This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
One of the greatest realizations I have had as an adult is that straight men don't care about sex. We're told they do—tons!—but by and large they would much rather be doing something else. Playing Red Dead Redemption II, listening to serialized podcasts about some HBO drama, shitting. Anything.
I'm not saying they don't like the idea of it. They like cumming, certainly. But when it comes to having an actual sexual encounter, they simply can't be bothered. It's not an aggressive anti-sex stance like incels pretend to have. More a vague disinterest, like the way most of us feel about cocaine at a small get-together—"Yeah, I guess I'll take a hit if there's some going." Given the option, the majority of men would rather spend an evening on apps for making beats with a buffet of RedTube tabs open. Women, meanwhile, are feral. We're out here racking up debt on elaborate lingerie and sex toys, rubbing one out over literally everyone we've ever met and taking close-up photos of our assholes. What gives?
Consider nudes, for example. Taking a nude is an art form. It requires a shrewd awareness of lighting, consideration of angles, and a degree of lower back pain. We contort our bodies in ways that, if observed from within the room, would make us look like Samara from The Ring climbing out of the TV. All that to validate the astonishing amount of time and money we plunge into looking good because that's what society says will get us laid. And the most common responses? "Wow," an encouraging emoji or "sorry, fell asleep." Once again, this is not the behavior of someone who likes sex. This is the behavior of Alan Partridge doing an impression of a randy man.
Anyway, now that you're all livid please heed these tips on how to respond to nudes. Prove me wrong by making a small practical change to your sex life, I dare you. I didn't suffer this long under the patriarchy for some 31-year-old skateboarder with thick hair to respond to a pic of my tits with three fire emojis and a "damn."
Do: Respond with a nude of your own
An obvious move, one would think. Alas, it doesn't happen often. Sympathy must be attributed to the fact that straight men are famously uncomfortable with taking photos of themselves, and nudes fall into this bracket, but there are ways to circumvent the condition. Instagram DMs and Snapchat are useful because they are impermanent. No need to dedicate an entire folder in your camera roll to the occasion, just take a photo of your mouth and hurl it into the abyss to be watched twice before disappearing forever.
Important caveat for men: Dick pics and nudes aren't the same things. Nudes are for titillation, dick pics are the logical conclusion to an appropriately lengthy sexting session—and, even then, I'd argue that full-on genital shots ruin the anticipation. There's an assumption that men have less to work with, but that's not true. Bellies, hip bones, fingers, lips—you have at least one of those things, probably. Next time you pull your dick out after some perfect angel sends you a selfie in a nice bra, consider taking a photo of your neck in a loose fitting T-shirt. Or, if you simply have to get it involved: dick print in joggers. Much better.
Important caveat for women: Don't send someone a nude if you don't trust them not to take a screenshot and distribute it among their peers. Unless, of course, you back yourself so hard that even if that happens it won’t matter because you're hot AF.
Don't: say these things
When canvassing opinion for this piece, someone told me that their friend once sent a nude that was met with the response: "You look heavy, good job I'm strong." Which is… unusual. It sort of sounds like he's making a negative comment about her weight? But was realistically just the only opportunity he could think of to highlight his ability to bench. It's almost a compliment, almost a flex, but veers too far off topic and as a result becomes a weird neg. It's also just a bit too close to the sort of mistake dads make on the rare occasion they have to engage with someone’s appearance. You know, like when your mom comes home with a new hairdo and he's like, "That's very brown." Anyway, if the only logical response to your response is "...thanks?" then it’s probably not a very good one. Other entries in this category include:
– "Your skin looks nice."
– "Dang how much was that underwear LOL."
– "Sick, you've got something by [insert male tattoo artist here] what's he like?"
Do: Say these things instead
– "Fuck shit, wow you look good."
Anything that makes the person feel like what they have done is monumental and hot, even if it's a simple photo of a tongue. You have to follow that up with something, though—a photo of similar tone, some encouragement, intentions. You can't expect the other person to do all the heavy lifting while you just sit there swearing. Don't be that guy for whom sex is just lying there while someone does all the work on top, non-genital contact at a minimum.
Don't say: "Sorry, I fell asleep"
This is almost a compliment when you consider the number of adults who still cum and then immediately pass out. It happens to the best of us. Ideally, a lone nude wouldn't do that though. It doesn’t bode well for the future. Better to assume they just ate a lot of pasta. Either way, skip this minor life update entirely because it’s the digital equivalent to yawning mid-sex and will only reinforce the theory that you are a sex disliker.
Don't: use that cursed big tongue emoji
This is the calling card of someone who loves to infer pussy eating but never actually does it. If that's how you feel about what you've seen, say so. Use your words, coward.
Do: Say the thing you immediately thought but feel like you shouldn't say out loud because it's disgusting
The only reason anyone sends a nude is to be objectified. I know we're not supposed to say that now because of feminism, but if you're sending someone a picture of your landing strip then you want them to say unforgivable things to you. Forget template sexts, forget everything I just said, just grab whatever horrid little man-thought that popped to the front of your simple brain and throw it out there. See what happens.
Bonus tip: Tack the person's name on the end of whatever you end up saying. Not every sentence, obviously, that would be psychotic. But a tactful name drop makes things feel more personally directed, and all anyone sending a nude really wants is to talk about themselves.
Don't: say something #deep and meaningful
If I wanted to hear about the power of my womanhood I'd go to Hazlitt. Tell me I'm pretty and send me a Boomerang of your spit.
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