40% affected: receiving an unsolicited penis photo

By Dr. Dorothea Flogger
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
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Four out of ten female millennials affected

… but only 22% of millennial men admit to having sent a so-called dick pic, a penis photo! The prospect of receiving an unsolicited selfie of a man’s underpants – known as a “dick pic” – has become an uncomfortable fact of life for many young women. It is unlikely that the inventors of the first camera phones had any idea that their invention would lead to men sending women photos of their genitals in order to seduce them or – even worse – deliberately intimidate them.


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A YouGov survey of 2,121 women and 1,738 men (all aged between 18 and 36) conducted between July and September last year sheds light on the ‘dick pic’ experiences of British millennials.

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Almost half of female millennials (46%) say they have received a photo of a penis, with the younger they are, the more likely they are to have received one (53% of 18-24 year olds compared to 36% of 31-36 year olds).

Penis photo sent? Men don’t admit it!

Of the women who have ever received a “cock photo”, nine out of ten (89%) have received one without having asked for one. This means that 41% of all Millennial women have received an unsolicited photo of a man’s private parts.

40% affected: receiving an unsolicited penis photo
40% affected: receiving an unsolicited penis photo

In contrast, only 30% of male millennials say they have been asked by a woman to send her a photo of their penis, and only 22% of millennial men say they have ever sent one. Even fewer admit to having sent an unsolicited “dick pic” – around 5% of all male millennials.

The apparent discrepancy between men’s and women’s responses is partly because some men were reluctant to admit to sending dick pics (especially the unsolicited ones), but also because some men are responsible for sending dick pics to multiple women. It is also possible that millennial women receive photos of men who are older than those included in this study.

Of course, not all of these pictures are unsolicited – YouGov found that 12% of millennial women have asked to be sent a penis photo (and 94% of them got their wish).

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Whether solicited or not, many millennials have had their first experience with a photo of male genitalia at a disturbingly young age.

It is illegal to send an indecent image to someone under the age of 18. Still, nearly half (46%) of Millennial women who have received a “dick pic” were younger than 18 when it first happened, and that number rises to 71% of 18- to 24-year-olds. Similarly, 30% of Millennial men who have sent a “dick pic” have done so when they were under the age of consent, and among 18-24 year olds the figure is as high as 44%.

40% affected: receiving an unsolicited penis photo
40% affected: receiving an unsolicited penis photo
Are “dick pics” sexy at all? Men who send them seem to think so. Women who have received them, not so much…

YouGov investigated whether men understand how women feel when they are sent penis pictures. We asked female millennials which of nine words they would use to describe dick pics. We then asked male millennials which words from the same list they thought women would use to describe them.

The results show a divide between the two groups, with the largest discrepancy between the opinions of men who have ever sent a penis photo and women who have ever received one.

Women who have already received a “dick pic” are most likely to describe them as disgusting (58%) or stupid (54%). The men who have sent such pictures also seem to know this: 55% believe that women would describe them as disgusting, and 46% as stupid.

However, men who have sent dick pics are much more likely than women who have received them to think they are considered “sexy” (44% vs. 14%), “funny” (51% vs. 28%) and “boring” (50% vs. 28%).

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