Dick Pics

December 15, 2016

“If you just start sending the dicks right away, that’s not about turning someone else on” Max

Not every man has an eye for photography, and yet, so many have taken up the art form. This episode explores the subject of dick pics: epic fail or successful strategy?

Studies mentioned in the episode:

Sex and the Intelligent Woman by Manfred DeMartino

Sexual Behavior in the Human Female by Alfred Kinsey

Nature’s Nether Regions by Dr. Menno Schilthuizen

*Note to listeners: Resources on Sexual Harassment Online

We realize that not all dick pics are wanted, and some can feel threatening or scary.

Tinder does not allow the sending or receiving of photos of any kind, so please be aware when you’re sharing your contact info with anyone online. They also have some helpful advice about safety online here, including this rule of thumb:

“Be careful about sharing personal information, such as your full name, phone number, email and address. Protect your identity until you are comfortable enough with someone to share it. Also, leave any personal contact information out of your Tinder profile.”

If you are receiving unwanted pics or harassment on social media, you can block and report the person sending that stuff to you. Here are links to take action on the top social networks:

Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat.

You can find more information about cyber bullying and how to report it here. There are also non-profit groups like Crash Override, which offers a crisis helpline for anyone who feels they’re the victim of online harassment or abuse.

You can also file a report with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center and/or contact your local police station.

One more thing. In researching the laws about online harassment, we found this piece pretty useful in terms of learning about what is and isn’t against the law when it comes to bullying and harassment online.


JANE: Let’s just start from the very beginning. Tell me about the first time you received a dick pic.

KATIE: [LAUGH] So I think the first one I ever got was in college and I was in a sorority and it was from just another guy in a fraternity and it was just kind of a one-off, like, why did you send me this? It was just like in the middle of the day…

JANE: Via text?

KATIE: Just via text. But it was someone I wasn’t even like dating seriously, and I was just like why is this happening to me?

I’m Jane Marie. This is DTR, a branded podcast from Tinder about defining relationships in the digital age. As you might’ve already picked up on, today we’re talking about dick pics. Pictures of dicks, also known as DPs. Love notes of the modern era.

If you’ve been off the market for a while, you may have dodged the DP phenomenon all together, but let me tell you, receiving a pic is a regular part of dating now…and often a confusing one, sometimes an alarming one.

So, in this episode, we’ll talk to people who like them, folks who don’t, and try to figure out why they are even a thing.

Because there’s a central dilemma here: Dick Pics are a product with a huge supply – dudes send them all the time – but very little demand – women we talked to say they don’t want them – and yet there’s a thriving economy. What’s going on here? We’re gonna figure it out.

Right at the top of the show, I have a confession to make: I actually like dick pics. Anyone who knows me wouldn’t be surprised by that. But I understand that not all of them are wanted, and some can even feel threatening or scary. So, before we get back to cracking jokes with our guests, I want to let you know about some resources that can help you if you’re feeling harassed or unsafe by someone sending you stuff like this. You can go to our website: gimletcreative.com. We’ve posted some articles and resources about sexual harassment and you can find them in the show notes for this episode. If this is happening to you, on Twitter or Facebook or other social media, you can also report the offender to those companies.

And you should also know that Tinder does not allow the sending of any photos within their app, so we’re here to say: please use caution when giving out your phone number or contact info to people you don’t know. Listen to that voice in your head if it’s saying this doesn’t feel like a good idea.

And one more thing…this episode will be explicit, so hide your kids, hide your wife.

Alright, now that the serious business is taken care of, let’s make fun of people with penises.

So, Katie, the woman you heard from at the top of the show. She receives lots of DPs. It just keeps happening….

KATIE:  I don’t look like someone that like receives dick pics, I don’t give off that sexy, “send me your D” vibe, you know? I don’t know what that vibe is but I just don’t think I send that off. But, like I’m really outgoing and bubbly So I think that makes people feel comfortable…Um, comfortable enough to send a dick pic, I guess.

Recently Katie was at the airport, flying from New York to LA when she bumped into a vaguely familiar face…

KATIE: You know, someone you would only say hi to when you’re sitting there and have nothing else to do. I wouldn’t like seek him out at the airport like, “oh shit there he is!” This is like a fringe friend, like out and about…

JANE: Like you saw his face at the airport and you’re like –

KATIE: Yeah, we just both boarding the same flight and we were like, “oh, hey you!” And um, we weren’t even – we didn’t have each other’s phone numbers, it was just, “hey, how are you, what’s up?” “Good.” “Were you going?  “Me too, cool.” “Safe flight.” “See ya.”

