Naked Selfies, Normal or Not?

My husband has a newly single friend he works with.  Jim was married for 25 years until recently he and his wife agreed to divorce.  They don’t have any children. His wife was offered a terrific new job on the West Coast.  Jim likes living on the East Coast, near his elderly parents. He and his wife have parted friends, since a long distance relationship was not something they wanted to attempt.


Nerds are now cool!

Jim hasn’t dated in over 20 years.  But he did discover he is no longer the nerdy kid that couldn’t get a date. Instead he is a man in his 40’s with a high paying job and no children or alimony payments.  He jokes he finally knows what it was like for the quarterback on the football team.  Women galore have been after him.  He is quite nice looking, being that in his 30’s he took up running, and finally learned how to match his clothing.

Jim is very interested in a new relationship, and hopes to marry again.  His problem is that his dating experience is 20 plus years old.  He has women after him and no shortage of dates.  But one thing really worries him.

Women keep sending him naked selfies.  Lots and lots of naked photographs. He also gets videos.  If not naked, the women are in very revealing lingerie or bathing suits.  Some of the photographs have women doing what he calls “Interesting things.” I wasn’t allowed to see those photographs, but he did share most of the others he had not deleted. Jim’s problem is he doesn’t know if this is “normal” or not.

He hasn’t slept with any of these women. These are women he has met via the local dating scene (a few bars) or through friends. Some of the photographs are from women he has never met, often the sister or cousin of someone he knows.  The women send a nude photograph and text “I’d love for us to go out”.  Many ask for a photograph of him back.  He doesn’t think they mean just his face.  He also admits he has to change his cell phone number, as when he first was single he gave out the number to every potential date.  Now he’s far more careful.


The new normal? Also does Jim have to send a photo back?

Jim doesn’t want to exclude getting to know anyone just because he hasn’t kept up with the newest dating etiquette.  But he truly does not want naked photograph of women in his phone.  He feels anyone that would send a naked photograph to someone they barely know, or don’t know at all, is someone that is perhaps just shallow.  He pointed out he could just share these photographs online, and indeed he is sharing them with most of his trusted friends saying “Look what this woman just sent me?  Is she crazy, or is it me?”

Jim also points out he’s looking for a relationship, being in his 40’s he feels he doesn’t have all the time in the world to just have shallow relationships based on sex.  He’s looking for a family, he’s lonely, and while he does believe sex is a huge part of any relationship he says at his age it’s not the first on the list.  Actually, he jokes, liking his dogs Rascal and Snickers, rates higher.  Not every woman likes dogs that shed as much as these two do.  He actually has on a dating site that any woman in his life will have to know how to use a lint roller.  Jim has a basket of them by his front door for company to clean off the fur after a visit.  A woman that would brush those two dust and fur mops everyday would be his dream come true.  (He forgets to brush them he claims, I think he’s just lazy).


Jim worries he’s too old fashioned.

Jim has had an especially hard time as in one case he really enjoyed the few dates he had with one woman. He was thrilled to find someone that also liked running, and also he enjoyed meeting her 2 children.  He actually thinks he would enjoy being a step father, since he and his wife had never been able to have children. Then after only 2 dates she sent him not only several naked photographs, but a slightly dirty home movie.  When he didn’t call her for another date, she was devastated and kept calling and asking what she had ” done wrong”.

He explained he thought she was trusting him too much by sending naked photographs to his phone and he wanted someone in his life with “good judgement.”  She told him he was “old fashioned” and “a prude”.  He wonders now if she was right.  He feels he wants to go slowly with any relationship, and unasked for nudity seems a bit fast for him.  She felt sending him naked photographs and video was simply “what everyone does”. He said she made him feel like he was in the wrong, and admits perhaps he is.  Then again he said “Maybe I need to find someone for a partner that is also old fashioned and a prude.”

I joke he is the perfect man, not only single and not fighting with his ex, but also open to being a step father.  No wonder women were sending naked photographs to his phone.  But I also have been out of the dating game for a long time, so I have no clue if this is now a normal part of the dating process.

So, is this the “new normal”?  Should Jim just accept the photographs with a “thank you”?  Does Jim have to send a naked photograph of himself back to be polite? (Jim claims “I’m never sending out photographs of my dick or butt, period.”)  Is he really a prude?  How soon is too soon to send nudity?

Help Jim out. What is the new dating etiquette about phones, nudity and sharing?  Is he out of luck if he doesn’t photograph his butt? Will he ever find true love and a partner, or is he doomed to loneliness forever unless he photographs himself in his birthday suit and shares it with the women of the world?

What’s the new normal?  Also any other dating tips for Jim?

Categories: Friends, General Stuff!

