Better than a dick pic: what makes a photo sexy?

Image by the fantastic Stuart F Taylor

Remember those urban legends about parents who’d find cigarettes in their teenagers’ bedrooms and force them to smoke an entire packet to put themselves off forever? That’s how I feel about dick pics. I’ve seen so many of them that even the most beautiful dick, framed and shot by the world’s greatest photographer, does little for me now unless it’s attached to someone I already have a raging crush on. But recently someone sent me a different type of picture, far better than a dick pic. So hot that opening the file felt like a punch in the cunt.

I told a friend about the picture a few days ago. She was baffled, despite me – a professional wordsmith – describing it in detail. She couldn’t quite understand why a picture of a man standing in front of a mirror, fully-clothed and faceless, wearing handcuffs and holding a phone, would do it so hard for me. But then she didn’t understand the concept of a cuntpunch, either – a hot thing which strikes so immediately and viscerally that it knocks the wind out of your lungs en route from your twitching vagina. I figure you lot understand this feeling, so you might also get why this picture worked so well.

The guy who sent it to me, when I asked him if he knew just how good it was when he took it, told me ‘no’. He also said that – like many men – he doesn’t really understand what it is about him that might be sexy. He then added one of my favourite phrases: ‘there might be a blog post in this.’

Let’s see if there is, shall we?

Better than a dick pic

I’m not going to share the actual picture with you – it’s private and it isn’t mine. Besides, it’s more fun to describe it, and through my description explain what it is about this photo that made it better than a dick pic. Hopefully by a process of osmosis you will understand a little of how my mind works, and how you might best tailor your own sexy photos to the minds of people that you might want to fuck in future.

Point the first: not everyone likes the same thing, which is one of many reasons (alongside consent, obviously) why people get pissed off with dick pics. Sending the same obvious shot of the same obvious appendage shows you’ve put zero thought into what the recipient might genuinely like. The dick pic is the ‘last minute service station flowers’ of online gifts. I am not arguing that this guy tailored his picture to my tastes, because that would be wildly presumptive of me (not to mention intense and probably rude), I’m just saying that it was refreshingly different to the kinds of pictures men tend to send me, while at the same time fitting neatly into some especially hot categories, specifically (and in this order): hands; fingers; wrists; kink; personal connection; mystery; men who know how to be grown-ups.

Let’s discuss.

Hands, fingers and wrists

The picture in question is of this guy, standing in front of a mirror. In his hands he holds a phone, and he is taking a photo that frames his (clothed) torso. He is displaying some handcuffs, which we’ll come onto in a later point. But for now all you need to know is that the very act of holding the phone to take the photo is made sexual by the manner in which he does it. Centre of the shot, held with confidence, hands gripping it firmly and fingers spread out. Positioning his hands with precision, rather than just chucking them in there because they’re necessary to hold the phone: they are a crucial and valued component of the picture. It’s the difference between shoving a phone up your skirt to take a snap and carefully positioning yourself with open legs to curate your display.

He’s taking the picture to show me something else, but it feels like what he’s showing me is his hands: excellent hands with long fingers, used very precisely and carefully to take this well-framed shot.

Hands are fucking sexy. As are wrists. Which leads me neatly onto…


What he’s actually displaying in the picture is a set of handcuffs, worn with one on each wrist. Pulled tightly apart so the chain in between is stretched taut. Naturally, when a guy wears anything at all on his wrist, it emphasises his hands and therefore makes people (me) think about wanking, so wrist-based accessories of any kind (watches, bracelets, handcuffs, tattoos) are inevitably going to be guaranteed punches in the good place.

But on top of this, there’s something surprising about someone fully-clothed wearing handcuffs. It’s got a ‘suspenders under my business suit‘ vibe, implying that there’s a knowledgeable, constant undercurrent of filth flowing through this person’s mind even when they’re wearing civvies and hopping onto a tube. Kink as fuck: lovely.

Let’s pause for a second for the fact that the cuffs were pulled nice and taut. This was no limp, hands-outstretched-and-chain-dangling arty shot: this was direct and specific and tight. Yanked on so you could see the pressure being put on the chain. Not passive: active. Not gentle: rough.

Personal connection

I’d sent those handcuffs. Nuff said.


Did I mention he was fully clothed? This is important, I think. While I naturally enjoy a good topless shot, I don’t think that a topless shot would have had the same power. A topless shot says ‘I will definitely fuck you if you ask’. It is an answer to a question that has not yet been asked. But a photo in which someone is wearing a pristine white shirt and black trousers? Holding cuffs taut between his wrists, fingers splayed like open legs in a centrefold but potentially unaware of the hotness of these things? It prompts questions. It doesn’t say ‘I definitely would’, leaving the picture recipient to debate whether or not they would as well. Instead it prompts them to ask ‘would he?’

