Dude, nobody wants to see your penis – common misconceptions about your crotch

One of my fondest memories of my work as an online dating moderator was getting into the office on a Monday morning, making myself a nice cup of tea and then sitting down in front of my computer for a fun hour of going through the new crop of pictures our users have uploaded to their profiles over the weekend. More often than not it would be penises. Lots of them. Often, it would actually be the same penis, uploaded rather a few times, creating an almost Andy Warhol-esque spread.

Self portrait - Just another head shot

You see, our sites were set up so that only photos approved by moderators such as myself would appear. Whenever a user uploaded a photo, it actually had a message about moderators needing to approve it. But I suppose that’s a bit difficult to read when you’re trying to keep yourself erect while pointing a camera at your genitals. So our budding photographers just kept hitting the upload button thinking something had gone wrong with the previous five, ten, 15 uploads. Cheers, guys, for my Monday morning view of your crotch!

Of course, on our sites people like me suffered so other women wouldn’t have to (though we didn’t moderate private messaes, obviously, so female users could get lucky there). But any woman dating on pretty much any dating site would have had her fair share of unsolicited, often unwanted dick pics.

So what’s the deal with dick pics? Men who send such pics are not exactly thinking it through, so would most likely think it’s silly to delve into deep psychological analysis of the phenomenon (such as this one on Psychology Today). There is actually no shortage of articles based on interviews with men who send unsolicited penis pics and, really, it’s not that complicated.

I’ve taken the liberty to look at the reasoning given by men and give the female response below.

 

Sending a dick pic because you think a woman might want it

If you get your sex and relationship education from porn films, you might think women would be delighted at the sight of your genitals once you’ve established a friendly back and forth. After all, porn stars only need to turn up with pizza at the swimming pool to get the sexy party started.

The truth is, most women are not like that. Most women, even very sexually liberated ones, usually need to meet you in person first and decide whether they actually want to go to bed with you, before wanting to see the goods on display. Seeing a man’s naked penis is a much bigger deal to most women as it is for you. Don’t assume a woman wants to see your junk. Generally it’s best to wait for the woman to actually ask for a picture, which women would gladly do, if interested. If you really think she might be interested in one, always ask first. Be aware, though, that some women might find it creepy that you’re even asking at this stage, even if they’ve been flirting with you online, or even in person.

 

Sending a pic because you would love to get unsolicited boob or vagina pics

I’ll let you in on a secret – on gay sites it’s pretty much all penis action all the time. You men love getting unsolicited naked photos, it seems. But here’s another secret – women generally don’t. If she doesn’t know you, she doesn’t want to see your genitals. Not in the park, not in the toilet and not online. There are laws against exposing yourself in public, you know. This is why they’re there.

Think that by sending an unsolicited naked photo to a woman you’ll get her to send you one back? Think again. Unless she’s expressed interest in seeing you naked, she’s most likely to run away screaming.

 

Sending an unsolicited dick pic because you know some women like them

People go on dating sites for different reasons and all people are different. On hook up / sex dating sites you may well find women who respond favourably to unsolicited naked photos. Hell, even on a large dating sites there are bound to be some woman who’d think “oh wow, that’s hot” at a surprise picture of your dick. But 99% of them won’t. They will find it a distressing, troublesome experience that might put them off online dating. Is that the effect you want to achieve? Probably not. Don’t risk it. There’ll be plenty of time for naked fun once you’ve established an actual interpersonal connection.

Sending an unsolicited dick pic because you’re an asshole who likes to harass women

Let’s not pretend this doesn’t happen. Some men might think they are doing it cause “it’s funny” or cause “I’m drunk”, but they might actually be aware of the fact that they are upsetting women. Like any form of sexual harassment and rape, it’s not about sex but about power. Maybe it’s about feeling inadequate, maybe they want the attention, maybe it’s even about getting back at “women” for rejecting them. If you’re that kind of guy, you know women don’t want to see your penis and that’s why you’re doing it. One day you’ll look back and realise you were trying to hurt women and be ashamed of what a giant douche you were. Either that or you’ll graduate to full blown rapist.

