Unsolicited dick pics – whyyyyy?
I recently spoke to Gareth May, writing for Dazed, about dick pics and (some) men’s overwhelming compulsion to send them — regardless often of whether or not the recipient actually wants them.
You can read Gareth’s piece — “Why do men send dick pics no-one asked for?” — over on Dazed right here (5/4/16). According to Gareth, “the 21st century will be known for many things and the rise of the unsolicited cock pic is one of them – what’s the motivation?”
And you can check out our full correspondence re unsolicited dick pics below — enjoy!
Gareth May: From a sociologist’s point of view, have men always waved their dicks around (to people who don’t want to see them)? Or is this a fairly modern phenomena?
DrCT: Like most social behaviors, there’s nothing really new under the sun when it comes to sexual display — though technology certainly makes it seem different (and allows for far more opportunity for sexual display). Men have been flashing unsuspecting people in public and highlighting their boners on trains for decades — even centuries. The unsolicited dick pic is just another iteration of the same type of behavior.
GM: Obviously tech allows people to send dick pics now but what are the social and sexual factors that contribute to men feeling the need to send pictures of their privates to, let’s be honest, mostly women? Is there an element of assertion there? Or control over women?
DrCT: The “why” behind men’s motivations re sending dick pics is likely as varied as men themselves. Dick pics (be they solicited or unsolicited) are not a heterosexual phenomenon though — the desire to brandish/share one’s penis is not limited to heterosexual men. The gender power piece of the conversation become more complex when you consider heterosexual men’s motivations specifically though. It may be that men are trying to shock women or exert their sexuality “by force” in a world where that’s becoming increasingly vocally intolerant to presumptuous sexual display. It also may be an attempt to put a toe into the waters of erotic expression. Though potentially misfired in this specific scenarios, it’s possible that some (heterosexual?) men are attempting to explore their own sexual expression is a manner that was, historically, limited.
GM: Lastly, why do men still send unsolicited dick pics despite the obvious increase in “shaming”? Maybe men don’t feel shame the same way women do about their bodies?
DrCT: It may be that some men are impervious to and/or unaware of the increased shaming associated with unsolicited dick pics. On a more sociological level, it may also be that some still feel “protected” by the anonymity we still allow most men (if they choose it). Put simply, women’s bodies are often “on display” — even when clothed — far more intensely than men’s. For many many men though, the hallmark of sexuality (the penis, which we’ve positioned socially and historically in this way) is still very very hidden. So, so what if someone posts your dick pic? Unless they attach your name to it, no one will know it’s you.
Afterward: In thinking about this topic further, the idea that some men may be struggling with erotic display — something that women deal with basically starting at puberty, whether they want it or not — is especially interesting. Maybe those dick pics are their version of a sexy pic — and when was the last time you complained when a lady send you a sexy pic, solicited or otherwise?