Below is sketchnote that highlights some interesting research on the psychology behind the behavior of sending unsolicited images of what is colloquially referred to as “dick pics.”
The Pic Senders
Somewhat surprisingly, this research on a group of about 1,000 men found that almost half of the men surveyed admitted to sending at least one dick pic. Most senders, in this study, of this type of unwanted-imagery believed that the behavior they were exhibiting via text was “flirting.”
82% of these senders indicated that they hoped the images would “excite” their intended recipient, and they hoped to possibly receive something in return (either a similar picture from the recipient or a physical response, like a hook-up). The researchers called this a “I’ll show you mine so you’ll show me yours” type of mindset.
The Pic Recipients
This research study referenced above stated that 50% of women aged 18-36 have received exhibitionist pictures from men at some point; and most of these women reported that the image was unsolicited. In fact, many research studies around this topic reflect that many, if not most, adults (both male and female*) have received dick pics – with a high rate of those pictures being unsolicited by the recipient.
However, the variety responses of these recipients – regarding how they feel upon receiving a picture of this nature – are still being gathered through research, with recurring variations being noted among people of different sexual orientations and gender identities. Overall, all research reinforces common sense and current legislation: consent and communication are key to positive experiences in adult image exchange.
Research referenced in this sketchnote and post:
- Marcotte, A.S., Gesselman, A.N., Fisher, H.E., & Garcia, J.R. (2021). Women’s and men’s reactions to receiving unsolicited genital images from men. The Journal of Sex Research, 58(4),512-521, DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2020.1779171
- Oswald, F., Lopes, A., Skoda, K., Hesse, C.L., & Pedersen, C.L. (2020). I’ll show you mine so you’ll show me yours: Motivations and personality variables in photographic exhibitionism. The Journal of Sex Research, 57(5), 597-609, DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2019.1639036
*To note: most research done on this topic have been within the gender binary (men and women). The field is continuing to dive deeper into all gender identities for more inclusive research findings.