Elsa Jean in “Fandomination,” Winter 2020, photographed by Charlotte Rutherford

Playboy launched nearly 70 years ago to a society badly in need of a sexual shake-up. We quickly became THE platform for writers, artists, photographers and performers to express themselves with near-total freedom — the place where sex was never taboo and where challenging the status quo was the object of the game.

The world has changed in unimaginable ways since 1953. But the forces we fought against then — fear, prejudice, censorship, injustice — are still very much with us.

Since ending our print publication two years ago, we have challenged ourselves with the question:how can we continue to…

By Yamani Hernandez and Megan Jeyifo

Maksym Dykha / Shutterstock

Since our inception in 1953, Playboy has served as a platform for open dialogue about the most culturally relevant, and sometimes controversial, topics of the day. The Playboy Forum, an editorial franchise that was minted in the July 1963 issue, is one of the many ways Playboy has upheld its commitment to free speech. As the first edition noted, the Playboy Forum invited “an interchange of ideas between reader and editor.” …

You have the right to pursue pleasure.

Original Art by Lauren West for Playboy

We have always believed that pleasure is a human right. And pleasure comes in many forms. We believe in the right to knowledge through accurate and inclusive sex education. We believe that sex work is work and must not be treated as lesser than any other work. We believe in the power of curiosity and the right to sexploration that does not do harm.

Here’s where that starts — knowing your rights:

You have the right to pursue pleasure.

Period. And no one can take that away from you.

You have the right to explore what pleasure means to you.

Stimulate your senses — through touch, taste, smell, sex, mind-altering substances…

Playboy is one of the world’s most iconic and recognizable brands. For almost seven decades, we have shown the world the cutting-edge and the taboo, the intellectual and the sensual, the serious and the playful. We have been a leading forum for influential voices and provocative personalities. We have championed the work of innovators in music, the visual arts, literature, and journalism. We have consistently challenged the status quo and told truth to power. We are a sixty-seven year old organization with the energy and fluidity of a startup. …

By Ben Kohn, CEO of Playboy Enterprises

1975 NORML Ad run in Playboy Magazine, Cartoon by B. Kliban

“Keep up the fight.”

Those were the words of a Playboy reader, in 1969, outraged over the case of a Texas man who was sentenced to 50 years in prison for selling a $5 bag of cannabis. Later that year, another reader revealed that he’d been busted for 0.87 milligrams — about “four seeds and 15 grains of leaf” — while a third explained that her husband faced 10 years in jail after being caught with the equivalent of a dime-sized bud.

The letters continued to pile up, when Hugh Hefner, then Playboy’s…

Written by Mamy Mbaye

Photo by Adrienne Williams

This time last year, my final semester of college was just coming to an end and I had been juggling three of the most time consuming projects I have ever taken up. The first two were my theses, which I had to complete in order to receive my bachelor’s degree in History and International Relations. The last was the most daunting of all: job search.

As an international student, coming from a Senegalese background, I faced some very strict visa deadlines to adhere to if I wanted to stay; I had 60 days from my graduation…

Written by Kristi Beck

Photo by Ali Mitton

One thing I’ve learned in my time at Playboy is that without evolution nothing will succeed. I like to say, “If it ain’t broke, make it better,” a concept that has challenged our team ever since the magazine went quarterly in the winter of 2019. How can we take the beloved moments that Playboy has so famously presented for 66 years and push them to even greater heights?

As we closed out 2019, chatter began in our office around who would be our next Playmate of the Year. While we knew and still know what an…

Written by Darian Edwards

I wasn’t sure what to think when a friend and mentor reached out to me in late 2018 to ask if I was interested in joining the team at Playboy. Like many people, I have clear memories of my first encounters with Playboy magazine as a young teen. It was at a friend’s house, where a bunch of issues were kept in a wicker basket under the bathroom sink. Naturally I was tempted to spend time flipping through the pages and looking at the pictures, but holing up in my friend’s family bathroom would have raised…

A new job is usually an exciting piece of information to share, though in some instances broaching the topic may require more nuance than in others. Curious how our own employees experienced this, we asked Playboy staffers to tell us their stories of how they shared the news with friends and family.

Tori Adams, Associate Editor

On Telling Her Mother

My mom was super excited, but halfway through jumping for joy she paused — probably when it sunk in that it was Playboy. I had to explain I was writing and editing, much like the hustling I’d been doing for over a year at…

March 18, 2020

Dear Team and Partners,

I’m writing to share my deepest wishes for the health and safety of our global community at this time. I also want to take this opportunity to provide an update on the strength of our business and some of the steps we are taking to ensure our continued growth in 2020 and into the decade ahead.

Playboy is many things to many people. A magazine to many, a lifestyle to many more, an apparel brand, a membership club and even, according to some, “a corruptor of our youth.” But throughout the past sixty-six…


Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store