Culture Ethics Jesus Christ Sex and sexuality

Playboy, Hugh Hefner and his thousand Demonic Offspring

I have started a new role as a consulting editor with Christian Today – much to my surprise!  This basically means I will be writing short columns each week….here is the first of them Playboy, Hugh Hefner and his thousand demonic offspring

The basic text is below (click the link above for the full works!):

For some the death of Hugh Hefner is the death of a hero.

He is perceived as a free speech libertarian who helped change our culture. To others his death is something to be celebrated – the end of a destructive pervert. I cannot share either perspective.

No matter who, I cannot help but mourn the death of any human being, made in the image of God even if, as Hefner did, they have abused and perverted that image almost beyond recognition.

Hugh Hefner poses at his Playboy Mansion 2010Reuters

Hefner made himself a multi-millionaire magazine through the publication of Playboy magazine. In a pre-internet world it had a phenomenal impact on Western culture, by taking pornography from the back streets to Wall Street. At one point it was selling 7 million copies per month. Of course porn, like prostitution of which it is a crucial part, has been around since the Fall. But Hefner made it almost respectable. Surely the only people who could object to that would be Puritans like yours truly?!

Not quite. Most feminists rightly see Hefner’s philosophy and practice as exploitation rather than liberation. He tried to claim that he was liberating women but as several investigations showed the way he treated women was little short of abusive. In 2010 he declared: ‘The notion that Playboy turns women into sex objects is ridiculous, women are sex objects…It’s the attraction between the sexes that makes the world go round. That’s why women wear lipstick and short skirts.’

That philosophy and attitude is now deeply ingrained in advertising, the media and popular culture.

I remember listening to the J Geils band singing Centrefold. It brilliantly epitomised one of the devastating effects of pornography. Once you start viewing some women (or men) as sexual objects, it’s very hard not to view all in that way.

‘My blood runs cold, My memory has just been sold, My angel is the centrefold.’


Hefner recognised what he was doing. He said: ‘Everything, including sexual imagery, is out there now, and it’s kind of like Pandora’s box — you can’t close it any more…sex, and a great many other things which we attempted to keep hidden, are no longer hidden, because of the technology. It’s all out there now.’

But using pornography to satisfy sexual urges is like drinking salt water to satisfy thirst – it never does. There is the constant desire for more – with the result that Playboy is now considered ‘soft porn’. It has killed itself. And it has spawned a thousand demonic offspring.

‘I cannot help but mourn the death of any human being, made in the image of God – even if, as Hefner did, they have abused and perverted that image almost beyond recognition.’Reuters

Hefner also realised that the sexual revolution, of which he was a major part, needed to keep going. He supported same sex marriage declaring: ‘This a fight for all our rights. Without it, we will turn back the sexual revolution and return to an earlier, puritanical time.’ 

The notion of pornography as harmless fun, a useful form of sexual release, or even a tool for female emancipation is demonstrably proved false in a society which is now riddled with STDs, where slavery has returned in the form of sex trafficking, and where child pornography is endemic. Hefner’s philosophy was anti the Christ who said: ‘But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.‘ (Matthew 5:28)

At the very start of my Christian life, having like many teenage boys, had my view of women distorted and perverted by Hefner’s publication, I took on board the challenge of Job. ‘I made a covenant with my eyes. not to look lustfully at a young woman.’ (Job 31:1) It was advice that thankfully saved me not only from Hefner’s exploitative philosophy, but also that which was to follow on the Internet.

So while I mourn for the loss of any human life, I long for the death of Hefner’s hedonistic, misogynistic, philosophy. It was from the pit of hell; that is where it belongs and that, ultimately, is where it will return. It was a fragmented, broken and perverted anti-human (and especially anti-woman) way of thinking. May God grant the Church the ability to proclaim and live a view of humanity which is the antithesis of Hefner’s – holistic, healthy and beautifully holy. For Christ’s sake. And ours.

 David Robertson is Associate Director of Solas CPC in Dundee and minister at St Peter’s Free Church. Follow him on Twitter @TheWeeFlea.


  1. Yes, what a surprise. Are you instead of or in addition to? Do you get to edit out, to say no to a contribution from others as well as invite contributors of your choice? There don’t appear to be many, if any, from the reformed school. It must be tolerant and inclusive to invite a Free Church minister, though how far the evangelical wing will be to you with your association with the views expressed on the site, you’ll have to wait and see,

  2. What shall it profit if you gain the whole world but lose your soul…I feel sad for this person…incredibly deceived…will not be a pretty sight when he stands before God to give an account for his life.

  3. David,

    Personal question here. Are you saying you never looked lustfully at your wife until your wedding day?

    I agree that unrestrained lust is unhealthy and un-Christian (if that’s a word) but I’ve always wondered how to reconcile it with the healthy desire to find a wife/husband.

  4. I don’t think Hugh Hefner brought the world much benefit in life but admittedly I don’t know much about him and have never read Playboy. I was lucky enough growing up to attend a non-Christian school with a very comprehensive sexual education curriculum which explained sex and pornography in a dispassionate but realistic way. Realistic in the sense that teachers acknowledged pornography use was inevitable but dispassionate in the sense that it never felt glorified or encouraged with them always explaining the risks and harm involved with copious use, unrealistic expectations, desensitisation, etc. I was lucky enough as well to have pastors and parents who could interpret what I was learning within a Christian worldview.

    You make the claim, which I agree with: “in a society which is now riddled with STDs, where slavery has returned in the form of sex trafficking, and where child pornography is endemic.” But with that being said it always seems to be evangelical Christians who block attempts to roll out better and more comprehensive sexual education in schools. Is it our duty as Christians to ensure that non-believers live up to Biblical standards with regards to sexuality and if not, should we not be employing a form of harm and risk reduction in our schools, explaining the cons of pornography whilst keeping in mind that its use has existed since the beginning of time and will continue well into the future? And if we disagree with what is being said in schools should Christian parents and pastors have enough faith in their parenting skills and leadership to help their children interpret what is being said within a Christian worldview?

  5. I thought about him today as I was reading an article in the paper about the reasons men don’t go into nursing. Two of the stereotypes are that they are either homosexuals or a sexual predator. Pornography has contributed to this idea in wider society that men are either one or the other – that if you are not entertaining porn and its attitudes as a hetero man, there must be something wrong with you, and if you are a hetero man, you are likely a danger to women and children everywhere. Well might he have supported redefining marriage, because his very business was to undermine it at every turn.

  6. Hefner was under the illusion that pornography was a relatively new force in the world and I hear many Christians today telling me the world is degenerating. The world is degenerate and always has been , things have not changed , human nature remains the same only technology has advanced.
    The advance of technology has exposed too world view what was under the surface all the time. Recently much has been exposed in the very holiest of places the church , but that does not mean the activity is new. What it means is where ever you have humanity there you will have human nature. You are right we do need to be careful about what we are consuming and exposed too, and the reason is we are sensitive and susceptible. Our minds are easily locked into ways of thinking due to our intelligence , ISIS is a testament to this. A harmless occasional drink can wreck lives , the puff of a cigarette can wreck young lungs. If we realise our weaknesses we will be compassionate to the weaknesses of those around us and avoid self righteousness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: