Unsolicited dick pics: why do men send them?

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Sometimes you’re texting a man you met on a dating app and he – apparently – suddenly feels the need to share a picture of his penis. Nude of course, and definitely without you asking for it. Or you’ve posted a beautiful, sexy photo of yourself on Instagram and the dick pics flood your inbox. What is the reason men send unsolicited pictures of their genitals? And how do women feel about it? We’ll try to figure it out in this blog post.

What are dick pics?

A dick pic is a picture of a dick: a photo of a nude penis. Men send them to strangers and people they know, solicited and unsolicited. They do this in a private chatroom via a dating app, through personal messages on social media, by text, or by email. When a dick pic is send without the receiver asking for it, it is sexual harassment. This is the digital equivalent of a flasher who shows his penis to people on the street.

When is a dick pic wanted?

A dick pic is generally considered unwanted, unless the receiver explicitly asked for it, or if the picture was sent by a partner or lover. It can be an exciting part of your sex life in which sexting plays a role. Sexting means that you and your partner send each other naughty texts. If a woman asks for a picture of your genitals, you can respond to it if you want. But don’t send nude pictures if nobody asked for it!

Half of all men sent a dick pic at some time in their life

Research conducted by Men’s Health among 5,500 hetero American men shows that 47% of the participants have sent a dick pic at some time in their life. Half of these pictures were sent without invitation. Canadian research, published in the Journal of Sex Research, was conducted among more than a thousand hetero men. Almost half of them (48%) had sent a dick pic without permission at some time. The group of men who had sent dick pics turned out the be younger and more narcissistic than the rest of the group, and had a negative attitude towards women.

Reasons for sending a dick pic

Sexual arousal can be the reason for a man to send a picture of his penis. Pride, wrong expectations, and being very visual can also play a part. We asked men and sexologists: why do men send pictures of their penis without anyone asking for it?

Men are very visual

There are a number of reasons. An important difference between men and women is the way in which men get aroused. They are very visual. If men see a vagina, they get aroused. This leads them to think that women also immediately get aroused when they see a penis. Unfortunately for those men, women are often unimpressed by a nude penis. On the contrary: they think it’s gross, shocking, and derogatory.

Quid pro quo

The saying ‘quid pro quo’ often plays a part in sending a dick pic as well. The Canadian research mentioned above conducted by the Journal of Sex Research mentions this as the most important reason (44%) for sending a dick pic. If you send a woman a picture of your genitals, then she has to respond with a picture of her vagina, right? Wrong. Nobody has to send a nude picture if they don’t want to. Not men, not women, and especially not as a repsonse to an unsolicited dick pic.

Men don’t know any better

American sexologist Justin Lehmiller says the notion that women like receiving dick pics is the most obvious reason for men to send them. According to him, hetero men often interpret friendliness as flirting and overestimate the need for sex that women have. The sender hopes for sex by sending a picture of his manhood. Seducing someone in order to build a long-lasting relationship also seems to be one of the reasons.

For shock value

Men who use AirDrop to send a picture on the train or men who flash their genitals in public: they exist. In the old days, these men would wear long coats and flash passers-by, now they simply send their pictures digitally. About one in ten men who were interviewed during the Canadian research did this for shock value. They felt powerful and in control. These men often also hated women.

They don’t read signs very well

Our own sexologist Nynke Nijman suggests that men can’t read some signals very well… According to her, men do have certain expectations that are wrong. For example, if you compliment a man on his appearance, you might suddenly find a dick pic in your inbox.

An example: Leah was supposed to meet a man she met on a dating site. They were going to get some coffee and go for a walk together. To make it easier to meet, she gave him her phone number. He almost immediately sent her dick pics.

This is what men say about dick pics

On Reddit, a man named Jake admitted: “I’ve done it a couple of times, mainly for approval. Although men don’t often admit it, we are also insecure about our bodies. Especially down there. We simply want someone to say we look good.” He adds: “Sometimes a picture is well-received and then I’ll feel good about myself again for a while.”

Dave says: “If the conversation was good, but then kind of deflates, I sometimes send a picture. Then they can stop texting me or I can get her into bed.” John shares that he has sent more than a hundred pictures in the past. Sometimes that led to naughty conversations, but generally speaking they didn’t. Women often got angry or he didn’t get a reply at all. Now that he is a lot older, 60 years old at the moment, he realises that it was disrespectful to behave like that.

What do women think about dick pics?

No less than four out of ten young women between the ages of 18 and 36 in the United Kingdom have received one or more unsolicited dick pics according to research. I, the author of this blog post (36, married, and mother of two children) regularly find dick pics in my Instagram inbox. As far as I’m concerned, dick pics should be blocked immediately by social media platforms. The last thing I want is receiving unsolicited pictures of a stranger’s penis.

Women often feel angry, intimidated, offended, or unsafe when they receive a dick pic. It is derogatory and unacceptable behaviour. According to sexologist Mandy Ronda, the problem is underestimated and receiving a dick pic can be traumatising. “It is important that we start seeing this as sexual harassment,” she says. “It is a misunderstanding that women simply laugh about it. No woman likes it.”

Best reactions to dick pics

From ignoring them to contacting the sender’s partner: there are many ways you can respond when you receive an unsolicited dick pic. These are the funniest and best reactions.

Make a drawing

Take Sher van der Zee for example, who creates illustrations based on the pictures she receives and then posts them on Twitter. And when she sends her illustrations to the senders of the dickpics, they even get angry!

Send it to his partner

Does someone keep harassing you? Take a screenshot of his dick pic and his profile name and send it to his partner. If you know who his partner is, this is easily done.

Threaten to post the picture on social media

If he doesn’t stop, he’ll have to face the consequences. If someone keeps harassing you, take a screenshot, and post it on social media. Wanna bet he’ll learn his lesson?

Block him

Blocking him seems to be the most efficient method to stop the harassment. On social media, it is easy to block someone, as is blocking someone on dating apps or messenger apps.

Send a meme or GIF

There are plenty of memes or GIFs to be found online that can help you express your disappointment about his penis. From a magnifying glass to other – just as derogatory – pictures. Don’t expect a loving reaction: men are offended very easily.

Have you ever received a dick pic? How did you respond to it?

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