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20 replies

  1. I am approximately 10 years older than Jim, but hopefully my age isn’t the only thing causing me to be offended on his behalf. I have been using on-line dating sites since my divorce over seven years ago, and I believe I have enough experience in this area to reassure Jim that his instincts are on target, and that a woman who will text suggestive photos to a virtual stranger is not long-term partner material. If confronted with this request by a potential suitor, I would immediately decline and refuse any further contact. Like Jim, I agree that sex is an important part of a relationship, but for me that means only within a committed, monogamous relationship. I share his conviction that a photo of my uncovered body parts should never grace the internet and don’t feel that finding a partner who agrees should be impossible. To send a man unsolicited photos of herself in a state of undress implies desperation, and a conviction that she has nothing more interesting to offer. Not sure if this is a regional thing or not, but I have confirmed with six other single Texas women (ages 36 to 54) that they would not participate in this type of activity, and that they would be offended if they received similar photos. The right woman will appreciate him NOT sharing himself with strange women via the internet – tell him to hold onto his convictions!

    • thank you for your reply! IT will be a big help. I think right now he’s still so new, he’s also being asked out by a lot of women. I suggested he ask out a woman… not the other way around as has been happening. I think the kind of woman he wants would like to be asked out, not do the asking without knowing much about him. Other than single with a good job.

  2. I think it’s time I upgraded my phone……. Seriously, I’m in my 60’s and I’m sure dating HAS changed a lot since my day but If I were looking for a relationship, I’d prefer the view I have of my wife in the buff not be gracing the phone of any single work colleagues. That kind of view is best kept for the privacy of the home. I’d like to discover the little tattoo she has myself, and not be told by others what to look out for.
    Old fashioned it may be but I think keeping ones body private would be a sign of self respect.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    • thanks David! I think if he’s going to find a long term partner, she will need to be on the same page as he is when it comes to things like this. He worries as a couple of these women are mothers, and he thinks this is not what you want out there when you have children.

  3. I think that your friend should stick to his standards. He will find someone who values him for who he is. The problem with internet dating is that it creates a huge pool of people to choose from. Sifting through the candidates is sometimes pretty exhausting. Best thing to do is fine tune his dating profile so that it is a beacon to draw in the right person. He will get better at filtering them out. It’s an art, and not something anyone knows how to do right from the start. I don’t think there’s all that much cause for concern for the women who do opt to send naked selfies. It’s just not that shocking anymore. On the other hand, there is nothing wrong with his preference for a little modesty and mystery and there are I’m sure plenty of women who will appreciate that character trait.

  4. How old are the women who are sending these naked pictures to Jim? Are they other 40-something (or perhaps late 30s) women, or are they significantly younger than him?

    What I’m trying to get at, is this just another generation difference analogous to whether skirts above the knee are too saucy for a “proper” lady? Or perhaps after how many dates is it OK to sleep with a person?

    I am in my 40s, too (43 and 7/12ths, to be more precise) and while I’d agree that getting naked pictures from women as the first contact is a bit weird, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sleeping with someone after a few dates if things are going well. Getting naughty pictures from that one woman after a few dates was clearly an indication that she felt him to be trustworthy and to imply, as he does, that sending them means she’s of bad judgement is patronizing and condescending. It is essentially a form slut-shaming, if mild, against her wanting to move the relationship ahead on that front. In that case, yes, I think he is being a prude.

    Notice that the responders so far seem to be older men who come up with phrases like “keeping your body private is a form of respect” which is, again, a subtle form slut-shaming because it implies that women with vibrant, unembarrassed sexuality don’t respect themselves.

  5. If the person receiving the pics is in the mood — which can only be gauged in person — they might be well-received. If he’s NOT in the mood, or not expecting it, it’s a form of unwanted touching — unasked intimacy on the order of a drunken floozy barging into the guy’s room and shouting “Take a look at THIS, big boy!”

  6. When I was younger, and long before cell phones, I would frequently be hit on by women. I’d get phone calls, often at work, steamy letters and once even flowers delivered to my office. In a social setting there would be not just serious flirting but often physical moves. Now as a single guy who drinks only in moderation, bathes often, has a full set of teeth and is financially secure this maybe shouldn’t be a surprise. But almost all of these women were married or already in a relationship, or not age appropriate or often the type where there was nothing in common. I have no problem with casual flirting or even- if someone is not spoken for- a suggestion to go on a date. But there seems to be a lot of “desperate housewives” out there, and I’m sure the ladies will say the same of the men. That said, most of the men I know who are older than college age are not impressed with overt moves and that goes particularly for sending naked “selfies”. I’d seriously worry about the level of common sense held by anyone who’d do this. And wonder if that sort of thing might persist if the sender and receiver became a couple. Jim has the right idea and is not a prude, Just a man with principles.

  7. Jim,

    There are five main categories of people who send you nakies:
    1. Escorts.
    2. Wanky massage parlour operators.
    3. Scam artists.
    4. Men pretending to be women.
    5. Women with whom you are in an intimate relationship.

