So. Most of you don’t know this because I didn’t tweet about it, but last week I got my first professional dick pic.
[No, the dick pic was not taken professionally. Though if a lover with whom I already have a rapport got pro penis portraits taken with me in mind, that would really be something…
(*nudge-nudge to any current lovers who might reading this*)]
I mean that it was prompted by my professional online presence as a smutty wordsmith and sexy blogger.
I know that this ongoing conversation about the ubiquitous unsolicited dick pic is both tired and tiresome. Like, “Are we *still* talking about this?”
Well, yes. Apparently, we are.
There was no outrage or disgust. My initial reaction was one of mere surprise—I did not expect a full body nude shot of a stranger when I opened my emails on a Thursday morning. And after the split-second of surprise passed, I was just… confused.
I didn’t know what to say. The image was presented (almost)* without context.
*Almost because the dialogue between us had been loosely opened the day before when he sent me a nice, above-board message to say that he’d been enjoying the content I’ve been producing, and also directed me to check out his (non-kinky) art portfolio. A quick and simple exchange between creatives. Totally fine.
Until some time during the night, an unprompted image followed.
Before I had a chance to digest what was going on that morning, he sent a follow-up that simply read:
“Apologies. That was inappropriate.”
Indeed, it was.
Again, my initial reaction was not one of upset. I’m not sure if I should have been angry. But I wasn’t.
It was just… awkward.
The position I’ve been carving out for myself in this online community absolutely swayed how I decided to handle this situation. My gut desire was to ignore it. But I take my role here seriously and upholding my integrity is important. Ultimately, I knew I couldn’t do that by staying silent.
It took the whole day to think about it before responding. When I did, I didn’t scold him. Nor did I take to the internet to rally you around my little misadventure and baptize this budding exhibitionist by the hellfires of Twitter—as much vindictive fun as that could have been for the few minutes it would last.
Instead, I decided to proceed with a sort of grace. In true Jayne-like fashion, I sent a long-winded email response outlining my thoughts on the matter.
I had no way of knowing if he’d be open or willing to accept my unsolicited advice but I figured if nothing else, then we’d be even.
I thought about trying to summarize the key points for you, but fuck it. It’s been tweaked slightly from the original for readability and to correct some of the hasty typos that fell through the cracks, but here’s what I had to say:
I understand it can be challenging to navigate these waters. Particularly when we find someone whose online presence or content really resonates and evokes a sense of empowerment in us; a permission we might not get elsewhere, or maybe didn’t even know we craved in the first place. And because of the raw nature of that content, we sometimes also feel a sense of knowing someone because they’ve shown us an intimate (very specifically curated) glimpse of themselves.
I get it. It’s a lot to get excited about. It’s part of how I got here in the first place, myself.
As a sex and sexuality-inclined creative professional, I have an accord with my audience. I share my words and images willingly on the platform I control, and my audience consents to viewing that kind of media because that’s what they’re looking for. They may share comments, praise, feedback on certain posts (which I love—if that wasn’t welcome, I wouldn’t have the comments and “Contact Me” form activated). Or they may remain silent observers. They might consume it as a masturbatory aid. Or they might be here to read words that make them feel seen. Whatever makes them happy.
All of that is great and exactly why I do what I do. The point has always been to create a space that builds into our wider community hub where people can feel safe to explore themselves. It seems that on some level, you have tapped into some of that power here with what I’ve been putting out into the virtual world. And I think that’s really incredible.
What I—like all of my fellow sex writers and bloggers—am not trying to accomplish with this social contract is some kind of sexual solicitation. No one’s openness with their sexuality, online or in real life, should be confused with an undiscerning invitation for sexual advances.
I do appreciate you wanting to explore your budding exhibitionism in what must have felt like a safe place for you to do so. (That side of me surprised me too. I never set out with this site to play with images of myself, but here I am. You never know what you find out about yourself until you let yourself play around.) But there are better ways to go about it so that everyone’s consent boundaries are respected.
