playboy magazine cover 1997

I read something you wrote that made a lot of sense, but also left me with a
question. To paraphrase my understanding, you said that men have shown a
wide-ranging variety of preferences for female body types (beyond the Barbie-doll Playboy depiction) as evidenced by the many body types presented on porn websites. Here’s my question:

Do you think ideal female body type preferences held by males who came of age
during the Playboy era were influenced by the body types shown in Playboy and
similar magazines?


  • Michael Castleman says:

    It’s a controversial question. The research is equivocal. My own feeling is that everything we see affects us in some way. So yes, men who came of age during the 1960-1990s, the heyday of Playboy, were affected by the magazine’s vision of the “perfect” female body—to some extent. But at the same time, they were affected by fashion models who were uniformly skinny and tiny-breasted. And they were affected by the looks of all the women in their lives, who presumably had a broad range of body type. Over the past 30 years, more and more Americans have become overweight. Studies show that now an increasing proportion of Americans say heavy people are sexually attractive, presumably because they see more chubby folks. Do men still want women with Playboy bodies? Some do, but Playboy and its body type have largely disappeared from contemporary men’s world, so I doubt that Hugh Hefner’s preferences hold much sway today. My two cents. I hope I’ve provided food for thought.

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