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Monday, December 7, 2009

who pissed in your porn flicks?

over the course of this blog i have tried to advance the point of view that the act of posing naked and the act of drawing, painting, sculpting and photographing the naked human have an inherent sexual quality, even a sexual intent.

those who have responded to my musings about this with vehement denials of such, may be less forthcoming in admitting that sexual thoughts and stirrings are indeed present before, during and after these modeling sessions.

the questions i keep posing are "is the sight of a woman lyng naked on a platform not an erotic one?" and "when you are drawing the breasts and genitals, are you not in fact vicariously touching them, or fantasizing about them?"

among the oeuvre of odd nerdrum, a very successful contemporary artist in new york
is a painting of a female urinating titled "pissing woman", the steaming stream of golden urine splashing against a rock.
free pornsites in cyberspace are overflowing (no pun intended) with such (video) images.

so,here is the question: is the image of a woman peeing art if it is a painting done by an established artist and is it pornography if it is a video clip on a porn site?
nerdrum's art is very narrative and at times quite morbid, but always superb.
in another painting titled "morning at shitrock" three naked women are lined up squatting, a brown substance emanating from the nether parts of their bodies.

and then there is egon schiele's work, including selfportaits sporting enormous erections and one in which he is masturbating.....
again, art, or pornography?


  1. I'm was art major in college, and took enough life and figure art classes and seen enough naked models to to give you an accurate perspective of what most students think of drawing nude models. This is strictly speaking for university or college art classes and other such similar classes, and not erotic photography or art sessions where there is already an inherent sexuality to it.

    As far as the sexual element goes, there can be, but its not as common as you may think. There can be a sexual element in an art class, but only if the model is exceptionally attractive, and even that is fleeting, afterward the students get down to the business of drawing. If you are old or unattractive, there is NO sexual element there at least for the great majority of the students. And you might be better keeping your clothes on if you want someone to be attracted sexually.

    Its fair to say there are some men out there who are under the delusion that just because they are naked they will turn-on the ladies in the art class. Sorry you don't. Unless you are young and really attractive, then maybe you can, but otherwise, no!

    In all my art classes we did have a couple of those male art models who would come in you can tell they thought just because they were naked all the ladies would be turned on by them (they would have that funny look on their faces and half-errections). And the funny thing was they were usually the older or middle-aged unnatractive models. The fact is they didn't turn anyone on, just the opposite. You should hear the girls in those classes talk, not very flattering for those guys, they were more turned-off than anything.

    Most people appreciate drawing the nude figure, but if you think just the act of being naked itself will turn people on, don't be fooled. Most of the time its just the opposite, it can be a turn-off. Unless you are excetpionally attractive most people will not be turned-on, that's just the facts. The can appreciate the art of the nude, but to be sexually turned-on that's a different thing altogether. I'm speaking from years of drawing nude models and taking with classmates and other artist on this subject, most feel the same way I do.

  2. thank you for your comment; there is a lot in it to think about.
    for one: in my experience of life, the very state of nakedness is is sexual, as it is through the nakedness that we are born.
    second - and i am glad you brought this up - the matter of attractiveness: most female models i have encountered have been young and considered attractive; why is that?
    are instructors weeding out the other ones, or is it a "female sex object" kinda thing?
    beauty = desirability = sexual attraction = mating = perpetuation of the species.
    third: you have discssed ths matter with others, i assume then that it must have been a topic you were interested in , amused by, intrigued by.
    fourth: i started posing naked at the age of 58 and i was in great demand in 8 institutions with over 100 instructors, despite the fact that i often pushed the sexual envelope by showing a degree of tumescence

  3. You have to understand that nakedness and sexuality can be two separate things. Most figure artist, medical students, and doctors will tell you this. People who cannot always separate the two, choose to, or are conditioned to see it that way. The sexuality in the nude art class lies mostly with the projection or imagination of people who choose to do so, not with the majority of artist in those classes. I’m telling you this from artist perspective who is the one who sees the model, not someone outside the class or the model themselves who can only guess what the artist is thinking. Most nude art classes are a very clinical experience, its not like going to a strip club.

    The act of getting naked itself does not inspire sexual feelings to the artist drawing that person. You made the point yourself: beauty = desirability = sexual attraction = mating. Okay so if the person is not that attractive is there still sexual feelings? Not for most people (at least not on a physical level). So nakedness is not the factor, ---it is attractiveness. To illustrate my point imagine a very attractive woman (or man) and put them in some sexy swimwear, or underwear. The majority of the population will find them sexually attractive, or even a turn-on. Take an unattractive or even fat woman (or man) and put them in the same outfit, and most of the population will find it a turn-off more than anything. Certain people would be better off with more clothes if they wanted to inspire sexual feelings. Now take the nude model where there is no garments to cover your flaws, all physical aspects cannot be hidden, so any unattractiveness or plainliness is magnified. This serves almost like a bucket of cold water to turn-off most sexual feelings, at least for the majority of artist. Don’t get me wrong most artist still appreciate drawing the figure regardless of the physical attributes of the model, since we study the form itself. It is however a mistake to assume that anyone can get naked up in front of the class and automatically turn people on sexually. That is more or less something that runs in peoples fantasies rather than real life. Even when the model was exceptionally attractive the sexual element is fleeting and it came down to being inspired to just draw a beautiful fit body and seeing it as that, rather than something sexual.

