He doesn’t need your sext: A response to Jennifer Lawrence

Much can be said about the incident last month in which explicit pictures of multiple celebrities were hacked and leaked online.

I don’t want to spend time talking about what a stupid idea it is to take and upload explicit photos of yourself (a.k.a. porn), nor do I want to talk about what an even stupider thing it is to hack into people’s private accounts, steal their photos, and spread them online. Those who committed this crime are guilty of both theft and sexual exploitation, and I’ve been glad to see those crimes condemned. Actor Lucas Neff, for example, tweeted “Stealing someone’s naked photos is the same as tearing someone’s clothes off in public. It’s sexual assault.” Quite right!

This week, Jennifer Lawrence—one of the victims of this crime—made her first official response to the incident in an interview for Vanity Fair. An article on MTV News, relates Jennifer as saying:

“I started to write an apology, but I don’t have anything to say I’m sorry for,” she said. “I was in a loving, healthy, great relationship for four years. It was long distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you.”

It’s that last line that I want to talk about. I find it, with all due respect to Lawrence, sexist, false, and sad.

It is sexist because it portrays men as only being interested in one thing and incapable of self control. These may be the sorts of “men” Lawrence runs circles with, but it doesn’t describe many of the men I know—men who are virtuous despite the temptations the world throws at them, who fight valiantly against selfishness, and desire to love the women they’re with as Christ loved the Church. That is, they’re willing to sacrifice things (including their immature desires) for the good of their beloved.

Secondly, it’s false. She says men have two options: 1) look at porn, or 2) look at you.

And by “look at you,” I assume she doesn’t mean, “look at you while you’re praying the rosary on your evening walk together.”

No, she means either a guy will lust over you or someone else. It’s like saying, “either your boyfriend will be obese or he’ll be anorexic.” Isn’t there a third option? Like, maybe he’ll be healthy? And there is such a thing as sexual health, we call it chastity. Though chastity may conjure up images of either uncomfortable belts or the notion of repressing sexuality in the name of “abstinence”… chastity is neither of these things but so much more.

Chastity is a virtue, like courage. Just as courage enables a man to be brave in the face of fear, so chastity enables a men and women to love in accord with their inestimable dignity and worth. A person who cultivates the virtue of chastity is one who is in control of their sexual desire, rather than their sexual desire being in control of him or her. To be chaste is to be free.

Finally, this statement from Lawrence is just sad. It’s as if she’s resigned herself to the belief that men are weak and lustful and so the best you hope for is that they’ll lust over you instead of the women in porn.

However, I can still see a flicker of hope. She at least doesn’t want a man she dates to lust over other women. That is, she wants a love that is faithful and exclusive. It’s funny isn’t it? That despite our culture’s mockery of marriage, there still resides deep within the human heart a desire for a love that is exclusive, faithful, and permanent.

We call that kind of true love marriage. The Church, in calling us to the virtue of chastity, and in extolling the Sacrament of Marriage, isn’t asking us to suppress our deepest desires, she’s telling us they’re attainable.

True love is attainable, but not without the cross.

It’s a cross to sacrifice the temptation of lust for the dignity and freedom of virtue. Love is not always easy, but it is worth it.

I can only pray that the men Jennifer Lawrence dates, as well of the rest of us take to heart the words of St. Josemaria Escriva:

“There is need for a crusade of manliness and purity to counteract and nullify the savage work of those who think man is a beast. And that crusade is your work.”

It is our work to be examples today. You can show the world that there is a better, healthier way to love. True love is not resigned to the inevitability of lust. True love does not mean you need to take off your clothes so that your boyfriend or girlfriend will remain faithful to you. True love is found in the freedom of chastity.

This article was originally published on Lifeteen.com


m-fraddMatt Fradd is the author of the new book Delivered: True Stories of Men and Women who Turned from Porn to Purity


  1. Strong stuff in there, thank you. Awesome article, keep them coming

    By Samuele | 7 years ago Reply
  2. I LOVE This kind of post. I am a teacher in a catholic school, and I work with teenagers that are so desperate to experience the true love, but they are also very confused

    By María José Navarro | 7 years ago Reply
  3. Good, good, good.

