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February 17, 2010 6:04 PM   Subscribe

My fiance sent a close-up photo of his junk to someone. Judging by the email address, it went to another man. As far as I know, my fiance is straight.

While looking in my fiance's email this morning for an address I found a cock picture he had sent to someone. To nip the spying issue before it arises - we share a computer, he leaves Gmail open on his desktop, and I sometimes go into his email for shared documents, contacts, etc. Needless to say, I am completely floored. We are in the process of buying a home together and have plans to marry this summer. I am now questioning if my fiance is bi-curious, bisexual, closeted, or something else? I think we have a good relationship. We are supportive of each other, share many common interests, and have a great degree of emotional intimacy. In four years, I have never questioned his love for me or his commitment to our relationship, but now I am wondering if he is living a lie. Our sex isn’t frequent due to our schedules, but when we do have time it’s good. He’s not always forthcoming about his feelings, but I always chalked that up to him being (pardon the cliche) the strong, silent type. Now I wonder if I have been too trusting and have missed signs that may have warned me that he hasn't been honest about his sexuality.

I guess right now I am trying to understand what this all means and how to proceed. I have no experience or knowledge of how hooking up online works and whether this is harmless or could lead to a face to face encounter. I need some ideas on how to brooch this topic with him without it blowing up in my face.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (41 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Does he visit 4chan?
posted by Memo at 6:07 PM on February 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


Might he have sent a picture of his junk to someone in order to freak him out? Or because he wanted a doctor to look at a mole? Or because he was comparing sizes with an ex-boyfriend of yours? Or on a dare? Or for money?

Basically, until you ask, you'll never know, and you're working yourself into a froth without purpose.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 6:08 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Disclaimer: you could totally be right that he isn't being honest about his sexuality. I'm not trying to be dismissive and it makes sense to rule out other things first.

But are you sure it wasn't a joke? Maybe I hang around too many gamer guys, but I've had friends send each other pictures of their junk because they think it's hilarious. It doesn't sound like you recognized the name of the recipient so perhaps that's less likely, but I don't know how well you know his friends or online friends.

Anyway, I don't think there's any sure way of knowing whether he's bi/gay/joking without talking to him about it.
posted by Nattie at 6:10 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


To nip the spying issue before it arises - we share a computer, he leaves Gmail open on his desktop, and I sometimes go into his email for shared documents, contacts, etc.

You have a GREAT opportunity, then. Because given this level of casual shared-computer use, you can just say "oh hey, uh, I saw your cock in your outbox. Uh, honey, anything you wanna tell me?"

If you must speculate to keep your head from exploding, tend toward the outrageous in your imaginings....for all you know, he was corresponding with a male journalist doing a story on taciturn dudes with particularly curly public hair and a nascent exhibitionist streak, or participating in a large-scale photocollage creating portraits of closeted Republicans entirely out of penises, or he's composing an AskMe about a particularly unusual ingrown hair/mole/tumor and has set up a dummy account to avoid being Anonymous.
posted by desuetude at 6:14 PM on February 17, 2010 [27 favorites]


Is he computer savvy at all? If so, I can't imagine that he would have done something like that while trying to hide his sexuality from his FIANCEE without taking the most elementary step to obscure his actions. Basically, I'm saying it sounds like there's another explanation. I would ask him what is with that e-mail. Maybe ask him over to the computer for some other reason, then ask him about the e-mail in an offhand way, like it was something weird that you were wondering about.
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:14 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Talk to your fiance just as you have written it here:

While looking in my fiance's your email this morning for an address I found a cock picture he you sent to someone. ... I am now questioning if my fiance is you are bi-curious, bisexual, closeted, or something else? .... In four years, I have never questioned his your love for me or his your commitment to our relationship, but now I am wondering if he is you are living a lie. .... I am trying to understand what this all means.

A healthy relationship needs both partners to be honest, and your physical health can also be affected if he is sexually active with someone else.
posted by headnsouth at 6:16 PM on February 17, 2010 [9 favorites]


does it matter that the email went to another guy as far as your comfort with him sending a picture of his cock to someone else? if it does matter - why?

answer those 2 questions for yourself before you approach him.

as far as approaching him - simple and direct is all you can do. you can't control the conversation beyond the opening line.
posted by nadawi at 6:18 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


My fiance sent a close-up photo of his junk to someone.

Whether he sent it to a man or a woman, maybe you should first ask yourself if this is the sort of thing someone in a committed relationship is supposed to be doing. My answer is no. Absolutely no.
posted by three blind mice at 6:19 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


This may be totally out of line, but it's the first thing that popped into my head when reading this question. Your immediate reaction is to question your fiance's sexuality, not why he's sending a photo of his junk in an email to anyone. If that was your immediate question/reaction/worry...are you sure you already haven't been wondering about your fiance's sexuality, even unconsciously?
posted by meerkatty at 6:24 PM on February 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


I have received all sorts of weird and vulgar text-photos and emails from a number of weird and vulgar buddies of mine. The images transmitted may include, but are not limited to:

Feces
Male genitalia of unknown origin
Butt cheeks
Nude old ladies
Animals and people engaging in unnatural acts together
Hamburger helper
Gruesome injuries

It's entirely possible that your fiance is, like many other men, playing a grotesque prank on a friend of his. Maybe his friend will open that image at work in front of a number of people at which point hilarity will ensue.

Whatever the case is, you should probably ask him about it.
posted by Jon-o at 6:31 PM on February 17, 2010 [4 favorites]


Not that I, um, know from first hand experience or anything, but sometimes guys will send incredibly obscene pictures to each other for nothing more than the lulz. Immature? Yes. Hysterical? Also yes.
posted by knowles at 6:32 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have no experience or knowledge of how hooking up online works and whether this is harmless or could lead to a face to face encounter.

For me, if someone I was engaged to emailed money shots of their genitalia to anyone for any reason at all, would not be harmless. So IMHO, just being bothered by that in and of itself alone regardless of whether there was any face to face encounter would not be unreasonable.

I agree with everyone else that the place to start is by flat out asking him. At this point, you've probably seen him do all of the following:

-Tell the truth about something inconsequential.
-Tell the truth about something uncomfortable/embarrassing.
-Lie.

You probably have a sense of which is which at this point, right? So you ask him, and you see what he says. And if his response doesn't quite make sense and/or you doubt it in your gut and/or you simply don't believe it, I think that will tell you something useful.
posted by Ashley801 at 6:37 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


it's also ok to not be bothered by him sending his junk around, which is why you're concentrating on the sexuality issue. just because some define relationships with incredibly strict monogamous rules, doesn't mean it's the only working model out there.

this is a great chance to have a conversation about what being faithful means to both of you and what role that plays in your upcoming marriage.
posted by nadawi at 6:48 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Um, this may be a stupid question, but -- are you sure it's his? And not some random cock pic that he, so to speak, snatched from somewhere and forwarded as a gag of some sort? Childish, I agree, but still... maybe it isn't his...?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 6:54 PM on February 17, 2010 [6 favorites]


just because some define relationships with incredibly strict monogamous rules, doesn't mean it's the only working model out there.

Yeah, sure. But the conversation about what rules guide your monogamous hetero long term relationship is probably better had before sending pics of your cock to other dudes.
posted by The Straightener at 6:57 PM on February 17, 2010 [7 favorites]


But the conversation about what rules guide your monogamous hetero long term relationship is probably better had before sending pics of your cock to other dudes.

totally and utterly agree - but it seems like the OP might not have the strictest of all strict ideas about monogamy as she at least can view online flirting/pic trading as "harmless".

also: some people never have the "what does faithful mean to you" conversation and it leads to a lot of hurt feelings and divorce, so whatever the impetus, having the conversation now before the vows seems like a great idea.
posted by nadawi at 7:01 PM on February 17, 2010


There are plenty of guys who would send pics of their genitals to other guys in a completely jokey, non-sexual context (I am thinking of team mates in competitive sports where the team bonds to a ridiculous degree). There are also plenty of guys who would send the shot for sexual reasons.

This deserves to be written in bold, sparkly, blinking text.

ASK HIM
posted by sid at 7:03 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


This may be totally out of line, but it's the first thing that popped into my head when reading this question. Your immediate reaction is to question your fiance's sexuality, not why he's sending a photo of his junk in an email to anyone. If that was your immediate question/reaction/worry...are you sure you already haven't been wondering about your fiance's sexuality, even unconsciously?


That's not out of line.

it's also ok to not be bothered by him sending his junk around, which is why you're concentrating on the sexuality issue. just because some define relationships with incredibly strict monogamous rules, doesn't mean it's the only working model out there.

Rules set expectations. The content is less important.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:33 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


i haven't sent a picture of my junk to anyone, but i would suspect that if yr boyfriend sent a picture of his stiffie there's issues. if it's limp, it's a joke.
posted by lester at 7:38 PM on February 17, 2010 [17 favorites]


Is he computer savvy at all? If so, I can't imagine that he would have done something like that while trying to hide his sexuality from his FIANCEE without taking the most elementary step to obscure his actions.