Men who know how to be grown ups

Just behind where he stands, reflected in the mirror in which he took this photo, is a kitchen. I can’t tell much about the kitchen from the shot except that I know he owns a kettle and it’s clean. Which brings me neatly onto the final point, one that I hope will puncture the intensity of the previous paragraphs so he doesn’t think I am weird and intimidating: this gentleman has a clean kitchen. He knows how to clean a fucking kitchen.

Honestly, that’s pretty hot.

I know, I know. Tedious and pathetic point to make, and one which every single ‘Dick Pics 101’ guide has already covered when its screamed at you ‘PLEASE TIDY YOUR BEDROOM BEFORE YOU TAKE THE SHOT’ but it matters. To women? I don’t know, I don’t care, I refuse to fucking generalise here. It matters to me.

What makes pictures sexy?

The things which make you sexy are all in the eye of the beholder. For someone it’s your delicious, purring accent, and for someone else it’s your hands or eyes or your cock. The way you tell jokes, the tone in which you growl ‘come here‘ or any number of other things. If you’re wondering what’s better than a dick pic, and you want to send something that’ll hit someone right in the centre of their crotch, you could do a lot worse than considering which elements of your body, your background, your pose and your vibe will gel best with their inner pervert.

Sometimes your choices will miss, sometimes they will hit. Occasionally you’ll do something by pure accident that accidentally fires filth-arrows directly into someone’s soul. That’s part of the fun of it, and it’s why generic ‘how to send something that’s better than a dick pic’ guides will never work for everyone.

I know now, having asked him, that none of the above was deliberate, so it may well seem super-fucking-weird that I’m writing an entire blog post about it. But fuck it – when I opened that email I was standing in the doorway to my kitchen, minding my own business and thinking nothing but admin thoughts, then this picture popped up and it punched me. Right in the cunt. He wondered if there might be a blog post in it.

There was.


  • Oxyfromsg says:

    The subject of what makes a picture sexy, especaily a picture of a male, is one that endlessly fascinate me.
    At one time i use to be a member of a site where woman would post photo sets. There was also a section were men could post there own sets. Going through a bit of a crisis of confidince at the time i decided to try my hand (coincidentally my first set also included handcuffs)
    I posted on and off for about 5 years and became really intrested in what people found sexy. The majority of men that posted would post 15 pics(the min amount allowed to post) of pretty much nudity from the start, dick in hand, mainly close ups.
    The sets that got the most comments were the ones that told a story, had something different or started fully dressed. A set highlighting bites on skin would get double any set with just “LOOK AT MY DICK”
    Intrestingly, with mobile phones giving more and more people access to cameras, the group died out. No-one wanted to make a effort or do a 32 pics set based on Guitar Hero (yes, that was me, im a nerd) when they could just take a couple of selfies of a dick with a phone.
    There was a lof of dick pics posted in that group over the years but its ones of guys smiling while covered in soap suds, or dressed in a smart suit, or topless while stripping down a engine that stick in my mind.

    • Dick pics are just gauche not sure why that hasn’t entered the internet zeitgeist by now. I think men are more limited to what can be clothed yet sexy not having an equivalent of boobs and cleavage, etc. Also the view that we post non-nudes all over vanilla social media so we want to take advantage of those NSFW posts when able. Though I grant the handcuff kink pic in the article would not be appropriate for posting to family and friends on Facebook! It is more important to me for both my own and others’ nudes to be fun and smart, but certainly the nude part is a big part of the point.

  • Ten Ways says:

    I love this post! I am always curious what really turns people on. As a guy, I look at my hands and think…instrument used for picking things up…Similarly, I look at a well shot picture of a wet pussy and think…Oh fuck! That’s hot!…shortly followed by imagining what I would do with said wet pussy….So, it really shocked me when I heard that so many women find hands/forearms to be erotic. The added bit about what those hands are doing, what their intent might be is something I often miss. It does sound like something that would be fun to toy around with…

  • Neil says:

    Great post! It took me decades until I realized that there’s no generic guide to achieve “cunt-punch” and it’s totally up to chance if I succeed or fail.

  • James says:

    Hope you don’t mind me posting an alternative left wing perspective on porn culture. Its a complex issue.

    • Girl on the net says:

      I sort of *do* mind, seeing as you’ve posted it on a random blog that isn’t about ‘porn culture’, but seeing as you’re here I can tell you that argument is wildly simplistic and leaves out the perspectives of actual sex workers. For a much more interesting, considered, and (imho) helpful analysis of sex work and capitalism, check out this book:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.