Turn-Ons And Other Matters
What are a woman’s greatest turn-ons?
VIVA Oct. 1974It’s been quite a year, this first year of Viva, full of action and controversy. We must be the first magazine in the world to have published a beauty feature on pubic hairstyles, and we have certainly been first in running an expose of the U.S. Health Department’s VD rip-off. We’re still getting mail about that. We’ve also covered bisexuality, erotic art, what turns women on in the boardroom as well as in bed, lifestyles around the world, Betty Dodson’s theories on masturbation, and people in the news. We’ve explored sexual fantasies, heightened our fashion coverage, and presented a wide range of voices, including Norman Mailer, Joyce Carol Oates, Gore Vidal, Carly Simon, James Taylor, Bianca and Mick Jagger, Dyan Cannon, Tom Wicker, Charlotte Curtis, Tony Randall, Diahann Carroll, and J.P. Donleavy. We’ve published photographic essays on seduction and on loving couples like Bess and Ben Murphy (a pictorial that received more mail than any other we’ve done, perhaps because it was so romantic and yet so real at the same time).
We’ve had our share of critical blasts, but we’ve had plenty of media praise too, including Laura Green in the Chicago Sun-Times, who said in part, “Viva examines women’s identities, female chauvinism, and careers. Viva is a terrific looking magazine, well designed throughout – a rarity.” Ms. Green gave Viva more plus points than any other magazine she examined.
What intrigues me most, however, is the terrific response we’ve gotten to our male nude pictorials. There has been a growing demand for them, despite outraged comments from some quarters. We knew from past experience that men like to look at pretty female bodies. What we weren’t sure about was whether women feel the same way.
There have always been movie star pinups taped to bedroom walls. There have always been beefcake shots of muscle men. Girls have always sent away for eight by ten glossies of men like Sinatra and Elvis Presley, because they exuded the optimum of glamour and primitive sex appeal.
Beautiful Men Are Lumberjacks
In the past, women were supposed to be turned on by sexual suggestion, by erotic innuendo rather than by deed, and yet today we are discovering that women are frankly, boldly, and actively fascinated with sex in all of its aspects. They enjoy looking at the male body. It’s a matter of conditioning, really. Until recently, we weren’t free to admit our enjoyment, or even given the opportunity to look at male nudity in photographs.
There are a great variety of visual turn-ons. Some readers have written that they are turned on by men’s faces, by their smiles, or by the curve of their legs. Other women write they gel turned on by a man’s hands, or his butt, or quite simply, the size and shape of his penis. A friend of mine told me recently, “I get turned on by a man’s eyes and mouth more than anything else.”
What is written about our male nudes interests our readers too. “Tell us more about Marty, the musician on the beach. What are his hobbies, his dreams, his hang-ups?” Obviously body and personality are an integral part of sexual attraction. Bare flesh is just one element. Beyond that a woman wants to know, or at least fantasize, how that male flesh feels and how that male brain thinks, and maybe by suggestion she will start imagining what she’d like to do to him.
Filthy Gorgeous Exclusives
Maybe I’ve left out the most important human element – a man’s soul. The man’s spirit must shine through in our photographs- that is one of our goals. We are not out to exploit men as simple, mindless sex objects, we are out to reveal men in a delightful and erotic manner.
In the coming months Viva will be exploring men and women in an infinite variety of ways. Undoubtedly, we’ll be called outrageous. We’re not. We just don’t believe in most censorship.
Bob Guccione once predicted ,“Viva will become an integral part of the mad, mad world into which she was born. Her strength and purpose, however, will be in her ability to recognize the quality of life as it really is… to report, comment, moderate, and, above all, serve the best interests of her readers within the unique context of their time. She will dig for the truth where ever it may be buried, and she will fight, scream, shed a few tears, and, if necessary, use every other devious method available to her sex to make her voice heard. Viva will be a woman, a lusty, real, indefatigable, down to earth, fetching, bright, sexy, uncompromising woman. A woman to be reckoned with…”