On Thursday Twitter celebrated #NationalSendANudeDay, an informal holiday that started trending for no apparent reason whatsoever. While the hashtag spread like wildfire, with more than 110,000 tweets and climbing as of 2:30 p.m. Eastern, some people on Twitter weren't too psyched about the holiday: Namely women, who became concerned that strangers would slide into their DMs with unwanted dick pics.
Not every woman hates dick pics: As Mic has reported many times in the past, many people love sharing nude selfies with their partners (and even their friends, in some cases). But in general, few women enjoy receiving these types of pics without explicitly requesting them.
Unfortunately, many men don't seem to get that message: According to a Match.com survey that polled 5,675 singles across America, women said that "sexy" texts from a guy were a huge turnoff, even though 45% of them reported having received such messages.
So why, then, do men insist on sending dick pics? We asked New York City sex therapist Dr. Stephen Snyder if he had any working theories. While Snyder hasn't seen any studies specifically focused on men who send unwanted dick pics, anecdotally he's noticed two recurring personality traits in men who send unsolicited photos of their junk.
"Some men get a rush out of knowing that a woman is intimidated by their penis."
The first, Snyder said, is that men who send unrequested dick pics tend to be "ignorant of the difference between male and female sexual response."
"Straight men know how turned on they get by seeing their female partner's intimate anatomy, and they make the mistake of thinking that women are wired the same way," Snyder said in an email.
The second common trait, Snyder noted, is a tendency toward "sadomasochistic acting-out" — the same urge that might drive a man to, say, want to cause his sexual partner unwelcome pain, because he enjoys the rush.
"Similar to men who know their wives hate having their nipples sucked hard, but they keep doing it anyway, [men who send unsolicited dick pics are] often basically hostile," Snyder said. "This seems to be a power thing for many men."
For these men, sending a dick pic can have similar undertones as an act of sexual violence, colored with fantasies of fear and domination. "Some men have a conscious or unconscious wish to shock and intimidate women, or make them uncomfortable," Snyder said. "Some men get a rush out of knowing that a woman is intimidated by their penis."
While Snyder noted that gay and bisexual men are more likely to have a different, sometimes even positive, response to unsolicited dick pics, regardless of gender or sexual orientation it goes without saying that sending someone a nude photo without warning can often make the recipient feel violated.
Snyder emphasized how important it is for men to be sure all sexts are exchanged consensually and that both parties are enjoying it. Once that's clearly established, he recommends men send teasing images that emphasize their partner's pleasure.
"Send her a picture of your hands, and tell her how much your hands ache to hold her, and to explore her body," Snyder suggested. Or alternatively, just send an eggplant emoji and call it a day.