Sexual Revolutionary and International Playboy Hugh Hefner Dead at 91

International Playboy Hugh Hefner has died aged 91

693
SHARE
Sexual Revolutionary and International Playboy Hugh Hefner Dead at 91
Sexual Revolutionary and International Playboy Hugh Hefner Dead at 91
Advertisement

Hugh Hefner leaves the world at 91 leaving a monumental legacy as a sexual revolutionary and international Playboy

 

One of the primary drivers of the sexual revolution during the middle of the last century, Hugh Hefner was spurred on by the infamous Kinsey Report and the newly widespread availability of the oral contraceptive pill, Hefner presented his Playboy philosophy to the men of the world. Modern men who could now take advantage of indulging in the recent sexual liberation of women.

 

Embed from Getty Images

 

Nowadays, Hefner’s lifestyle is nothing shocking. His attitude to relationships conforms with the modern outspoken polyamorous community. What makes the original playboy so unique is that he fundamentally shook the foundations of modern society so that things like polyamory could be considered a basic human right.

 

 

 

 

A radically new liberated lifestyle

On the tail of the Kinsey Report, Hefner saw a gap in the market for the post-war middle-class man who wished to embark on a radically new liberated lifestyle, unbound by morals of the past. However, how much of this liberation was merely an escape from his first wife’s affair? An affair that shattered all of his illusions about intimacy between a man and a woman? Indeed, Playboy became synonymous with reducing women from being potential soul mates to merely sexual playthings.

Hefner led a life envied by most men. Obituaries drip with the each writer’s envy of this man who lived with a perpetual harem of women right up until his death. He is also survived by his last wife Crystal Hefner, who was 60 years his junior. Does this mean Hefner’s lifestyle is considered by men to be the ideal male utopia? Did this lifestyle lead to Hefner dying happy and satisfied with his life? Did it heal his broken heart?

These questions are rhetorical, and more for reflecting on the human condition in the modern world.  A modern world that is illiterate in intimacy. A modern world that is more focused on self-interest, self-gratification and the proverbial “what’s in it for me?

 

 

An inevitable sexual revolution

Nevertheless, the sexual revolution in the 60s was merely a side-effect of an inherent narcissism that had been evolving for millennia. The pendulum of puritanical soullessness had swung as far as it could. Inevitably, it would swing too far in the opposite direction towards unbridled liberation. And Hefner rode upon that pendulum like a suave suited and booted Miley Cyrus on a wrecking ball.

Hefner’s parents raised him and his brother Keith in a puritanical environment. His parents were teachers and strict Methodists. Initially, Hefner set about living a text-book lifestyle: marriage and kids. However, while he was serving during World War II, his wife indulged in an extra-marital affair. Upon his return, she confessed her misdemeanor to him. Rather than divorce, she offered him a compromise: she permitted him to sleep with other women.

Did this infidelity strike a knife into Hughes’ heart? Certainly, he appears to have never allowed himself to get close to anyone again. Multiple marriages ensued, with him mostly resolving to have instead a harem of girlfriends with whom he could spread himself more thinly, avoiding any intimate depth. In 2009, aged 83, Hefner claimed he was still having sex with his collective of girlfriends 3-4 times a week. Later, he would also admit that Viagra enabled him to have a busy sex life at such a late age.

 

 

 

 

 

Sexual Revolutionary and International Playboy Hugh Hefner Dead at 91
Sexual Revolutionary and International Playboy Hugh Hefner Dead at 91

 

The Playboy dream becomes reality

With his wife’s permission to explore other women and the revelations of the Kinsey report Hefner developed what he would later coin as the Playboy Philosophy. He had a dream, and he invested everything to create the first Playboy magazine. With $200 he purchased some Marilyn Monroe nudes and constructed a magazine that would be intellectual and revolutionary.

Hefner published the first Playboy magazine in the January of 1952 and it was an instant success. Within only a few weeks, he had sold over 50,000 copies. The rest, as they say, is history. Hefner died a multi-millionaire, surrounded by his children, his extremely young wife, and the spoils of his obscene wealth. He has left a radically new world in which he had been one of the key constructors.

Hefner’s son Cooper Hefner looks to be set to take Playboy in a new direction. A new direction that borrows back from the original philosophy his father started out with. The new millennium sees a world over-saturated with pornography. Comparatively, Playboy became considered tame. However, Playboy was never designed to compete with pornography – Hefner continually emphasized this throughout the decades in countless interviews. He stated: “I never thought of it as a sex magazine. I always thought of it as a lifestyle magazine in which sex was one important ingredient.

 

 

 

The Playboy philosophy

From the magazine’s inception, Hefner aimed for it to be a men’s lifestyle periodical. A lifestyle that was about forward thinking, free speech, advocating for civil rights. People really could read it just for the articles as the articles were about intelligent subjects. Indeed, monumental authors contributed pieces, authors such as Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jack Kerouac.

Hefner’s Playboy empire went from strength to strength. By the 1970s, the magazine circulation peaked at over 7 million. Over the years, celebrity centerfold playmates would include Pamela Anderson and Anna Nicole Smith. Other big names such as Madonna, Bo Derek, and Kim Basinger also posed erotically within the magazine pages. When Hefner published nudes of Jayne Mansfield in 1963, a court case ensued. However, the court case proved Hefner had changed the times, and the court dropped the case.

Playboy became a world empire. Hefner extended his enterprise to restaurants, clubs, hotels, resorts, and casinos. The Playboy Mansion would become an iconic party location for celebrities and beautiful women dressed in the famous bunny brand costume. Playboy TV premiered in 1982, which aimed to be a visual version of the magazine, combining scantily clad women with celebrity interviews, car and fashion reviews, and music videos.

 

 

 

Hefner leaves a monumental legacy, and he was instrumental in changing the modern world irreversibly.

Amazon immortalized Hefner’s life in a documentary only earlier this year, called American Playboy. He received countless awards and accolades for his philanthropy and contributions to the publishing industry. Additionally, he was a vocal advocate for LGBTQ rights. In 1955 he bravely published an article supportive of the gay lifestyle, and spoke out against the government’s “sodomy laws.

The world Hefner left behind is nothing like the one he set about changing. He will be remembered as a pioneer of the modern world, for good or for worse. All in all, he changed the game. Hefner shook up a stagnant society that was suffocating from being anchored in the past. Indeed, we all can agree with Camille Paglia when she called him “one of the principal architects of the social revolution.

Truly, Hefner is one of the last of the famous international playboys.

 

References: BBC, Playboy Enterprises, Firing Line, Time
Embed from Getty Images