Naked no more: Women will be clothed in future issues of Playboy

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Playboy magazine announced Tuesday that, starting next year, it will no longer publish photos of the very thing that made it famous.

Under the headline “Playboy Is Doing What?” the magazine said models, celebrities and playmates will not be fully naked in the US version of its publication starting in March. That would mark the first time the publication has taken such measures since founder Hugh Hefner laid out the first issue in 1953.

The magazine will still feature women in provocative poses wearing bikinis and lingerie, but they will no longer bare all.

“Playboy has been a friend to nudity, and nudity has been a friend to Playboy, for decades,” the statement said, but “times change.”

The easy availability of pornography on the internet is a big part of the reason for the new policy.

“You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free,” Scott Flanders, the company’s chief executive, told the New York Times.

In addition, the magazine’s sales are down from 5.6 million in 1975 to about 800,000 today, according to data compiled by Alliance for Audited Media quoted in the Times.

Playboy was founded in 1953 “to champion personal freedom and sexual liberty at a time when America was painfully conservative.”

Since then the United States has made “great strides politically and culturally.” The magazine said it liked to think it had something to do with the change.

“Our journalism, art, photos and fiction have challenged norms, defied expectations and set a new tone for decades,” the magazine said.

The relaunch of Playboy.com last year also played a role in the decision. Playboy said it discovered that readers come to the non-nude website and app for articles and videos about sex and culture, style, nightlife, entertainment and video games.

The magazine will remain “entertainment for men” even as it acknowledges that it is taking a risk. But not all its publications worldwide will adopt the new policy.

The German version of Playboy isn’t affected, said Florian Boitin, editor of Playboy Germany. Boitin told dpa the magazine would “stick to its successful concept in the future.”

Europeans have a historically more relaxed attitude toward nudity, he said.

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