Jonathon Van Maren

From the front lines of the culture wars


Hugh Hefner’s dirty little secret

All is not well at the Playboy Mansion.
Wed Oct 8, 2014 - 4:12 pm EST
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Hugh Hefner has been idolized by millions of men of dubious morals for his “Playboy” lifestyle—his huge mansion, never-ending stream of celebrity guests, and, of course, the girls. He is considered the ultimate playboy, the silk-pajamaed icon of the Sexual Revolution, the man who brought “free love” to the free market and made a killing. 

He’s also sexually dysfunctional.

In her emotionally mauling book Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality, researcher Gail Dines writes how the infamous TV show "The Girls Next Door," which started in 2005, "provides a sanitized version of life at the Playboy mansion, never showing the reality of the experiences for the young women who live and sleep with eighty-three-year-old Hefner."

Perhaps most revealingly, she points out how Izabella St James, one of Hefner's 'ex-girlfriends,' has written that while Hefner would often often have unprotected sex with multiple women, he could not reach sexual completion without using pornography and stimulating himself. 

That’s right. Porn, the most viral manifestation of the Sexual Revolution, is reducing millions of men to pathetic dependents desperately scrolling through thousands of pictures and videos—and causing many of them to become impotent. Even a man with a non-stop stream of beautiful women sleeping with him, one of the most easily recognizable sex icons of our time, cannot get off without porn.

But it is us, supposedly, who are “anti-sex.”

Those of us who hold to a Judeo-Christian view of sexual ethics are invariably accused of being “prudes” or “anti-sex.” Rejecting the Sexual Revolution and the host of new sexually transmitted diseases, incalculable amount of psychological physical pain, broken marriages, porn addictions, and aborted and dismembered “love” children that it brought with it, it seems, is the primary way to loudly declare yourself a cultural heretic.

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Let me break it down. We, apparently, are the ones who are “anti-sex” because we elevate sex as an action of such significance that it should take place in a loving, committed context - marriage - one that is, incidentally, also the best context in which to raise children. We recognize that sex is an extraordinarily powerful human experience, one that we toy with or abuse at our peril. But the Sexual Revolutionaries insist that this is archaic and foolish. “More sex,” they say, “more sex, all the time and with whomever you’d like.”

Someone should make these people take economics. Basic rule: If you commodify something, you cheapen it. We’ve put cash prices on intimate human experiences, and we’ve created an industry that amounts to nothing more than a trade in human flesh. I’m no anti-capitalist, but some things should not be bought and sold. But now that millions have been pimped out by the Sexual Revolution, we do just that. We treat sex like a game or a toy. And, like over-enthusiastic children, we’ve broken it.

Here are just a very brief sampling of a few recent headlines:

- “Porn causing erectile dysfunction in young men”—Global News
- “Internet pornography destroying men’s ability to perform with real women”—Daily Mail
- “Does porn contribute to erectile dysfunction?”—Psychology Today

I often wonder why more people don’t see the sad irony in this. Like thirsty men and women guzzling salt water, we simply inflame our lusts with pornography, dehydrating ourselves of the true human intimacy we crave. Rather than recognizing it for the poison that it is, we claim that porn is a sex aid, or carefree recreation, or even a tool for helping a flagging marriage. Clinging to this cultural delusion is doing precisely the opposite of what the Sexual Revolutionaries promised us it would do: It’s killing sex.

Yet when people try to point this out—from self-described radical feminist Gail Dines to the Christian scholars who warned that this would happen before we even pried open Pandora’s Box—it is they who get called “anti-sex.”

Hugh Hefner built an empire selling the bodies of young, attractive women and men to millions, but his cash has not stopped him from becoming enslaved by his own product. When I consider that the very man who is envied by millions for the sexual lifestyle he leads can himself only find pleasure in the pale substitute for human intimacy he markets to the masses, it brings to mind something Christopher Hitchens once said, when responding to a Marxist in his audience. The quotation perfectly fits this circumstance as well.

“Well, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. There you have it," Hitchens said. "You see how far the termites have spread, and how long and well they’ve dined.”

And so they have.

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  playboy, pornography