I have been a woman online for a long time. Not to date myself, but I was a young girl back on AOL, making IM friends with absolute strangers. The platforms and technology have advanced substantially since that horrendous dial-up tone, yet that cyber reach across the world, that pseudo-anonymous access to strangers remains the same.

In my tenure, I have seem some things. In more recent years, I have had the decided displeasure to experience one laughable phenomena: the unsolicited dick pic.

Now, we could delve into the psychology of photographing one’s genitals then thrusting them upon a stranger via their DMs. I’m sure plenty of smarter people have already analyzed the topic. I definitely included it in my horror novel about online dating, The Rest Will Come. Because, honestly, can you write a book about online dating without including a few dick pics?

Maybe you have never snapped a picture of your engorged member. Maybe an uninvited phallus has never graced your inbox. Maybe they are part of your daily ritual. Maybe you love receiving a foreign eggplant snap and they brighten your day when they pop up on your screen.

Leaving motives and judgements aside, for those of you who send, let’s instead just touch on some basic dick pic etiquette. (Of course, “dick pic” suggests one kind of genitalia; however, I think these guidelines can be neutralized and applied to all gender expressions. Take the “dick” vernacular to mean whatever you like.)

Dick Pick Guidelines

If you feel compelled to document and share your anatomy, consider the following:

1. Consent – No dick pic should ever be unsolicited. There’s a reason exposing yourself without permission or in public in the real world is illegal. No one should open a message and be confronted with a piece of your body they did not agree to see. I suppose with a large enough sample, you might see some success and positive response. However, I have to think a targeted approach where you secure consent before the dick comes out would be more successful in the long term. Like real life, talk before you whip your dick out.

2. Sender Beware – As you are blasting pictures of your anatomy across the internet, consider permanence. Let’s remember that things on the internet are forever. Even with an expiring, view-once message, there are screen captures. Even a deleted thread still exists on a server somewhere. Just because you can no longer see it does not mean it is gone. I would caution not sending anything you do not want popping up in a more public forum. And if you are stepping out of a relationship, recall that your partner may recognize your member out wandering through other people’s inboxes. And if you did not refer to #1, this could become more of an issue.

3. Realism – No one thinks that porn still is you. No one believes you have studio lighting and a professional manscaper. If you have followed #1 and found someone who wants to see it and considered #2 and feel safe sharing, maybe use your actual dick. Otherwise, what are we even doing here? Unless perhaps the purpose of the exchange was phallic catfishing. If your intent is ultimately a physical follow through, they might notice.

4. Composition – If you have made it through #1 and #2 and even committed to #3, let’s talk about picture composition. I understand the convenience of shooting in the bathroom. Your pants are already down. Perhaps you saw your dick and thought it was popping in the lighting. But perhaps you could angle yourself to exclude the toilet. If you cannot crop that out, could you at least flush? You may be undermining your goals by not considering your background.

I appreciate the tempting, seeming anonymity of the internet. It can appear like a dark corner where no one will notice. In reality, it is more tracked and surveilled than the real world. When in doubt, follow the same rules that apply in the real world. Get permission. Don’t do something you’ll regret. If you’re going to do it, make it real and look good.

Ultimately, this is the internet. This is THE place to find the person who is into whatever you are into. So if you are into sending off pictures of your genitals, I wish you the best in finding a willing and happy recipient. A little cyber etiquette could not hurt in that endeavor.

Christina Bergling

https://linktr.ee/chrstnabergling

Comments
  1. I’ve heard online dating has its horrors!

    Liked by 1 person

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