Playboy SA is to end its print run and go digital, it was reported on Wednesday.
Editor Charl du Plessis told The Times that the "hurdle of conservative readers" had proved too much for the magazine.
"We're told from the consumer side that people don't want to be seen buying playboy. Digital is a more private space, and that is where publishing is heading anyway," he was quoted as saying.
Du Plessis told the newspaper it was not that South Africans were conservative, but that they were hypocritical.
In his opinion, many other men and women's magazines often featured cruder material than Playboy SA, and for which they were not chastised.
According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations of SA, the magazine's total circulation dropped to 3839 at some point last year.
Playboy was first published in South Africa from December 1993 to 1996, and was relaunched in March 2011.