Ask Demetria: Why Do Guys Send D--k Pics?


Dear Demetria:

Why do guys send unsolicited d--k pics? I feel like as I talk to guys, we slowly venture into sexting, then the guy just takes it from zero to 100. I'm interested in him, but the picture just came out of nowhere. Do any girls actually like these things? How do you respond? —Anonymous 

Hold up. There’s no such thing as “slowly venturing” into sexting, defined by as “the sending of sexually explicit photos, images, text messages or emails by using a cellphone or other mobile device.” Sexting implies that you are interested in having sex with the person to whom you send the images.

I’m unclear how you do that slowly. Whatever you sent suggested that you were interested in having sex with him. He responded with a picture of his sexual organ to let you know that he’s also interested, to allow you to gauge his equipment and for you to anticipate what he can do with it. I’m unclear where this guy went wrong here.

That said, I’ve heard plenty of stories about men actually going from “zero to 100” and sending penis pictures when there was no indication whatsoever from the woman that they would be welcomed. I’ve received a set of pictures—yes, plural—from a guy out of the blue. (In my first book, A Belle in Brooklyn, I dedicated an entire chapter to that story.)

Probably, like you, I wondered, “Why?” Had I done something to mislead him? Did he think I was that type of girl?

I never arrived at a solid answer, and your letter finally prompted me to get one, as much for you as for myself. I hit up several guys in my circle to get to the bottom of what I’d started to think of as the “d--k-pic conundrum.” The answers, which the guys gave on the condition of complete anonymity, were fascinating.

First, the “why” should be obvious. “I never understood why my female friends were always so confused as to why dudes sent them,” said one man. “It’s clear that the pic is supposed to incite sexual interest or excitement. Whether you’re grossed out or not, you know damn well why he did it!”

But is a d--k pic a sign that he doesn’t respect you? Most of the guys agreed that wasn’t the case.

“Men don't see it as a form of disrespect,” another gentleman explained. “It's our way of being vulnerable. Most women, especially black women, are very vocal as it pertains to their wants in life. This includes career goals, marriage, family and a sex life. They have made it very clear how they want to be pleased in the bedroom. An unsolicited d--k pic is oftentimes a man’s way of saying, ‘I qualify.’”

In simpler terms, another man explained the pictures “as a way of saying, ‘You interested or nah?’ It’s basically just fishing, throwing the bait out there and hoping something [catches].”

Most of the dozens of men I conversed with understood how many women could perceive the photos as uncouth and ill-mannered. Still, the guys also thought that the guys who sent them ultimately were harmless and women were making a big deal out of nothing. Several suggested that the penis pictures might be one of those circumstances that support the idea that “men are from Mars, women are from Venus”—i.e., the sexes are just wired differently.

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Alicia* called her boyfriend to tell him she wanted out of their relationship. After all, she was a married mother of three and had only taken a lover to get revenge on her husband, who had cheated on her years prior. Her logic in starting an affair was shaky, but Alicia, 44, had been thinking with her broken heart, not her head. Three months into her side relationship, with a high school classmate she had reconnected with during a chance encounter, Alicia started to send him full nude images, and the pair recorded bedroom romps on video. ”I thought we were having fun and everything would be fine,” she says.

It wasn’t. After a year, the relationship went from sweet to sour. When Alicia called to break things off, he joked about sending the photos and videos of her to her social circle. And her job. And her husband. “I knew him well enough to know there was truth behind the threat,” she says. She was right to be nervous: One in ten former partners threatens to expose risqué photos of an ex online, according to endrevenge And 60 percent follow through.

So Alicia pretended the talk of breaking up was a joke too. She spent the next two months pretending to be happy with her boyfriend on the side and feeling held hostage by the evidence of her bad decision. Alicia slowly phased out communication and has made peace with the fact the pictures may still be shared. “This is the situation I’ve put myself in—I used this man for payback against my husband,” Alicia shares. “I allowed it to happen and there’s nothing I can do. If I had it to do over again, I definitely would not have  created photos and videos.”

Usually when sexting and sex tapes are discussed, the conversation is prompted by the latest celebrity “accidentally” baring all across the Internet. There have been several instances: Love & Hip Hop Atlantastar Mimi Faust and boyfriend Nikko Smith found themselves at the center of a media storm this year when their (slickly produced) sex tape was allegedly stolen and sold to porn distributor Vivid Entertainment. Instagram star and rapper wife Amber Rose saw the intimate pics she took splashed all over the Internet, as did Rihanna when the private racy shots she took for ex-beau Chris Brown hit the Web. All the women claimed their pictures or video had been stolen. And all put on a brave face through the barrage of publicity.