I’m going to throw it out there and say that if you’re over the age of consent, the chances are you’ll have sent, or received, a dick pic.
As social media has evolved, the phenomenon of sharing our privates has skyrocketed because modern technology and picture sharing apps make it easy.
There has been mass debate over whether sending unsolicited dick pics should be a crime because, y’know, you can’t just flash someone in the middle of the street – so why do men feel the online sphere is any different?
Well, according to psychologists at Pennsylvania State University, men could be showing off far more than just their wienerwurst with their dick pic sending habits.
A new paper published in the Journal of Sex Research has revealed the characteristics most commonly associated with men who send unprompted willy snaps, and I won’t lie, they’re not good.
Exhibitionism (obvs), narcissism, openness to sexuality and just downright sexism were the top traits to come up among the 1,087 men who admitted to researchers whether they’d sent dick pics.
In the study, aptly called ‘I’ll Show You Mine So You’ll Show Me Yours’, it was determined that ‘men who reported having sent unsolicited dick pics demonstrated higher levels of narcissism and endorsed greater ambivalent and hostile sexism than their non-sending counterparts.’
Researchers noted the study predominantly addresses heterosexual men, because ‘the culture surrounding unsolicited genital images shared between men who have sex differs notably from the heterosexual culture.’
The study continues ‘this is not to suggest that only those who exclusively identify as male can send a dick pic (transgender and non-binary individuals may also send dick pics), but rather that the act of sending unsolicited pictures of one’s genitals seems to be relatively exclusive to those who have a penis.’
Of the 1,087 participants, 48 per cent of men admitted to pushing pictures of their junk without request (or consent), which I would hazard a guess won’t come as a surprise to many women.
The paper notes a ‘transactional mindset’ as being the biggest motivation behind sending dick pics, i.e. wanting to receive a nude in return. ‘Partner hunting’ was ranked second, despite the fact the researchers point out ‘women tend not to appreciate or reciprocate upon reception of these images.’
Researchers found the majority of men ‘do not intend to cause harm or negative psychological outcomes’ with their unsolicited pics, despite the fact it’s quite literally a form of sexual harassment.
One self-confessed dick pic sender told UNILAD that although he’d never send a nude without consent, when he does send pictures, they’re as much about enjoyment for himself as they are for the recipient.
He explained to UNILAD:
For me, sharing nude photos of myself has always just been a turn-on, which has hopefully been as much fun for the recipient who asked to see my dick as it was for me sharing it, and getting their nude photos in return.
I think there are a variety of motivations for me sending them. If I am single at the time and it is for a woman I’m chatting with online, the motivation could be in exchange for nudes of them, or just for the (consensual – always consensual) thrill of sharing something intimate with an attractive woman.
As for right now, with my girlfriend, it’s definitely an intimate, sexy thing.
After speaking to many women, the common consensus seems to be that unsolicited dick pics just get ignored – but what happens when women stand up and say no to unwanted wieners?
One woman has detailed the horrific abuse she’s received, on many occasions, when turning down unwanted advances in the form of phallus photos on the internet.
Jade Sung has faced aggressive racial slurs from men who have been upset when she’s declined to meet up post-dick pic.
The 26-year-old told UNILAD:
I’ve had people saying I’m obviously a Thai bride when I’ve rejected them after they’ve sent dick pics.
Then one guy started being a dick after I rejected him, telling me it was my mate on my picture that he fancied anyway and not me.
What’s most concerning is the fact that some of these men seem to believe women are obligated to return the favour, or even meet up for sex, despite never having requested the explicit image in the first place.
Fortunately, the majority of the men who participated in the study appeared to have good (if somewhat misguided) intentions. 82 per cent of the men had intended to excite their recipient, with another 50 per cent hoping it would make their partner feel attractive.
One of the authors of the study, Dr Cory Pedersen, a professor in psychology, says they weren’t ‘overly shocked’ that dick pic senders scored higher on narcissistic traits.
She explained to UNILAD:
We were surprised that dick pic senders did not more strongly endorse sexist and misogynist motives for sending, in light of the common perception, and some feminist discourse suggesting otherwise.
And we were surprised that the most commonly endorsed rationale was a transactional mindset – hence the title of our study.
The psychologists intend to continue their study to determine the role dick pics play in relationships and sexual harassment.
The study concludes:
The dick pic lies at the intersection of the zeitgeists surrounding consent, gender, sexuality and technology.
Further research on the subject could provide insights into myriad contemporary topics such as online sexual harassment, online dating culture and gender relations.
There’s a lesson to be learned here fellas. Your motive may simply be tit for tat, but sending unsolicited dick pics could possibly paint you as a narcissist, with a degree of misogynistic or sexist tendencies, so you might want to think twice before dishing out pictures of your penis – unless specifically requested, of course.
That being said, another study, which was unveiled at the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting in New York City, claims women are four times more likely than men to share nudes and sext in order to feel empowered, or to keep the recipient interested. So as ever, anthropological studies are playing catch up with technology and how it develops or mirrors human behaviour and values.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.