Hugh Hefner’s legacy cannot be adequately assessed without addressing the sociological fallout of “The Playboy Philosophy.”
Hefner founded Playboy in 1953 and he quickly succeeded in making it an important cultural marker. He rebelled against his conservative Protestant parents, whom he called “very repressed,” and set out to rectify the problem by targeting Christianity.
In 1962, Hefner made his case for sexual freedom in his series, “The Playboy Philosophy.” While it is a stretch to call it a “philosophy,” it was much more than mere musings about matters sexual: it was a clarion call for libertinism, and a wholesale rejection of Christian sexual ethics.
The series lasted for two and a half years, and during that time virtually every deviant act noted by Christianity came under assault. To be specific, Hefner blamed Christianity for inhibiting sexual expression, accusing it of having too many rules against non-marital sex, homosexuality, bestiality, and the like.
Hefner’s reach was wide, finding a receptive home on college campuses. The men loved it. So did his friends: Roman Polanski was one of his best buddies, and Bill Cosby was a regular at the Playboy Mansion.