This may sound rich coming from an erotica writer, but seeing a Twitter remark about yesterday's debate on whether or not lads' mags such as Nuts and Zoo should be banned from supermarket shelves has got me buzzing into my angry old woman mode. Despite having a fertile and erotic imagination, I prefer subtlety and sensuality in my erotica, and have long found the sight of squirming, boob-squeezing girls right there in my face embarrassing at best and offensive at worst, and let's not beat about the bush, bordering on the pornographic in the full, graphic sense. It's all about the picture, not about the words. And in this day and age it's downright bewildering. I thought we lived in a more sexually equal world where men were finally realising that women have brains as well as breasts? Where mechanics' garages and pubs have taken down topless calendars because they are public places. And yet these mags seem deliberately to challenge and stick a finger up at anyone daring to question the taste or decency of having a naked girl on a supposedly mainstream magazine at eye-level, and if I was stacking shelves in Tesco then yes, I think I would dislike it, too. Not to mention trying to divert my pre-teenage boys away.
But what is worse than all that and what no-one in these debates has ventured to say, is that these mags symbolise, proudly,what we erotica writers spend our lives getting away from, escaping if you will into our fantasy worlds where sex and sensuality is painted and celebrated, and that's bone-headed, testosterone-filled, bullish machismo. Because the tone of these lads mags is not respectful or funny or woman-loving. They are low, sniggering, puerile and mocking of the female form. What on earth is good or sexy, or acceptable, about that?