So first of all, I’d like to make it clear that I’m not defending anyone sending a dick pic. It’s toxic behavior that serves no one and actually reinforces insecurities at the root of this problem. However I’d like to explain the train of thought, so that we can actually address this problem. I’m still learning how to talk about this topic in a way that minimizes triggering or offending people, so I apologize in advance if I failed at that.
I don’t actually think any guy sends a dick pic expecting it to work. Just like catcalling, the positive response rate is probably near nil, and sooner or later you’re bound to realize that!
I believe the main motivation behind sending dick pics is an insecurity about being unattractive or unlovable, and feeling powerless. Sending the dick pic is an attempt to reclaim some power. “If she doesn’t want to see me naked, well f*** her, I’ll send her a nude, and there’s nothing she can do about it”. I believe this is the same emotion and logic behind rape, discrimination, abuse, and just about any other toxic masculinity. It’s very little about the surface effect of the act, but really about trying to reclaim some power.
Many men feel insecure or afraid to ask girls out. They believe they’ll be seen as a creep or pervert. And they are afraid of the pain and shame of rejection. But at the same time they feel massive resentment. They see other guys, “assholes” as they often label them, asking girls out whenever they want, being bold, direct, and asking for exactly what they want. And getting it. Publicly, they resent those “assholes”, claiming that unlike them, they’re nice guys, and would never do something like that. But deep down they want to be like them, but are afraid.
So sending a nude is a way to feel like one of those “assholes” (or an attempt at doing so anyways) without the pain and humiliation of the in person rejection.
Unfortunately, men aren’t taught how to approach women and ask for what they want. It’s a very sensitive topic, with a lot of shame and morality attached. And most men never go about asking or learning. Worse yet, communities such as Pick Up Artists, teach a lot of toxic and unhealthy habits, objectifying women, and using psychological tricks which may get you in their pants, but certainly won’t create a loving, long term relationship, which is what most people truly want.
So as a guy you basically have the choices of being a “nice guy” and getting nothing, or being an “asshole” and not getting what you really want. Practically nobody is teaching us how to be respectful towards women while forming loving relationships with them.
Now, back to dick picks, they might see this behavior as unethical, but they justify it to themselves, usually by blaming women. “They don’t appreciate nice guys like me, and are too shallow to notice me. They’re being bitches. So I get to be an asshole”. Revenge, retribution, and “fairness” are very much a part of our culture’s unspoken narrative. Look at what our government does — they create a jail system that punishes people instead of fixing the root of the problem.
The legal system isn’t there to mediate, it’s there to place blame and get retribution, and make lawyers very rich. Corporations handle mistakes by finding a scapegoat to blame instead of confronting systemic problems. So it’s no wonder people act this way behind closed doors.
I don’t believe I’ve ever sent an unsolicited nude per se, but I’ve definitely experienced all these emotions and insecurities, which acted out in various negative ways. And thankfully, I met some very supportive people who helped me confront my emotions and change my behavior.
We are moving towards a culture where men can be more honest about their feelings and emotions. We recognize that it’s only by examining our emotions can we stop the terrible repercussions. But around these types of topics, there’s still a lot of shame and taboo. It’s very difficult to have a conversation without judgement or ostracism.
My goal is to try to explain the “other side” in as balanced and logical way as possible. It’s not a justification or excuse for people who act this way, but a call for offering compassion and a safe space for them to examine the root causes of their actions, so that these horrible acts can stop.