Sometimes it’s appropriate to speak ill of the dead.
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner died Wednesday, aged 91. But his work of mainstreaming porn will likely live on—and continue to hurt men and women—for many years to come.
Playboy helped usher in an era of porn addiction, decreased happiness, and strained relationships between men and women.
Porn did of course exist before Hefner, and the internet—a technological innovation Hefner had nothing to do with—greatly accelerated the use of porn.
But what Hefner did was to bring porn out of the shadows, to make it something that could be discussed openly and without shame. Decades before the characters on “Friends” were cracking jokes about porn use, Hefner planted the seeds by creating Playboy magazine.
This article from ABC News shows how revolutionary Playboy was:
In 1953, a time when states could legally ban contraceptives, when the word ‘pregnant’ was not allowed on ‘I Love Lucy,’ Hefner published the first issue of Playboy, featuring naked photos of Marilyn Monroe (taken years earlier) and an editorial promise of ‘humor, sophistication and spice.’
Within a year, circulation neared 200,000. Within five years, it had topped 1 million.
By the 1970s, the magazine had more than 7 million readers and had inspired such raunchier imitations as Penthouse and Hustler.
Porn, proponents say, is just a harmless foray into fantasy. That might have been credible in 1953.
But now, 64 years after Playboy was launched, it’s clear that’s just not the case—and there are real human costs to our society’s porn addiction.
Thirty-eight percent of heterosexual men and nearly 7 percent of heterosexual women admit to viewing porn in the past six days, according to data in University of Texas at Austin sociology professor Mark Regnerus’ new book “Cheap Sex.”
Viewing porn can definitely have consequences for real-life behavior. One interviewee Regnerus spoke to, a 24-year-old name Jonathan…