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Yesterday's nudes: Playboy will stop publishing images of fully naked women

'It’s just passé.'

David Westing/Getty Images

Playboy magazine will stop publishing images of fully nude women next year as part of a redesign aimed at appealing to new readers. According to a report from The New York Times, the magazine will still feature a Playmate of the Month, but the pictures will be "PG-13," with Playboy's chief content officer Cory Jones describing them as "a little more accessible, a little more intimate." The magazine's executives admit that it's no longer a distinction to publish nude images. "You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free," chief executive Scott Flanders told the Times. "And so it’s just passé at this juncture."

The move follows the company's decision last year to remove nudity from its website, a change which it says quadrupled online traffic from around 4 million unique visitors a month to 16 million, and led to the average age of its readers dropping from 47-years-old to just over 30. After the print redesign, the magazine will continue to publish a mixture of interviews, fiction, and investigative journalism, as well as introducing more artwork and a female "sex-positive" columnist. "The difference between us and Vice," Flanders told the Times, "is that we’re going after the guy with a job."

"The difference between us and Vice is that we're going after the guy with a job."

Hugh Hefner published the first issue of Playboy in 1953, featuring Marilyn Monroe on the cover. The magazine quickly became a cultural force, publishing long-form interviews with the likes of Martin Luther King Jr. and Jimmy Carter, as well as short fiction from writers as varied as Vladimir Nabokov, Haruki Murakami, and Margaret Atwood. From a circulation of 5.6 million in 1975, the magazine now sells around 800,000 issues, with the US edition losing $3 million a year, according to the Times.

The company that publishes the magazine makes most of its money from licensing and branding, with the Playboy Bunny appearing on products as wide-ranging as clothes, jewelry, and alcohol. The company's own research says its logo is as recognizable as those of Apple and Nike, and Flanders says the magazine is partly a marketing tool for the brand, comparing it to a "Fifth Avenue storefront" meant to lure in customers. The changes to the print issue have all been engineered with the aim of attracting millennials, with the redesign scheduled to be unveiled next March.