Adult, a magazine of “contemporary erotics and experience,” made its print debut with a beautiful premiere issue in November 2013. Editor-in-Chief Sarah Nicole Prickett described it as “A magazine that you can take to bed,” in an interview with The Cut. It’s taken some time to get Adult on the Internet, where its sensual, intellectual take on sexuality fills a gap in the erotic life online. The pitch for it is kind of “porn for women,” as opposed to Hustler or Playboy, but I don’t think that’s the case, really. It feels — forgive me — millennial, with a joyful, everybody-in-the-pool take on sexuality. And the gaze, as it is, feels more feminine than male, which is something that’s needed in this world.
Adult made a splashy debut this morning with a good-looking website, vaguely NSFW pictures — like coming across arty boobs on one’s Tumblr feed — that could get you off because they’re aware of sex as attainable fantasy, and writing that could, in time, get people to say, “I read it for the articles, I swear.”
With categories like “Mornings After,” “Sex Lives,” “Talks,” “Exposures,” and “Belle-Lettres,” there could be some NSFW erotica for the type of person who fantasizes about French New Wave girls; but the new approaches, so far, are coming from the “Talks” and the “Belle-Lettres.” In “Talks,” people — some familiar — are talking, roundtable/advice column-style on their experiences with “women and money,” and “ambition,” a loaded, sexy topic for any young person. The eternal topic of “ugly-sexy” is also broached, with some solid advice from writer Durga Chew-Bose: “The more I exchange texts and emails with my women friends about Beauty, the less it’s something that defines me or that I seek out, or that keeps me indoors.”
“Belle-Lettres” is a corner for long-form essays on “mature” topics, and some of the best work from Adult‘s print issue is now online and worth a read.
“Florida,” by New York magazine editor Joe Coscarelli, is an endlessly quotable odyssey around America’s most extreme and misunderstood state. Coscarelli, a Florida native, starts off the piece with, “I’m not gay, but in Florida I’m a faggot.” He goes to a psychic and she gets everything wrong. It’s better than Spring Breakers and it’s awfully American.
“Dirty Books,” by novelist Alexander Chee (author of Edinburgh and the upcoming The Queen of the Night), is about how a library card let a younger Chee exploring his gay identity and turn-ons through issues of Penthouse and furtive check-outs of John Cheever’s work, laden with secrets and urges: “Falconer was not the book I was looking for. It was a novel for the man I would become, not the boy I was, a peculiar if profound novel, acrid, bitter, grudgingly hopeful, and something of a bastard child for Cheever — a book at odds with the rest of his oeuvre, and with good reason. It was the one place, besides his diaries, where he wrote about being closeted and gay.”
It’s exciting to see a magazine like Adult taking its content online and giving it new life, beyond the pleasures of the print edition. It has a point of view — maybe distinctly millennial? — in photos and writing, and if it can continue on its path, going into ever more daring and interesting places, it may turn into its own essential corner of the Internet.