Nudity is not a sin, and this is how I discovered it

Today I photographed a boudoir session which contained nudity. It is my job to capture the women’s forms in the best possible way, and nudity is part of this. Then this afternoon, while riding on the tube, I reflected on what I do. Honestly, more than reflecting on what I do, I reflected on how nudity affects me differently from how it affects others. I came to the conclusion that it is not because I am different from others, especially men. Nudity does not affect me differently because of a particular upbringing. Nudity affects me in a very healthy way because I see it in a very healthy, non-taboo way.

How do see your own nudity, and how do you react to images containing some? I would like to dig a bit deeper in my discoveries and see if you see things differently!

A normal man behaving differently in front of nudity

I consider myself a normal man with healthy sexual inclinations. I say this because it is important to make you understand that I do not fall in any particular category that is expected to behave differently in front of nudity. Yet, when I confront a bare body, I don’t have a “testosterone reactions“. I don’t feel the need of showing any sort of masculinity. I don’t even start behaving differently from my usual self in front of nudity.

So why do men tend to galvanise themselves when facing a simple breast. Why do they stop thinking with their brain, and switch to less than gentlemen’s behaviour? Can this have anything to do with the fact that I have seen nudity in abundance and I have learned to differentiate sex from the nakedness? Or is it simply that I have become accustomed to my work, the same way gynaecologists are? Or can it really be that being a boudoir photographer made me grow healthier in seeing women for more than just bodies?

Nudity in the private VS in the public

Some friends of mine thought that nudity does not have such a strong reaction on me as in others because they believe I have seen so many “boobs” that it become second nature. They expect me to be unaffected by it in the same way a doctor is in front of the same. That can certainly have its level of truth; however, there are places where display of nudity affects me greatly. My “masculine instinct” is very alive in my private life. It does not pass a day that seeing my wife naked gives me a big smile. As we are talking about healthy living, I can confirm that it is not just a smile.

Analysing myself in a very honest manner gave me insight I never looked at before today. I looked at myself and I tried to understand if my reactions were comparable to the ones other men have. I am not anesthetised to nudity, so why are my reactions so… civilised in front of it?

Nudity and Sexuality

We have touched this subject over and over, but I still think that this is one of the key elements in this discussion. Today’s society associates nudity to sexuality, and I believe this to be the fulcrum of the issue. Do we associate grapes to alcoholism? Yet a nipple is immediately banned as sexual, as this is the way the link is strengthen by both censorship and over sexualisation of women.

Nudity is not exclusive to sexuality in the same way as grapes do not necessarily lead to alcoholism. If we stop this link and learn to separate the natural from the sin, then we might be able to appreciate both.

Nudity for a boudoir photographer

Few weeks ago we wrote about the differences between boudoir and glamour. For how those may seems unrelated to the problem discussed here, there are common themes that link them. One of the things we underlined in that article is that glamour is just about looking beautiful out there, while boudoir is personal and it is about self confidence. Nudity for a glamour photographer is often titillating and in the open. Nudity for a boudoir photographer is about showing a woman how beautiful she naturally is. There is rarely a link between sexuality and self confidence.

What I see as boudoir photographer is the nudity as part of being. We don’t shower with our swimsuit on in the same way as we generally shoot us down when we see us without clothes. Showing -and hence seeing- a naked body is about building your clients’ confidence.

Censorship has created a generation which is not used to the natural being

My personal approach to the nude forms finds its roots in a libertarian approach I have. Of course I personally believe it to be healthy. It is no taboo, it is not something to spy upon or something that should not be considered natural. As a man I can still appreciate beauty -naked or clothed- and I am still affected by nudity in the private of my marriage. This openness to the naked forms did not create the link between a bare body and sexuality. So what is that the majority of men misses?

We are very often told that nudity is a sin, and that anything nude is related to sexuality. There is a constant censorship of nipples and reproductive organs. In my opinion in growing in such a society, we are creating men who are no longer able to discern what is sexual and what is just… natural. The number related to porn addiction and sexual assaults should already give us an indication that there is “something” we are doing wrong.

What is your take on nudity? Do you think that I may be right in thinking that a more open society would help creating healthier men? What about being less prone to censorship and more focussed on sexual education? Have your say!

Showing 6 comments
  • joffday
    Reply

    Carlo – this is a beautiful exposition! When I show this to my wife (without telling her who wrote it), I am sure she will think it was me, as it reflects perfectly my (our) perspective on nudity. Well done!

    • Carlo Nicora
      Reply

      Hi Joff,
      Thanks for your comment. Very glad we share perspective on this! :)

  • Deryck Coetzer
    Reply

    Great article Carlo. When I first got into Boudoir photography, I had to get my mind around this issue. I come from a background where nudity is a taboo subject. My first shoot was with two beautiful ladies who were both friends of mine. The shoot never uncovered anything but bare bottoms and lingerie, but even so i quickly learned that there was a huge difference for me seeing these beautiful women in various states of undress and enjoying the visual feast of seeing my wife naked. With my camera in hand I found it very easy to focus on the combination of their beauty and the aesthetics of the pictures we were making without even thinking of the sexual connotations of nudity. I think in a way photography changed my way of thinking about it.

    I have done many full nude shoots since then and it has become easier to deal with nudity, but having said that, I feel that we as photographers should always keep in the back of our minds that there are other perspectives and even if our clients are happy with the beautiful pictures we give them, they may have people in their circles who will judge them and see it very differently to us.

    By the way, well done for keeping your blogs interesting and relevant.

    • Carlo Nicora
      Reply

      Hi Deryck,
      Thanks a lot for your comment. I believe many boudoir photographers deal with the “how do I deal with nudity?” question, especially in a world where female nipples are treated like weapons of mass destruction. It is challenging, as photographer, to find your own tasteful way of shooting nude…
      …and as you say, in the end it is all about what our clients want! :)

      Thanks for reading and appreciating our blog! :)

  • Jonathan Lieurance
    Reply

    My thoughts concerning nudity align quite well with yours and you have articulated it well. I appreciate a beautiful body and love making woman feel amazing about themselves. But my wife is on another level and she is the one I adore and long for. You mentioned sin and I have studied the Bible, most of what I find is against adultry and “clothing yourself” with good character traits not so much about innocent nudity or incidental nudity. Thanks for your words.

    • Carlo Nicora
      Reply

      Hi Jonathan,
      Thanks for your comment on the article. I have used the word “sin” without any religious reference. In this blog we do not take side on any religion and we focus on the psychology of women.
      Thanks a lot for joining the debate!

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Being photographed by Faby and Carlo at London Boudoir Photographyretouching photos by Faby and Carlo