Working with Me:

  Sex-Positive Photography

The Playground and Minefield
   of Photographing Sexuality

Modeling often involves several issues revolving around sexuality, including issues of relating to nudity and exposure, personal conduct, and personal comfort and safety. It is important that there is mutual understanding regarding these issues, especially between male photographers and female models, and since my work orbits themes of female desirability and sexuality, this is even more true working with me.

I do not ascribe to today's widespread politically-correct (puritanical) approach to these topics, but to a more sex-and-body-positive, sophisticated and worldly approach that is healthier, more practical, and (almost without exception) more comfortable and enjoyable for both me and the women working with me... so please read the following carefully, as walking into a shoot with me filled with expectations derived from woke culture will lead to some big shocks.

Models who are on the fence about nudity may prefer implied nudity, where the model is naked or partially naked, but where only pictures showing nothing a bikini would cover are used. Models who feel happy to pose nude for me remain in control of how much and what they are willing to show on camera.

Sacred Sexuality

Modern attitudes towards sex are about as puritanical as they've ever been, a reversion to Victorian repressiveness - and in an epic turn-about, this recent wave of sex-negativity is flowing, strangely enough, from our political progressives rather than from our conservatives. People are SO wierd.

I believe that human sexuality - rampant, promiscuous, passionate, wild, filthy, and perverted - is far from being a vice. It serves a divine purpose. We can try to divorce sex from connection, but sex creates pair-bonds, and we humans evolved to be hyper-sexual for the purpose of creating love. Even nasty, rough, dirty sex is love-making.

And deep, trusting, yielding, surrendered, ego-dissolving love is at the core of spiritual transcendence. Love is the boundary-line between heaven and hell. 

Love is everything.

Sex is sacred. It is worthy. It is deserving to be given a place of special honor in our values.

Even when it's nasty. 

Even when it's pursued for sheer, lustful, perverted pleasure.

Maybe especially then.

Sex is sacred.

This positive attitude towards the sacredness of human sexuality informs the work I create and the way I choose to interact with women, including my models, and it’s the attitude I hope my models will share.

Body-Positive Modeling

Unless I've discussed it with a model beforehand, I only require bikini-or-underwear-level exposure at a shoot.

I also feel that the human body is sacred and noble in its beauty. And while as a man I do treasure female sexual beauty, I don’t mean this just in the case of those with beautiful bodies. Human physical existence is sacred. Our bodies are sacred things.

Like most photographers, I prefer models who are adventurous and comfortable in their own skin. 

I shoot non-nudes, partial nudes, and nudes about equally, and given the opportunity, freely use nudity to create subtle, deep, interesting artwork.

My experience has been that most models who are comfortable with their body and sexuality are also entirely thrilled to pose nude for creative, artistic, and provocative work with a photographer they trust and feel comfortable with... if he is utterly comfortable asking, isn't trying to pressure her, and allows her sufficient control over how (or if) those pictures are shared.

I respect my models' feelings, needs, and limits, and if a model is reluctant to undress beyond the bikini level, I am understanding and accepting of her decision. At the same time, any model choosing to work with me needs to feel completely comfortable with at least bikini levels of undress, and should arrange to work with me only if they do.

Models who are on the fence about nudity may prefer implied nudity, where the model is naked or partially naked, but where only pictures showing nothing a bikini would cover are used. Models who feel happy to pose nude for me remain in control of how much and what they are willing to show on camera.

Lauren posing in only sheers at her shoot.

Wardrobing as Playing Sexy Dress-Up

From the outset of wardrobing at our very first shoot, I ask my models to undress for me as completely as they feel they can, so that the awkwardness of being naked or nearly naked in front of me is abolished immediately. 

Although in most locations a bathroom or other private space will usually be available, I strongly encourage models to dress and undress in front of me: we want a strong sexual vibe for our shoot. Remember that I’m not paying you: fun sexy vibes are a part of the point of working with me.

On top of that, dressing and undressing in front of me is simply a practical necessity for a productive shoot: in shoots where wardrobe-selection plays a large role, trips to and from a dressing room can waste as much as half of available shooting time. That is not an exaggeration. If I need to see eight tops on you to find the right one, you can accomplish that in two minutes in front of me, or eat up half-an-hour running into the dressing room for each top... and going through forty-to-fifty items of clothing to find one great look is not unheard of.

