Hugh Hefner
September 28, 2017

Hugh Hefner Leaves Behind a Legacy of Sexual Exploitation, and a Public Health Crisis

Following Hugh Hefner’s death, the media has erupted in praise for his alleged championing of free speech through the pornographic magazine, Playboy.

But in reality, Hugh Hefner leaves behind a legacy of sexual exploitation and public health harms.

Playboy popularized the commodification of the female body in soft-core pornographic magazines in the 1950s, and it laid the groundwork for the public health crisis of Internet pornography that America is experiencing today.

Reams of research show that Internet pornography is linked to neurological harms, sexual dysfunctions, and increases in rates of sexual violence. For example:

  • Pornography Use Shrinks Brain: A 2014 study found that increased pornography use is linked to decreased brain matter in the areas of motivation and decision-making, impaired impulse control, and desensitization to sexual reward.
  • Leads to Pornography-Induced Erectile Dysfunction (PIED): One study on pornography users found that 20.3% said “one motive for their porn use was to maintain arousal with their partner.” It also found that pornography use was linked to higher sexual desire, but lower overall sexual satisfaction, and lower erectile function.
  • Pornography Is Linked to Increased Sexual Violence: A 2015 meta-analysis of 22 studies from seven countries found that internationally the consumption of pornography was significantly associated with increases in verbal and physical aggression, among males and females alike.

Hugh Hefner was not a champion of free speech. He was a pioneer in the sexual objectification and use of women.

Research shows that Playboy historically portrays female sexuality as subordination and universal availability to the male gaze.

How can our society accept, let alone applaud, these messages about the value of women when we are simultaneously struggling with campus sexual assault, military sexual assault, and the culture of sexual harassment in Silicon Valley?

It’s time to acknowledge the reality that Playboy is actually just another brand for old-fashioned misogyny.

Learn more about the public health harms of pornography at endsexualexploitation.org/publichealth

NCOSE wishes for peace for the surviving members of Hugh Hefner’s family.

Patrick A. Trueman, Esq.

CEO & President

As president, Patrick Trueman spearheads efforts to change corporate policies that facilitate sexual exploitation through the Dirty Dozen List. This aggressive project, educates executives, galvanizes public attention, and spurs popular actions to defend human dignity. Under his leadership, NCOSE has produced policy improvements at a wide range of notable institutions, including Google, Wal-Mart, the Department of Justice, Verizon, the Federal Communications Commission, and more.

In 2015, Mr. Trueman established the NCOSE Law Center, which serves as a resource for legal efforts to combat illegal pornography, sexually oriented businesses, and to bring innovative lawsuits against public institutions facilitating sexual exploitation. In 2010, he founded PornHarmsResearch.com to provide peer-reviewed research and talking points on the harms of pornography.

On a global level, Mr. Trueman leads NCOSE’s Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation, an international coalition, which boasts nearly 300 organizations and academic experts who are committed to sharing strategies and resources for combating public & private harms caused by pornography.

Patrick Trueman is a former Chief of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Criminal Division at the U. S. Department of Justice from 1988 to 1993. While there, he supervised the prosecution of child sex crimes, child pornography, and obscenity. He managed an office of twenty of prosecutors and support staff, and worked with the nation’s ninety-three United States Attorneys to initiate and coordinate federal prosecutions.

During his 41 years as a lawyer, he litigated cases at all levels of the federal system, including in the United States Supreme Court. He has been an advisor to many municipalities on First Amendment law and has helped draft ordinances to end or curb the impact of sexually oriented businesses such as pornography shops, strip clubs, and related establishments. A recognized international expert, Mr. Trueman has traveled to Europe, South American, the Middle East, and other areas to speak about human trafficking or the effects of television sex and violence on the family.

Mr. Trueman served as chief of staff to a Member of the United States Congress. From 1976 to 1982, he was Executive Director and General Counsel to Americans United for Life, a national public interest law firm in Chicago. He lives just outside Washington, D.C., and is married to Laura Clay Trueman. Laura and Pat Trueman have three children, Patrick, Claire, and Elizabeth.

 

 

Further Reading

Related