Forget Tramp Stamps: Finland Has Kinky, Homoerotic Real Stamps

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Forget Tramp Stamps Finland Has Kinky, Homoerotic Real Stamps

Sweden has Ikea, Iceland has Bjork, and Finland has Tom. No, the elusive MySpace founder has not relocated to the fjords of Finland. Tom of Finland, the famous homoerotic artist, is proving to be a major part of the country’s appeal.

A recent line of stamps featuring work by the homoerotic and fetish artist Touko Laaksonen (aka Tom of Finland) have proved to be huge sellers. They are the most successful stamps in the country’s history and give new meaning to the term “tramp stamp.”

Laaksonen’s artwork is pretty exceptional for taking gay porn into the mainstream. His drawings, often explicit, of hugely muscular men nude, posing or sometimes downright getting it on have created an international cultural impact. It touches on risqué themes of leather fetishes, S&M and has occasionally depicted Nazis in various stages of undress. Despite the graphic nature of his work, it has never detracted from its artistic merit. His infamous drawings are not just part of coffee-table books in affluent gay male apartments. In 2006, New York’s Museum of Modern Art acquired five drawings which were added to its permanent collection.

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Naked people on stamps is old hat to the Finnish. They have had nudity on their postmarks as far back as the 1950s. Markku Penttinen, the development chief of Finland’s postal service Posti, says, “Even at that time people asked how Finland could be bold enough to print stamps with naked women in the sauna.” The stamps had overwhelming sales when they debuted, mostly due to pre-orders from more than 178 countries. “We haven’t seen this kind of interest before in Posti’s history and we probably won’t again soon,” Penttinen went on to say.

It’s pretty obvious that people want a little kink with their Kaalikääryleet (Finnish cabbage rolls), but this is pretty monumental that not only gay-themed, but gay-sex themed art is being consumed in such a mainstream way.

Here’s hoping that this sex positive movement is just the start of a trend that will help demystify gay sex and make two men together less taboo. Let’s face it, Americans wouldn’t be against two bikini-clad models mud wrestling on a stamp, and given the declining rates of snail mail, a pitch person just might. One of America’s most popular stamps was the Elvis Presley commemorative stamp, which is a major contrast to this controversial artist.

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However, let’s hope that Switzerland doesn’t make stamps commemorating clandestine bank accounts or Sweden making a complete line of Ikea stamps. But if one thing can be glossed from this story, it’s that anything is possible. But how do the stamps taste when you lick them?

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