Posted By Jeff on January 14, 2009
Playboy has published its list of the 55 most important people in sex over the past 55 years, and Shere Hite isn’t on it? Puhhlease. She belongs in the top 20, maybe the top 10. No one has done more for female orgasm and masturbation than Hite did in the 1970s. Practically singlehandedly, she pushed the clitoris to co-equal status with the penis. So yes, we know the brain is the most important sex organ … but Hite’s work got the blood flowing there as well.
Monica Lewinsky is at No. 6. If I was just going to dismiss the list out of hand, I might stop there. She rates, according to Playboy Editor Chip Rowe by way of Daniel Radosh of the Daily Beast, because “if not for her, Al Gore would have won the 2000 election.” You could make the case that Al Gore did win the 2000 election, but no matter. I’d have had no quarrel if Playboy put Bill Clinton on the list, or even JFK. But not the intern chick.
But mostly, Playboy’s list is a pretty good effort and I wouldn’t fight it top to bottom. Alfred Kinsey, Dr. John Rock (inventor of “The Pill”) and (surprise) Hugh Hefner lead off, followed by most of the usual suspects. The Brits credited with discovering Viagra are at No. 9; Helen Gurley Brown is eleventh; Dr. Ruth is 13th.
Radosh notes that the Playboy 55 are lily-white, ignoring the contribution of Black American sexual culture to society at large: he proposes Richard Roundtree (Shaft) and LL Cool J. Maybe. But what about Barry White, for cryin’ out loud, whose name and voice are practically synonymous with sex? How about Dr. Joycelyn Elders, still telling it like it is? If you want to really stir things up, how about Wilt Chamberlain, who claimed to have had sex with 20,000 women …
There are no Asians on the list, either … and I, for one, have to say that …… Deng Xiaoping belongs on the list. China’s “One Child” policy, established ostensibly as a temporary measure under Deng’s rule in 1979, remains in effect to this day and is credited for reducing population growth in China by 300 million over the last 25 years. If that hasn’t had far-reaching consequences for sex, I don’t know what has.
Back to who is actually on the Playboy list:
- Tim Berners-Lee, who probably wasn’t expecting this particular honor, is at No.8, for inventing the World Wide Web, which has probably done more than anything to destroy Playboy since Bob Guccione and Penthouse. (Curiously, Bob doesn’t make the list.)
- The Rolling Stones, No. 7? Madonna is tenth? Grrr. OK, but I would have picked the Beatles and Bonnie Raitt. Joni Mitchell. Uhh, OK, so as much as I love women singer-songwriters, I guess if you have to pick one who was a sex icon, it’s Madonna.
- Howard Stern would not have made my list. I don’t understand why he’s there at all.
- There are no gays besides (sheesh) Rock Hudson, as Radosh points out. No lesbians. (Well, probably.) What’s with that?
- Neither Farah Fawcett nor Bo Derek belong on the list.
(Note to self … make a list soon of the top 25 of just the Internet era.)
So … who would have made your list? Comments, rants, etc. welcome, as usual.