My Boyfriend Takes Pictures of Naked Women—A Practice in Self-Acceptance. {Adult}

Via Jessica Durivage
on May 22, 2011
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“Hey man, whenever you need someone to hold your lights – I’m your guy!”

There was a time when I would cringe from head to toe whenever the above offer was (repeatedly) given to my partner of five years.  Every guy in the room wished they were my boyfriend, when they found out what he did for a living.  The look in their eyes, the spark of machismo understanding” that passed through them when it was apparent (to me, at least) that they were thinking about one thing and one thing only:  Boobies.

Title: Hold it Right There

“Want to come see my nudes in the men’s bathroom?”

After several years of extremely casual friendship,  the ending of a marriage and an engagement, Carl and I ran into one another at an art show where he was proudly showing off his very first nude series.  Where did we have to venture together to see these amazing works?  Into the same room where guys can actually hold their dicks in their hand and see a naked chick, the men’s bathroom, of course.  Carl proudly led me into the small 6×6 room (where I learned later that I wasn’t the only girl who had a private viewing of the artists photographs in the guys john), and there they were…. Boobies.  Lots of them.  A couple of legs, a silhouetted ass and of course, more boobies.  I was enthralled.  I was excited and slightly turned on.  I wanted to know “who this person was” standing in front of me – with the most amazing laughing blue eyes, ex-patting from England, finally single and standing there in the men’s bathroom at Collectors Café with me, showing me his…. well, his boobies.

Title: Moondance
Title: On The Lighter Side

“My boyfriend is an artist.  That is soooooo cool.  Now that we are together, he will probably never want to take pictures of naked women again.”

After several months of dating, I was beginning to have a love/hate relationship with the provocative and sensual pictures that adorned the walls of Carl’s home.  On some days, I was critical of the female shapes in the frames and on other days, I relentlessly judged and compared my own curves (ahem… 32 AA if we are being honest) to the C-Cup that hung in his bedroom.   I was being confronted with this amazingly scary fear of facing my own issues of self love, self acceptance, trust and faith in a partner and the reality that the “voices in my head” were not going to go away anytime soon.  Carl was starting to plan his second art series.  Line up ladies!

I was dying.  Literally, dying.  “Who are you taking pictures of today?” “What time does the shoot start?” “When will you be home?” “What do you have planned”  “I thought you already took a picture of her?” “Why did you take 485 pictures of her?”  “Do you think she is pretty?”

 

I think I was in sort of a “panic” mode 24-7.  It is amazing what we can internally put ourselves through while moving through the world with a smile on our face.  Deep down, I desperately wanted to understand and support him, but my own insecurities rose up and declared war with my ego leading the cavalry. It was super intense and one ride that my “free-spirited and artist” boyfriend was not willing to take with me.  This wedge in our relationship just gave rise to more anxiety as he left the house frustrated with me and headed to the studio to shoot the local “So You Think You Can Dance” finalist (she was and still is smokin’ hot).  I remember that morning.  As I sat, looking for stillness, trying to find my breath through a web of self mutilating thoughts, I recalled a moment of space between the “boobie orgy” that was playing out in my head and seeing my partner as an amazing keeper of beauty and light and whose visions manifested into frames of form.  I saw it from his perspective, not the constant battle to get him to understand “how I must feel.”  Give me a fucking break.  Lets step into the “conscious  and evolved” relationship you have always wanted, Jessica.  Let’s get naked.

“So, the first nude he ever took of me, he threw a sheet over my head.”

 

Ok, I know…  It is an amazing shot.  Self depreciation suits me when it is balanced with a dose of comic relief.  I was the WORST model for this shoot.  I complained, I was self conscious, I was bored.   To be honest, I was a little disappointed that in the middle of the shoot my sad fantasy of Carl turning in Austin Powers (Yeah Baby!) and wanting to get his “shag” on with the model so everyone could get in the mood to deliver a sexy “boob-tastic” picture wasn’t actually a reality.  This was pretty hard work – even with a sheet over my head.

Oh Behave… (please!)

“The journey to acceptance”

 

Acceptance came more from the desire to find an appreciation for my partner’s gift as an artist, rather than spending hours analyzing the imaginary dialogue he had with his model to let her know that this shot required her nipples to be hard.   Digging in and taking a real look at my own abandonment and insecurity issues left me only appreciating the Divine Humor in who the universe sent me as a partner.   Here is a guy whose profession conjured up every major fear I never knew I had and challenged me to face them. What more can we really ask for? I was and still am up for the long and winding road back to my Self – and I think to truly embrace that path, you must see every experience as an opportunity to chisel away at the parts of you that aren’t serving you any longer.  I can’t say that I have perfected the art of loving the fact that he gets phone calls to do things like take a group of models to Costa Rica and shoot them in the buff beneath waterfalls.  I am working on it. Ladies, you can do me a favor and stop making comments like this:

“God, I could never let my boyfriend/husband/partner do that!”