So they get on the plane, Katie goes to her seat, the fringe friend goes to his — Katie isn’t even sure where he was seated, that’s how much she didn’t care about this guy. She gets settled, shuts off her phone, and falls asleep. Impressively, she slept most of the flight, and so it wasn’t until she got in a cab and checked Facebook that she realized the dude, he’d had an entirely different impression of their brief hello…

KATIE: He was must have just like got this really genius idea to go into the bathroom and snap DPs and send them to me on Facebook chat. I mean, I didn’t get them until I got off the plane, so he sent me like two

JANE: [LAUGH] Why two?

KATIE: I don’t know

JANE: Were they different?

KATIE: Not really, there’s not that much room in there, he couldn’t have like posed or anything.

JANE: How did you know it was in the bathroom?

KATIE: Um, well you could tell. Like the seat was right there and the lighting was terrible and I’m like, I mean, you could have at least filtered this. I don’t think I said anything back, I just didn’t say anything back. I just didn’t know what I would say – like, “thanks?”


KATIE: I was just like, “what the fuck?”

Bizarre, right? What was he thinking? That she’d get the pics and join the mile high club with him in the bathroom? That she’d see them and ask what hotel he was staying at during his trip? Who knows! Well, actually, scientists do, which we’ll get to in a bit. Katie said she immediately deleted those pictures (after I asked her if I could see them). And that’s what she’s done pretty consistently, just hit the little trash icon and tried to forget about them. All but one. There’s one dick pic that Katie got eight years ago — EIGHT —  that made such an impression, she and her friends are still passing it around to this day.

KATIE: We still pass it around, like, as a joke. Somebody will be like, “it’s an emergency, need the dick pic.” And someone will like find it and like send it, to this day.

JANE: Can you ask for it?

KATIE: Need the DP it’s an emergency….Need the DP, it’s urgent. Ok, um….someone says “I got you….” Oh there it is! How could I miss it? It’s a fucking empire state building of a dick. Dear god that is terrifying. So, I’m gonna show you now…Are you ready?

JANE: Mmmhmm, very. Very ready.

JANE: Oh my god! [LAUGH]

KATIE: I have a 7+ and it takes up the whole screen. Not to brag about my cool phone, but it takes up the entire screen.

JANE: It’s nice.

KATIE: Yeah. Look at the way he’s holding it, so gingerly. I think it’s the way his pinky looks, it’s like he’s sipping a fine cup of tea…

KATIE: Actually, before I came here, I was at a party on Friday, and I was talking to a bunch of guys and I was like, “oh I’m going to be talking about dick pics… um, do you send those to people? Like, without the girl you know being like, ‘hey babe show me, show me your stuff’” Um, they’re like “no.” They all said “no” and claimed they don’t do that. And I’m like, well someone has to because I’m receiving them.

When we went into this episode, we assumed most women were like Katie, like, “thanks but no thanks.” But that assumption was based really on nothing other than gender stereotypes. Like I said, I love receiving DPs, mainly because they’re a shortcut to knowing whether someone is into me. It totally takes the pressure off, and then I don’t really have to worry about impressing him that much because clearly he’s buying what I’m selling. But am I alone in my fandom?

We sent our producer, Katelyn Bogucki out into the streets in Manhattan to find out if I’m weird, if women really don’t like seeing pictures of dicks for the most part. Or if men are weird and are sending photos of their erections out into the universe for no reason. Maybe we’re all weird?

KATELYN: Have you ever sent a dick pic?

MAN 1: A what?

KATELYN: A photo of your penis

MAN 1: Yes

MAN 3: uhh…yeah but it was only in response to one. I don’t know if that makes it better or worse.

MAN 4: Um, yes

KATELYN: Why’d you send it

MAN 5: So many reasons…uhh…you want to get a pic back..

MAN 6: Uh yes, I have. It’s kind of irritating because you have to find the right position, a picture that you like and everything, before you send it out. So, you know, it’s kind of annoying sometimes. I’m not going to lie.

MAN 7: 5 today, 5 today. And they say women don’t like dick pics, but I don’t know. I can’t imagine how they wouldn’t. I mean, it’s a dick pic.

WOMAN 1: A, dicks are gross. B, I think it’d be better if I asked for it.

WOMAN 2: I’d rather have a nice text message where it’s just more about our relationship, or the love, or whatever.

WOMAN 3: I’ve gotten one. Like, that’s just part of a relationship now, right?

WOMAN 4: I have received, I would say, upwards of a dozen dick pics. It’s gross.

WOMAN 5: If I ask for it, send it to me. If I don’t ask for it, don’t send it to me. Just don’t.

WOMAN 7: Take me out to dinner before you’re sending me a photo of your dick.

I guess I am weird because something here doesn’t add up. Katelyn talked to more than 40 people on the street in New York that day. Pretty much every woman had received a dick pic but only 2 of them said they actually liked getting them. But! Nearly every single man she spoke to had sent one.

