for the first time.

For Penthouse 1976 was undoubtedly the year of the pussy culminating in two extreme photographs. Firstly, non-Pet Colleen carney in the August 1976 edition presented what looked very much like Penthouse's first aroused labia.

Suzanne sticks it in

Secondly, in October 1976 Suzanne Saxon was photographed with the tip of her finger actually in her vagina. It would be a long time until even Penthouse was bold enough to try this again.

The final unanswered shot of the Pubic Wars, at the tail end of the seventies, would be from Amber Ramsay, photographed by John Copeland for December (traditionally a Penthouse barrier pushing month) 1978. Petite ballet dancer Amber was photographed squirming around on a staircase and quite unexpectedly had this one shocking shot of her with a pink, wet pussy.

An excited Amber Ramsey
There is probably a need for just one last episode to bring the subject up to date!


  1. Your documentation of this fascinating subject in erotic art is exceptional. Bravo! Please post further on this!

  2. If it's not too much to ask -- could we have the rest, or at least more, of the Susan Ryder 1975 spread? I believe -- though the vaseline treatment was so thoroughgoing it's hard to tell -- that she was the first to fully show a bare/shaved pubis in Penthouse

  3. Susan Ryder should be displaying herself for your delectation within the next day!

  4. I feel confident saying Amber Ramsey was the most beautiful woman ever to appear in Penthouse, at least since 1973, along with only 2 other women: Dawn Shaw (Sep 1976) and Janna Adams (Oct 1986).

  5. As far as Pennington's March 1976photo being Playboy's pubic "high water mark," I would humbly suggest that Miss Candy Loving in January 1979 provided an equal high water mark.

  6. Hmm. Candy was a lovely girl but her magazine pictorial was rather modest. Her Playboy webside photos are a bit more explicit but she didn't put it out like Miss Pennington!

  7. May we have a larger copy of the Anna Grimwood centerfold? It's... impressive.

  8. I am currently rewriting the entry for 1976. Most of these pictures are other people's scans so the quality is not that high. I am scanning the original magazines for the new version so Anna will return in much hgher definition in a week or so.

  9. Very interesting. I've been a member at for a long time. But, some of the pics you've posted here - which I do recall from the magazines are NOT on their site. For example, that full-page photo of Laurie Favie.
    Keep up the good work!

  10. Ok. Now I really feel cheated. Neither the Amber Ramsey pic ( although one quite similar ) nor the Suzanne Saxon pic on the site.

    If I didn't have a permanent account with them, I'd be asking for a refund.

  11. Apparently, Suzanne Saxon aka Suzanne Swanson died in 2006. I'm saddened by the passing of this remarkably beautiful woman.

  12. Thanks for your comments.

    Most of my pictures are scans from the original magazines. Hardly any of the seventies girls feature on the PH site.

    This post is actually an old one. I went back and revisted this period in more detail (I am up to 1977)in multiple posts. Just look for Pubic Wars in the labels section of the sidebar.

  13. In this post you state this about Anna Grimwood, who was the Pet of the Month June 1976:

    "Whatever, Anna's pictorial was the most explicit Penthouse had ever done. She was the first Penthouse Pet to do the pussy from the rear pose and in her rear-end masturbation shot became the first Penthouse girl to show her anus."

    But then in an April 2010 post you make the claim about the May 1975 issue:

    "In addition, there was this full-page mirror shot which meant that Octavia was the first girl in Penthouse to clearly show her anus, thus satisfying a gentleman from Quebec who had written in some months earlier requesting just this."

    Just thought you might like to know about the discrepancy.

  14. You're right. What I meant was Anna was the first Pet of the Month...

    Although it could be argued that Octavia's shot was of a reflection rather than her!

    Glad to see someone is studying my text with such assiduousness!

  15. Amber Ramsey has the sweetest pussy ever on mag remember shooting a massive load onto the page if only it was into her pussy