Women and Gay Men Spill on Guys' Worst Dick Pic Mistakes
There aren't a lot of phrases that evoke a knee-jerk negative reaction quite like “dick pic.” Associated with disgraced politicians and seedy dating app users, these salacious shots are widely considered to be a nuisance, if not outright hostility, by the people on the receiving end of them, most of whom are women.
But perhaps the reputation of dick pics can be rehabilitated. Expertly crafted nudes are wonderful things, after all, and if men had some guidance on how to create erotic, aesthetic images of their nether regions and learned to send them only to welcoming recipients, dick pics could be a transformative power for good—or at least spark arousal rather than disgust.
For men wondering how to up their dick-pic game, recipients are a fertile source for tips: They’ve seen the worst of the worst as well as surprisingly good examples and know the most common mistakes to avoid.
Chief among them is sending dick pics to unsuspecting and non-consenting parties, and depressingly, some men do this on purpose. “Several years ago I was chatting with a guy on a dating app who sent me a [dick] video," recalled Jane, a 33-year-old bookseller. "After I said I wasn’t really into dick pics, he told me, ‘I don’t care if you like it or not, I just get off knowing you saw it.’ I blocked him immediately.”
Not every dick pic sender is as deliberately sinister as that guy, but plenty of men send these photos in a semi-joking manner or on the assumption that recipients will welcome them, which is a bad idea. “Often they’re sent abruptly mid-conversation,” confirmed Melanie, a 30-year-old former online sex chat operator who received dozens of unsolicited dick pics in that role.
There’s a whole range of attitudes to dick pics among women and other recipients: Some find them disturbing or straight-up traumatizing and will never want one; others will be open to the idea. Senders always need to check in first, and asking for consent isn’t especially complicated: “Hey, would you be into me sending you a dick pic right now?” is all it takes. And it should go without saying, but senders should never assume that sex workers are automatically receptive, as in Melanie’s case.
If men had some guidance on how to create erotic, aesthetic images of their nether regions and learned to send them only to welcoming recipients, dick pics could be a transformative power for good—or at least spark arousal rather than disgust.
Senders need to consider the time of day and their recipient’s location, too: Even when there’s a nominal expectation of consent, such as between partners who routinely swap nudes, that doesn’t mean they want a crotch shot at all hours. “[I hate] when it happens without warning and it comes as a surprise,” said Eric, a 34-year-old gay man living in Montreal—and if the recipient’s boss happens to lean over their shoulder right as they check the notification, the surprise won’t be a happy one.
Once the sender has established consent, it’s time to consider aesthetics. Beauty is often a question of harmony: One incompetent musician can derail a whole orchestra’s sound and a few brushstrokes of garish color can ruin a beautiful painting. A similar principle applies to dick pics. Even if you have a perfect penis, your photo can be brought down by poor composition or a decidedly unsexy background object, such as a pile of dirty laundry. While this kind of detail gets picked up by recipients, senders are often too horny to focus on creating an erotic environment. They even stoop as low as sending nudes “when they’re on a toilet seat,” Eric said. “Shit’s nasty.”
Melanie had additional criticisms about the sloppiness of the visuals in the typical dick pic she’d receive in her former job. “Bad angles, no context—just the organ itself,” she said. “[There’s] rarely even any other body part. Bad lighting. Maybe a grimacing face looming above.”
Instead of firing off a horny, rushed dick pic, senders should take a few minutes to plan their photograph. Medium shots with a little context are better than close-ups, which come across as too graphic and clinical, so there’s no harm in employing self-timers, tripods or even selfie sticks. Natural light is best, but abundant artificial light will do in a pinch, and the photo should be taken in a clean, inviting setting—the bedroom is an obvious and perfectly fine choice, but shower dick pics can be hot, too, and worth the extra coordination required.
Because dick pics rarely contain this level of deliberation, recipients often have war stories they share among themselves. “While I was on a date I received a horrible dick pic that looked like a shrub in a hairy forest,” recalled Maxine, a 27-year-old also based in Toronto, who shared the picture with her similarly horrified date. “He took my phone, went to the washroom and sent [the sender] a dick pic back. I never got another dick pic from that person.”
No one wants to be That Guy, and it’s not hard to avoid his fate: According to seasoned dick pic recipients, asking for consent, picking a minimally erotic setting, clearing away background mess and considering angles, framing, composition and lighting are all it takes to elevate the experience.
Remember: Sharing nude photos may be fraught territory, but it doesn’t have to be a battleground.