The Curious Case of the Penis Pic

Nobody Likes Them, But They’re Still So Plentiful; Something Doesn’t Add Up

There are a lot of articles, posts, clips, memes, gifs, conversations, anecdotes, and interviews decrying the infamous practice of taking a picture of one’s penis and sending it to another person. But still it persists. If we’re taking everyone at their word, it seems to defy all logic.

Let me start by saying that no one should be sending unsolicited “dick pics”. Allow me to also firmly assert that the responsibility for doing that falls firmly, squarely, and solely on the shoulders of the photographer and sender. Period. I, by no means, believe that anyone has an unrequested dick pic “coming to them.”

The question in my mind, though, is how this phenomenon continues. How can a behavior that is supposedly always met with such vehement opposition still be as prevalent as it reportedly is?

There are crimes that we speak out against with great conviction, and yet those crimes still continue. Why would that not also be the case with unsolicited penis pictures? I think the difference lies in the rate of occurrence or the percentage of perpetrators.

I get the impression that the unsolicited penis picture is a very commonplace happening these days. We’re not talking about a select few freaks or deviants out there, I’m told. From the sounds of things, nearly every other guy is hitting the send button to deliver a photograph of his junk to every lady he meets.

The frequency of occurrence I hear associated with this makes it seem impossible that every guy that does it is a sociopathic maniac who completely lacks judgment and reason. The reported numbers just seem too high. This suggests that some otherwise relatively normal guys are sending women penis pictures for which the women never asked.

I don’t doubt that for a minute. I absolutely do not believe that there is a sizable group of women running around out there requesting penis pictures and then complaining when they get them. I also do not believe that the recipient women are doing anything at all to imply or suggest that they might want to receive penis pictures.

Still, though, I think we have to agree that a large number of guys at least think that it is not entirely unacceptable, despite the oh-so-many memes, posts, articles, etc. claiming the contrary. How is that even possible?

Let’s set that aside for now and consider a hypothetical circumstance:

John meets a woman he likes, and they exchange numbers. They’re chatting it up over text one night, and things are going pretty well, according to both parties. Now, John is a decent guy, but somehow, despite everything he has ever heard or read, he gets the wild idea in his head that the woman might like to receive a picture of his penis, even though she never gave any indication of that, explicit or implicit.

Weird, but let’s say that’s what happens. I mean, you’ve got your regular old flashers and exhibitionists out there, but those guys have always been around, and the current reported numbers of pictures seem to suggest a crowd much broader than that. So, at least some of our perpetrators would have to be like John— a relatively normal, but very confused and under-informed guy.

The woman, let’s call her Jane, receives the picture and is appalled. She has no idea why John would send her such a thing, and she is offended that he did. Virtually no woman wants to receive unsolicited penis pictures, as everyone but John knows.

Maybe she really lets John have it. After all, he did offend her, and there was no call for him to send such a thing. Or, maybe, feeling that it’s not her duty to correct Barry, she simply shuts down communication with John. He’s a penis-sender; and she doesn’t like that. Fledgling relationship over.

John, on the other end, just lost a woman in whom he was interested. That’s gotta sting at least a little. And it happened right after he sent the pictures of his penis, so, whether she explicitly said so or not, he’s got to know that’s where he went wrong.

So, John heads out to meet another woman. Now, it’s entirely possible that John is stupid; lots of people are. So, maybe, despite all of the things he’s read, everything he’s been told, everything he’s heard in passing, and now one specific experience he’s had, John sends the next woman a penis picture too. And, because no woman wants to receive an unsolicited penis picture, John receives the same treatment he did from the first woman.

How many women does it take? If every time John sends an unsolicited picture of his penis to a woman, that woman either criticizes and corrects him or simply stops speaking to him, how long can it possibly take before John figures out that he’s working against his own best interests here?

I bet I heard an unwanted penis picture story for the first time more than 10 years ago. Since then, I’ve have never, ever — not once — heard a man or woman support the unsolicited penis picture. So how is it still as prominent? How does it still occur with such frequency? How is it that after 10 years of receiving nothing but complaints and immediate communication blackouts, at least a certain number of relatively normal guys still think that penis pictures are going to work in their favor?

Some information here has to be faulty. Maybe the number of genuine flashers who aren’t interested in dating at all and are only interested in exposing themselves is far higher than anyone ever thought. Maybe the percentage of the male population sending penis pictures has been exaggerated a little. Or maybe these guys aren’t getting the 100% negative response to unsolicited penis pictures that we’re led to believe they are.

We’ve all heard the over-used mantra about the definition of “insanity” being doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Are all of these guys just insane? Or is it possible that maybe sometimes, just sometimes, it’s not resulting in a negative reaction, and that’s signalling to them that it’s at least worth trying again?