Men Only is a British soft-core pornographic magazine published by Paul Raymond Publications since 1971. However, the title goes back to 1935 when it was founded by C. Arthur Pearson Ltd as a pocket magazine (115×165 mm). It set out its editorial stall in the first issue: 'We don't want women readers. We won't have women readers...' It sought 'bright articles on current male topics'.
|Publisher||Paul Raymond Publications|
|Company||Blue Active Media Ltd|
Humour was at the heart of the title, though from the start it carried fiction, wide-ranging articles and plates of 'art' nudes. Covers were initially text-only, then carried caricatures of famous people and photographs in the late 1950s. It published colour illustrations of models by artists such as Dickens and Vargas (as published in Esquire in the US), on a page labelled 'Let's Join the Ladies'.
When Pearson closed the Strand Magazine in 1950, it was castigated by The Economist for concentrating its resources on London Opinion and Men Only. Men Only had coloured frontispieces and rather trivial main pages.
Another pocket title, Lilliput, was better known but Men Only took over London Opinion and then Lilliput in 1960. All these titles were affected by the growth of television; C. Arthur Pearson was taken over by Newnes, which became part of International Publishing Corporation (and was later renamed IPC Media) in the mid-1960s. It also lost readers to titles such as Haymarket's Man About Town (later Town) and Playboy. In response, Men Only adopted a larger format and more pin-ups but was still mainly in black and white with a colour pin-up centre spread. It was sold on to City Magazines.
In 1971, Paul Raymond, who ran night-clubs in London's Soho district, relaunched Men Only as the start of a top-shelf publishing empire and it was the main competitor to Mayfair during the 1970s and 1980s (Raymond latterly took over Mayfair).
Over the years, models featured in Men Only have also appeared in different photo-shoots in Club International (a title bought from IPC). The early issues of Men Only often contained serious articles and interviews, though since the 1980s these have largely been omitted. Photographers from the early years included Fred Enke and R.B. Kane, and more recently Bob Twigg.
Between January 2007 and December 2008, Men Only ran the full-colour comic strip Brit Starr by writer John A. Short and artist Gabrielle Noble. The strip spoofed current celebrity culture in one-page erotic gags.
The publishers of Men Only also publish Club International, Escort, Mayfair, Men's World and Razzle. Their magazines are generally available in most newsagents, although some larger retailers require a modesty bag to protect minors from seeing gratuitous flesh on display on the cover. As from 2013, the magazine is also available in digital format exclusively on the Paul Raymond digital newsstand. Men Only also has a digital identity on the official Paul Raymond site, where the hardcore imagery not found in the print version is also shown.
- Justin Bengry (2009). "Courting the Pink Pound: Men Only and the Queer Consumer, 1935—39". History Workshop Journal (68). JSTOR 40646167.
- 'Men's magazines: an A to Z' http://www.magforum.com/mens/mensmagazinesatoz8.htm#333 Archived 26 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Timeline: a history of magazines http://www.magforum.com/time1.htm
- some 1954 editions – http://robertpriddy.com/Curios/Ephemera/ephemeral_men_only.html
- "New Regular Comic Strip in Men Only!", John A. Short and Gabby Noble, Alchemy Texts, December 2006. Retrieved 17 October 2007.