Monday, March 05, 2012

Dear Woman in the Photo

This letter was featured on my new favorite website: The Good Women Project. This whole month, they will be featuring open letters from men to women. I am posting today's letter because this is a huge issue whether you are single or married, male or female, Christian or not. I appreciate this man's honesty and apology.

Dear Woman in the Photo,

You don’t know me. I’m a guy who found pictures of you online and masturbated while looking at them. That sure is a creepy opening line for a letter, but please do read on.

I’m writing because I need you to know I’m sorry, and I would like to ask your forgiveness.

Maybe I’m doing this more for my own benefit – to remind myself that you are a real person – someone’s daughter, sister, girlfriend, mother maybe. An aspiring actress, a hockey fan, a secret poet… I’m not doing this out of some kind of pressured guilt; I just need to say this.

I want to tell you that you are far too valuable for me to use your body like that, even as an image, and for that I am so sorry. I don’t know how much you got paid for those photos, if anything, but however much it was, you are worth more. More than any amount of money anyone could ever pay. More than any image could ever convey.

I used that image of you to get what I wanted without having to give anything, and I now realize that is unhealthy for me as a man. Here’s why:

You are worth more than any man could ever give, which is why when you give yourself to a man it is a gift he should spend the rest of his life even trying to match with his love, understanding, support, and anything else you might need.

As a man, I believe the very highest life I can lead is to live in gratitude for what I have been given and to really give something to the world. I believe I was born to make a difference, to care for people, and to be the best father, brother, son, friend, husband, and colleague that I can be to the people in my life. When it comes to sex, pornography allows me to act out my desires and get what I want without giving anything.

Everyone knows sex is powerful, and I don’t want that power to be harnessed toward my getting what I want like a spoiled brat. I want the emotional, spiritual, physiological, and physical power of sex to be an expression of my desire to give – that very real desire in me to love one woman with total commitment and without conditions. I don’t want to enjoy any woman’s body until I have first given her my heart, as to do so is to deny my highest purpose and to lower a woman’s value to that of an object to be used and thrown away.

I want to give sex the place of intimacy and respect I’m convinced it needs.

I’m sorry I used your image to attempt to satisfy my desires. I’m deeply sorry that guys like me create a demand for pictures of girls like you, and I need you to know that you have a purpose and a destiny so much bigger than how outwardly attractive you are. I don’t know why you posed for those photos – maybe you needed the money, maybe you were forced, maybe you enjoyed it – really, it doesn’t matter.

Just please believe me when I tell you that you were made to be cherished, protected and loved; that kind of love really does exist no matter how dark this world seems at times. I’m working toward living out that kind of love, and I hope somehow this letter can help both of us discover more of it in some small way.

In my heart of hearts I apologize to you – you unfortunately being just one of many unique expressions of beauty I have reduced to a thrilling image and a one-time experience.

You are worth more. I am worth more. Let’s never settle for less.

Yours sincerely,

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