John Preston [Edit]

John Preston (1945-1994) was an American author and editor.

He was the author or editor of nearly fifty books, including such gay erotic landmarks as Mr. Benson and I Once Had a Master and Other Tales of Erotic Love. He was among the first to popularize the genre of safe sex stories, editing a gay safe sex anthology entitled Hot Living: Erotic Stories about Safer Sex in 1985. Preston’s writing (which he described as pornography) was part of a movement in the 1970s and 1980s toward higher literary quality in gay erotic fiction. Preston was an outspoken advocate of the artistic and social worth of erotic writings, delivering a lecture at Harvard University entitled “My Life as a Pornographer”. The lecture was later published in an essay collection with the same name. The collection includes Preston’s thoughts about the gay leather community, to which he belonged. His writings caused controversy when he was one of several gay and lesbian authors to have their books confiscated at the border by Canada Customs. Testimony regarding the literary merit of his novel I Once Had a Master helped a Canadian LGBT bookstore, Little Sister’s Book and Art Emporium, to partially win a case against Canada Customs in the Canadian Supreme Court in 2000.

He also wrote news articles for Drummer.

He died of AIDS complications on April 28, 1994.


His papers are held in the Preston Archive at Brown University.

Writings by him are held at the Leather Archives & Museum.

In 1994, he received the Steve Maidhof Award for National or International Work from the National Leather Association – International.

In 2007 the National Leather Association – International created awards for excellence in SM/fetish/leather writing. One of those awards is the John Preston Short Fiction Award.