In a strange way, dick pics have defined this weird, at times beautiful, but mostly horrifying place we call the world wide web.
I mean is there any online experience more universal than encountering a penis you never expected nor wanted to see? It’s perhaps only surpassed in its pervasiveness by trolling.
A 2017 market research survey by YouGov, an online polling company, found that 53 percent of millennial women have received one. (The online survey was weighted to represent U.S. adults over 18.) Dick pics are such an embedded aspect of our online experience, in fact, that there’s even a blockchain for that.
Dick pics weren’t even a possibility before widespread internet and cellphone access. Sure, really committed folks could snail mail penis photos. But the distinct experience of suddenly receiving digital schlong in the palm of your hand is pretty much exclusive to the smartphone age.
You don’t even have to be a heterosexual woman, a gay man, bi, or romantically interested or involved with someone who owns male genitalia in order to encounter dick pics. Spend any amount of time on services like Chatroulette or OKCupid, and there they are: dicks. Everywhere.
We’re in the golden age of penis portraiture.
We’re in the golden age of penis portraiture. But unfortunately, we only get to talk about the negative side of it, when dick pic culture can actually be very intricate, multilayered, sex-positive, and feminist (more on that later).
So, we’ve helpfully put together a complete guide to getting a handle on dick pics, both of the solicited and unsolicited variety. Without further ado, some rules:
1. No, it is never OK to send an unsolicited dick pic
Let’s get this one out of the way. There is never ANY reason to send an unsolicited dick pic. We don’t care if you’re just doing it for laughs. It doesn’t matter if you think you can reasonably assume the other person is willing.
Even if it’s with someone who’s already given prior consent or has expressed interest in receiving a dick pic, you still can’t know where in the world they are at the moment you decide to surprise them with some unrequested wang.
Remember: You’re inherently dealing with a digital interaction when it comes to dick pics. That means consent is even harder to establish without an explicit and enthusiastic, “Yes!” Lots of communication can be lost without visual body language cues, and tone is easily misinterpreted.
Always make sure your schlong shot is desired before proceeding. And for parties who want the D pic: Don’t be afraid to respectfully ask (as long as you’re clear that “no” is absolutely an OK response.)
2. When it’s OK to send a dick pic it can be fantastic
Now that we’ve established the basic concept of consent, let’s dig into the less talked about phenomenon: Lots of people (yes, including lots of women) actually love receiving solicited dick pics!
Don’t believe us? Well, Bustle recently wrote an article about the growing phenomenon of dick appreciation threads. One redditor from r/LadyBoner, Kate, explained that, “I don’t like porn because I have to see the men’s stupid faces, whereas with a dick pic, I can imagine whatever I want or even find a dick pic that looks like my boyfriend’s.”
“I don’t like porn because I have to see the men’s stupid faces.”
For her, it’s even empowering. It feels like a reclamation, she said. “It’s an act of choice and agency, unlike when unsolicited dick pics are sent to me … Dicks are fantastic when I’ve consented to interact with them.”
Here’s why dick pics can be an awesomely sex positive and feminist experience: In a world where sending nudes via Snapchat is practically considered a formal “next step” in a millennial relationship, it can feel really weird if it’s only one-sided. Uneven distribution of exposure between the two parties can lead to a sense of uneven vulnerability.
Nudes should be a mutually agreed upon, enjoyable, and equal experience. It’s an opportunity to appreciate and explore each other from a distance (if you protect yourself properly, which we’ll get into later). If you’re sexting with visual aids, dick pics are integral to that balance.
However, not all dick pics are created equally. Which brings us to …
3. There’s definitely an art to taking a great dick pic
I’m not gonna lie: Having never possessed a dick myself, there’s a limit to my advice on the mechanics of taking a good dick pic. For that, check out this great guide from the creator of the blog Critique My Dick Pic (NSFW, obvs), Madeleine Holden. To summarize: Stop freaking out about size, no “log shots,” and setting/production value is important.
