Look, we should all know by now that sending unsolicited dick pics is not cute. Unless somebody has explicitly asked you for a dick pic or nudes, do not assume that pulling your pants down and letting them in on how your genitals are looking that day is a good icebreaker.
However, among consenting partners, sexting can help keep the flirtation going even when you can’t be together IRL. And it’s not like horny young people aren’t ever going to not send nudes. It’s just not realistic! So assuming you trust your partner, how do you even know what to send?
You’ll know because we had 13 women explain exactly what they’re looking for in the perfect dick pic in thoughtful, honest detail. Strap in.
1. “Don’t do the thing where you press down on your balls to make your dick pop and look bigger. We know it’s not that big. Also, a little mood lighting never hurts (like, bad nighttime lighting where everything looks yellow and you have to use flash…that’s a no-go). But a fresh-out-of-the-shower mirror picture is always a safe bet! Like, when there is still steam everywhere and you have to wipe a little off the mirror to expose the D.” —Sophie, 26
2. “I’m a sucker for an artsy dick pic. Some may think it’s a bit narcissistic, but using a self-timer and lying out on something is sexy AF. I wanna look at you like the fucking work of art you are! And in my opinion, that should be a full-body nude. That’s because I don’t see a dick and get turned on….It does nothing for me visually. But I think the human body is stunning.” —Liz, 24
3. “It’s hot when it’s an actual body shot and not some low-quality up-close-and-personal junk shot. I love it when my boyfriend of three years sends me nude pictures in risky places. Like, when he sends me something from work, I’m like, yesssssir.” —Megan, 24
4. “The angle is everything. I don’t want it just from the top to see the head or from the bottom to see the balls. But if it’s from the side and he’s holding it like he’s touching himself, that’s kind of hot because you know he’s thinking of you in that moment.” —Valerie, 24
5. “First of all, it doesn’t matter on the angle, lighting, or frame of your dick pic. If we didn’t ask for a picture, don’t send it. There’s nothing worse than being on your phone and having a huge, unsolicited penis picture pop up on your screen. That being said, I’m looking for something effortless. Turn off the florescent lighting, lie down in bed, and snap away. The last thing I want to see is a guy flexing in the bathroom mirror. Put your hand at the base of your (hopefully hard) penis for a better scale, and take the picture from a lower angle to make it look bigger.” —Taylor, 25
6. “A photo of a guy touching his dick makes it look so much hotter than just a lonely penis staring you in the face. Erect is probably better than flaccid. Pants or boxers pulled down or totally pants-less is best, although sometimes peeking out of boxers can be hot. It’s also good when it’s close but not too close up that it’s anatomical. I like being able to see some background.” —Rachel, 35
7. “When guys send a dick pic, I actually really don’t want to see the dick. I’m more interested in seeing his abs—or his dad-bod stomach—and maybe a little of the booty. An angle that I like is a nice high-above pic where the phone is looking directly down on the stomach or abs from above. Please don’t put your face in the photo or include your dirty room in the background. I’d just rather see their bodies. And finally, something else I’d like to emphasise: If you send a photo, I am not obligated to send one back!” —Maddie*, 21
10. “I personally like a hand in the picture because I really like to imagine that the guy is actively jerking off for me in some capacity. I also like mirror pics where I can see your full body or pics lying in bed from dick up (dick, chest, shoulders, face). Never send pictures of your soft dick. I know that sounds obvious, but you have no idea how many soft-dick pics I’ve gotten. Don’t awkwardly hold your dick in an unusual way just because you’re trying to make it look larger. And you can always ask the person you’re sexting what they want to see, and have them be specific. Be confident and bold and just ask, because it’ll probably help you in the long run. This way you can emulate their fantasies and hopefully get to hit it.” —Selena*, 20
11. “I actually love dick pics that don’t show everything. I’m just way more attracted to a photo of a clothed boner than a naked photo. Like, hard dick laid flat underneath boxer briefs and I’m donezo. Or in grey sweats or athletic shorts. Leaving something to the imagination is hotter than a bare dick to me.” —Dia, 26
12. “For me, a dick on its own isn’t attractive. Like, obviously, unsolicited dick pics are awful for many reasons, but one thing I hate about them is that they’re always just some smelly-looking dick without context with the flash on. And you can, like, see Fifa on the TV in the background. They’re never sexy. I don’t feel strongly about what is a ‘good’ penis, really. The person it’s attached to has a lot to do with how much I’m going to enjoy the dick, you know? So in my opinion, a good dick pic includes context. I want to see a little bit of the rest of your body. Maybe you’re standing in front of a mirror and holding your dick (with your shirt off, please). If you shoot the pic from below so I can see your face, you’ve gotta be careful with that one. If you do it poorly, it can end up looking like Cockzilla is about to attack your head.” —Rachel, 24
13. “I’m looking for an accurate photo that shows true size and girth. A little lower ab muscle is always fun. If we know each other well, throw in some post-self-love fun—because everyone loves a good cum shot.” —Waameeka, 27
*Name has been changed.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan