Hugh Hefner’s Legacy to Me
I won’t forget the day I found out that my then-boyfriend regularly watched porn. My heart was broken. I knew I could never live up to what he saw as normal and “natural.” For him, pornography was something every man watched. Why was I so upset? He asked. It’s no big deal. “It doesn’t mean anything.”
That’s Hugh Hefner’s legacy. In 2013, Esquire published a piece called “The Perfect Life of Hugh Hefner” republished last month as “The House of Hefner.” The article describes his life as a “perfect” life full of unadulterated pleasure.
He may have thought his life was perfect. The editors of Esquire might envy him. But he began the movement that mainstreamed pornography. He created addicts and destroyed marriages.
I explained to my boyfriend that pornography degraded women. I could never measure up to the fantasies he was enjoying. They made me feel worthless as a girlfriend. He promised to quit and not long after we were married.
Over the years, we had that conversation multiple times, particularly after I would catch him watching pornography. It was always the same. He’d tell me it wasn’t wrong, I’d sob, he’d promise to stop. But he never did.
As time went on it became clear that watching pornography was taking its toll on him, both emotionally and physically. Intimacy was almost nonexistent. I could never be as “forbidding” or as exciting as the women on the screen following a script designed to appeal to male fantasies. Eventually he could not have sex normally.
And then it got worse. I discovered that he had signed up on “hook up” sites and dating websites. Still, I loved him and wanted desperately for our marriage to work. I forgave him and asked him not to do it again. We went to marriage counseling.
Then came the news that he’d taken someone out to breakfast. A sick feeling came over me. The emotional infidelity hit me like a ton of bricks. My husband had been a man with a problem. Now he was quickly becoming someone I didn’t know.
Hugh Hefner’s Impact
Eventually, the pornography led to much more. My husband left our family and I’m not sure where he is. But I’m okay. My Heavenly Father is with me.
That’s Hugh Hefner’s legacy. With that first issue and the naked picture of the young Marilyn Monroe, he made porn feel okay to men who wouldn’t have touched it before. Over the years, his magazine got worse. Others followed him, who made pornography even worse than he had. Then the web made it easy for people like my husband to find.
Watching porn isn’t harmless. For those women who believe their husband or boyfriend will be able to watch porn without getting addicted, he probably won’t. For those who believe his porn addiction will stop at watching it, it probably won’t.
Addictions are like that. The addicts wants more. He wants the harder stuff. That’s what Hefner created. Don’t tell me that his life was perfect when he destroyed the lives of so many people, men and women and children. I had a husband who loved porn, and now I don’t know where he is.