If you’re not ready to host your own site, you could try asking someone like me with a pre-existing blog to consider having you be an anonymous image contributor, for one example. The sex blogging community is truly one of the most supportive spaces on the internet. It can be intimidating to approach a new group, but all we want is everyone to be able to explore freely and safely (and consensually on all sides). You don’t need a blog to hang out with us; a Twitter account is plenty to get your foot in your door.
What I would recommend for the future is always asking someone first if they’d like to see certain kinds of images. Even if you have a pre-established and/or sexual relationship with that person, it’s a good practice to be in. You never know what kind of headspace someone is in or how prepared they might be to invite certain energies into their day. We are fickle creatures, us humans. You might meet or know us in a particular context, but there’s no guarantee we’ll stay that way.
And my bonus pro-tip is: if the goal is to excite your recipient, creating that suspense through the act of asking their permission is, in my opinion, way hotter than a sneak attack could ever be.
Also, I may write about this experience in the coming weeks because you are, in fact, the first unsolicited nude photo I’ve received through my professional channels. And the thoughts you’ve evoked by doing so have proven interesting to contemplate.
That is to say that if I do write about it, I may quote or summarize some of the things I’ve mentioned in this email, but I assure you that I won’t call you out by name or post your image.
I may be a ruthless editor, but I’m more of a benevolent queen.
Third Rate Audacity
The thing that blows my mind most of all about this whole situation is—why would anyone take such a massive, careless risk with such intimate information? What drives someone to put themselves in such a precarious position?
Unless a high level of potential public humiliation is behind the kink, why would you want to deliberately put yourself in such a possibly compromising situation?
Maybe it’s not immediately obvious to any individual audience member but we active web personas do hold a lot of power. And it baffles me that anyone would hand this kind of bomb over to a person in a position of power so flippantly.
I suspect that these consequences are not taken under consideration when these amateur photographers hit the send button. But the level of brazen disregard one must have to do so, wow…
Because you’ve sent us much more than a quick, cheeky pic. With that intimate picture (sent with what seems like little to no regard), you have also provided us with your identity. Depending on the channel through which you sent it, we’ll have a name, a social media handle, phone number, and/or an email address—some kind of incriminating personal contact information and data. And especially if that picture includes your face as well?
We have everything we need to cause some kind of virtual damage if we’re feeling any ounce of vindictive.
Lucky for this one wayward dick, it’s not my style to go to such lengths. Not because I wouldn’t want to; I’d love to succumb to Dark Jayne’s malicious thirst for destruction. But my brand isn’t built on that kind of vitriol and, at least for now, I want to keep it that way.
That said, I have some pretty freaking powerful missiles that I *could* deploy if I really wanted to. Between my humble little website, my own Twitter following and that of my closest Twitter allies, and the Bellesa platform, I have access to literally millions of eyes at any given moment.
That is an incredible amount of power that you are relinquishing on such a little whim.
Fourth Wall Breakdown
At the end of the day, I believe in the power of this community; I believe in the work that everyone in here does for themselves as well as each other. I am in awe by how much each one of us has the power to inspire others to feel safe enough to explore their own sexuality. But none of us deserve to have our openness exploited, and if I may be so bold as to speak on behalf of all of us: we appreciate that our audience respects that.
In a cyber world that has more than its fair share of darkness and shame and judgment and vitriol, we are a bastion of acceptance. As I mentioned in my email to the transgressor, just as it was mentioned at Eroticon this year: we are one of the most (if not THE most) supportive and accepting corners of the internet.
As long as you don’t fuck with us.
So listen, Reader. Please do enjoy our sexy content. Please do get excited by it. Please do masturbate to your heart’s content at the erotic words and images we offer you willingly. Please do send nice words of praise through comments and contact me forms if they’re there.
All of that is fair game.
But unless you’re prepared to deal with the possibility of your own personal nuclear fallout, I’d advise against betraying the really nice thing we’ve got going here. We don’t want to mess up your day, but maybe don’t give us any reason to even flirt with the idea of firing back.
So, a word to the wise for all readers, present and future—if you’re ever tempted to surprise us by violating the terms of our social contract, never forget:
you do so at your own virtual peril.