When Playboy Bunnies Ruled

At 17, most girls are filling out college applications. I was nervously chewing my fingernails at an audition to become a Bunny at the New York Playboy Club.

I had become the first emancipated minor in Suffolk County at age 16. How that happened is a story unto itself, but why I became emancipated was exactly why I was now auditioning to be a bunny. It took years of therapy to define and process the hell from which I had run away more times than I can count. Every time I was returned until, finally, the game was over. No one came to get me. I had never been more relieved, or more frightened. Now, woefully unprepared to make my way in the world—I was emancipated. And after a year of surviving in NYC on my own, here I was, nervously waiting to be called to audition.

After sleeping behind a shopping center heating vent when I could not find an unlocked car, I finally accepted an offer to crash at Mark’s cockroach-ridden Manhattan basement apartment in exchange for being his girlfriend. I got a job in a department store for minimum wage, then about $2.10 an hour. For the first time in my life, I felt safe.


One day, shortly after moving in with Mark, he came back to the apartment particularly excited.

“Yo! You home? Do your hair—now! Lemme see your nails … yo, you bitin’ your nails again?” He shook his head disgustedly.

I hated when I couldn’t please him. A deep sense of shame overtook me when he disapproved of me.

“What?” I asked, more frightened than curious.

“Yo, we’re gettin’ you dolled up. You got an audition at the Playboy Club. Starts at three. You better be ready.”

In his hand he held a torn-out ad announcing the auditions, which I took from him.

“Oh, you can’t be serious, Mark!” This was disastrous news.

“Not only am I serious, you are wastin’ time. Let’s go!”

He tossed me into the shower. Mark was not hesitant to use force when he wanted something.

My protests were failing to sway him whatsoever. I remember thinking that I just had to get out of this bad idea of his or risk the humiliation of a lifetime. It wasn’t that I cared about the rejection I would go through; that I could see coming easily.

It was that I couldn’t bear to lose status in his eyes, since he seemed to love me and finally gave me the sense that someone needed me. How could I possibly let him down by failing some ridiculous audition for girls that would all look like movie stars? I was panicked.

I remember crying, finally out of excuses about why I couldn’t go to the audition.

“Yo! You purposely tryin’ to piss me off, or what? You got a lot to do to get lookin’ good—let’s GO!” he stormed.

I wailed louder and louder that I didn’t have what it took, and that if he really cared about me, he wouldn’t make me “compete” on the basis of my looks, since the other girls were sure to be much more beautiful than me, and how could he even think of something this cruel?

Aggravated, he snapped at me, “You got nice big tits and nice legs and a nice face. They’re gonna love you, you hear me? You wanna make some good money for a change, or you wanna wait around for some other bullshit job where you make nothing, like now? Let’s go, now!”

Through tears and the mounting terror of what the afternoon had in store for me, I styled my hair into its best Farrah Fawcett hairdo and applied way too much makeup. I didn’t have a one-piece swimsuit (the required audition outfit), so I wore a burgundy Danskin bodysuit that I had shoplifted because it helped me remember that one day I wanted to become a ballerina. As soon as I could stabilize my life, I wanted to be a ballerina. Maybe then I would take some ballet lessons.

On the way out the door to the audition, I grabbed a bagel laying on the kitchen counter, but Mark grabbed it away from me. “Lil, we need your stomach to look, you know, in, not out like pregnant. You eat afterward.”

He wasn’t one for poetic language, but he managed to get us uptown to the Playboy Club by 2:30.


A big sign on the street level directed us to the sixth floor of the Playboy Club, where I was handed a clipboard with a form to fill out and told to sign in. As I looked around and saw a few hundred beautiful girls, I was overcome with nausea and ran into the bathroom where I puked my guts up. I stayed tucked in the bathroom stall, trying to calm down, listening to the nervous talk of the other girls retouching their makeup at the mirror. I reasoned I could maroon myself in here until the Club was closed—Mark could never come retrieve me from inside a ladies’ bathroom.

After a half hour, I calmed down enough to come out, more terrified of Mark hitting me than I was of any humiliation in an audition. As I exited the restroom, I spotted him, pacing, looking for me, furious, his rage at my long disappearance contained only by the threat of the crowds who might witness him losing his temper. “I don’t feel well,” I mumbled in the hopes he’d leave me alone.

At that point, I dissociated completely, leaning up against the wall, withholding myself from the sea of much-lovelier-than-me girls, actresses, and models who flitted about me like pretty winged creatures in the strange dream I was having.

Finally, we girls were grouped together in clusters of ten and then called in by groups through another doorway. My group, Group F, did not have one girl a day over age 22. I so wanted to go home and crawl under the bed forever. All I could do in that atmosphere thick with fear, competition, adrenaline, and my own self-loathing was to stay completely dissociated.

All I could do in that atmosphere thick with fear, competition, adrenaline, and my own self-loathing was to stay completely dissociated.


Mark was finally ordered to wait outside. Shortly after that, my group of 10 was called in. One by one, we marched into the large theater of a room, past an entire panel of judges, including a glamorous, older woman of maybe 35 or 40 with long, false eyelashes and I Dream of Jeannie hair.


The men didn’t rattle me a bit, since they all looked alert and amused, like happy Labrador retrievers, but the glamourpuss female judge made me want to head right back to the latrine. She had the smug, unhappy face of a woman in search of some impossible perfection.

My stomach hurt. I told myself, It’s almost over now—just get through this, and Mark will leave you alone about it. Tonight I’ll be home again, watching TV.

Just the image of that helped me come out of my frozen zone and place one foot in front of the other, ever so delicately, of course, when my name was called. The instruction given was to slowly walk down the 30-foot runway toward the panel of judges, stop short of them on the X marked on the floor with tape, and wait to be addressed. Oh, Jesus. Answering questions posed by the judges on top of having to be looked over?

A friendly girl, who had introduced herself earlier to me as Natifah, got called first, and it was then that I realized some girls were just born for this kind of thing. As she took her first step, another creature altogether took over the Ohio-born sweetheart—she was positively swaggering toward the judges, swinging her hips and smiling the broadest, whitest smile I’d ever seen. Once she arrived in front of them, she did a little curtsy and giggled with her tiny hands covering her face, and every single one of the men was a goner. The woman judge even cracked the minutest of smiles at Natifah’s adorable demeanor.

Something competitive in me took over, and I thought, “I can do that. I know I’ll be rejected anyway, but I might as well push myself to make this fun! And Mark can’t watch and criticize me. So here goes. They like cute? I’ll give them something better than cute.”

When my name was called, I took command of the endless stretch of runway, locking my sexiest gaze on the men and completely blocking out the woman judge lest my knees buckle. When they asked me to do a full, nice-and-slow revolution in front of them, I pushed away the urge to tip over from embarrassment and instead pretended I was Ginger, the movie star from Gilligan’s Island. As the judges looked me over, I remember thinking in that moment that my life had become so completely bizarre: a panel of total strangers taking their time to decide my entire future based on my butt. Wow.

