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Secrets of Playboy


Dr. Kate Balestrieri was a guest expert on Secrets of Playboy

“Secrets of Playboy” is a new A&E series that goes through Hugh Hefner’s Playboy empire in Los Angeles and all the ways that the young women who worked for Playboy experienced poor treatment. Modern Intimacy’s founder, Dr. Kate Balestrieri, was a featured expert guest on the show, speaking with survivors about their experience, and dissecting the public discourse to the information they have shared.


CN: Sexual Assault, Grooming, Sexual Exploitation


But, why should you watch the show and listen to the women share their experiences? Let’s go through what you need to know about “Secrets of Playboy.”


What Is Secrets of Playboy?


The documents-series, “Secrets of Playboy” runs twelve episodes long. The first ten episodes are formatted like a documentary. The series explores the abuse and exploitation enabled by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. The documentary starts by explaining that Hefner treated any woman in the vicinity as a sexual object.


Many of the women featured in the series discuss the trauma they experienced as a result of Hefner’s conduct. The case of Jennifer Saginor, whose father was close friends with Hefner, wrote a book about her experiences growing up in the Playboy Mansion. Her story is an entry point for the series.


In the series, Jennifer Saginor disclosed she had a sexual relationship with one of Hefner’s girlfriends when she was underage. She noted Hefner was aware of the situation, and ensured that Saginor couldn’t continue to talk about her experiences. Saginor also discussed that shadow mansions existed alongside the iconic Playboy mansion, in which other men would attempt to do the same thing as Hefner.


PJ Masten, on the other hand, worked as a Playboy bunny at one of the many Playboy clubs. She spoke about the abuse on the club scene. Stefan Tetenbaum, who worked for Hefner, spoke about how the women were monitored so that they couldn’t raise any concerns about their abuse. Susie Krabacher talked about being raped by Hefner at the Playboy Mansion and having no way to do anything about it.


Miki Garcia worked in promotions for Playboy. In the documentary series, she shared about how, from her perspective, the work environment in the Playboy universe was essentially a cult, and that she was terrified for her life after telling her story.


The Series Continues


Other things discussed in the series include drug use and sexual assault during mansion parties. The role of bunny mothers in controlling women at the Playboy Bunny Clubs is also included.


Allegations against Bill Cosby turn up again in the docuseries. Cosby visited the Playboy mansion several times a week, and stories from six women are featured in the series.

The End of ‘Secrets of Playboy’ (So Far)


The final two episodes of the series came out as additional content after the original ten aired on A&E. These episodes focus on “The Girls Next Door,” a reality television show set at the Playboy Mansion. Karissa and Kristina Shannon tell their stories in these episodes.


They were two of the girlfriends of Hefner. Some of the other women featured on “The Girls Next Door” include Holly Madison and Bridget Marquardt. Holly Madison spoke earlier in the series about how she felt her time at the Playboy Mansion was similar to a cult. Many of the women in the series expressed how much they wanted to get their stories out once they escaped the world of mansion parties.


On the set of Secrets of Playboy, episode 12.


Dr. Kate Balestrieri is also featured as an expert in episodes 11 and 12. She was there to go through the difficult topics discussed in the show in a way that would be helpful for survivors.


Secrets of Playboy: Watch Today


The Playboy organization has reiterated that “The Hefner family is no longer associated with Playboy, and today’s Playboy is not Hugh Hefner’s Playboy.” The official statement from Playboy in response to this series is:


“First and foremost, we want to say: we trust and validate women and their stories, and we strongly support the individuals who have come forward to share their experiences,” the letter began. “As a brand with sex positivity at its core, we believe safety, security and accountability are paramount, and anything less is inexcusable.”


There are a lot of important topics to learn about from the docuseries “Secrets of Playboy,” listening to the women and their stories. But, the subject matter can be triggering, so be cautious before viewing it.


Click here to watch the full the series.

Modern Intimacy is a group therapy practice, founded by renowned Psychologist and Sex Therapist, Dr. Kate Balestrieri. This inclusive blog is designed to provide a wealth of information and resources for mental health, relationships, and sexuality. Subscribe today to get the latest information from our expert contributors from all around the world.


Author Bio

Dr. Kate Balestrieri is a Licensed Psychologist (CA, FL, IL + NY), Certified Sex Therapist, Certified Sex Addiction Therapist, and PACT III trained Couples Therapist. She is the Founder of Modern Intimacy. Follow her on TikTok and IG @drkatebalestrieri and the Modern Intimacy team on IG @themodernintimacy.



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