Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek has argued that the problem with hardcore pornography is that it risks no longer seducing you, because no one actually wants to see everything. Pornography is erotic right up until the moment when the camera zooms in a little too closely, and suddenly it goes from alluring to appalling. Unfortunately, no one ever told Penthouse magazine, which has made a 51-year career out of convincing men with bad taste that what they really want to see is the idea of “sexy” as conceived by dudes akin to Larry Flynt. And now, that parade of flesh that’s usually been left out in the sun a little too long is closing up shop—in print format, anyway. CNBC reports the company is shuttering its printed edition and switching to solely digital, with all subscriptions transferred to the Penthouse Magazine website.
Much like Playboy’s decision last year to convert to a PG-13-only model (which quadrupled its online traffic), this move seems to drag Penthouse, kicking and screaming (possibly tied up and wearing leather, halfheartedly claiming that it has never tried this before) into the 21st century. The company has also closed its New York offices and relocated to Los Angeles, where its parent company, FriendFinder Networks, is based. It’s a smart move for both parties, since Penthouse’s publisher already went bankrupt in 2013, claiming it hadn’t turned a profit since 2008, and AdultFriendFinder is desperate to locate the one group of straight guys left who might actually still believe they will be introduced to an “AdultFriend” who wants to have no-strings-attached sex with them at the drop of a hat.