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What I've Learned From My Side Job Critiquing Dick Pics
January 12, 2014 2:17 PM   Subscribe

The founder of the Tumblr Critique My Dick Pic (previously on Metafilter) talks about what she has learned.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (111 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
wait you can get paid to do this

i have been wasting my life
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:20 PM on January 12 [18 favorites]


That was a great piece.
posted by rtha at 2:22 PM on January 12 [4 favorites]


Yes, this feels like an untapped business opportunity here.
posted by The Whelk at 2:27 PM on January 12


And here I thought I was going to be treated to a high brow discussion amongst Nixon photographers.
posted by three blind mice at 2:28 PM on January 12 [4 favorites]


Not! Safe! For! Work!
Heh.
posted by brennen at 2:28 PM on January 12


pure awesome.
posted by Dhertiiboi at 2:31 PM on January 12


I have so many questions about the bone fragment picture.
posted by Sweetmag at 2:31 PM on January 12 [9 favorites]


Although we have not, to my awareness, ever communicated, I have just found that the author of this piece has blocked me on Twitter. Yes! I assure you, if you're reading this, I had no intention of sending you a self-portrait of any kind. And I certainly don't now! My feelings are hurt, after all.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:31 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


I have so many questions about the bone fragment picture.

i want none of the answers
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:42 PM on January 12 [7 favorites]


That's a good piece. A very compassionate approach to what could be a tittering-and-pointing sort of thing instead.

I was just pondering earlier today how weird some of the social baggage around dicks is, at least in American culture. I'm not a guy, but my perception is that it's considered "normal" for guys to wander around totally nude with hanging dick on full display in an all-male environment. And yet, male full frontal nudity seems to be one of the biggest taboos remaining in mainstream cinema.
posted by rmd1023 at 2:43 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


I haven't figured out how to hide NSFW-tagged Tumblr posts on my iPhone app yet. This is the only NSFW subscription I have, buried among many boring ones. It's really an adrenaline rush when I forget that I'm following this one on the train to work:

cat gif, cat gif, Tom Hiddleston hugging a fan, dog gif, Sherlock Holmes spoiler, cat gif, cat gif,
MASSIVE SCHLONG!

New game: how fast can I suddenly hide my screen?
posted by theredpen at 2:43 PM on January 12 [7 favorites]


Her blog is actually hilarious.
posted by localroger at 2:47 PM on January 12


I have one qualm with her criteria for good dick pics. She relentlessly encourages people to grab the base of the dick with their hand, because including the hand makes it more than just a "log" (as she calls it) and makes it more visually interesting. All fair and good, except in most pictures that means covering up half or more of the dick, removing the whole point of the pic! (Well, usually not the POINT... badum-tshhhhh.)

Otherwise, all brilliant.
posted by lewedswiver at 2:54 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


Remember this phrase and it will serve you well.

" no, I just have huge hands."
posted by The Whelk at 2:57 PM on January 12 [15 favorites]


Although we have not, to my awareness, ever communicated, I have just found that the author of this piece has blocked me on Twitter. Yes! I assure you, if you're reading this, I had no intention of sending you a self-portrait of any kind. And I certainly don't now! My feelings are hurt, after all.

It is important that people know you are blocked by the dick pic blogger, and that your feelings are hurt thereby.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:02 PM on January 12 [3 favorites]


but my perception is that it's considered "normal" for guys to wander around totally nude with hanging dick on full display in an all-male environment

This does not occur in every male social circle.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:03 PM on January 12 [18 favorites]


You guys don't go to gyms or saunas? How do you have a decent sweat?
posted by The Whelk at 3:05 PM on January 12


rmd1023: Everyone's ok with a penis as long as it's in a totally non-sexualized environment... put it up on screen and suddenly you're considered subversive. Chalk it up to the patriarchy, or homophobia or something, where it's ok to leer at women but men are supposed to be ugly.
posted by dilaudid at 3:06 PM on January 12 [4 favorites]