They asked me about ten different questions, with the most difficult being, “Why do you think you can represent The Playboy Club?” and “What do you see yourself doing in the next ten years of your life?” Are they serious? The next ten years? How about the next week? Eat every day, continue to have a place to sleep, and hope not to get sick because I have no health insurance.

After that, everything else would be just cake!

To the first question, I answered by embodying what I thought was the Playboy mystique: “I can represent Playboy with my charm, my sweetness, the fact that I speak three languages, and—and, and my eagerness to please,” coyly averting my eyes downward, awaiting their giant beam of approval which would maybe change this crappy life I was having. Please. Pick me.

“Thank you very much, Lili,” one of the judges finally said, and I was pointed out of the room to join the others who’d already had their turn. When the last one had finished, we were told to wait until an announcement would be made.


Starving and exhausted, I was ready to bolt but knew Mark wouldn’t allow me to leave until the verdict was in. For another hour and a half I sat in the slowly filling room of auditioned girls, finally warming up to Natifah and a few of the others. We grumbled about the lack of any drinks or snacks and made small talk to help the time pass.

Finally, one of the male judges appeared at the door with a clipboard and said, “From Group D, will the following girls please stay behind, and the rest, please exit—here,” he pointed to a stairwell door. He read a few names and continued down the list until he got to our group. “Group F, will Natifah and Lili please stay behind?”


What did he say? That had to be an error. There were girls auditioning with legs so long they came up to my chin! There were even a few so stunning I found it hard to breathe around them. Where were they? I spun around in my chair and spotted Mark peering in through one of the little glass panels of a faraway door. Mark must have heard; he emphatically gave me a huge thumbs-up sign.

No way! This could not just have happened! When the auditorium cleared out, there were 12 of us left. Twelve! Out of about 300! When I looked around at our group I realized that some of the stunners I saw earlier hadn’t been selected, which I mentioned to Natifah, and she replied, “Those girls might not have been smart enough on their feet, or kind enough … or maybe the Club already has their quota of ‘that kind’ of look … who knows? Who cares?! Main thing is, we are here!” and she kept kissing me on the cheek and jumping up and down.

I was too dazed and sure they’d recall me once they realized they’d made an error. I was just so happy that Natifah, my new best friend, had made the cut. She held my hand under the table, squeezing the circulation right out of it as the judges began an orientation on what was happening next. I felt an instant kinship with the other 11 girls in this new, strange Sisterhood of the Chosen Pretties. We were told to report here Monday morning and not to worry about how we looked or what we wore; we were going to be coached on the “Playboy look” and mannerisms in our two-week training session beginning Monday.


Oh, what had I gotten myself into with this job? Everyone knew the stories of the wild sex parties at the Mansion—wasn’t the New York club just the East Coast branch of that party? I would bet on it, but my other prospects were no better. At least here there might be a chance at advancement of some kind. Was living in a roach-infested room any kind of career track to success? Forget success, I just needed some new options for survival.

Natifah and I exchanged phone numbers once the half-hour orientation ended, and I personally thanked the judges one by one. I was still in shock, so sure they’d take me aside and say, “You know, on second thought, we need to reconsider our decision.”

This insecurity was a function of the instant comparisons I couldn’t help but make when I first entered the holding area.

This insecurity was a function of the instant comparisons I couldn’t help but make when I first entered the holding area. It seemed that for every girl whose body was much leaner or curvier than mine, another one had just a so-so body but an incredible face. I had never thought of myself as either exceptionally pretty nor as possessing a wondrous figure. My waist was never slender enough, but my legs were definitely shapely, and my breasts were a natural 36C since puberty, what, six years ago?

The comparisons between myself and all the other girls in the room stayed with me throughout the weekend, as Mark called all his friends and bragged about his girl’s “big success.” I admit I was proud, too, but I felt too guilty to really enjoy it, as though the other, more beautiful girls had gotten ripped off by my being chosen over them.


Monday morning rolled around, and we 12 began our training sessions given by two Senior Training Bunnies, overseen by the glamourpuss who turned out to be the Playboy’s version of a Den Mother. However, she was to be called the Bunny Mother. Her strict control inspired fear from all of us newcomers, and she wasn’t exactly a warm, fuzzy type.

In the following two weeks, we were taught the rules of working for the Playboy empire, and boy, were there rules! All employees, both front of the house (Bunnies) and back of the house (everyone else) had to join the union and pay weekly dues for representation by a shop steward. I was fairly incredulous at learning we had to join the union; we were here to work, yes, but to have all that fun that people like my boyfriend’s buddies were imagining would go on here, right? Wouldn’t the union just be a damper for all the wild parties in which we’d undoubtedly be invited to “play” after hours?

And what was all this business about the Bunnies not being allowed within 500 feet of the Playboy Club unless we were on our way into work or walking away from work? Walk fast, because if you were seen lingering, that was grounds for termination. What? Why? Being the youngest Bunny, I interjected with, “Like what?” The other girls snickered, but the General Manager was stern in his response:

“Like fraternizing with a man, like being inebriated, like behaving in a way inconsistent with what Playboy deems acceptable behavior—behavior that might tarnish the Playboy Club’s reputation as a respectable club.”


“Well, what about on our days off, like, say we’re walking from Bloomingdale’s to the Plaza? The straightest line between them is on 59th Street … are you saying we …”

He interrupted me tersely. “You are only allowed within 500 feet of the Club when you are coming into work or when you are quickly leaving the building. Any other times you are not allowed within 500 feet of the building. I think that makes it fairly easy to understand.”

I remember thinking, What is this, like, the Mafia? What, like they own the sidewalks of New York? All these rules were starting to irritate me.

And worse, what were all these injunctions warning us never to date a customer, ever? That if we were caught giving our phone number to a customer, we would be immediately terminated?

Why the heck did they think I wanted to work here, for the right to sling cocktails in high heels? I could do that at the Gaslight Club just a few blocks south of here. But then, the Playboy Club had such exalted status that if you were one of the chosen few lucky enough to work there, they could ask you to lie down in Fifth Avenue traffic and you would feel privileged to do so.

It seemed to me the whole point of this job was exactly the entree it would provide for us Bunnies—the cache to date the celebrities the Club was famous for entertaining, to give us access to rich, powerful men who were members.

The General Manager was just saying that, right? To keep up appearances, right? With a wink that I just did not quite see him deliver?


In the following two weeks of training, we new hires were taught “the Bunny Dip,” which was something between a curtsy and a half-bending at the knees, enabling us to pick up or place anything onto a customer’s table without bending over the customer. For two weeks we learned and practiced Bunny Dips. I wondered if ballerinas did anything like a Bunny Dip.

I remember thinking in that moment that my life had become so completely bizarre: a panel of total strangers taking their time to decide my entire future based on my butt.

We were warned to groom ourselves the way Playboy required, or we wouldn’t pass the Bunny Mother’s inspection before beginning any shift, and we would get sent home. That led to demerits, and a few of those would get you fired. Even with the union protecting us, we still had to abide by a long list of Club regulations.

We had to step on the scale whenever we were asked to, and we were required to be within a certain weight limit at those weigh-ins. We were always to have freshly painted fingernails and regulation-sized high heels matching our Bunny outfits (which were kept under lock and key in a little room with two seamstresses guarding them with their lives). We were always to have our hair styled in a Bunny Mother–approved way (read: sexy bedroom hair). We were not free to change our hairstyles or hair color at our own whim, and had to get clearance for any major changes in our grooming and/or appearance.


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About Lili Bee

Lili Bee is the founder of an online Resource Center for Partners of porn/Sex Addicts at PoSARC.com An ordained Interfaith/ Interspiritual Minister, she offers spiritual counseling as well as writing and officiating at weddings and other rites of passages. She is a member of Spiritual Directors International. Contact her via email at lili@posarc.com, follow her on Twitter, or visit her blog.


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  2. nilda lozano says:

    hi Lili Bee ! i love reading your playboy bunny experience for i can relate with your story coz i was once also a local bunny in davao city, Phils. ” Exclusive 33″ , playboy club was opened in 1973 and was housed in maguindanao hotel. Members were composed of politicians and bigtime businessmen with common vices like gamblers, womanizers, and of course hard drinkers. Bunnies were from Manila which most of them were known “ bomba stars “ like Scarlet Revilla, Yvonne and among others. First, i was hired as a receptionist , but i was forced to work as bunny as alternate to Scarlet for she got pregnat to her boyfriend actor Ricky Roger. The club owner was so insistent that i temporarily take over Scarlet’s place coz at age 17 my bearing was just like her, when infact she was 24. All the bunnies from Manila were opposing of my entry for they contested that i can be destroying their image as social bunnies….LOL.
    Truth of the matter, my beauty was exeptional during that time coz i was innocent looking and very hard working with no vices. Working early after high school graduation was a Must for i witnessed the hardships of my parents living in a squatter area and take note our house was erected in a watery area with a lots of Lilies, wherein we move bowel direct to the water with no septic tank…LOL.
    Working in a playboy club was a big risk of my good future coz even though my intention /purpose is a clean job, People will always think opposite way. It was a big struggle proving to them that the job is always good but most workers were doing foolish things after work , so the image became “ Bad”.

  3. I am having trouble asking these questions in a way that doesn’t sound loaded, but what I want to ask is;

    Firstly, do you think that these clubs, and stripping/sex work in general, serve a useful purpose in giving women with very few options a way out of poverty, and does this justify the existence of playboy’s clubs. Or does it highlight how sick society in general is. Ie the problem is that there are people who are living in poverty.

    Secondly, was working in the club a good or a bad thing? From reading the article, it sounds like it might have met your material needs, such as healthcare, while doing a lot of psychological damage.

    I should also mention that I live under the evil “European Socialism”, where “rock bottom” is the government paying your rent, giving you money for food, and a world class free healthcare system. So in this environment, no-one needs to strip or star in porn. Therefore western Europeans are presumably doing this out of choice, and does that make this type of work ethically acceptable?

  4. Great article! Thanks for shattering the glass of the Playboy Club and allowing us a look on the true ugly inside…I went with my husband to Le Lido in Paris for my 40th birthday….it was all about topless showgirls, many of them less than a C cup, and Las Vegas-like entertainment…my husband sneered that this was considered entertainment in France, but whatever,..it was interesting watching the audience: a group of giggly Japanese college students celebrating a birthday, French businessmen in pin-striped suits with their clients, older couples on a ritzy night out, and career girls in their 40’s taking in a fancy show….the funny thing is that the waitstaff was all MALE! I enjoyed the show as much as I would have enjoyed any Sigfried and Roy extravaganza…but it was really funny to see the men ogle me as if I shouldn’t be there (I am a young-looking Asian woman)….

  5. can we be freinds

  6. Barnabas Collins says:

    Interesting little story here. When you worked there in NYC,did you ever work with,or meet Kathryn Leigh Scott?

    Good to see things have worked out all right for you.

    Barnabas Collins

    • Hi Barnabas….can’t say Kathryn’s name rings a bell. If she was a bunny, she might have been assigned a different bunny name. When hired, most of us had our names given to us. You could’ve come in with a perfectly fine name, like Patricia, but they mandated it be changed to Patti, with an “i”. Or if you were “Michelle”, they turned you into a “Mikki”….So cutesy. So non-threatening. So makes you sound like a 15-year old! I seriously wanted to puke that almost every girl I worked with was a “Sunni”, “Candi”, “Kerri”, “Barbi”, “Jessie”, Mandi,” “Brandi” and my favorite was a girl whose real name was something like Paula but they turned her into “Babi”, pronounced like Baby, but again, it had to end in “i”. *sigh*
      Wasn’t the absolute worst thing about the job, but I think it says something about Playboy’s crafting personas of us that helped the men feel like Mack Daddies. LOL!

      Thanks for reading….and hey, you have a pretty cool name yourself, Barnabas!

  7. Russi Arden says:

    I was a Playboy bunny from 1963 through 1966. Lily would never have made the cut. They sure must have lowered the standards. I was hired by Keith Hefner, as were all the bunnies. I only worked the Penthouse showroom. The slower bunnies were assigned the Playmate bar. Her story was far from accurate. To not even mention ( C-! ) keys is a huge omission. I attended many parties at the mansion in Chicago, and am still friends with many former bunnies and playmates ( they weren’t all airbrushed ) all over the country I have
    wonderful memories of my Playboy years. Lily doesn’t have enough experience at Playboy or the writing skills it takes to be a good story teller.

    • It seems apparent that different clubs went by different rules, and that likely, those rules also changed over time.

      For the record: There WAS no Penthouse showroom in the NYC Club in the late 70’s.
      Probably because Hefner wasn’t stupid enough to name anything in his club after his biggest rival’s magazine! (Bob Guccione/ Penthouse magazine).

      Secondly, Bunnies at the NYC Club in the 70’s were never, ever assigned to any room, station or post in the Club by management. We were always allowed to select our OWN rooms to work in, based exclusively on our seniority. Whichever room and shift was open every week on the schedule, was what you could select from. To me, that freedom was one of the biggest draws of working there, because it allowed you to attend auditions, go to classes or do whatever else you had going on in your life.
      “Slowness” or “fastness” was never part of any work equation…..

      After working at the Club for a few years, I surely would have heard or known about C-! Keys if they existed. Very old time members often talked about “the good old days” of yesteryear when they still were honored with Keys to the Club, but that was long before I worked there. Perhaps, as I suggested, things operated differently depending on location and decade, or things went by different names.

      I enjoyed some wonderful friendships with my co-workers and traveling abroad with them, and having one as a roommate for many years.