    By mcn | 7 years ago Reply
  4. Thank you! I will definitely share this. God bless you.

    By oni | 7 years ago Reply
  5. I have loved everything about JLaw, always been a fan, until this whole incident and was appalled by her statement. I love this article, more women need to see this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    By Jessie | 7 years ago Reply
  6. Great post!

    We are stronger than that and we don’t have to succumb to temptation. True love is worth the wait, whether it means waiting for marriage or waiting for one’s spouse to come home after being away for work. Men (and women) do not need nude photos to lust after.

    By Stephanie | 7 years ago Reply
  7. Great post! Thank you.

    By Fran | 7 years ago Reply
  8. Yes! I thought the same thing when I read her comment, “either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you.”

    I hate that men are often believed to be unable to handle their urges. This puts women in a place of feeling overwhelmingly responsible (which is not at all how marital intimacy should be) and causing some men to believe that they really don’t have control. Truth is, God gives all of us the ability to reign that in with His help.

    I’m saddened that any female would believe she has to provide a man with pictures of her nude body to keep him faithful. Certainly, this type of thought process is not helpful in or out of marriage.

    Chastity truly is the answer. Great post, Matt!

    By Jessica | 7 years ago Reply
  9. I disagree with the whole premise of the response. There is nothing wrong with nakedness or lust. People enjoy porn and for the most part it hurts no one. Obviously people want love but that is not mutually exclusive. It sounds like she had a healthy non-represesed sexual life with her boyfriend. Probably more fulfilling than the relationships of those here that think porn is a sin or something to resist. But it is a free country.

    By Dave | 7 years ago Reply
    • “Only the chaste man and the chaste woman are capable of true love”
      Saint Pope John Paul II
      To understand chastity, I think it’s necessary to understand more of love

      By Gustavo | 7 years ago Reply
    • When God created the human body without clothes ,”called it good”. It says so in Genesis. Yes, He made women’s bodies beautifully!
      What sacrelige it is then to pervert them by lust! Would we throw pearls to swine?
      Beauty must be Loved!

      By Gabriel | 7 years ago Reply
    • Coming from someone who was dealt with porn, it DOES hurt people.

      By Kate | 7 years ago Reply
  10. Thank you for your analysis on this topic. What Jennifer shared in the magazine was very strong and it might convince some people however, what you just said it’s so true, she cannot assume that your boyfriend or girlfriend is only expecting to see you naked. I am a seminarian and I really appreciate your blogs. You and you family are always in my prayer. God bless!!

    By Francisco Carbajal | 7 years ago Reply
  11. Thanks!!

    By Annie Wong | 7 years ago Reply
  12. Excelent post. I love it.

    By Stephanie Puerto | 7 years ago Reply
  13. I adore this post. Thank you for spreading the message that a requisite of any relationship is not the abandonment of chastity. While my dissapointment with JL doesn’t come from the fact that she wanted her boyfriend to see her naked, I’d say most all relationships include the factor of lust. The problem occurs when this lust overshadows he respect and love a couple has (should have) for one another, and you get a case such as with her mentality that if she can’t sedate his lust, he’ll look for other women to do so. That doesn’t sound like a commited relationship to me.

    By Abby | 7 years ago Reply
  14. That’s great nice post …..

    By fatima | 7 years ago Reply
  15. Human beings are not animals since animals react by using their instincts.God gave us freedom to act responsibly for our actions. This article is really great! Thanks for posting this!

    By Analyn | 7 years ago Reply
  16. Being involved with porn is not dealing with reality. Pictures don’t have feelings like flesh and blood does. When a man & woman are in a real committed relationship (marriage) they love each other for who they are- a gift from God to each other.

    By rita vessey | 7 years ago Reply
  17. Life is short, and this article saved vablluae time on this Earth.

    By Aileen | 7 years ago Reply
  18. God bless you Matt for coming up with such an awesome writeup on this!

    By Lan | 7 years ago Reply

Leave a Reply