Hugh Hefner died recently. For my blog today, I’m posting a letter someone I’m close to sent to him a number of years ago. She did not receive a reply.
Please pray for the scores of people still in bondage to pornography and those suffering from the damage it does to families and relationships.” God is able to set men (and women) free from the bondage of pornography. Since the writing of this letter, Renee and her husband went for counseling, and he has made great strides toward freedom.
“Dear Mr. Hefner,
It’s ironic I was born in the same city you were, Chicago, Illinois–in 1953, the year you started your quest to capture the hearts, minds, and libidos of men.
Little did you know when you started your business I and scores of other young girls would find your women hidden in their homes by fathers oblivious to what these images could do to scar little girls’ souls. My father got caught in your trap even though he went to church every Sunday and worked hard to support his family.
So much was stolen from me the day I found those magazines. I thought my father was a faithful husband, but I discovered he wasn’t. This crushed my little girl heart.
Another thing stolen was the sense that someday a man could love me and my imperfect body. I knew I could never measure up to images on those pages, but I vowed to try. I never came anywhere near to attaining a body like theirs, but I wasted precious time and energy on the quest and on feeling bad I failed.
I learned along the way God desires a different kind of perfection–one that has nothing to do with appearance. He wants me to have a perfect heart toward Him—one that is eager to do His will and be all He wants me to be.
When I started to gain weight as a teen I turned to bulimia which lasted into my 20s. I was willing to throw up to try to look like those women. Surely then my someday-husband would not have to look at them. He would look at me and be satisfied.
But that’s not how it turned out. My husband was captured by you and yours at a young age, and he’s been hooked ever since. We’ve been married 38 years, and whenever I pleaded with him to get rid of his “other women,” he pretended he had or did so for a short time.
I found a quote by you not long ago: “One of the great ironies in our society is that we celebrate freedom and then limit the parts of life where we should be most free.” I wondered what kind of freedom you meant? Freedom to break marriage vows? Freedom to objectify women? All the men I know and love gained from looking at your women is bondage—not freedom.
Not only does my husband seem to find it impossible to let go of your women, along the way he let me go. He reached the point where he had no interest in sexual contact with me—only with them.
Often I felt if I possessed more beauty, maybe I could get him to look at me and desire me sexually. But that wouldn’t matter because I couldn’t be a harem of women, and I couldn’t stay young forever. Because of you and those like you, my husband and husbands all over the world have more interest in interacting with images on a piece of paper or a computer screen than with a real live person.
Our marriage vows talked about “forsaking all others,” but my husband hasn’t been able to do that, although He’s tried. But I’m not sure he’s attempted this because he thinks it’s wrong not to, but just because there’s a part of him that fears I may leave. Often I’ve wanted to, but God wouldn’t let me.
I remember the day we renewed our wedding vows. It was near our 25th wedding anniversary. I wanted to do it because I thought James was finally free from these other women. We went to a marriage seminar where at the end we held hands and repeated the vows we made on our wedding day. I remember the look on his face as he said “forsaking all others.” He looked so sincere, so loving.
And yet he was telling lies.
It wasn’t long before I discovered his relationship with your women remained stronger than ever. Once again he pretended to have let them go.
The thought occurred to me that people who were harmed by Playboy magazine could sue you—like the people who sue cigarette companies for not having strong warnings on their products. Where were the warnings on your magazines—that this product could kill desire for sexual intimacy with a real person? That this product could lead to an addiction that could last a lifetime? That this product could hurt your marriage and cause your wife more pain than you ever imagined possible? Where were those warnings?
Mr. Hefner, I have felt I want restitution from you for all the ways you and your women have hurt me and my marriage. But what could you give me? No amount of money could restore what you stole from me—from us.
I praise God He has given me comfort, peace, and hope along the way when I felt unloved and unlovely because of my husband’s obsession with your women.
No, Russell doesn’t just look at Playboy anymore. That was the starter “drug” for his addiction. You were the one who convinced him there’s nothing wrong with this—that it’s normal—that real men look at porn. Some days I feel he can’t let go of it –of them—because he has tied looking at them in with his masculinity. He seems to think if he lets them go, he’d let go of being a man. That’s all a part of the lie you sold him.
I wonder about living in a society that’s so accepting of you. What if you didn’t have millions of dollars or a mansion? What if you lived in a modest home in my neighborhood or any small neighborhood in America? And what if you invited women into your home to be photographed nude and sold pictures of them around the neighborhood—attaching well-written articles to the photos? Would so people still applaud you?
One reason I’m writing this letter is because my anger and bitterness toward you has hurt my life. God has called me to forgive you for all you’ve done to me and to so many other wives. He wants me to pray for you and for all the people whose lives you affected. I know you and I don’t agree. You probably believe you’ve done much good in this world. I can’t change your mind on that, but I can forgive you.
Although I can’t get you to say you’re sorry to me and others, I can say I’m sorry to you. I’m sorry I’ve hated you. I’m sorry I failed to pray for you more and have compassion on you for all the hurts that must have happened to you to cause you to live the life you did. I’m sorry I failed until recently to pray for your healing and to pray God would help you to know Him and live for Him. It pains me to think what might have happened if more of us who call ourselves Christians prayed for you over the years and reached out to you in loving ways. Perhaps we could have made a difference in your life.
Despite my husband’s repeated rejection of me through his devotion to the women you introduced him to, I still love him. Sex is not the most important part of our marriage, so I go on with his latest promise to forsake your women, knowing he will most likely fall again. As I have forgiven him, I feel close again, and I’m praying what the Bible says will come true for our relationship–that God will restore the years the locusts have eaten…(Joel 2:25)
Mr. Hefner, I pray before you die you will get right with God. I feel sad you didn’t use your giftedness for godly purposes, for you truly are a gifted man to be able to persuade so many people to think like you and buy your product—even those calling themselves Christians and attending church every Sunday–like my father and my husband.
I will continue to pray for you and for the downfall of your business and others which have brought so much harm to so many. One day your eyes will be opened to that fact. I pray many more men’s eyes will be opened as well while there is still time to save their marriages and heal their souls.
I would appreciate a response from you if you have the time and inclination. May God intervene in your life in a powerful way in the days before you leave this earth.
Renee Moore” (not her real name)
“My Deliverer” by Rich Mullins
For help for husbands who have this problem or their wives, go to: