The real sexbombs of the Mad Men era

AMC’s dramatic series Mad Men is now in its third season here in the US, and despite my usual reluctance to dig the popular stuff without a critical eye, I’m definitely hooked. Tight writing, a clever and calculated balance of character- and narrative-driven storytelling, style/costuming/design choices that tell stories within the overt stories (and about the characters themselves) and powerful actors… All of this is set dressing for Mad Men’s overarching criticisms and commentary about the issues which shaped media iconography as we know it, while it was in its most formative stages. That’s just a start. Add all the sex, flawed characters, super attractive people, hateful but vulnerable personalities, real racial and sexual douchebaggery… add a truly interesting set of interwoven stories, and I’m a fan.

I digress. The best article I’ve read on Mad Men is here at The Atlantic by Benjamin Schwarz. We fans watch, and we drool over the furnishings, the outfits, the handsome men, and the sexy women. While watching with my sweetheart, we were talking about one female protagonist, Peggy: her sexual blossoming has been a poignant thread throughout the show. Many would (and on the show, do) consider her a prude, but she has a secret life: it’s called her very real libido. My honey said, “It’s great that she’s become sexually adventurous.” I politely agreed, but added my observation saying, “I don’t think she’s actually gotten more sexually adventurous. Peggy has become more sexually independent.” It’s a nuance that speaks volumes.

The sexual era Mad Men captures is late 1960s America: the emergence of the gentleman’s centerfold. This page has nearly every Playboy centerfold from 1953-2008 (, the broken thumbnails do click through to hi-res images). Here, I’ve picked the Playmates I think Don Draper, Roger Sterling, Pete Campbell and especially Ken Cosgrove would have in their desk drawer:

Share This Post


  1. If Ms. February 1964 was published today, she would probably be posted on There is no doubt that she is beautiful, it’s just that her proportions are alien by today’s standards. For some reason, modern women are not supposed to have hips…

Post Comment