Tattilo Editrice S.p.A.
The magazine was published monthly and featured photographs of nude women, and articles on fashion, sport, consumer goods and public figures. Playmen's use of "tasteful" nude photos is classified as softcore in contrast to hardcore pornographic magazines. It ceased publication in 2001.
During a running battle with the Italian police, the magazine reached a circulation of 450,000 within four years of its 1967 inception. It sold at about the equivalent of a US dollar per copy.
Playmen was initially an imitator of Playboy magazine, although the first Girl of the Month, Brigitte Bardot, held her hands over her breasts. Playmen later developed a style of its own, reflecting European tastes and not overly displaying breasts as per the American Playboy counterpart. The founder Tattilo is quoted as saying "The U.S. is a matriarchy. I think this is the reason for the American male preference for women with exaggerated, voluminous bosoms, true wet nurses with a reassuring maternal aspect." The women Tattilo chose for Playmen were slimmer and more mature than Hugh Hefner's choices.
In the early years, each month the Italian police, in some cities, would order a mass seizure of the magazine. Playmen rarely lasted more than 48 hours on the newsstands before either being sold or seized.
Many actresses began their careers on the cover of Playmen: Pamela Villoresi, the singer Patty Pravo, the actress Ornella Muti, the singer Amanda Lear and many others. The magazine contained notables such as Teresa Ann Savoy, Barbara Bouchet, Lilli Carati, and Camille Keaton. The July 1968 edition contains an article by Henry Miller. In the December 1972 issue, Playmen obtained an international scoop: it published the photo of Jacqueline Kennedy, then wife of Aristotle Onassis, while she was naked in the swimming pool of their villa in the island of Skorpios.
The magazine contained interviews of significant people in literature, cinema, politics, and sport.
In the 1990s, with the arrival on the market of the erotic and pornographic videocassettes, Tattilo's empire gradually entered a crisis, followed by the closure of Playmen in 2001.