Starting in March 2016, Playboy magazine will no longer publish fully nude images of women. Why the sudden change? According to the New York Times, Playboy editor Cory Jones approached the magazine’s 89-year-old editor-in-chief Hugh Hefner last month, who then agreed.

 The decision was a matter of logistics: given the proliferation of internet porn and the generalized decline of adult magazines, Playboy has lost the edge and exclusivity that made it so alluring to generations of American men.

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 “That battle has been fought and won,” said Scott Flanders, the company’s chief executive said. “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it’s just passé at this juncture.”

 Since 1975, the magazine’s circulation has dropped from 5.6 million to 800, 000, despite another revamp three years ago. In its heyday, Playboy was more than just a girly mag. It featured seriously badass women on its covers, among them Madonna, Drew Barrymore, Mariah Carey, Sally Field, Chelsea Handler, Barbara Streisand, Marge Simpson, and Dolly Parton, who is also a BUST cover gal. Playboy was so influential that Gloria Steinem went undercover as a waitress in the New York Playboy Club in 1963, then wrote about it for Show magazine. And, as the Times pointed out, Playboy once published stories by the likes of Margaret Atwood and Haruki Murakami, as well as interviews with Malcolm X, Vladimir Nabokov, Martin Luther King Jr. and Jimmy Carter.

Perhaps de-emphasizing nudity in Playboy marks a renewed commitment to that literary and journalistic heritage. Their website is already nudity-free and online traffic is faring better for it. After phasing out NSFW content, executives said, the average age of its reader dropped from 47 to about 30 years old and unique visitors per month quadrupled.

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Going forward, women may still be semi-revealed in photographs, but the aesthetic will be sleeker, “more accessible,” and “more intimate” according to Jones. There may not be a centerfold, but there will still be a Playmate of the Month – though, these images will also aim for a more PG-13, less produced look than in previous years.

Other revelations include the addition of a sex-positive female as their new sex columnist. Win! So tell us: come March, will you subscribe? (I might.) Are you a current subscriber? Are you sad to see the nudity go? 

Images via Playboy

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