Having looked at literally thousands of dick pics men have uploaded to our site, I could never tell whether men were uploading them because they were so proud of their penis or to counteract feelings of inadequacy in regards to its shape and size. Most of the ones on display weren’t really all that, so I tend to lean towards the latter, though male pride in one’s penis can often be misplaced. I sort of hope only nice people come to my blog so hopefully this won’t actually apply to you, dear reader. But if you’re the sort of dude who likes to cyberbully women, do you find the thought of male and female staff judging and laughing at photos of your dick offensive? If so, I suppose that’s the price you pay for shoving unsolicited penis images in people’s faces. I suggest you get some sort of psychological help before your taste for harassment escalates and you find yourself flashing little girls in the park and getting arrested.

 

Do you send dick pics for other reasons? Have you got any more special insights into the mind of such amateur photographers? Feel free to comment below. Please, though, no dick pics. Nobody wants to see your penis.

 

 

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Marketing online dating sites – little things matter

While editing my biography on this site recently, I noticed that the Google ad block in the middle of the page had an ad about “senior dating”. Google obviously knows my age (it’s not mentioned on this site), so I rather took offence at what it was insinuating.  Senior? I’m  not a pensioner! Looking closer at the ad I noticed that the rest of the text refers to “people over 40”. People over 40? Senior? Surely they mean “mature”. And then it hit me – the ad text was for a website aimed at Israelis. Could it be that whoever wrote the ad text obviously thought it up in Hebrew and then translated it into English (possibly using a dictionary or even Google Translate)?  In Hebrew, the word “senior”  is almost interchangeable with “mature” when it comes to being the opposite of “minor”.

So there are two options:

 

Whoever wrote this ad text got the translation wrong, using a word that is technically right but culturally inaccurate.

Whoever wrote this ad text believes that lumping people in their 40s and 50s in with those in their 60s and 70s is a good business strategy for a dating site.

Either way, the result is an alienating ad that made me (a potential customer, obviously, as I’ve recently gone into my “senior” years) less interested in the product.

How could this have been prevented? Better research into cultural implications of words in the language you’re advertising in, better demographic research about what people in their 40s and 50s are looking for (hint: probably not being thought of as being as old as our parents / grandparents when we’re trying to put ourselves out there). While it’s true that many older daters are looking to date younger ones and may be encouraged to see a significantly younger age range listed on a site, I doubt that many people in their 40s would want to date specifically on a senior dating site.

 

When open science goes bad – researchers scrape and release personal data of 70k OKCupid Users

We all love OKCupid’s wonderful insights, gained because of the site’s algorithm and the fact that users often answer thousands of personal questions while using the site.

 

Apparently, this has not escaped some Danish researchers of dubious ethical standards, who scraped the site for publicly available info (the site is free to use and is a dating site, after all) such as names, genders, religion, personality traits and answers to many very personal questions (not pictures, though, because “that would have taken up too much hard drive space”).  This was done without contacting anyone involved, not even the website itself. Then the info was dumped onto an online open science forum for the world to see. Dick move, guys.

It looks like the people involved, although flippant and obnoxious when called out on social networks about this, frankly, rather mean act are already being dumped in it by the University they are supposedly associated with. Also, OKCupid are probably going to file an official complaint and take legal action. Hopefully this will drive the point in, as they seem to not really understand the difference between publicly available on a site and free for anyone to use for their own purposes.

People dating on a dating site deserve privacy and the ability to express themselves online in a safe forum. Taking away that right is a violation. To me, it’s the online equivalent of basically being  a peeping tom or recording people’s private conversations in a cafe. There are laws against peeping and recording people without their knowledge and hopefully, as these researchers violated the OKCupid terms of service, there’s a law or a rule that will be used to make sure these people get the slap they deserve. I must say it’s a terrifying thought to think of people with such lack of empathy and a blatant disregard for people’s privacy working in anything related to psychology. I hope they never deal with actual patients, though I’d be wary of even being a research subject for them, to be honest.

