Lucy Overthinks… The Sexification of Dating

Now that Lucy’s returned from her adventures in Kenya, she’s taking a momentary breather before diving back into the dating game.  In the meantime, here are a few (OK lots!) of thoughts about the Sexification of Dating.

Dating apps have made it easier than ever to get sex. You can go on Tinder, and in a matter of moments, have a hookup arranged for that evening. Profiles are full of topless mirror selfies, crotch close-ups and requests for a Dom or a Sub. Guys send dick picks and suggestive comments within seconds of matching. It seems as though, these days, talking about sex right from the off is completely the norm.

Now don’t be deceived: Lucy likes sex. She likes it a lot, actually. Getting naked and sweaty with a hot guy, having someone with an expert tongue tease her and drive her wild, being pinned to the bed and banged enthusiastically: these are some of Lucy’s favourite activities, right up there with watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy and squeezing out ingrowing hairs. But liking sex definitely doesn’t mean she wants to be jizzed upon by every random walking erection from here to Basildon.  No thank you, fuck off, don’t let the door hit you on your hairy arse on the way out.  Lucy’s extremely selective about who she gets naked with, and for that reason she wants to appraise them from every angle and thoroughly vet them (including – gasp! – IRL) before even discussing the possibility of letting them bump uglies with her.  After all, she needs to check the guy is not a twat, a smoker, a murderer or a Brexiteer, AND make sure he’s genuinely interested in her, rather than seeing her as just a hole to stick his cock in.

For this reason, Lucy’s profile is deliberately, unapologetically wholesome – a selection of photos of her, fully-clothed, smiling prettily at the camera or hiking up mountains, and a short, witty paragraph. No innuendo, no suggestion, just good, clean, fun, aimed squarely at putting off the fuckboys and making sure men know she’s a nice girl who needs to be treated with decency and respect. As a precaution against unwelcome pervy comments or penis photos she swipes left on topless shots, gym selfies, blank bios, and anyone named Terry or Darren, and if by some chance a creepy bottom-dweller does make it through the filters and sends a pervy comment, she gives him an acid bollocking that’ll burn his face off, waits a few hours to make sure he’s read it, and then coolly unmatches.

And this technique is working. In three years of using apps, Lucy only rarely gets sexual messages, and has never been sent a dick pic.

But recently she’s been finding it harder to get dates. Maybe it’s her age, maybe it’s that everyone’s more fucked off and making less effort with dating, but Lucy’s getting fewer matches than she used to, and even when she does manage to find someone who looks suitable and seems, at least superficially, to be interested in her, the whole thing usually fizzles out faster than you can say ‘Fuck, I’m bored, ask me a bastarding question you tedious cuntnugget!’. Yep, these days, getting someone to actually ask her out is hard work.

When Lucy complained about this on Twitter, one follower informed her that her profile is probably too nice. All men are, he said, motivated primarily by sexual attraction. Sure, later on, they will want to settle down with a woman they get along with, but that is not the first driver.  As he put it, ‘If you think a man will approach you just for your amazing personality or intellect then sorry, no, not happening.’ In other words, if Lucy wants to compete with all the hot younger women, she needs appeal to a man’s penis first, and then his brain second (though with some of the guys on dating apps there’s not much of a distinction).

In other words, she needs to up her sexiness game.

Before dating apps, people had to make an effort to get laid.  A man would have to ‘woo’ a woman, which gave her the chance to decide if she wanted to get frisky with him. Women were supposed to be demure, modest, innocent. Charm and flirting, not naked photos and sexting, was the way to get into someone’s pants. If you were lucky.

But now that all seems to have been turned on its head. It’s not just that everyone’s talking about banging, it’s almost as though it’s expected. You have to have a sexy profile, you have to be up for talking about your bedroom preferences with total strangers online, or you’ll get passed over.

