In this digital world, a lot of our first interactions with people are online.
In fact, that’s how I met my husband. That’s a story for another day but what I will tell you now is that he never, ever sent me a picture of his dick. That in itself made him stand out from the crowd. Although this was almost a decade ago now, unsolicited cock shots were still fairly common on dating sites, chat sites and so on.
I’ve never really understood the impulse to send these pictures. I mean, what’s the aim? Where I live, if you walked up to a woman and pulled out your willy, you’d be charged with obscene exposure and could even face prison, because it’s a sexual offence and that’s not cool. When you’re trying to chat someone up online, whether you’re looking for a bit of fun or a life partner, is a sexual offence really a good ice-breaker or way to secure a date?
Surely it’s not that difficult to figure out. Unless someone makes it clear that they are interested in schlong snapshots from you, keep them to your damn self, right? Some women (I know exactly one) will be only too pleased to have a look, but it is their choice, yeah? Don’t just throw your man-bits into her inbox without knowing for sure that she’ll be pleased to see them. It’s inappropriate and technically it’s illegal. So don’t.
I have met a lot of my friends online- male and female and from all walks of life. I think I’m pretty well-versed in online friendships and etiquette, which is why I make a point of not sending anyone picture of my lady-parts (you’re welcome) or sexually harassing them in any way. It’s not all that difficult.
Almost every woman I know has a dick pic story. Some collect and critique them, some see an unsolicited dick pic as an instant reason to use the block button and a few block but only after telling the owner of the cock in question exactly what they think of him (and, possibly, his wang). Personally, I used to love getting on a site called chat roulette and talking to people from all over the world. The only problem I have ever experienced with being connected to a random webcam anywhere in the world for a chat session was that every second user had the webcam trained on his exposed penis.
There’s no consensus on how to deal with a man who sends a penis pic or pulls it out while you’re skypeing. A cutting remark, an instant block, a laugh, a return picture of your middle finger or legal action- all acceptable.
However, when it comes to men flashing their bits online, my mate Rachel (whom I met online and who has never once sent me a picture of her genitals- go Rachel!) has the best dick pic story I’ve heard in ages.
Let me set the scene. I was 17 and recovering from a tonsillectomy. My best friend was staying over and we were passing the time chatting with boys on the internet (On Yahoo, because it was the early 2000s) when a random guy sent us a webcam to view.
We were reasonably used to unsolicited jacking-off-cams, which are like dick pics but with live action – but what appeared on the screen did not look like anything we’d ever seen before. We giggled nervously, asking each other “What IS that?” It looked like a flesh coloured, hunched-over alien.
As we leaned into the screen to determine what it was that we were actually looking at the guy sent through a message:
“Do you like my dick?”
We laughed so hard that I felt something go POP! inside my throat. I then started bleeding profusely from inside my throat. For the time being, I forgot hunched-alien penis while I swallowed my own blood to try not to choke and played a frantic game of charades with my mum to try to explain what was happening. She finally got it and we jumped in the car to head to the hospital.
The bleeding had slowed to a steady trickle by the time we arrived at emergency and after an hour of observation – stifling giggles the whole time – I got the all clear to head home.
The highlight of the evening, though, was when we got home. We switched the computer back on and alien-dick guy was still online and quickly messaged us asking where we’d gone. I’m proud to say that I didn’t hesitate in telling him that his penis was so funny looking that my throat hemorrhaged from laughing at it and I’d had to go to hospital.
Moral of the story:
Would you pull your dick out and wave it at a stranger in a bar or cafe that you’ve just introduced yourself to? I hope not. Same principle. Keep it in your pants. No one wants to see a surprise dick pic. It doesn’t matter if it’s tinder, webcam chat or a private message, you still need consent. It can be dealt with as a crime and you have no idea what impact it could have on someone. For all you know, it will be deeply traumatic (or cause a throat hemorrhage) or just really piss someone off. Not cool. Just don’t.
#IBOT @ Essentially Jess.