I first posted something on this blog in October 2010. I first posted something with words in January 2013. Since I started writing regularly 13 months ago, I’ve given serious thought on several occasions to removing those pre-2013 posts. I’m not embarrassed by them, exactly, but after everything I’ve written and read and thought and discussed over the last year, they feel crude and immature. It’s impossible to see something like the excellent Critique My Dick Pics project, for example, and not wince at the thought of some of the photos in my blog archive, and the way they’re presented.
Initially this site was about boosting my self-confidence, and having a space in which to express the stronger exhibitionist urges that didn’t seem to have a home elsewhere in my life. I liked the thought of strangers looking at my body, at my cock, and maybe getting off on what they saw – or at least being turned on by it. The anonymity meant that I generally didn’t need to know about the people who found my photos ugly or sexually unappealing. Over the last couple of years, that need for validation has largely disappeared, and I’ve also met – both electronically and physically – a whole host of people who have a better understanding of how I feel and what I want when it comes to sex and exhibitionism.
I’ve also learnt to consider the impact of what I post. Someone called me out on Twitter a while back for having a timeline full of cock shots, without any content warning to alert people I follow, when they check out who I am: it really brought home the fact that I’m not just operating in isolation, pottering around in my own little corner of the internet, doing as I please with no consequences. Even people who choose to follow me on Twitter don’t necessarily want to be bombarded with context-free, attention-seeking photos of my dick, and in most cases they’d probably appreciate some warning or explanation when that kind of picture does come along. Y’know, basic stuff, but also issues that I hadn’t really given sufficient consideration, for the most part.
I made the decision at the end of last year to change the way I posted photos, both here and on Twitter. I unfollowed people for whom my timeline content was obviously inappropriate. I changed the banner on my blog, and added both a warning header and tags to allow people to navigate away from the dick. I tried to make the photos I posted less gratuitous: plenty of them are still explicit, but hopefully in a way that has something more to offer than just “hey, here’s my cock – isn’t it great!”
As @moscaddie has said repeatedly on her site, there’s no longer an excuse for men to take, send, or share lazy, uninteresting dick pics, and there’s neither justification nor defence for imposing explicit photos on other people – especially women – without seeking (and gaining) their consent first. I’ve been guilty of that in the past, and I’ve done my best to change my ways.
I didn’t remove the pre-2013 posts because they’re part of the history of this site and – more importantly – part of the evolution of my understanding of issues around aesthetics, privilege and consent. I don’t like all of them, but they’re still representations of my body, and I’m not ashamed of what they show. Neither do I believe that they all fall outside some universal consensus on what makes a ‘good’ dick pic.
People like @moscaddie are doing sterling work in educating men on the things they should bear in mind when photographing their penis for someone else’s pleasure (it’s all about the hand placement, right?). But it’s a bit like teaching people about food, or art, or literature. It’s good to eat healthily and well, and to have an appreciation of how different tastes and textures combine to make a good dish; it’s good to understand what distinguishes a well-composed painting or sculpture from one that lacks perspective, skill or story; and when we write books, it’s good to be able to identify how to construct a novel around themes and ideas that will enrich the reader’s understanding of human nature or the world around us. We need that, as a society, and as consumers most of us want to eat, look at, or read things that bring beauty and nourishment into our lives.
At the same time, not only do we tend to disagree with each other on what makes a great meal, there are also nights when we do just want that dirty kebab. We want the basic watercolours, and the manufactured pop music, and the trashy airport thrillers. We want to see tits, or cocks, or people fucking, and we don’t care if they’re in our faces, devoid of subtlety. The bigger and more obvious the better, in fact. Our palates might have been nuked by years of bland, tasteless food and bland, tasteless dick pics, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still crave mindless consumption from time-to-time, when we’re hungry, horny, or just plain bored.
All of that is a long-winded of way of saying that I do still get asked for basic, no-frills cock shots. Mostly by people I know fairly well, but occasionally by those I don’t.
“I’d love to see it sticking through your fly”
“I want to see how hard it is right now”
“Can you take a photo of the head for me?”
“Seriously, I just want to see your cock.”
That kind of stuff. The sort of shot that takes 30 seconds of fumbling around with a camera phone, and a couple of clicks to send. I don’t tend to post that sort of picture online any more, for the reasons outlined above, and because they’re generally taken within the context of a specific conversation with a specific person. Yesterday though, I took what could only be described as a bog-standard, basic dick pic, and this morning I had the urge to post it. There’s no real story behind it – I was at work, feeling horny, and decided to take a photo – but after sticking a filter on it I decided it looked alright and the exhibitionist in me reared his head.
Cocks shouldn’t be imposed on women without their consent, and they don’t represent a lightning rod to the pleasure buttons in the female crotch, whether in photographic or flesh-and-blood form. They are neither as interesting nor as important as most men think….but on the flip side, they’re more interesting and more important to a lot of women than we’re sometimes willing to acknowledge. To assume that dick pics always require context to be attractive to a female audience is to echo those who assert that women aren’t turned on by porn, or that they don’t love casual sex. It’s reductive and sexist: just as men do sometimes want nothing more than to look at tits, so plenty of women enjoy staring at cocks. As a man, the important thing to consider is how you enable that without imposing it, and how to select the right time, place and safeguards before electronically whipping it out.
This is just a dick pic, which I’m posting here (after the page break!) because it pleases me to do so, and because I hope it might please other people too, while not offending or upsetting anyone who sees it. I’m ok with that position, I think.