A couple of weeks ago, I was texting the guy I’d very recently started seeing when out of nowhere I received a photograph of his erect penis. I say out of nowhere because there was literally no warning or build up in conversation to this unrequested visual gift, and if I’m honest I didn’t quite know how to feel or respond.
“If only my genitals didn’t float
When I relaxed in the bath
And we both looked down and we both agreed
It’s stupid to be a man” ― Leonard Cohen
Now I suppose I should begin by giving you some context around how I ended up with a ‘dick pic’ as they have so commonly become known, in my inbox. Like I said, I’d recently started seeing a guy and I was attracted to him, although like with most guys I date, I have to trust them and know them emotionally before I can let go physically. And I was getting there.
So picture the scene: I was stood on one of those over-crowded train carriages on the London Underground with the armpit of a stranger dangerously close to my nostrils when I decided to overcome my fear of rejection and message him first. Revolutionary, I know. “Hey baby, I miss you what are you doing?”, I sent on WhatsApp as I took advantage of the wifi at Baker Street station. As we pulled into Great Portland Street my wifi turned on again and my phone flashed up: “I miss you too, I’m just at the airport about to catch an internal flight”. Cute, I thought, as I quickly managed to send a response before we started to move again: “I wish you were coming to see me. I can’t wait to come and see you.”
I don’t know about you guys, but nothing makes me more giddy than the person I fancy showing me affection. I am shamelessly teenage in my excitement (on the inside at least), and despite the backpack and elbows pressing against me I felt high on love as I romanticised about seeing him again, longing for the train to hurry up and arrive at Oxford Circus so I could get wifi once again.
Ding-ding-ding went my phone as we pulled up at the station and I impatiently unlocked it. And this was the moment, as people who were already too close to me were getting on and off around me, that I was greeted with a high-definition image of his erect shlong. That’s right, his trouser snake.
Fuck fuck fuck! I thought, as I frantically tried to remove his stiffy from my screen whilst looking around to assess the public humiliation. I didn’t ask for this by the way, I felt like declaring to the man next to me. By the time I reached Green Park I practically ran off the tube carriage, leaving the shame behind me, and it was only then I started to think about the photograph and what it actually meant.
Does he think I’m a slut? Does he think I would enjoy this image? Wait, am I meant to enjoy this image? Am I a prude? Once I am alone and safely tucked into a quiet corner in Joe and the Juice I open the image again to try and figure out my thoughts. Wait, why the f*ck is he sending me a photo of his Johnson in what is clearly a bedroom when he has just told me he’s at the airport? Does he stockpile photos of his genitals? Who else has he sent it to? Did they enjoy it?… That’s not the point Ashley! Does he rate his member so much he thinks I would welcome a picture of it? Does anyone find out of context genitals attractive? Oh god, maybe I don’t find penis attractive at all. Oh god, does he expect a return photograph?
Well, I quickly learnt the answer to the latter question as before long my phone buzzed again, and he had written: “What do you think? Send me some nudes of you.”
And these questions prayed on my mind for several weeks, so I decided to ask you guys what your opinion of dick pics were, and you responded in the hundreds. A lot of the replies were hilarious, and a lot of them were more worrying. It would appear that unsolicited dick pics have become the norm, and it was alarming to know how many of you receive them. Possibly the most confusing of all, and one that made me start to feel old, were how many girls in their late-teens and early 20’s messaged me to say that it was normal to request dick pics before sleeping with a guy so they knew what to expect. I still am not sure exactly what else you would expect… hey please confirm you have a penis? Or is it to do with the size? But sorry, I thought it was only men who cared about the size of their manhood? A worrying number of men insisted that women asked for dick pics (show yourself ladies! Or perhaps it is you young’uns again?), whilst a comforting number of men insisted that they would never dream of sending photos and find the idea incredibly disrespectful to women. And the main consensus from women was that whilst a lot of men they are seeing sending them photographs of their todger, they almost always vom a little in their mouth, even if they don’t have the heart to tell their partner. So men, for the most part, if the recipient is telling you she loves seeing photos of your dick, she’s probably lying and laughing about you on the group whatsapp.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the first time I’ve ever received imagery of the male member. When I actively used snapchat and had an open profile I was once treated to a rather explicit video of a man putting a teaspoon down his wee-wee hole, amongst many other visual delights. And whilst it’s wrong and grim, sexual harassment from creepy strangers seems somewhat easier to shrug off. But with THIS guy, his constant request for X-rated imagery seemed to outweigh any other conversation. I ceased to feel the emotional connection I thought we had once shared and was left feeling like he no longer respected me. Plus, all those photographs of his dong left me thinking he was… well, a bit of a cock, and that made him as unwanted as the images he was sending.
Oh, and he’s still waiting for nudes by the way.