11. Sexual Stirrings

During drawing sessions, a model may experience sexual
stirrings.  The more intense a session is, the more likely it is that
they will occur, as part of the overall intensification of the
experience.  They occur for artists, also, for the same reason.
These stirrings are not usually very noticeable, and are most likely
to be taken in stride by people who do notice them.  Partial, and
even full, erection of primary sexual organs (genitals) and of
secondary sexual organs (most noticeably nipples, both male and
female) can be caused by all sorts of factors other then sexual urges
– and sexual urges are as natural, and as respectable, as anything
else that causes bodily changes.  Erections on men are seen unjustly
but understandably, as threatening (because of cultural
conditioning).  This conditioning should be unlearned, and models can
help with the unlearning.  A good joke from a moderator, the model,
or an artist – even a joke about the erection – can be an especially
good way to help it subside.  A sarcastic joke, on the other hand
offers injury to a self-consciousness already made tender by the
erection.  In itself, an erection should be recognized as a
compliment to members of the drawing group.

Some models feel that masturbation to ejaculation can prevent the
occurence of erections during a drawing session that takes place
shortly after the ejaculation.  This approach, first, is likely to be
futile, unless the model is awfully adept at self-suggestion.
Second, it is deceptive even if it does work.  It contradicts the
revelation of self which, at least symbolically, is the essence of
modeling as an art.  Third it is unnecessary, since someone’s sexual
organs are just as appropriate for art when erect as when flaccid.

Men are required to wear G-strings covering their genitals in
some modeling situations, because cultural conditioning places the
possibility of penile erections in an aura of fear.  Some models feel
they should refuse to pose in places where G-strings are required;
others find that mutual aquaintance can free them, after a short
while, from obeying the restriction.  In itself a G-string does
interfere and should not be required.

This section has been lengthy because the issue of sexual arousal
offers intense worry to some artists and to many models (or potential
models).  As a practical problem, it is almost non-existent.

8 thoughts on “11. Sexual Stirrings

  1. Thank you for your reassuring article on Sexual Stirrings while nude modeling. I am a male art model who has already posed for a few times without any trouble. Now I am worried about an upcoming session as I am afraid that I will begin to have erections while posing. This is partially based on sexual activities with a girl I have recently been dating. So although I have had a few normal professional experience modeling for this university art class, now I anticipate that I might not make so professional an impression when I show up shaved, frustrated, and possibly erect. How can I ask the professor or school what their policy is on erections without raising any red-flags?
    Thank you for your advice!

  2. Each professor you work with will have an individual policy on what you should do about erections. Your own approach–according to circumstances–will also change. Where these circumstances show you that people would like to discuss your possible erections, open yourself to this discussion. The artist-model relationship is a relationship of human beings. Anything that interrupts here needs to be discussed until participants are comfortable enough with the issue, so that they can move on.

  3. I’m 22 and I’ve been modelling for life drawing classes for about 6 months now, at first I was worried I may get an erection as it was for a class at university and I knew one of the girls who was attending but it didn’t happen and I have always enjoyed the experience.

    However a couple of times recently I’ve done dual poses with a friend of mine who is the same age, it seemed much more erotic doing it with a girl who was also naked but again had no problems controlling an erection. I noticed the last time though that her nipples were quite erect, we get on quite well and so I asked her about it afterwards and she told me she finds it quite a turn on being nude and being the center of attention, especially if there’s a naked guy there too. I laughed it off but to be honest I’ve not posed with her since and am making excuses for it, I fear if I did my mind may stray to sexual stirrings knowing she is getting turned on posing with me, wish I hadn’t discussed it with her. Any advice from other models would be appreciated.

  4. Regarding “turn-ons” in modeling: the circumstances of the moment do not change our human nature, our sexual nature, or our individual nature. Both attraction and aversion are natural: we adjust ourselves to them and do our best to make sure that they help, rather than hinder us in our work. I have almost always found that this effort is successful. For me, the first thing to remember is that individual attraction is good, it is right in us, and basically, we can almost always direct it appropriately. Not being turned on would be a loss. We have “management capability” to help us keep ourselves in control. This is not always easy, but it is a good thing for all of us — models and artists as well.

  5. Regarding ‘turn-ons’ and having an erection during a modelling session, wearing a G-string etc. it is completely emotional thing, and if a model goes to a drawing class session with this worry in mind, he will definitely end up with a hard on pointing in the wrong direction. From personal experience forget completely that you are nude. Think for interesting poses during a pose, DON’T look at the class – you are at work!!

  6. Sexual stirrings while modeling nude are unavoidable, depending on the artists. If the class is mostly female I always experience some arousal during long poses. During standing poses I can contain myself before I lengthen too much. But recently during long seated poses I experienced noticeable arousal. The artists just continued to draw and nothing was said. A couple years ago I was placed in a long reclining pose, turned slightly toward the artists, under bright spotlights. Before long I experienced arousal that lasted a while. Afterward I looked at some of the drawings, and according to one of the female artists I actually had an erection. Again the artists just continued drawing and said nothing. If you are a mature professional and a good model, artists and instructors will understand that nude male models will occasionally display arousal.

  7. I am a male who draws life figures, and also poses for a class occasionally if a model is not available. Personally I find that posing nude for a class is a good way of creating self confidence and removing any inhibitions if I have an erection; but also lets me understand the difficulty in maintaining a pose for long periods.

  8. I have modeled for a few years and can say, based on my experience, that uncontrolled erections are not a problem during modeling sessions because the penis is very rarely made the main focus of a typical drawing session. Even on the rare occasion the penis may be reviewed, it’s done in a very clinical way and far from erotic. That’s not saying a male model will be flaccid at all times. The penis normally expands and contracts, that’s what it’s made to do, but full erections just don’t happen at typical sessions.

    Outside of the typical life drawing sessions I have worked with an artist who’s work has an erotic theme, even if just slightly suggestive. This was made clear before I started modeling for the artist. While the artist has never asked for a full erection, the pose or scene requested makes it obvious and I usually adjust to the scene being portrayed. I have also worked two sessions with an erotic drawing studio where erections were expected, and a requirement at the last 20 minute pose.

    Basically, a good model has the responsibility to know when an erection is appropriate and the ability and control to meet the appropriate response.

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