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

Patrick Trueman serves as president and chief executive officer at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.  He spearheads efforts to address the intersectionality between all forms of sexual exploitation, including the public health crisis of pornography, the demand for commercial sexual exploitation, the abuse of children, and more. 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, a lawyer for more than 40 years, established the organization’s Law Center, to influence the law and our courts to ensure the values of human dignity are represented.

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, managing an office of prosecutors and working with the nation’s ninety-three United States Attorneys to initiate and coordinate federal prosecutions.

During his 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 throughout the world to speak about human trafficking and the harms of sexual exploitation.

Mr. Trueman lives just outside Washington, D.C., and is married to Laura Clay Trueman. Laura and Pat Trueman have three children.

 

 

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