Do Thirst Traps Work? Guys Weigh In On Those Pics Where You Look Like A Snack


First of all, let me clear this up right away: Thirst traps work. There is a reason that dudes as wide-ranging as your ex, that guy you randomly met a party two years ago, your high school lab partner, and your one random Instagram follower from Croatia will slide into your DMs with heart-eye emojis immediately after you post a bikini pic. That reason: you are hot.

A thirst trap, BTW, is when you post a photo online that's solely intended to show off how good you look, often with the intent of racking up validation in the form of likes, comments, and DMs. Variations include:

  • A cute selfie made even cuter thanks to the dog filter on Snapchat
  • A belfie (you know... a butt selfie)
  • The beach photo you made your friend take 800 versions of before you decided one was okay to post
  • The photo you post to show off your new haircut

Sometimes, thirst traps are for general consumption on Instagram, but other times, they're secretly meant to get the attention of one person. If you've seen American Vandal, you know what I'm talking about. (Note: Spoiler alert ahead, but nothing major about who drew the dicks.) Dylan's alibi is that he couldn't have drawn the dicks because he drove to his on-again/off-again girlfriend Mackenzie's house... because she posted a sexy selfie and he knew it was meant for him. And he was into it.

Still confused? OK, here is a classic thirst trap. I ostensibly posted this photo to show off the Instagram-bait sun hat, but the hat isn't really the reason I posted that pic.

You get what I mean.

Or here's another example from Emily Ratajkowski. Her caption says the pic was taken "in between shows," but the point of this Instagram is not really about showing off her busy schedule.

As someone who occasionally dabbles in the art of the thirst trap, I decided to ask guys what they really think about thirst traps in general. Here's what they said.

This guy. Just... this guy.

— Bobby, 22

For the record, Bobby's Tinder profile specifically mentions that he's looking for "a pretty biddy," "a freak in the sheets but a lady in the streets," and "someone who will let me hang out with my wang out."

When I pointed that out, he literally wrote back, "I no longer respect you."

Misogyny is so fun!


This guy will very generously let you do whatever you want.

— Benjamin, 21

This guy says some thirst traps are better than others.

— Eduardo, 21

This guy will change the way you see thirst traps forever.

— Connor, 24


This guy has some strong feelings on the subject.

— Patrick, 26

This guy is worried that you're objectifying yourself.

— Jake, 23

This guy thinks you're fine.

— Heita, 28

This guy said he wasn't into thirst traps at first, but later sent me a link to a cosplay-themed Instagram dedicated to butts.

— Chris, 27


This guy had mixed feelings.

— Paul, 28

This guy endorsed them (finally!).

— Josh, 27

This guy needs a refresher course on the Madonna-Whore Complex.

— Pratik, 27

This guy creeped me out.

— Bodo, 23

I figured that most guys would respond positively. After all, that surge of likes I get whenever I post thirst traps comes from... guys. But it turned out that a lot of men had pretty harsh words for those kinds of photos. And that bummed me out, because a lot of those same guys later wound up admitting to liking them.

This little girl is summing up all my feelings right now:


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