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Hugh Hefner

Naughty Innovators | Naughty Guide

Hugh Hefer

There is perhaps no better known men's magazine in the world than Playboy and when you think of Playboy you think of only one man: Hugh Hefner.

An icon of American culture and great sexual thinker, Hugh Hefner has changed the face of magazine publishing forever.

He has also accomplished a lot more than that, even if it as not as well-known as Playboy.

Hefner started out in the publishing business by working for Esquire magazine, which during the early 1950's was considered a racy publication that eventually changed its image into a refined publication.

In 1953 he resigned from Esquire because he was denied a $50.00 raise.

He decided to start his own magazine and was determined that it would be better than Esquire.

He was so determined that he borrowed money using his furniture as collateral and raised an additional $8000.00 from 45 investors.

Hefner worked out of his Chicago apartment, in the kitchen, and soon Playboy was born. Hefner was so unsure about the potential for success that he did not include a date on the first edition of the magazine because he wasn't sure there would be a second.

However, Hefner had an ace up his sleeve. Screen superstar and sex symbol Marilyn Monroe posed nude for some photos in the 1940's before she became famous and they were never published.

Hefner bought these photos and published them in the first edition of Playboy.

This shrewd move resulted in 50,000 copies of the first edition being sold.

Playboy was an instant hit.

It was the right time in history for Playboy and Hefner knew it.

People were seeking a way to break the sexual repression that was thick as molasses in 1950's America and Playboy was just the ticket.

While it was more than pornography with articles and thoughtful editorials, it was the pictures of nude women that made it a hit.

Hefner jumped on the bandwagon and soon Playboy clubs were opening with trademark "bunnies" waiting on customers.

Naughty Innovators | Naughty Guide


The famous logo of a Bunny with a bowties and cuffs is still immediately recognizable today.

Hefner was able to build himself an empire with famous parties at the Playboy Mansion, television shows and more.

While this has made him more money than he can ever spend, it is not what makes him a great sexual thinker.

His title of great sexual thinker comes from his philosophy about sexuality.

Hefner's fundamental belief system about the nature of men and women as they relate sexually has been an important part of the philosophy behind the magazine.

Hefner wanted to start a public dialogue about sexuality in this country and he did.

In 1963 Hefner was arrested for selling obscene material when he published nude pictures of famed actress Jane Mansfield.

The case went to trial but the jury was unable to reach a verdict.

Eventually the charges were dropped but Hefner stood on his First Amendment rights.

His Playboy Foundation, founded in 1965 provides grants for nonprofit organizations that fight censorship and conduct research on human sexuality.

Hefner's sex positive views are more than just his dating significantly younger women or multiple women at a time.

He sought to destigmatize sex and he succeeded.

Hefner got us talking about swinging, whether monogamy is realistic, sex at any age and much more.

Every so often in history someone comes along at just the right time, in just the right place, and changes things forever.

Hugh Hefner is one of these people.

Because of him there was a huge culture shift in American attitudes towards sexuality.

Say what you want positive or negative about his Playboy brand and magazine, but there is no denying Hugh Hefner is one of the great sexual thinkers in modern American history.



Learn more about Hugh Hefner with these books:

• Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel

• Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and The American Dream

• Inside the Playboy Mansion: If You Don't Swing, Don't Ring



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