Updated: December 4, 2022
- A sex researcher surveyed 378 men who were 18 years old or older about their experiences sending both solicited and unsolicited penis photos, which are often referred to as “d— pics.”
- He found that 41% of the men said they sent an unsolicited d— pic to someone who was not a current partner at least once before.
- 51% of the men who said they ever sent an unsolicited photo said the most recent d— pic they sent was unsolicited.
- Sending unsolicited penis pictures is also linked to low self-esteem in straight men.
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Sending unsolicited penis pictures is linked to low self-esteem in straight men, according to a new small study presented at the annual meeting for The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.
To determine this, Justin J. Lehmiller, lead study author and a sex researcher at The Kinsey Institute, surveyed 378 men who were 18 years old or older about their experiences sending both solicited and unsolicited penis photos, which are often referred to as “d— pics.” The majority of these men, 77% of them, were heterosexual.
Lehmiller also asked the men questions about their self-esteem, empathy, and whether they had deceptive tendencies.
He found that 41% of the men said they sent an unsolicited d— pic to someone who was not a current partner at least once before and the average number of unsolicited d— pics a man sent was 22. Just over half, or 51%, of the men who said they ever sent an unsolicited photo said the most recent d— pic they sent was unsolicited.
Lehmiller also found a link between the heterosexual men’s penis picture-sending habits and their personalities: Those who sent unwanted d— pics were more likely to have low-self esteem levels and “disagreeable” or non-empathetic personalities.
Some men said they kept sending unwanted pictures because they received responses
The survey also revealed similarities among all of the men regardless of sexual orientation.
Lehmiller found that most of the men said sending unsolicited images “often resulted in reciprocation” or led to sex with the person they sent the unwanted images to.
These surprisingly positive responses to the d— pics “may reinforce this behavior, despite its non-consensual nature,” Lehmiller wrote in an abstract for the study.
Previous research suggests d— pic senders tend to be narcissists
This isn’t the first time research has suggested unwanted penis-picture senders share certain personality traits like low self-esteem.
These traits include having an exaggerated sense of importance, taking advantage of others, expecting special favors, and being obsessed with fantasies about perfection in the form of power, success, or the “perfect” partner, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The men who sent these graphic photos were also more likely to demonstrate sexist behavior, whether that was putting women on a pedestal (referred to as “benevolent sexism”) or having overtly negative views of women (called “hostile sexism” in the study).
Additionally, the researchers found 82% of the surveyed men said they believed sending unsolicited images would give their unwitting recipients “sexual excitement.” This sentiment could be read as a sense of heightened self-importance, which is a hallmark narcissistic trait.
Narcissists’ behaviors are often coping mechanisms for dealing with emotional distress, so it’s possible their d— pic-sending behaviors are a way for them to hide the low self-esteem levels that Lehmiller’s study revealed.
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