Revenge Porn and the True Danger of Sending Nudes


Click on the app, log in, and open your home page. Top right corner — “New Message!” Click.

“Hey there, you’re handsome. How’s it going?”
“Hey there! I’m doing well, just back from the gym. How are you? And you’re handsome, too! Nice profile picture!”
“Thanks, I like your picture, too. Got anymore?”
“Sure, let me send them your way.”
(Send pictures)
“How’s that?”
“Those are nice, but got any nudes? I bet you got a big 🍆 - may I see!? :)”
“Uh…I don’t have any, sorry.”
“Just take some, I’ll wait. You’ve got nothing to worry about. You can trust me.”
“I don’t know…”
“C’mon, you can trust me! Just let me see one pic!?”
“Uh…Alright.”

That’s all it takes for a predator to get into your life and steal away a piece of you through pictures. This conversation is just one of many, far too often found in gay dating apps like Scruff or Grindr. These days, some young people spend more time on dating apps than they do watching TV. It’s an extremely easy way to meet new people and make new friends without the pressure of being face to face with someone up close. If you ever do run into an obvious creep, you can block and ignore them, problem solved. However, it’s the smart ones that are dangerous. The ones who know how to use the apps to fool us; convince us they are harmless, they are good guys (or girls), would never do anything mean or hurtful with your nudes, would certainly never show anyone else, and never forget to use the “T” word — trust. “You can trust me.”

It’s these monsters that prowl through apps like wolves in sheep’s skin, looking for gullible, easy prey to devour. They present themselves to be extremely friendly, even send some pictures of their own, and tell you how handsome and great you are even though they don’t even know your name yet. Unfortunately, even the most beautiful flowers in the garden can hold the most toxic poisons.

I want to tell you all a true story about a friend of mine who went through a very real nightmare back in the summer of 2015. Let’s call him Pete. Pete was new to the whole gay dating scene. Even though he was twenty-three-years-old, he had just come out of the closet and everything from talking to men, sharing pictures, and going on dates was all relatively new to him. One night, on one of the country’s most popular dating apps, Pete met guy online from out of the country, let’s call him Dylan. Dylan was from the U.K. and had his location set to Pete’s hometown because Dylan had explained that he was planning to move to that area and was trying to get a head start making new friends. Pete, ready to make some new friends, himself, opened his arms towards Dylan and started a new online friendship. The two boys had not been friends for 24 hours before Dylan asked Pete for his cell phone number. Pete, not knowing any better and still naïve to the online dating scene, gave Dylan his number.

Days went by as the two boys texted back and forth, and then, out of nowhere, Dylan asked Pete for a picture of his penis. Pete, taken aback, politely declined that request. Dylan, overly friendly and compassionate towards Pete’s concerns and fears, politely convinced Pete that he would never show anyone else the pictures, and that he only wanted them because he felt a strong attraction towards Pete, and that maybe once he moved to his town the two could date.

It took Pete one day of thinking, but he finally gave in and sent Dylan not one, but four pictures of himself naked. Two of him holding his penis, one of his backside, and one naked full-body shot that included his face in the picture. Dylan was thrilled to have them. Pete once again expressed his concerns about the privacy of the pictures, but Dylan was quick to let Pete know that he had nothing to worry about, and the pictures would be for Dylan’s eyes only.

Days went by and Dylan’s attraction to Pete grew stronger and stronger. One morning, Pete awaked to a text message from Dylan explaining that he wanted to get married, and therefore Dylan could obtain a green card. Pete knew right then that he was in deep trouble. This man who he had only been talking to online for a little more than a week was now talking about marriage. Pete realized that maybe Dylan was a little more unstable than he thought when the two first met online. Maybe it was a good idea to ignore Dylan for a little while to send the message that he might be coming off too strong?

Big mistake.

Pete soon received a hostile text from Dylan:

“Pete you’ve been ignoring me for two days and won’t even tell me why! You’re an asshole! You trying to make me look stupid!?”
“This is why I ignored you, dude! You’re coming off too strong and kind of creepy. I’m sorry but we should go our separate ways. Please leave me alone and forget about me. I’m blocking your number now.”

Before Pete could block Dylan’s number, Dylan was able to slip in one last text message.

“You’re going to be so f*****g sorry you ever f****d with me!”

Terrified, Pete ignored that last message and blocked Dylan’s number, erased all of their text messages, and deleted all of his pictures. He logged into the dating app where the two had met and blocked Dylan there, too.

Pete awakened the next day to the sound of his cell phone blowing up with alerts. He looked at his phone and saw dozens of messages from unknown numbers.

