When the April 1972 issue of Cosmopolitan hit newsstands it caused quite a sensation as it featured a nude centerfold of hunky 36-year-old Burt Reynolds. Sure, Joe Namath had raised eyebrows a few years earlier when he appeared in a TV commercial wearing a pair of Beautymist pantyhose, but Reynolds' display took the Sexual Revolution (as well as the fledgling women's movement) to a whole new level. I was 14 at the time, in the early stages of realizing what my same-sex attractions were about, so I was transfixed by Reynolds' image in the pages of my older sister's copy of the magazine. Up until this time my primary source of titillation had been seeing the occasional photo of a bare-chested athlete in a a locker room in my dad's copy of Sports Illustrated.
Ten years after Reynolds' "expose", a 22-year-old law student by the name of Scott Brown won the magazine's first Male Centerfold Contest - yes, the same Scott Brown who was elected a Republican Senator from Massachusetts in 2010 (and who, politics aside, is still quite sexy). Other celebrity centerfolds have included football great Jim Brown (1973), singer John Davidson (1974) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (1977).
Two new magazines for women featuring full frontal male nudity, Playgirl and Viva, began publishing the year after Reynolds' centerfold. Pictured to the right are actors Peter Lupus (far right) from Mission Impossible and Lyle Waggoner from The Carol Burnett Show, both who posed for Playgirl. While Playgirl is still published, Viva (which my sister subscribed to) folded long ago, in 1980.
(Four years after this post was published Google alerted me that they were blocking advertising on this blog, through its Google AdSense program, because of the photo of the centerfold. And even after the photo was cropped to no longer show Burt covering his privates with his hand, Google continued to keep advertising blocked, ignoring my e-mails to them informing them that the changes it requested had been made.)