One argument I heard someone make was that someone may be incidentally naked or just miming sex, but a fully erect peen can only mean one thing, which is a no-go. American media prudishness is Werid, like the blurring out of a breast plate with nipples but only when it's actually being worn.
posted by The Whelk at 3:10 PM on January 12 [3 favorites]


There are plenty of locker rooms where the majority of guys are very modest, sometimes even doing the underwear-under-the-towel thing like how women will put on a swimsuit at the beach. Old dudes seem to love wandering around naked for hours, but younger guys much less so. But this varies so much from place to place that I'd be reluctant to say that there is a single way it is.

This is a great article, especially her emphasis on critiquing with love.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:12 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


but a fully erect peen can only mean one thing

You just woke up and you have to pee?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:13 PM on January 12 [13 favorites]


but my perception is that it's considered "normal" for guys to wander around totally nude with hanging dick on full display in an all-male environment

This does not occur in every male social circle.


In my head it totally does. All the time. Aaaaaall the time. Rawr.
posted by VioletU at 3:16 PM on January 12 [7 favorites]


I have been doing mornings totally wrong
posted by The Whelk at 3:16 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


Even at the play parties I go to, it's not "all naked all the time". Guys usually bring robes or sweats to wear when they aren't in the playspace. The allure of the hidden is often used to create greater desire.
posted by hippybear at 3:19 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


You guys don't go to gyms or saunas? How do you have a decent sweat?

Actually, the ones I've been to done here in the South are more modest, where you where a towel. Being briefly nude while changing is fine, but if your'e lounging, then on goes the towel. Maybe it varies by region and class.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:21 PM on January 12


but a fully erect peen can only mean one thing

A spot of quoits?
posted by billiebee at 3:25 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


I have actually done that, billiebee.

As in with a wang not with proper quoits.


ANYONE FOR HORSESHOES?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:28 PM on January 12 [4 favorites]


It is important that people know you are blocked by the dick pic blogger, and that your feelings are hurt thereby.

It's a decent-sized block. Some people say...

It is weird to me that someone I've never talked to at all has blocked me? It's kinda random. Now I'm wondering who else I've never met has put me on block, and my mighty tower of self-regard is kind of folding over in the middle a bit. Admittedly, it was only of note to me and didn't need to be, you know, brought up in this space.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:29 PM on January 12


my mighty tower of self-regard is kind of folding over in the middle a bit

that would make for a poorly reviewed pic
posted by hippybear at 3:31 PM on January 12 [10 favorites]


It took me an unreasonably long time to figure out there were both men and women out there who actually enjoyed dick pics. The phenomenon had always inspired in me the same level of bemusement as guys who yell "Hey baby!" at women across the street or the popularity of the puke yellow + puke green + puke brown combination of the '70s. It seemed to be one of those things that seemed good in theory and spread memetically but was never subjected to intelligent analysis.

And then when I started voicing my confusion to other women and men, I found out that plenty of people like them. Turns out I am just not far enough to the side of the Kinsey scale to appreciate this particular mode of dickspression.
posted by schroedinger at 3:33 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


and there would certainly be an aside about the superfluousness of the "decent-sized block" comment
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 3:33 PM on January 12


I have one qualm with her criteria for good dick pics. She relentlessly encourages people to grab the base of the dick with their hand, because including the hand makes it more than just a "log" (as she calls it) and makes it more visually interesting. All fair and good, except in most pictures that means covering up half or more of the dick, removing the whole point of the pic! (Well, usually not the POINT... badum-tshhhhh.)

Just because penises are sexy doesn't mean you can maximize sexiness just by maximizing Total Visible Penile Surface. Otherwise, those weird look-at-me-stretching-my-foreskin pics you see on amateur sites would be the ultimate in sexiness — so much extra surface area! Major TVPS boost! (Or, wait, does scrotum also count towards TVPS? If so this business probably takes the prize...)
posted by this is a thing at 3:34 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I haven't been a room full of naked dicks since middle school gym showers. In high school the showers were never even turned on, since everyone preferred to just not take one and go to class sweaty.

