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

Friday, October 14, 2016

Peek-a-boo Pet Venuses.Forbidden glimpses in the early seventies: A Pubic Wars special

Ada Grootenboer displays the first unobstructed fluff in Penthouse's May 1969 issue. This was before the US issue launched in September 1969

We have just finished the second of our two posts (the first is here) on those models who flashed their pubic hair when being photographed as Playboy playmates, before such shots could appear in the magazine.  These pictures, inadvertent in their nature as most of them were, carry a frisson of the illicit. You are seeing something in retrospect which couldn't be seen at the time, unless you were in the photographer's studio on the day. 

The first Penthouse Pet of the Month to show her fluff in the US edition. Stephanie McLean, April 1970

There is a very much smaller, unseen at the time, series of photographs done of Penthouse Pets, all shot by Bob Guccione, carrying a similar charge of the forbidden.  These date from a short period in the early seventies, when pubic hair started to appear in Penthouse, to the development of the presentation of the models' genitals from 1974.  Like the exposure of pubic hair right at the beginning of the seventies this part of a woman's body was thought to be too obscene to be published in a newsstand magazine.  If the forbidden bits appeared they were carefully (and some times not so carefully) retouched so they did not offend the sensibilities of those who like to be offended.

Janice Kane, September 1974

They cover a short period of just two years, 1972 and 1973, before the floodgates (and legs) opened in 1974 with the girl who is generally regarded as the first real pussy displaying Pet, Janis Kane, an English girl who appeared as Pet of the Month for September 1974.  Janice was the first of what Triple P's Canadian friend Sophie would call Penthouse's "cunt queens" of the seventies.  After Janice's set, as was the case with the first pubic hair display, not all of the subsequent Pets were so bold and it wasn't until 1976/77 that most of he Pets started leaving little to the imagination.

Susan Ryder, March 1975

At this time most Pets had, perhaps, one labia revealing shot in their pictorial but some girls really went for it as regards exposing the previously forbidden.  Names like Sharon Longworth, Susan Ryder (already featured as Centrefold of the Month here), Bonnie Dee Wilson, Laura Favie, Martine le Mauviel and Anna Grimwood exposed themselves in a way that would soon become the norm in mens' magazines but in the period from 1974 until 1976 was still very unusual.

Patricia Barratt, January 1972

As in our Playboy sets we will include each Pet's centrefold as well.  Our first Pet comes from January 1972 in the lean shape of Patricia 'Cherokee' Barratt from Dallas, Texas.  Barratt's pictorial contained a record number of pubic shots for Penthouse, for the same month that Hugh Hefner was agonising as to whether his January 1971 Playmate should go full frontal in her centrefold.  Barratt's centrefold is certainly sexually provocative, with her multi-coloured dress just about covering her groin and making that part of her body the focus of the image.

These outtakes have Barratt with her groin uncovered and everything on show, given her very wispy pubes.  It is worth noting that these pictures were taken in 1971 at a time when many of the other major American men's magazines, such as Cavalier, hadn't even gone pubic yet.  There are pictures from this shoot of a naked Guccione being hugged by a naked Barratt so it may be that she was one of the many Pets that he added to his 'collection'.  

Guccione would have known that there was no way he could have published these shots so was obviously just doing them for his own enjoyment.  Barratt seems to be enjoying herself too.  She would go on to be Pet of the Year for 1973. 

These shots of Barratt are even more revealing as she flashes her anus for Guccione's lens. It would be nearly four years until anything this explicit appeared on the pages of the magazine.

Sharon Bailey was Penthouse's Pet of the Month for May 1972 and was, according to the magazine, a nineteen year old from Hertfordshire in England.  We have seen a cutting from a British newspaper at the time where it said her father was a successful greyhound owner and breeder.

Among her more conventional poses there is this one strikingly explicit shot which did not, of course, appear in the magazine at the time. Another one for Guccione's collection?

November 1972's Angela Adams was a twenty year old from Kent according to Penthouse.  She certainly had a spectacular figure but, like many Penthouse Pets of the period, din't pose for any other magazines so she really may have been just a secretary as the pictorial maintained.

This shot (reversed) did appear in her magazine pictorial but what did not was the glimpse of her pink parts which had been hidden by the retoucher's brush.