See? The economics of it just don’t make sense. Is there something about simply having a dick that makes you need to show it off?

Turns out: yeah, sort of. Dick-havers, of many kinds, are just wired that way.

Menno: during courtship males display their penis and sometimes in some species the penis is very brightly colored. The penis seems to be used, as kind of a display ornament.

This is Dr. Menno Schilthuizen, professor of evolution and biodiversity at Leiden University in the Netherlands and author of Nature’s Nether Regions, which is all about the evolution of reproductive organs in animals and people.

The brightly colored penises he’s talking about belong to various monkey species — like the Squirrel and Proboscis Monkey monkey — who love to show them off….which makes me wonder, what are the females getting out of this?

Menno: they’re probably assessing the genital shape or the color pattern as part of the whole package that the male presents to them.

So, for these female monkeys, seeing the genitals, before you commit to a mate, is sort of like a routine part of the research. And it’s not just monkeys. Other animals do this sorta thing, too.

Dr. Schilthuizen says that male mosquitofish (relative of the humble guppy) also uses genital exposure as a mating tactic. In their case too, the female mosquitofish are paying attention — specifically looking for the larger genitals.

So, should we all just be creating a binder full of dick pics? Using them as research to suss out every potential mate? No! That’s crazy. According to Dr. Schilthuizen, these animals are presenting the whole package to the females…like, in real life…dick pics don’t accomplish that same thing…

Menno: Yeah, there’s no way, I mean there’s no way to add more information to just that picture whereas in the traditional exhibitionism there was always more that a woman could see besides just the shape of the penis. So I don’t think any female, human or otherwise, would select the male on such limited information

An out of context dick pic tells you nothing…and that’s true for monkey, fish or human. A pic of the package does not a full package make.

The research isn’t limited to monkeys and perverted guppies…

In 1953, Alfred Kinsey published a book called Sexual Behavior in the Human Female. Remember Kinsey? He’s the guy who said that the world isn’t made up of just gay people and straight people, but there’s like a spectrum.

In one his studies, Kinsey asked women whether they were turned on at all by observing dicks…more than half…52-percent, they didn’t just say “no”…but they said “NEVER”. More than half the women reported never being turned on by looking at a dick. And Kinsey wrote that many women were quote “surprised to learn that there is anyone who finds the observation of male genitalia erotically stimulating.”

But for the dudes in Kinsey’s study, it was almost completely reversed. They loved looking at their own dicks. 56-percent of them reported being turned on by looking at their own genitals.  

The men in that Kinsey study couldn’t fathom that women wouldn’t want to look dicks…like it was just was baffling to them…quote…

“It is difficult for most males to comprehend that females are not aroused by seeing male genitalia. Some males never come to comprehend this.”


The takeaway from all this? Straight guys: you know the golden rule, treat others the way you want to be treated? This does not apply to your dick….or snapshots of it! You might love pics of your dick…but that doesn’t mean women do.

But we did want to talk to someone who does have a genuine appreciation for a good dick pic…so, we talked to Max…who told us that for lots of the guys he hooks up with it’s just a routine part of the process…

MAX: In this economy of penises, you have to trade, it’s a barter system. You want to see a dick? You gotta send a dick.

JANE: So, you’re obviously a fan…

MAX:  I’m a fan. Yeah, I’ve done my Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hours of dick pics…you know, sending and receiving…definitely, definitely. You know, first of all, I’ll look at any penis. I’ll look at any, I don’t care.

JANE: Let’s be honest

MAX: Yeah

JANE: So, when did you take your first dick pic?

MAX: Probably when I got my first iPhone, which would have been about 6 years ago, I guess. I mean I don’t think I had done it…

JANE: You’re 24-years-old….

MAX: I was 24-years-old

JANE: Living in New York,

MAX: Living in New York, not impressing anyone with a picture of my penis…You know, but trying

JANE: Are you sure?

MAX: It’s fine, I’m being very honest. It’s like a..I always say it’s like a Toyota Camry, like a Toyota Camry is like the best-selling midsize sedan in America..for over 30 years..

JANE: It’s reliable….

MAX: You know, the Avalon is too big for some people’s garages and the Corolla is too small.

JANE: How do you elicit the dick pic, or does it just fly into your phone…?

MAX: Generally, the edicate would be that you, um, write pics question mark

JANE: [LAUGH] The edicate, sorry!

MAX: Some people don’t even bother putting a question mark.

If you just start sending the dicks right away, that’s something that turns you on. It’s not about getting someone else off. If I haven’t had any message from you before, and I just see “hey bro” and don’t ever, ever bro me…and they get like 10 pictures of a penis, like…that’s just like what you’re into, that’s not about turning someone else on. Like…probably no one wants to see that dick.

JANE: Have you talked with women about this and how have they reacted?

