5 Reasons Why Unsolicited Dick Pics Are Not Okay
Imagine you are sitting at home. It is a Tuesday evening. You just had some take out and now you are watching the newest Netflix movie, while snuggling up with your partner. Your phone vibrates, and you see a new message on your favourite social media platform. James2878475928? Well, you don’t know him, but maybe James has something important to say. You click the message and following a “whats up” (important to notice here that the usage of proper grammar, punctuation and apostrophes are not in James’s set of skills), you see a picture of a naked, hard penis. Not a full body picture, no face. Just a penis. You shudder, close the message, tell your partner, open the message again and block the person. You feel dirty, disrespected and hurt. And you promise yourself to never accept messages from random men again.
The dick pick, a much laughed about phenomena, is one symptom of our internet age, that doesn’t seem to go away. It is the modern Neanderthal’s way of saying “I want sex, uh uh. Woman, you give me sex”. While there are no studies that show the actual success rate of that sort of courting, I can honestly assume that it is most likely low.
Many women have been there (4 out of 10, studies suggest). It doesn’t matter if you are conventionally pretty, if you dress provocatively, if you are smart, silly, funny, witty or you have a profile picture of a pokémon. If a dick pick sending man senses you are a woman, they will attack you with what they think would impress you the most: their penis. It is ridiculous, really. Not even monkeys are as primitive in courting.
I am not saying all men are as ridiculous in their courting techniques. But what I am saying is that many heterosexual cis-men think it is their right to push their naked genitals on us. If you are the recipient of an unsolicited dick pic, you are not better than other women, not prettier, not sexier. No. You are a victim of unwanted attention. We can make fun of it, we can brush it off. But in the end, sending unsolicited dick pics should never be acceptable behaviour in any kind of society.
But why is sending dick pics wrong? And how do you deal with it, once the deed has happened and you stare at a stranger’s genitals in your inbox?
Reasons Why Unsolicited Dick Pics are Not Okay
I like consensual sex chats like the next person. I am pretty good at them too. I like sending nudes, and yes, in the right moment, I love seeing a dick pic. Not necessarily because I find cocks attractive, but because I like seeing that my partner is aroused. Aroused because of our play, our flirt. But I am not talking about dick pics that are being exchanged in consensual sex chats. I am talking about unsolicited dicks pics that men send to women who have not agreed to any kind of sexual interaction.
Reason One: Unsolicited Dick Pics are Sexual Harassment
A lot of people compare unsolicited dick pics with flashing, but I don’t agree with that. They are worse than that. They are like a stranger knocking at your door, pushing himself into your hallway and showing you his hard cock. That sounds very uncomfortable, doesn’t it? Dick pics make women feel uncomfortable too. I don’t see them as flashing because they don’t happen in a public space. They happen in private messages. They are about someone invading your private space without your consent.
Now, if someone decides to share pictures of their genitals in a public space, like let’s say on a public feed, then I don’t find it as problematic. But a private message initiates a private conversation between two parties. And if one of the parties starts to sexually pressure someone with pictures of their genitals, then that is sexual harassment. It might seem less so to many because it is often about strangers. But if your boss, your co-worker or your friend pushing you into unwanted sexual situations is classed as sexual harassment, then why isn’t it the same if a stranger on the internet does so?
The important thing is that there is no consent about a sexual interaction. You initiate something sexual without the other person agreeing to it. I also want to add that dick pics as a form of unwanted sexual advances can be a strong negative trigger for those who are survivors of sexual abuse.
Reason Two: Women actually don’t like unsolicited dick pics
See, there are hundreds upon hundreds of articles online that discuss the different things that turn men and women on. While there are of course deviations, and not all women agree to it: a dick pic out of any sexual context is not a turn on.
Let’s be honest, dicks are not attractive. What makes them arousing is the person they are attached to. What makes a hard cock attractive is when it got hard during a consensual sexual exchange. No woman is going to exclaim: “Oh lord have mercy, your dick is so attractive and beautiful, let me send you a picture of my wet cunt!”.
While receiving dick pics during a sex chat can be a turn on, receiving them out of nowhere can be confusing and disturbing. It is all about consent and context!
Reason Three: Sending unsolicited dick pics is misogynistic behaviour
Sending unsolicited dick pics is a form aggressive sexual behaviour. It assumes old stereotypical gender roles in a sexual context. While some women (hello! Me!) are submissive in the bedroom, not all women are. And even the women with those tendencies deserve the respect of consent.
It is about an assumption that women have to like when a man is sexually aggressive towards them. It is about a heterosexual man assuming that he has the right to a woman’s sexuality, her sexual space and can just take what he wants. Actually, sending unsolicited dick pics is a representation of old patriarchal structures where men think they deserve sexual attention by women. (I wonder how many incel guys are actually engaged in that kind of behaviour? It seems like it would be right up their street when it comes to their view of a woman’s worth and place in the world).
Reason Four: Unsolicited Dick Pics will not help you find a serious partner
This study suggests that many men who engage in sending unsolicited dick pics to women are looking for a serious partner. It is basically their way of trying to get the attention of someone they see as a potential. partner While I am not one to slut-shame and would totally support any women who chooses to start any kind of relationship based on a single dick pic, I would find picking that man to be a questionable choice.
Why, you say? Because that man does not know how to respect boundaries, does not understand consent and seems to be primarily interested in the primal part of any relationship. But not only that. As I mentioned earlier, most women do not get turned on by a dick pic sent out of context. There are just a lot more respectful ways to look for a partner.
Reason Five: You are ruining online sex
With the risk of receiving unwanted sexual attention, women might just change their behaviour. Reading messages from men they don’t know might just become something they avoid. They become more wary. By sexually harassing women with unsolicited dick pics, you are limiting their possibilities to sexually express themselves.
With the fear that these men create in them, they make it impossible for them to engage with respectful men, with men who are not disrespectful, with men who they could have positive, consensual sexual interactions with. As I mentioned earlier, sending unsolicited dick pics is a new way for patriarchal structures to express themselves: in this case by limiting women’s possibilities to sexual freedom.
Taking Back Control
It might be difficult to control men who want to send unsolicited dick pics to women, but I think there are still a few things that women can do to take back some of the control that these men try to take away from us. It is actually a possibility to report such incidents to the police, as this article points out. It can be classed as either sexual harassment or domestic abuse (if it is someone you are dating or have been on a date with).
Some women publicly shame the men who contact them with pictures of their genitals. It is not something that I would personally do. But then, why not? If you don’t show respect to women, why should they show respect to you?
My personal to go to strategy is to just ignore those men. I don’t give them any attention. What they want from me is a reaction, they want to be seen, they want to have feedback in one way or another. But I just ignore them. I don’t even block them, unless they don’t stop sending messages. Because I am not a toy for someone’s sexual pleasure, unless I make the choice to be just that. And I am not a figure in anyone’s game to push down women. I don’t engage because these men are not worthy engaging with.