Husband wants to take nude pics
September 27, 2010 12:41 PM   Subscribe

My husband loves erotic photography and wants to start doing it. I'm not as thrilled, but I want him to have a hobby.

My husband has been extremely unhappy at work. For years I've suggested he should take a class -- he's a great, funny, quick-witted guy, and he would just adore an acting class. He likes the idea, but has never moved on it. We hit on filmmaking or a dance class. He likes the idea of both, but again, no action. He has consistently wanted to do photography, and just from what he's done without really knowing what he's doing, I can see he's got a knack that could be developed.

So now that we can afford to get him a camera, he's decided he wants to do -- drumroll please -- nude photography. He's always been interested in it, collects books featuring (mostly) tasteful erotic photos and that sort of thing. We've even joked about him becoming a photographer. I've sometimes pretended to engage him in a real conversation about it. When I asked him where he thought he'd be hosting the models and taking their pictures, he said, "Here!" So I said, "Okay, if you want to take nude photos of women, that's fine. I only have one rule: There will be no bare pussy in my house! Unless it's my pussy!"

Ha ha. So we've laughed a bunch over that, and it's become one of our bits that we return to a lot. Now, though, I'm realizing that the reason it's become a standard bit is that hubby is frickin' serious about this.

Plus, he's losing a bunch of weight. He's on Jenny Craig and doing great with it. I'm so happy and proud of him! But I had a weird something's-stuck-in-my-throat moment when I realized that he was doing it mostly in preparation for his new role as nude photographer. It is exclusively nude women he's interested in photographing. He seems utterly innocent about it when he talks about it -- he's going to be renting a studio, etc. I mean he's making plans. And I'm a little flustered. He wants to look smooth -- he's growing his hair, changing his wardrobe, and becoming obsessed with men's fragrances. It would be funny (like that Seinfeld episode where Jerry says he can't do orgies because he would have to become the orgy guy, with lotions and robes, etc.). Except that this whole thing is making me really really sad.

He has said to me that if this whole thing REALLY bothers me, he won't do it. The thing is, he's so absolutely miserable at work, and I've wanted him to have something to do that he enjoys. He's lost 35 pounds, he's got a spring in his step. I don't want to quash him. But the fact that he seems to be turning into a different person is a bit alarming. And saddening. Mostly I'm just really, really, sad. No specific question, I guess, but I would appreciate your I being rigid, old-fashioned, uptight, etc. to balk at this?

I love him! Our intimate life is good but I'm sure it's nothing like what he imagines could be possible. He says he loves me as I am, that I don't have to prance around in lingerie and shiny boots for him to love me. But I think he's going to be taking pics of stuff like this.

If his erotic life is sort of separated -- compartmentalized -- a place for whitebread me, and another room where other stuff is going on -- is that okay? I mean, that's how it is I guess, whether I think it's okay or not. But -- should I be trying to get into that other room? Or is integration of his mental/sexual worlds not really the point? Should I just be happy that he's occupied? In the past I've felt that I fell short for him sexually, that our love life wasn't creative enough. If this kind of solves that piece for him -- maybe it's okay?

Except I don't really want him to be having sex with these models. I would be jealous. Heck, I'm jealous just thinking of him photographing them.

Okay, time for you to weight in...
posted by frosty_hut to Human Relations (76 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

What makes you so sure that his weight loss and his desire to look smooth has anything to do with his desire to photograph nude models? Has he explicitly said this? Because he may just have more confidence and better self-esteem now that he has an active interest in something. Why would you leap to the conclusion that he is trying to look nicer so that he can impress nude models?

As any model, nude or otherwise, can attest, there is very little that is erotism in posing for these photos. It's hard work. That thing we see in porno videos where the artist and subject are suddenly overcome with lust for each other rarely occurs in real life. And any model who is used to posing nude has had to fend off enough creeps that they are not going to angle in on your husband's junk just because he smells nice.
posted by hermitosis at 12:49 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm getting the impression that you haven't told him any of the things that are bothering you. Please do. What you're feeling is completely normal. It sounds like he'd be open to finding a different hobby, and don't worry, there are plenty out there that won't make you sad.
posted by puritycontrol at 12:50 PM on September 27, 2010 [6 favorites]

Its okay to say no. You can tell him your human brain knows this is okay, but that your lizard brain outvoted it, sorry. You know nothing will happen but it seems to hurt anyway and you don't like hurting.

You are allowed to ask for you what you want.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:51 PM on September 27, 2010 [37 favorites]

Is this going to be a "hobby" or a business? Is he going to be charging these women, or paying them? If he's hoping to start a business, there needs to be a business plan. If he's paying them (+ studio time), the two of you should set a budget for this endeavor, and he should be able to verbalize what he hopes to accomplish other than "ZOMG SEE NAKED WOMEN!!!11!!" Like, I'm hoping to show my work at galleries, share them in an online portfolio, etc.

As for the misery of his job, is he working on improving that situation?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:52 PM on September 27, 2010 [8 favorites]

Awww, babe. You already sound SO accomodating and supportive and understanding that you are NOT ALLOWED to call yourself any names ("rigid, uptight", etc). You're being awesomer than 99.9% of wives would be!

However: I think the issue is not the nekkid ladies. It's that your husband is pulling away from you. The excitement, the body changes, the future plans... they aren't being done as a fun "together" thing, or even an adjunct to already-fantastic lives. They are an escape/adventure for him, but because you do not share his excitement, it seems that he's not inviting you along, as it were.

It's okay for one partner to have an obsession... so long as the obsession isn't a parasitic one that leeches away energy that the partner COULD be using to improve stuff at home. In other words: if everything were fantastic and if you two were really super-connected, super-engaged and happy, I don't know that, 1. He would be going crazy over this, or that 2. It would bother you as much.

I think you know deep down that this nude photography thing is NOT something that's going to bring him closer to you (whether due to you sharing the venture OR through his newfound happiness making him a better husband). THAT'S the issue... not all the bare pussy he's imagining.
posted by julthumbscrew at 12:52 PM on September 27, 2010 [18 favorites]

Our intimate life is good but I'm sure it's nothing like what he imagines could be possible

This is another one of those assumptions you're making that suggests you have insecurity issues. If it's good, it's good. You are just assuming what he imagines, in a way that only reinforces your fears. That's not rational, and it's downright corrosive in a relationship -- even one without a parade of shiny boots and (inaccessible) bare pussy.
posted by hermitosis at 12:53 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Have you tried signing up for an acting, or theater, or improv class _with him_ and dragging him to the classes? It can be difficult to get started on something new, and if you did the footwork at first and drove (literally or figuratively) the two of you to the classes it might help.

