By Gareth Johnson @GTVlondon | Photo © Chris Jepson

Can sending naked selfies be a problem for gay men?

I am not a porn star, but I am an exhibitionist. If I’m chatting with someone on Grindr or online somewhere and they ask me for a photo of my cock then I’ll send one to them. I’ll send several. My cock isn’t massive but it’s in proportion with my body, so I’m not shy about showing it to guys that I’m sexting and trying to negotiate the necessary logistics of a quick fuck. I don’t bother about trying to hide my face – if there’s a full-length mirror handy then you’ll get a full length photo of me in all my glory, smiling face and all.

The other day one of my friends rang me to let me know that he’d come across a naked photo of me on one of those endless Tumblr streams of ordinary guys with their cocks out. “How flattering!” I laughed. “But what about your reputation? Your career?” he cautioned, sounding concerned.

To be honest the kind of work that I do doesn’t require me to be a particularly upstanding member of the community. I’m never going to run for Mayor or be the subject of some tell-all expose in Heat magazine. But I do have friends who do have to be a bit cautious about what a Google search might reveal – barristers, accountants, PR advisers, professional people aspiring to big careers. It’s pretty common for recruitment firms or prospective employers to do an online search on candidates before there is any job offer.

Being gay isn’t any barrier to landing your dream job or having an amazingly successful career, but having a poor reputation can be.

One way to look at it is to visualise what you want people to find when they do a Google search on you – whether that’s today, next year, or in five years’ time. What content links would you like them to be able to click on? What images would you like presented to them?

Sometimes it can go wrong. I spoke to James, a 24-year-old aspiring barrister from Sheffield. James never thought any harm would come from sending nude photos through Grindr till one day a naked selfie he sent to a lad ended up in his boss’s email inbox. James told me: “I never really thought about who I was sending pictures of my cock to. You think once you’ve seen a cock you’ve seen them all. The guy I was chatting to found out where I worked and after our chats fizzled out he sent my picture to my boss. When my boss called me into his office I was never more embarrassed. I was given a firm warning and suspended for a month for bringing the firm into disrepute. It was the last time I sent a nude picture.”

And it gets worse: meet Liam, a 26-year-old banker who also likes to send nudes to random guys on Grindr. Liam got a disturbing call from his mother one day. He explains: “I’m a Grindr whore. I’m on it all day. I have no problem showing someone my ass, cock, balls or body. I’m proud of what I’ve got. However, one day I got a call from my mother who sounded upset. I thought someone had died. She rang to tell me that someone had sent her a picture of me naked through Facebook. Someone had found out who I was, found my Facebook profile and sent one of my naked selfies to my mother from a fake profile. That was the most awkward conversation I’ve ever had.” I asked Liam if this experience had stopped him from sending nudes since. “I’m more cautious now. I wait a while till I’ve talked to someone before I’ll ping one over.”

If you’re trying to impress someone, land a promotion, or convince someone that you’re solid boyfriend material, then you might want the search results to deliver links to insightful articles that you’ve written, news stories about awards you’ve won, maybe a photo of you doing some charity work or on holidays with your friends. You probably don’t want them to be presented with naked photos of you or an Xtube clip of you displaying your talents with a butt-plug (I have to admit that in hindsight that one was a mistake).

So before you press send or upload or whatever option you’re presented with to share your photos with the world, you might just want to do a quick self-censorship check and ask yourself whether they’re photos that you might regret in five years’ time.

In the meantime feel free to hit me up if you want me to send you a photo of my cock.

#AskTwitter | #AskFacebook

We decided to ask FS’s Facebook and Twitter followers if they would care if a picture of them naked ended up online for everyone to see. Here’s what some of them had to say:

Josh Malone I would be pissed off if my dick ended up on Tumblr. You’d expect people not to be assholes and share your private pics online. But I suppose it’s the risk you take.

@HRWright I feel it’s incumbent on us to respect each other’s privacy, but ultimately you share at your own risk and should think first. It amazes me how quickly some guys send pics – before building up any sense of rapport or trust by even chatting.

Kleber de Oliveira I take care not to send naked pics showing my face.

Kayode Balogun I would mind but it will never happen. I’m not that desperate.

Brian TC Don’t send naked pictures of yourself, you’re basically sending naked pics to a complete stranger. You wouldn’t whip your cock out at random strangers, so why do we feel the need to do it online?

@Golden_Gaytime I wouldn’t be in love with the idea, but it happening is something to always consider when sending a pic to a complete stranger.