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!