Why are men afraid to be naked?

Through the lens: looking at Masculine ideas
I’ve never questioned my sexuality, the first time I ever had a crush on a girl I was probably 7 years old. At that age I didn’t know the existence of homosexuality but I never saw guys as attractive beings. My eyes were fixed upon this female neighbour of mine and I didn’t know why but I liked her. That I can count as my first realisation that I was straight; I was never worried about how I looked either, never compared my body to anyone; it never bothered me that most my male friends were muscular and I wasn’t, I was always worried more about speed and health, I wanted to be fit, not muscular. I was never worried about my penis size either, it never bothered me that my little brother had a bigger penis than mine, when my friends spoke of penis sizes I was never de-emasculated to be part of the group that didn’t have bigger penises; somehow it was just the way it was.
I grew facial hair when I was pretty young; I was told it’s biological. I always appeared older than I was, I am not sure it made a difference to me but I enjoyed the idea of people thinking I was older than I actually was. These are all considered to be masculine ideas, what makes a man, strong, attractive, penis size, beard and other nonsense.
I have recently begun a project, photography project. In my hope the final product of this project will be a book of nudity and poetry. I am intrigued by bodies, all type of bodies; I am a dancer after all. I am intrigued by male and female bodies, the structure, texture, physicality, perception I could go on and on. So I want to take pictures of naked bodies. I believe in the statement “you are only free when you are naked and alone”….naked body provides freedom. I would like to tap into that freedom through the lens of the camera. In the naked body there is sense of full self. At least that is my perception of the matter, yet I have met a wall, a barrier.
I cannot seem to find male models; it seems more females than males are comfortable in letting me take photos of their nudity. My male artist/friends absolutely cannot do it, I can see the fear and the discomfort in their eyes and body as I remotely suggest that I want to take a picture of their naked bodies. Why is this? What is wrong? It’s just a picture mate
It seems men are more comfortable taking pictures of their muscles in the gym, flexing and showing off but the idea of showing butts and all is NO? I am not suggesting full penis showing pictures just the male bum at least….still NO? Why? It would seem, correct me if I am wrong but it is a perception that I have, men have been struck deep with this fear of homosexuality, it runs so deep really. Okay let’s hold that thought, what exactly is the issue? The idea of being naked in front of the camera? Yet men love the idea of making porn videos? It doesn’t make sense. So it goes back to homosexuality; there is such a deep embedded fear of being seen or stigmatised as gay that strikes straight men right at their heart. Is it not enough that you know that you are not gay? That you are attracted to females? No? Yes?
Perhaps I am being unfair, I can be gullible when it comes to sexually related things I mean I have no problem walking around naked in front of anyone, I do not do it because I know it would people feel uncomfortable. Men have a problem being naked around other men, while most women strive on such freedom. I am angry, I am angry at men, I am angry at my ability to understand why men are afraid to be naked, I am angry at why men don’t want to be photographed naked. If women can accentuate their naked physical bodies what is stopping us men from doing the same? I have a lot to say about this issue, I could write a 10 000 words essay about it.

On the other hand gay males strive at the idea of being photographed naked… one of my gay male friends cannot get enough of this project. Why is it so? Photographing all homosexual males would defeat the point of my project so I cannot do that… but I seriously want to know why?
I am curious to hear opinions about this, am I too gullible? Do I lack understanding? Am I weird? What is so scary?

2 Replies to “Why are men afraid to be naked?”

  1. Wait a minutes brother.. I happened to be one of those friends you asked and I would like to think of my self as an artist like you. Taking pictures of my self naked is not something I would like to do just like performing naked. and this is not about me being afraid of people thinking i’m gay or not I don’t care about that I’ve had that before, but then there are somethings in life you must consider before you commit your self to anything. e.g you must be aware that not every one thinks like us (artist) in society there is a whole world out there. Secondly futuristic are you always goner be an artist nothing more in your life? Not any one’s Father or Grandfather. Cause to me the next thing that might happen in my life, I might look for a Job out side of the art world and with nudes online I can’t be sure what will change in peoples perception of me out side the art world. Secondly for other people clothes have created a secrecy for themselves even if they not necessary ashamed of their bodies. They have some kind of sensitivity towards their bodies something that has nothing to do with their sexuality being contested.

    Right now you thinking like an artist not like a general human being in society. e.g I think Zuma marring that 24 year old girl is disgusting but then it probably not to him because his thinking in terms of traditions and his Zulu culture even king Zwelithini did those things of marring young girls. But then that not how we all feel about them marring that girl yet some people in the same context of tradition as them might see no problem. Therefore with that being said I think you need to be careful how you simplify things that you find suitable to you and your gay friend and think they should apply similar to others thought. Also remember that females body reflection or presentation in society is not perceived the same as that of men. and your gay friend is probably doing it because he identifies as feminine which then position him in that context like all other gays. There are a number of reasons to the conclusions you could have then to say what you are saying.

    With all that being said i’m going to do the shoot with you because I don’t give a fuck but then at the same time I don’t wants you to be misled by your own thought.


    1. As stated in our previous conversation. This is not an attack on individualistic ideas about art/bodies. By all means there are various elements that contribute to people who said ‘NO’ and those who said YES. The only issue that I had and understand me well. it is not a conclusive statement but what I got from those who had said NO. One statement that was said was “If it was a girl taking the pictures then I’D DO IT” then the rest of the guys agreed to that statement. That if it was a lady who was taking these pictures of them “NAKED” then definitely it would be something they would consider….

      Psychologically that makes a masculine statement to me. That it is the idea of who is seeing them naked that decides their decision.

      I understand the factors you are mentioning…It is not all artist who will agree to be photographed naked. it is not all artist who will conclude their careers as artist. Hence why I did not battle with those who decline. I ventured outside artist as well, and behold there were individuals who agreed. Who extended their comfort ability to being photographed naked. That surprised me but I was happy because that is part of my book.

      I must mention that the reason I am creating this book is because of representation…. why is it that female bodies are sexualised yet men are not? Males have attractive facets as well, besides six-pack or biceps…the body itself is attractive. I am interested in the body as art. The work I am doing aims to highlight the male/female body as art rather than a sexual object. The body is interesting, the shoulder blade, the chest, the beard faces, the things and the butt. That’s why the entry is a question rather than a statement?


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