Patriots: For over 25 years, your generosity has made it possible to offer The Patriot Post without a subscription fee to military personnel, students, and those with limited means. Please support the 2022 Independence Day Campaign today.

Kathryn Jean Lopez / October 2, 2017

Sex, Hefner and Hookup Culture

“Sex for me is … perhaps the single greatest humanizing force on this earth,” Hugh Hefner said during a 1974 interview with CBS, sitting alongside Protestant theologian Harvey Cox.

“Sex for me is … perhaps the single greatest humanizing force on this earth,” Hugh Hefner said during a 1974 interview with CBS, sitting alongside Protestant theologian Harvey Cox. “It would be a rather sad planet if there weren’t two sexes. And I think that we’ve managed to use and abuse and misunderstand our sexuality.”

“Sex is cheap,” sociologist Mark Regnerus at the University of Texas at Austin explains in his book, “Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Marriage and Monogamy. "It is more widely available, at lower cost to all than ever before in human history. … Cheap sex has been mass-produced with the help of two distinctive means that have little to do with each other — the wide uptake of the Pill and mass-produced high-quality pornography — and then made more efficient by communication technologies. They drive the cost of sex down, make real commitment more ‘expensive’ and challenging to navigate, … put women’s fertility at risk — driving up demand for infertility treatments — and have taken a toll on men’s marriageability … Cheap sex does not make marriage unappealing; it just makes marriage less urgent and more difficult to accomplish.”

Playboy was certainly on the cutting edge of the sexual revolution, albeit in ways that seem relatively quaint compared to what’s taken as convention these days. Regnerus opens the book with the story of a 32-year-old named Sarah, who is essentially looking for love in all the wrong places, so to speak. Adrift in a sea of casual relationships, she still wants marriage someday — only nothing she’s doing is likely to get her there, as Regnerus’ research makes clear.

And his is no “wistful” ode to an era that never was, but a clear-eyed look at what’s going on. Regnerus writes with compassion about Sarah and other woman in the U.S. “mating market.” His chronicle of the situation, based on extensive numbers and interviews, shows what misery the Playboy Philosophy, as it were, has wrought. It’s one fueled by medicine — primarily, birth control — and an ideological idolization of a false freedom that changed not just mores but expectations and led to utter incoherence in individual lives.

“Despite shrinking double standards and growing egalitarianism, something seems amiss with sex these days,” Regnerus writes. “Most Americans — left or right, religious or not — can sense it. … Online porn is now standard operating procedure for a near-majority of men. We construct comprehensive identities and communities around sexual attraction in a way unfamiliar to most of the Western world, including Western Europe. Cultural struggles over marriage continue — now out of the political limelight — in households, congregations and workplaces. Meanwhile, the common date has eroded, now quaint in light of the ubiquitous, unromantic hookup. … We can’t seem to get enough of sex — so we focus on technique — but what we get is leaving us hungering for still more or longing for some emotion or transcendent satisfaction that cheap sex seems to promise but seldom delivers. Social and interpersonal trust erodes; solitude and atomization increase. Mothers and fathers split. In light of these common realities, how many of us would confidently declare that yes, these are the best of times in American sexuality, that we are making progress, that we have modeled a template of more satisfying, fulfilling sexual unions?”

Hugh Hefner has been quoted talking about the devastation of infidelity — his first wife cheated on him. He also said, during that CBS interview, “I think that there are certain aspects of adolescence that might be best retained for a lifetime.” Pretending this is a healthy attitude would fall on the immature side of our perpetual adolescent times and would mean we’ve learned nothing from Hefner’s life and legacy. Hefner’s passing invites us to get moving on next steps, so love won’t be lost more permanently — out of reach for so many — to a state of misery pretending to be freedom.

COPYRIGHT 2017 United Feature Syndicate

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.