An Open Letter to Teenage Guys About Sexting

Dear guys,

Just so you know, this might get a bit uncomfortable.

I know I only have a few minutes of your time, so I’m going to cut to the chase.

Quit asking for nude pics.

I’m sure it seems harmless to you. After all, if the girl sends them to you it’s consensual, right? And, I get it, all things sexual make you feel stronger, more like a man with stories to tell, bragging rights, and a reputation. I’m sure when you ask for those pictures you mean no harm or ill intent.  But…

Just because you can’t see the hurt doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

I won’t bore you with details, but there’s a lot of research out there that equates your little request for nude pictures to violence. Your request causes trauma (pain) to the girl which increases over time. To put it simply, if you punch someone in the gut, unintentionally perforating their appendix and spilling out its contents, you cause lasting pain and deadly infections, but you would never see it.  

‘Send me a nude picture’ implies that this woman has little value beyond her breasts and skin. You are affirming that her worth is only in how she can please you, make you feel better, and get you off. With each request you inject shame into this girl who deserves nothing less than your respect. You are enjoying her at her expense. You offer nothing and take everything. You are mining for gold, leaving only destruction and debris behind. You are acting as a thief.

 Quit asking for nude pics. Quit being self-centered, cowardly, abusive.

A true man takes his strength and offers it to a woman, he does not go to a woman in order to gain his strength from her.

Not only that, but if she is a minor, you are breaking the law. To have in your possession, create or distribute a sexually explicit photograph of a minor (even if it is consensual) is to have kiddie porn in your possession. That’s 5 years and $50k minimum in Mississippi That’s not good.

Guys, I plead with you, stop sexting. You are killing the hearts of these girls and you don’t even know it or seem to care. Being sexual does not mean you are a man. It does not initiate you into manhood. Find out what true masculinity is. Ask your dad, mentor or some other fatherly man in your life, a man who holds the respect of others (including women), to help you figure it out. True masculinity does not just happen to you; you must seek it out.

These girls you try to win, these women you try to acquire, above all else they long to know that they are valuable, lovely, captivating. Pursue this. Leave behind boyish games and cowardly competitions and start to uncover and celebrate their value.

Dads, if you are reading, ask your boy and his friends about this. Find out what’s going on. Lead him. Guide him. Be a man he can emulate.

If this letter upsets you off, I honestly can’t say I’m sorry. In fact, I’m furious about the gutless boys who harass and sexually manipulate young women.  I’m outraged by our social apathy to do anything about it. I’m sick of hearing ‘boys will be boys’, and how this is a ‘normal’ part of sexual expression, completely dismissing the trauma so often experienced. We collectively allow our boys to grow up thinking that taking from a woman sexually makes them a man. I’m tired of fathers being too embarrassed, ashamed, or afraid to talk to their sons about this.  Dads, while you’re at it, tell your daughters they are above this, they can so no, their beauty does not depend on the praise of others.

I’m going to stop here. I have so much more to say to you. I’m seriously angry, broken, hurting and hopeful. So, I’ll only say this one last time;

Boys, stop asking for nudes. Be a man, a true man.

Earnestly,

Branden Henry

Husband of a captivating wife,
Father of two lovely girls and two powerful boys,
A brother and a son.

 

 P.S. If this finds you wanting but lost, start reading some books by John Eldredge, particularly his recent book ‘Killing Lions’

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