Acting, or improv, or anything with an audience may help a lot with what seems to be his need for attention -- not a bad thing, most people need attention, and maybe he's slowly wilting from a lack. If you hate the thought of being in front of people, maybe just endure one "theatre arts" class with him and focus on backstage stuff (costumes, props, lighting -- all fascinating on their own).

Or you could just skip the class and he could audition for a community theater production. Really, he could probably get a background role, or even a small role (depending on your community) with zero training. You could volunteer as an assistant stage manager or set builder or something, but if he's got an obligation to go to the show, you probably wouldn't have to be involved unless you wanted to (although it is quite fun).

Will he change? Will he become as shallow as you fear? Maybe, anyway. Theater isn't the great maturing ground for most people -- although it can be for some.

Good luck. I think I know what you're talking about, and I wish you well.

If he does continue with nude photography, you might want to be clear on the difference between nude vs. erotic. I think they're often the same thing, but not always.

The spiffing up could just be him cheering up, not a plan to seduce people. Could be.

Finally, if you want to see less-skeezy nude photography, you might be interested in the recent work of Leonard Nimoy.
posted by amtho at 12:54 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

I think you need to find out if he's doing this for sexual stimulation. Nude photography doesn't automatically equal pornography.
posted by girlmightlive at 12:54 PM on September 27, 2010

he's losing a bunch of weight. He's on Jenny Craig and doing great with it. I'm so happy and proud of him! But I had a weird something's-stuck-in-my-throat moment when I realized that he was doing it mostly in preparation for his new role as nude photographer.

How did you realize that?

I think you should talk with him about all this instead of us.
posted by John Cohen at 12:55 PM on September 27, 2010

You are doing both him and you a disservice by swallowing your discomfort and lengthy mental narratives about his motivations and most of all your worries about your relationship with each other. Talk to him. He's your husband.
posted by SMPA at 12:56 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

This whole thing is REALLY bothering you.

So make it clear to him.
posted by fire&wings at 12:56 PM on September 27, 2010

I don't know how you should resolve this, but I think you need to separate the photography pursuit from how he feels about his job. You've set up a false dichotomy, where he's either doing nude photography or condemned to a miserable job; there are many things he could do that are neither of the above. Also, my experience with businesses started to help one escape a miserable job are generally only fun for as long is it takes to escape the old job. Which is to say, not long.
posted by jon1270 at 12:59 PM on September 27, 2010 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for these responses so far.

I have talked with him about it. Sometimes we pretend we're joking, as I said in my original question. Sometimes we tackle it more seriously. He's said he won't do it if I'm uncomfortable. But it's something he really wants to do.

Good point girlmightlive, he's not necessarily trying to get kicks out of this. Like I said in my question, he seems to have a knack for photography and he's interested in the more tasteless stuff. He has fave photographers and is emulating the guys with good repuations. He's never been into amateur web porn or anything like that. I mean, he really does have artistic impules around this.

Of course, he might also be getting some stimulation from it. So -- is that good or bad, should I care or not, does it matter to me? I guess only I can answer that question, but I wanted to throw this stuff out there.

Hermitosis, thanks for your comment. Actually, you'd be wrong that I'm leaping to the conclusion that hubby is smoothing out for the models. It just occurred to me as a possibility. It could be that he's just improving more than one area of his life at a time. I don't know anything for sure, and am not leaping anywhere or making any hard and fast assumptions, as you'll see if you re-read my post. No need to get snippy.
posted by frosty_hut at 1:01 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think it comes down to this question: are you sad because you fear he will lose interest in you sexually if he pursues this hobby, and/or that he might become unfaithful? OR are you sad because he's moving on to a healthier, more confident place in life and you feel like you are not changing and are being left behind? If you think it might be more of the latter, do you think maybe you'll miss him having to turn to you for comfort and guidance because he is depressed about his job and has no creative outlet? That is a natural reaction when two people become accustomed to being in a rut: misery really does love company! And just maybe, if he's not so miserable anymore, that's what is making you sad.

If you can honestly say that it isn't grief over losing that relationship dynamic and it is more a fear of intimacy/infidelity, then talk to him about it! That seems easily resolved with a good conversation and some reassurrances. But if you are grieving the loss that was your sad, no-direction husband, then I would advise you to look for a hobby instead of trying to stop his new interest. Your old hobby was helping him find one...maybe now it's time for yours.
posted by Eicats at 1:02 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

There seems to be A LOT going on here, beyond just nude photography, which by itself is pretty benign. It seems like you hold some resentment against him because of his own forward momentum, and perhaps it makes you sad because you feel somewhat 'left out' of his evolution.

The first thing you need to do is talk to him honestly about your feelings regarding this issue (boilerplate AskMe answer #1: show him this question).

The fact that you refer to yourself as 'really, really sad' says to me that you should probably see a therapist (boilerplate AskMe answer #2), and that a lot of your concerns about him becoming an erotic photographer may stem from your own insecurities. Seriously, see a therapist.

If you're ok with him looking at art books of erotic photos, taking the leap to actually taking the photos isn't really that big of one, imo. If he is truly a professional, you should have nothing to worry about w/r/t him having sex with his models. If he does start to fuck his models, then he's probably a douchebag and you should get out (but it honestly doesn't sound like this is the case).

You could look at it this way: this could be great for both of you. He gets to do something he enjoys and that's motivating him in other areas of his life. You can seize this opportunity to do some self-improvement of your own if you wish and reignite the bedroom sparks. I'm not convinced that this new hobby is somehow a substitute for your perceived sexual shortcomings (no pun). It wouldn't be a great substitute in any case, if he were thinking of it as such. You may even find that with him not being miserable at work and his self-improvements he is more amendable to crazy sexy time with you in the bedroom. It takes two to tango, and having a creative sex life when you are miserable all day can be really tough (been there).