Avril Lund (or Lundberg to give her her full last name) was from Dublin but after travelling around Europe she settled in Brighton, England and trained to be a nurse at St Francis Hospital until 1972, which was a psychiatric hospital until it was closed in 1995 and converted into flats.

She had been singing in pubs to earn a bit more money in her spare time and a local photographer gave her work and shot a few nudes of her which he sent to Penthouse.  Very soon Bob Guccione was flying her to the Caribbean for this shoot.

Lund became the 1974 Pet of the Year but after that her trail runs cold.  Sadly, it appears she moved to Canada with her boyfriend and then to the US and at some point was forcibly admitted to the substance abuse ward of a state hospital in Visalia, California around 2010, following convictions for possessing hard drugs.  She had been living on the streets and was emaciated and suffering from hepatitis.  She died shortly after admission.

Best to remember her in her twenties, when she posed uninhibitedly for Guccione.

This sensuous picture of Avril was really the first of Guccione's pussy caressing shots and, again, was too strong to be shown in the magazine without some retouching.

Leslie Leah Burrow was, according to April 1973's Penthouse, from New Jersey and was just 5' 1" tall.  Her pictorial looks like it was shot in North Africa, somewhere Guccione knew well.

 These two spread-legs shots didn't appear in the magazine of course but, as ever, Guccione got his model looking happy and relaxed despite the brazen pose.  She doesn't, as is the case for the other girls photographed here too, look at all uncomfortable.

May 1975's Sandi Greco certainly looked just nineteen years old in many of her shots.  From an Italian American family in Massachussets she was spotted by a Penthouse editor in California after she moved there.  She was flown to London for her session with Guccione.

This shot gives out something of a Lolita vibe with Sandi's brazenly spread legs contrasting with her sweet expression and hair in bunches.

None of these three shots appeared in the magazine as the glimpse of her pink parts would have been too much for 1973.

The lilac feather in this one really draws attention to her presented pussy.  Like many of Penthouse's Pets of the time it is impossible to find anything else out about her. With out of focus forground flower, fruit, and a floppy hat this is seventies Penthouse encapsulated.

November 1973 pet of the Month, Lane Coyle's centrefold gives us a bold spread legs pose but her labia are darkened so as to be invisible.  She was supposedly an American from Wilmington, Delaware who was living in London.

These outtakes of Lane, like Sandi Greco's, feature an ostrich feather and visible parts between her thighs.  These didn't appear in the magazine, however.

Following this, Pets continued to have everything covered or obscured until the centrefold shot of Barbie Lewis in July 1974 where she is displaying her slit quite clearly.  The coyness would end with Janice Kane in September 1974.  A month later Hustler would also reveal their models' bits for the first time.  Another chapter of the Pubic Wars was beginning.


  1. I have to say there is something very nice about seeing pictures of a really pretty girl totally naked. I think the pussy is very beautiful. I remember as a teenager enjoying the boobs in the Sun but when I started buying Mayfair (aged 15 in 1976) it was a wonderful experience seeing all those beautiful girls in all their glory! Thanks for a continuing interesting account!

    1. Thanks we are similar ages (16 in 1976) from a time when an appreciation of women's bodies was not derided as objectification. Frankly, as with most men, we can see the difference between a lovely body as art and a person!

  2. Thanks for the blog. The pictures of Barratt bring back memories.

  3. If I could give you an award for this post that reveals some previously unknown (to me) Penthouse Pet pictures, I would do so in a heartbeat.

  4. Great blog on great subject- gorgeous gals, scalpel free, ink-less, sporting minimal piercings and not yet self-promoting and publicity centric. The girls bios, updates and photo out-takes are awesome.

  5. Additions: Roberta Pedon & friends, Riverboat Gambolers 1977 with Hope Olsen, any Playboy Test shots made public would be nice from 1970-90 of any Playmates, Best Kept Secret in Caribbean, 1976 Playboy, Houseboat Vacation, 1970, etc & merge all Penthouse couple pics into one IF possible IE Times of Her Life etc.
    Otherwise great pics, cant get into women on women, like Penthouse couple pics best & Playboy Sex in Cinema pics.

  6. Avril Lund (Avril Lundberg) is alive and well according to this facebook post of 1/27/17: Ex-wife of Toronto musician Michael Fonfara. She is also referenced in this article from 2010 (evidently before their divorce) :

    1. Well that is good news. Thanks for this!