Savage Love Letter of the Day: The Affairs We Don't Hear About


"Hear" and, again, "hear." Sorry, Dan. Good advice, though.
And because of the cheap shill-marketing likelihood, I wouldn't post the name of the site in these letters. There's no use, anyone who already wants this scenario has already heard of those shady fuckers.
Her description of hook-up sites sounded pretty legit though... What with the people you have to block, and the penis pics.
@3: Of course. How would "cheating sites" be any different, structurally?

You still get shady people trying to show you their genitals...
I just checked on Google, that site is indeed still up. Still selling affairs. I'm calling this letter fake.
There are still Ashley Madison ads on porn websites.
I just meant if this letter is fake, and an advert, it's a weird advert in that that it makes the site sound unpleasant and seedy. That's all.
@5: Why would the fact that the site is still up mean this letter is fake?
I think this letter is legit. I suspect that hubby of 26 years is gay off the far end of the Kinsey scale, and yes, relieved not to be bothered anymore. Although I generally think it's a bad policy for people to pursue affairs within a supposedly mono marriage, it sounds like both partners have implicitly given each other permission to get whatever they need, however they can. And I'm glad LW has been able to find happiness and sexual fulfillment in her life, after getting married off to a cold fish at the tender age of 20. My only question is how this couple ever got together in the first place, since it sounds like such a bad mismatch. There doesn't seem to be a lot of mutual love and respect there, if there ever was. The best she can say is "...we get along pretty well with the exception of sex" about damning with faint praise. Arranged marriage maybe? Based on the grammar, I infer that LW is not a native English speaker.
I'm guessing the husband did notice the changes in the LW, and agreed to openness because he already knew it was happening.
@7: "I just meant if this letter is fake, and an advert, it's a weird advert in that that it makes the site sound unpleasant and seedy. That's all."

Oh, I guess. OTOH, that's been their official marketing since the beginning. Seedy/trashy.
@9. Interesting take. I had not considered it might be an arranged marriage. Perhaps he is gay. Or perhaps sex was fine and then he had a drop in testosterone.

I consider this a DADT arrangement, which isn't cheating IMHO. Even if it started as cheating, she has gotten hey permission after the fact. As to whether he knows. Lol. I doubt he is so oblivious. You've lost weight? Happier? Not around as much? Stopped heckling him for sex? Lol. He knows. Thus his change in position.

I feel so ambiguous about these cheating letters - not this one since it's DADT - but in general. On one hand, I have seen first hand the pain people feel when denied of physical intimacy. Here in the comment section, in the letters. I have a friend who finally entered a Dadt with his wife. He is shocked I still sleep with my husband a couple times a week after thirteen years. Well I do. It's not just the sex, is the rejection.

On the other hand, is it really worth it to live a half life? She parents well with him note. She likely will if divorced. It sounds like there is a lot more missing than just sex. No love. No joy. He appears oblivious. She might have a chance fire something bigger and better (and perhaps him aa well.)
I knew AM was still open. How people keep signing up amazes me.

I see this letter and think, let's legalize prostitution.

...what, so she can pick up a couple bucks while getting her ashes hauled?
@12 Agreed. I've said again and again that these marriages that 'saved' by cheating probably shouldn't be 'saved' at all. And hell who's willing to take bets that she's up and gone when the youngest is in college and will probably regret not doing it sooner?
"I know what you're thinking, not another letter looking for advice in a sexless heterosexual marriage."

No, that would be what I'M thinking.

Seriously, Dan, unless you want the column to turn into something like "Gilligan's Island" where the plot of every episode is the same "will they get off the island" time and again, how about at least a brief moratorium on the "I'm in a sexless marriage, should I have an affair/I've had an affair" letters? It's gotten a little out of hand lately, and there are plenty of other problems out there.
Good point Sandiai. Just thought nocute, that it could be a sneaky way of getting that site's name on Dan's site.
Throwing in the seedy guys on site, just to make it look more authentic.
Either way, she's got my pass. Ten yrs without sex though? Who lets that happen, who has been reading SL for yrs.
Clever move, Dan. You don't care if it's fake or not. You knew it would cover your arse, and you wouldn't get a weekend of irate posters after you.
Have a good weekend.
@15 " I've said again and again that these marriages that 'saved' by cheating probably shouldn't be 'saved' at all."

