The Life Philosophy of Hugh Hefner, In His Own Words


If they say Hef, they know me. If they say Hugh, they don't.

I have slept with thousands of women, and they all still like me.

Women were the major beneficiary of the sexual revolution. It permitted them to be natural sexual beings, as men are. That's where feminism should have been all along. Unfortunately, within feminism, there has been a puritan, prohibitionist element that is antisexual.

Playboy is the antidote to puritanism.

In the 1950s and '60s, there were still states that outlawed birth control, so I started funding court cases to challenge that. At the same time, I helped sponsor the lower-court cases that eventually led to Roe v. Wade. We were the amicus curiae in Roe v. Wade. I was a feminist before there was such a thing as feminism. That's a part of history very few people know.

Sex is the driving force on the planet. We should embrace it, not see it as the enemy.

There isn't a whole lot of point to living half the year in a lousy climate.

Every man should have a Hitachi Wand. It's a very good vibrator.

We're separated by our myths.

One of the problems with organized religion is that it has always kept women in a second-class position. They have been viewed as the daughters of Eve.

I stand in total awe of existence. I don't pretend to know what it's about.

My best pick-up line is "My name is Hugh Hefner."

Most people don't have much of a clue as to why they act the way they do. Usually when they're angry, they're not angry about what they think they're angry about.


It's good to be selfish. But not so self-centered that you never listen to other people.

My life has been a quest for a world where the words to the songs are true. Not the songs today. Not "Who Let the Dogs Out." The romantic songs. Gershwin, Cole Porter...

Hollywood has many, many excesses and a great many not very nice people, but that's true anywhere. The difference between Hollywood and New York is that it's all out in the open.

Living in the moment, thinking about the future, and staying connected to the past: That's what makes me feel whole.

A lot of people go through life never quite understanding that if things aren't as wonderful as they should be, it's their own fault.

This is the blessing of humankind, what separates us from the animals: to dream.

When I'm alone, masturbation isn't bad. But I don't spend a lot of time alone.

There's a real hypocrisy about people who pursue fame for the first half of their lives and then pretend to resent it afterward.

What surprises me about getting older is that I remain so young.

If you don't have a sense of humor about life and yourself, then you are old.

Loneliness doesn't have much to do with where you are.

Gloria Steinem said that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. And now she's married to a wealthy guy. So what does that say to you?

Everybody, if they've got their head on straight, wants to be a sexual object, among other things. They want to be attractive. Otherwise, what a sad and pathetic life. To really live a worthwhile life is to be attracted to and attractive to other people.

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One of the great ironies in our society is that we celebrate freedom and then limit the parts of life where we should be most free.

When you are in a position to not be a nice person, that's when you find out who you really are.

I wake up every day and go to bed every night knowing I'm the luckiest guy on the fucking planet.

My house is pretty much in order. When it comes, it comes. But my mother lived to be 101, so knock on wood.

The best part of any relationship is the beginning.

My favorite nightcap is Jack Daniel's and Coke. Or Pepsi. You get the Jack Daniel's in there, it doesn't matter.

My views have evolved from childhood, but I haven't changed my mind in a very dramatic way. I've always felt I was on the side of the angels.

My life is an open book. With illustrations.

Originally published in the June 2002 issue

This story appeared on Esquire.

* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Wil S. Hylton
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