The following scenario has become quite common in the world of online dating: guy and girl go online; guy meets girl (or girl meets guy) and the conversation begins; online conversation transitions to texting.
At this point, the following question is asked (usually by the male counterpart): Can I see a full body picture?
Is It Rude to Ask for a Full Body Picture?
Our survey of 102 Americans revealed that 69% think that asking for a full body picture is rude, while 31% do not. The results clearly indicate that most people think that it’s not very polite to ask for a full-body picture when dating.
For some people, this may be an innocent question, but for many, the question triggers a series of emotions that generally aren’t too favorable of the request. While you may have already encountered the lack of reception to such a question, it’s worth gaining a better understanding of whether it’s rude to ask for a full-body picture so you can navigate this dating scenario with a bit more charm.
The next question is, why don’t most people think that it’s okay to ask for a full-body picture?
The Facts of Online Dating
Approximately 30% of American adults over the age of 18 have used an online dating platform or app, with approximately 12% marrying or ending up in a committed relationship as a result; results differ based on age, sexual orientation, and gender, with approximately 50% of gay and lesbian singles claiming they have used an app, while only 16% of adults over the age of 50 saying they have. 
Unless you are perusing a hookup-oriented site, where the standards for appropriate conduct are slightly different than other dating platforms, there is a certain degree of etiquette that’s required. Because many sites feature male-initiated recommendations or conversations, males are typically tasked with initiating the conversation and match-making process.
Amid this format, certain sensitivities prevail. Approximately 48% of women are likely to feel less confident in their bodies as they age, compared to slightly more than 31% of men, while slightly more than 50% of women believe their selfies compare unfavorably to media depictions of beauty, compared to 37% of men.
In this regard, there is already a concern among many women about body image, body positivity, and physical sensitivity.
While women are just as likely as men to spend time ensuring that their pictures are presentable, and present as many pictures as men while online dating, women are less likely to show a full-body picture of themselves, particularly if they are not already confident in their personal image.
What Happens When You Ask for a Full-Body Picture
Online dating and ensuring messaging are atypical in many regards. While many people meet and already have an immediate image of who they are interacting with, online dating presents a challenge for many who wish to verify the actual appearance and identity of their intended object of affection.
Verifying who one is interacting with is as much a part of how women view online dating as how men do. While protecting one’s security is paramount, men may also view the online dating experience as a means of pursuing what they want, whether it is a physical relationship, social indulgence, or a sense of personal gratification.
The problem is that when a man asks for a full-body picture, and one hasn’t been given, he immediately presents himself in a light that only seeks a physical relationship.
If the relationship has just started, then it may be a turn-off for the female being pursued. If the relationship has been underway for some time, then it might be seen as rude and either disrupt or interrupt interaction.
Why Is It Rude to Ask for a Full-Body Picture?
The problem with asking for a full-body picture is as much how you do it as to why. If your main concern is to verify someone’s identity, then this isn’t as much of a concern. Some people present poor quality or obscured photos, particularly if they are featured as one amid a group of people.
Asking for a full-body photo can be presented as a means of ensuring that you are interacting with the person you think you are. In such cases, a quick question can allay any concerns that you are are only seeking a physical relationship.
“Sorry, if you don’t mind sending me a full-body photo, I just like to make sure you’re a real person”
That being said, if a woman, or a man, has presented only face pictures, it may be because they aren’t overwhelmingly interested in presenting the rest of their body as their primary selling point.
When you ask for a full-body picture, you are presenting yourself as valuing only how they look. If that is the case, and the other person is not interested, then you will come across as rude and insensitive to their other qualities.
Determining If It Is Rude When Someone Asks for a Full-Body Picture
Not every person, usually a guy, is asking for a full body picture to share with friends or to start sexting. Some people just want to be more personable and are willing to share photos with themselves, or they feel that it’s a good transition to get to know someone, or it’s a way to remember and think of someone (which usually happens later in a relationship).
You can’t assume that someone is being rude, and asking a qualifying question such as “Why do you want to see my full-body picture?” will help to elicit a reassuring response. If they are sincere and simply want to get to know you better, then they will probably answer as such.
In the end, not every request to see a full-body picture can be seen as rude. At the same time, when initially interacting with another person, particularly someone you met online, immediately asking for a full-body picture when one hasn’t been presented can come across as rude.
Ultimately, until you meet and can see what someone looks like in person, it’s better to start slow and save the full-body shots until later. But even then, of course, you should not take a picture of the other person without being asked.
Matt Vargas is an author and public speaking coach with a degree in sociology and more than ten years of practical experience. Matt is responsible for the empirical surveys at everyday-courtesy.com, is a passionate recreational musician, and blogs here about his experiences in the field of interpersonal communication.