I'm liberal when it comes to this sort of thing, but bodies are just bodies (heck, I don't even think sex is that big of deal). If you love each other and are committed to each other in the deep, emotional way married couples (ostensibly) are, that's all that really counts. You can love the shit out of someone and still enjoy enjoying the nude human form.

Have him take lots of photos of you for practice! He'll probably find that many of the intimate, candid shots he gets of someone he's close to are his best work.
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:02 PM on September 27, 2010

Response by poster: Ha ha. Okay, I meant tasteful above :)
posted by frosty_hut at 1:03 PM on September 27, 2010

FYI, "I realized that he was doing it mostly in preparation for his new role..." does not read as "It just occurred to me as a possibility.
posted by jon1270 at 1:05 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

You need to come to agreement on the rules for your relationship. In our case, I told the hubby it is fine if he watches porn movies or watches porn online but the minute he starts chatting online/on the phone with these people we will have a problem that will probably need to be settled by a divorce lawyer. And he thought that was reasonable. Of course I agreed to abide by the same rules--I won't be talking to any naked men either. There are some dealbreakers for marriage and something that made me this uncomfortable would be one of them. Would he be fine if you had a bunch of naked men in your living room? It's perfectly fine if you point out that him+naked women=possible divorce. I know you are trying to be supportive but if this makes you uncomfortable, don't do it and give him clear--not mixed--signals about your position on the issue. There are plenty of other hobbies/jobs he can create that involve art but not naked people. Why not photograph sports? There are plenty of cool sports (beach vollyball, rock climbing) that will give him excellent pictures of the human body minus the nekked bits.
posted by MsKim at 1:05 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

What if you asked to tag along on the first shoot? I think his reaction to that idea could tell you a lot.
posted by mreleganza at 1:07 PM on September 27, 2010 [5 favorites]

I've sometimes pretended to engage him in a real conversation about it.

I get hung up here on the word "pretend". Do you not see art photography as a legitimate form of self-expression? Is it just too out-there for you to take seriously?

Now, though, I'm realizing that the reason it's become a standard bit is that hubby is frickin' serious about this.

Well, that's no surprise -- if you have been encouraging or legitimizing it all along, or even just "pretending" to, why wouldn't he take it seriously?

I don't mean to keep dive-bombing your question, but everything you say here tells me that you are really skeeved out and threatened, but not by anything your husband has actually done or even INTENDS to do. You don't like the idea of him being better looking than he used to be, or of him working around women who might be more exciting/alluring than you think you are. These are classic hang-ups that you will have to deal with no matter what he decides to photograph.
posted by hermitosis at 1:08 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, Luto, I appreciate your comment. I recently began therapy again with a guy who has been helpful for me before. I'll see what he says about this.

Look, I seem to have created the impression here that I'm a prude.

May I just say that I'm not a prude? I'm an artist, I've sketched naked people in life class about a billion times. I worked in a nude club called Jiggles for a month - hated it, don't do it now, but not because I'm phobic about the body. Hubby and I both enjoy all kinds of photography, and I love some of the nude stuff. I'm not phobic about naked people, I'm just suddenly experiencing a wave of jealousy about my husband. It's never happened before, and I'm a little weirded out by it.

I agree, there are two separate issues here. I wanted to talk about them both. Why am I not allowed to discuss both sides of a pretty complex issue? False dichotomy - wtf? I'm not saying either or. I'm just trying to tell you all the thoughts and feelings I have around this. Of course it's a mess, and I don't sound logical. NONE of this stuff is logical. I'm not logical. I'm not pretending to be.

I do appreciate your thoughts, and all of these comments have been helpful. Eager for more, and thanks:)
posted by frosty_hut at 1:08 PM on September 27, 2010

First-you are entitled to feel any way you want. Marriage is about compromise and we don't all get to do what we want if we value our partner's feelings. Just the way it goes. Don't feel guilty for being possessive of the person you love-it's a natural feeling.

Having said all that-nude photography is very hard work for the model. It's not erotic at all-it's a sore back, sucking in, contorting yourself into goofy positions, etc. Would it help if you became his assistant? Is that possible? I have worked with a few photographers and this has been a common scenario-male photogs want to protect themselves from any allegation of impropriety and it is very helpful to have another woman there to adjust the way your hair looks, powder your nose, move your breast so it's even with the other one, etc. And I'd bet many of their wives became their assistant due to exactly your feelings-a vague sense of wanting to make sure all that was happening was photography. Maybe you could try it with him and a model, get a sense for what he is doing, and that would either make you feel better or give you some concrete reasons why you don't care for the idea.

Good luck-you sound like a nice person who is trying very hard to be a supportive partner.
posted by supercapitalist at 1:14 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

How old is he? Mid-life crisis? And where is he gonna get models? I modeled for art classes when I was young but probably would not have gone to some unknown artist's "studio." I hope he's very careful about checking out people's ages because he could get into some deep shit if he takes pictures of someone who turns out to be not quite as old as she claims.
posted by mareli at 1:18 PM on September 27, 2010


first off, I think you're a great person for being so helpful and encouraging even when you don't like what he's doing. you have a right to say 'no, that makes me uncomfortable and as your partner I expect your understanding' but you seem to have decided not to and that alone makes you a partner a lot of people would be jealous of.*

that said I wonder if you are opposed to him taking nude photos of other women (= you don't want him to fancy other females) or if you are worried about him being unfaithful to you. I can't help you with the latter part but from the way you wrote about your relationship dynamic I'd suspect he's pretty much into you, so I don't suspect that might be his motivation. what I would recommend is that you ask him to explain what fascinates him about nude photography. what is it he wants to express? is it that it is generally not to be done, that it is unseemly? is it that he is fascinated with skin or how light falls of the human body? what motivates him? does he want to explore a concept, show the world an aspect of life he sees but doesn't think others observe like he does? my feeling is that a question like this would cause him to nail you down for hours with tales of what it is that he finds so interesting about the subject matter. he strikes me as hopeful that something great will happen and when it all comes down to it hope is what we all really crave and need to get us through the day. photography is painting with light.

you don't have to love what he wants to do. rockefeller jr. was the largest benefactor of the museum of modern art and he couldn't stand modern art at all - he just gave because matisse and likeminded modern artists were admired by his wife, who was a fantastic curator. it was her hobby and he indulged her even though he loved classical tapestries much more and found modern art downright objectionable. I don't know about you but I can't help but respect his love for his significant other.

here's what I suggest - encourage and support him and see if there is anything to it that you might like to be involved with. and if there isn't, find yourself an equally fascinating hobby and expect nothing less than equal support and encouragement.

finally, I don't see the weight loss and personal grooming to be necessarily connected. nobody likes to be fast, aging and ugly. this should make you happy and proud.