    • Maia Pinion says:

      Gee Russi its really hard to compare things that happened over 45 years ago as most corporations change their style and protocols to reflect the times they’re in. Ancient history is just that – I’m sure that gals who worked at the Playboy Club towards the end years and/or in different cities might have had different rules and regulations from when Lilli Bee worked there.

      It’s fascinating that you’ve taken Lili’s story so personally which is probably more of a reflection of you than anything else.

      How nice that you have fond memories of your time at the Playboy Club – I’d say that for any rational person, working at any company anywhere can be a positive experience for some, yet others may not have the same experience. It would be unfair to say that every employee at any given company would share the same feelings and experiences regarding a company.

      I’ve really enjoyed this thread and all the lively discussions that have ensued but they’re only valid when it doesn’t get personal. Taking pot shots at the writer is juvenile and unnecessary. Have to say it but gotta hate the haters.

    • Wow. What a response to this amazing, vulnerable article. Defensive and missing the point, much?

  8. THANK YOU for this honest piece….
    I AM the wife of one of the types of men you wrote about– the men who would come in while their wives were tending the home. I can tell you that while I’m sure the male fascination with the female form begins in curiosity, it so often leads to addiction since sex affects the reward systems in the brain the same way that drugs or food can. My husband’s porn addiction now has threatened our marriage and I find myself wondering how long, or even IF I want to stay. Porn is NOT just “harmless entertainment” and readers need to be aware of that! Before his addiction, I wasn’t even against porn but now…..I’m heartbroken and not at all ok with it, obviously. I’m glad to see I’m not alone in this.

    To all men and women who claim porn is “not real” and that it’s “harmless”, tell that to the women who are in it, who have to get emergency surgery to repair their insides because of the scene they just did. If you don’t believe me that women don’t enjoy being in porn, ask these people: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNZG-S27hgo AND http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bc-8lIBkaU. Here it from an ex-male porn producer and ex- porn actress. If you’re so confident it’s harmless, then you shouldn’t have any problem watching these short video clips.

  9. This post has been XX Factored!

  10. Something of Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s kept tugging at me, when I read this
    piece, which felt so poignant to me. I didn’t want the story to end; it was like I was drinking a cool, refreshing glass of water after being parched all day…
    I noticed your website mentions you have a book coming out on your relationship with a porn/sex addict….when will the book be ready?
    If it’s anything as good as this article, please sign me up. I want more.
    I am admittedly from the generation that came of age sexually before there was Internet porn.
    Still, learming from my son who is a 6th grader, that another boy showed him (& other kids at school) pornography featuring women having sex with a horse.
    This is surely a deeply disturbing gauge of the zeitgeist now.
    We need to be paying attention….

    • Thank you, Mary and all who’ve written….Yes, my book is entering the completion phase; thank you for inquiring…and you’re absolutely right, we need to start paying serious attention to the affects of pornography on our kids. That we don’t as a culture strikes me as tragic.

  11. I was touched by the candid story that could have been anyone, we ALL have a story. As I read through the responses, it occurred to me that we all are wounded in some way, and our wounds are the filters of our perception and inform our reactions to our experience. Your wounds are different than my wounds, your perceptions and experience are different than mine, but all of our Needs are basically the same; to be loved and accepted, and to love…Everything comes from Love, even the wounds. Isn’t it grand that there are SO many facets to the diamond of the human race?
    I can only speak from where I’ve been and where I am now, and you can never know my experience or the depth of my feelings, and I can also never know yours. It is sometimes hard to understand another’s view when looking through the window of our own woundedness. We must step out from behind the window into the Light where we ALL meet. “Out beyond ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing, there is a field, I’ll meet you there” (Rumi).
    I will put my hand out to those suffering as I have…because I can, and must. What if we are all “right”? And even bigger than that, what if you are showing me something that I don’t want to see in me, the flip side of my coin…my shadow? Am I BIG enough to acknowledge AND heal that? Thank you for the gift.

  12. David Wise says:

    My posting is actually regarding the website’s system for rating comments. I think it’s unfair to hide comments “due to a low comment rating.” Unless you’re shielding the audience from profanity or something objectionable, I think readers are adults enough to handle the opinions of others. I dislike this type of censorship.

  13. Matthew says:

    Yes, my question was rather categorical. There are ultimately many more shades of grey amongst men and women than a simple differentiation between “good” and “bad”. Your statement that men are able to compartmentalize their sexual attraction is a fair generalization (for the most part true, but I know men and women who don’t fit into that generalization). I can also see how you would interpret my statement about never having the chance at intimacy with a Playboy Bunny as elevating fantasy women over real women. But I actually meant the opposite. Fantasy women are simply a poor imitation of real women. There’s no chance for sharing life experiences or establishing an emotional connection with a fantasy. I can’t watch the hockey game or have a quiet camping trip with a playboy calendar. So why do men cling to cliches of female sexuality? I don’t know but I think it’s combination of convenience, sexual frustration, mass media and biochemistry (I’m no psychologist). That being said I’ll try to answer your questions.

    “What do you think the message is that men are giving women by saying that they understand that these women aren’t even real but they sure do still like the a lot and consider them a level above?”
    Personally, I don’t consider them a level above. The Playboy bunny is a cliche of female sexuality ie. not real. Real is categorically better than not real.

    “How do you think it makes women feel to know that the standard of female beauty upheld by media, that men like yourself enjoy, isn’t even real or true about how women look or who we really are.”
    Frankly, the standard of female beauty being upheld by the media today is actually not that attractive. Women are basically told that thin equals attractive, which, from a male perspective, is not true. However, I get your point that women are held to ridiculous standards of personal appearance. When I see a constant stream of hair colour, eyeliner, and Old Navy commercials I wonder at how much money women are expected to spend on their appearance. However, there are also cliches of masculinity as well. I know some women who have no interest in comic books who went to the movie “Thor” because the lead actor has impeccable pecs. I could get offended that they are buying into such a patently ridiculous cliche of masculinity, but I really don’t care. They enjoyed the movie, and why would I think that I need to compete with a cliche that has no basis in reality? The fact that i don’t feel threatened by cliches of masculinity may have something to do with the tendency to compartmentalize attraction.

    “Don’t you think relationships would have more of a chance if men refocused their attention on who women *really* are in their own beauty and personality rather then something that forces them to conform to a standard that most men acknowledge isn’t even real?”
    Ummmm yes? But what kind of man would tell his partner that he expects her to conform to an unreal standard of beauty? A man who should expect to have a blunt object thrown at him with good reason. Again this cuts both ways. More relationships will be successful if men and women accept each other for who they really are, rather than having a preset checklist of features they look for in a partner.

    • I agree that there are many different shades of grey but it’s hard to talk about any issue while addressing all shades of grey. Most of my comments are general statements and there will be many people they don’t apply to.

