Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist and Pornographer

I recently went to the Museum of Sex with some friends. It was my first time there. I enjoyed a lot of it, though some of the placards had spelling errors, which I was not too crazy about. The exhibition that most surprised me, though, was that of Samuel Steward in an exhibit called Obscene Diary. I had never heard of this man, but became incredibly fascinated with his life.

Photo from Exhibit

Steward’s self documentation included a catalogue of every partner and sex act, illustrated through photos, diary entries, sexual record keeping, explicit drawings and erotic literary musings. He was a gay man who documented a number of his sexual escapades, was following avidly by Kinsey (sex researcher), and got involved in tattooing as a way to meet sailors. He was a documentary maker, and his life is incredible. Also, though, he shared a lot in his writing and work about sobriety and creativity. He expounded on sobriety as it relates to one’s sex life, as a creative person, and I found myself unable to read enough about his thoughts. He struggled with an addiction to barbiturates later in life, and had lost his father to opium addiction. Clearly, sobriety and addiction were heavily in his thoughts throughout his life.

He is a man worth investigating. Click here to check out a video of him and learn more.

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