We are all here with a clearly outlined list of lessons to learn, fears to overcome and conditioning to release.  I would have never known that opening up to my partner’s world of curves, lines, light and shadow would actually be a path to my own freedom had I not made the conscious choice to sit with my fear, day in and day out – gently holding it with love instead of judgment.  It is a tough job being a muse, but ya know… someones got to do it.  I don’t think we can underestimate what it means to our partners when we can fully support and embrace their individual journey in this life.  It is a precious lesson and gift to be able to share.

Me as Gaia

At least I can be certain now, that my partner does indeed “picture” every woman that walks by naked.

Carl and I in Denver

Carl Kerridge, the amazing man who took all of the fine art images above will be showing for the first time in Denver on June 2nd with the art group RAW at the Jet Hotel in downtown Denver.  Come meet the man behind the lens.  He will be showing work from his Body of Light series and his most recent collection titled Goddesses.  For more info on Carl, visit his website at www.carlkerridge.com).

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About Jessica Durivage

Whether in a business suit, on a yoga mat or a meditation cushion, Jessica will follow her Dharma to the ends of the earth and work to bridge the gap with the world and the light that dwells within each being.  Grateful for the wealth of experiences, teachers and mentors who have guided her along her path as a yogi, a business woman, a non-profiteer and an improv comedian; she cultivates mindful, savvy and innovative approaches to make the world a better place each day and lead with compassion, from the heart (and trying not to take herself too seriously). / Jessica is the founder and owner of Where is My Guru - an ever evolving work of life that encompasses writing, art, community, leadership, consulting and a weekly radio show where you can find her contemplating Purusha, Prakriti, the Yoga Sutras and why all Yogis are crazy mo fo's. Check in with the Where is My Guru Blog and the radio show on Fridays at 11am EST - www.whereismygurunow.com

Comments

76 Responses to “My Boyfriend Takes Pictures of Naked Women—A Practice in Self-Acceptance. {Adult}”

  1. I do shoot men( however they are harder to find and not so soft and beautiful in form as women) , but the article was about Jess's acceptance of and overcoming insecurities of me shooting with women.
    BTW – it is actually harder to work with your girlfriend then with someone you are not involved with because a lot of what I ask the models to do is move and hold awkward positions and angles, something a partner is going to complain about more later.

  2. Many thanks Meg, you words speak to me and hopefully Anne will get the message.

  3. I do shoot men so stop making judgements….

  4. Tracey says:

    There is a pooper in every party! That's just how it goes……..love you jess and carl!

  5. Meindabindi says:

    Wow. Fascinating comments. It is especially interesting to me how emotional people are about this topic and how some folks will say unsavory things within the safe confines of the internet that they probably would never say in person.

    I also find that it somewhat deflates the power of a written piece when the writer, her friends and her boyfriend all feel the need to praise and defend it. Jessica wrote a strong, thoughtful piece. She must know that some who read it would find resonance and some would not. She ought to let it stand for what it is and let the wild rumpus start without jumping in. Let the masses have their rumble. Just my take.

  6. Audrey says:

    Jessica,thanks for sharing this is a lesson many females need to learn so they can experience a harmonious relationship.I love the pics and actually admire this kind of artwork.You being comfortable with Carla is a fantastic plus for you,he came possibly in your life to help you get to this point wonderful growth.Your pics are beautiful.I will definately save and share this page,nice to have met such a wonderful evolving soul right here on the net,you have blest my soul.
    I like ‘On the lighter side’excellent Art work.

  7. Audrey says:

    Sorry Jessica a grammatical error-Carla instead of Carl.

  8. Rod Scarborough says:

    Narrow prudish minds paint with ugliness.

  9. Kimiko says:

    Loving this and your previous thought. Yes, I agree, this "you're either with us or against mentality" by the author, her partner and friends undoes so much of what this piece is attempting to convey. I find the hostility fairly ironic; if one was truly accepting of oneself, would there be a need to beat down anyone who didn't share their point of view?