Think of wardrobing as a creative and adult form of playing dress-up, a fun and flirty part of our shared creative process. Please don't be ashamed to enjoy it. Once a model allows herself to enjoy it, she will nearly always find wardrobing to be, by far, the most exciting and enjoyable part of the shoot.

Professional models aren't body-shy, and professional fashion photographers are rarely pervy droolers.

I present and act as fun, flirty, and professional. I appreciate my models doing the same.

Torrie wardrobing in the living room as Petunia investigates.

Torrie and Christi losing it at their shoot.

Flirting & Positive Sexual Vibes

I'm a sex-positive, unapologetically sexual man, a huge flirt, and 'a bit of a dog'. When I am attracted to a woman, she knows it. Models working with me should be comfortable with male sexuality and its respectful, positive, confident, and friendly expression.

I love to flirt, and if I am attracted to a woman, I will flirt with her. I regard this as healthy, normal, positive behavior in a man. If I'm not sexually attracted to a woman, but like her in other ways, I'll flirt with her anyway. I'll flirt with little girls, dogs, cats, horses, parakeets, and gay men. I flirt with my car.

I also, you know, have… the sex.

I’ve slept with several of my models. As long as I continue doing shoots, it’s a given that I'll sleep with models in the future. I've slept with models at the end of a shoot, and I've had shoots end early when we both wanted this to happen. Regardless of what my mom still insists, I am not a good little boy. Nor am I supposed to be.

I find it absolutely absurd that anybody thinks that consenting adults shouldn’t do exactly as they please.
I sleep very well at night.

I realize that many women are insufficiently socially sophisticated to know how to respond to sexual interest, wanted or unwanted, and that many have experienced trauma, and that such women can respond to even friendly flirting with panic. 

I sympathize with such women, deeply.

At the same time, I reject the notion that emotionally healthy men and women must abandon flirtation because some women are frightened by it. As a former clinical therapist, I can say this with absolute confidence: mental health requires voluntarily facing irrational fears, not hiding from them. 

Very few men are dangerous. I am particularly safe and fun to spend time with. If you are afraid of even positive, respectful male sexuality and flirting, either determine to use me as a safe and fun opportunity to learn, or reconsider working with me. I reiterate: I’m not for everyone.

Many women today have adopted ideologies which regard normal male sexuality as uniformly inappropriate, if not inherently evil. I should point out that I have vastly less sympathy for these women, who I regard as pathological. I am unwilling to work with radical feminists or other women with negative attitudes regarding men: as a man, I consider such women to be my legitimate and actual enemies, and have ended shoots and working relationships abruptly and without regret on discovering serious anti-male attitudes. Nobody should be expected to work which those who prejudiciously hold them in contempt. Not even men.

I am an old-school protector of women. Models are absolutely safe with me. On the occasions that flirting creates discomfort, I stop, offer reassurance, and focus on rebuilding the comfort and sense of safety necessary for trust and rapport. I believe that for most women, that is all that is or should be required to create a safe and positive space for creative expression.

Personal Escorts

The majority of models find me extremely fun and comfortable to work with, and feel completely safe with me even when we raise the flirting to level 50. You will not need an escort to be safe working with me, and I strongly discourage bringing one. That said, models who need an escort at our first shoot in order to feel safe can bring one if they feel they must.

I strongly discourage it, though: my purpose is to build a positive, trusting, and comfortable working relationship, and both as a therapist and as a photographer of women, I know that trust can't be fully established without taking a risk and learning that it was safe to do so. 

If you must bring one, I do have strict rules, based on long experience:

  • No immediate family, no boyfriends, no lovers. Models are always inhibited by them, even when they're in the next room. Every model who has assured me that she's the exception has been wrong. I simply can't stand stiff and awkward shoots that produce nothing interesting, so this is a hard rule for me. No family members, no love interests, no exceptions.
  • Nobody disruptive. Don't bring anybody who needs to be the center of attention. During a shoot, you and I will need to be the center of each other's attention. Quiet and out-of-the-way is key. Willing to help if asked is a bonus, but otherwise, they should fade from view.
  • Pick someone who can handle seeing you naked (or near to it), at the height of desirability, and flirting shamelessly with your photographer (like a very fun girlfriend).

I do not, as a rule, allow models to bring an escort to shoots after our first: I prefer to work with models who feel safe and comfortable working with me, with whom I can build creative rapport, and a refusal to trust prevents trust from growing. We’ll need to trust each other to move forward positively.