Also, the persistent media trope about "guys checking each other out in the shower" is fairly odd, as people do not walk into the shower with huge boners. In fact, the usual result of just having done exercise is the exact opposite effect, so there's usually not much to "check out."
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:35 PM on January 12


For example, the author doesn't like this dick pic, when in my book that's the only worthwhile one of the bunch. Bring on more of the hilarious costumed dicks, that's what I say.
posted by schroedinger at 3:36 PM on January 12 [3 favorites]


and there would certainly be an aside about the superfluousness of the "decent-sized block" comment

You know, everybody's a critic
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:37 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


It took me an unreasonably long time to figure out there were both men and women out there who actually enjoyed dick pics.

To be fair, cock pics are extremely standard currency in the gay online dating/hookup world. To the point where it is far from unusual for guys to specify they don't care about seeing a facepic, just a cock.

Also, the persistent media trope about "guys checking each other out in the shower" is fairly odd, as people do not walk into the shower with huge boners. In fact, the usual result of just having done exercise is the exact opposite effect, so there's usually not much to "check out."

Guys do check each other out though, and no matter how many times you try to drill into their heads that flaccid and erect sizes have not a lot to do with each other, they will keep doing it.

The tendency of men to check out crotches is, in fact, so well-known and -defined that market research companies who use eyeline detectors use the phenomenon--even on mannequins to calibrate their systems.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:41 PM on January 12


As in with a wang not with proper quoits.

You can detach your wang, curve it into a ring, and toss it over a stick resting on the ground??

I'm impressed.
posted by soundguy99 at 3:44 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


Otherwise, those weird look-at-me-stretching-my-foreskin pics you see on amateur sites would be the ultimate in sexiness — so much extra surface area! Major TVPS boost!

Internet, please, I am begging you. Do NOT doge this.
posted by maudlin at 3:45 PM on January 12 [10 favorites]


That isn't precisely how we played, no.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:45 PM on January 12


In high school the showers were never even turned on, since everyone preferred to just not take one and go to class sweaty.

What the hell? How do you clean off the chlorine from the pool?

Also guys can't check each other out in gym showers in school cause the spray is ice cold and you only have like three minutes.
posted by The Whelk at 3:46 PM on January 12


When I played water polo in high school, most of us would just shower in our speedos. I was well into my 20s before I got over being uncomfortable with being naked in the locker room.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:51 PM on January 12


For some reason I suddenly remembered that in my Jr. high school boys swim class, we all swam naked. I wonder who came up with that decision.
posted by freakazoid at 3:59 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


since you asked so nicely, maudlin
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:02 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


Would it be better if you put a bowl of fruit in the background?
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 4:29 PM on January 12 [9 favorites]


but my perception is that it's considered "normal" for guys to wander around totally nude with hanging dick on full display in an all-male environment

only if you're fully naked

Don't wander around fully clothed with just the dick hanging out though

Then people make a big stink about you "propositioning" them and you have to take a class from HR
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:33 PM on January 12 [11 favorites]


What I've Learned From My Side Job Critiquing Vag Pics

"Nobody takes them and I struggle to pay my trash bill."
posted by oceanjesse at 4:41 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


No shirt cocking
posted by jeffburdges at 4:44 PM on January 12


Old dudes seem to love wandering around naked for hours, but younger guys much less so.
obligatory comic version.
posted by fings at 4:54 PM on January 12 [6 favorites]


Lighting. It's all about the lighting.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:07 PM on January 12


I was well into my 20s before I got over being uncomfortable with being naked in the locker room.

Clearly Pelé and Franz Beckenbauer (and the rest of the Cosmos) didn't share your discomfort.
posted by asterix at 5:08 PM on January 12 [4 favorites]


> I was just pondering earlier today how weird some of the social baggage around dicks is, at least in American culture. I'm not a guy, but my perception is that it's considered "normal" for guys to wander around totally nude with hanging dick on full display in an all-male environment.