    I checked out Carl's webpage (honestly, as a biracial woman who has birthed and nursed a child, I found a world where there was no place for me but hey, I wouldn't want to live there, so whatever floats your boat) which led me me to his facebook page where Jessica implores others to check out the "ridiclous" comments along with her article. Again, I don't sense a whole lot of acceptance. Anger-defensive, protective anger. Perhaps she wasn't ready to have gone public with this (very difficult) process. I can feel her on that one if it is the case.

  10. Trisha says:

    Jessica,
    Thanks for the reminder of the beautiful people I have in my life. I understand the struggle and recognize the value of it. Currently seeing a software engineer who enjoys the same beauty in the human shape that I do. Miss you two very much.

    Trisha

  11. […] show in Jess’s absence with elephant journal bad boy (having racked up negative points on his comment rating scale as exemplified in one particularly heated post), fellow WordPress blogger Metal Yoga. […]

  12. […] the show in Jess’s absence with elephant journal bad boy (having racked up negative points on his comment rating scale as exemplified in one particularly heated post), fellow WordPress blogger Metal Yoga. […]

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  14. SatyaJvala says:

    I can't thank you enough for this article. I am in the same positions…actually, reading this I felt like I was reading an account of the last two years of my life. I am in a very difficult place with all of this right now and revisiting this article helped me a lot. Thank you so much for your outlook and input on this exact problem I have been having.

  15. Andrea Blanche says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I haven't reached a conclusion about defeating my insecurities, but I'm happy to see someone who I can relate too. I've constantly compared my tiny breasts to the ones on the girls in the photos that my ex posted all over his wall. To this day, he constantly lusts over and posts photos of curvier women on his blog. I'm not at all saying this is the case for your boyfriend, however. In my case, no longer being with this ex of mine is better for me. But from time to time, I find myself feeling so inadequate, thus showing that my insecurities are deep-seeded and in need of working through. How silly this all is really. I should just be grateful for what I do have. I'm searching for complete peace and self-love. Again, it's great to know I'm not alone. I'm so great at supporting other body types, but when it comes to my own, I'm left feeling as if I don't measure up…and that feeling needs to leave me so I can flourish.

  16. Kristen says:

    Wow! I really resonated with this article, as I am going through a similar journey with my partner. All of my abandonment and self-acceptance issues are at the surface and ripe to work with on a daily basis. I am in the process of making a conscious shift to judging my own fears to sitting with them and facing them. It also involves not reacting to everything that triggers me, but rather being gentle with myself and helping myself grow and evolve from it. It can be very stressful for my partner to have to constantly deal with my deep-seated traumas and insecurities and I hope to be able to take full responsibility as you have and evolve from this experience.

    Deepest gratitude for sharing your journey. xoxo

  17. Tilda says:

    Thank you Anne thank you!

  18. Carl Kerridge says:

    Hi Anne, actually I have shot with naked men but for some strange reason Jessica had no issue with that, just my straight friends who assumed I must have been gay….oh why do people make such judgements?, the human form is art itself, learn to love it.

  19. Carl Kerris says:

    Hi Andrea, cudos for your honesty, you should never judge yourself against someone else, especially in some thing as superficial as breast size. You, like all human, are individual, unique and beautiful as you are. I hope that you learn to look at yourself that way and conquer your fears. perhaps consider posing for an art class or photographer….all the best.

  20. AmyVT says:

    I was thinking the exact same thing; when you have to concentrate on your work, you're not thinking in a sexual, "perverted" way. You look at that body just as any other 3-demensional object.

  21. Joyce says:

    I really appreciate this article. It's refreshing to see people recognize that our lives and the challenges in them are meant to help us grow. The circumstances in our life do a good job reflecting our internal condition and if we really want to grow and evolve we must be honest with what is being reflected and do the work necessary to deal with our issues. Good job!

  22. FitGal says:

    I liked this article. I understand where you are coming from, and I do believe that we are tested (an unfortunately and fortunately the universe has a sense of humor). I think that if I didn't have all the things in my present relationship testing me as well, then I too would have been sent a partner that took nude pictures of women, ha ha! I like your humor, insight and irony. And you are right we don't allow our partners to do anything, if we are in that mind set then we cannot grow; if we cannot grow then we cannot be truly free to enjoy life. And if we are not transcendent then when next we arrive we'll have the same struggles until they are overcome and if they are under-come then we'll have even farther to climb. Namaste. om namah shivaya

  23. Danielle says:

    I was with a boobie photographer for 5 years. It can be very hard at times, especially when some of the models are very flirty friends of his. In the end, though, it taught me how to grow the *f* up and learn to love my imperfect self. Great article!

  24. Noemi says:

    I am in a similar situation as you but the same fears emerge randomly. I love your courage! It inspires me to love even more myself and art !