It was one of those things I thought might happen in the next few years, but didn’t expect to happen this soon. Playboy is dropping full nudity from its magazines, effective with the March 2016 issue.
I’m assuming this means that Hugh Hefner’s magazine will go back to the standards before their June 1970 issue, and that the mag will continue to show boobs and buns, just nothing else. Before 1970, the mag got pressured to show more when competing magazines, Penthouse being the biggest of which, started showing pubic hair and more explicit posing. Then Larry Flynt’s Hustler started up in 1974, taking the “war” to a whole new level with candid shots of women that would make a gynecologist blush.
Then by the late 80’s and early 90’s, less became in the nether regions with the “deforestation” of the pubic era, and more became…well, more on top with the advent and proliferation of breast augmentation.
Personal note: when I turned 18 in September of 1989, I worked at a microfilm company in eastern Clearwater, with my first radio job at WTAN being about another month away. I knew there was a newsstand in downtown Clearwater where you can get all the smut you wanted, plus it was a good “off the beaten path” location for someone living in Largo. Sure enough the Saturday after my 18th, I went to Henry’s Newsstand on Cleveland Street and bought my first Penthouse and my first Hustler. And yes, I did read the articles rather thoroughly, which got me through a few overnight shifts here and there.
The last time I picked up the nudie mags would be sometime around 2000. By that time, the big three nudie mags had become an afterthought. The Internet was just beginning to find ways to produce a better and more cost effective product, something they continue to excel at a decade and a half later.
Like other things and elements in our culture, I view this as just another cyclical change as time moves on. Everything old eventually becomes new again, because our modern culture is full of more imitators than innovators. Hefner, being a guy who I’d tag with the “innovator” level, just went back to get to his future and the future of his magazine. I think it’ll work out for him and for his family once he passes.