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19 Women on What It’s Like to Receive Dick Pics

‘It’s all randos from high school who are like, ‘You remember me?’’

Nearly every wall of the sprawling Think Tank Gallery in Downtown L.A. is lined with framed photos of dicks. There are dicks that stand erect. Dicks that hang to the side. Dicks posed next to fruit. Dicks cradled in hands. Dicks wearing wristwatches. And dicks resting against household cleaning products as a measure of their size.

But nearly all of them have one thing in common: They were sent to women unsolicited.

The collection of more than 150 pornographic images was on view last weekend as part of the massive traveling art exhibit “I Didn’t Ask For This: A Lifetime of Dick Pics,” now in its second year. Curated by artist and feminist activist Whitney Bell, the exhibit seeks to expose not only the ubiquity of unwanted dick pics, but also the ways they can infiltrate a woman’s life, showing up on her phone without notice at any given moment during the day.

Looking at the volume and range of anonymous dicks presented in the show, it’s impossible not to wonder just how many women have received similar images, and how often. Obviously, there’s no way to scientifically quantify unsolicited dick pics, but in an attempt to gauge their pervasiveness, we decided to conduct an informal survey among the women who attended the show’s opening reception. In a poll of 19 women ranging from age 18 to 37, all but one said they’d gotten sent multiple dick pics.

Their overwhelming reactions? Shock, disgust, laughter and confusion.

Most of them, though, were primarily mystified about why a man would send a dick pic in the first place and what he hoped to gain from it. Only one woman surveyed said it had ever been a sexual turn-on. Some women said they’d occasionally asked for dick picks, not necessarily as a means of flirtation but as a form of collateral. At the very least, several women said they viewed the dick pics they’d received as a joke or as a tool to weed out potential suitors from their dating pool. Far more seriously, however, many viewed them as a form of sexual harassment that started as early as age 11.

Some of their other thoughts…

Sarah Riganti, 25

Do you know how many dick pics you’ve gotten?

Well, have you ever asked for a dick pic?
I have, during sexting or whatever, back and forth. Unsolicited ones, I’d say I’ve probably gotten about maybe between five and ten.

How do you feel when you get an unsolicited dick pic?
I think the first one I ever got I was just really annoyed. It was on Snapchat, and it was this dude who I was talking to on Tinder for a couple of weeks. We hadn’t met yet, and it was like, “Whoa!” And it was small, so it was funny.

Julia Colburn, 22

Have you ever gotten a dick pic?
Yes, and it’s [from] people I don’t even know, either. It’s like someone adds me on Snapchat, and it’ll be a dick pic.

Wait — you don’t know them?
No, I don’t know their name, and I’ll have to block them. I’m like, “I don’t know who you are, I don’t know what conversation you’re trying to start with dicks.”

And you don’t know how they find you?
It’s either from my Instagram because on my Instagram it’ll say my Snapchat name, but if it’s not Instagram, I’m not sure how they’re adding me. I had to turn my Snapchat off public because of the fact that guys were just sending me unwarranted dick pics. Like, relentlessly, too. If I don’t respond they’ll send another one.

How many of these would you say that you’ve gotten?
In the past six months, probably three different guys total. And it’s over and over and over again until I block them. I don’t know what’s going through their minds when they send them. And they’re aggressive. They’ll be like, “You don’t like it? You don’t want to respond?” Clearly not. I’m getting a picture of your dick. I don’t even know what your face looks like.

Dree, 32

How many times have you gotten a dick pic?
It happens fairly often on Tinder. I feel like Tinder is now a hookup site.

But you can’t send images on Tinder, so there’s a little bit of a firewall.
If I exchange numbers with someone, that’s how they send them.

How many would you estimate that you’ve gotten from Tinder?
Maybe 10. I get a lot of messages on Tinder, too, like at 2 a.m.: “Come over, and bring food.” That’s why I don’t exchange a lot of contact info. Because when they text you, you get dick pics.

How do you feel when you get a dick pic?
To me, it’s just like, “Seriously?” Like, “No. Ew!” First of all, I don’t think women want these. I personally don’t. And they’re always sent really early on, when you don’t even know them. It’s like a space invasion. It changes the whole tone of the conversation where it’s no longer just two people talking. It’s one person trying to assert power over the other.

Bree Richard, 30

How many dick pics have you gotten?
In my lifetime? Unsolicited or solicited?

What’s the ratio, do you think?
I gotta be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten an unsolicited one. I’ve always gotten like, “Hey, wanna see my dick?” and I’d be like, “Yeah!” because that’s hilarious. And then I’d show all of my friends.

Do you think that when a guy sends a dick pic he realizes that a girl sends it to all her friends?
I don’t know, and I don’t care either. I really don’t understand what they think we’re getting out of it.

How do you feel when you get sent a dick pick?
I think it’s funny that they think I’m gonna get something out of it. That said, I don’t think they care what I get out of it. It’s for them. It’s all about them. So I just say yes because either they’re going to send it anyway or they’re going to get mad and turn nasty and say nasty shit to you.

Terilynn Troxell, 29

Have you gotten a dick pic?
Yeah. Unsolicited, I’ve gotten three, and it was all within the same few week period. I had about four potential guys. I married the one who didn’t send me the dick pic.

