Do Thirst Traps Work? Guys Explain Why They Love Taking Your Bait

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If you say you’ve never fallen prey to a thirst trap on Instagram or Tinder at least once, well, you’re only lying to yourself. But if you insist on pleading the Fifth and pretending you don't know what I'm talking about, a thirst trap is basically a photo that’s meant to showcase your lesser-known physical attributes. That photo of you making a pouty face while looking up as the camera peers down on your cleavage? That’s a thirst trap. Sure, your closest friends might call you out on your below-the-belt pander for likes and comments but the truth is that guys love thirst traps. Here's why.

It’s a common misconception that they're a desperate cry for help. Women should never be slut-shamed simply for owning their sexuality. A woman posting a thirst trap — otherwise known as an extremely attractive photo of herself — is a woman who's confident about her body and happy with who she is. Not only will a guy probably find your confidence incredibly sexy, but he’ll also be intrigued by what he probably views as a sense of adventure or rebellion.

As someone whose mom follows her on Instagram, I try to keep my profile on there as PG-13 as possible. But dating apps are fair game, right? Still, before I make a few adjustments to my Tinder profile, I want to know exactly why guys find thirst traps appealing. So I asked — here’s what they had to say.

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This guy appreciates a hot photo, but doesn’t want you to give it all away.

Attractiveness would make me slide into the DMs, but overly revealing pictures aren’t hooks for me. I’d rather see sincerity and confidence in a woman’s pictures.

— Justin, 28

This guy’s in it for the package deal.

I suppose I look at all the photos and decide if I find someone attractive. Many things go into finding someone attractive, like conversation skill or sense of humor. But at their core, apps like Tinder rely on physical attraction being the first test in connecting with someone. I’ve never specifically mentioned the thirst trap or someone’s overly sexualized photos, but I do swipe right if I find them attractive. I’ll introduce myself and try to strike up a conversation.

— Jake, 34

This guy is into it but probably won’t ask you out any time soon.

A right swipe is a simple, 'Congratulations on your face and good luck on the rest of your life.' It's the least I could do.

— Chad, 29

For this guy, it’s just human nature.

Physical beauty is the first thing we judge other people on. If a woman wants to show off her body, that’s her prerogative, but it’s more than likely camera tricks to make her seem more attractive.

— Daniel, 27

This guy likes surprises.

It depends. If it’s sent to me, I like it because I know it’s meant to get a response from me. Seeing it on my timeline is different. Then, I just kind of say, 'Well this is a pleasant surprise.' Honestly, it’s one of those weird social media things where you’re not sure if someone just wants attention or if they’re being body-positive."

— Jonathan, 26

Why can't it be both, Jonathan?

This guy’s here to learn something new.

I’m pro-thirst trap even though I had no idea what it was up until an hour ago.”

— Mo, 30

(I had to explain to Mo what a thirst trap was but once I did, he was sure he'd approve of them.)

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Most guys admit that how they feel about any given thirst trap is entirely subjective. Maybe they're just swiping through Tinder after work looking for a good time, or maybe their crush just blessed their timeline with an Instagram photo worthy of a triple-digit like score. Either way, they confirm that the thirst trap is rarely ever received negatively and, honestly, that's great news for me and my Tinder matches.

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