Life & Culture

Sexual Freedom: Hugh Hefner’s Top Ten Quotes

In the wake of the Playboy founder’s death, we recall some of his most hard-hitting words on his favourite subject: sex

  • TextTed Stansfield

Hugh Hefner was the founder of Playboy, yes, but he was also a sexual pioneer. His magazine – and of course his infamous mansion – were an extension of his views on sexuality which were, in many respects, decades ahead of his time. Raised in a Puritan home where there was “no hugging or kissing”, Hefner went on to advocate for sexual freedom throughout his career as a publisher – coming into combat with right-wing Christians and liberal feminists alike, along the way. In light of his passing, we’ve collated ten of his best quotes on sexual freedom. Prior to his death, Hefner said that he’d like to be remembered as “someone who had some positive impact on the sociosexual values of his time” and there can be no doubt that this will be the case.

1. “My greatest pleasure is, apart from romantic love, any sort of sexuality.”

2. “My life and Playboy are a reflection of the conflicts that exist in America related to sexuality.”

3. “If you don’t encourage healthy sexual expression in public, you get unhealthy sexual expression in private. If you attempt to suppress sex in books, magazines, movies and even everyday conversation, you aren’t helping to make sex more private, just more hidden. You’re keeping sex in the dark. What we’ve tried to do is turn on the lights.”

4. “I think that there’s nothing wrong with masturbation. If you’re not feeling good about your own sexuality and your own body, you’re not going to feel good about anything else.”

5. “Sex is the driving force on the planet. We should embrace it, not see it as the enemy.”

6. “I think that sexual oppression and dictatorship go hand in hand.”

7. “One of the great ironies in our society is that we celebrate freedom and then limit the parts of life where we should be most free.”

8. “Part of the sexual revolution is bringing rationality to sexuality – because when you don’t embrace sexuality in a normal way, you get the twisted kinds, and the kinds that destroy lives.”

9. “Without question, love in its various permutations is what we need more of in this world. The idea that the concept of marriage will be sullied by same-sex marriage is ridiculous. Heterosexuals haven’t been doing that well at it on their own.”

10. “I would like to think that I will be remembered as someone who had some positive impact on the sociosexual values of his time. And I think I’m secure and happy in that.”

Images are taken from Playboy: The Complete Centrefolds which is out now, published by Chronicle Books.

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