(Giving and Taking) Sexual Compliments on the Internet...For Dummies
I'm assuming that in face-to-face interactions, people tend to have more common sense and courtesy. If not, these rules can apply there too. But it's the anonymity and impersonal interface of the internet that seems to really bring the "perverts" out of the woodwork. There are undoubtedly lots of perverts surfing the internet (just as there are lots of perverts walking the streets - whether you can tell who they are or not), but I am convinced that the vast majority of them are really quite harmless, beyond their ability to offend uptight people's sensibilities. (After all, embracing sexuality does not magically turn one into a psychopath). However, there often occur interactions between the pervs and the prudes that inevitably lead to feelings of distress by one or both parties (whether it's the prudes being grossed out or the pervs feeling discriminated against). By reading and following these quick, easy tips on giving and taking sexual compliments on the internet, we can reduce that distress and make the web a nicer place for both prudes and pervs.
1) Don't let anyone make you feel ashamed of your attraction. You are responsible for your behavior (and that includes giving compliments), but you do not have to apologize for what you like.
2) Read the atmosphere. Different sorts of comments are appropriate (or inappropriate) in different contexts, communities, and with different people. Although there are large sections of the internet dedicated to the posting and perving on anonymous pictures, understand that not every place is like this. If you are communicating with the person you are complimenting, try to get a reading on what kind of compliments will be accepted. Even though your compliment may be meant in good will, it may not always be received that way.
3) Be polite. Although there are people who get off on being objectified, insulted, and humiliated, most people are not like this, and I would caution you to make sure you are speaking to one of these people before you engage in such behavior. When in doubt, always err on the side of caution. Impolite perverts give a bad name to the polite perverts that are out there (and they are out there).
1) Don't let anyone make you feel uncomfortable. If somebody is bothering you, you have every right to speak up and clarify your boundaries. On the other hand, try not to take it personally, or take it out on every pervert that's out there. You may not like the method of delivery, but lewd comments really are often compliments. It doesn't mean you have to put up with them, but denouncing them too heavily will only widen the gulf between you and your admirers.
2) Understand the medium. You might not like that the internet is a place for pervs to get off on their illicit fantasies, but this is a positive outlet for them. Allow for the fact that quite a lot of them are idiots and don't know the difference between perving on a photo posted anonymously, and the one you put up yourself. Again, you don't have to put up with it, but don't take it personally. A pervy comment on the internet is not tantamount to physical abuse. (Seriously, there's often little correlation in this context between what people say on the internet and what they do in real life.)
3) Avoid overgeneralizing. It's unfortunate that there are a lot of impolite pervs who don't realize (or don't care) that they're offending someone, but don't take this out on sexual expression in general. There are also a lot of polite pervs who wouldn't act in such a rude manner, yet take offense at being lumped in with the others and discriminated against just because they accept, rather than repress, their sexual desires. So the next time you want to make a comment about "pervs", remember that not all pervs are necessarily creeps, and consider instead phrasing it in terms of "creeps" - those who do act impolitely. Focus on the rude behavior, not the sexual nature of it.
Following the above steps is bound to improve relations between pervs and prudes everywhere. Of course, you may feel free to express yourself however you like, but there's a lot to be said about using common sense and showing others courtesy - it goes a long way in encouraging acceptance.
Pervs, don't let the prudes get you down, but don't attack them, either - give consideration to their comfort zones. Prudes, don't feel like you have to take what the pervs give you, but don't denounce them either - they're merely expressing themselves in ways you're not accustomed to.
Ultimately, can we not just all try to get along?