However, as a receiver of many D pics (both solicited and unsolicited), I do consider myself something of a connoisseur of the art form. Here’s what to know about creating a masterpiece:
One of the sexiest aspects of a dick pic is the sheer thrill of receiving one. It’s a naughty digital secret you now share together. Like the appeal of getting your own private striptease or sexting, it’s personal, just for you, and a pretty high level of intimacy for a bunch of pixels on a screen. Really makes a lady feel special, you know?
Confidence in your dick pic is super sexy — but arrogance makes us want to gag (and, no, not like the porn stars). Do not use dick pics as a platform to boast and showboat. Which goes hand-in-hand with …
When it comes to pics, size truly doesn’t matter. For one, you can’t even accurately judge in a photo. And if you’re throwing in an object for scale in a dick pic (like a banana — yes, I swear to god men do this), you’re already failing.
What matters is making your dick pic personal. No two dicks are alike, and your partner asked to see yours for a reason. It’s because they already like you, which means they probably already like your dick.
That segues perfectly into our next hot tip: NEVER REPURPOSE A DICK PIC YOU ALREADY SENT SOMEONE ELSE. It is painfully obvious when you’re using a stock photo equivalent of a dick pic. Don’t think we won’t notice, either. Like, damn, Easter’s coming up but there’s a Christmas tree in your photo … ???
I know the phrase “dick pic” rolls off the tongue (get it?!), but if you’re comfortable, you might want to try a dick vid. That invites all sorts of new possibilities for creativity and intimacy, that you should always discuss with your partner first.
Have fun. Sending nudes should be about making each other feel wanted, so only dick pic when both of you feel great about what’s happening.
There’s a lot of trust that goes into sending a nude. And don’t underestimate the need to protect yourself, your data, and your schlong. Check out these safety tips.
4. How to clap back at an unsolicited dick pic
It’s hard to describe just how violating it feels to get an unsolicited dick pic. You can’t ignore the negative aspects of non-consensual dick pics, and the disturbed psychology of individuals who do it.
It’s ludicrous that, while we have laws prohibiting flashers IRL, virtually assaulting people on the internet has no real consequence (besides perhaps getting kicked off a platform). So we recommend shaking off the heebie jeebies of this experience by reclaiming that unwanted penis.
There’s lots of different forms of revenge. One woman threatened to send any dick pics she received on Tinder to the perpetrator’s mom (and actually followed through with it). Others choose witty retorts. There’s even an app to help you do just that.
Artist and activist Whitney Bell reclaimed the experience of receiving unsolicited dick pics by turning them into an art gallery called I Didn’t Ask for This: A Lifetime of Dick Pics, and calling attention to harassment in the digital space. “Professional penis photographer” Soraya Doolbaz took a different artistic approach, with her high-end dicture gallery advocating for better solicited dick pics, while also stripping this symbol of patriarchal power through humor.
So do whatever feels cathartic and right for you, and grab that horrifying unwanted dick by the literal balls. Go wild. Get MS Paint involved. Photoshop a “This Is What A Feminist Looks Like” t-shirt onto it, and send it right back.
Because some fool just sent you their genitals. Abuse the hell outta that power.
5. But most importantly: Protect yourself first
We’ve had some fun, but the hard truth (no pun intended this time), is that clapping back can lead to even more harassment. That’s a risk you don’t have to take if you don’t want to. And there’s other, safer forms of recourse.
But the best options is to block the person immediately: Whether barring a phone number, Instagram or Snapchat account, un-matching on Tinder, disabling open DMs on Twitter, or changing your Airdrop settings to “Contacts Only.”
On most platforms, you can and should report them too (though the results are not always stellar.) Many dating websites even removed the ability to exchange photos altogether to fix the issue. But the following apps explicitly classify harassment like unsolicited dick pics as a reportable offense: Twitter, Facebook, Tinder, Instagram, Reddit, and Snapchat.
So when it comes to dick pics, practice safe sexting. And above all, make sure your virtual junk is only sliding into those DMs who want them.