But what about those of us who aren’t comfortable with this? Whose profiles are friendly, not filthy?  By leaving sex out of the picture, are we giving the impression that we’re not into it at all? Is Lucy’s refusal to talk dirty with strangers giving the impression that she’s a prude, and therefore ruining her chances of getting a date, and eventually finding love?

Think of it in marketing terms. If you were selling a sports car, you wouldn’t just advertise its comfy seats and excellent braking system, lovely though those things are. Buyers want to know how fast it goes and how it handles. And although practical and reliable Lucy may be more Ford Focus than Ferrari, she definitely has some power under her hood too. By leaving such a desirable detail out of the advert, is she underselling herself?

It’s a thought that makes her uncomfortable. Women shouldn’t have to pander to men’s baser desires to find love, and to do so does feel pretty anti-feminist, and a tad #metoo. In 2018, are we really still supposed to be ‘a lady in the parlour and a whore in the bedroom’? Surely the good guys, the ones we actually want to date, are better than this?

Is ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’, really such a good idea here?  Surely if Lucy does sex up her profile, won’t that be a green light to all the arseholes and incels to launch themselves at her like dodgy taxi drivers at an Indian airport? For the sake of opening the door a little wider to the normal, yet admittedly red-blooded males out there, will Lucy risk also inviting in all the one-track-minded weasels whose veins run thick with battery acid, Stella Artois, and Viagra?

It’s definitely a possibility, and she needs to be cautious. But when all’s said and done, dating is a war zone, and Lucy’s no longer at the top of her game (in fact she never has been – Lucy doesn’t really even understand what the game is, or how to play it).  So to be in with even the slightest chance of surviving on this hellish battleground she really needs to use every weapon in her arsenal.

And so with advice from a friend she takes a sexier photo: all eyes, (smallish) boobs and (big) hair, a hint of skin… still classy, not slutty, but definitely not wholesome either. It’s a tentative step forward – a subtle message rather than an open invitation – but she rather likes it. Definitely fuckable, she thinks, and uploads it.

It’s only been a few days, but she’s already noticed a difference. She’s got more likes and messages on OKCupid, more matches on Tinder and Bumble, and has a date lined up with an attractive man who told her she looks ‘like a model that’s out of [his] league’. Whether any of these guys are decent relationship material remains to be seen, but so far it’s been an improvement, and it’s given Lucy more confidence. In fact she rather likes the sexy new her, so she’s decided to keep her. If there’s even the slightest chance she can help Lucy find love, then why not?

What do you think?  Ladies – do you have any ‘sexy’ photos or suggestive comments on your profile? Does it make a difference to the type of approaches you get?  And Guys – does the type of photos a girl has attract you or put you off?  Do you prefer to see friendly pictures or sexy ones?  Super interested to hear your thoughts and experiences!



  1. David P
    1st December 2018 / 10:17 am

    These blogs are fantastic and well deserving of your awards.
    As a 50+ male forced on the dating scene I would say that what I wanted 20 years ago is different to what I want now. I only went on Match and wasn’t really bothered too much by the picture but more by what ladies had bothered to write about themselves. Can we have intelligent conversation over a gingerbread latte in Starbucks, will you be telling me my home made chicken pasta in tomato and vodka sauce tastes nice when it’s probably not, that kind of thing . Boobs bums and body shapes are irrelevant as you get older because every woman has something nice aboit them, you just have to find it.
    I was lucky, 5th date and we’re still together 2 1/2 years later but she picked me because my pic had me smiling and we liked doing all the same thing

    • Lucy
      1st December 2018 / 6:35 pm

      Thanks for your kind words, David – though what awards? I haven’t won any!
      I think we are all motivated to some extent by physical attraction, and anyone who says they aren’t is lying. So yes, for me it’s important that a guy looks good (in my eyes) but obviously it’s about so much more than that too.
      Congratulations on finding someone though, I’m so pleased it seems to be working out for you.