I think that in lots of cases like this you see a sort of reckless streak because the person unconsciously desires to be found out. Sexuality is extraordinarily complex. I really recommend desuetude's excellent advice up top. I think he is unconsciously testing the boundaries of your openness as a couple, and a gentle and frank and non-judgmental conversation is the best way to see what's really on his mind.
posted by hermitosis at 7:55 PM on February 17, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ask him, watch his reaction, and you will probably know if he is telling the truth or lying then go from there.
posted by MsKim at 8:02 PM on February 17, 2010


This is an opportunity for a conversation, not just about his sexuality and faithfulness, but also about your expectations for married life. Maybe you are assuming that being married means not sharing pictures of your junk with other people. Maybe he's assuming it's still okay. I say that as a stand-in for a discussion of all sorts of lifestyle issues about monogamy, modesty, privacy, social comportment, etc.

Better to have that conversation before you're married than after.
posted by alms at 8:19 PM on February 17, 2010


I am proud of my junk, but I don't send it around in pictures. Assuming it is his junk, and you have total access to his gmail, why not search on the email addy and see what else has gone back and forth there? IF you are going to spy, don't stop there. I would then search on key words. See what folders he has. Look at what he starred.

Or, just ask him. If you are going to marry the guy and buy a house together, you need to find out.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:02 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


Like knowles and jon-o said, it's entirely possible that this is a prank or boy silliness of some sort. I know that my boyfriend is fond of sending pictures of other people's (and animals) balls to his friends as a prank. I also know that a friend of his sent him a picture of his own junk, I'm not sure what the context was, but this friend is fond of pranks that go too far. So, this could be entirely nothing, just something ridiculous that he, as a guy, did to another guy.

I vote ask him about it.
posted by sherber at 9:16 PM on February 17, 2010


Mr. F and I don't run with the world's craziest peer group, and yet, off the top of my head, I'm pretty sure Mr. F has beheld the junk of no less than eight of his male friends over the years. In one case, one friend ran off to the restroom with Mr. F's phone and returned it with five or six blurry taint pictures in the photo album a few minutes later.

Oddly, the only people who aren't showing off their junk among Mr. F's peers past and present are the women, and the gay men. I think you probably just need to ask him what the heck that was all about-- he knows you share the account, after all-- and if you're not OK with it, just tell him that you'd prefer he keep his man parts within the marriage.

(I've grown accustomed to the fact that sometimes, friends of ours are just going to show their penises to Mr. F, and that it really means very little in the grand scheme of human sexuality. I am a fairly staid former Bostonian; they're all Southerners, and I think the standard of what guys do to each other is just different between the two regions.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:42 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


Totally just ask. A simple "hey, I was looking for [whoever's] address, and I found a close-up of your junk. what's that all about?" and the next fifteen seconds will tell you everything you need to know.

And ditto that while I found it immature and annoying, I've worked with guys who sent pics like this to each other at work for the sole purpose of getting a laugh because they knew it was immature and annoying.

More useful, perhaps, is this: I'm a very friendly, affectionate sort with all of my friends, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. So, when my now-wife was first dating me, and saw that I was comfortable touching other men in physically affectionate ways, she point-blank asked me if I was gay or bi. I told her that I'd given myself every opportunity to be, but just couldn't get past the fact that I wasn't attracted to guys, but that I enjoy casual non-sexual physical intimacy with guys as much as girls because being affectionate with your friends is fun. The point of this story is to show you that in a good, healthy, communicative relationship, you can ask questions like that point-blank and expect to receive an honest answer, simple as that. This doesn't have to be tiptoed around. Just ask.
posted by davejay at 9:45 PM on February 17, 2010 [2 favorites]


In one case, one friend ran off to the restroom with Mr. F's phone and returned it with five or six blurry taint pictures in the photo album a few minutes later.

Oh, god, yes, this. This is like the classic "ho ho ho I'm a homophobic male and I want to gross out another homophobic male as a joke so I'll put a picture of my balls on his phone and he won't know who did it" joke. Classy? No. Common? Yup.
posted by davejay at 9:46 PM on February 17, 2010 [1 favorite]


...I guess I've gotta point out that we were sitting right there and he openly said "I'm gonna go take pictures of my junk," in said friend's defense. He's definitely not homophobic, just socialized to a boys-will-be-boys standard with which I'm not really familiar.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 9:54 PM on February 17, 2010


Wait, so you saw a picture of his penis in an email you happened to glance at.

But you have no idea about the recipient of that same email?

The one you had open? The one with the penis? There's this little "TO" field you could have easily checked out. Hell, if you had/have access to his account, there's all kinds of additional information you could learn. Why are you asking the internet when you were just looking at the answer?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:39 PM on February 17, 2010


Search the recipient's email in Pipl.com or Facebook. Not so you contact this person, but to know his/her identity. Maybe it is one of his friends and he's just joking around.
And yes, ask him.
posted by clearlydemon at 10:44 PM on February 17, 2010


It hasn't happened to me personally. (Though my friends all forward around the various shock images... 2 girls 1 cup, goatse, tubgirl, etc...)
Anyway the penis showing thing also shows up in pop culture as well

See for instance this Penny Arcade Strip
http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2005/3/14/

or the 2005 movie "Waiting" which had an entire subplot devoted to the various male characters flashing their junk at each other.