There’s a lesson there.
I married the one who didn’t send me the dick pic.

How did you feel when you got the dick pics that were unsolicited?
I was like, “Wait, what?” Because that had never happened to me before. I thought, Oh, is this a thing that people do now? You just send pictures of your dick to everyone that gives you their phone number? So it was a bit of a shock, and then I said, “Well, that guy’s out of the question.”

Sadie Gilliam, 35

Have you asked for a dick pic?
Yeah, of course.

Would you say the majority of times you ask for a dick pick?
I would say sometimes it comes up in conversation. It’s always different.

What’s your motivation for asking for a dick pic?
It’s mixed. But if we’re flirting over text message or whatever and he’s like, “Let me see something,” I’ll be like, “Let me see something.” With girls, it’s not that common that you’re turned on by the sight of a dick, you know what I mean? Like, “Oh, I just came from the sight of your dick.” But if you like the person, then you’ll be like, “Oh my God, it’s so big,” just to give them confidence.

Leila Shadoan, 20

Have you ever gotten a dick pic?
Of course.

How many times have you gotten a dick pick?
Unwanted? Three times. All in high school. For just no apparent reason. Just ridiculous times — and from the creepiest people, too. Like you have them in class and they might have your number through homework or whatever, and the next thing you know, you get a dick pic. Boys are strangely brave in high school sometimes.

How do you feel when you get an unsolicited dick pic?
Shocked at first. Like, you have the audacity to just send that? And then like, “What do you expect me to reply?” Like in his mind, is he going to get something back? What’s he going for?

Dagney Loredo, 19

How many dick pics would you say that you’ve received?
I’ve probably received about 20 dick pics in my life. The most recent one, me and [my friend] were watching New Girl, no big deal. And my phone goes off. I open Snapchat, and it’s this random dick pic [with the words], “If you want it, you can have it.” It’s like, no?

Someone you didn’t know?
It’s actually someone I do know. I just didn’t respond. Why would you send that out of nowhere?

And you never responded at all?
No. Why?

Tiffany Abedina, 21

Can you count how many dick pics you’ve received?
In high school it was more often. It was from four guys probably.

Did you ever ask for them?
No, I did not. They assumed that if they sent it out, I would send something back. They were like, “I sent you one, why don’t you send me one back?” It’s sort of a trust thing.

Did you respond to them?
At the time I was like, “I’m not sending you one back.” And they were like, “Come on, I sent you one.” There was one time I did send it back, but it was kind of a joke.

Have you gotten any since high school?
Yes. It was recent. One of my guy best friends, we started flirting and then one night he was drunk I guess, and he just sent me a picture. It kind of ruined our friendship because it was out of nowhere and uncomfortable.

Cassandra Garcia, 23

Have you gotten a dick pic?
Of course. Who hasn’t gotten an unsolicited dick pic? Like it’s almost not even embarrassing to get a dick pic anymore because it’s so frequent.

How frequently?
Well, now I’ve perfected the art of blocking — Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook.

You’ve gotten dick pics on Facebook?
Yes. Some people have no shame. Text messages, too. My block list is so long, and it’s all randos from high school who are like, “You remember me from six years ago?” If I did, who the fuck cares?

What’s your reaction when you get a dick pic?
Most of the time it’s shock. Then I immediately send it to my friends, like, “Can you believe this asshole?” For the next three weeks, it’s talking shit about it to your friends. It’s sad that you have to make a joke out of it; otherwise you feel vulnerable and exposed, so you have to make light of it in order to push through it and survive. But the more we talk about it, the more we normalize it and the more it becomes a problem [that people are aware of]. All women get dick pics. I got my first dick pic at 11, via text, on my little flip phone pink Razr. It was a Christian school, too.

Kayla Caldwell, 27

Can you count how many dick pics you’ve received?
Over five.

What’s your reaction when you get one?
Most of the time it’s in the middle of a pointless conversation that has nothing to do with it. You’ll be like, “Oh I like that movie, too.” Dick. What?

Do you ever respond to them?
Earlier on when it started happening, I was too shocked. Now it depends on the mood I’m in and how much attitude I feel like giving.

Kiki Alvarez, 29

How many dick pics have you gotten?
I have no idea. Hundreds, for sure.

What’s your reaction when you get an unsolicited dick pic?
If I’m actually interested in them, I’ll use it as a, “What am I going to be working with?” I’ve gotten one dick pic that turned me on, and it was from my boyfriend. But from a dude that I’m not engaged with? No. For the most part they’re a joke. Immediately off the table, like, “You’re a fuckboi, I’m over it.”

Rachel Broderick, 33

How many dick pics have you gotten?
Unsolicited? Probably between 20 and 30 in my lifetime.

How many times have you solicited?
Very rarely, but mostly when I’m soliciting, I’m just pretending.

Why pretend?
There’s one guy that I sleep with regularly, and it’s his thing. He really gets off on showing me his dick. That’s his favorite part of sex. I mean it’s a nice dick, don’t get me wrong. But that’s not what gets me excited — looking at his dick. So sometimes, I’ll be like, “Send me a picture of your dick,” because I know he likes it.

What’s your reaction when you get an unsolicited dick pic?
“Okay, you’re that guy.” It sucks, especially with someone that I thought could go somewhere. Instead, it’s like, “Nope!”