Life modelling really is about art. It’s not about nudity or sexuality. So it shouldn’t cause a problem. Right? Only sometimes it does. I’ve only been in one proper relationship when I’ve been life modelling, and I didn’t think it was a problem.
Until we broke up.
It was the first thing that came up when I asked what kinds of things had made someone realise I wasn’t the kind of person they wanted to “spend the rest of their life with”. I should have considered their feelings. I should have realised that getting naked in front of other men would have been an issue for them. I should have asked them. Of course, they never mentioned it when we were together <insert eye roll here>.
I’d been life modelling well before we got together; they knew about it. I guess they felt differently when I was their girlfriend. I’m not saying they were completely wrong; maybe I should’ve had the conversation and asked them how they felt. But equally they had a role to raise it with me too. At least then, we could have had a chat about the two different perceptions.
You see, life modelling is the least sexual environment you can get. Artists are not looking at the models in any way but for their own art. There’s a professional line that’s drawn. (ha! Pun.)
A different ex-boyfriend of mine, who was always very eager to get naked, who’s happy being naked in public and who wouldn’t mind trying life modelling himself, told me he’d not feel comfortable if his girlfriend was getting naked for an artist. Is this double standards? Insecurity? A lack of understanding of what life modelling actually entails?
The stubborn part of me kicks in. I’m not about to be told what I can and can’t do by anyone. It’s my body, not yours. At least talk to me about it, ask me about it. Be curious. Don’t get defensive. Come along to a class. Don’t make assumptions.
Being comfortable being naked and with your body is a Good Thing. But being naked in public isn’t the same as being naked in front of a partner. There isn’t the vulnerability and intimacy that exists in a relationship. That bit is special, and sacred, and will always exist just for the relationship.
Just because someone has seen you naked, doesn’t mean they have seen you.