- The Washington Times - Monday, October 12, 2015

It revolutionized the sexual revolution, but Playboy magazine will stop featuring photos of nude women beginning in March, founder Hugh M. Hefner has decreed, as reported by The New York Times.

According to The Times, the 89-year-old Mr. Hefner was approached by magazine editor Cory Jones about a major shift in the magazine’s output by removing the naked photos — all but a staple of the publication’s pages.

Figures cited in the story said the magazine’s circulation peaked at 5.6 million in 1975 but is now less than 1 million. Adult-related publishing — all of publishing — has taken a hit because of the proliferation of online content.

“You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passe at this juncture,” Scott Flanders, the company’s chief executive, told the newspaper.

In addition to the mature thematic material, the magazine has at times published writing by such notables as Joseph Heller, Ian Fleming, Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut. Luminaries interviewed in the famous Q&A included Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and former President Jimmy Carter, who infamously admitted during the interview to lusting after women in his heart other than wife Rosalynn.

Reaction to the change was swift across the social media sphere. John Podhoretz, editor of the conservative Jewish magazine Commentary, tweeted:

“With Playboy announcing it is ending nudity in its pages, I hereby announce that @Commentary is going Muslim”

Mr. Hefner published the first issue in December 1953, featuring Marilyn Monroe as the centerfold. So convinced was he of its imminent failure that he never put a month and year stamp on the cover. It was the first salvo in a mainstream sex publishing business. Bob Guccione Jr. began Penthouse in 1969, and Larry Flynt came out with Hustler in 1974, and both often jostled to be racier and more explicit than Playboy.

Playboy’s website did away with nudity entirely this summer, The Times reported.

The Times quoted Mr. Jones waxing on the duality of his own decision.

“Don’t get me wrong, 12-year-old me is very disappointed in current me,” he said. “But it’s the right thing to do.”

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