Isn't the point here that the kids' needs must surely be the priority and providing them with a stable home, good schooling, etc. might require that the parents remain married?
I don't understand Dan's obsession with "saving sanity" when there's no evidence in this letter (or the others like it) that sanity would be damaged if the couple simply divorced and continued to co-parent. Instead of living with someone who is so oblivious he doesn't notice that she's happy, ALS could live a fulfilling life with someone she enjoys talking to, enjoys sex with, enjoys waking up with each morning, enjoys the little things including washing dishes with or coming to compromises with over how they spend money. She could be committed to someone as to sticking by him when he's sick, and she could be cared for by someone who loves her when she's sick. As it is, she's taking the coward's way out with her sex-here/everything-else-elsewhere approach. Also note that there's nothing everything-else-is-fine about her relationship with her husband. She mentions no joy or happiness in her relationship with him. There's no fun or giggling with him the way she describes it. He doesn't notice her. It's not just sex. It's hostility all over the place. If she did the brave bold thing and divorced, her husband too would stand the chance of finding a life that might make him happy.

Something else that no one seems to have picked up on in this letter. ALS is now managing her depression due to the sex outside her marriage? Gosh, do we suppose her depression might have had something to do with the (lack of) sex within her marriage? I was all set to suggest that it would be kind to approach her husband's lack of interest not from the standpoint of how this is affecting her but to see what might be going on with him, that perhaps he's depressed. Then I see that she is. She makes it sound like her self-care, working out, losing weight, and managing her depression are all results of the good sex. I'd challenge her to do those things while getting a divorce. They're not sex-dependent.
@7 but it's still promising gold at the end of the rainbow, ain't it?
Studies have shown that children fare about the same whether their parents remain in unhappy marriages or divorce. This is of course averages the different "kinds" of intact families (eg, angry, abusive, indifferent, friendly) and divorces (eg, hateful, amicable). The children are unhappy in both situations. So, if the parents can afford to, they are likely better off divorced because at least they can be happy. Children often grow up to have the relating style of their parents. Kids who live with parents who are aloof to one another are likely to themselves be aloof to their own partners when the time comes. This woman is not doing her kids any favor by remaining in this marriage.
There have been stories recently about the financial implications in retirement for a couple when a couple divorces. Heck, even before retirement it can be financially stressful - having to support two households, possibly more child care expenses, etc. So there are reasons to stay together if you can be amicable rather than divorcing.
@19: "Isn't the point here that the kids' needs must surely be the priority and providing them with a stable home, good schooling, etc. might require that the parents remain married?"

It's a point based on false premises. Neither of these require that the parents remain in a loveless marriage that all kids are smart enough to observe and model their idea of love and stability off of.

Parents need to stop claiming it's "for the kids" when it isn't.
@23: "There have been stories recently about the financial implications in retirement for a couple when a couple divorces. Heck, even before retirement it can be financially stressful - having to support two households, possibly more child care expenses, etc. So there are reasons to stay together if you can be amicable rather than divorcing."

So divorce and live together.
So often the comparisons are of the apples and oranges variety. For the advice to seek sex outside the marriage to make sense, you'd have a letter that looked like this:

My husband I are terrific together. We really are great friends. We talk together well, are sympathetic with each other, live together with no conflict. We scarcely disagree about anything including housework, where to live, how to make and spend money, caring for our elderly parents. When we do disagree, we argue a little, fight fair, and come to reasonable compromises. We're physically affectionate as to cuddles and hugs. I think he's a great father to our children, and I know he thinks I'm a great mother. The only problem in all this is that he's completely uninterested in sex. He knows it's important to me, and that's why he's done everything possible medical-wise and psychology-wise to figure out what's going on and how he could satisfy me, but nothing doing. The best experts can't help. For that reason, I've taken a lover I met on an online dating site. He's a nice guy, and we have a strong sexual connection ...

But the letters never read like that. The bad (or non-existent) sex is generally a symptom of a bad marriage, not the cause of it, and the sex-on-the-side solution only prolongs a bad situation.
I think any SLLOTD with the Letter Writer writing any praise of Ashley Madison should be taken with a large grain of salt.. If the letter is true, I would give the Letter Writer a combat medal for suffering through the battle campaign of the barrage of Dick Pics.. I would think that alone would turned off any woman with desire to be with XY humans..