“Hey man, great pics! Got any more?”
“Hey, I’m in Seattle, hit me up if you’re ever here!”
“Come to Dallas! I’d love to meet up and get frisky at my place!”
“Ever been to Boston!? I’d love to meet you and have some fun!”
“If you’re ever in the New York area and want to do some professional shooting, give me a call.”

Pete’s mind was racing with confusion, and he replied to one of these strange numbers:

“Excuse me, who are you and how did you get this number?”
“Aren’t you Pete Jones?”
“Yes, and who is this?”
“I saw your page, it’s hot!”
“My page?”
“Yeah, your escort page! You’re hot as hell!”
“Can you link me to that page, please?”

The stranger linked Pete to the supposed escort page, and when Pete clicked on the link, tears flooded his eyes and he had to cover his mouth before throwing up. He was staring at his nude photos, plastered on the internet for the world to see, on a website dedicated to helping gay men find male escorts. At the very top of the page was a brief, disgusting description of Pete, along with his full name, home city, and actual phone number. Pete now understood why strangers were texting him and where they got his number from. There was also a fake porn-star page about Pete created by Dylan that had Pete’s number and personal information splashed across the front page.

Pete unblocked Dylan’s number and confronted him over the phone about what was happening. It turns out Dylan was the type of person who had a troubled life and was looking for someone to dig him out. He saw Pete as his ticket out of a life of poverty, boredom, shame, loneliness, and only ever wanted Pete’s nudes as insurance to blackmail Pete should he ever decide to “leave him” (even though any sane person could clearly see the two were never a couple). Dylan explained to Pete he was out for revenge; revenge for a crime Pete never committed, a crime that only existed in Dylan’s own sick mind. Dylan was using Pete’s nudes to destroy him and his reputation the same way Dylan felt his life has always been destroyed. Dylan felt played by Pete, even though Pete never pursued any form of romantic relationship with Dylan, and the two had only been speaking online for just over a week. Dylan was, and is, a sociopath, and unfortunately for Pete, their lives had crossed paths, and Dylan felt that Pete needed to be punished in a sick and perverse way.

After weeks of speaking with the police back-and-forth and hiring a lawyer who specializes in “Revenge-Porn”, (which, by the way, is NOT protected by the first amendment), Pete was able to convince the porn and escort websites that his pictures were being used maliciously by a third-party and the websites promised not to publish them again. Pete had to change his number, delete his Facebook and Instagram profiles, and create new social media pages to ensure that Dylan never tracked him down again through his old ones. Pete also had to pay his lawyer over three thousand dollars for his services. Aside from the money and needing to get a new phone number, Pete had to deal with months of stress, fear and anxiety, causing him to get stomach ulcers, diarrhea, vomiting, and going many nights without sleep; knowing some psychopath out in the world now has his nudes forever, and could repost them any time, maybe even costing Pete his job, friends, and potential future partner. This all could have been avoided if Pete had just been smart and never sent his nudes to a total stranger.

The social media world is full of predators and psychopaths like Dylan. The scariest part about these unstable people is they don’t often appear like monsters at all, but instead come dressed up in a big bright smile, gentle eyes, handsome face, and come equipped with strong conversation skills. If you meet someone online, no matter how long the online friendship lasts, the cold hard truth is you don’t know this person. No matter how sweet and harmless they appear, Mr. Hyde could very well be lurking behind their pretty face, waiting to be triggered. Be smart and remember, no matter how much someone you meet tries to persuade you to send naked photos, don’t do it. Period! If they really like you as much as they say they do, then they will understand; and if they keep pushing, then block them from your profile and move on. If you ever decide to meet someone in person, make sure it’s in a public space, and let a friend know when and where you are going.

Not everyone is who they say they are, and while most users on dating apps and social media websites are good people, it only takes one stupid decision with the one wrong person to cause the pain, humiliation, anxiety, fear, paranoia, and sickness that comes with knowing that you willingly gave your privacy and peace of mind over to a complete stranger, who is now free to torture, blackmail, and attack you in ways you never dreamed of in your worst nightmares.

Don’t give out your number!

Don’t give out your full name!

And whatever you do, never, ever, ever, send someone you don’t know and haven’t met your nude photos. The reward of winning over the admiration of a cute stranger is not worth the risk of your pictures falling into the hands of a deranged lunatic; and once someone has your pictures, they own them, and a little piece of you, forever. It’s just not worth it.


About the Author:

Brian Moniz is a 28-year-old man from San Jose, Calif. He studied filmmaking and writing at San Jose State University from 2010–2013 and got his bachelor’s degree in Radio-TV-Film. Throughout his high school and college years, he worked as a music and movie journalist and critic. Having only recently come out of the closet himself in 2014, Brian enjoys writing about LGBTQ issues. His only regret when it comes to his sexuality is that he didn’t come out sooner. Read more by Brian here.