Let's start with a fun fact: According to Google Trends, August 2016 was the biggest month in the history of Google for the search term "Dick Pic." Check out this graph below. See how the popularity of dick pics has grown steadily over time, hitting a weird apex in August 2016? That's weird, right?
To be honest, I think all genitalia looks weird. And usually, the only images of said genitalia that I'd like to receive are from people that I'm already in some sort of sexual relationship with. I believe the first public image of genitalia I ever saw was Coredor from the kid's TV show Plasmo. Its face is a vulva.
Anyway, I have some questions surrounding dick pics. Why do people send them? Who sends them? How common is an unsolicited dick? And most importantly, has a dick pic ever actually got anyone laid ever?
To find out, I decided to lay the mother of all thirst traps on tinder. I unchecked my settings from both men and women to just men and edited my bio so it featured an eggplant emoji with the line "see what happens" with several winky faces. Then I setup an anonymous chatting account through the app Kik. And it turns out that what happens when you unsubtly request dick pics is that you receive an onslaught of very, very shiny penises. So shiny.
From across Tinder and Kik, I received a total of nine dick pics and eight lewd messages. Two of the men seemed kind of angry when I explained it was for an article. Three of them asked me out on a date. One of them asked if I was a virgin. Two of them invited me to come over and fuck them. All the dick pics I got were from white men, and for a couple of them, it was their first time ever sending a dick pic. I also tried to count the number of circumcised penises I saw but despite having banged well over 60 guys in my life so far, I still can't tell if they're circumcised or not while hard. Not unless they tell me they're Jewish or something.
Anyway, I spoke with some of the dick pic senders to hear what they had to say about the whole DICKORUS PICTORUS SITUATIONOUS. Our conversations went like this.
VICE: Do you send dick pics often?
Jeff: Yes, but rarely in response to [a Tinder profile]. Generally, I wait until a conversation has developed over days/weeks.
Do you get laid from sending dick pics?
I don't think I've ever gotten laid as a direct result of sending a dick pic. Normally sex has happened before any dick pics have been sent, but they're not always sent with the expectation of getting something in return. For me, I'm just fine with how I look and enjoy showing off.
So no, Jeff had never had much success with his dick pics. I contacted another guy on Tinder to interrogate his motives and levels of success.
Hey Ben, have you ever got laid from sending a dick pic?
I don't think I've got laid on the strength of one picture alone. I have, however, had relationships and sex with many people who've received a naked picture from me. I don't think many people who send dick pics are naive enough to think that sending a naked picture of themselves will compel someone to sleep with them.
Do you think the photos you take of your dick are good?
Good is a subjective term. I typically receive good feedback. Not sure how much that actually has to do with the strength of the photo, the subject, the content, or the fact that the recipients feel it best to return positive feedback to progress the interaction and relationship.
Some of the other responses I got from male strangers included "Do you want to suck it?" "want to ride my thin cock?" (bold?) and "I want u to ride me tonight," all sent along with a dick pic. I guess "riding" must be a porn term? Dicks aren't bikes. But all in all, the Tinder answers weren't very enlightening.
So I asked some friends about dick pics.
Do you like sending dick pics?
No. I sent one once, a few months ago. It was a really confusing and upsetting experience for me. I sent a dick pic to a friend of mine who was sending me naked pictures regularly. I only did it because I thought she might've been trying to get me to do exactly that. It turns out that she hates dick pics and just likes sending nudes of herself. She told me to never do it again. It felt kinda weird and not really my thing. I even got some face in there to sweeten things up; I just wanted to reciprocate. We are no longer seeing each other.
Works in Radio
When you send dick pics, are they initially asked for when you send them?
Okay, so on Grindr some people just send dick pics willy nilly. When I send them it's usually because we've gotten into a conversation that's gone sexually. I've had a few that are just out of nowhere when someone else has gotten horned up or whatever and I suppose by that point the entire convo is pregnant with sex. Like, dick pics are all okay.
Oh yeah. I've heard Grindr is all dick pics.
I've been sent some unsolicited ones that are very embarrassing. Including a musician who I'd interviewed, he was clearly very drunk and I was weirded out.
That must have made you uncomfortable.
The pictures were not flattering.
Has sending a dick pic ever gotten you laid?
I don't think a dick pic can ever work in isolation. So no.
From the sounds of it, in the male gay scene, sending dick pics is a lot more of a done thing, and is more likely to lead to physical sex.
Works in retail
Do you send dick pics? Have you ever got laid because of your dick pic?
Have sent, have been asked, will send again, have been laid afterward, and/or before. Like anything, it's all about context. I've never sent one in a way that was out of context or poorly received. So like if you have sex with someone interstate and you stay in touch and you're chatting and things get carried away you might send shit back and forth.
Yeah, never unsolicited though?
I have sent unsolicited pics insofar as they hadn't written "please send me your dick," but it was in the context of ramping up sexting that was already happening. Like if you ask someone if you can kiss them before you do it, it can be a boner kill. You're supposed to be able to read between the lines, you know?
Yeah, I think it's solicited in that context.
But I also know that my dick isn't gross or tiny. So it's not like it's gonna be an awful shock. I have got laid after sending to someone who I'd only met once and they'd never seen it IRL. That's happened a few times.
Most of the dick pics I received when writing this article made for very confronting viewing. I'd open my phone and click open the picture and—bam!—a shiny, veiny, bent like a banana, hairy dick staring at me with its singular eye saying "SEND ME CLIT PICS. SEND ME CLIT PICS." Beyond that, few of them wanted to actually talk, so I got the impression it wasn't really a stunt for me. It was much more for them.
And another thing: Of all the people I interviewed, not one had actually slept with a woman after sending an unsolicited dick pic. So there could be something in that for all you straight white men thinking about sending a dick pic.
Maybe just don't.
Follow Claire Sullivan on Twitter.