      It’s not just a male ablility to “compartmentalize”. My own perception is that men pride themselves on their ablity to compartmentalize. But when you are a woman, in a relationship with a man, it is not a positive to be compartmentalized. We don’t want to be put into a box only to be taken out to play when it suits that man, when we serve whatever purpose he has come to define us as. And we don’t like when he does it to other women either. (Again, clearly speaking in general terms.)

      I am not as convinced as you that real women are all that better then fantasy women for most men. Maybe that was true 50 years ago but I am not so sure it’s true now with so many men leaning on and being attracted to the fantasy world that’s right at their finger tips 24/7. There is a multi-billion dollar industry dedicated to fantasy women. That alone is enough information to see that fantasy women are clearly very important to men. Sometimes important enough to lie to their real life partner’s about. And while I appreiciate that you consider the Playboy bunny a cliche of female sexuality, even you can’t deny that it still turns you on. Please consider what message that sends to women. It’s a very confusing one.

      I do understand that some women are attracted to over the top ideals of masculinity. Such as your example of women going to the movie Thor just to see his pecs. But you have to admit that this really doesn’t happen as much as th reverse. And most women are not sitting around the internet regularlyh masturabting to hyper expressions of masculinity to nearly the same extent men are. Now that’s not to say that women don’t look at porn themselves but my bet is that even the porn they are looking at still focuses mainly on the woman.

      I think we can both agree that most me would never tell his partner that he expects her to comform to an unreal standard of beauty verbally. However, what exactly do you think men are saying to women by showing their interest in women they know aren’t real? Women aren’t dumb. We notice what men like. If a woman’s husband is looking at all blondes with big boobs or brunettes with long legs, A + B can only equal C. that man is indirectly giving her a very real message. So verbally, men aren’t saying much but they are saying so much more with their eyes and actions.

      And I do agree with you that the most successful relationships are when each partner accepts the other for who they are. But when you are teh very real woman beside a man, who has seen you at your best and worst, and you see him oggling younger, prettier, bustier girls, he might has well be verbally saying he doesn’t completely accept you. And that’s the message that gets lost. A man doesn’t need to verbally say anything cruel. His actions and eyes can sometimes speak for himself. There is so much in porn and things like Playboy that make women feel the opposite of accepted for who they are. And I think men know that but their desire for such things is more important to them then really accepting women for who they are.

  14. Matthew says:

    This was a very interesting and thought provoking article. I’m deeply sorry that due to circumstances of poverty you became involved with an abusive man (albeit well intentioned). Violence against women is never acceptable and the passages where you described Mark’s abusiveness caused me some gender self loathing. However, I have to admit that I find Playboy Bunnies attractive. I’m not sure if it’s because of mass media or male biochemistry, but large boobs plus little clothing equals lust. I can rationalize with myself, and I understand that the Playboy Bunny is simply a cliche of female sexuality. Real women don’t look like that and I will never meet a Bunny, let alone have the chance at intimacy. But that doesn’t take away the power of the image. So, does that make me a bad man? or at least one who is incapable of establishing a meaningful intimate relationship? Please don’t misinterpret my tone as sarcastic or confrontational. It’s an honest question.

    • t’s not a black and white question Matthew. It doesn’t necessarily make a man “bad” or “incapable of establishing a meaningful intimate relationship”. But I do think it puts conformity and boundaries on how he views women and naturally how he views his opposite sex partner and the level of intimacy he is really achieving with his partner. I am not saying that he can’t love his partner and find Playboy Bunnies attractive. But if he splits his attention between the two, if he has a standard in his fantasy world vs his real life partner who just isn’t that no matter how beautiful she is as a real person, he is both giving her indirectly a clear message about how he views her and how he view other women and the level of intimacy he is putting boundaries on because of it?I don’t think men think about that. They separate the women in their lives and put them in boxes. Real life women have one place. Girlfriends and wives have one place. Women to lust after have another. Fantasy women have another. And it’s sometimes, often, not a very flattering thing if your a woman. Especially when men say things such as you did (and that is no way a shot at you but just to show you how certain comments are perceived), when you said that it’s not like you would ever meet a Bunny or “let alone have a chance at intimacy” with one. It’s comments like those that make women scratch their heads because for some women, it’s like your saying that if you did infact have a chance to meet a Playboy Bunny and have a chance of intimacy with one, then that would take the cake. Never mind the fact that a lot of things women do to their bodies to become Playmates are completely unrealistic about what a real woman’s body is. And real women are left wondering why men can’t be happy with a real woman’s feminine body without the plastic and artifice. And if you remember Lili talked about how the men didn’t want to perceive the women as people. They wanted to see them as things. Something inhumane. How would you suppose men are able to grow in the level of intimacy they can share with a woman if part of them is holding on to viewing women is things rather then real people, with a real set of needs of their own, with imperfect but completely feminine bodies. It’s not just a matter of liking big breasts. It becomes more about the fact that what that girl is, is just a bare of breasts and the rest of her just happens to be attached to them.

      And I will ask you my own question. How do you think it makes women feel to know that the standard of female beauty upheld by media, that men like yourself enjoy, isn’t even real or true about how women look or who we really are. Don’t you think relationships would have more of a chance if men refocused their attention on who women *really* are in their own beauty and personality rather then something that forces them to conform to a standard that most men acknowledge isn’t even real? What do you think the message is that men are giving women by saying that they understand that these women aren’t even real but they sure do still like the a lot and consider them a level above?

  15. What an honest, wonderfully intimate, thoughtful article. Thank you for sharing your experience Lili. It goes to show how much disconnect there is between what the reality is vs what the fantasy. And even if men logicaly know something is fantasy, fake, not real; they can still be enamored with it. How many men sold out themselves and their own partners in that time to enjoy Playmates and the likes of that? How many men today sell out themselves and their partners for that same fantasy image? Too many. How many women have to pay for ideals set up about their bodies? Apparently, all of us on some scale since even Playmates are manipulated by “magic” to look a certain way.

  16. Well thanks Terre, but fortunately, you do not speak for all women, let alone this woman. There exists as much of a “business” controlling pornography as there are those perpetuating it, and in the same vein, there are charlatans in the self-help space as there are pornographers who manipulate and abuse. Life is complex and full of nuances that betray conservative thought patterns. I mean seriously – do you really think anyone is going to abandon the complex societal decisions of sexuality and pornography to religious ministers?

    • Great point about the hucksters and charlatans in the New Age/self-help movement, Elissa. I agree wholeheartedly. Yet, without consumers, the porn industry would have no one to pander to. Starting with fathers of little girls, brothers of teenaged girls and any male with a young girl in their lives seemed a pretty good place to begin the appeal.

