Thirsty pics on LinkedIn

by Nov 16, 2021

What are Thirsty Pics?

Thirsty pics have nothing to do with needing a drink, and more to do with enticing your audience, whoever that might be.


Dorothy Dalton Founder of 3Plus was introduced to the idea of ‘thirsty pics” by Adam Posner and she had to Google it. You are right. It has nothing to do with needing a drink. I did too. So writing this became an eye-opener.


thirsty pics

Definition of “thirsty pic”

A “thirst trap” is defined as:

“A sexy photograph or flirty message posted on social media for the intent of causing others to publicly profess their attraction. This is done not to actually respond or satisfy any of this attraction, but to feed the posters ego or need for attention, at the expense of the time, reputation and sexual frustration those who view the image or reply”.

Origins: The Sexualization of Thirsty

Seemingly this slang term has been made popular on Instagram by younger account holders to “trap male attention.” At first, the term was defined as someone wanting sexual or romantic attention on social media but has now morphed into something with a wider scope  – general attention and clicks. In essence “Thirst Traps” are about enticing your audience, whoever that might be, is and “seducing” them to comment on a photo that will have some element of sexuality.

Merriam Webster adds  “just as hunger and thirst are primary biological imperatives, one could say that a primary motive of social media is most simply expressed as: “look at me!”

The need for attention is the most basic of all social media drivers and some would say addictions. It is another layer on selfie culture, as a thirsty pic is often used to entice a response, usually praise, support or compliment. That is confirmation of the person’s appeal.  It was first defined in Urban Dictionary in 2011, with the following sober definition:

any statement or picture used to intentionally create attention or “thirst”

On LinkedIn?

LinkedIn of all the platforms is still regarded as an extension of the workplace. If your workplace wasn’t a gym or a beach would you wear skimpy tops and shorts? But skin attracts and the LinkedIn algorithm connects people with similar interests including their images, which is hardly rooted in diversity.

Others, which we are seeing on LinkedIn in increasing numbers, are showing selfies with significant amounts of skin on display, which is not related to the activity of the person in question. That is, they are not an athlete, personal trainer, swimming instructor or someone who generally would be required to wear a sports bra as part of their day-to-day professional activities.

The other factor is generally these individuals are attractive (or believe themselves to be) and as people gravitate towards good-looking people it’s hardly surprising that “influencers” are leveraging the platform to extend their reach.

Some of these messages are flagrantly sexual and also slide into people’s DMs and should be reported and the person blocked.

Download: How to make the most of LinkedIn for career and business success


How appropriate?

These thirsty pic selfies are frequently accompanied by disingenuous messages such as

  • “Being smart doesn’t mean I can’t be attractive”
  •  “Are my shorts too short?”
  • “I hit x number of followers”

Surprisingly the jury is out.

Worth a read: Why you have to update your professional photo – 3 Plus International

1.   In favour

There are a number of people that want to bring their authentic selves to the workplace and that includes their breasts and butts. “If you’ve got it, should you flaunt it?” begs the age-old question of whether women should leverage their sexuality to advance their …. whatever.

Dalton said in the 3Plus Newsletter “I have yet to see the same type of images posted by men, except clearly in parody or to indicate massive weight loss. The images that came into my feed were created mainly by entrepreneurs who rely on traffic and  are then flagged up to me by interaction with my first level (male) connections.

She asks “Will they be judged? The women clearly don’t care. Should it even matter if they can deliver on their jobs – whatever they are?” 

Interestingly she couldn’t remember what they actually did.

2.  Against

Generally, my enquiries produced an overall negative response. Thirsty pics it was agreed detract from your professional persona and remember women are judged far more harshly than men on their appearance. For jobseekers, Dalton advises caution. In the recruitment research in Job Vite’s Recruiter Nation Report, published recently, they suggest that 24% of recruiters indicate that one of the biggest turn-offs was seeing skin pics on social media.

There are also levels of hypocrisy involved. The men that click on these very images may be the first to judge someone for posting them.


LinkedIn is still currently a networking site for professionals, despite the shifts we have seen recently.  Personally, I have no real need to look at women’s bodies in various stages of undress, with fake coy messages.

But there is no doubt that it certainly seems to increase engagement for the person who posts it. Whether that is sustainable only time will tell.


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