Q & A: Hugh Hefner

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Hefner: I guess I still had some hope. I think I tried it a second time because I'd had the stroke in the mid-1980s and I was feeling my years and my mortality, and I think that I sought it as kind of a safe harbor. And I worked very hard at it, and I was faithful to it. The fact that it didn't work had to do with the relationship and her own insecurities, et cetera. I think there are simply many roads to Mecca, many ways of living your life morally and ethically, and when I was married I was faithful to it, but at the same time I have to be honest and say I'm happier now.

TIME: How do you deal with your mortality now?

Hefner: For whatever combination of reasons, I feel much healthier and younger now — having celebrated my 80th birthday, I feel younger than I did 20 years ago. My head is just in a better place. I don't think a great deal about death any more.

TIME: Now that there are so many alternatives out there, do you still consider Viagra the wonder drug?

Hefner: Certainly for me. I think that there are other brands, but Viagra works for me. There are moments in time at any age when one wishes that one was performing better than they might be, and I think the drug knocks down the wall between expectation and reality. This is the best legal recreational drug out there for guys. It liberates guys in a certain sense as the birth control pill did for women.

TIME: How often are you really in your pajamas?

Hefner: I'm sitting in them right now. I'm sitting in my bed wearing black pajamas. It's a big occasion when I put on pants — only when the occasion calls for it, and that's usually when we're going out to a club.

TIME: I wouldn't peg your music tastes to something you might hear at a club.

Hefner: Well, when we're going to the clubs of course we're dancing to hip-hop and punk. As for my own personal taste I'm still a jazz-oriented guy — I was born in 1926, the first half of the century, which was a romantic time and very jazz-oriented, so I still play a lot of that music at the mansion.

TIME: And in the bedroom?

Hefner: In the bedroom, usually it's more contemporary. I think I'd need the girls to start reeling off the titles of them, though. They blur together.

TIME: Can I come to the mansion?

Hefner: Possibly. Do a good piece and you'll get an invitation.

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