The Stream: Hugh Hefner’s True Legacy
Some things just don’t seem like coincidence.
This past week, Hugh Hefner died. A founding father of the sexual revolution, Hefner’s legacy is hard to summarize. The words “shame” and “pain” come quickly to mind.
The dehumanization of women. The celebration of infidelity. The promotion of sex as a god and pleasure as an idol. Increasingly, graphic scenes of violent sex.
Yet these ugly realities are covered by a blanket of air-brushed photographs and glamorized women. This was the image Hefner portrayed: Sex as fun without any consequences.
The Health and Relationship Costs
This past week — the same week that Hefner died — the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that roughly “20 million new STDs in the U.S. each year, and half of these are among young people ages 15 to 24.” Yet the CDC also said that, “Across the nation, at any given time, there are more than 110 million total (new and existing) infections.”
But the bad news only continues. “More than two million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were reported in the United States in 2016, the highest number ever.” Dr. Gail Bolan, director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, writes in the new report:
The number of reported syphilis cases is climbing after being largely on the decline since 1941, and gonorrhea rates are now increasing. This is especially concerning given that we are slowly running out of treatment options to cure (gonorrhea). Many young women continue to have undiagnosed chlamydial infections, putting them at risk for infertility.
Indiscriminate sex not only is the prime source of these diseases of the body but a leading cause of diseases of the soul. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) offers overwhelming evidence of the links between pornography and sexual violence, disruption of brain function, human trafficking, and sexual dysfunction. As my former Family Research Council intern Haley Halverson, now Director of Communications at NCOSE, has argued, pornography is now “a public health crisis.”