4.1.2 Sexually Explicit Magazines

Part: 
Two
Chapter: 
4

Although the sexual content of large numbers of magazines has increased in recent years, particular attention is often focused on so-called "men's" magazines, commonly referred to within the trade as "male sophisticate" magazines. In recent years variations aimed at a female audience have also appeared, but the genre remains largely directed to men.

Magazines of this variety tend to be produced and distributed in a manner not dissimilar to the production and distribution methods for most mass-circulation magazines. It is almost misleading to consider them as one category, however, for such magazines vary enormously in content and explicitness. A very few magazines of this variety combine their sexual content with a substantial amount of non-sexually oriented, and frequently quite serious, textual or photographic matter. Some magazines have for their photographs little more than suggestive nudity, while a number of others feature significant amounts of simulated or actual sexual activity. From the perspective we adopt and explain in Chapter 5, all of the magazines in this category contain at least some material that we would consider "degrading." Some contain a large amount of such degrading material, and some also contain sexually violent material.

With respect to the category of the legally obscene, some of the magazines in this category could not plausibly be considered legally obscene, while others have occasionally been determined to be legally obscene by particular courts. As a purely empirical matter, such determinations of obscenity for even the most explicit and offensive of these magazines seem aberrational, and by and large most of these magazines circulate widely throughout the country without significant legal attack.