Best independent erotic magazines right now (NSFW)
This post was published in February 2020. To stay up to date with the latest independent magazine news and reviews, sign up for our monthly email newsletter
We’ve rounded up our favourite dirty mags for you to curl up with. And this is no run-of-the-mill top-shelf fodder: from caniballism, to breast-feeding, to a bodice-ripping Donatella Versace, indie magazines are providing a thoughtful, joyfully unexpected counterpart to their sticky-paged predecessors. That’s not to say you won’t want to get these pages sticky. There’s some hot stuff here. It’s just they’re all so beautiful, you’ll be reading one-handed, but with care.
Baroness is the sister magazine of the more obviously sexual Baron. The second issue launched in late 2019, and it’s edited by performance artist Sarah Baker and guest-edited by Donatella Versace. Actually a bit mad, the whole thing is a Jackie Collins-esque bodice ripper penned by Baker, starring Helena Christensen. Basic plot: the corrupt CEO of Narcissist Records is being blackmailed by an ex-lover because it turns out she didn’t actually write her hit single: Spritz Me With Your Love. We have one copy in the Stack shop and its signed by Donatella herself and comes with a tiny cassette of the single. Probably the most arousing thing about the whole magazine is that it comes in a slim, black Versace box.
Feminist horror magazine Suspira has themed its latest issue around the monster you would most like to have sex with: the vampire. If the idea of Edward Cullen telling you you are his own personal brand of heroin still makes you weak at the knees, Suspira is here to heighten your aspirations. Blood-lust for Tilda Swinton and Sarah Michelle Gellar makes up a healthy proportion of the mag, and there’s an unforgettable feature about cannibalism. “What can be more alluring than a vampire’s passionate taste for your DNA?”, asks one writer. What indeed?
Not your average dirty mag, Mal is a literary journal with a star-spangled roster of contributors including Chris Kraus, Juliet Jacques and Eileen Myles. Issue four, themed Real Girls, charts unstable tropes of girlhood and agency, and the first story, by Luke Brown, is an exquisite and often toe-curlingly uncomfortable account of prejudice and culpability in the age of #MeToo. It also has a great beginning: a covert pornhub viewing sesh on a train. The fifth issue launches in March and is themed Sex Negative, about the inverse sides of sexuality. Expect incels, and an essay on why heteronormativity is a turn-off.
Extra Extra’s 13th issue features a man burying his face in a bush. Bush as in hedge. Other treats include short fiction about a breast-feeding mother who runs away from her baby: “She moaned when she felt the letdown, the sudden rush into her breasts… streams of milk smashed into the plastic, turning it hot against the fingers”. Extra Extra makes everyday life sexual (bushes, breast-feeding). But importantly, it also treats the erotic as an art form, rather than a guilty pleasure. High-profile poets, film-makers and choreographers are interviewed about the way lust is integral to their work, and every issue features a double page spread of book recommendations. “I’m always attracted to men who read,” explains editor Samira Ben Laloua. “Recommending a book is an erotic act.”
Not strictly an erotic magazine, Soft Eis is on this list because its first issue was themed around sex and it is steamy. The steamiest spread, entitled ‘Slow Sex’, centres around a snail, which is a symbol of fertility and hermaphroditism. Soft Eis is occasionally a little too woke to be properly interesting, but all the blood and the many molluscs slithering over the models’ genitals in this shoot rescues things.
On the first page of Phile there’s a watermelon wearing what looks like a cock ring. Painful propositions are a theme of this issue (Phile’s fourth): the central shoot is called ‘Predicaments’ and features high heels made out of nails, and a dog reaching for a bone that is attached to a man’s crotch. Consistently brilliant, the stand-out feature is a story by Jordan Tannahill about his quest to collect the semen of one man from every single European member state. It begins as a funny sex-quest, but then it becomes suddenly, unexpectedly moving: “What I am left with is a feeling of overwhelming precariousness. I have felt the precarity of these men’s lives… of their safety, of their sense of home, of their sense of self.”
Tissue comes with a free, fruit-flavoured oral dam. This is just one of its many charms. Back from a five-year print hiatus, the arts magazine is themed around the devil, because editor Uwe Bermeitinger “saw the devil everywhere and in many forms” and so naturally decided to theme an issue around Him. Every copy is hand-spritzed with a pungent, gender free fragrance and reads in the Japanese direction, so you have to flip the pages ‘backwards’ (depending on what part of the world you’re from).
The eighth issue of Math is themed around religion and begins with the editor’s unsuccessful attempts to seduce a Mormon. Highlights include a masturbatory reimagining of the Ecstacy of St Theresa and a very sexy drawing of Obama. Math is extremely explicit: if you buy this magazine you will get your money’s worth. But its reason for being is pleasingly spiritual. Editor MacKenzie Peck cites the way St Augustine, convulsed with shame at his own involuntary erections, rewrote the Adam and Eve story to forever intertwine sex with original sin: “How would the world be different if St Augustine … could embrace sex as an essential aspect of who we are and recognise that pleasure is good for us?” So Math is a heroic riposte to a fourth century saint. And if that doesn’t get you off then frankly what does?
Does your hairdresser turn you on? Taglined “fantasies becoming obsessions”, Fluffer Everyday is intrigued by the instances of everyday touch that spark desire: a nail technician massaging your foot; a tailor measuring you for a suit; your flatmate in her dressing gown. Described by Athens-based editor Sotiris Trechas as “an unconventional diary of what keeps my cock alive”, the sexiest thing about FE is that it’s not remotely explicit. One wonderfully chaste story in the latest issue is about a man delivering a package to a girl in Kreuzberg. Nothing happens. He just finds her beautiful, and he still thinks about her.