*= substitute nude photography with risky hobbies like skydiving or deep-sea diving and you know what I mean.
posted by krautland at 1:19 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sounds normal to be to be jealous, even if you know that logically you don't think he's doing anything he shouldn't be and you trust him.

I don't automatically connect the nude photography with any sort of lacking sex life - if he really does just appreciate it for the art, or even if he gets a little bit of a thrill out of it, I don't think that means that he thinks your sex life is lacking.

Maybe he just feels more confident and happy in general - or, I hate to say it, quarter or mid life crises-y - and that's what's behind the change in appearance. Maybe part of that comes from having a hobby he will enjoy, but it doesn't seem like he would go to this effort just to be a better looking photographer.

I don't think it's uptight to balk at it - being uncomfortable about something doesn't mean you're rigid, it just means that you're not comfortable.

I would talk to him about the issues - you *have* to, or it will cause problems later on. You may be able to talk it through with him and get okay with it, but if you don't, there is no shame in saying look, I'm not cool with this - he can find another hobby, it doesn't mean you don't love him and want him to be happy.
posted by mrs. taters at 1:20 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hermitosis, I think you're pointing out some valid possibilities.

On the one hand, I love my husband. He's been trying to lose weight for so long! I see him becoming happy, achieving a goal. God, it's a relief! And boy has he earned it. I'm proud of him, love to be seen with him, he's in a better mood, there's a lot to love about life with him right now.

So -- as we know, feelings are ambivalent. Mine certainly are. I'm human. So yes, even though I adore and love my husband, and am proud of his accomplishments -- YES, I'm also threatened by these changes. All of these things are true. I'm not arguing with the your position that I sound threatened. I am!

My sense that my husband might be preparing to move away from me -- mentally, emotionally, sexually -- has made me sad. It might not be an ACCURATE premise. I'm not saying it is! It's just a perception, and I COULD BE WRONG! I COULD BE A COMPLETE AND TOTAL JERK FOR FEELING INSECURE! But feelings are feelings. They just are, you know? Why attack me over this, I don't get it.

You and others have suggested that my sad feelings have a lot to do with my own insecurities. That is perceptive, and I think true. Yes! I am insecure. Not something I'm trying to hide, so no need to be so triumphant and all, GOTCHA about it.
posted by frosty_hut at 1:20 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

There is an awful lot of speculating, guessing, conjecturing and psychologizing as to what is going on with him/you/your relationship. If you are a grown up(which you seem to be), reasonable mature and responsible, and relatively tolerant there is no need to second guess what you expect from him. If you would prefer he not do it--tell him. If it is OK with you--tell him. He will either do it or not do it. At that point you can either deal with potential resentment (either of you), disappointment (either of you) or acceptance. I think in situations such as this it is best to deal forthrightly with the problems as they emerge rather than trying to make decisions on what might happen. This is not matter of right/wrong or fact/fallacy. I hope neither of you tries and convince the other of the "rightness" of their position or makes it into a love me or love me not dialogue. Good luck BTW--speaking of "psychologizing",did you really really mean "tasteful".
posted by rmhsinc at 1:22 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks Krautland and julthumbscrew, jon, mskim, mareli, supercapitalist, mrs taters, mreleganza. I'm appreciating the business advice here too.

Wow, thoughtful new responses. Thank you so much, guys, you've given me some hope here :)
posted by frosty_hut at 1:26 PM on September 27, 2010

You're not a prude.
I don't think you're insecure.
You're human. You love your husband. You don't want to lose your marriage but you don't want to say what you're thinking, which is (I think):

"hey, hubby: I am so thrilled that you have found a new interest in life and that it excites you and motivates you... and I thought I would be okay with erotic photography and I'm not. And I'm actually scared. I don't want to lose you to a 20 year old with a nicer rack than mine. I trust you but y'know, the whole surrounded by naked women in lingerie thing... I'm not so sure I feel okay with it. Can we please talk about this? I want you to be happy and I don't want you to be unhappy but maybe we can find you a way for you to take photos and be happy that doesn't involve other women nude."

Or something like that.

Seriously, you're not a prude, there's nothing wrong with you or what you want or what you feel.
posted by micawber at 1:27 PM on September 27, 2010 [7 favorites]

Why attack me over this, I don't get it.

I'm sorry if you have perceived anything I've said as attacking. I am just trying to be direct as possible since so many others have the "Your feelings are yours to hug!" side of things locked down (and because I have to leave the house in just a few minutes!). I am not unsympathetic.

I don't see anyone telling you that you're a bad partner or experiencing anything unnatural. Those of us like myself who are critical of your motives are here for you too. But I will totally drop it for now, and hope the thread turns out to be helpful to you.
posted by hermitosis at 1:29 PM on September 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks rmhsinc! Yes, I need to talk more with him about this. He and I are so much alike. In our relationship, there isn't really a dominant personality. We're both gentle and respectful of each other. (Makes decision-making hard sometimes.) We have each done a lot of compromising already together, and it's mostly been good. This is the first real sticky wicket for us in ten years of being together.

If I come down too hard on him, he's going to give it all up. He would do that for me! But I don't want him to give up something important to him. It's been a big dream for him, so I don't want to crush this right out of the gate.

I'll take your suggestion to keep talking about it with him...thanks for taking the time to respond.
posted by frosty_hut at 1:33 PM on September 27, 2010

frosty, you are interpreting an awful lot into what hermitosis is saying. I have never, on the green, seen hermitosis be anything but supportive, and I don't see it in these posts either. It's perceptive maybe painful, maybe wrong / maybe right, but it's meant sincerely.

The fact that you are reacting so strongly is a good sign though. It means that something in there is hitting too close to home. Maybe think about it a bit more, what makes you think that hermitosis is being attacky.

My guess would be that those are the accusations that are going round in your head and you should challenge yourself about them. I think that you are very self critical, too critical of yourself. You'd hate to be a "prude" and you'd hate to be anything other than a loving wife. But it also sounds like you are denying yourself some feelings and aren't thinking or talking about them very clearly, neither to us nor to your husband. Your posts come across as somewhat mixes messages.