      • David P
        3rd December 2018 / 1:38 pm

        You will be only a matter of time, besides the dating blog winners are announced soon……!!
        I just think as you get older your requirements differ (that’s not the same as less fussy!!). Attraction comes from spending time with someone and getting to know the inner person and on that basis the picture wasn’t too important. Don’t think I would have lasted 2 minutes thou if dating sites had been around 30 years ago

  2. Jason
    1st December 2018 / 11:53 am

    Well if you’re gonna present yourself as vanilla I’d not swipe on you either.

    • Lucy
      1st December 2018 / 6:37 pm

      I fear this attitude may be causing you to miss out on some gems. Not every girl is going to advertise everything all at once to random strangers on the internet, particularly given how many creeps there are out there. Maybe if you took your time getting to know someone, you might find she has hidden depths.

  3. Anonymous
    1st December 2018 / 2:47 pm

    Interesting post. Personally I have never gone with any references to sex on the profile, I’d be worried about attracting the wrong attention. It has worked for me and I’ve never had issues getting dates but maybe people are just getting tired of apps now.

    • Lucy
      1st December 2018 / 6:39 pm

      This is the thing that worries me. It’s hard to know what to do. Like I said, you don’t want to attract the wrong attention, but equally you don’t want to put off the guys who think you’re going to be crap in bed. Though I’d hope the good ones would conclude that if you’re intelligent, adventurous and fun, that may well also translate into other areas…

  4. 1st December 2018 / 2:55 pm

    Modern ways to meet a mate have completely changed. Nowadays if you approach women in stores or wherever there is an immediate distrust which makes it harder. Combine that with so many women have their phones glued to their hands or ears we feel like we are interrupting or there is never a good time to interrupt.
    That’s from a man’s point of view. I wish women were more assertive and would approach us.
    Photos….sexy is always great to see and can make our minds go in that direction. Post pics with whatever intentions you have in mind and that’s where our thoughts will go…with exception to the one track minders.
    The more sexy the photo equals thoughts of sex only kinda woman.
    I suggested to my sisters (both in forties) to go where more men are. Go to stores where men are such as hardware, sporting goods, fishing, camping, auto parts, etc..
    Tip..if you are with a friend and getting attention from a man hoping he approaches there are a couple things you can try…ask your friend to give you a couple moments alone so maybe he will approach you. Or approach him. We don’t see women as a threat of any kind. But it’s 2018 and there are enough bad men that women are cautious and rightfully so.

    You don’t have to post my reply Lucy. Just hoping someday soon you find your man.
    If you and all women already know this then just delete.

    Sincerely, Chadlee

    • Lucy
      1st December 2018 / 6:42 pm

      Thanks Chadlee, you make good points, though to be fair I never got approached by guys, even in the days before smartphones, so I don’t think we can entirely blame those. I do think apps, and the over-busyness of our lives now, have made people far less inclined to chat up strangers. I wish I knew what the answer was. But I don’t think it’s posting photos of myself in lingerie…

      • 1st December 2018 / 6:45 pm

        I can’t argue with that. Try approaching a man and see what happens. Odds are it would be a positive experience.

  5. Chris
    1st December 2018 / 7:27 pm

    I don’t agree with the that bloke off Twitter – not how I approach dating apps! Quite the opposite, people who seem to be using ‘sex’ in their profiles are an immediate no – it makes me think they have nothing about them.

    But then no one ever matches with me anyway so it’s kind of irrelevant!

    • Lucy
      6th December 2018 / 9:52 am

      I guess like all things it’s a spectrum, some will like it, some won’t. I guess it’s about presenting yourself in the right way to attract the sort of person you’d like to meet.

  6. Coco
    2nd December 2018 / 9:33 pm

    I’m a massive fan of ‘The Rules’ book. The first rule is self-confidence and to present your best self. I really do believe men are visual and many have a ‘type’, be it hair colour, weight or anything else. That’s why I waited for them to message first – you go to the date already knowing they are attracted to you.

    Paid for a professional photoshoot and saw the number of matches and messages go through the roof. You wouldn’t be happy if a guy turned up to the date looking sloppy, so personally I had no qualms about making the effort to attract more men. Numbers game. I don’t think you need to be more ‘sexy’, you just present the best of yourself.

