This should go without saying, but it is generally not a good idea to take pictures of your genitals and post them online.
[Go ahead and take them down; I’ll wait.]
It’s especially important if you’re a celebrity, because the answer to “will this cell phone pic I took of my peen to send to my wife/girlfriend/mistress/underage groupie go viral?” is always yes (ahem, Brett Favre, Chris Brown, Kanye, and the newest club member, Anthony Weiner–P.S. dude, you do not need to ask the world for more wiener jokes, be cool.)
But it’s also an important rule of thumb for people whose junk fascinates a smaller segment of the general population, simply because screen grabs render even the most innocent mistake an indelible, humiliating mark on your permanent record.
For example: A few weeks ago, a blogger I follow on Facebook wrote in her status that a friend had (presumably unwittingly) uploaded a camera phone shot of his, er, package to his wall. The blogger then took a screen shot and reposted it, and her legion of followers weighed in with mocking comments about his size. Now, I in no way support her decision to publicly shame this man for his indiscretion, especially if it was accidental. But the point is, people are assholes and this could easily happen to you.
On my BlackBerry, whenever I take a photo, “send to Facebook” appears directly under the “send as email” prompt on the drop-down menu. So you can see how what was meant to be a private photo of my new genital piercing (KIDDING, DAD!) might wind up in my friends’ Top News.
And even if your significant other/friend with benefits/anonymous Craigslist hookup is a decent person and doesn’t forward the photo to a dozen of his or her friends with the caption “Labia? I don’t even know her!”, the photo still exists. I once had a creative writing teacher in high school (this story is so not going where you think it’s going; relax) who said that once you share your writing with an audience, it’s not yours anymore. And I think that lesson applies here, too: once you take a photo of your junk, it’s not yours anymore. I mean, your junk is still yours—no one can take that away without many consent forms and a lot of hormone therapy—but the picture no longer belongs to you. And one day, when you’re running for public office or about to release your bestselling novel or maybe even just vying for PTA president with a particularly resourceful adversary, that snapshot you took of your boyfriend biting your ass will literally come back to bite you in the ass. It will be so ironic you will want to die.
But, you may be asking, without grainy, X-rated photo memories, how can I profess my lust and communicate my raw sexual power to my wife/concubine/Twitter crush? How about with one of these still-sketchy but less potentially damning options?
- Mailing your undies. People still do this, right? It’s supposed to be all sexy, for people who like to smell used underwear, or do laundry in really small increments. (To protect yourself, don’t use your return address on the envelope and do not under any circumstances write or sew your name into the band.)
- Performing a sexy dance. Remember Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies? Or Andy Richter impersonating a harem girl in Cabin Boy? DO THAT. (Just don’t let them videotape it.)
- Shaving your pubes into the shape of your significant other’s profile, initials, or favorite type of tree. (Again, no pictures!)
- Actually having sex with them. And being good at it.
I know, I know—these pale in comparison to the thrill of a drunken, naked self-portrait session in the bathroom with one foot propped on the toilet, trying to make your best sexy fish pout while keeping your iPhone steady, but trust me, you’ll be a better person for not accidentally sharing your vulva with your high school reunion committee.
Plus, you’ll save a lot of memory on your smartphone. It’s the little things.