My question tied to this letter.. Have there have been any serious studies why certain males, or all males feel sending dick pics is some way of attracting a mate and spreading their man seed? Is it a specific male, or somehow connected to a reptile part of my fellow XY brethren's brain? My anecdotal knowledge is that the last thing I would do, for a person I met online, that I am interested in dating, is sending a dick pic. I am surprise this is a pretty common phenomenon, or common enough, that it is seems to happened a lot to many women..
@26 - someone who would write a letter like that probably wouldn't need to write to Dan (unless it was one of those "thank you - your advice saved my marriage/sanity" letters).
@27: I imagine it's a lot of "nurture" and if any "nature", certainly a maladaption.
Though I agree that I'd be interested in any studies, though sans the evo-psych cargo cult badscience. If you're starting from a flawed, pseudoscientific premise*, the results are necessarily going to be useless.

A good friend of mine likes to collect all the pics she's ever been sent, marked up with critiques (usually negative, though some with kudos if the shot, surroundings, physicality or inventiveness piques her curiosity) and sends every single one back to the unsolicited giver, with theirs appended.

*Starting from the premise conflating nature with nurture, generally. Or assuming social conservative narrative as nature as well. Shitty social science pretending to be the hard sciences, essentially.
ferret @27,

Apparently the big Smoove Move among the XY chimpanzee set is to demonstrate interest by showing one's penis to the object of one's affection.

There may or may not be any connection with behaviour among Third Chimpanzees today, but it's nice to think about.
@25: "So divorce and live together. "

What would doing that actually look like?

Presumably what the non-sexual partner wanted out of the marriage was to remain married while also remaining non-sexual. Instead that person finds (in this case him-)self expelled from the relationship while still under the same roof. And both would have to deal with the new relationships that the former spouse is bringing into their life. Not to mention into the house -- sure, that's going to seem really stable to the kids -- or else keeping carefully off-premises.

Meanwhile, you're still halving each person's assets such as bank account, 401K, automobile ownership/taxes/use privileges. Who pays the mortgage? Is one person now a renter while the other keeps the house?

"So divorce and live together" is an oversimplification. It would basically be retaining all the complications of being married while adding on all the complications of being divorced, while forfeiting a good deal of the freedoms that come with divorcing.

I'm never going to tell someone, "You are in the wrong for doing what works for you. You need to just divorce instead."
@27, 29 Thank you for your responses. Thanks @27 for the observation of my male cousins that share 97% of my DNA..
opps I meant @29..
@32: "And both would have to deal with the new relationships that the former spouse is bringing into their life. Not to mention into the house -- sure, that's going to seem really stable to the kids -- or else keeping carefully off-premises."

Something the kids already have to deal with. And yes, it would in fact be much more stable for them versus the skulking and lying to all parties. It's convenient for the wife, but people need to focus on the convenience and not make excuses about why the alternative isn't an actual alternative. Too many miserable half-lives in this world already.

@31: Chimps also bring out their pecker in public and masturbate, which I guess is also sadly commonplace from my public transportation observations ;/
@19: It's the opinion of a lot of us whose parents stayed together when they probably shouldn't have that all they did was teach us unhealthy relationship models.
I love my parents dearly but often just wished they would fucking get a divorce already like everybody else.
I don't think we have to resort to evolutionary science to explain the dick pic thing.
This is speculation but most men probably don't really hold out much hope of getting tons of NSA pussy on these sites. They may use it more as quasi-interactive porn and get off on knowing some anonymous woman has looked at their junk (and in their fantasy probably getting hot and bothered by it). Just a thought.
@37 I read that the Dick Pics are a way to get a trade of a naked selfie of the woman on line. Obviously it is obnoxious, self defeating and vulgar, but I do think there is something in the human male's brain to want to do this. Much like I think it is tied to exhibitionism, but there is another layer of distance, so the shame and realization how obnoxious it is lost to the dick pic-ker.

Ashley Madison has shown to be a huge fraud, with the chance of finding an actual woman on line as rare to none.. Even if a woman is online with AM, I see they must feel like going through the remnants of a drunken male bachelor party at trashed hotel ballroom.
@19 I think fichu and undeadaynrand answered this but I'll say yes. But that's not the case here. We're not looking at the parent of severly ill or disabled child who would lose health coverage in a divorce. Nor are we looking fichu's situation where the parents are good friends who like each other but the sex can't be fixed. We're looking at an unhappy, loveless marriage that will most likely end the instant the kids step foot on their college campuses.