  4. to add...

    The reason I had ended up discussing this subject with other artist friends and classmates, is because the constant misconception by non-artist unfamiliar with the life drawing process, that drawing nudes in art class is somehow always sexual. As far as the answer goes, we mostly all agreed, the vast majority of the time it is not. The only time there was anything sexual on the part of the artist was if they were attracted to the model. Even with the attraction most serious artist because of the clinical environment in those classes can separate the sexual element from the art element.

    As far as the tumescence you speak of, its somewhat common for the male model to be in various states of swelling (as long as its not completely hard, since some may from upon it). Its generally accepted that may happen, the reasons vary, although there where some like I mentioned who you could tell by the look on their faces the reason for this was because they thought (despite their unattractiveness) they would be turning on the female students in the class sexually just by being naked, which it turned out they produced just the opposite. The sexuality in most cases a projection of some kind of fetish or fantasy (usually by males) who think that by being naked they will arouse the audience, most of the time from the artist point of view I would definitely say this is not the case.

    My guess is that this misconception that being naked always relates to sex has to do with of how most males view porn. They see the nude women in those magazines and they are turned-on. They then equate that; “if I am naked I also will turn women on”, what they fail to realize that the majority of the naked women in those magazines are high on the scale of attractiveness, add to that the suggestive posses. So unless they themselves are high on that scale also they will not ellicit the same reaction on the broad range of opposite sex. Not to mention suggestive posses has no place in most art classes. So you take either of those factors away the sexuality goes too.

    Again I say this from the perspective of the artist, who also has talked to other artist on this subject, and most feel the same way. If you don’t believe me you can ask the point of view of other figure artist, the greater majority will tend to agree with most of what I say here, specially the part that nudity does not always relate to sex and both can be separate.

  5. thank you again;
    your reasoning is well-formulated and if this were acourse in philosophy and reason, theorhetically your point would be well taken...
    there are, however, several flaws:
    1. the matter of attractiveness should have no bearing on the sense of the sexual qality of the state of undress in "public"
    (instructors have often asked me if i knew someone who would be interested in modeling ("any age, size, shape, all are welcome")
    the very fact of the state of nakedness - yes, even in art class - has a sexual connotation.
    the notion of "artist as saint"is downright ludicrous.
    in one article i read while being preoccupied with the blog, a male student was quoted "we were promised a beautiful woman; instead we got a guy"
    the student in this instance clearly sexualized the act of posing/drawing (beauty = sexuality)
    2. if we were to publicly admit the sexual component to the these acts, most life drawing/painting courses would be discontinued, i suspect.
    3. "out there" it is all about sex - sex is used, as you are well aware, to market anything and everything.
    many a fellow t whom i mentioned what i was doing, elbowed me, winked and asked what was really going on during these sessions.
    4. i have plenty of photographs of students' work of me that show they were quite generous in rendering my manhood - ah, let's just say they were poor , or inexperienced artists.
    5.i am still posing and being asked to do so - i am 66.
    i have no illusion that i willhave the young, or even older ladies vie for my attention, but i am still a sexual being and am sexually active and hope to be for quite a few years to come.
    i never meant to compete with the younger male models; my poses are not adonis, or hercules-like; they derive from life's everyday moments
    still, there is a sexual thrill going through my veins the moment i take off my robe and stand very naked and exposed in front of strangers.
    6.the excuse that one must hone one's drawing skills by learning to draw the human form is a fallacy.
    to accurately draw that old gnarled oak tree in the park on the corner of your street takes just as much concentration and eye-hand coordination as drawing a leg; besides one does not need the entire naked human figure to draw the human being....aperson draped would do just as well.
    personally as an artistwho creates minimalist abstract art, i find drawing the human form utterly boring; then again i have never had a model like myself: a drama queen.
    moset models just sit there; women are often asked to lie on their sides (guess why) and guys often stand with a spear in one hand

  6. All shapes and sizes are accepted in the art class, this doesn't mean that they all turn people on sexually by being naked.

    Some nudity can be a turn off more than a turn on.

    If the state of attractiveness has no bearing on the state of sexual quality, do you think strip clubs and porn mags would still be in business if they only hired fat, or unattractive models and strippers?

    Artist are not saints, for this same reason we are not turned on by everyone who is naked and can also find some naked people sexually repulsive, but we can separate the art from sex and still draw them and appreciate the form.

    This proposition that all nakedness is sexually arousing comes from exhibitionist fantasies.

    You can be sexual but it doesn't mean you turn everybody on.

    Talk to more figure artist who take their art seriously you'll find out what I'm saying is true.