      I am a little uncertain about the question you posed about ministers being in charge of sexuality. I do not see where that came from. I refused to let the Catholic church determine one iota of those realms for me and would not dream of consulting a clergy member for guidance. I have never been called conservative, because I am probably considered pretty left-wing by most measurements. My hope is that everyone determines for themselves what is right for themselves AND considers the effects their actions have on others when doing so. For instance, I refuse to shop at Wal-Mart/Sam’s because the abuse vendors and employees and destroy local economies. It might be a small advantage for me to save $0.29 on a box of detergent, but the effect on others negates that ten times over. Ergo, I do not do business with businesses that engage in such horrid business practices.

      Being a consumer of the objectification of women (or men, for that matter) does not contribute to a better world for me. So I have no part of that. Does that make sense?

      • I understand these segments are opinion pieces, but unless otherwise explicitly stated, I view opinion pieces as proxy wishes for “If I were Queen, this is what I would want to happen….”

        The author of this piece describes herself as an interfaith minister. Hopefully I read that correctly on her website. You are also listed as a contributing member. I’m not casting dispersion, I want to be clear that you both represent a particular point of view, and if I were to invite different points of view to contribute to this discussion, then a better balance would be struck, and a more realistic truth would emerge. So far, it’s been a lopsided display of ideas, to say the least.

        In one of you own comments – you mentioned that no parent would wish their child to grow up to be a film dildo user. I find your argument, this argument, highly questionable, as it deliberately pulls on “heart strings”, conflating memories of childhood with adult agency and decision making. That only those that have been abused and/or are missing something – turn to pornography etc, is a tired trope that happens to contain some statistical truth, but it behooves us not to exploit that partial truth as a means to an end. Can you accept that some people work in pornography not because they are in some way maladjusted? Can this scenario coexist with your worldview?

        Addiction is another big word that gets tossed about regularly. Weiner was addicted, narcissistic, needed validation, confirmation – the DSM manual grows by leaps and bounds by the clock tick, and pretty soon every human interaction will become some form of disorder that needs adjustment. Exhibitionism is listed as a disorder in the DSM. I’m going to have to get rid of my plunging necklines…..I’m afraid.

        • “There exists as much of a “business” controlling pornography as there are those perpetuating it, and in the same vein, there are charlatans in the self-help space as there are pornographers who manipulate and abuse. Life is complex and full of nuances that betray conservative thought patterns. I mean seriously – do you really think anyone is going to abandon the complex societal decisions of sexuality and pornography to religious ministers?”

          I sincerely hope not, Elissa….I’ve never had the goal of hoping people abandon, as you say, the complex societal decisions of sexuality and pornography to a religious minister….

          While I understand the confusion (your assumption that I’m pushing a religious agenda) some clarification is in order: I am an Interfaith Minister. Look up http://www.onespiritinterfaith.org and you’ll notice the Seminary through which I am ordained teaches us to respect and honor all diversity of thought, to explore the mystical truth inside of all world religions and the major spiritual traditions (including 12-Step) and honors all sexual proclivities; in fact, some of the teaching staff there are gay men and women.
          We are taught in our years at Seminary to maintain the premise of not knowing what’s best for anyone else, by non-judgmentally holding a space open for them (in counseling) to arrive at their own truths about everything. Including sex. Having said that, I don’t want to be disingenuous here: pornography/sex addiction and it’s collateral damage to partners is the field I specifically work in, post-ordination, so I do see a side of the fallout of compulsive pornography use that most laypeople never see. But yes, I belive that everyone has the right to express their own sexuality as they see fit. I think Terre’s point was that it would behoove us to attach our consciences to the real cost of our desires (i.e. her example of WalMart’s).

          As for addiction not being as pervasive as it really is, I’m going the other direction on that one altogether and disagreeing with you: it’s way bigger than we think, with so much of it going underreported. This is especially true with those addictions like compulsive sexuality that, even in a repressive society, are so highly stigmatized.

          I also want to thank you for your comparison of Opinion pieces to proxy wishes: “If I were Queen,…” I’ve loved imagining myself as Queen this week, in a world where one of the most innovative men’s magazines online couldn’t even imagine featuring articles like:

          ~Never To Be Sold Again: Breaking the Cycle of Child Sex Slavery

          ~Bros Before Fidelity

          ~11 Insanely Sexualized Children’s Products

          But live here we do….so maybe the best thing we can do is keep the explorations going ….

          Thank you for “un-lopsiding” the conversation about sexuality and pornography by adding your voice to the mix; the wide range of readership, all welcome here, is by far my favorite feature of Good Men Project.

  17. Oh, SnakeEyez, it is not necessary for women to reduplicate men’s mistakes to “equalize” anything. Increasing porn for women as a solution for the power differential between men and women is as silly as insisting that men wear a girdles to level the playing field.
    Women and men will make their own mistakes in the search for equality and intimacy. Identical mistakes are not equality, it is blindness.
    So, no thank you to your offer of more porn for women.

  18. How many of you came to read the article Lili wrote because you saw “playboy bunny” in the article title?

    For me…I came via a friend who had posted the link on her facebook page telling her friends they should read the article.

    So, I did.

    Obviously, a daughter who’s run away countless times and finally able to emancipate from her family…there’s a story there that we don’t see what caused it to occur, but we see the end results.

    In this case – with a family she couldn’t count on or live with, she chose sleeping without a roof…then sleeping in a bug infested apartment with a guy who would get rough physically and mentally and, like a pimp, gets his girlfriend to try out for and successfully attain a job as a playboy bunny. Fortunately, the club was neutered (if i’m remembering her word correctly) and there was no sex at the club.

    Later on, Lili would leave that world behind but not before becoming the partner of a sex addict.

    I’m a daddy of a 7 year old girl…I cringed and shook my head reading Lili’s words…when she talked about working as a Playboy Bunny, I wasn’t as interested as I was with what family issues brought her to that point in her life. How did she end up homeless? What was going on her ‘home’ that was so bad, she needed to emancipate at 16 years old? No kid should have to go through that. No kid should ever hate her home life so much that it gets to this point. If my daughter had a friend who needed a home, would I have stepped up and taken her in?

    Ultimately, we do see that therapy really helped Lili and since then, she has become an Interfaith Minister as well as a counselor for the partners of sex addicts. Giving back to others who are in the same situation she was.

    It hurt me a lot to read this story because, I was left to imagine what life was like at Lili’s home…and, I was really sad for her…having to grow up so fast.

    I hope that all the things I do for my daughter help her to see that she is loved with all my heart.

    I wish that Lili could have had what my brother, sister and I had as kids and what I believe my daughter is getting now. A safe loving home provided by parents offering unconditional love.

    I wish in my heart that if my daughter had a friend who left home at 16…that I would bring her in and give her the love and safety that a real parent would.

    • Jake, please help men realize that all porn performers (and many, many of them are performing against their wishes) are some father’s little girls. No little girl dreams of being a porn performer (or sex worker) when she was a little girl. Doing so is always, always a barter to exist in this world, providing safety of some sort or validation that was painfully missing.

      Bluntly put, NO little girl requests bunny ears and a dildo for her fifth birthday. Tell other men that your little girl will never need to sell herself to survive.

