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50 years in 50 weeks: 1986 - Call me

by Jim Provenzano

976 numbers filled ad pages of gay media in the 1980s.
976 numbers filled ad pages of gay media in the 1980s.  

Determined to pick some prominent arts event from 1986's Bay Area Reporter issues, what stuck out more prominently was the high number of phone sex ads.

The advent of phone sex paired with fears about AIDS/HIV transmission through the mid-1980s. Prominent promos include those from January 16, April 3, and November 26.

The lure of a faceless voice (or a porn star!) providing a hook-up, or substitute for actual sex, may be incomprehensible to contemporary TikTok fans and phone app-users who bare all. But yes, kids. There was a time where one could "connect" with others on a rotary phone and landline.

Hook up with more vintage news at

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