To be honest if anything the practice seems to me like an expansion of the old standby of mooning someone.

But don't take my word for it, ask your dude why he stuck his junk in someones mailbox.
posted by Redmond Cooper at 12:55 AM on February 18, 2010


I don't think this "prank" is quite as common as some people are making it out on here. No guy I know outside of a freshman in college would really do something like this.
posted by the foreground at 8:30 AM on February 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


My adult/married brother and a certain group of friends could be known to do something like this, but I'm also pretty sure that he'd mention it to his wife, who would likely decline to see the proof.
posted by dreamling at 11:22 AM on February 18, 2010


I don't think this "prank" is quite as common as some people are making it out on here.

well, it's common enough that multiple people who are seemingly not freshmen in college report it happening.


but, as has been said many times before in this thread, none of us can tell you, op, why your boyfriend sent his junk to someone else. for that, you'll have to ask him.
posted by nadawi at 11:48 AM on February 18, 2010


I would try asking before you sleuth for more info about the recipient or the photo or anything. As the situation stands, you found the photo innocently -- no snooping or intentional privacy invasion. If you start actually snooping, then it will be much more difficult to have the honest, calm conversation that you need to have. (The one that starts with "hey, was looking for an address; saw your junk. What's the deal?")
posted by sentient at 6:05 PM on February 18, 2010


I don't think this "prank" is quite as common as some people are making it out on here. No guy I know outside of a freshman in college would really do something like this.

Well, as a datapoint, all of the men I've known to do this -- and there are several -- didn't (to my knowledge) start until they were out of college. I know a 35-year-old guy who did this a few months ago. You don't have to be young to find immature humor funny -- and I'll admit, even as a woman I find it funny and oddly endearing when guys do that to each other. These aren't stereotypical douche-y guys, either; they're all really intelligent and clever in more traditional ways, they just see humor in places where some people don't, I suppose.

Don't judge me.
posted by Nattie at 7:21 PM on February 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Uh, yeah, so, like, 'cuz we're sharing, I've sent wang pics, as have most of my high school buddies. One pal got ahold of my digital camera while I was, I dunno, off buying beer or something, and filled it up with pictures of his wang on, like, my TV and my kitchen counter. I filled his phone with dickpix the next opportunity I had. And I know that half my brother's cell pics are of his weiner, since he proudly told me, "I didn't want anyone fishing around in there" after I'd borrowed his phone. So I forwarded them to another friend.

Don't underestimate the primal joy of putting your dick on things.
posted by klangklangston at 9:27 PM on February 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


I think this could go either way. Some things to think about:

1. Is the penis erect? If it's erect, you definitely need to have a talk about his sexuality. Men send photos of their erect penis to people that they want to have sex with.

2. Are you "in the know" with the type of humor and pranks that your fiance and his friends indulge in? You say he's strong and silent -- does that mean shy, serious, private? This might not be his type of joke, or it might mean that he's embarrassed about how immature this type of humor is and you just aren't privy to that side of his male friendships. Does he fart in front of you, curse in front of you, tell vulgar jokes in front of you, etc?

3. Does he come from an upbringing that would make him feel the need to hide or deny his sexuality and choose to marry a woman even as he's experiencing homosexual desires?
posted by thebazilist at 2:38 PM on February 19, 2010


I don't think this "prank" is quite as common as some people are making it out on here. No guy I know outside of a freshman in college would really do something like this.

Yeah, but you aren't everyone else. I think the actual problem is that this "prank" is actually more common than you would like to think.

Put me down for another who knows many straight grown men who do stupid shit like this.

If he knows you see his email and stuff, then you should just ask him. Sounds easy. Also, I agree that you should be more concerned if he is aroused in the picture. I think typically males don't send limp wang shots to the guys they're interested in sexually. You want to play it up, you know. (I am a lady who doesn't look at junk shots, so I wouldn't know for sure)
posted by ishotjr at 4:41 PM on February 19, 2010


Are you cool with him sleeping with other people? If so, tell him that you're cool with him sleeping with other people and then let it go.

If not, keep quiet and check out his gmail more often. This is your life and you deserve to know what's up.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 5:35 PM on February 20, 2010


Nthing that you should mention the junk-mailing BEFORE you do any snooping and before you let your suspicions fester any longer. You found the photo under innocent pretexts -- keeping it that way until you talk to him will make this discussion go much easier. (If you want him to be honest, it's a whole lot easier if you have been, too.)

Trying to investigate is asking for a farcical, sitcom-level of confirmation bias. In the absence of a laugh track and a wacky neighbor, just ask him what's up with the photo and let him answer.
posted by desuetude at 7:27 PM on February 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


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