      Even if her real father (and/or mother) was unable/unwilling to protect her, there are men like you who would. By being porn consumers, not only are such men NOT stopping the industry’s predatory consumption of young, desperate women, they are reducing the chances of an intervention from someone like you to about zero.

      As someone who survived a pretty grim childhood, reading your touching words about your daughter leveled me to deep, sobbing tears. I know that I missed having a caring father, but I have no idea what such a father would say about protecting his daughter. Unfathered and unmothered, I, too, went forth into the world, raw and undefended. Reading your fierce protective words about your precious daughter let me know that it is not always like that and that just maybe, there are places that are safe for little girls in this world.

      Please let other men know that you stand for your daughter, and your daughter’s friends, that you will not support an industry that preys on women.

  19. Stained Heart says:

    This story has agitated a deep wound in our culture, which some of us can see and feel, are able to heal, and that some of us simply are repelled from. This issue is concerning the wedge that has been driven into the heart of intimacy by porn, sexy clubs and the general sleazy angle that our media has taken and floods us with at every turn.
    Entire generations seem to be growing old without ever knowing true intimacy, which is being kept alive (like a flickering flame) by so few today.
    Pro-Intimacy is far from being Anti-Sex. Quite the opposite. But one can saturate their life, even every moment of their days, with smut and lust yet die a virgin without ever feeling a drop of pure live and intimacy upon their skin and hearts. This is truly sad.
    Will the legacy of this era be the death of love, intimacy and true sexual experience? Or will we awaken to the error of the era, and see the hoax played on our physiology by a corrupt marketing tactic?

  20. I am such a fan of Lili!
    Not just because of this article but because I have gotten a chance to hear other stories like this and I give her so much credit for becoming the kind thoughtful person she is. In all fairness I am a bit biased because I have known Lili almost 10 years and consider her a good friend.
    Lili, If youre reading this, I think you should write more stories about yourself perhaps even an auto biography because the playboy story is only scratching the surface of a lifetime of really fascinating stories.
    Good stuff, I want more.

  21. righteouscordycept says:

    Wow! What a story of transformation from innocence and corporeal banality to wisdom. Congratulations Lili – you have given us all the hope of redeeming ourselves and our baser natures. At one time or another, we were all young, innocent and trying to survive, caught up in the “games” of fantasy and the need for love from something outside ourselves. Using it now in such a salubrious way to help others and serve is truly inspiring. Thank you.

  22. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    In the movie, Star-80, about the poor playmate who was shot by her boyfriend, another SC pimp, it was clear that Hefner and Bogdonovich were essentially pimps also, just at a more expensive level. Pretty revealing.

    • Bogdanovich was a borderline pedophile, too. He became a father figure to the murdered Playmate’s little sister when she was 12, and married her when she turned 18. He was in his 40’s or 50’s. I saw an interview with him where he said that he was born to a teenage mother, so he only likes very young women. So gross.

  23. First off, congratulations Lili for your courage and your core values at wanting to help others. This speaks for itself.
    It is so easy to see how any young girl in society could be pulled into the lure of Playboy or pornography, for it offers a fast track to fame and money, and at an age where most girls are given the choice of either a (corset or cockroaches,) as Lili mentions, I think the choice would be easy. But the chose is really in our hands, the elder society. We are the ones who have evolved and should have learned by now that this is a road that leads nowhere. I remember myself at a much younger age agreeing with pornography and playboy, for my ego and lust were my guiding forces, but I now have evolved and choose otherwise. It is clear to me today that wherever there is lust and greed, there is EGO. And our egos are void of love and compassion. As I said before, it is up to us to evolve and make better choices. We need to, as a society, start to make our choices based on Love, not on or Ego’s.
    I see all porn related material, (including Playboy,) as nothing but a cry for help, for it is loveless, and without love, it is nothing.
    My hope is that enough people soon will evolve to see that NOW is the time for change. A change to bring about an awareness that LOVE is all that is real and that LOVE alone will transcend all. We need to become a society where LOVE is the basis of all our decisions. The question that remains is, Does Playboy and pornography come from LOVE??? I think not.
    Peace and joy alway,

    • SnakeEyez says:

      Did we even read the same article? Lilli’s issue wasn’t the lure of Playboy and pornography but rather crushing poverty! If anything Playboy was one of the positive influences in her life: she had a job that gave her the ability to get away from her exploitative boyfriend/pimp, she had health insurance (something that a lot of Americans don’t even have today) and she was working at a corporate job. Was it an ideal job, of course not but it was still a lot better than a lot of runaway teens have it today: she wasn’t forced into sex work, she didn’t have to join the military, she didn’t have to join a gang, she didn’t have to deal drugs either. A lot of young women and young men (yes young men) are forced to make these really hard decisions because they don’t have a lot of alternatives.

      As for LOVE transcending all, next time you’re in a fast food joint ask one of the teens how far LOVE and their paycheck take them. I would have to wager not very far!

  24. Stained Heart says:

    what I felt that this daring story captures is the struggle to survive in a disorienting and misguided society. The Western social structure has been held hostage to greedy, sadistic bastards for thousands of years. This has corrupted every basic need and intention which makes us human.
    We inherently know that we can return to a connected wholeness but lack a pure map. I applaud the founders of this website for attempting to create a healthy map of sorts, and by allowing us to share our thoughts and stories which may help us along our way. And to the brave young lady wrote this story who survived her horrid childhood abuse and challenges.
    It seems that we would need to cleanse our social impurities, the mistakes we’ve made as a society. And then we can take healthy steps forward. I’d like to imagine a world who never heard of people like Flynt, Gucione and Hefner. They should have been shoe salesman rather than greedy manipulators of our human genetics.
    The knuckledraggers among us may read these stories but never open to a heathier understanding. Some may feel only their need to validate their lowly perspective, often by trying to pull healthier ones down. Like crabs in a bucket.

  25. Henry Vandenburgh says:

    Nice story. But somehow I think Mark should get the “Suitcase-Pimp-O’-The-Year” award…

  26. Myshkin says:

    You so cool. Grew from small to big in your sense of self, that’s wonderful.

    Only thing is….

    PORN… beast of beasts (as you so accurate describe, the commodification of sexual desire, and the lust for eternal satiation).

    We all know… that leads down a road to unfulfillment and basically despair.

    BUT, the imagination is also way crucial. As a Human Being, and a Woman, can I not imagine all of the tasty delights of “heaven” (virginal or otherwise) of an eternal spring that might NOT consist of the realities of three-dimensional brain-challenging eternal ever-present love-feeling (not the loss that is the 80 year old body of dimensionality in all the fullness that it is -once I thought I was better than that- maybe some day we will be, but now I see — I’m not. I’m not any more profound than the lowliest scrapping of the bottom of the barrel of grasping for some sense of dignity when it’s lost lost way gone lost, you past that point of no return, and only redemption is possible by accepting that… it’s all FUBAR)

    So, I want to say… PORN… maybe we could gender equalize it? I mean, I’ve got nothing against the playboy club for girls. I’d LIKE to have that sense of freedom of being catered too… Not in the Kyriarchy, but in the understanding…. Yes, 17 year old boy, I LIKE the way you move… I LIKE all your untapped possibility and your eagerness to please…

    GO AHEAD and do a little dance for me,

    and I won’t be diminished by your beauty…. but I’ll be enhanced by the celebration of your eternal youth which will not last forever, but now is so fine…. g’head and play for me.