So why not cut out the middle-man and the risk of being found out and end things now, while there's still a chance they can forge a good co-parenting relationship. Something that's unlikely to happen if the LW gets caught. [Something that's never brought up in these situations].
Well, 'better to cheat than burn?' The letter-writer didn't have much choice left, given the terms she and her husband were imposing on each other.

Still, the idea that any actual pair of human beings has made contact through AM is hard to believe. The data stirring results after the leak implied that the entire enterprise was almost 100% fraudulent.
Any given man on AM is much more likely to find profiles of bots than of neighbours.

Any given woman, however, is going to find neighbours. The LW indicated that she initiated contact with a normal-seeming man in her part of town, which is completely plausible.
@38: "I do think there is something in the human male's brain to want to do this."

Men aren't born with a sense of entitlement. That's learned and reinforced.
I'm going to guess the LW (and husband) grew up in a family where the parents didn't have a relationship that showed a thread of real joy running through it? Not judging, we all grow out of where we start, but I'd hope to pass on to my kids a relationship model that's one notch better that what I was given.
This is the sort of letter I especially want a follow-up on. For ALS's sake I hope a follow-up will say something about how she's still happy with her affair and her situation with her husband. I'm imagining, however, that if we could look 10 years down the road, it's more likely to say how she wishes she divorced 10 years ago.
For the 'he's gay' speculation: my husband is on the ace spectrum and this doesn't sound unlike his pattern. He was reasonably into sex (but not as much as me) and reasonably good if unadventurous when we first got together (tip to high libido people: if it's just barely enough during honeymoon, it's probably not going to be remotely enough afterward), but it petered off. Noticeable spike for competition arousal when we went poly. Then that petered off and he says he's done. Not with me, not with anybody. Not very interested in sex. Which seems to include talking and reading about it in a non-titillating way: you wouldn't catch him dead here, for instance.
Is receiving a barrage of dick pics really so bad?
fetish @46,


Upside is we can block you guys immediately with no need to interview you further. But it's a form of nonconsensual sex and I'd rather live in a world where that wasn't standard.
Especially for fetish, on sharing sexy pictures and consent:
The sentiments expressed may be very noble, but there is nothing even remotely funny about the comics on that site.
246: Yes.

I think when straight men send unsolicited dick pics to women it's because they're enacting a version of the Golden Rule: they're doing unto women as they would have women do unto them. But it doesn't work that way.
i love seeing dicks in real life--if they're the dicks I've chosen to see.
I really hate getting an unasked-for dick pic from a stranger. The very last thing it's going to make me do is want to send a photo back, talk to the guy, or have anything more to do with him. I'm definitely not turned on by it.
If a dick pic sender gets a thrill from the non-consensual aspect, or the forcing an unwilling person into participation into what is for him a sex act, much like a flasher does, then I know he won't stop sending unwanted photos of his penis to women who don't want to see it.

If, however, the goal is to turn a woman on, or pique her interest, or prompt a nude pic in return as an expression of gratitude or solidarity or mutual excitement, I think it's a poor plan. Every woman I know finds them irritating at best.
@46: "Is receiving a barrage of dick pics really so bad?"

Do you ever think before you say things? I can't understand the lack of empathy and imagination required for someone to be this dense.
I know why you're saying it, you simply don't care. But it's sad.
@49: Disagree! They're cute and charming. At worst awkward, but usually so is the device or scenario being described.
Cat @45, thank you - I learned something new today. I didn't know there was such a thing as an asexuality "spectrum." I thought that by definition, asexual meant no interest in anyone else or in any sex-related activities, including self-pleasuring. The concept of an asexual person wanting to pursue a poly relationship, and building sexual energy through "competition arousal" - I'm still trying to wrap my head around how that scenario would play out, but at least now I know it exists. The only person I have known who self-identified as asexual, eventually came out as a gay man after both his parents had died. But he still doesn't really date other than casually, so maybe he's on the ace spectrum too.

It must be challenging at times, being married to someone whose libido and sexual capacity are vastly different from your own. I assume that your husband has other redeeming qualities that make the relationship work for you!