    ‘The Rules’ have also stopped me from travelling all over town to meet possible weirdos, as one of the points is that he’s only worth your time if he travels to you. Saved a fortune in Ubers and I feel so much less anxious overall knowing I’m close to home. All the good daters also had no issues whatsoever with picking up the bill. I reciprocated after the guy I’m seeing now asked me to be exclusive.

    No feelings of being used and no worries about if he’s ‘into me’. The book was never about trying to ‘catch’ one guy, it’s about weeding out the fuckboys as quickly as possible when you can see they just can’t be bothered. Have you read the book?

    • Lucy
      2nd December 2018 / 10:42 pm

      I haven’t read it, no, though I’m familiar with the concept. My problem with the Rules is that it doesn’t sit right with me. To the core I’m a fair and rational person. I believe in equality and compromise. Why should he travel to me when it’s fairer to meet halfway. Why should he pay when it’s fairer to split the bill? Etc. I certainly get pissed off if I have to do more than my fair share, put in more effort, do more of the chasing, but I feel guilty if the equation is unbalanced in my favour.
      But then I’m obviously doing everything wrong, so…

  7. David DC
    3rd December 2018 / 11:42 pm

    Total respect for an amazing blog..really funny and entertaining but also some pertinent insight for anyone traversing the crazy and specious world of app dating.
    There really is a certain schadenfreude / relief in the knowledge that the crazy sh1t is widespread and not confined to my post code.
    It really depends on the context and type of ‘sexy’ photo. If it’s a photo of someone looking outright hot but still leaving something to the imagination wrapped-up with other photos and text that suggest charisma, mental substance with potential culmination of the hallowed and elusive chemistry – you’ll strike gold and need to hire a PA to sift through all of the applications.
    That type of sexy suggests someone has confidence in their sexuality but is subtle enough to both entice and to subliminally send the message that it’s not a foregone conclusion if a date transpires. You generally know at that point as a guy that you need to pull out all the stops to win someone over and so the filtering should take care of itself. Applicants thinking of a bill-split in Weatherspoons are likely to back off safe in the knowledge it will take a lot more investment that that to even start thinking about a return. The more direct ‘sexy’ that leaves the imagination a lot less canvas to fill-in (usually accompanied with no text at all) understandably just gets assumed to be hook-up material and no more.
    I genuinely don’t think men and women think that differently on this subject at all….
    Keep up the great work

    • Lucy
      6th December 2018 / 10:10 am

      Thanks so much for your lovely and thoughtful comment, David! I’m so pleased you approve! I’ve always felt that if sharing my dating experiences helps other people then at least that makes them sort of worth it!
      I’d like to think I’ve managed to strike that balance you suggest – I’ve only added one, slightly sexier but still classy photo, the rest are all the same wholesome ones. But I certainly haven’t struck gold and while it’d be nice to have a PA to sift through all the messages that just say ‘hey beautiful’, I’m not exactly drowning in applications from eligible men. But on we go…

  8. Anonymous
    5th December 2018 / 7:14 pm

    Well I’m 24 and male. Now personally I’m more interested in profiles like yours because I’m not interested in a hook up but in something abit more long term potentially shall we say. But then again I hardly get that many matches so who knows. I’d suggest that maybe you are swiping left on some of the guys that would fit what you are looking for? I don’t know…. feel like maybe it’s worth bearing in mind that tinder etc weren’t built to facilitate finding someone to go out with but for quick hookups. Theyvout all the emphasis on physical attraction. It’s interesting but some recent studies suggest that when humans meet in person if a woman likes someone’s personality what she will view as attractive is less restricted than if she doesn’t know what they are like personality wise and more restricted, significantly so- if she dislikes someone’s personality. Same goes for men to women just men are less lucky to begin with so the effect isn’t as noticeable. Worth a thought.

