Penthouse Magazine was introduced in 1965. Bug Guccione, sensing that the sexuality of men would be a popular niche introduced what has become one of the worlds enduring icons.
The sexually explicit content of the magazine paved barreled into the common households and stayed on top of its rival, Playboy Magazine in terms of sales and popularity. Four years later, Guccione expanded the operations of Penthouse Magazine as the publication began being published in the United States.
Guccione together with Kathy Keeton and some family members managed the privately owned company over the years. With the rise of the tome, Bob Guccione also rose to fame and was known for his lavish lifestyle and spending including the infamous Mansion in Manhattan, gold chains, dream of building a portable nuclear device and casino without a gambling license.
In the adult business Penthouse Magazine was the victim of attacks and condemnation from several groups. The National Federation for Decency, a Christian conservative group now known as American Family Association, threatened to boycott stores that carry adult materials. In 1986, Attorney General Edwin Meese and an 11 member Commission on Pornography also sought to publish a blacklist of pornography distributors. About 20,000 retailers and convenience stores withdrew support to the magazine after the campaign; this of course caused a decrease in sales.
In 1992, an issue between the magazine and United States Navy surfaced. The United States Navy reacted negatively on the issues of circulation and distribution around the military base. Distribution and sale of adult titles is said to be inconsistent with the rules and regulations concerning sexual harassment and human dignity.
The Military Honor and Decency Act signed by President Clinton in 1996 stated that the Secretary of Defense may not permit the sale or rental of sexually explicit material on property under the jurisdiction of the Defense Department. Also, a 1998 Supreme Court ruling held that a military base is not a public forum.
Videocassettes gained popularity and the steady rise of the Internet are some reasons that caused the steady decline of Penthouse Magazine circulation and other pornographic magazines like Playboy Magazine and Hustler Magazine. The Internet provided a cheaper and multiple avenues of satisfaction for customers who sought privacy. After struggleing for years, in April 2002, Guccione announced that Penthouse Magazine was going out of business.
On July 2003, Bob Guccione lost his famous Penthouse Mansion. The mansion was composed of two townhouses built in 1879. Rebuilt in 1920s by Jeremiah Milbank, it was one of the largest private residences in Manhattan. At the height of prestige, Guccione bought the mansion in 1975.
IOn August 2003, General Media, the Penthouse Magazine subsidiary filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It was thought that this move would help salvage the magazine.
In October 2003, an announcement of the sale of Penthouse Magazine circulated. The company was restructured and in 2004 General Media was renamed the Penthouse Media Group by owners Marc Bell and Daniel Staton. Penthouse Magazine was repackaged.
Starting with the January 2005 issue, Penthouse Magazine no longer showed pictures of an explicit nature, being touted as an alternative to FHM Magazine. Penthouse Magazine nixed explicitly nude photos of male and female genitalia. The change improved the declining sales. However, sales still did not reach the same circulation numbers of Penthouse Magazine at the peak of the magazine
In 2005, Penthouse Media Group had a total circulation of 326,358 copies. Penthouse Magazine continues to increase sales as it works to become a competitor of the adult entertainment genre.