On the subject of anonymous dick pix, I think the senders display a profound disrespect for women in general and women on online dating sites in particular. I also suspect that many of them have a disturbed state of mind - psychological issues, untreated mental health problems, or chemical impairment that reduces their judgment and self-control. It's a private space violation that no woman should have to accept as her price of admission to the online dating world. Still, I have to believe that the vast majority of straight men on online dating sites do not engage in this practice; we only hear about the bad apples. Speaking for myself, I would think twice or thrice and probably refuse to send selfies of my junk even to a trusted love partner, even if s/he requested same. Once those pix are out there on the Interwebs, there's no pulling 'em back in. So to speak.
Hell, not only is AM still up and running, they've upped their prices. Their bottom of the barrel plan for credits used to be $49.99. Now, it's $79.99.
Bilk the dregs for all they can, I'm sure their billing policies have gotten more sinister as well.
@55: I don't think anyone actually believes that all men do that, just that it's relentless and sadly still common enough practice as to be inevitable that you'll receive unsolicited pics within a short enough span of time. It only takes a small amount of jerks to make a person miserable, the posters really don't care that they're making the situation worse for all other guys.
Dan published my sexless marriage letter when the AM leak broke and everyone registered on the site was being ridiculed for being on the site and cheating. As with many situations, do not judge unless you have walked in someone else's shoes.
I have been with my AM partner for almost two years now...both of us in sexless marriages, no kids at home and our own very legitimate reasons for staying. They are no harm, no foul situations. Neither of our spouses want any kind of intimacy with us, mine for over 15 years and my partner's over 12. Both of us doggedly tried for intimacy with our spouses until our souls were dying before we looked outside our marriages. They are also very traditional and open marriages would not be an option.
So hugs to ALS, and at least her hubs told her she could do what she need to do. Mine just said he wasn't into it, end of story.
@55: Nah, the vast majority of the dudes sending unsolicited dick pics don't have 'a disturbed state of mind', and please don't use that defense to rationalize the action. They aren't mentally ill. They were brought up in a patriarchal society that taught them that they're owed women's attention and affection, and that their dicks are somehow exceptional, and as a result they're attempting to use those exceptional dicks to obtain that attention and affection.

And it's far, far more common than you think.
@60: Absolutely. Their penis is literally the best thing in and about their lives and that is sad. And not pathological. Just a toddler's sense of entitlement.
As a member and owner of the penis-having club - let me suggest that most men who send dick pics are likely following the golden rule per nocute's suggestion @50. "I wish anonymous women would stop sending me pictures of their aroused genitals" said no straight man, ever. It is actually kind of eye-opening that women really don't like looking at aroused men, even ones that are otherwise conventionally attractive.

I know dick pics are frowned upon for the same reason I know socks and sandals are a no-no: women have told me so.
I like getting dick pics after I've already met the dick in question and had a positive experience. Then it can be a turn-on in between live meetings. But if I haven't met the dick in person yet, a pic does nothing for me and can even be a negative.
@54 He does, and I have a wonderful kink partner and boyfriend now, too!

@63 Ditto. A stranger's dick is of less than no interest to me.
Yeah — I’ve been known to order someone to send me pictures of him jacking off thinking about me, and of the outcomes (cocksnot; contented smile), but that was a lover, someone I cared about. Not a stranger whose most urgent communication appears to be Behold! I Have a Penis!
I suspect in addition to some of the above explanations of dick pics, there's also an element of insecurity. Many men are worried that it's small, or will be perceived as small, and that they'll be rejected for it. So I guess they have some screwed up notion of trying to impress, and make sure they won't be rejected for that? And I assume it works on rare occasions. I guess they might be trying to put their good foot forward in some bizarre, internet-porn-addled way. Well, about half a foot on average...

Not that I'm really giving them the benefit of the doubt. It seems pretty obvious that it's way out of line to do that unsolicited. I also assume many of thee dick-pic-senders are essentially just trying to be dicks because that's all they know (and as noted above, they're a little too focused on their own).
O what I think of thee, thou whoreson dick pic senders. Forsooth, it be not proper treatment of the fair sex, to shew a todger so.

(The only way to respond to a typo of "thee".)
Tim Horton:

How would you feel about getting dick pics from men you don’t know? If, say, 20% of the men’s avatars on SL or Facebook were dick pics would you be more or less inclined to look up their profiles?

I know you’re straight and therefore aren’t interested in having sex with strange men, but I’m not interested in having sex with strange men either so our perspectives are similar.

Think of catcalling. You probably don’t really get why women complain, because if you were catcalled by women it would give you a lift (especially since when you imagine this happening to you the women are cute). So instead, imagine being catcalled by men you don’t want to have sex with, all of whom are bigger and stronger than you. That’s who’s catcalling women: men we don’t want to have sex with.
@68 - I assume is the primary reason why women don't want to be cat-called is because of the security threat. That wouldn't really apply to me being catcalled, I am bigger than almost all women and faster than the few who are bigger than me. I also get the fact women don't enjoy being objectified, which is something most men can't relate to. But it is completely intuitive to me that catcalling women is obnoxious, crass and something gentlemen don't do (side note, there was a video of a woman walking around NYC being cat-called and I found it fascinating it was all being done by men seemingly on the bottom of the socio-economic spectrum).

I am not trying to minimize your - and the female - experience of having to deal with dick-pics. I just can't relate; even if random women sent me pics of their genitals, my reaction would be somewhere between humour to yay! If I received dick-pics from men, I would be more concerned with the fact I was sending off a vibe that allowed any man - strange or not - to think that was something I would appreciate. Pics of human genitals cause a range of reactions but none of them are visceral.

I digress - I get that women find all unsolicited dick-pics to be offensive. I assume there is a difference between the misogynistic ass who sends them to every woman as a crass Hallmark greeting and the clueless man who escalates a flirtatious text-exchange to the nuclear option, i.e. dick-pic.
@68: You seem to keep making the category-error of assuming that straight women don't exist, or that the rest of us don't know they do.

Interacting with members of the opposite sex, while straight, is not the same as interacting with members of your own sex while straight. That's what the "hetero" in "heterosexual" stands for.
TH @69
even if random women sent me pics of their genitals, my reaction would be somewhere between humour to yay!

You can't be serious. My reaction would be "this person is a deranged stalker".
@69: Catcalls could be great without all the implicit threat and harassment like ripcurrents could be a good swim without all that drowning business.

You're still not trying very hard to get it.
@72: Some dudes must think people sending them unsolicited pics is like interactive porn, but they probably also conflate a lot of personal interaction with porn as well, so not surprising.
Er, @71.
@42 I'm a penis-having person who - as far as I know - has never shared a picture of my genitals with someone whose own genitals were not in the same picture. However, for your comment:

"'I do think there is something in the human male's brain to want to do this.'

Men aren't born with a sense of entitlement. That's learned and reinforced."

I have to say [citation needed]. I'm pretty sure that an inclination to exhibitionism is just as natural to male human great apes as it is male chimpanzee great apes. That doesn't mean that we can't accept a social tabboo against exhibitionism. I've managed. But to assume that human nature corresponds with social mores and laws and contrasts with the behavior of other, closely related, animal species strikes me as faith-based reasoning of the worst sort.

Tim Horton @69,

I asked you to imagine being catcalled by men bigger and stronger than you, not by women cuter than you. Same as the dick pics.

Interesting that in your dick pic thought experiment your mind instantly went to ‘worrying about what I’m doing wrong to incur all this unwanted male attention.’ Pretty accurate.

RE the video: apparently white guys catcalled from the sidelines, mostly in groups, and you couldn’t really see them in the video or easily catch what they were saying, so the white-guy catcalls didn’t make the final cut. Black guys put themselves out there.
I don't totally understand the dick pic thing, but it's not like catcalling.
@77: Unsolicited dick pics are quite a lot like catcalling. Are you similarly soft on people who expose themselves in public?
@75: It is not a compulsive behavior, as with the rape and murder that humans share in common with their ape and monkey relatives. Entitlement is what encourages them to perform the act.
I remember my entitlement classes! They were fun. Grade nine I think it was. They featured these fifties black-and-white film shorts of a talking penis who said things like "Golly wosh!" and "Gee whiz fellas!" a lot. The films were kind of clumsy but the overall message was that being penis-havers we could basically do whatever we wanted all the time. It was very empowering.
@60 "They were brought up in a patriarchal society that taught them that they're owed women's attention and affection, and that their dicks are somehow exceptional, and as a result they're attempting to use those exceptional dicks to obtain that attention and affection. "

My paradigm of this, is more about mixing technology and parts of the male brain that are still on plains of Tanzania and Kenya from two million years ago.. Technology puts another layer of separation from the user. Much most likely the male sending the dick pic, wouldn't drop their trousers and show them their genitals in the first face to face meeting, or talking superficially the first time in person. I see the paradox of distance, but this artificial sense of one to one interaction..