To be fair, this is only true for American men holding political office or an executive position in a company in the technical or investment sector.
posted by at by at 5:12 PM on January 12


In high school the showers were never even turned on, since everyone preferred to just not take one and go to class sweaty.

I managed to go for four years of high-school without once setting foot in the locker room. I just went to gym class wearing my jeans and then didn't do anything there to work up a sweat.
posted by octothorpe at 5:22 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


Where does one sign up for such a job? : )
posted by SisterHavana at 5:28 PM on January 12


I wonder who came up with that decision.

In a perfect would it would be someone now doing hard time. In our world it is definitely someone who is still teaching kids.
posted by elizardbits at 5:30 PM on January 12 [4 favorites]


Freakazoid: Nude swimming in schools was very common.
posted by disclaimer at 5:35 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


Also: I am a fan of the dick pic, and I am happy that so done is critiquing them, because someone must.
posted by disclaimer at 5:43 PM on January 12


Yeah I knew it was pretty common, and at the time I don't remember giving it much thought. We just didn't care one way or the other. But the part of that link where the guy talks about "warm" water? I would have killed for warm water.
posted by freakazoid at 5:51 PM on January 12


Nude swimming in schools was very common.

Wow. What the hell.
posted by device55 at 5:53 PM on January 12


That would have been some exquisite kind of hell for closeted 13 year old me.

I am so very, very glad that practice changed.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:54 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


Nude swimming in schools was very common.

Wow. What the hell
.

Yeah, I guess it's probably a good thing that they phased out the all-male nude swimming in high school.
posted by freakazoid at 5:55 PM on January 12


Oh god yes, I would have been beaten up about three seconds into the first class.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:56 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


Ah, the good old days.
posted by freakazoid at 5:57 PM on January 12


"hats off to you sender, because you literally have a tiny snake wrapped around your penis"

Fuckin lol'd
posted by stinkfoot at 6:00 PM on January 12


I'm the only woman I know who's never been sent a cock shot, a fact about which I was honestly pretty happy. In my imagination, they were pretty much always a) unsolicited/unwanted, and b) visually along the lines of the "log" shots that she trashes. I couldn't imagine how it could possibly be the least bit sexy, and it mostly just seemed to be a thing done by gross dudes. (Case in point: the friend who told me she went on a first date from an online site, and at a certain point the fellow excused himself to use the facilities. And proceeded to text her a dick pic from the bar toilet. She was not impressed, in any sense of the term.)

I must say, ever since I read that piece on The Hairpin the other day, and scrolled through the Tumblr, I've re-evaluated my stance. I can now see how the right pic from the right person could absolutely be welcome and appreciated. This blogger is very good at what she does.

(This post should not be construed as an invitation. Heh.)
posted by Superplin at 6:02 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


....you guys didn't always learn to swim nude with like your whole family at the big sandy lake in New Jersey?

Huh.
posted by The Whelk at 6:05 PM on January 12


A good cockshot should probably have like a feather boa and a miniature stahlhelm or something
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:13 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


Or that sash Worf wears
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:18 PM on January 12 [9 favorites]


I just can't get behind dick pics. I have no problems with a penis, but something about picture form grosses me out. Dicks to me are not sexy in the slightest and receiving one would turn me off. I'm with the commenter above...I always assumed only creepy guys send those kinds of pics.
posted by Sweetmag at 6:23 PM on January 12 [1 favorite]


Or a top hat and tails.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:25 PM on January 12


"... trying hard to look like Gary Cooper ..."
posted by octobersurprise at 6:27 PM on January 12 [19 favorites]


Super duper!
posted by sonascope at 6:27 PM on January 12 [17 favorites]


I'm a fan of her critiquing "with love." The most interesting part to me was her difficulty in getting submitters to really understand that she's critiquing the PIC and not the DICK.

