Where once you had to pick up a guy in a bar and simply gamble on what he was packing downstairs, now you can — for better or, mostly, worse — see every inch of someone’s body before deciding whether or not to fuck. Sure, this can be a hot way of building tension and excitement ahead of sex — but what if the dick pic doesn’t end up matching the dick?
This phenomenon has a name: cockfishing (a derivation of catfishing, or pretending to be someone else online). According to Know Your Meme, the term was first coined in 2013, but wasn’t declared a “disturbing new dating trend” by the tabloids until 2019. There are several variations of cockfishing — sometimes called catcocking or, now, hogfishing — including: editing the photo, using a specific angle/lens size to make the dick appear bigger than it is, or, worst of all, sending a pic of a completely different penis.
The latter is what happened to 32-year-old Marissa (not her real name), who exchanged nude pics with a guy she matched with on a dating app, only to find herself duped when they met in person. “I noticed he had a rather sizable cock,” she says, recalling the first dick pic he sent. “When I asked for more photos, he was happy to oblige — it was girthy, maybe seven inches long and it looked good. Nice-looking, normal-sized balls, too.”
In all her excitement, Marissa didn’t think to ask for a photo that included the guy’s face and cock (or at least enough of his body for a positive identification). “I just assumed, rather naively, that he was sending me photos of his real dick,” she explains. Interested in seeing his good-looking dick in person, Marissa invited the guy over. “When he showed up, he was nice, but he was shaking because he was so nervous,” she tells me.
Eventually, the pair went to Marissa’s room. “When we got there, I knelt down to take off his pants, and when I did, I was shocked. His cock was tiny — like, maybe two inches long. His balls were also extremely small, and looked entirely different than they did in the photos he sent me.” But, Marissa says, he was flaccid then, so she just assumed it was his nerves. After all, dicks can shrink significantly when someone’s nervous. (Allegedly, stress has the same effect on your penis as the cold, which can shrink your dick by up to 50 percent.)
But things didn’t get better when he calmed down — even erect, he was nowhere near the same size as he was in the photos. Confused, Marissa did a mental comparison and realized what had happened: He’d sent her photos of someone else’s cock. Immediately, she felt “weird and taken advantage of.” “It wasn’t because he had a small cock, it’s that he felt he had to trick me into doing this,” she says. Taken aback, she was unsure what to do — she knew she could have stopped and told him to leave, or asked him about why he sent her a photo of someone else’s dick, but she didn’t want to shame him or piss him off. Instead, she felt obliged to act cool about it, and carried on with the encounter “to make sure he didn’t feel uncomfortable.”
Another thought that crossed Marissa’s mind — and one that could be a genuine reason people cockfish — was whether he’d come to her looking for small-penis humiliation. Had he wanted Marissa to freak out, shame him and send him away? “If so,” she says, “all he had to do was ask.”
By this point, Marissa didn’t want to give him the satisfaction of getting his possibly desired humiliation, nor did she want to embarrass him if he was feeling nervous. “At the time, I really felt like I had no options,” she reflects. “When he left, I considered asking him about it, but, ultimately, I didn’t want to keep talking to him or inflame the situation. So, I just left it.”
Although Marissa absolutely isn’t alone in her experience — many people have probably been cockfished without even realizing it, particularly if they never meet the cockfish in person — there’s very few detailed stories about the phenomenon online. One anonymous writer did document her experience in a piece for the Australian women’s publication Mamamia back in 2019, though. “His [penis] was big and smooth and had the right amount of veiny-ness,” she wrote. “I got myself excited and headed straight to his place. The sex was honestly a solid 7.5/10, but there was just one thing that weirded me out: He had a different penis. And no, it wasn’t the lighting or the camera angle — he sent me a dick pic of a penis that was so different to his in so many ways. For one, his was a lot smaller. And he had significantly more hair.”
Unlike Marissa, this writer did feel able to confront her guy about the swapped-out pic. “While we were lying in bed, I casually asked, ‘So, when did you get circumcised?’” she wrote. “There was silence. After a few seconds, he sat up, looked at me and said, ‘Oh shit.’ I cracked up with laughter. I mean, I wasn’t going to run out on the guy for a fraudulent dick pic — but I couldn’t understand it either. Why the false advertising if you’re pretty certain you’re gonna get laid and have your lie uncovered? He told me that he started to panic the night before when I began sending him photos, and it was the first thing he thought of doing. No, I never saw him again.”
It’s great that she saw a funny side to being cockfished, but it can be an incredibly violating experience, as Marissa found. Not only has someone tricked you into sleeping with them — and often put you in a position where you’re alone with them, meaning you’re likely going to be uncomfortable confronting them, therefore revoking your ability to properly consent — but they also haven’t given you any credit. Just because your dick might not be as big or as good-looking as you’d like, it doesn’t mean someone else won’t vibe with it.
Likewise, if you’re trying out other methods of cockfishing — like photographing your dick next to small objects to make it look bigger, or reaching for your iPhone’s 0.5x lens — you’re probably not gonna fool anyone, either. Most people can spot obvious attempts at editing a pic — whether you’ve blurred it, distorted it or shot it at a weird angle — but if you’re straight-up using a different dick to get laid, you’re being dangerously deceptive.
Now, ever since her experience, Marissa always asks for cock verification. “Either I need to see their face in the frame (or enough of their body to confirm it’s really them),” she explains, “or I have them verify Reddit-style, by holding up a piece of paper with today’s date next to a photo of their cock. It sounds extra, but I don’t care — it sucked to get hogfished, and I’m not about to do it again.”