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Should Men Avoid Posting Naked Selfies If They Want to Score Online Dates?

What your profile picture is telling women about you.

In a technological era, the Dos and Don'ts of online dating are not always clear-cut. With a vast array of online dating options to choose from, it is easy to overstep courtship boundaries when interacting with the opposite sex as we try to determine what exactly constitutes “acceptable” conduct on our quest to find a potential match.

While most dating sites do not condone the circulation of explicit content or naked photography, in reality the online dating world is jam-packed with thousands of profile pictures comprising of half-naked male "selfies"—self-portraits—as well as men who are eager to send women lewd graphic material.

As an online dater in New York, the singles capital of the world, I have received my fair share of uninvited male genitalia pictures and dating requests from men with half-naked selfies. Whenever I am confronted with such images, I am always left feeling bemused as I ponder what drives a man to publicly post a nude picture of himself online. Does it make me a prude because I find such images distasteful?

Irrespective of my own personal judgments, what seems apparent is that many men do not understand that certain types of selfies drastically affect their chances of meeting their match. There is a huge difference between a man posting a tasteful body shot of himself surfing at the beach compared with a semi-nude picture snapped in front of the mirror at his home—the former option appealing much more to a woman’s psyche.

Likewise, while it is acknowledged that not all women are necessarily opposed to the idea of dating a man with a provocative self-image, according to serial online dater, Alessandra Doria, 26, most women would probably not view these men seriously as a potential life partner.

“If they have a good body and showed some intellectual interest on their profile, perhaps I would date them. I have my own version of a selfie and I’m pretty well educated. Over the years I have encountered some guys who have had the intellectual standing to back up their pictures, while others just have no brains. Men put these photographs up for different reasons; some put it up because that is all they have to offer, others because that is all they are interested in offering,” she told AlterNet.

So how does a woman who is seeking a meaningful lasting relationship online get the message across to a man that his naked selfie is not the way to her heart? One disgruntled New York woman took extreme measures in the most public way possible on such a quest. A guy named Trevor got more than he bargained for when the woman responded to his unsolicited naked online selfie by reposting the image on her blog and emailing the picture to his mother, for all the world to see.  

The incident generated mass  discussion, particularly from online female daters who shared similar experiences about men trying to win them over with shots of their private parts. One woman exclaimed, “To the men of the world, from a woman…it is not romantic to send us pictures of your penis."

Whether you agree with the woman's actions or not, perhaps the bigger issue this spectacle raised is whether men in this digital-dating era are actually cognitively aware of the message that their half-naked selfie is projecting to the opposite sex.

According to Jeannie Assimos, director of advice and content for  eHarmony, if a man posts inappropriate self-shots of himself online, he is sending a message that he doesn’t have healthy boundaries and is in this for sex or attention. Moreover, any women seeking a relationship partner will absolutely run the other way if they see these types of images.

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