You can read more about this story here. There are also screen grabs of Twitter discussions with the friendly researchers (hint: this is his publicly available Twitter account). This might be handy for anyone who might want to chime in on the subject of ethics and stuff (in a respectable manner, of course).

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UK mobile dating apps – online dating sites that offer dating for your smartphone

With so many iphones, android phones and even (shudder) windows mobile phones around, it’s hardly surprising that mobile dating is becoming as popular as traditional online dating. Online dating sites have been offering mobile apps to stay competitive, with various levels of sophistication. This is great news for people who are often on the go and don’t want to spend hours in front of a computer. With mobile dating apps you can use dead time to browse profiles and send messages, making the whole experience much simpler. Mobile dating apps are usually free, though if the site isn’t, you’ll need to be a paid member to use them.

Here are some handy ones to keep in mind if you’re after UK mobile dating apps:

match.com – As you’d expect from one of the most famous dating sites, Match do a mobile dating app suitable for iPhones, Android phones and Windows mobile phones. You can do practically everything via the app – get profile alerts in real time, send and receive messages, send winks, check out profiles, etc.. The app is downloadable from the Match site.

Lovestruck.com were one of the first sites to offer a mobile app and they have apps for iPhones, Android and Blackberry – perfect for busy professionals on the go. Lovestruck are all about the busy urban professionals!

eHarmony UK offers a handy mobile up to registered users. Once you’ve signed up via the main site, you can start using the mobile up to receive alerts and matches and to communicate with those you’ve been matched up with.

ChristianCafe.com Have had a useful mobile dating up for a while with everything you need to date on your mobile. It’s available for Android phones, iPhones, etc..

OKCupid offer a fun app where you can endlessly browse pictures and profiles, send and receive messages and get profile alerts.

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Dating in London

In spite of its huge size, London can be one of the toughest places to meet people in. Yes, there are millions of people around, but finding the right London singles to date isn’t just a matter of numbers. If you live here, you already know how cliquey people can be compared to other major cities in the world. If you’re new in town without a wide social circle, it can seem impossible to make friends, let alone date in London.

Luckily, London is the city best served in the UK by online dating, speed dating and singles’ events, so if you’re struggling to meet people in London through other means, you won’t have any problems at all meeting people online or at singles’ parties.

Here’s a quick rundown of what’s available.

Online dating in London

All of the UK’s major dating sites cater for London quite heavily, so you won’t have a problem there. See my post about UK dating sites for more information about the UK’s big dating sites. But even dating sites from outside of the UK will often cater for London daters. This should give you even more of a choice when dating in London. If you’re looking for a particular type of dating site in London (free dating, casual dating, Christian or Muslim dating, etc.) you can take a look at my dating site reviews category.

There are also some dating sites specifically aimed at London singles. For example, if you are a professional single looking to date in London, you could try Lovestruck.com, a site aimed at busy professionals who want to fit dating around their schedules (and we all know how busy things can get in London!).

Speed dating in London

Just like with online dating, all of the UK’s major speed dating companies hold plenty of events in London. Not only that, but you also get the most variety of events — not just general speed dating, but also speed dating for professionals, international professionals and various religious and ethnic groups. For example, you could have special singles’ events for Muslim singles in London, or for Asian London singles. Check my post about urban dating sites for a list of good places to go speed dating in London.

So if you’re single in London, don’t despair. London may be cold, grey and miserable at times, but it does offer you plenty of opportunities to meet people, probably more so than any other city in the UK. You just need to know where to look.

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UK Dating websites

Online dating is huge in the UK, so if you’re a British single looking for love online, you can take your pick from probably something like a thousand sites. There are dating sites run by companies based in the UK, but the huge number of UK singles looking to date online means that even dating websites based elsewhere will often feature a large number of UK based singles in their database.

Dating sites aimed at the UK population can take many forms. There are big name dating sites and dating sites aimed at people looking for a particular type of dating from casual dating and sex only encounters to serious relationship and marriage. There are also so called “niche dating sites” aimed at people who follow different lifestyles, are interested in people of a particular religion or ethnicity, etc. Basically, UK dating sites are as varied as the UK population. If you look hard enough, you’ll be able to find the dating site that’s right for you. Looking for it, though, can be almost as confusing as trying to find a relationship. Should you go free or paid? Should you go niche or generic? Should you go branded or not?