  7. surely, as a serious student of humanity, you know that there are about as many proclivities as there are human beings...
    in other words, what you may not find sexually attractive, someone else just might go ape over.

    i have posed frequently for evening "extension" courses - the kind that attract, well, i cannot really define the people these courses attract, but they are rarely turning out great art....and the instruction in my mind, is not adequate.
    i have encountered one very unusual case in which one "student" studiously worked on a painting he copied form a photo in a magazine full of naked female models, while a real live (albeit male) naked model sat right in front of him.
    his insistent monopolizing of the instructor's time with his obsessive quest for "the perfectly correct skincolour" was most annoying.
    these evening art clubs, or courses - and most larger cities have several of them - are mostly attracting middle-aged men hoping to feast their eyes on some t and a.; coming home with tales of artistc camaraderie and a refreshed libido.
    and i can always tell who was kinda disappointed the evening that a male model shwed up (me).
    this blog was merely intended to shake up the establishment and to draw attention to the sexual component of this environment, where so many take great pains to deny any such component does exist.
    it does exist and it always has and it always will.

  8. The sexual element does exist, I already pointed this out in my first post. But not most the time not for everyone.

    Most of the female students don't get sexually excited over any random guy who gets naked in front of the class, trust me on this.

  9. oh, i totally agree with you on that...
    that goes back to the fundamental differences between female and male sexuality.
    men are far more visually oriented than women; after all how many magazines with naked men are out there compared to those with pictures of naked women(girls)?
    as well, historically, naked art was made by men for men and virtually always featured women.

    this fundamental difference is intriguing, as most of the students i have encountered in art classes over the past 8 years have been females.
    at the age of 66 i have absolutely no illusions that my naked body, including the odd penile swelling, will cause an exodus to the washroom by female students.....but the other way around??..oh dear!!
    still, quite a number of female artists and art students have been quite generous in their renditions of my manhood, as i have pointed out earlier.
    again, i believe we have come to one agreement and that is that the environment of the drawing room with a naked male/female does carry an unmistakable quality of sexuality.

  10. I have found your blog in a google-search attempt (I searched "gesture pose" and found your blog link in a comment you left to an article called "How Hard Can it Be?") to wrap my mind around/try to understand it when (hetero) male artists insist that everything--EVERYTHING-- about the process and experience of scrutinising and recording naked women is ALL innocent, ALL neutral-- which sounds like a case of "ye doth protest too much" to me.

    I have so far only read your blog up to this entry, and felt compelled to say thank you for your honesty. I am in fact relieved almost to tears to discover that there is even one single person out there in the world who agrees with things I have been arguing lifelong with much futility. Nudity is no longer our "natural" state, our natural state now is to be clothed as we are most of the time, especially in public or group settings, the only exceptions being highly sexualised or exhibitionist/voyeuristic environments. I absolutely cannot believe that an art class is some anomalous, excepted place where people's private thoughts become suddenly as innocent as a toddler's just because they have a stick of charcoal in their hand. In the comments above, though that person argues that the experience usually has no sexual charge, the first judgment still is, "Do I find this naked person in front of me attractive?" What is undiscussed is why is this a question? I suspect the answer to that is: to assign that naked person to one or the other category of (please excuse me being crude here), "I'd fuck them" or "I wouldn't fuck them". If there were not a sexualised component which needs to be answered in the experience of having a naked person in front of you, then that person's attractiveness to the viewer would not be assessed. And it is assessed. That, I think, cannot be avoided or denied, it is how the brain functions.

    I know I open myself up to the criticism of being reductive here, but I'm not of the belief that humans are so very elevated as they like to tell themselves they are. Humans are animals, and further they are animals who apparently want to attempt breeding (or a mimicry of breeding) all the time. "Attractive? Not attractive?" leads to "Yes/No", and it makes not one jot of difference if a person then proceeds to shift their energy to drawing the other, rather than flirting or fantasising or retaining a fond memory of the image or whatever else one might normally do outside of an art class with someone they find attractive.

    I thank you for being outspoken about the arbitrariness of the invented line between art and sexualised/pornographic imagery, and also the link between such imagery and its affect on our ways of seeing. I cannot express to you how thankful I am. I am a sad, broken person who has been much damaged by (what I call the) "Tyranny of the Image", by being unable to escape or transcend how I am seen (I am female) and the frustration of being alone in my very unpopular views (which are apparently incomprehensible to others, I suspect because they threaten something people do not want to part with). All I've ever wanted from anyone is a little honesty, and truth be told I wish it were possible to sit down for coffee with you and pick your brain. In any case, please accept this rambling comment as a token of my appreciation for your attempts to be =real=.

  11. hello edo enjoyed all the art aand comments and guess what they cut mine off but it did nothing to discourage the intended purpose ha ha

  12. I completely agree with you, edo. Those who say that nudity does not cause arousal in an art class are completely in denial. Art = pornography.

  13. I agree. Posing for life drawing sessions aroused for over 10 years and enjoying life.