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November 3, 2010

Book Review: A Study in, well, Perverted Stuff by Ed Wood

Wood was a staff writer for both Edusex and SECS (The Sex Education Correspondence School) Press. While working for them, he churned out volume after volume of porn cleverly (or not) disguised as meaningful scientific and sociological studies. What these tomes amounted to was an excuse to include hardcore pornography pictures (featuring strange, 70s penetration) under the auspices of “education” and neatly bypass the newly-created obscenity laws. In all of these, the picture captions are some of the funniest in history. Under pictures of normal, seventies coitus, captions like “Anal sex is common with black magic rituals,” or, “The black man’s only weapon may be a sexual one,” or even, “Mother love has been attributed to many transvestite’s conditions,” only add to the sexual fervor that these titles instilled in their readers (amid bouts of laughter). The titles were overly wordy (usually beginning with A Study in or Motivations in…) The photographic content of the books many times undermines the entertaining and appropriately Wood-ian quirkiness of the text. The majority of the books were produced for a loosely-tied series called, “The Sexual Encyclopedia for Adults Only.” What follows is an examination of some of Wood’s best.


A Study of Sexual Practices in Witchcraft and Black Magic, Book I (1970): Horror and sex. No one did this better than Wood, past or present. Current “erotic horror” writers (as they wish to be called in this new, enlightened age) like Nancy A. Collins or Rex Miller cannot even hold a candle to the overlooked master of 4 In 2006, Books I and II of A Study of Sexual Practices in Witchcraft and Black Magic and Books I and II of A Study in Motivations of Censorship was published by Woodpile Reproductions in one trade paperback volume as The Devil and Mrs. Grundy.

Wood may have jump-started the genre. Like Poe, who invented the modern detective novel, Wood has invented the modern sex with a monster and/or sex around a monster and/or haunted sex house novel.

In a discussion of the “black arts,” Wood dazzles the reader with a description of a common black mass orgy, which includes the exploits of, “Jack, a young farm boy, [who] is copulating with a black she-goat and as his penis rams in and out of her, he can imagine that this is one of Satan’s female devils that he is coupling with.” Oh, Ed, please…

A Study of the Sons and Daughters of Erotica (1970): This is an all-encompassing book that deals with almost every area of perversion. There are chapters on Lesbianism, Homosexuality, Prostitution, Transvestism, Sex in Black Magic, Erotapathy and many others (all of them common Wood themes). As always, the chapters on transvestites are usually the most passionate for Wood. This excerpt serves to illustrate: “Transvestism in 49 out of 76 modern societies is more accepted, for one reason or another, than rejected… but if the Island of Maarken in Holland is any criterion…is any indication…the custom is to dress boys as girls until they reach the age of seven…EROTICA personified.” And so it is. The most interesting point, for an Ed Wood Historian, is the bibliography to Sons and Daughters. Wood quotes himself, and his friends, many times in this particular volume including The Black Myth and Glen or Glenda?. Wood manages to sneak a couple of celebrities in like Anton LaVey (who had written The Satanic Bible) and his own friend, Criswell. He quotes the line from Criswell’s books and Plan 9 from Outer Space, “… for the future is where you and I must spend the rest of our lives.”

Finding copies of the SECS Press books is fairly common for the $10 - $40 range (with the exception of Witchcraft and Black Magic which is more along the lines of $250). Of course, as always, if Wood used his real name expect to pay considerably more. Many dealers in vintage smut and pornography are unaware of Wood’s involvement in these so the prices are reasonable.

Far more difficult to locate is a series of films and booklets that Wood produced for SECS Press and Edusex. The series of 12-8mm films and instruction guides was a home companion to be used in conjunction with the books. The books and films could be ordered, in their entirety and were called The Sex Education Correspondence School (get it, SECS). A complete set of these are very difficult to locate and the prices for them are probably able to be set by the seller.

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