DIARY

Sex is strangely absent from the February glossy women's magazines. Brian Braithwaite, whose History of Women's Magazines (Peter Owen, £13.95) is published this month, isn't that surprised.

The executive who launched Harpers & Queen, Cosmopolitan and Company, has just compiled a sex count of women's mags - what proportion of the content of the latest issues is given over to it. The highest scorer was New Woman at 13 per cent, while most of the others hit a chaste 3 per cent, except for trend setter Marie Claire, which scored nil. He thinks there may be a bit of a backlash going on against the sex-obsessed coverage of the past couple of years.

In conclusion, Braithwaite writes: "Sex in magazines, as in all the media, is here to stay, but as the novelty of being explicit wears off it will probably get less attention from the editors." And he warns that the teenage mags will be next to feel the pressure to tone down, as parents protest at gimmicks such as More magazine's Position of the Month. Where do we go from here? Well, new magazines devoted to cats and dogs are selling extremely well.

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