I'm a photographer and I love portraits, and especially portraits of people being THEMSELVES, no matter how their looks would "rank" "objectively". It's so hard not to judge yourself against whatever standards are prevalent and just enjoy the amazing diversity of humans.

In conclusion, dicks are a land of contrasts.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 6:27 PM on January 12 [10 favorites]


I'm still appalled and mortified that kids are group-showering naked in middle and/or high school.

I would have dropped out and run away instead of being forced into that.
posted by dogwalker at 6:50 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


I just want to say that Cosmos picture was awesome. I actually went to games where those two (and Chinaglia) played, back when I was like 9 years old. I remember the much later fuss about women reporting from the NFL locker room, and I can't believe there was no fuss about cameras in the NASL showers.
/end soccer derail
posted by bashos_frog at 7:17 PM on January 12


I'm still appalled and mortified that kids are group-showering naked in middle and/or high school.

Why? The more people who grow up thinking that naked human bodies are No Big Deal, the better for the world.

That being said, the same argument that says kids should be separated by gender when changing/showering would also suggest they be separated by sexual orientation. This is of course highly problematic, but it is logical.

In an ideal universe, everyone would change and shower in a single locker room. But we're not even close to there yet, unfortunately.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:53 PM on January 12 [7 favorites]


In an ideal universe, everyone would change and shower in a single locker room.

There is no gym class in an ideal universe.
posted by device55 at 8:04 PM on January 12 [26 favorites]


There is no gym class in an ideal universe.

I know what you're getting at obvs, but (says a short chubby man sitting on his fatass) an ideal universe would probably include a lot more daily physical activity so gym class would be more or less moot. YMMV.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:07 PM on January 12 [4 favorites]


As long as we're doing ideal universes: In mine nobody minds if a couple people feel like getting naked and taking showers together, but they'd be horrified if a teacher told them they were required to join in.
posted by this is a thing at 8:14 PM on January 12 [5 favorites]


...and double-horrified when the teacher was like "Yeah, we assigned you those partners for Mandatory Naked Time because your genitals reminded us of theirs."
posted by this is a thing at 8:23 PM on January 12 [3 favorites]


but a fully erect peen can only mean one thing

What does it mean during some mornings when you wake up, not an excited thought on your mind, and the damn thing won't relax for quite awhile other than it being rather annoying?
posted by juiceCake at 9:48 PM on January 12


In mine nobody minds if a couple people feel like getting naked and taking showers together, but they'd be horrified if a teacher told them they were required to join in.

Yeah, exactly. It's not prudish or sex negative to say "hey maybe forcing preteens to get naked together against their will is a fucking terrible thing and should not be done by alleged authority figures".
posted by elizardbits at 10:13 PM on January 12 [12 favorites]


I went to a bunch of schools. Some were shower-optional, some were shower-mandatory. Shower-optional is a lot more humane, because there are all kinds of reasons a kid might not want to strip down and shower with his or her peers. Relatedly, the wrestling team was crazy homoerotic.

Clearly Pelé and Franz Beckenbauer (and the rest of the Cosmos) didn't share your discomfort.

Google says Pele was 5' 8", for anyone wanting to know the scale for that photo.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:29 PM on January 12


Why? The more people who grow up thinking that naked human bodies are No Big Deal, the better for the world.

I've written up like twenty responses to this, and frankly none of them are as good as elizardbits comment just now.
posted by dogwalker at 10:29 PM on January 12


In mine nobody minds if a couple people feel like getting naked and taking showers together, but they'd be horrified if a teacher told them they were required to join in.

Yeah, exactly. It's not prudish or sex negative to say "hey maybe forcing preteens to get naked together against their will is a fucking terrible thing and should not be done by alleged authority figures".


