“Eevie Bellini” is a spunky, nerdy 20-something who nicknamed herself The Banana_Butcher and charges $20 for a three-paragraph cock critique. If you’re looking for something more substantial, $30 will get you a custom-made nude video reaction to your dick pic, evaluating the “length, girth, grooming, veins, balls.” Bellini has been in the sex industry for about five months, and sells her services on Reddit to help pay off student loans through the online smut marketplace r/sexsells, alongside hundreds of other women who make a living (or at least some beer money) providing homebrew sexual services. Bellini, like most of the merchants, has a vast erotic repertoire — she sells panties, premade clips and domination packages — but dick ratings are her prime export, and she’d be nowhere without anxious men wondering if they have nice dicks.
The process is as unglamorous as it sounds. After handing over the requisite cash, a client is instructed to send a few self-shot photos to their selected dick-rater. Unlike other more personal dick-pic exchanges, this transaction can be tuned to the customer’s interest. Generally Bellini’s customers will tell her what they’re looking to hear — awe, lust or callous aloofness. “I’m usually sweet about it, unless the boy wants to have his banana up on the chopping block where I brutally nitpick his pathetic penis,” she says.
Bellini wasn’t aware of the penis-rating trade until someone solicited her opinion while she was selling panties. “[I said], ‘Sure, why not? Let me review this internet stranger’s dick.’ I dabble in creative writing and apparently my first attempt at a cock rating was the best he’s ever had — and he’d had his dick rated many many other times [by other sellers on r/sexsells]. He declared me a wizard with words and left me a glowing review. Now boys flock to me to have their dicks rated.”
The precise history of dick rating, as a genre of kink, is murky. You can point to Maddie Holden’s seminal Critique My Dick Pic Tumblr, which turned her into a minor internet star around 2013. There’s also a kinder, friendlier, no-cash-needed dick-rating subreddit buried deep in the site’s NSFW archives. Our current moment of for-profit cock appraisal, however, grew directly out of classic supply-and-demand. “Basically the idea was, ‘Tons of guys send us dick pics all the time anyway; why not try to monetize that?’” says Laceylala, who’s been in the business since graduating college in 2012. “It became popular pretty quickly.”
Most of their customers aren’t looking to be glamorized or disgraced; instead they want pure, unadulterated frankness. “I think most guys are looking for an honest opinion, since it’s not generally something they get a chance to hear in everyday life,” says Schoolgirlsubslut, a merchant who’s been active on r/sexsells for six months. In her time selling dick ratings, she’s encountered maybe one or two people looking to be humiliated or artificially heralded. Everyone else was just looking for the truth.
“Sometimes guys will tell me straight up that they’d like me to judge them on specific features like size or grooming, and other times it’s up to me,” she continues. “I try to be as honest as I can without being too harsh.”
This was the goal of a certain male patron who prefers to remain anonymous. He never had any true pathological fragility about his own dick size, but he was anxious enough to put up the cash for a professional evaluation. “I’ve chatted with girls that said I was the smallest they’ve ever seen (possibly to be hurtful), and I’ve chatted with girls who believed I was hung like a horse,” he says. “So I realized that the reactions were very dependent on the experience of the reaction-giver.”
“In the case of sellers, especially the more popular ones, you know they’ve seen a wide variety of cocks in all shapes, sizes and colors,” he continues. “Asking one of them to rate me seemed like the most surefire way to get an unbiased perspective.”
It should be noted that he doesn’t get off on this. He simply wants to be put at ease, like making an appointment with a dermatologist to be told that the mole on the back of his neck isn’t cancerous. But then again, the fear men have around their penises shouldn’t be underestimated — namely, the unshakable anxiety that every woman we’ve ever met is secretly lying to us.
The dick-size debate is an endless fixture of pop culture; it’s been plastered across grimy message boards and Cosmo lists for generations. Yeah, maybe you don’t live with the albatross of a micropenis, but you also don’t sport the manufactured panache of an enormous dong. So instead, you enjoy a life spent wondering if you really are smaller than you think. As a self-respecting, well-adjusted adult, I’d like to say I’m completely immune to these moments of uncertainty, but I’d be lying, and you’d know I’d be lying.
Straight millennial men grew up absorbing reams of pornography at a generationally unprecedented rate, and who’s to say that hasn’t cause a tiny bit of dick dysmorphia? Through a bizarre combination of hubris and sensitivity, men have developed a toxic relationship to their sex organs, enough to literally pay money to assuage the fears that they don’t look good. As Bellini notes, it’s the complete opposite reaction of most women, who “would generally cower in fear if a boy would rate [their boobs.]”
Bellini keeps a list of talking points that she uses for every evaluation. She’ll always tell her subject which Pokemon or video game character her subject’s penis brings to mind. “Once I had an uncircumcised penis that looked exactly like a Diglett!” she exclaims. Laceylala follows a basic outline beginning with first impressions and aesthetic shortcomings, before concluding with some compositional suggestions. She also makes sure to never use redundant language during her report. “If I catch myself using the same phrases to describe certain qualities in a dick, I’ll go searching for inspiration.”
Schoolgirlsubslut is less charitable. “Obviously most guys are fairly similar-looking but there’s always something unique about someone, and I’ll try to look out for that when giving a rating,” she says. “Honestly, the more ratings I do, the more I’m able to see little differences in people, and because of that, I think I’m better able to give honest and detailed opinions.”
Outside of their practices and personas, the women who make cash selling dick critiques have the same universal demands for manners that you’d expect. Bellini hates getting unsolicited cocks in her inbox. “I block guys immediately if they do it—it’s a form of sexual harassment in my eyes,” she says. “Even if I’m involved with the digital sex industry, I don’t want to see your gnarly knob unless I give you permission to do so.”
Schoolgirlslut agrees: “If you whipped your dick out in the middle of a street, you’d be arrested for public indecency and rightly so.”
But when they’re in the trenches, these rules are put on pause. “In communities like my own, it’s perfectly normal since you’re paying for a service and both parties have consented to it,” continues Schoolgirlslut. “I suppose it does offer guys some confidence in themselves since porn is so overwhelmingly flooded with ridiculously enormous dicks that it can be hard to discern whether you are in fact normal.”
The anonymous male patron hasn’t bought another dick rating since his first. He got the reassurance he was looking for (as well as some manscaping tips), and ideally, he won’t return to the well unless his confidence is shaken to the core again. The sex industry sells deliverance both emotional and physical. Maybe you want your penis insulted, or maybe you just want to feel normal for the first time in your life.
“Different people, different needs, and these needs aren’t always easily fulfilled by anyone,” he says. “But whatever need you have, there always seems to be someone capable enough to be paid for it.”