While Swank is one of the better men's magazines out there, it's in some ways one of the weirdest.
A few years ago, I thought of Swank as the magazine for
illiterate prisoners. Every single bit of text was written at a
fifth-grade level. Most mags will have a few paragraphs about the model
and her alleged likes and dislikes, but Swank stuck to a few
awkwardly written sentences composed entirely of monosyllables (sample:
"OHH YESS! STICK YOUR HARD THING IN MY HOT
HOLE!"). As for the models--well, they were so heavily
airbrushed that they looked like mannequins, and
the photo editors, for some unknown reason, felt like adding fake sparkles
to whatever jewelry they were wearing. You could only take them seriously
if you hadn't seen a woman in ten years or so. For a long time, I didn't
bother with it, because I knew there was better stuff out there.
A while back, I flipped through it again, and discovered that it was
undergoing a transformation. Most of the models look like real women now;
the fake boobs are gone, and they've caught on to the pubic shaving trend. As for the pictorials,
they don't waste any time with fully-clothed shots; the young
starlets are bare-ass and going at it from the first pic in the
series, and there are plenty of closeups and spread shots.
The couples pics now show penetration, and, unlike other
high-quality mags, they don't do cumshots, a decision I greatly
Unfortunately, they haven't entirely escaped the flaws of their early
days. While girls in other magazines, such as Cheri, almost always
manage to look fantastic but reasonably human at the same time, Swank's
girls occasionally still look like tan plastic dolls dipped in oil, with
damp hair and heavy makeup to boot. They don't pay quite enough attention
to poses; if you look closely, you'll notice that the models change
facial expressions about as often as Keanu Reeves. Although they
typically have one "teen" pictorial in every issue, they don't understand
the teen porn fad at all; their putative 18-year-olds are indistinguishable from the rest of their models. As for the lesbian pics,
they occasionally revert back to the old style, where the women never
actually touch or lick each others' naughty bits. On the whole, the
average pictorial is hotter and more realistic than it used to be, but it
still isn't quite at the level of other mags.
Swank's weirdest feature, though, is its articles. Most porno mags
don't bother much with text, aside from the occasional stories or letters
to the editor. Guys probably aren't going to read it, so it's a waste of
space; you might as well fill it with pictorials or (best of all from the
mag's point of view) advertisements. Swank does have its share of
letters, which, if anything, are even more wildly
implausible than those in most magazines, but that's not all that
surprising. What's bizarre is that they have articles that aren't on
sexual topics at all. A recent issue, for example, had a four-page
article on fatal diseases. Not newsworthy diseases like SARS or
terrorist threats like smallpox or STDs like AIDS, but diseases that cause epidemics. Like the black plague, or mad cow.
So here you are, flipping through page after page of gorgeous naked flesh,
with lovely body parts slipping deep into other
lovely body parts, and suddenly you find yourself absorbed in an article
about how leprosy can make your cock rot off.
The effects of this are easy to anticipate, and aren't
exactly what you'd think the publishers would want.
Then there's "Senor Swanky" (I swear I am not making this up), who
offers practical advice on topics such as wines, throwing knuckleballs,
getting out of speeding tickets, and dating. Now, if this were the
execrable Hustler, the column would probably suggest looking for a woman
who doesn't talk much and doesn't knee you in the groin when you grope
her. Senor Swanky, on the other hand, recommends things like talking to
the girl (imagine that!), looking for common interests, maintaining
interest without pressuring her too much, and backing off if she's really not interested.
This is good, respectable advice. From a porno mag. They're
working against themselves here--if all their readers get dates, they'll
have no subscribers left. I have no idea what they're thinking, but it's
a pleasant surprise.
Then there's the advice column that deals with anal sex. Here again,
someone like Larry Flynt would recommend jamming a gag in the
woman's mouth, flipping her over, and going at it until you're
done. Senor Swanky (I still can't believe it) recommends the
following: 0) talk with her about it first; 1) use a water-based lube;
2) start with small things, like a finger or small dildo; 3) never
insert anything that doesn't have a flared base, because you might lose it; 4) play with her clit while you're about
it, because it'll help her have a good time. This advice is quite similar to that provided by knowledgeable folks, and--most astonishing
of all--it actually suggests treating women as human
beings! Incredible...it's a porno mag, and yet it's pointing out
that women are creatures who can feel pleasure and pain, who have needs of
their own that you just might want to attend to! And it actually seems to
think that its readers might actually have anal sex one day!
Seems like nobody told them that they're supposed to be exploiting and
degrading women. Oh, well--enjoy it while it lasts; in a year or two,
they'll be bankrupt or back to the usual standard. In the meantime,
Swank is a good but not great magazine that could improve itself
by shaking off its old habits.
- Pictorials: 10-12
- Girls: glamorous, but with a tendency towards excessive
- Penetration: yes (finger, dildo, penis)
- Lesbian: 1-2 pictorials/issue
- Guy/Girl: 1-2/issue
- Group: 0-1/issue
- Fetish: none
- Stories/Articles: lots, with inexplicable choices of subject
know_no_bounds's rating: * * *