This is true today, I agree. But in the context of the times - where history can only be truly judged as right or wrong - group nudity in a shower room was (a) what happened right after gym class (b) not to be questioned because you did not question authority in something like that (c) humiliating to everyone involved to some degree and therefore a strange kind of shared experience. For reference, there's an episode of Freaks and Geeks that I think covers the mindset pretty well.

I think the whole nude swimming thing had to be humiliating and weird and yeah, creepy, but I don't believe you can apply today's morality to yesterday's experience. I'm glad kids don't have to experience it, that's certain.

Also, I googled up "nude boys swimming in high school" and I'm sure there's a helicopter circling my house or something.
posted by disclaimer at 10:46 PM on January 12 [3 favorites]


The more people who grow up thinking that naked human bodies are No Big Deal, the better for the world.

I think naked human bodies are pretty great, a really big deal in my world. I don’t want to live in the world where it’s blasé.
posted by bongo_x at 11:03 PM on January 12


I've always had a hard (ha!) time thinking of dick pics as sexy seeing as the first one I ever saw was one old-skool online journaller Dave Van sent to someone that somehow made it online. It's not that the dick in question wasn't just fine; it's more that it was presented as this thing that had appeared out of nowhere and then . . . just kept showing up. It's like how after you say or type a word over and over again, it somehow loses all meaning. Dave Van's penis ruined me for all dick shots ever after.
posted by atropos at 11:53 PM on January 12 [2 favorites]


Wow, Dave Van. Haven't heard that name in years and years!
I'd forgotten all about that dick pic incident. Maybe it contributed to my previous negative mindset, though, lodged uncomfortably somewhere in my subconscious.
posted by Superplin at 12:52 AM on January 13 [1 favorite]


By the time I got to Jr. high, when the nude communal showering began, I was so near-sighted I couldn't see much of anyone's penis; in fact, I could barely tell whether anyone had a penis or not and didn't care anyway.

In my high school, we usually had to run the 1.5 mile cross country course at the end of class, and on those days I came in so hot I had to take at least a five-minute completely cold shower to have a chance of controlling my sweat the next period (it generally worked for about 30 blissfully cool minutes), and no one used the next shower head on either side of mine.

I might have collected my share of strange looks, but I couldn't see those either.
posted by jamjam at 1:01 AM on January 13


In mine nobody minds if a couple people feel like getting naked and taking showers together, but they'd be horrified if a teacher told them they were required to join in.

So my high school was absolutely rubbish at sports. We were a math and science magnet. It was sort of our mandate that we be rubbish at sports.

But we had a water polo team. And they were surprisingly good at what they did. And they believed that one of the reasons for their success was that, before each meet, they would have shaving parties.

Where, yes, the co-ed team would get together in the showers, and shave their legs and arms and anywhere else they felt like shaving. Swimsuits were apparently optional on occasion.

At least, until one of the parents found out. Then there were no more shaving parties.
posted by Katemonkey at 1:50 AM on January 13 [3 favorites]


Clearly Pelé and Franz Beckenbauer (and the rest of the Cosmos) didn't share your discomfort.

I wouldn't share my discomfort either if I looked like Pele.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 3:52 AM on January 13


this one Is hilarious. Dick with feet!
posted by Omnomnom at 5:25 AM on January 13


I have taken pornographic shots for a male friend of mine in the business, and it's true that dicks are a little dull-looking on their own. The "log" shot where it's sort of just sticking up on its own is the worst. But this can be remedied by positioning the body in interesting ways around it, especially the hands. I really like Critique My Dick Pic because she seems like she genuinely wants people to improve their picture-taking skills, and gives detailed feedback.
posted by pony707 at 5:35 AM on January 13


Once, there was this girl who didn't want to change with the girls in the change room. When they finally made her, they found birthmarks all over her body....