    The majority is category #4. Don’t be gullible.

  8. Great article and post. I caution you, Jim, and readers, from jumping to general conclusions about “people who send naked pics of themselves.” There is a fascinating social change going on these days, reflecting an evolution from the “Girls Gone Wild phenomenon, where men and women seem to implicitly acknowledge that there is truly no such thing as complete privacy anymore. Young people document their lives publicly, and permanently on youtube, and if the NSA wants to see you naked, they can. To a degree, there is genuinely some move towards a greater acceptance of public (or at least not compulsively private) sexuality. There can be lots of reasons these women might send such pictures, and it might be a good thing for Jim to start asking the women why they sent it, rather than strangers.

    I will also point out that Jim should own the ego trip he gets from showing these pictures off to friends. Candaulism is the term for men who show naked pics of their women off to friends, and it is about a lot of things, but especially about the man’s ego – “look how hot this woman is, and she’s mine…”

  9. You send naked selfies, but only, I think if you’re already in a serious, committed relationship. I wouldn’t send them to a guy I’ve only been on a few dates with. But it’s a thing these days, I think. Maybe the women thought they were in a serious relationship with him . . .

  10. Some people send naked or suggestive pictures to advance the relationship, and it’s definitely a dynamic in some dating pools. I’ve read that many dating adults move to having sex somewhere between the 4th and 6th date. If that’s accurate, then 2-3 dates in plus text, phone, or email interaction on top of it, and suddenly it doesn’t seem so odd that someone would start signalling that they’re interested in continuing to move towards being more sexual together by sending suggestive pictures.

    If Jim doesn’t like it, he probably should add something in his online profiles saying he’s not interested in exchanges of suggested pictures until the Xth date (or never), or respond to people who send them to him with, “Thanks, but I’m not ready to exchange naked pictures yet.”

    But it is the new normal, and he’ll need to either consciously opt out of it or get used to it.

  11. For the dating scene between our 20s-40s things have changed a lot in the past decade in regards to social media, texting, etc. Sexting flirty messages, flirty photos and even naked selfies are pretty much the norm for people you are flirting with and have gone out on a few dates with, as Jim has discovered. The reason he’s experiencing it so much and asking about it is because it’s now normal and he feels like a fish out of water. People are just less private about that stuff now and have given in to the fun of it. It doesn’t make them slutty or bad people, norms have changed towards sex, nudity and privacy. Just look towards the popularity of Snapchat and Tumblr. I don’t expect people that are older, more conservative or not very into social media to fully get it, but it’s the reality. My advice to Jim would be if that’s a little too wild and free for him, to avoid the major online dating sites like OKC and POF and look for more conservative or Christian dating websites. I think we can avoid slut shaming the younger generations and just realize things have changed and will always continue to do so. If you aren’t finding the right type of women where you are looking, try looking somewhere else.

  12. I don’t think Jim’s problem is being conservative and not being able to find a conservative woman to date; it’s being in his forties and still holding attitudes about women and sexuality that are developmentally on par with those of a sheltered teenager.

    He doesn’t want photos of nude women on his phone, so why does he still have them? Why has he kept the ones that are too “shameful” to show to the writer? Sounds like there’s a little internal struggle going on. I hope he meets and starts dating a nice feminist who is in the mood to take on a project.

    • Jonathan- his attitudes about women and sexuality are NOT on par with a sheltered teenager but it sounds as though yours are on par with an uneducated but opinionated teen! Feminism actually has very little to do with the latest rebranding of patriarchy and misogyny as “empowerment”. As a feminist (not the feminism you have bought into, but the fight for equality that the movement was meant to be) I see nothing wrong with Jim questioning the motives of these women and a true feminist would see no “project” here.

  13. I’ve been giving this post and the comments a great deal of thought for the last week. My thoughts:

    1) I would never send a naked photo of myself to anyone and it isn’t because I’m in my late 50s. It’s because I never had the kind of self-esteem needed to think anyone would be thrilled to see me naked at any age. I’m amazed that there are so many people willing to send naked shots of themselves when these shots could end up readily available for public viewing by anyone.

    Which brings me to…

    2) To me the most important thing in a loving relationship is trust. We open ourselves up to those we love and trust that they will not inflict the deep emotional hurts that only those who really know us are capable of. So for me, that means I want someone who guards their own privacy because that demonstrates an understanding of the importance of protecting the privacy of others. My husband and I protect each other from the hurts that others could cause if they knew our innermost thoughts and, therefore, our emotional weaknesses. I couldn’t trust anyone who was so quick to expose themselves to the possible derision of others by sending naked selfies. It shows a lack of sensitivity to the hurts that can be inflicted by others, and demonstrates that the selfie photographer would likely not give my concerns enough consideration not to expose me to hurt as well.

  14. Act like a slut get treated like one. Any self respecting, quality woman, or man, don’t need to send out nudie selfies…..


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