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Dick Pics and online dating

Dick Pics and dating sites.

Just what I needed to receive just before eating my dinner; not! (I just vomited a little there, sorry!)

How many messages before I get sent one? The current record is 3 and still stands at this from 2010.

It kind of went a little bit like this:

  1. HI, nice profile,
  2. Hi,
  3. DING…..(insert picture in your own mind as this is NSFW)

Well, that leaves nothing to the imagination and so I told him. I then stopped using dating sites for that purpose and began to research why this was happening in 2010 and had I just chanced upon a random ‘flasher’?

In short, no and it can get worse than that! ( I won’t be covering that in this blog though so you’re safe)

But that’s not the ulterior message I am going to highlight here; You see I have been researching dating sites for some time to watch the behaviours of men towards women on dating sites as this is the only research I can carry out (for the time being). The things I have noticed have left me saddened, speechless and I have a lot of sympathy for the genuine guys out there trying to get a date or lifelong partner.

So yes “dick pics” are a part of this and whilst this is probably not the way to win a woman by early displays of your erect genitalia (I’ve never knowingly been sent or been told about pictures of flaccid ones btw) there are a number of sites that no longer/do not allow these to be sent in chats on the site. Rightly so! It’s the process around this, and how that happens that I have been interested in because it’s not being talked about enough.

So let me introduce you to the ‘Romantic guy’, you know the one whom many women are looking for on a dating site? I am going to make a big presumption here and say that this may because the women are looking for someone that isn’t their ex (you can now insert your own prejudices about” he was a….” whatever). So yeah they’re looking for a nice guy…..

Herein lies the deception. I have watched a number of profiles whereby the story behind them seeking love is a wife/gf who treated them poorly and they have been deeply affected by this and they are looking for a soulmate…. Someone they can trust, just cuddle up with (not meaning sex) and have deep and meaningful conversations with etc…etc; all of the things that women are drawn to in Romcoms and Mills and Boons books.

  1. Genuine guys who have had this happen and who have real profiles like this are now seemingly going to get the bad end of the stick here, however, they are not the ones I am talking about.
  2. I’m talking about ‘the deceptors’ who are baiting the women out.

You see what happens now is called a ‘psychological game’ (Eric Berne and his theory: T.A. describes this as a set of transactions leading to a payoff whereby one or both parties are left with a particular feeling)

This dating game follows a pattern of contact, in this case viewing his profile either by looking in the first place or because he looked at yours so it’s only fair to look at his, which has been carefully edited. The conversation is struck up and moves onto sharing details that are outside the dating sites, eg phone numbers, kik/snapchat/whatsapp handles or numbers.

It is at this stage that you receive the unsolicited sexting picture. ‘The payoff’ for the woman is disgust/surprise/maybe even a giggle, or two. The payoff for the sender; gratification at the very least. Obviously, I don’t know what they do at this stage and the women I have spoken to about this don’t tend to hang around to find out either!

Also, dick pics is not a conversation that is happening enough with women or men, the point I am attempting to make here is this is not okay on a number of levels and we speak to young women/men and girls/boys about this and we make adverts and have conferences about it. This is behaviour that is sexually intrusive, without consent, its sexting and grooming/stalking behaviour.

Why am I talking about this? Well, it seems that both men and women are mostly embarrassed to talk about this and when they genuinely get a chance to discuss it they are angry and do not like it. I think that perhaps there is a misconception that grooming only happens to sexually exploited young people.

The game I talked about in this blog is also known by its more popular name: “grooming”.

This is to say women and men can be and are groomed on dating sites and this is one of the ways it happens. It’s not so long ago that a man was arrested and charged for date raping women he had met via online dating sites. This is how it happens. Grooming.

This does not just happen to women, I know as I have seen some homosexual men in therapy and one disclosed that he regularly got sent dick pics in this way and had not asked for them.

However whilst this subject remains taboo/embarrassing then the full extent (pardon the pun) of this issue will remain hidden also. Dating sites need to be treated with the same caution that we advise to younger people about accepting ‘friends’. You are only dealing with a picture and some text, to begin with, treat it with caution. You genuinely do not know who you are talking to.

If you’re reading this and would be interested in sharing your experience anonymously for some research into cyberstalking/harassment please contact me. I will treat any contact regarding this issue with confidentiality.

Facebook, beheadings and other gruesome material

I wanted to keep this blog hidden until after I had presented at the Trauma Conference in November. However, the media has a funny way of bringing things to people’s attention. Let’s be clear about my stance on this topic. Cyber trauma needs to be spoken about to help repair ANY damage caused by witnessing and viewing traumatic material. I have been developing workshops for professionals, parents and adults who work with young people around this topic for over 18 months as I am beginning to see the effects of this through my work as a therapist and Relationships & Sex Education tutor. So what am I talking about? Cyber trauma, what does this mean? I don’t want to come across all Greenfield-ist, but.. Young people who are watching horrific, traumatic, abusive and cruel images and videos are encountering traumatic responses which are manifesting as behaviours in schools, homes and elsewhere. Now I’m not saying this is every young person, what I am saying is the number of young people and concerned adults that I am talking to in my roles is becoming alarmingly incremental. So what I decided for this blog was to give a quick overview of trauma, the growing young person, that is the adolescent brain and what happens to that young person after witnessing such a video over the Internet. NOT always Facebook, however, this is one area I want to highlight. Trauma has a biological effect on the growing brain, which in short affects learning, brain development, empathy, peer and ‘other’ people relationships, behaviour patterns which could be misdiagnosed, memory problems, communication problems, thinking processes and (possibly, but more probable) desensitisation just to name a few In short young people are carrying the images as a biological response, which is unconscious so will be ‘out of the persons awareness’. This is showing up as ‘bad’ behaviour which can include self-harm, self-injurious behaviour, attention deficits, suicidal thoughts and actions, aggression and even possibly reenactments of the images or videos to others Just to add to this the young people are under peer pressure, social norms and cyber bullying if they do/don’t watch and share these videos. There is an expectation to be able to handle this level of ‘horror’ in whatever format it appears in. It’s talked about in and out of school and is the new gossip. If children live in low SES households (Socio Economic Status), or have parents who are sensible and try to protect their children through e-safety at home they are not protected from this ever increasing trend as mobile technology allows for the viewing on someone else’s device. Without parental consent or knowledge The videos themselves cover a large area of trauma, ranging from horrific murders, assaults, child abuse, sexual and physical, this includes videos of young people abused by peers and then used for blackmail purposes, adult abuse (similar?) animal cruelty, surgeries, accidents and injuries and protestors for the rights of any of these topics using the videos to ‘get their point over’. Now, this is interesting as a phenomenon in itself as to why there is a sudden increase in these types of videos and who actually has an interest in this world? However, as adults, we have a choice to go looking for this type of information if we do it’s at our own discretion and peril and we can click onto some websites that freely hold some of these images. I DO NOT KNOW OF, NOR WISH TO CONDONE SEXUAL ABUSE SITES!!! although p*rnography, especially BDSM may look traumatic to young people witnessing it for the first time. Young people are not getting this choice. It’s happening by accident, through peer pressure, videos are marked to look like something else, there’s an expectation to comment and like the videos with “ha LOL, funny vid!!”, people are tagged, it shows up in someone else’s news feeds and most importantly young people (every one to be fair) is CURIOUS! It’s non-intentional mostly, and this is why trauma has the biggest effect. There was no psychological preparation. Even so, watching someone have their head cut off would make me nauseous even if I was prepared for the image. I have an opposite argument to weigh up the costs of trauma and to argue for and against who, how and where this is having an effect but lately I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about this area not being acknowledged by large media attention. I want to discuss this in more details in social services, schools, youth clubs, with parents and so on, but for now I will present at the Trauma Conference and see where I go from there. Maybe no one wants to listen. Ostrich syndrome perhaps?