Alright I think that's enough. It will be in your head all day. My work here is done.
posted by history_denier at 7:09 AM on January 13 [5 favorites]


I have no idea what that is about. I just assume it's a Carrie reference.
Carrie is totally my go -to metaphor for high school showering.
posted by Mezentian at 7:20 AM on January 13


It will be in your head all day

Damn you!
posted by billiebee at 7:23 AM on January 13


The idea of swimming pools and water polo teams in high school strikes me as some sort of hoity-toity private school luxury. But I'm aware it's more of a big city, large school thing. Still, it's weird to me.

Because of my collagen disease, I didn't have to take gym in high school. Which was silly, really, as I didn't have any problems at the time and, for example, carried forty pounds of drums in marching band as a hundred-pound sophomore. But I certainly didn't complain. Gym was annoying.

But I did take gym in junior high, though I was exempt from some of the activity. At that age, and up until, say, tenth grade, I lived in continual fear of getting an inappropriate erection and was certain that somehow I'd get one while we were changing for gym or for the shower. Always a background fear. Just in general, early adolescent kids have terrible anxieties about body issues and making them be naked around each other is really quite cruel.

And it didn't help that the there was a girl's gym class alongside the boy's gym class I was in. We'd do a fair bit of stuff inside in the gymnasium and I had a very difficult time keeping my eyes off of the girl with whom I had a wicked crush for, like, three years. In fact, I have a vivid memory of watching her one morning that is just about the single most sexually-charged memory of my whole life. Jesus, I don't know what it's like for other teen boys, but horniness distorted my thinking for three-quarters of every day throughout much of my adolescence. It was truly a relief to age past that constant and intense preoccupation. But that fueled the fears of inappropriate and visible erections, and many were inspired by sharing that space with the girls in gym. Back then, homophobia was intense and an erection in the shower would be a one-way ticket to permanent bullying.

Anyway, about dick pics, it should be noted that experiments which measure male arousal have shown that heterosexual men mostly don't have an arousal response to photos of other men's dicks, but most heterosexual men do have an arousal response to photos of their own erect dick. Which makes sense, because male arousal and masturbation is very visible to the aroused man, and men tend to be strongly visually sexually stimulated, anyway. So it sets up a psychological positive feedback loop — a man seeing his own erect penis is itself saying "I'm horny, sexy fun times coming up".

I think that answers a lot of questions that women, in particular, have about men's fascination with their own dick pics and why they'd send them to women. That doesn't make unsolicited pics right! I think that's a form of sexual harassment. But between partners and stuff, it is not as weirdly self-obsessed as it superficially seems. It's in itself a kind of sexual activity or provocation and, also, I think that men very much hope or would like their female partners to find those dick pics sexy because, as I wrote in the previous paragraph, the men themselves find them sexy.

I've never actually sent a dick pic to anyone, but I, too, would really like it if a partner of mine would enjoy getting one from me. That would be pretty sexy.

So I guess the point is that it's not as ... whatever ... as it seems. I understand being leery of it, especially given how common unsolicited dick pic harassment is. But the harassment examples really shouldn't reflect on the consensual examples, just as other kinds of sexual harassment acts should reflect on the same acts done consensually. My sense is that if one operated from the assumption that a dick pic isn't itself sexy to the man sending it that it's harder to see it positively. But as it is, I think that when consensual, it should properly be seen as a sort of cooperative sexiness thing. Like how a woman might feel dressed in some sexy clothes and would send a photo of herself in those clothes (or lingerie) to her lover. Erect penises seem crude and very unsubtle in comparison, but male sexuality is often pretty blatant and what-you-see-is-what-you-get.

