Sex tips: Why men send dick pics and women hate it

A little less than two years ago, I came out as a lesbian in this column.

It was important for me to do this publicly because when I struggled with my feelings for women, there were no stories like mine. And, encouragingly, since it was published, women have continued to message me about how this column has helped them feel seen.

They also – unexpectedly – ​​sent me romantic and sexual proposals. (To date, my favorite was the woman who simply wrote, “I must warn a girl before setting such a powerful thirst trap. I’m stuck, don’t bother trying to pull me out.”)

I say this not as a humble brag – although, let’s be real, I’m not mad about it – but to elucidate a stark difference I’ve observed in the way gay and bicurious women approach me, for compared to how straight men do it.

It’s fair to say I’ve seen enough unsolicited trash shots of random guys with household accessories held alongside (presumably for size comparison??) to be wary of ever touching a TV remote or coke can in a man’s house again.

And if I never have to open another DM again from a guy detailing his masturbation session on me, it will be too soon.

It’s always been unclear if these images and messages are meant to get my attention and gratitude, or if they’re actually just about asserting control via the complete and utter decimation of my boundaries.

Regardless, I’ve never closed one of them feeling flattered or empowered.

More often than not, I emerged with the feeling that the man on the other side of the screen sees me as an object he is entitled to access in default of his sexual interest in me.

And that’s remarkable, because despite what we’re constantly told about women not being as sexual as men, in the past 18 months I’ve received almost as many messages of interest from women than people of the opposite sex.

The difference, however, is the conspicuous absence of this sense of entitlement.

Even the hottest messages I get from women are peppered with hesitation – there’s a palpable sense of not wanting to appear “scary” or to make myself feel uncomfortable.

In contrast, men often seem oblivious to how their communication style might make me feel intimidated or violated. Instead, there’s an implicit expectation that I’ll be glad to hear I’ve caused an erection.

Of course, the patriarchy tells men their attention is a gift, thus making any woman who doesn’t happily accept it an ungrateful “bitch” (honestly one of the nicest things I’ve been called by guys I’ve rejected online), while conditioning women to question and devalue themselves.

The cultural messaging reminds us almost at every turn, that we are not thin/thick/confident/tough/sexual/pure/pretty/sexy enough to be chosen, and that we must be in a constant state of renovation, always on the move towards but never reaching the ever-changing goal posts if we hope to attract the attention of men.

“I could never approach her”, I regularly hear the remark of beautiful accomplished friends. “I’m not hot/smart/interesting enough,” they insist.

It’s a comedic sentiment that Ely Kreimendahl captured in a recent tweet, writing, “He’s a 5 but thinks he’s a 10. She’s a 10 but thinks she’s a 5. Now they’re married.”

This confidence gap, something researchers identified men with overvaluing what they offer and women with doubting and understating what we bring to the table, could explain some of the disparity between how we both navigate sexual attraction.

There is another factor that could also illuminate this. And it’s the fear and unease seared into the brain of every woman I know who’s had a line crossed by a man who expected access to her.

It is a universal experience that imprints in us a hyper-vigilance around borders. Because we know the quiet terror of trying to get out of a situation where we have to negotiate carefully with a man’s ego to avoid retaliation. And so, we are much more aware of the importance of creating security in our own romantic and sexual interactions.

And listen, maybe we’ve also received enough unwanted images of men’s bric-a-brac to know that the art of seduction isn’t checking you’re up to the remote (also men – please Glen 20 this thing); but simply recognizing that your thirst traps are the kind we’d like to get stuck in.

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Originally published as Nadia Bokody: “Scary” seduction difference between men and women

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