    What I’m saying is…


    • SnakeEyez says:

      So, I want to say… PORN… maybe we could gender equalize it? I mean, I’ve got nothing against the playboy club for girls. I’d LIKE to have that sense of freedom of being catered too… Not in the Kyriarchy, but in the understanding…. Yes, 17 year old boy, I LIKE the way you move… I LIKE all your untapped possibility and your eagerness to please…

      Actually there are. Well maybe not in the 17 year old boy way but then again. For example I used to work security at a couple of night clubs that had male revues. Male revues aren’t that uncommon but of course not as common as, say, strip clubs where women dance. Furthermore there are parties such as Cake which cater to female audiences with male gogo dancers and a select few male invited. Too be frank there is actually a lot of venues in large, progressive cities that cater to women or are at least women friendly.

      GO AHEAD and do a little dance for me,

      and I won’t be diminished by your beauty…. but I’ll be enhanced by the celebration of your eternal youth which will not last forever, but now is so fine…. g’head and play for me.

      What I’m saying is…


      Actually there are quite a few women that make porn for women. Tristan Taormino and Candida Royale are two such women that come to mind. Furthermore there are a lot of other men and women that make porn that cater to women/couples: a few months ago I went to a presentation at a sex positive toy store that featured such a pornographer. The fact is that men have been the primary consumers for pornography so most pornographers will make films that cater to those audiences. Personally I really don’t see anything wrong with that: in this manner porn is not any different than comic books or video games. Furthermore out of all of the entertainment industries porn is the least expensive to enter so any one with a couple of thousand dollars, a kink and a dream can become a pornographer. Thus there are few hindrances to women from creating their own erotic dream worlds…

      • Oh, SnakeEyez, it is not necessary for women to reduplicate men’s mistakes to “equalize” anything. Increasing porn for women as a solution for the power differential between men and women is as silly as insisting that men wear a girdles to level the playing field.
        Women and men will make their own mistakes in the search for equality and intimacy. Identical mistakes are not equality, it is blindness.
        No thank you to your offer of more porn for women.

  27. Sensei Jimmy says:

    I enjoyed reading this solid story and was particularly impressed with the absence the heavy handed helping of remorse, guilt and regret so common in pieces that focus on ‘back in the day”…”From LOST to FOUND”…or any thing else from “the rear view mirror”. This is about real desparation, pain and fear yet I was left with a feeling of hope and sence I am a witness to the closiing of a full circle.

  28. SnakeEyez says:

    This was a pretty good article until the author threw in the little anti-porn twist at the end! What is up with this website? I understand that there are porn addicts just like there are alcoholics, drug addicts, food addicts, love addicts or any other type of addict but why pick on porn? Heck if anything porn (or Playboy to be precise) treated her better than her pimp/abusive boyfriend or her family. Hell she got more ethical treatment than most of the people who work nightlife: next time you go to a bar or a club ask the bouncer, bartender, bottle hostess or busboy if they are in a union or have health insurance!

    • It was her pimp… not boyfriend (caring boyfriends don’t do that) who got her into the Playboy thing. Remember that. Also, Important Man gave her quite an ultimatum… pose nude, move out the country or lose your job.

      And she worked there as a sex object at 17!!! That is still high school age.

  29. Kristen C. says:

    Lili, thank you for writing your story with integrity, authenticity and strength of character. I echo Terre and Gabi on their comments – thank you for bringing another voice to the discussion about how to be woman and survive – and thrive! – in this world. Additionally, thank you for lending your voice to men as well, with empathy, so that they have this discussion and we can all define Good for ourselves and help each other.

  30. I love the honesty in this story, and the fact that Lili has used all the events in her past to help construct the life she wants for herself now.

  31. Dear Lili,
    Courage like this is not often commended and I honor you wholeheartedly. You had to be frightened to tell your story, but inservice to other you did anyway. You are an inspiration—i deep breath literally and figuratively—to all of us women struggling to figure out what feminine is and how to survive in this world.
    Your site http://www.posarc.com is healing and restorative to all partners/spouses of sex/porn addicts.

    With Love,


  1. […] Thing, Men and the Sexualization of Young Girls, I Used to Stand in Dark Hallways and Say Kiss Me, When Playboy Bunnies Ruled, I Am a Female Nerd Apparently, What’s Missing From The Discussion of Male Sexuality, Black […]

  2. […] an ex-bunny, I won’t be shedding any tears. I recently wrote for the Good Men Project about the experience of working in the New York City Playboy Club just […]

  3. […] The Good Men Project, an online magazine, published a feature written by the Founder of that magazine. In it, he wrote about the upcoming NBC series, The Playboy Club and wrote that Hugh Hefner changed the world for the worse. Underneath his article, I was amazed at the amount of pushback he got for saying that. So I decided to write and back up his story with my own front-lines account of having worked as a Bunny as a barely-18 year old in NYC. Here is my story, I hope you enjoy it! […]

  4. […] have taken offence to an arti­cle on The Good Men Project writ­ten by Lili Bee 2  enti­tled “When Play­boy Bun­nies Ruled.” In this arti­cle, Lili recounts her expe­ri­ences as a Play­boy Bunny and how it helped to […]

  5. […] Club. First, Lili Bee, who worked at The Playboy Club in New York City in the 1970s, wrote about her experience on our site. And yesterday, Gloria Steinem, also a former Playboy bunny, called for a boycott of […]

  6. […] few weeks ago we published the story of Lili B., an ex-Playboy bunny. Today, Lili writes on her own blog about her experience of having that […]

  7. […] When Playboy Bunnies Ruled via The Good Men Project […]

  8. […] the New York club had the strictest rules—and now one woman is telling her story. In the 1970s she lived with some man named mark who let her […]

  9. […] the trail and secretly wondered what might be happening in the blogosphere—a story about an original Playboy bunny and the controversy over women looking for ugly husbands. But by the time I got back to my cabin […]

  10. […] the trail and secretly wondered what might be happening in the blogosphere—a story about an original Playboy bunny and the controversy over women looking for ugly husbands. But by the time I got back to my cabin […]

  11. […] ‘The story of an ex-Playboy bunny‘: Actually a rather good read. (via The Good Men Project) […]

  12. […] of an ex-Playboy Bunny. [Good Men Project] Tweet Previous postToday's Lady News: Michele Bachmann, Anti-Gay Pol, Is […]

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