Sex Survey 2019

Dick pics on the rise

Something that has been prevalent in the modern age of dating: receiving ‘dick pics’. A baffling phenomenon that often occurs in the midst of a conversation, when a (usually) male counterpart sends a photo of his genitalia without the consent of the person on the receiving end. A recent YouGov study states that one in five women (19 percent) have received an unsolicited sexual photo from someone who was not a romantic partner, and this figure rises to 40 percent for women between the ages of 18 and 34. 62 percent of women who have received an unsolicited image state that it was through text or WhatsApp.

But why does it happen? There hasn’t been a significant amount of research on why men send unsolicited photos of their genitalia. However, it is my understanding from the few testimonies available that it is done to gain validation. It’s possibly a man’s way of reaching out for a compliment: to be told they’re sexy and wanted. Another reason may be down to the fact that some men treat it as a numbers game where, after they send their un-asked for photo, they

will either never hear from the recipient again, or they will get a result. This isn’t the most dignified of reasons, but it’s a convincing one, as most of us may have experienced someone ‘trying their luck’.

Is it against the law? It depends. Sending and/or receiving an image of your own or someone else’s genitalia under the age of 18 is a crime. However, for anyone above the age of 18, receiving an unsolicited image can be considered harassment. To prevent this from occurring education needs to start from the ground up, rather than through the law. Unfortunately, sexual harassment through the form of ‘dick pics’ has been massively normalised and is considered a typical part of modern-day dating. However, unless the received image is reported to the police, then no crime will be recorded. This way, it is more effective to teach both men and women in the first place that it is not acceptable or appropriate to send an image of your own genitalia unless it has been asked for AND because it is something you want to do.

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Katie Tsappas

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October 2021
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