According to a recent study from the Kinsey Institute of the Indiana University, more people have started sending nude photos since the Covid-19 outbreak. Social distancing has made sending sexually explicit messages – or sexting – more popular. But not everyone can appreciate this change in online behavior. In fact, some see it as sexual harassment or assault.
Unsolicited dick pics
For the study, which appeared in The Journal of Sex Research, 2,045 women of all sexual identities and 298 gay or bisexual men were questioned about their experiences with ‘receiving explicit images of male genitalia through digital platforms.” Kinsey is of course referring to ‘dick pics’!
The researchers found that more than half of those surveyed, reported having received a genital image: 80 percent of men and nearly 50 percent of women. Of those who had ever received nude photos, almost everyone – 91 percent – had also received an unsolicited image.
Messages with nude photos – solicited or unsolicited – have been a topic of conversation for years. Previous research has shown that sexting in a relationship can be positive. Due to social distancing, an increase in sexting can be observed and, especially when they are unwanted, it is now extra relevant.
Men more positive then women
Men of all sexual identities perceive the sending and receiving of sexual photos – and dick pics in particular – more positively than women, the researchers conclude.
“Given that dating is happening online more than ever before, particularly in the time of COVID, it is vital to understand how sexual communication and consent happen on digital platforms,” said lead author Alexa Marcotte, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Kinsey Institute. “These findings also remind us to recognize that dating and sexual experiences are diverse and there is no ‘one size fits all’ model.”
You can assume that the sender of the dick pic is hoping for a positive response. But the primary finding of the study is that response varies widely by gender. As many as 70 percent of women – regardless of sexual identity – are predominantly negative about unsolicited nude photos. finds it ‘grossed out’ and feels ‘disrespected’. Only 16 percent of the women reported a positive response (entertained), and only 8 percent of the women became ‘aroused’ after seeing the unsolicited photos.
In contrast, in gay and bisexual men, responses to unsolicited genital photos were more often positive, with ‘entertaining’ (44 percent) and ‘curious’ (41 percent) being the most endorsed responses. Most men reported no negative or neutral responses to receiving such unsolicited images.
Sexual Harassment in the Digital Age
Amanda Gesselman, the scientist and co-author of the study, says the study shows how differently men and women interact with the same type of images. “It certainly raises questions about sexual harassment in the digital age.”