MAX: Oh, I mean, I think most women who know gay men are aware that this is going on all of the time. And a lot of women I know who get dick pics don’t seem to enjoy them…and I’ll tell this to straight guys out there who think you’re real cool sending a dick pic to a woman who doesn’t want to see it….you know, there’s a good chance that if she has gay friends, there’s a good possibility that she’s passing it on, so like….you know, be aware tough guy.

And that brings us to the main complaint we heard from women regarding dick pics: it’s creepy and gross to get one that you didn’t ask for. In that way, dick pics are just like any other sexual interaction, unless we’re saying YES loud and clear, leave us alone.

MAX: Most women I know, don’t want to see them, so if you’re a straight guy, I would say be aware of whether or not a woman wants to see your dick.

JANE: When you say you don’t get them unsolicited, what are you doing to solicit them?

MAX: ASK. Like literally ask, ‘can I see your dick?’ Very, very rarely have I met a gay guy who won’t send a dick pic.

JANE: But you’re saying that the main takeaway is that most of these are asked for and women don’t ask for them that much so straight guys shouldn’t send them unless they’re asked.

MAX: Yeah, it’s a consent issue. Yeah. Know your audience, you know. Do you know this woman well enough to know if she’s interested in seeing your penis A, or if she’s seen it before, do you really think she wants a photo of it? Um…

JANE: Right.

MAX: And, uh, if she’s a cool horny gal like yourself, send it, but if she’s um, not indicated that she’s into it…like, maybe you should keep that to yourself.

I’m disappointed in the lack of academic dick pic research studies — somebody get on that — so, we can’t know for sure if Max is right.


Max is saying pretty much the same thing as that Kinsey research from the 50’s. Just because you’re into something doesn’t mean that someone else will be.

And you should care about that. Because one: don’t be a creep. And two: do you actually want a response? Do you want a chance with the person receiving your text? Because if you’re sending an unsolicited DP…you’re probably not going to get one.

There is this one last study I want to tell you about – it’s one of the most interesting things I read about women and boners.

It’s from 1974 and it’s a study by Manfred DeMartino called “Sex and The Intelligent Woman…” which, I just love the title of that. He surveyed 327 female Mensa members about their sexual habits and attitudes.  

And he found that if you asked women to picture an erection, most responded positively. Many of them mentioned their partner or husband, so there was kind of a bell curve with like teenagers and much older women claiming less interest, but between the ages of like 20 – 49, about 70% of women were like, yeah!

They used words like “handsome” and “amazing” and “exciting” to describe erections. One woman even described a hard-on as “absolutely beautiful. A throne for a queen.”

But these women were just picturing hard-ons in their heads, they weren’t actually looking at photos. They certainly weren’t looking at a disembodied dick on their phone, all of a sudden, in the middle of the day when they were, like, eating a sandwich at their desk or something.

I’m apparently the only one who actually does like that. So, I’m an outlier. Whatever.

But what I can say about the rest of the straight ladies out there is this: they like dicks, but they don’t really need the pics.

Remember: Tinder is a Pic-free zone. You can’t send photos of anything — nudity, landscapes, your cat — nothing. So, if you feel like you’re getting sexually threatening messages online or messages that make you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, just remember…on lots of social media, you can report those users.

You can also go to our website: gimletcreative.com. We’ve posted some articles and resources about sexual harassment. You can find them in the show notes for this episode.


DTR is a branded podcast from Tinder, produced in partnership with Gimlet Creative.

This episode was produced by me, Jane Marie, along with Katelyn Bogucki, Nicole Wong, Frances Harlow. Creative direction from Nazanin Rafsanjani. It was mixed and engineered by Zac Schmidt, Austin Thompson, Matt Boll, and Dann Gallucci. Production assistance from Rikki Novetsky.

Special thanks to all of the New Yorkers who bravely shared their DP stories

To learn more about DTR, visit DTRshow.com, where you can find more episodes of this podcast. DTR is on iTunes and Google Play. If you like the show, leave a review and tell us why! I’m Jane Marie. Thanks for listening.

We’ll be back next week with Tinder profile makeovers…you think you’re saying one thing with those profile pics…when you’re saying something else completely…

We’ll be back next with Tinder profile makeovers…

RACHEL: [LAUGH] Should I just take this one down right now?

JANE: No, it’s cute. It’s cute but I thought you were being like, ‘ooh, I’m a naughty girl’

RACHEL: No, I’m not. That’s not what I meant to convey at all…It’s just ‘I’m a cat lady. I love cats. [LAUGH]

That’s next week on DTR.


KATELYN: Wait…do you get pics back?

GUY 1: Not as often as I’d like

KATELYN: Do you get pics back?

GUY 2: Obviously not, no

KATELYN: Do you?

GUY 3: ….No

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