Helena, Montana Library Holds Hearings on ‘Joy of Gay Sex’ Book

The Lewis and Clark Public Library in Helena, Montana held a public hearing on Tuesday night over whether the book The Joy of Gay Sex should remain on library shelves.

JoyofgaysexIt was the echo of a hearing last March in Nampa, Idaho, when, after weeks of debate, the book was pulled from the shelves but was still made available to visitors — from behind the librarian’s desk.

The Billings Gazette reports on Tuesday’s hearing:

“More than a dozen people testified in favor of removing it. Helena resident Wayne Beckman was one of them, saying the book shows immorality. About 20 people spoke in support of keeping the book, including Mike Cronin of Helena. He said the public library does not have an obligation to serve as a parent. The request to remove the book came from Paul Cohen, of Helena, who found the book on a visit to the library in February. The book was reviewed by the library’s collection review committee, which recommended keeping it…Because Cohen challenged the decision by [the library director], the library board of directors held the public hearing.”

LacThe book has been in the library’s circulation for 15 years. A decision is expected to be made on October 21. Those in Helena would be wise to look at a recent decision made by the Nampa library to return the book to the shelves.

In that case the ACLU stepped in and threatened the lawsuit. The library said it was returning the book to the shelves “as a matter of fiscal responsibility.”


  1. Jimmyboyo says

    “The request to remove the book came from Paul Cohen, of Helena, who found the book on a visit to the library in February”

    It just fell off the shelf and chased him around the library till he finally noticed it.

  2. MR Bill says

    My only objection to this edition of “the Joy of Gay Sex” and there are several editions, it that this one has only pix of skinny and hairless guys.
    Not a bear in sight, or anyone over 25.

  3. yoshi says

    The article doesn’t make clear if other books on sex are available at the library. I can only assume this was in the ‘sexuality’ section and not in the cooking section. If so then the book should remain – if there are no other books on sex in the library then remove it.

    @mr bill
    Having never seen the book – the fact that it has skinny, hairless, 25 year olds makes me want to purchase it now.

  4. my2cents says

    expect more of this… and that future political candidates will be questioned on their understanding of the “Palin Doctrine”.

  5. Darren says

    Heh, the library is named after two gay men… seems completely appropriate to keep it in the collection. 😉

    And.. what’s the Palin doctrine? 😉

    *tongue firmly in some guys cheeks*

  6. says

    Mr Bill is probably right — when I saw that the library has had the book on the shelves for 15 years, I was thinking it might be the first edition (1977), which was definitely not full of skinny and hairless guys. Cheesy illustrations that, as I recall, looked like someone had put vaseline on the lens (as well as everywhere else), lots of porn-staches, and definitely some hunky furry guys. I’ll have to find my copy, which I’m sure is still in the study…

    But the second edition came out 15 years ago already, so it probably IS the shaved/buffed version they have, alas.

  7. Wayne says

    I’m certainly not for book banning, however I do question the need to have a sexually explicit book in a public library. I would say the same thing about the Kama Sutra or the Joy of Breeder Sex… are they available to anyone who happens by? I understand there may be teens who are curious and this may be their only avenue to see such material, however I’m still not certain I like the idea. Call me names, go ahead, I’m just saying that things have a place… I will say that if they also have the Joy of Sex along side the Gay edition and they’re not fighting over that one then it is most certainly an issue. Either all of them go or none of them go… that’s all I’m saying.

  8. Brian says

    Banning books about sexuality means that the library would be promoting ignorance about sexuality. If you don’t like the book, well then, don’t pick it up and read it.

  9. my2cents says


    the larger issue here as answered briefly on WikiAnswers:


    Q: Why did Hitler burn the books at the Book Burning?

    A; It was a way of expressing hatred for books that the Nazis thought were ‘un-German’. The book-burning in May 1933 was organized by Goebbels and was done amid maximum melodrama.

    Long before anyone even thought of the Nazis the poet Heinrich Heine said, ‘Where they burn books, they end up burning people’.

  10. says

    I work at a library in Kentucky, and we’ve previously owned The Joy of Gay Sex but it was eventually stolen. Most of our gay collection gets stolen. And most of the straight sex books either get stolen or all the how-to pictures get ripped out! LOL

    The only book that we’ve held behind the desk so people have to ask for it was Madonna’s Sex book, but no one wanted it so it was eventually withdrawn. 😉

  11. Daniel says

    That she found a book containing immorality in the library is the key to the awfulness of all this, IMHO. Lots of books–romances, bodice rippers, Jacqueline Susann, Jackie Collins have immorality in them but are still on the shelves. The Bible has immorality in it, for Christ’s sake. This woman hated the GAY part, she just lied about the immorality part.

  12. bozzemanboy says

    It’s interesting to watch the comments on the Montana papers. Surprising amount of fellow residents are pissed that banning is even being discussed. My take is this: It’s ok to check out violent r-rated movies, but censor this book? Glorify a gun, ok…a penis? Not so much.

  13. anon says

    As I recall, the book has only illustrations inside and a very clinical tone. I find any sex book in a library gets either stolen or vandalized and I live in a very liberal area. You’d think with the Internet there would no reason to steal dirty pictures out of a book.

  14. TjH says

    This is the library I grew up going to. I remember reading this book. It was very helpful to find this resource in the public library. Being from Montana there are not a lot of avenues of exploration available to young men.

  15. Tyler says

    “Do the latest editions still have the “sex with animals” section?”

    DCN – it’s straight chicks that do that shit, because straight dudes don’t know how to satisfy them.