Hugh Hefner: ''I am still very romantic. Being in love completes me'


I was very conservative as a teenager I was raised in a Puritan home and I was planning to get married to a girl from high-school, once we graduated. But right before we tied the knot, she had an affair. It was devastating for me; she had been the only person I'd had sex with and it doomed the marriage.

'Playboy' was a flag of liberation for myself and society at large I was trying to bring sex into the fold of a healthy lifestyle. But I had no idea what was going to happen. The first issue had no date as I didn't know if I was going to be able to publish a second. But in the first few weeks the magazine took off.

I helped change the law The 1950s was a very conservative decade, and if the sex laws in the 48 states at the time were effectively applied, most adult men in the US would have been serving prison time. The Playboy Foundation was the activist arm of the Playboy Philosophy and in the 1960s we helped a lot of people; we helped a woman who was serving time for manslaughter for having an illegal abortion get out of prison, and we helped free a married man for having anal sex with his wife. In a social-sexual sense the world is a Playboy world now and I take great pride in that.

Viagra has freed older people We are living longer now and we should live life to the fullest as long as we are able. I got my first prescription in the weeks my marriage [to former Playboy Playmate Kimberley Conrad] was ending [they separated in 1998 and finally divorced last year]. It was a hallelujah moment for me. I went through a period of excess and I had seven girlfriends. I said at the time, "Seven girlfriends are easier to handle than one wife."

People talk about religion as a civilising force. It's not; sex is The attachment between the two sexes is the beginning of family, tribe and most things on the planet. Responding to a woman's beauty is in our DNA; it makes the world go round.

I am still very romantic Being in love completes me. I went from having seven girlfriends down to three – Holly, Bridget and Kendra – but for the past two-and-a-half years it's been one, Crystal [whom he is marrying next month]. She makes me feel like a teen again. I don't think I can do any better than spend the rest of my life with her.

Re-Opening the London Playboy Club has real meaning for me The original London club, which opened in 1966, was iconic. London was the centre of the world back then and everybody came – members of the Beatles, Mick Jagger... There was the Mod scene, mini-skirts were here; the sexual revolution had arrived and I felt like I needed to get ready for it.

America is still schizophrenic when it comes to sexuality There have always been two threads of America. One is the rebel part, which says, "Don't tread on me." The other is the puritan part, where the only moral purpose of sex is procreation; if you're enjoying it, well, that's immoral, and based on nothing. Our attitudes towards sex in the US are still very screwed.

I always tried to treat the women in my life decently I've remained good friends with the majority of my wives and the other romances I've had in life, and I take great pride in that. The only one who gives me bad reviews is someone [former Playboy Playmate Izabella St James] who has gotten left behind. Her book [Bunny Tales: Behind Closed Doors at the Playboy Mansion] was just a projection of her own negativity.

Hugh Hefner, 85, is an American magazine publisher and chief creative officer of Playboy Enterprises. The Playboy Club London is to re-open on Saturday at 14 Old Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1 ( playboyclublondon.com)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee