- Men who send unsolicited images of their penises, or “dick pics,” are more likely have narcissistic traits, according to research presented at a meeting for the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality.
- Researchers surveyed 1,000 self-identifying straight men about their “dick pic” habits and personality traits.
- They found that men who had sent at least one unwanted graphic image had higher levels of narcissism and sexist values than men who never sent penis photos.
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If you’ve ever wondered what type of man would text a photo of his genitals to an unsuspecting recipient, scientists now have a possible answer: Narcissists.
In November 2018, researchers presented findings from a survey they gave 1,000 men between the ages of 16 and 75 who self-identified as straight. They asked them if they’ve ever sent an unsolicited dick pic before, as well as questions to determine their levels of narcissism, sexism, proclivity for risky sexual behavior, and porn-watching habits.
Just under half, or 48%, of the men surveyed said they sent an unsolicited dick pic at some point in their lives. The majority of those men were white and married or in a serious relationship. Their average age was 31.
When looking at how the personalities of the photo senders compared to the more modest men, the researchers found that the show-offs tended to have higher levels of narcissism. The men who sent these graphic photos were also more likely to demonstrate sexist behavior, whether that was putting women on a pedestal (referred to as “benevolent sexism”) or having overtly negative views of women (called “hostile sexism” in the study).
It appeared, however, that both dick pic senders and non-senders did have one thing in common. “There was no difference between the two groups in the extent to which they watched porn, or masturbated or fantasized,” lead study author Dr. Cory Pedersen told Vice. “The dick pic-ers were not more ‘sexual’ in nature.”
Narcissism exists on a scale, and may be more prevalent today
Narcissism is a type of personality disorder that falls on a scale, so one person may exhibit just a few narcissistic traits, while another person may have full-blown narcissistic personality disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, narcissistic traits include having an exaggerated sense of importance, taking advantage of others, expecting special favors, and being obsessed with fantasies about perfection in the form of power, success, or the “perfect” partner.
It’s arguable that anyone who lives and partakes in today’s age of social media has some narcissistic traits, but some people exhibit more of these traits or at a heightened level compared to others.
The penis photo senders fit this bill: When researchers asked them why they sent the pictures in the first place, 82% said they believed doing so would give their unwitting recipients “sexual excitement.” This sentiment could be read as a sense of heightened self-importance, which is a hallmark narcissistic trait.
“This is quite contrary to the popularly endorsed belief that men send these pics hoping to get shock,” Dr. Pedersen said. “They believe they’re going to turn someone on. The top three hoped-for reactions were positive; men were hoping for sexual excitement from the part of the recipient, they hoped the recipient would feel attractive, and they hoped the recipient would feel valued.”
Of course, the results of the research aren’t generalizable to the general public, since the researchers looked at just 1,000 men who were all straight. Plus, the study relied on self-reported data so it’s possible that men who hadn’t sent dick pics said they did, or those who did said they hadn’t.
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