Skip to comments.Sex, Hefner, and Hookup Culture
Posted on 09/30/2017 8:01:39 AM PDT by Kaslin
"Sex for me is ... perhaps the single greatest humanizing force on this earth," Hugh Hefner said during a 1974 interview with CBS, sitting alongside Protestant theologian Harvey Cox. "It would be a rather sad planet if there weren't two sexes. And I think that we've managed to use and abuse and misunderstand our sexuality."
"Sex is cheap," sociologist Mark Regnerus at the University of Texas at Austin, explains in his book, "Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage and Monogamy. "It is more widely available, at lower cost to all than ever before in human history. ... Cheap sex has been mass-produced with the help of two distinctive means that have little to do with each other -- the wide uptake of the Pill and mass-produced high-quality pornography -- and then made more efficient by communication technologies. They drive the cost of sex down, make real commitment more 'expensive' and challenging to navigate, ... put women's fertility at risk -- driving up demand for infertility treatments -- and have taken a toll on men's marriageability ... Cheap sex does not make marriage unappealing; it just makes marriage less urgent and more difficult to accomplish."
Playboy was certainly on the cutting edge of the sexual revolution, albeit in ways that seem relatively quaint compared to what's taken as convention these days. Regnerus opens the book with the story of a 32-year-old named Sarah, who is essentially looking for love in all the wrong places, so to speak. Adrift in a sea of casual relationships, she still wants marriage someday -- only nothing she's doing is likely to get her there, as Regnerus' research makes clear.
And his is no "wistful" ode to an era that never was, but a clear-eyed look at what's going on. Regnerus writes with compassion about Sarah and other woman in the U.S. "mating market." His chronicle of the situation, based on extensive numbers and interviews, shows what misery the Playboy Philosophy, as it were, has wrought. It's one fueled by medicine -- primarily, birth control -- and an ideological idolization of a false freedom that changed not just mores, but expectations and led to utter incoherence in individual lives.
"Despite shrinking double standards and growing egalitarianism, something seems amiss with sex these days," Regnerus writes. "Most Americans -- left or right, religious or not -- can sense it. ... Online porn is now standard operating procedure for a near-majority of men. We construct comprehensive identities and communities around sexual attraction in a way unfamiliar to most of the Western world, including Western Europe. Cultural struggles over marriage continue -- now out of the political limelight -- in households, congregations and workplaces. Meanwhile, the common date has eroded, now quaint in light of the ubiquitous, unromantic hookup. ... We can't seem to get enough of sex -- so we focus on technique -- but what we get is leaving us hungering for still more or longing for some emotion or transcendent satisfaction that cheap sex seems to promise but seldom delivers. Social and interpersonal trust erodes; solitude and atomization increase. Mothers and fathers split. In light of these common realities, how many of us would confidently declare that yes, these are the best of times in American sexuality, that we are making progress, that we have modeled a template of more satisfying, fulfilling sexual unions?"
Hugh Hefner has been quoted talking about the devastation of infidelity -- his first wife cheated on him. He also said, during that CBS interview, "I think that there are certain aspects of adolescence that might be best retained for a lifetime." Pretending this is a healthy attitude would fall on the immature side of our perpetual adolescent times and would mean we've learned nothing from Hefner's life and legacy. Hefner's passing invites us to get moving on next steps, so love won't be lost more permanently -- out of reach for so many -- to a state of misery pretending to be freedom.
No matter what ya think about this guy, I’d bet he died with a smile on his face.
Live in a large apt complex - a couple of us old guys (60-88) sit at the pool and observe and it is confirmed by the fellas - there is no more romance, you don’t ask for her number, ask her out for cocktails or dinner, you hook up right then and there, you go back to the apt, poke, and go back to the pool 30 - 45 minutes later and she giggles with her girlfriends, and he sends out a text with 10-20 seconds he got on his I-phone.
I was a kid of the 70s and 80s had plenty of fun but nothing like this.
Without the so-called "double standard", a civilization with a future is impossible.
Treating unlikes as if they were the same is no standard at all.
he turned control over to his daughter who made it a feminist company. the clubs died, profits crashed, they missed the internet.
so much for girl next door helpmate.
He’s sort of a “Godfather”, if you will, of the sexual revolution.
That’s a big legacy of his.
is it a good legacy, good for society, a positive legacy?
Was it good that, at its peak, about 7 million magazines a month were sold, in those pre-internet days? Was it good that he encouraged young men to look at women as disposable objects of desire? Was it good that he encouraged young men to look at the opposite sex as playmates and play things?
How many men tried to emulate him? Of course few could afford a mansion full of live in girlfriends, but how many took the playboy philosophy to heart, at a great cost to the women in their lives?
What positive legacy, if any, did he leave behind?
Back when I was young, most of the males wanted loose women, but nobody would marry a slut.
I never noticed how much Hef looks like Anthony Weiner....
“Back when I was young, most of the males wanted loose women, but nobody would marry a slut.”
They still won’t, unless the slut has money.
Anyway, I never really got into the pornography. I found a lot of it disgusting. Some of my friends however seemed to get really obsessed over it. Even as a boy, I sensed that it was not a healthy thing.
Yep. Hefner commoditized sex.
Thank you for posting this. It looks like it could be useful in the research for my current book.
Just kindled it.
Feminism and the libertine Left have encouraged women (and men) to be sluts. I pity young people who have morals and self-respect and are looking for a mate. Must be nice knowing you are 43rd person your mate has slept with.
I’m not reading the eulogies of Hefner. Are they really crediting him with ANYTHING good?
I’d been invited to his mansion but never wanted to go for one second. It doesn’t sound like a fun place for women. Even women who love men. I spent about 3 minutes once in one of the clubs known to be a meatmarket and hated that hungry eyed look from a thousand eyes on me. How is that fun? It’s not.
And thinking about how he condoned and allowed Cosby to drug and rape women in his house, HOW MANY OTHER GUYS were helped to abuse women and underage girls? What good did he bring to this world that counteracted that?
No hookers or brothels before 1953 and Playboy...
Only two? How Victorian of him. Last count there are at least 58 sexes on Facebook alone.
And the paradox is a woman who truly loves sex makes a much bette wife
I think you are lo-balling that 43 number it’s probably double that.
Brothels were more open even in my 60s youth
I never thought playboy was porn
People who say that have a low threshold for what is porn
Hustler became porn as did Penthouse at the end
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.