I do think men are raised to objectify women, and are bombarded with messages about objectifying women as sex objects rather than understanding the nuances and considerations of being a woman in a patriarchal society.. However, I see the pretty common use of sending dick pics as a combo of males who spend much of their social interaction on line, which is kind of warped way to interact compared to face to face.

Much like the sickening hate to Anita Sarkeesian by male gamers. It was out of control, it was trying to control her behavior, (much like I see sexual disparaging words like "slut" "ho" as a way to control women's sexual behavior) but it was so prevalent, that it wasn't isolated phenomenon.

I think it is a right combination of emotional distance by males, along with parts of my fellow male's brain awashed in testosterone, the hormone that causes much of the problems in the world, that creates this common use of dic pics. I don't see it as exhibitionism, or other paraphilias, but this false sense of reality that the male feels, to either control, intimidate, or try to get a naked picture in return to masturbate.
@80: I've been watching some terrible archival footage from the Rifftrax guys, and it wouldn't surprise me if something like that was played in schools, holy shit the dumb things shown to kids, probably to this day.

Look Around You definitely reminded me of the filmstrips I saw growing up, even if that was modeled more around the UK instructionals.
I like nocutename @50 and TimHorton @62 explanations that most guys appreciate receiving very graphic pictures and therefore think women will appreciate that, too. There have been times when I've exchanged pictures with a guy while flirting but before meeting him in person and I will explicitly ask him to keep that part a mystery if he offers to send pics. I say this because I know it will do nothing for me and might even turn me off, even if I like the guy. Once I've had sex with him, it's no longer a turn-off and can be a turn-on to receive graphic pictures.

Receiving dick pics from a complete stranger outside of the context of *mutual* flirtation is a different issue. That's not just a potential turn-off, it feels threatening and disorienting. In those cases, I do wonder if the guy is either getting off on the unsolicited aspect or if he thinks the woman should feel complimented by his becoming aroused. This is more like flasher mentality.

As for the masturbation material element, maybe that's part of it, too. I don't need a photo to be graphic to find it sexually stimulating. I can get off on a guy's smile or his arms or abs. Even more likely, the words in his messages. I know some guys can get off to less graphic images but maybe some need the more graphic images to get there and they think women are the same way?
@83: "In those cases, I do wonder if the guy is either getting off on the unsolicited aspect or if he thinks the woman should feel complimented by his becoming aroused. This is more like flasher mentality. "

As per the discussion of entitlement, at best intention, they simply don't care enough about the person on the other end to worry about how they may take the come-on. Either they get a "hit", or if not, who cares about her?
@83: Yup.
@82 Ayn -- First off, typing "Ayn" just now made me think "Green Gables", which is just so wrong on so many levels.

But secondly, I think I may have posted this before but this has always been one of my favorites. It's a propos and you might enjoy it.
@78 well, one, a dick pick is 0 percent dangerous. It will not jump off the screen and steal from you, assault you, or anything. You just click a button and it's over. Secondly, an online dating website is not a public space, you have no rights to reasonable accommodation.
@87, The person behind a dick pic can be dangerous, besides making it an uncomfortable space. Much like stating someone groping you should be looked upon as a playful and harmless gesture. Unsolicited Dick Pics are rude, obnoxious and have many other power overtones besides sexual, including sexual violence. I just see them as a power issue.

It is also about the disturbing commonality of them in dating marketplaces. They are too common to be an anomaly.
@87: So much energy expelled to justify your "legal right" to be a creep. How about you simply not be creepy to people who do not want this form of aggressive contact? Is that seriously so difficult, y'know, not harassing people online when you know they don't actually want to see your penis as a cold open?
@86: Thanks, I'll check it when not at work. I love watching all those hopelessly dated informational filmstrips that dictated proper etiquette, hygiene, and dating procedure. I wonder what new hell is getting inflicted on kids these days.
Tim Horton, do you really believe that "women really don't like looking at aroused men?"
I never tire of looking at my husband when he's aroused, and when he's away I enjoy watching porn including gay male porn, specifically because more than one naked aroused man at a time is a lovely sight indeed.
That is totally different to receiving unsolicited photos of dicks, which I would find obnoxious and threatening, which others here have noted.