On the surface, it seems like playboys have all the fun: They flirt, fuck around, and are glorified for their skirt-chasing skills while their meeker bros are left in the dust with their mouths hanging open. But as it turns out, there are downsides to being matinik sa chicks that even sky-high sex numbers can’t make up for.
We spoke to eight men who have earned a playboy rep—from self-confessed fuckboys and pick-up artists to reformed lotharios and regular guys who believe they’ve merely been wrongfully labeled—and found out that beneath the player persona, it’s not all fun and games. Below, what we learned from them.
1) What sets them on the ‘playboy’ path varies—from obvious triggers to darker histories
The party lifestyle seems to be a common context for the playboy persona to emerge. Daniel, 30, an entrepreneur and “retired pick-up artist” who has had four official girlfriends and 30-40 sexual partners, says it all started in college when he got hooked on partying. Kendrick*, 33, a procurement engineer who has had three official girlfriends and 20-25 sexual partners, agrees that partying and getting around back in college went together.
An extroverted nature has cemented the "playboy" tag in the other men we talked to. Carlo, 33, a digital marketer who has had five official girlfriends and 35-40 sexual partners, describes himself as “an extrovert who loves to drink, party, and just have fun.” Martin*, 46, a venture capitalist who has had seven official girlfriends and 30-40 sexual partners, says that being naturally funny and flirty with women earned him the reputation.
Joe*, 32, a chef who has had two official girlfriends and 75-80 sexual partners, clarifies that he’s more a discreet fuckboy than a playboy and insists that he still has a good boy rep—until girls find out that he sleeps around.
Dan, 38, a psychiatrist who has had three official girlfriends and about 50 sexual partners, still recalls the exact moment that led him down the lothario path: “When I was in grade school, my girl classmates teased me a lot by calling me gay. One day, I went home crying, and my uncle, who had a reputation for being a playboy, asked me what the problem was. I told him about the situation and he said that I should kiss those girls next time they tease me. The next day, I was called to the principal's office for kissing them girls. When the principal asked why I did such a horrible thing, I answered that they had been teasing me for weeks. ‘Kayo din naman kasi mga girls...’ the principal said. I walked out of the office a smiling boy who had just become a man.”
For the other men, a darker episode in their past may hold the answers to their promiscuity.
K*, 35, a business owner who has had nine official girlfriends and 207 (!!!) sexual partners, says that an experience being sexually abused when he was 9 or 10 years old set off an unhealthy fascination with porn. He was later diagnosed as bipolar in his teens, with hypersexuality as one of the symptoms.
Meanwhile, JPaul Hernandez, a motivational speaker, lay preacher, author, and reformed playboy, admits in a vlog, “I was molested when I was 13 years old and that’s why I became sexually addicted, excited by pornography, premarital sex, and all those other things.”
2) With the reputation they’ve gained, it’s certainly easy to hook up
“It’s frighteningly easy to hook up if the girls also want a hook-up,” K reveals. “They know that they won’t have to go through the games that come with it and that I know all the ‘standard agreements.’”
Kendrick agrees that his rep allows him to score more often with women. “I’m also a genuinely nice guy, so the reputation kind of sets up a pleasant surprise when they actually get to know me,” he says.
For Joe however, who describes himself as the antithesis of the classic playboy, his otherwise ‘good boy’ reputation makes him earn more favor with the ladies. “Being tagged as a playboy limits the range of girls na willing pumatol,” he explains. “Getting in a girl’s pants is easier without the bad rep.”
3) But once they get serious with a girl, it’s also easy to get written off
Most of the men we talked to agree that it’s hard to be seen as a serious romantic partner with the playboy label hanging over their heads.
“They see you as just another guy trying to get in their pants,” Carlo says. “Most of the time, they would think everything out of you is a play.”
K agrees, saying, “You always have the worst ideas of what it is to be a playboy used against you. All the time. No matter how sincere you are. So a hopeful serious relationship turns into a hook-up because the girl herself decided that’s all I wanted. And when I ask to be set up with someone for something serious, people still find hook-ups and one-night stands for me.”
The inverse is true for Dan, however, who reveals that the reputation hasn’t hindered him from getting the girl “because each girl would love to be the one to successfully change me.”
4) Besides being written off as a serious romantic option, these playboys encounter other prejudices as well
Daniel reveals, “I was on some unofficial ‘Do Not Date’ list among the girls at the Christian church I attend. They avoided me and gave me the ‘I’m watching you’ look most of the time. I became rebellious and stayed out of church.”
Martin complains of being called ‘flirt’ or ‘malandi’ just because he enjoys having women as friends. “The old playboy caricature of juggling many women doesn't happen as often as the reality of just being a guy who loves having women around as friends and having close relationships with them,” he says.
Carlo has this to add from his own experience: “Being in a conservative society, others brand you as some manyak or perv. Totally not true, FYI.”
5) They may bounce back faster post-breakup, but they grapple with heartbreak just like the rest of us
While Daniel chooses to get over a relationship by traveling and spending time with family and friends, K prefers complete isolation—with lots of books and movies—while healing from a breakup. Carlo, too, shuts the world out “so I can come out stronger—and probably number.”
Sex, of course, is a common coping mechanism.
For Joe, his recipe for moving on is “a lot of sex and alcohol.” And Martin says this of his own healing process: “Only time can heal a heartbreak. And a good rebound.”
6) When they find a girl who’s worth it, they do have the sense to stay on the straight path…although it doesn’t always work out in the end.
Carlo gave up playing the field for his current girlfriend, with whom he’s been in a relationship for the past six years. Similarly, Kendrick got hitched three years ago because “I had met the girl I wanted to be with.”
These promising relationships don’t always have a happy ending, though—take it from Daniel. “When I met my last ex, I became a renewed man; I was a ‘good boy’ for almost seven years,” he shares. “The relationship ended with her replacing me with a rebound guy.”
K admits that he has tried to stay on the straight and narrow a lot of times for women he had fallen hard for. “Sadly, they always fall...softer,” he laments.
7) It’s possible for a playboy to shed his skirt-chasing skin and never look back
It’s not just the now-monogamous men we talked to who’ve changed their ways; even the single men are looking to ease up on the chase.
“Call me whatever—pick-up artist, fuckboy, playboy—but I’m done!” declares Daniel. “I’ve been through both extremes of being the good ‘Christian boyfriend’ and the ‘aggressive playboy.’ I’m just glad I haven’t contracted an STD or gotten anyone pregnant. For now I want to focus on what matters most, which are real relationships with God, my family, and my friends.”