    • Lucy
      7th December 2018 / 9:26 am

      I’ve never really got on with Tinder, or any of the swipe apps to be honest. I need more information than just a photo. That’s why I always preferred paid websites and now I only use OK Cupid, where people have the space to write more and show more of their interests, intellect and personality. If a guy is hot but hasn’t written anything, I swipe left. Similarly if a guy isn’t that good looking but has written a really great profile, as long as he is tall enough and doesn’t have a scary beard I’ll be far more likely to give him a chance!

  9. 5th December 2018 / 10:51 pm

    I always say if you want to attract a classy guy be a classy lady. Put out what you want to get back. Great post! xo <3

    • Lucy
      7th December 2018 / 9:15 am

      Thank you Susan! Yes, still staying classy. Apart from all the swearing, of course. But I think you can swear and still be classy.

  10. 8th December 2018 / 12:12 am

    I’ve been off all dating sites this year (not cos I’m loved up, just fed up) and it’s been lovely and peaceful. However, I conducted an experiment once. I took all my photos down from my profile, googled imaged the word “cleavage” and put up one photo that I got from this search. Obviously it was a very impressive cleavage but the photo stopped at chin level. In 12 hours I received just over 100 messages. So many of them were all “you are so gorgeous” – quite the statement when you couldn’t even see this woman’s face! When I swapped back to my own photos I got 2 messages in 24 hours, a sad state of affairs really. I know I’m no supermodel but I like to think I’m at least semi-decent 😂😂 I definitely think it’s because I have tiny tits and don’t cake myself in make up/contour my face to death. But hey, this is who I am and if a guy can’t appreciate that then that’s just how it is. I can’t be something/someone I’m not 🤷‍♀️

    This was a great post by the way and I do totally understand where you’re coming from with putting up a ‘sexier’ photo. I wish you luck, you deserve a non-arsehole! X

  11. Jenna Starr
    25th May 2019 / 11:58 am

    Interesting post Lucy… I am THT girl with the wholesome profile and often get told that I have a cheeky smile! I have toyed with the idea of sexing it up a little, but I think in all honesty, I do get less matches but that’s because I’ve filtered the majority of fuckboys – I still get the odd one though!

    The thing is, in two years of dating, I’ve seen little action and rarely get past a second date. If I do sex it up, then it will widen the net for potential hookups but they will be on my terms.

    • Lucy
      27th May 2019 / 4:01 pm

      Yeah it’s hard for those of us who enjoy sex but don’t just want to rush into it with randoms. These days the options seem to be unsatisfying hookups with arseholes who don’t give a shit about us, or no sex at all. Where’s the middle ground?!

  12. 4th September 2019 / 10:29 am

    It is true that some of the profile photos out here are horrendous and overly explicate, add to these already unpleasant experiences those selfie images that come through on the online dating world which can be quite offensive too, there really is only one question that springs to mind, why?
    Could it be due to the influence of the media and how they portray are fellow species. Like you Lucy, I tend to give a more real-life idea of who I truly am on this world wide web of encounters. However, living in this age of image as we do it is so hard not to be influenced by all the images we see of celebs and other public figures, whether they be partly or fully clothed, photoshopped to hell and back, always looking hot, sexy and attractive.
    Just yesterday on social media there was a post on “red carpets around the world” and as I watched it, on these red carpets of the world once again all the top (sexy)female stars, strut their stuff, posing, their shoulders bare, long dipping dress lines leading to their half exposed boobs, as you follow the lines of the dresses, from the hip down a long font exposing most of a leg and in some cases the dresses were so short that any form of bending forward would reveal you entire underside and what ever lingerie you had or had not chosen to wear.
    So, when it comes to getting your profile photo out there it really is no easy task, when the choice boils down to either, looking like the hip, cool, cleaning lady or the hooker down the road.

  13. Anonymous
    18th November 2020 / 8:49 am

    I believe it’s simple, just be your true self and you will attract your true person. Sure you get more hits the sexier the pics but who wants hits from those guys unless looking for a hook up

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