I'm sorry if that was not very helpful, I hope it is at least a little helpful. I think everyone here can understand your feelings, for what it's worth.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:35 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

I'm sorry if this offends any dudes who like to take photos of naked ladies, but I've had pretty extensive experiences with hobby nude photographers--my brother in law is a glamor photog, and my husband and I have been dragged along to his (expensive) workshops when attendance was low. He's also been romantically involved with quite a few of the models. I've done pretty extensive life drawing, too, and while sometimes male artists can be a bit creepster/weird about that, it's nothing to the level that I've experienced among these photographer dudes. And none of them were pornographers, per se--in fact, they'd likely insist otherwise, and part of what attracts them to hobby nude photography seems to be the fact that it legitimizes their interactions with the models. But I did very much get the sense that the vast majority of them (mostly shy, middle-aged dudes) were doing this as a way to look at, and interact with, young perky naked ladies. Across the board, it's also something they seemed to pour a lot of money into--in terms of equipment, workshops, and paying the models themselves.

You seem worried about coming across as uncool or as stick in the mud, but if it's any help, I'm young, liberal, like porn myself, have no problem with my husband watching it etc etc. But based on what I know about the community around a lot of this sort of nude photography, I would not be comfortable about it. Please don't feel obligated to act cool and awesome about it if it makes you deeply uncomfortable--your instincts might be good ones, but even if they weren't, your feelings are valid and okay and deserve to be addressed.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:37 PM on September 27, 2010 [25 favorites]

Also, didn't you just go through all of this? Didn't you get more attention than normal, to the point of one guy being all weird? So it would be totally normal that you think your hubby is going to have more women hitting on him. Because it happened to you.

Where you might be a bit mistaken would be his reaction to more people hitting on him. You have no reason to think he would do anything wrong. And if you are concerned, just ask him.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:40 PM on September 27, 2010

Response by poster: Eicats - your response resonated with me. This really is about me in a deep way. I'll take your advice to heart :)
posted by frosty_hut at 1:40 PM on September 27, 2010

Look, I seem to have created the impression here that I'm a prude.

I haven't noticed anyone saying you're a prude. You've gotten comments that are quite the opposite, e.g. "Its okay to say no." And "You're being awesomer than 99.9% of wives would be!"

I also think that when you're making comments in the thread like this....

I don't know anything for sure, and am not leaping anywhere or making any hard and fast assumptions, as you'll see if you re-read my post. No need to get snippy.

...and this...

Yes! I am insecure. Not something I'm trying to hide, so no need to be so triumphant and all, GOTCHA about it.'re over-moderating and over-reacting to people who are just trying to help you. The way these threads usually work best is if you let everyone give their answers and refrain from commenting unless something really needs to be clarified. Then, you can take it all in and decide what you agree and disagree with.
posted by John Cohen at 1:40 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Ironmouth, aha, good point, I didn't make that connection until you did. Yeah, I lost a bunch of weight recently and went from invisible to - not invisible. Still dealing with the fallout. Oddly, I'm not necessarily happy now that I'm hotter. (The mind is such a frickin' weird thing, aint' it? More for my dear therapist :))
posted by frosty_hut at 1:42 PM on September 27, 2010

from a completely photographic side, it seems a little weird to just jump into nude photography, studio and all. does he know how to work portrait lighting? flashes and reflectors? those are all going to come into play, and i don't see why he needs to learn how to use those things on nekkid people right from the get go.

maybe he can inch his way in by taking some photography or portrait classes, see if this is something he's actually interested in minus all the bare titties. if not, you have some other issues to deal with, but if it's the photography itself that he's excited about, maybe it will make you feel better about moving on to erotic photography.
posted by photoboothsupermodel at 1:47 PM on September 27, 2010

also, are you aware of how much money a completely amatuer photographer is going to have to spend on such a hobby? answer: a lot.

renting equipment, space, and hot young women isn't a cheap thing to do.
posted by photoboothsupermodel at 1:51 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: PhoB - Yes! I've known some of those guys too. Hey, they're not all guys! And they're not all creeps. But yeah. Which is why the uneasiness. Part of it is my own identity and status that I'm concerned with -- what will other people think of ME, married to HIM, a nude photographer! Will they laugh at me? Think we're swingers? etc. etc. Plenty o' less than noble thoughts swirling around the old cranium since this happened.

Ha, yeah, I am trying to be awesome and cool around this (great phrase), but yes, I have all kinds of worries too. I realize I'm giving y'all mixed messages here, because I'm feeling very mixed up. I realize it makes my thought process hard to follow. Thanks for sticking with me :)

Thanks photobooth!
posted by frosty_hut at 1:59 PM on September 27, 2010

I have an idea -- just a possibility -- for why you've been having some of the thoughts you've been having.

Could it be that you're projecting? In other words, when you say you're worried about him getting hotter and that he would be working with someone sexy and the two of them would be flirtatious and he could be tempted to cross the line ... you're really thinking about yourself doing these things. That's the impression I get when I read this question and then read your August 23, 2010 question and think about them together.

Again, just a possibility.
posted by John Cohen at 2:01 PM on September 27, 2010

As a data point, this would absolutely not be okay in my relationship. I do not consider myself a prude, but if not wanting my partner taking naked pictures of other women makes me non-GGG, so be it. There is a healthy level of self-doubt and questioning, and you are past it. This new hobby clearly makes you uncomfortable, and you need to talk to him about it.
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 2:04 PM on September 27, 2010 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: John Cohen, I think you're right. I've had some feelings of attraction toward other men recently that have disturbed me a lot.

Not that anyone would have to lose weight in order to feel attraction to others, but that's what happened to me! I didn't inspire much feeling in men before, so I didn't have those feelings much myself. When people come on to you, suddenly you become aware of little inklings of answering impulses. They've frightened me. And, I suppose I'm anticipating (or projecting as you say) that hubby will be feeling those same things too, and wondering how he'll handle them.
posted by frosty_hut at 2:13 PM on September 27, 2010

Plenty o' less than noble thoughts swirling around the old cranium since this happened.

