The End of the Men’s Mag?


From Playboy’s game-changing success in the sixties and seventies to the US-advance of popular UK lifestyle publications like Maxim and FHM, the journey of the men’s magazine has been an intriguing one. Where women’s mags traditionally revolved around homemaking and social decorum, only to shift towards sex tips and body shaming in the 70s and 80s, men’s lifestyle publications seemed to diverge into outright pornography or thinly-veiled pornography (no nipples) and five-page guides to curing a major hangover. Now, with the closure of UK-based rags FHM and Zoo, it seems the end of this era of male-focused lifestyle publication is nearing its end.

Launched in 1985, For Him Magazine (FHM) led the new wave of lad culture combining intense alcohol consumption, a fondness for near-naked chicks. With circulation declining notably in 2015’s first half – 67,000 units; down 20% from last year – FHM regrettably seems to be closing down publication for good, announcing the closure on its website Tuesday. The weekly-published Zoo, too, is ending its assault on modesty and puritanism by shutting down its presses after 12 years and more than 600 issues, shattering the spirits of what few readers it had managed to retain after the great migration of horny dudes to the World Wide Web, the new (digital!) den of iniquity.

The announcements from FHM and Zoo come just one short month after Playboy Magazine announced it would not feature fully-nude women on its pages after March 2016. With Playboy neutering itself and Loaded, Front, Bizarre, Nuts all knocking back brewskies in magazine heaven, and now the announcement that Zoo and FHM are going down for the count, could the entire men’s magazine industry have kicked the proverbial bucket? Former FHM Features Editor Martin Daubney doesn’t seem to think so, insisting that lad culture will survive, even thrive, online. “The anti-lad mag campaigners are deluded if they feel this represents some hollow victory against ‘lad culture,'” Daubney told The Telegraph. “It is my prediction that, in time, the campaigners who despised the lad mags’ lifeblood will look back on these magazines as a period of relative innocence, that they would welcome back in a heartbeat.”

In Memoriam: Candida Royalle

ca. 1988 --- Candida Royalle --- Image by © Deborah Feingold/Corbis
ca. 1988 — Candida Royalle — Image by © Deborah Feingold/Corbis

Candida Royalle, director/producer/performer, sex educator, feminist, and XRCO and AVN Hall of Fame member has died of ovarian cancer at age 64. Leaving behind a legacy of female liberation and free expression that has clearly informed today’s new generation of feminist pornographers, Royalle will be sorely missed by her peers, fans, and students alike, many of whom have taken to social media to share their remembrances of one of porn’s bravest and most compelling individuals, and the first director to envision a ‘couples’ market.

Born in 1950 in New York City, the future dancer and filmmaker was abandoned by her biological mother at 18 months, a subject that would consume much of her recent time as she worked on a documentary film about the search for the woman that birthed her. While You Were Gone remains unfinished at the time of Royalle’s passing. Though a private detective had located the woman at Royalle’s request, it was not before she had died from ovarian cancer, unknowingly preceding her daughter. The future of the film remains uncertain, though an except can be viewed below.

Entering adult entertainment in 1975, Royalle appeared in roughly 25 pictures before retiring five years later, penning the script to her final film as just a performer. Royalle founded Femme Productions in ’84, producing erotic films based on the notions of female desire and believably passionate couplings, going to great effort to avoid the usual male-centric porn cliches. A published author, public speaker and lecturer, Royalle’s influence on female porn professionals and viewers is almost unparalleled.

Candida Royale
Photo by Daniel Nicoletta


Naked in the Forbidden City

forbidden city

As one of Beijing’s most visited attractions and the geographical center of one of the world’s most populous cities, the Forbidden City is of incredible importance to China and its people. The home of the Chinese imperial palace and the center of government for five centuries, the Forbidden City remains under tight security and supervision even though, practically speaking, it now functions as little more than a museum and cultural and historical exhibit. So how then did a photographer and a nude model manage to shoot erotic pictures at the flagship site of the notoriously porn-unfriendly country’s cultural treasures? ‘Cause they did, bless ’em.


Photographer Wang Dong – no, I’m not making this up – when confronted by outraged users of Chinese social media site Weibo that his work, softcore nude photos of a female model claimed “I was only doing my work and did not affect anyone.” That’s not an opinion shared by palace authorities who issued a statement this week calling the photos disrespectful to the historical significance of the site and that Dong and his model breached moral and ethical boundaries with their unapproved shoot. Security cameras captured Dong and his unnamed cohorts rushing into the palace grounds to beat early visitors and it is believed staff tried to stop the photos being taken but were apparently unsuccessful.

Various pundits have spoken out and condemned the photographer and his work. Li Chunhua of Zhejiang University of Media and Communications chastised thusly “Nude photos should be taken in proper places… Sitting on relics is improper behavior and it sets a bad example.” Dong, who posts on Weibo as WANIMAL seems accepting of his new role as artistic outcast, revealing nothing more of his position than one cryptic statement: “It is the destiny of the expresser to be misunderstood.”

photo credit – PixelFlake

But, really… Look at this breathtaking vista! Tell me you wouldn’t want to get naked, shoot porn, or fondle your lady behind a stone lion here!