There was a time, when the word porno was synonym to Playboy Penthouse, Hustler and many other hundreds of glossy magazines kept on high shelves and purchased furtively. Its distant cousin in India, Debonair, used to be an interesting mix of free churning from Penthouse, Playboy or the similar kind of foreign stuff plus saintly desi version of their Pin-ups.
In the not too distant past, Playboy and Penthouse each sold five million or more copies a month, and were so much a part of the culture that in 1986 a US Federal Judge ruled that denying blind people a Braille version of Playboy violated their First Amendment rights ! Hugh Hefner, the owner had created porno luxury empire on the vehicle of the magazines. There was a time when Playboy, Penthouse magazines were a must in the barracks world over where G.I.s were spending their day nights away from their family.
But time has really changed, traditional porno or Girlie magazines including Debonair in India, are fighting for survival, print editions of many such magazines closed down, many hit hard below the belt, Main reason for this is
very old cover of Iconic Playboy Magazine
This magazine despite its pillow talk could not creation Playboy or Penthouse effect
Same genre magazine but emphasis is on fashion, lifestyle and Gizmos
Iconic porn magazine created a class by itself
Debonair was the first magazine in India which churned, recycled, recreated stuff from Playboyand Penthouse magazines. It also carry serious literary stuff and on carried Indira Gandhi's interview in one of its issue boundless quantities of nude stuff freely available online thus rapidly declining print sales. International girlie magazines FHM and Maxim also brought their Indian Editions but are some how surviving on the mercy of advertisers. Last year, Larry Flynt, the founder of Hustler, acknowledged that he is going to close down the print version of his magazine.
A new trend has emerged, while these older magazines have retrenched and moved online, a newer breed has taken their place in specialty magazine stores and independent booksellers. About a dozen newer sex-themed magazines, often with predominantly female editorial staffs, are blending nudity with art, fashion and philosophy. They include Adult and 25 from New York, Irène from Paris and Extra Extra out of Rotterdam.
Though they remain focused on the naked body, these relatively new magazines are seeking to move sex in print periodicals from under the mattress up onto the coffee table. In stark contrast to online pornography, with much of it free, these niche publications sell for a premium — often more than Rs1200 — to thousands of people, or tens of thousands, rather than millions.
Playboy, which at one time sold almost six million copies a month in the United States alone , now sells only a million. On the other hand, Penthouse, which sold nearly five million copies, sells only 100,000. The biggest of the newer magazines, a venerable French publication called Lui, has sold as many as 350,000 in France.
Despite their relatively small audience, the magazines are influencing the direction of the pornography industry.These have a class.
Sarah Nicole Prikett, one of the founder of an Adult magazine once said that the difference between porn and erotica is the lighting, He further said that he sought to create an atmosphere that is very different from online pornography or the sex advice in women’s magazines like Cosmopolitan or digital dating apps like Grindr and Tinder, which ask you to swipe images. Adult, for example, recently published an account of a straight man’s youthful dalliance with homosexuality. There are photographs by John Edmonds, an employee of a public library in Washington who takes nude portraits of young men, some of whom he knows, and others whom he persuades to be photographed. The magazine’s sex columnist, Chelsea G. Summers, is in her 50s rather her 20s.
Ms Prikett further feel that a print magazine has the power to make you stop and look at an image and consider it, It makes you assume that something is beautiful rather than just affirming your unconscious view of what is beautiful, like those swiping thing. referring to Grindr and Tinder. This is the power of Print Media !
Kate Lanphear, the new editor of Maxim — a men’s magazine rather than a pornographic one, but one that has traditionally featured scantily clad women — voices a similar view. Her move last year to Maxim from The New York Times’s T magazine, where she was women’s style director, surprised many.
The Internet can feel like such a numbing parade of bodies, and print offers you something more a kind of visual candy,thoughtful and leave some thing to your imagination.The fact is that Sexiness is something mysterious and magazines played so long with this element so well.
Even Playboy has adopted a more artistic sensibility with a recent update. The magazine, which still features Playmates of the Month and other naked women, celebrated its 60th anniversary with the model Kate Moss on the cover. It also collaborated with the pop artist Richard Phillips on an art installation in Marfa, Tex.
In Europe, Frédéric Beigbeder, a French novelist who has been compared to Bret Easton Ellis and Jay McInerney, recently revamped Lui magazine, a kind of French equivalent of Playboy. Its pages include contributions by many of the writers and photographers who make up the Paris fashion and cultural establishment, and it has featured the models Gisele Bündchen and Laetitia Casta on the cover.
Mr. Beigbeder, the editor in chief, said he was modeling Lui after Playboy in its heyday, when it was known, in part, for featuring writing by the likes of Saul Bellow, Vladimir Nabokov and Joyce Carol Oates. He further said that they chose to do something very glamorous, very high society, It is a tribute to the ’60s and ’70s. That was the big era for Playboy.
At Casa Magazines, a store in the West Village in Manhattan area of New York City packed from floor to ceiling with almost every imaginable incarnation of the printed word, traditional pornographic magazines used to be big sellers. Mohammed Imran an employee at the store admits that in recent years, the store only get five or ten people buying these a month, I enquire with Pandey, the oldest magazine vendor outside Churchgate Station, he also voiced the similar sentiments and said there is hardly any person in a day who ask for Debonair or any other Girle magazine. 'Saheb, now even bachcha log watch nude on mobile.' said he.
Maxim International brought Indian edition, surviving on advertisements
Same is the story of FHM India edition, but the magazine does not carry Pin Ups
Now, instead of stealth buyers seeking only nudity, Mr. Imran said, the store gets unapologetic browsers of magazines like Adult and Treats, a similar publication based in Los Angeles. Mr. Imran said he believed that his customers bought these titles not for the naked women, but for their artistic sensibility.