'Playboy' Will No Longer Publish Photos Of Nude Women For This Reason

"I read 'Playboy' for the articles" will actually be true.

In a sign of how sexual mores have changed over the decades, the magazine that shocked and titillated America each month announced that it would remove nude women from its pages. Playboy, the magazine that played a role in many a young man's adolescence, told The New York Times it will still feature women in provocative — albeit "PG-13" — poses. But beginning next March, in a move that was approved by founder Hugh Hefner, the nudity in its print edition will be gone.

Playboy framed the change as an attempt to stay culturally relevant, citing the convenience of online pornography. Scott Flanders, the company's chief executive, said last year: "Millennials have seen everything. They're one mouse click away from anything that you can imagine."

The Times reported that the company is bidding to compete with publications such as Vice, which boasts a younger audience. 

According to the newspaper, Playboy's circulation dropped from 5.6 million in 1975 to about 800,000 today and many of its rival magazines have disappeared over the decades. Last year, its website did away with nudity — and traffic purportedly increased by 250 percent.

Though Playboy was most notorious for the nude women within its pages, it often overshadowed the content it published. The company said it would continue its focus on investigative journalism, fiction and interviews, which in the past included the likes Jimmy Carter, Malcolm X and Vladimir Nabokov. 

Playboy has remained financially stable over the years in large part due to licensing of its iconic bunny logo for a bevy of products across the world. Flanders told the Times that the move to remove nudity — arguably its chief appeal back in the day — poses a question about the company's future relevancy: "If you take nudity out, what's left?"

Cover image via Dan Kitwood / Getty Images