Launched in 1966, Fiesta quickly became Britain's top selling adult magazine. Dubbed 'the magazine for men which women love to read,' the monthly magazine's readers were responsible, in the early 1970s, for creating a phenomenon that has been adopted in magazines worldwide: "Readers' Wives". Central to this theme is the monthly Readers' Wives Striptease section, which shows a set of photos of a supposed wife or girlfriend of a reader being photographed by Fiesta undressing (often, but not always out of everyday clothing) to full nudity. The Readers' Wives section was the subject of a song by John Cooper Clarke on his album Disguise in Love.
As well as its Readers' Wives and photographic girl sets, Fiesta is built around a core of readers' letters from men and women. The mix is spiced by male-interest features, cartoons and reviews, sexy puzzles and a regular erotic horoscope, together with Firkin, a two-page underground-style strip drawn by Hunt Emerson and written by Tym Manley.
Nicholas Whittaker, journalist and author of Platform Souls, Blue Period and Sweet Talk, worked for the company from 1980 to 1982, when he left to go and work for Paul Raymond Publications, where he played a major role in establishing the new Razzle magazine. His experiences at Fiesta and Razzle are the subject of his book Blue Period.
- Attwood, F. (2002) 'A very British carnival: Women, sex and transgression in Fiesta magazine', in European Journal of Cultural Studies, 5 (1) 91–105.