You're still trying to minimize and invalidate your own feelings. Your thoughts aren't less than noble--they might even be sensible. You're not being a prude or uptight or anything like that. This is something that many women (or men, if the genders were reversed) would feel uncomfortable with, for good reason. And that doesn't make them terrible people, either.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:14 PM on September 27, 2010 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Ah, PhoB - I needed to hear that so much. Thank you.
posted by frosty_hut at 2:28 PM on September 27, 2010

Apologies if this has been covered. I confess to speed-reading the replies so far and may well have missed it.

Before I clicked your "read more" I assumed the plan was for you to be the model, and your "not as thrilled" referred to modelling.

Unless my speed-reading has failed me, this hasn't come up between you and him as an option. Two things come to mind. One: if you were to model, could this address julthumbscrew's point regarding this being a problem of "his adventure" rather than a "together" adventure?

Two: if he hasn't suggested/requested you model for him, could there be an element of annoyance about that? Even if the answer would have been hell no, anyway, it would be understandable in my eyes if you resented him looking to hire models instead of beginning, at least, with you. A sort of, "what, I'm not an erotic enough subject for you?" undertone implicit in this?

I apologise if this comes across as presumptious or offensive in any way whatsoever, I absolutely don't mean it to. I don't have a spouse and I can barely operate my camera, so I probably have no basis to offer advice on this Ask at all. It just seemed like this would be the obvious way to turn it into a "together" activity, so I'm surprised it hasn't entered the debate, and thought I'd lob the idea into the mix.
posted by Slyfen at 2:31 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Does he have to take nude photos of other women or could he be satisfied just taking nude photos of you for his own private collection? If you're too uncomfortable/unhappy with the situation for him to go with his original plan, that could be a nice compromise, and put a little spice into your marriage. Your fears about a nude model seducing your husband the photographer could even be a fun little roleplaying game for you two.
posted by Jacqueline at 2:37 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yep, much like what I was thinking Jacqueline. If it turns into sexytime, hooray, some nice spice. If it doesn't turn into sexytime, because he's 100% focused on white balance and depths of field, that might assuage your fears about "letting him loose" with other models.
posted by Slyfen at 2:42 PM on September 27, 2010

Response by poster: Hi Slyfen, yeah, good question, actually hubby has asked me to nude model for him often. I've done it a little bit. It's not terrible, but I'm still self-conscious around it. I was pretty heavy recently, and I guess it's taking me some time to re-adjust the old body image.

So -- on top of all my other tsurris around this stuff, I feel GUILTY because I don't want to nude model for my husband.


You guys are totally sick of me by now.

The thing is, I wouldn't mind the occasional tasteful torso thing. But hubby really is into the no-holds-barred "wide open beaver" stuff (to borrow a phrase from Vonnegut). And this just isn't me. It's not my self-image. I don't want my vagina documented in that much detail. To me, it's not artistic -- even if you can make it look like the Grand Canyon. ;)
posted by frosty_hut at 2:44 PM on September 27, 2010

I have direct experience with this situation via many personal interactions with fetish photographers and models, both amateur and professional. That counts towards erotic photography, right?

I am worried for you, OP

You are 100%++ to be concerned. Anybody telling you otherwise has no inkling what this hobby is about on a practical level.

Interestingly, my concern is not over the fact that your husband will shtup the models! No.

My experience is that this is a very very powerful subculture your husband is about to join. If you do not directly share in this pursuit, the pursuit could conceivable exist at the expense of intimacy and partnership in your marriage.

Without trust, intimacy, and partnership marriage is ultimately meaningless, yes? No wonder you have reservations!

If your husband feels this need to engage in erotic photography (and it is a need, make no mistake) I know he must at least get it out of his system. It'll be a bumpy ride for you.

It's OK if you get off the ride at some point down the line. You can talk about your concerns now, but I wonder how much good that will do either of you. He can't sublimate his desires against his will, you love him too much to ask him to.

Keep your eyes open. You are not insecure. You are having a reasonable reaction to a valid possible threat to your marriage. I think time will tell if this is really a problem, or a momentary detour on the journey.

FWIW, I've known (married) couples who make it work when one has this pursuit and the other doesn't. It's even been an additional source of income for them. I think a lot of it comes down to the dynamic between you and your husband. The working out thing is unusual, though. I think most of the time intimacy between the married partners suffers.

I hope you are one of the few this can work for.

Good luck.
posted by jbenben at 2:45 PM on September 27, 2010 [8 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks Jacqueline, actually it might be fun to do the roleplaying thing :)

Sorry I yelled at Hermitosis, or offended anyone by getting offended.

I need a beverage!

Thanks to all you guys, I appreciate your input.
posted by frosty_hut at 2:46 PM on September 27, 2010

Response by poster: jbenben, thanks your insight, and for taking this seriously and validating my concerns.
posted by frosty_hut at 2:49 PM on September 27, 2010

He has consistently wanted to do photography, and just from what he's done without really knowing what he's doing, I can see he's got a knack that could be developed.

So, he only just got a camera. And he doesn't really know what he's doing. And his next thought is to rent a studio? He's missing the other, oh, twelve steps in between those two things that would make it look legit, in my eyes.

If he really is interested in nude photography as an art form - and not as an arguably tame and creative kink - then he should be taking photography classes. He should be learning how to use all the nifty equipment he's going to need: lighting, lens, filters, photo-editing tools, etc.

The fact that he is, from what I can glean from your story, jumping straight into the deep end (you know, the one filled with naked women) makes it seem to me that he's way more interested in the nude than in the photography.

And if that's the case, if that's your intuition, then it's absolutely legit for you to tell him that you're not okay with it. At the very least, tell him to take some technical photography classes, practice on you for a while, and then agree to re-evaluate your feelings when you're more comfortable with his intentions.
posted by lydhre at 2:49 PM on September 27, 2010 [15 favorites]

Honestly? To me it sounds like the mid-life crisis episode of a sit-com. And one would think that if it sounds just like it came out of a writer's imagination, it can't be happening in reality, can it? (Yes.)

I think you're being extremely compassionate and rational about this, while feeling pretty freaked out. And I think you are right to be freaked out -- between his urges to photograph other women naked and each of you feeling newly attractive (and attracted) to others -- I feel like this is . . . I would be scared. I am scared for you & your marriage. Each of those would test a marriage, and they are all three happening at once.
posted by MeiraV at 2:52 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

am I being rigid, old-fashioned, uptight, etc. to balk at this?

