When Ryan Jon decided to ask young men about the psychology behind their dick pics, he didn’t expect to unearth an entirely new trend.
But after speaking to a number of young Australian males, he picked up on one common theme: they’re not sending pictures of their genitals to girls, they’re sending them to other guys.
In a column for news.com.au, Jon quotes one young man as saying, “If you don’t send dick pics to your boys, they’re not your boys.”
It seems men are now acutely aware that when they send a dick pic to ‘impress’ a woman, they run the risk of being called out for their confronting behaviour. There are multiple examples online of men being mocked or shamed in response to their unwanted pictures.
My favourite hobby is searching for men who send me disgusting DMs online and replying with pics of their female family members and wives.????????
— Emily Sears (@emilysears) January 25, 2016
Sorry I said your dick pic looked like someone manhandling a naked mole rat. I have a point though. pic.twitter.com/auo7GUOcAA
— Cuntess Zoba (@Poutymcgee) October 26, 2015
boys if you want girls to like you don’t send us dick pics. Send us pics of pizza. Pizza can’t disappoint us like we know your penis will
— Ⓜy Life as Ⓜary (@wh0ever_she_is) October 20, 2015
So instead, they’ve taken to sharing the pictures with each other (because the desire to take pictures of their penises is just too strong to curb, apparently).
It was when Jon candidly asked young men: “If girls don’t like [dick pics], why bother?” that he got the unexpected response: “Well, the boys love it!”
Jon came across young men who regularly shared pictures of their penises in group chats, and who sent Snapchat pictures to their friends. On Facebook, one man wrote: “The boys on the worksite have probably seen it more times on Snapchat than my missus has in our bedroom.”
Indeed, when speaking to one man in particular, Jon received the reply: “Who sends dick pics to girls? That’s gay!”
Girls, on the other hand, don’t seem to mind this new trend, given that it might mean they’re less confronted with pictures they never asked for in the first place.
“I joined one dating site and I could make a collage out of all the dick pics I’ve received,” one girl said. “If those gross boys want to send them to their friends I’d prefer that cause sending them to us is disgusting and not going to get them anywhere.”
Listen to the Mamamia Out Loud team discuss dick pics, chokers and tequila. Post continues after audio.
Interestingly, this trend seems to point to a widely-studied phenomenon: homosociality, or the social bonds between people of the same sex.
Sociologist Michael Flood says the bonds between men actually shape their sexual encounters and behaviour with women. As a group, they normalise certain sexual interactions and establish what is and isn’t acceptable.
Sharing dick pics, or watching porn together, or explicitly talking about sexual experiences is a way for men to develop and maintain masculinity within their same-sex friendships. Feminist theorists also argue it’s a way for them to protect male territory and privilege, and defend the gender order and patriarchy.
So while the phenomenon of sharing dick pics with your (straight) friends seems bizarre, it’s likely just another way for men to establish what masculinity is and how they’re meant to ‘do’ manhood. By sending pictures to each other, they’re reinforcing the idea that doing so is an acceptable behaviour, and isn’t threatening or confronting.
Still, regardless of what it means, I’m sure we’ll all be happy to receive a few less pictures of men’s genitals as this trend gains traction.