“Hey, baby, send me a sexy pic and I’ll send you back a tribute,” read the message.
At first, I naively didn’t know what he was talking about exactly. But soon I discovered there’s a virtual cottage industry of so-called “tribute pictures,” wherein a man demonstrates his affection/desire/longing/reverence by ejaculating on a photograph of his “beloved” and then sending it to her – and sometimes broadcasting it to others.
What’s it like, I found myself wondering, to see a photograph of one’s self splattered and smeared with semen? Would I be disgusted? Or would it be an excitingly new turn-on? I was intrigued.
Many male fantasies seem to involve women who crave cum, from bukkake babes to blowjobbers who don’t spit but swallow. For the woman involved, however, do these activities ever bring her to her own orgasm? Maybe in the men’s wildest dreams. At least no woman I know has ever, even confidentially, admitted it to me.
The conventional wisdom is that women are less reliant than men on visual stimuli. Certainly, the best sex toy-induced masturbatory orgasms seem to come with eyes closed, rather than wide open ogling a photo of Brad Pitt. By contrast, the photo-spreads in girlie magazines, notoriously littering boys’ dorms and army barracks, become dried-up-cum-crinkled pages, like after-action reports.
Knowing this is likely their photos’ fate, the models who pose for such magazines and websites may feel empowered – but sexually excited?
So I would now test these assumptions by letting a Facebook follower (whom I really didn’t know) ejaculate all over my photographic image. To be more precise, I wouldn’t be “letting” or “allowing” Jerry (that’s his name, by the way). He could do it anyway, of course, and I would never know. This time I would be an active participant. We would decide together on the picture that would excite him enough to bring him to orgasm all over it. And he would then “pay tribute” by sending me the results.
My hypothesis, then, is simply this: For the tribute recipient, the interaction might be the equivalent of premature ejaculation mid-sex, getting a woman riled up only to leave her unsatisfied and dismayed.
- Cellphone equipped with wifi
- Trusty laptop
- Laser printer
- Digital camera
- One steamy, tribute-worthy photo
To connect with each other, Jerry and I both would require a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Occasionally, I would communicate with Jerry by messaging on my cellphone; but mostly I used my trusty laptop, with its large library of pictures from my recent past. To print the hard-copy of my photographic image that Jerry would require to masturbate onto, he told me he was using a desktop and a laser printer. He would then use some kind of digital camera to capture the “re-image” of the original image now splattered with his sperm.
The question of which original image would excite him was open to some debate and negotiation. Surprisingly, he said he would prefer a selfie showing how I was dressed for the office that day – a cobalt-blue pencil skirt, matching jacket, white blouse, hose, and pumps. I found that weird, and told him so. Wouldn’t he prefer a more typically pornographic image?
No, he said, because he always had fantasies about making love to all the sexy secretaries and career professionals he spies on the street each day. Moreover, he liked the idea of cumming all over me in public, as it were. I didn’t like that idea at all – plus the gooey, messy stuff would get all over my clothes! If I’m going to have hot sperm splashed all over me, I’d rather feel it on the virtual flesh.
The compromise picture we finally agreed upon was a half-naked glamour shot I’d done a while back, in a spirit of playful exhibitionism, more suggestive than revealing. I attached the file, and pushed “send.”
What friends characterize as my wildly impulsive personality is always tempered by second thoughts, which I seldom share. But, in the interest of scientific discovery, I will reveal all now: My worries had less to do with remorse or embarrassment than concerns whether the picture would be sufficient to get Jerry hard, much less hard enough to climax. They were concerns really no different from the usual: Am I pretty? Do you like my hair?
I waited and waited for what seemed like hours. Why didn’t Jerry message me at least something? Even if it were hurtful – “I can’t make love to you when you look like that!” – I needed to hear something, get some kind of feedback. After all, that’s what science is ultimately all about, isn’t it — cause and effect.
“Hot! You’re a real hottie.” They were the words I needed to hear. “Want me to send a pic of the cock you’ve made so good and hard?”
“Okay….” I hesitated and started to add, “…if you insist.” For I assumed that an affirmative message was needed to keep his erection “good and hard.” But the truth is I’ve never understood the sex appeal of sexting and close-ups of cock unattached to the rest of the body. But anything for science — aesthetic sensibilities be dammed!
With the picture of his cock, he sent these words: “This is for you, baby.” Over the next few minutes, while apparently jerking off, he would sporadically send a few more messages, each a little more risqué than the previous one. It was obvious Jerry liked to talk dirty while he was having sex.
But I never responded and, instead, maintained radio-silence so as not to distort the results of the experiment, keeping the necessary distance between the observer and the observed. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, you know.
When Jerry sent my picture back, all splattered in sperm, I would now observe myself. First, I have to say the image quality was not the best – a photo of a photo of a photo.
At least, I wasn’t disgusted. Instead, I found myself laughing. Out of nervousness, embarrassment, or simply as a way to distance myself – the scientific observer – from the sex object that also happened to be me?
I printed out the image and placed it in a file folder in my desk. I wasn’t sure if I’d show it to anyone else. My gossipy girlfriends and I talk about men all the time, but not this. Maybe I should crumple it up and toss it in the round file before anybody else has a chance to see it? And of course, delete the downloaded digital copy from my laptop, before the perverts at NSA spy on me?
But I must admit to more: a nervous excitement, possibly not unlike what spies themselves feel. An adrenaline high induced by illicit risk-taking. I felt almost like a teenaged virgin again, sneaking off with a guy to experiment with foreplay.
Physiologically, two observations cannot be ignored and must be recorded: 1.) My nipples seemed to have stiffened. 2.) I could feel myself getting wet. Or was I imagining things?
My hypothesis was disapproved.
Yes, the tribute giver obviously derived enough pleasure to reach orgasm. But, so, too, did the tribute recipient (okay, me) later that evening while playing with a sex toy — one of the best, most intense orgasms I’ve had in a while!
I wasn’t looking at my cum-covered image at the time, but when I closed my eyes, it served as a point of departure, the opening paragraph in the wondrously erotic storyline I constructed for myself as I touched myself and my vibrator hummed. Suffice it to say, it involved a multitude of anonymous men desiring me.
Maybe the tribute pic is the natural, inevitable companion of the selfie. Both shot alone, boosting the ego for a larger audience. At the risk of drawing too broad of a conclusion, the results of my experiment seem to conform to previously observed, well reported sociological phenomenon: Men like pornography, women prefer erotica. My tribute picture allowed me to bridge the two.