In my book, Everyone’s Guide to Online Dating, I dedicated a whole chapter to choosing a dating site. I also have a whole category here on this blog dedicated to different types of dating websites.

For a quick reference, though, here are some dating sites in the UK I think you should check out:

match.com – The biggest name in UK dating by far, so always worth a look. It’s owned by a US company, but the site itself will only show you UK singles. It’s very easy to use and well-designed with a simple list of features. It can be highly competitive, especially for men but has a huge selection of singles all over the UK, even in the tiniest of places.


DatingDirect.com – Similar to Match, but has video chat, which Match doesn’t. It also covers all areas of the UK and is cleanly designed and easy to use. People who don’t do well on Match often do well on here.

eHarmony UK – Originally an American site, eHarmony has been adapted to fit the UK market and is now the biggest site catering for people looking for long term relationship and marriage in the UK.

Parship.co.uk – A UK site catering to professional, mature singles looking for marriage or long term relationships.

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Urban dating sites and online dating with singles’ events

Urban dating sites have picked up in popularity in recent years, as more and more busy professionals decided they wanted to go out and socialise, yet meet suitable singles at the same time. Even if you live in a really big city and are incredibly outgoing and sociable, you might still struggle to find eligible singles. On the other hand, with a whole city around you full of exciting places to go out to, do you really want to spend all your time at home in front of a computer?

The sites below offer options for people who live in and around cities. Some are companies that offer singles’ events to get you out of the house, while others are just predisposed to a more fast paced environment.

This sites covered in this post are (full reviews below):

  1. UrbanSocial – UK-wide speed dating and singles’ events
  2. SingleSolution – UK-wide online and speed dating for professionals
  3. Lovestruck.com – trendy free dating site for professionals, organise events


Reviews

    GrapevineSocial

  • GrapevineSocial is not really an online dating site. More of an events company that holds singles’ wine tasting, champagne sampling and beer tasting events around the UK. It’s like speed dating only not quite as fast-paced and the wine tasting theme makes it a fun night out of its own accord. The age range for the events is mid-20s to late 30s and apparently you don’t have to be a wine expert to attend – these events are more about having fun and meeting people than showing off your knowledge of booze.
  • Speed Dater

    This is the largest company of its kind in the UK, organising massive singles’ parties, speed dating events,lock and key parties, dinner parties and even holidays. Their events, while not quite as ultra-stylish as the more exclusive companies around, are known for being down to earth and generally a good laugh. Importantly, they are also large and plentiful enough to fit in with just about anyone’s location and schedule. The company also offers specialised dating events for those interested in meeting people of a particular religion or ethnicity, as well as professionals and graduates. Age ranges vary with some events available for older daters too. They have an online dating site as well, at Speed Dater Online where you can speak to people likely to go to their events and get a feel for what you should expect (think of it as “try before you buy” 🙂 )

  • UrbanSocial is the online dating / speed dating offering from the same company as GrapevineSocial. Some of the wine tasting events from the above are listed here, as well as speed dating and singles’ parties all over the UK. They cover a broader age range than their sister site with older daters catered for.
  • Lovestruck.com is an ultra chic urban dating site for trendy professionals. They cover a selection of major cities all over the world (with many more coming soon). Many of their sites are 100% free to use, while their London flagship site is currently offering a free trial. They organise funky singles’ events in some very cool places, which I understand are free for members.

  • The ironically named SlowDating offers speed dating events in 25 cities in the UK (more choice than most if not all other companies) for people in their 20s and 30s who want to find serious relationships. Their ticket prices are competitively low and there is a nice variety of venues. If your area isn’t covered, you can register your interest to participate in an event near you when it happens. They also offer online dating services on their site, although apparently the people who use their online dating offering are not always quite as high calibre as those who go to their events.
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