I am starting to feel some genuine fear and dread for the little girls I know, the more frequently women ask this question. Where is this all coming from, seriously? Where did you get this idea?

There is nothing old-fashioned about wanting to be monogamous, yet. In my humble opinion, taking photos of other women's private parts for fun is somewhere closer to the non-monogamous side of the monogamy spectrum. There is nothing rigid, uptight, and selfish about not wanting your husband to do that if the two of you have agreed to be monogamous. You didn't coerce him into marrying you. The two of you came to an arrangement you were both happy with, and agreed to it.

And even if you are not monogamous, that doesn't mean each of you have to agree to everything the other wants, or else you are bad rotten people. You are allowed to have needs and limits. If you can't work out a situation where you are both happy, or at least not suffering, it's okay not to compromise.

If his erotic life is sort of separated ... is that okay? ... should I be trying to get into that other room?

I don't know -- would it be okay with you? It's your marriage. You make the rules, we don't. Neither we nor anyone else have the right to pronounce a decision on what you should do, how you should feel, what you need to agree to or be okay with, etc. In my opinion, you sound too concerned with what you should do in this situation to be a good person according to society. If his erotic life is separated, and that's not okay with you, that's fine!

The thing is, he's so absolutely miserable at work, and I've wanted him to have something to do that he enjoys.

It's not an either/or thing, it's a big world out there and I doubt this is the only thing he could come up with that he enjoys.

He has said to me that if this whole thing REALLY bothers me, he won't do it.

Then just tell him it bothers you, and, if he was serious about that and not just being passive-aggressive, problem solved. IMO it's perfectly fine to balk at this. I would.
posted by Ashley801 at 2:52 PM on September 27, 2010 [22 favorites]

The thing is, I wouldn't mind the occasional tasteful torso thing. But hubby really is into the no-holds-barred "wide open beaver" stuff (to borrow a phrase from Vonnegut). And this just isn't me. It's not my self-image. I don't want my vagina documented in that much detail. To me, it's not artistic -- even if you can make it look like the Grand Canyon. ;)

This scares the living crap out of me. I couldn't handle that. My hubby staring at other women's vagina's! AAHH!! And, I agree that it is not "artistic" at that point. That's porn, IMHO.

I feel for you. Good luck.
posted by two lights above the sea at 2:54 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

FWIW, somewhere there's an amateur photographer with a whole bunch of photos of my much younger self, showing more skin than my grandmother would approve of. All very tasteful, with props like see-through fabric draped around me, definitely artistic rather than pornographic.

He was fascinated by the colour of my hair, and played a lot with different filters and lighting and whatnot to get different effects with it. I was paid a small amount of cash plus however many prints I wanted of whatever shots I liked.

His studio was in his home. I never actually met his wife or children but they were always somewhere in the house when I was in his studio. It was decidedly unerotic and very business-like. I took my boyfriend for moral support and my own sense of security the first few times, then felt quite safe going by myself.

Taking my experience into account, I like the suggestion of you attending the first few sessions. Check out the 'vibe'. If he's a little over-excited by it all, that would be a problem. If he's strictly business-like, giving the models ample opportunity to cover up between sets and whatnot, he may be like the guy I knew.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 3:10 PM on September 27, 2010

I hesitated in posting this because of my own beliefs re not looking at nudes I am not married to, but I thought this might make you feel a bit better:

When I was a lot younger I went to art school and of course took figure classes. These figure classes mostly used nude models, both male and female. After the initial "shock" , in context these people were about as erotic as a bowl of fruit. An accidental naked boob outside was shocking; an intentional naked boob in class was simply a subject to draw.

You know your husband better than we do. And you know yourself better than we do. It is okay for you to admit it if you are not comfortable with it. And if he is really doing this for the "jollies" and not for the art, I think the jollies will be gone right quick and this will turn into work.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:18 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

One thing I haven't heard suggested yet: why don't you offer to be his assistant? You move the lights, get the backdrop set up the correct way, hold the reflectors when he needs them, have extra batteries and camera bodies ready?

This lets you be part of his excitement, rather than feeling left out of it and gives you an opportunity to get a feel for what he is looking to get out of this.

I'm left a little uncertain by your most recent update, that what he is really looking for are XXX kind of stuff. That makes it seem a little bit more sketchy to me, particularly since he has no previous experience. And FWIW, it will probably translate into being more expensive to rent models given that he is not a known photographer in any way (translation: much more likely to be a creeper) and he is looking for not just nudity, but pretty extreme nudity.

I'm not sure what to say. This, combined with the lifestyle changes (perfume? Smoother body?) for me crosses the line into NOPE! territory.
posted by arnicae at 3:41 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

Two more things...

- This hobby will take A LOT of time away from your marriage.

- This hobby is very financially expensive.

I think the payoffs coming from the endeavor are more likely in the form of public (internet?) recognition of your husband's work, rather than any kind of steady financial income. Be aware, this hobby = much money funneled away from joint pursuits and solely into his hobby.

He should have a "pen name" for this pursuit, obvs.

I didn't want to give you the impression with my previous answer that most folks on the photographer's end make money from this when I absolutely know for a fact they do NOT. It just so happens the only couples I know of who are fortunate enough to make this pursuit work in their marriage are the few who make a small ancillary income from it. Getting to that point is not likely. Just want to be clear, in case you are putting a rosy spin on this like, "Oh! maybe we'll earn some extra spending $$!" No. No you won't.

It takes a HUGE amount of networking and practice for the photographer to reach a point where he is making money with this pursuit. Once there, it's a lot of upkeep to "stay on top."

Again, this all represents time, money and effort spent at the expense of your marriage.

The more I remember about my time in that subculture's mileu, the more I worry for you. MeMail if you ever have specific questions.
posted by jbenben at 3:44 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

And where is he gonna get models? I modeled for art classes when I was young but probably would not have gone to some unknown artist's "studio."
I've dated models, including nude models. Finding woman to photograph will be trivial once he has a decent portfolio (and will still be easy before that, especially if he wants to spend a little money). DeviantArt, CraigsList, and many other sites are packed with photographers looking for girls to model in exchange for the images, and model-wannabes looking for those photographers.