And this speaks to some of what the author wrote. Men are insecure about their penises because they're insecure about their sexuality. As I wrote, I think that for a man, his penis is just the big, honking embodiment of his sexuality. It's all concentrated right there. And so you have all this preoccupation with size. But, also, straight men generally don't see other erect penises except in porn and that creates unrealistic standards for both size and other aspects of appearance.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:55 AM on January 13 [2 favorites]


Once, there was this girl who didn't want to change with the girls in the change room. When they finally made her, they found birthmarks all over her body....

werrrrrrnce

thurr wers thers gerrrrrrrrrl who
posted by threeants at 10:48 AM on January 13 [6 favorites]


That was a surprisingly heartwarming article about dick pics.
posted by ErikaB at 11:15 AM on January 13


Craigslist Penis Photographer featuring Bob Odenkirk
posted by jeffburdges at 12:54 PM on January 13


theredpen, check out Washboard for safe tumbling.
posted by libraritarian at 1:09 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]


So, I had to wait until I was home from work to comment on this. I read the What I Learned article at work, and waited to take a gander at the Tumblr until now. And now I have a completely different comment.

See, I'm a pretty liberal-minded, progressive girl, but I'm actually quite conservative in my personal affairs, with the result that I have seen very, very few adult penises. So I appreciated the author's focus on no-dick-shaming and pro-dick-of-color, but I couldn't quite understand why. I mean, a penis is a penis! They all kinda look the same, don't they? And, ok, penises are kinda weird looking, but why would you make fun of them or shame their owners? All dudes have one, it's just a body part.

And then I came home and looked at the Tumblr, and I have a newfound appreciation and admiration for this woman for her stance. That is quite the variety of wieners! Most of which look nothing like the ones in my scant experience. I can imagine a less-mature version of myself saying, "Oh my God, what is THAT?!?!" in the heat of the moment. Heck, even more-mature current-me went "Whoa" at a couple of pictures.

No one should have their body parts sneered at. So I thank the author for not doing so, and for challenging me on my narrow assumptions.
posted by chainsofreedom at 6:11 PM on January 13 [6 favorites]


MetaFilter: quite the variety of wieners!
posted by hippybear at 6:37 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: Oh my God, what is THAT?!?!
posted by localroger at 7:12 PM on January 13


Now I'm wondering about the first dick pic. Is there a daguerreotype?
posted by amanda at 9:58 PM on January 13


Cave painting?
posted by rtha at 10:02 PM on January 13


"I'm not a guy, but my perception is that it's considered "normal" for guys to wander around totally nude with hanging dick on full display in an all-male environment. And yet, male full frontal nudity seems to be one of the biggest taboos remaining in mainstream cinema."

There has to be a German term for a question that contains its own answer.

We didn't have naked swim, but I guess I was surprised by the vehemence of opposition. I don't have a strong opinion; I definitely felt weird in gym, but I don't think nudity would have had a significant impact. I grew up with a big enough family, and enough rural relatives, that skinny dipping was a totally normal thing to do. And enough hoodlum friends in the suburbs that jumping fences to skinny dip in city or hotel pools was a normal thing. I was kind of surprised that when I moved to LA, it wasn't just part of everyone's adolescence.
posted by klangklangston at 10:53 PM on January 13


A couple years ago I found myself re-learning to date after a long relatiomship that started before cell phones had cameras and the only social media sites were Friendster and Black Planet.

I was well-aware from friends and the internet that some people LOVED dick pics and some people absolutely DREADED them. And a (fairly small) subset of the people who ebjoyed dick pics liked being SURPRISED with a pic of a dick they were fond of. What I wasn't ready for was that sometimes the same person really loved an unsolicited dick pic in the one day could get really turned off by one on another. You know, cuz that first day she was bored and horny and the second she was feeling lowkey victimized by a creepy coworker.

TL; DR? Use your words, guage the situation, don't go in blind with the dick pic.
posted by elr at 12:55 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


There has to be a German term for a question that contains its own answer.

Kinoschwantzverbotenstanz.
posted by hippybear at 5:17 PM on January 14 [1 favorite]


Oh, no, wait, that's the term for that taboo. Sorry.
posted by hippybear at 5:17 PM on January 14


BroBible: The 10 Dos and Don'ts of Dick Pics, by the woman who runs critiquemydickpic.tumblr.com.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:32 PM on January 15


So phallus. Wow
posted by jeffburdges at 7:34 AM on January 17 [2 favorites]


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