In 1971 the publishing world was taken by storm by Xaviera Hollander’s highly explicit memoir The Happy Hooker, with its descriptions of how In 1968 she had resigned from her boring job as an office secretary to become a callgirl making $1,000 a night. A year later she opened her own brothel, The Vertical Whorehouse, and soon became New York City’s leading madam. In 1971 she was arrested for prostitution by New York Police and forced to leave the United States for Amsterdam, whereupon she teamed up with writer Robin Moore to write her bestselling story.
Five years later the New American Library commissioned Robert Baxter to produce drawings for Xaviera Hollander’s new book, her fifth, titled Xaviera’s Supersex: Her Personal Techniques for Total Lovemaking. As with all her previous books, Supersex was an enormous success and remained in print in new editions for many years, and was translated into French and German among other languages.
Baxter clearly took inspiration from the illustrations in The Joy of Sex, which had been published four years earlier in 1972, with its realistic, intimate drawings by Chris Foss and watercolours by Charles Raymond. Described on the cover of Supersex as ‘exquisitely erotic’, they were very daring at the time, including lesbian sex, strap-ons and threesomes, and apart from being uniformly young and beautiful the lovers are clearly modelled on real people.
Xaviera Hollander went on to capitalise on her reputation, producing more than a dozen more books, and for 35 years writing a regular advice column for Penthouse magazine. For several years in the 1970s she lived in Toronto, where she married Frank Applebaum, a Canadian antique dealer. She also had a lover, John Drummond, with whom she co-authored two books, including Let’s Get Moving about their life together. Around 1997 Hollander claimed to have ‘turned gay’, establishing a long-term relationship with a Dutch poet called Dia. In January 2007 she married a Dutchman, Philip de Haan, and in Amsterdam they now run a bed and breakfast establishment called Happy House, ‘the perfect lovers’ hideaway’. Details of this and of all Xaviera’s many other activities can be found on her website here.