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"What About the Crotch Shot?" by Lisa Chavez
On AFF bulletin boards, you can always find chatter about the appeal of using a crotch shot as a main photo -- the photo that shows up on the browse page. The lengthy responses are always thoughtful, but can also be so conflicting that the questioner ends up more confused than when s/he asked the question. Naturally, this is because we all have different tastes, but sometimes it's just more useful to know how many people have what taste. That's where polls come in. Recently we ran an AFF Magazine poll to answer the big question, how well do members of the opposite sex respond to the crotch shot -- you know, the bare, straight-up pole with all its veins and curlies or the open muff with all its pink flags waving.

When you're trying to create the profile that will get the most responses possible, it might help to think of yourself as a marketer and marketing is a numbers game. Marketers know you're never going to please everyone. But they operate on the principle that you can find out what pleases the most people (while displeasing the fewest) and go with that.So let's talk about the numbers.

The very first thing to notice is that three times as many men responded as women -- 3197 men to 919 women. This supports one of the glaring truths about adult personals sites in general -- men usually outnumber women.

On AFF, the exact ratio changes slightly from location to location and you can find out the story for your area by clicking "browse" and then clicking on your state or country. What comes up on your screen is the breakdown of how many whos are looking for what. Take California for example: 578,000 men looking for women; 44,000 women looking for men -- in California the odds are more than ten to one. This suggests that men might do well to wear their competitive hats when putting together the pictures, paragraphs, and preferences that make up their profiles.

The question we asked members was, "When you come to a profile with just a genital shot, what's your reaction?" And here's what we got:

MEN
"Yuk" 5% (150 votes)
I need to see more of the person. "Next..." 32% (1029 votes)
OK. But if there's not much info with it, "Next..." 17% (544 votes)
"You've got my attention." 18% (581 votes)
Worth a Wink, see what happens 14% (446 votes)
I'll email (as long as the profile isn't Freddy Krueger) 4% (121 votes)
Oh, yeah! I'll send an email. 10% (326 votes)
TOTAL MALE VOTES 3197

WOMEN
"Yuk" 14% (131 votes)
I need to see more of the person. "Next!" 37% (338 votes)
OK. But if there's not much info with it: "Next!" 19% (175 votes)
"You've got my attention." 14% (129 votes)
Worth a Wink, see what happens 8% (75 votes)
I'll email (as long as the profile isn't Freddy Krueger) 2% (16 votes)
Oh, yeah! I'll send an email. 6% (55 votes)
TOTAL FEMALE VOTES: 919

The first bit of interesting news is that AFF men and women aren't exactly from Mars and Venus on this question. For both men and women, the numbers tended to cluster at the "not likely to contact this person" end of the response options. Not only that, but in all response categories men and women were within 10 percentage points of each other. The biggest variant between men and women came in on the "yuk" response. It seems that women are a good bit more likely to say "yuk" to pictures of privates than men -- only 5% of men said "yuk" while 14% of women said it.

Probably the most glaring point to make is that a third of the respondents -- and this is both sexes -- said they need to see more than the crotch. The single most often selected category across the board was "Need to see more of the person." And these are people who move on past the profile in question without even clicking on it. This means that no matter what sex you are, you should consider the fact that a crotch shot on a profile will automatically lose a third of the people browsing it. This is a big number and it is the reason we encourage people on the site to post a pic that conveys more information about them and their body type -- at least for their main pic. Some interesting background, for example, can help smooth over the fact that the head is cut out of the picture.

In the numbers game of self-promotion, each person has to ask him or herself which is more important -- targeting only the 8 or 14 percent of AFF members who respond to crotch shots, or casting the widest net possible. The 8 or 14 percent approach says, "I know what I want, and I don't want to deal with anyone who doesn't respond to crotch shots." The wide net approach says, "maybe there's an exciting experience I haven't thought of, or someone surprising out there I'd like to be with who might be part of the 80 or 90 percent I'd be throwing away by posting the crotch shot as my main photo." Also consider that if you want to be really selective, the "Looking For" part of your profile is another place to do it. Why chase potential partners off at the browse stage? Either way, these numbers should help you make the choice that is best for you.

The response on which men and women were most alike was, "OK. But if there's not much info with it: Next!" People with crotch pics, then, will have to work extra hard on the written part of their profile or they're going to lose another 17 - 19 % of potential contacts. Our general advice for the written bits is try to bring out a sense of humor and tell a little about what type of person you are, what you enjoy in life, how you approach things.

It also helps if you answer the "topic" questions provided on the profile page. We find that women, especially, pour through these topic questions looking for hints about personality. On the whole, women tend to be more cautious before emailing. If they do contact (or are contacted by) a guy with only a crotch shot, they're likely to ask, in their first email, for a face shot. Where a guy may have a "give things a try" attitude and spray emails out there like bird shot, a woman will be more selective -- in general. For evidence of this, notice that the second largest discrepancy between men and women in our poll was on the "worth a wink, see what happens" response. The differences aren't that great -- 14% men versus 8% women -- but they're consistent with the idea that men will put themselves out there a bit more than women.

If you add up all the responses that mean you will never hear from the browser and look at this number against the people who might be "hits" on your profile ("You've got my attention" is kind of a swing category -- you may or may not hear from them), you'll get another picture of what the crotch shot and a brief or vague profile are up against. If you're a woman showing pussy-only with a limited write-up, your pool of possible contacts is down to 28% of the men that scroll by you. This is in spite of the fact that men are supposed to be suckers for the sight of sexual anatomy, in spite of the fact that AFF is a sex site, and in spite of the fact that, as many members are fond of saying, "we're all here for the same thing."

And if you're a man with the same profile make-up, you can expect to hear from no more than 16% of the women who browse by you.

A word to men: Since you are competing against larger numbers, you want to do everything you can to make your profile stand out (not up) from the crowd. We recommend that you browse the men in your area and size up the competition. Especially look at the "most popular profiles." You can find the links in the first "View" box under the "Community" heading on your AFF Home Page. (Many of the "most popular" men are looking for men, which means the pics are appealing to men, not women. So be sure to read the "Looking For" part of the profile and study the successful profiles of only those men who are looking for the same thing you are. Successful "Men looking for women" pics tend to contain a lot more visual material other than, or in addition to, cock).

However, you may find that a quick scan of the male profiles in your area shows you a lot of cock shots. Maybe you viewed these when you first joined the site as you wondered how to put together your profile. So many cock shots might confuse a newcomer into thinking that that's how things are supposed to be done, and he'll simply follow suit -- but as you can see from our poll results, a million cocks CAN go wrong. Don't follow that suit.

The good news is that you're reading this article -- which puts you ahead of the crowd. And if you make sure that you have an attractive photo that conveys some information about you, your personality, your environment, you'll see how much further you will jump out from the crowd of penises that for some women may all start to look the same after about the 30th cock shot in a row.

So then the question comes up, what about anonymity? "I don't want my wife, husband, co-workers, friends to see me on the site" is a common reason for the genital shot. Still, there are plenty of ways to create pics that show more of you, but not enough to identify you. Here are some ideas you can find on the site: the photo with the blacked-out face, the photo of a person with a camera in front of their face taking their own picture in a mirror, the torso only, the "from the neck down," and the silhouette. Also there's the long distance shot. Some of the nice long shots show people enjoying their hobbies or sports, say on horseback (blurred from speed) or in a yacht (taken from shore). This way browsers can be enticed to click on the profile at least. If you've got a good photographer, you can take shots in which shadows fall over the most identifying places. Be creative because creativity scores well.

For some simple but effective photos that anyone can take, men can look at: jedinight, sexxyoneneedsluv, and mojo44114 (cut and paste these handles in the "search" window and they'll take you to the profiles).

Women experience the flip side of the numbers game when it comes to pics because women's photos are more competitive. In other words, though there are fewer women than men, you'll find more hot pictures of women on the site -- women just seem to know how to put themselves in the best light. But for ideas on keeping anonymity while looking appealing, women can check out: onall4s2, atlgadoll4u, CBB120, webventure, and flapolly2004.

Hopefully these poll results are useful in helping you make your photo choices. To cast the widest net, a profile must provide some specific information about you and your unique qualities, and the pics must also convey information about you.

One more general bit of advice as you set out to write about or photograph yourself: be creative, be positive, and feel not horny but sexy.

And at that point, you've done all you can to have the optimum profile. The final thing you can do to improve your luck is to get out there, browse, wink, send invitations, and email until you hook up with Person Right.

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