I did very much get the sense that the vast majority of them (mostly shy, middle-aged dudes) were doing this as a way to look at, and interact with, young perky naked ladies.
I've also known a lot of these photographers, and this is definitely the case. Not 100% of the time, but 90%+.

From the sounds of it, your husband doesn't even have much photographic experience yet. The fact that he has set nude modeling as his goal without having any basis in other (even related) types of photography has me thinking "creepy."

There's a difference between learning photography and having an appreciation for the art move you towards nudes (or fashion, or landscapes, or portraits, or nature). It's something else to say, "I want to take nudes. Period." That he's actually artistically driven this way isn't entirely out of the realm of possibility -- certainly there are people in the world who always wanted to do landscapes and so pursued little else. But then, you don't fuck landscapes.

On preview, I'll agree with jbenben as well. This will cost some serious money. Setting up a studio is expensive, even without factoring in the camera.
posted by coolguymichael at 4:13 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

I haven't read any of the other responses, but the fact that he only wants to photograph nude women to me is a huge red flag. If he were actually in it for artistic purposes, he would not be concerned about the gender of the people involved. (Arguments that the female body is somehow just better-looking than the male body are preposterous). If this were me, I would absolutely say no for that reason alone.
posted by Lobster Garden at 4:33 PM on September 27, 2010 [9 favorites]

Based on the details you've provided and the posts above from people with experience in this hobby, I think it's pretty hard to argue that there isn't a sexual component to your husband's interests here. Heck, you said it yourself: he's interested in erotic photography. Not just nude photography, but nude photography from a sexual standpoint. If he insists on photographing not just nude people but nude women, not any nude women but young, conventionally attractive nude women, I think the case is pretty much closed. And the fact that he's rethinking his own appearance and personal attractiveness (I mean, perfumes? Ick.) suggests that he's excited about interacting with the models, and anxious to make a good impression on them.

You seem very reluctant to cut off something that your husband is clearly enjoying, but here's the thing: not all fun is good fun. When you get married, you in effect acknowledge that some boundaries can be necessary and healthy in life, and you partly entrust your partner with the job of enforcing those boundaries for you, making sure you don't spin off into some crazy orgiastic bathrobe-wearing spiral of whatever unfortunate self-indulgences you might be prone to if left to your own devices. Married people look out for each other. And sometimes that can mean a nice firm "ABSOLUTELY NOT!" when one partner proposes something that's clearly bad for the relationship and (therefore, in the long term) him/herself.

I think you need to stop feeling guilty about the prospect of forbidding your husband this hobby, and have some long conversations with him wherein you tease out the different strands of enjoyment he's feeling in the activity. If he does truly enjoy the artistic component of photography, then by all means go ahead with renting the studio and have him do male nudes, or family portraits, or whatever. But I'd take an early opportunity to very matter-of-factly remove the hot-young-beaver option from the table, because I doubt it's going anywhere good for either of you. Assuming that you have a happy marriage currently, a hobby that takes an enormous amount of his emotional and sexual energy away from the relationship, and puts him in an intimate relation to a bunch of women who aren't his wife, is not going to make your husband a happier person in the long run. And years down the road, once the hormonal frisson of contemplating this activity has passed, he may even thank you.
posted by Bardolph at 4:56 PM on September 27, 2010 [21 favorites]

He has no more photography experience & education than the billion others on this planet with a "knack" & a decent camera, but wants to set up a studio to take beaver shots? Those feelings you have, those are sensible reactions to ginormous red flags waving like mad in your face.
posted by zarah at 5:23 PM on September 27, 2010 [21 favorites]

That he doesn't seem interested in any other type of photography is worrisome. Surely, if he's in it for the quality of the picture, there will be other things in the world that interest him besides spread-open beavers (or however you and Mr. Vonnegut so elegantly put it). If he wants to photograph the human form, why not portraits? The fact that he's going from just buying a camera to wanting to photograph nudes exclusively -- tells me that he's more interested in the nudes than in the photraphy. Save some time and money and send him to a strip club.
posted by custard heart at 5:26 PM on September 27, 2010

OP-I don't usually threadsit but wanted to come back and read some of the responses after mine. And whoa. Your additional info- hubby really is into the no-holds-barred "wide open beaver" stuff changes my advice substantially. I have never worked with a photographer who does this type of work, I would run like hell from one who asked for this, and if that guy was my husband, I'd run faster. So wow, are you being seriously understanding-way more so than you need to be, ought to be, than he deserves you to be. I'd flat out tell him no way. If he wants to do artistic nudes, that's one thing. But asking to take what are basically gynecological shots of other women doesn't sound like artistic interest to me, it sounds like... well.... kinda gross.
posted by supercapitalist at 6:42 PM on September 27, 2010 [5 favorites]

I think the biggest issue in all of this is that you've talked more with us about it than you have with him. Your concerns are completely, absolutely, without-qualification, justified. Please talk with him about it. As someone mentioned upthread, just print this thread out, give it to him, and ask him to read it. I have no doubt that he'll feel like some aspect of his interest has been misrepresented here, but I also have little doubt that — even if he were able to argue his case — the general consensus here would be one of concern.

I know you've mentioned various therapists in the past. I'm not sure if marriage counseling has been part of that. If it hasn't, please consider it. It sounds like there are a number of conversations you guys should have.

Best of luck with all this. I would be very upset if anything like this ever came up in my marriage.
posted by Alt F4 at 6:53 PM on September 27, 2010

frosty_hut, I'm at work so I can't spend too much time posting, but let me just say that I have seen the scenario described by Bardolph play out. Though I don't want to go into a lot of details on the green, I'll memail you about my experience if that's OK. (Of course, YMMV, so feel free to read my account, take what you need or what most rings true, and leave the rest.)
posted by virago at 7:19 PM on September 27, 2010

My boyfriend recently began pursuing photography as a hobby. And he is very serious about honing his art. Besides shelling out the money for a DSLR camera body and various lenses, here are some of the efforts he has made so far to become a better photographer:

- Reading everything he can get his eyeballs on about aperture, shutter speed, kinds of lenses, kinds of cameras, kinds of flashes, lighting techniques, white balance, exposure, image noise, shooting formats, composition, color photography, black and white photography, portrait photography, landscape photography, HDR photography, wedding photography, dog and cat photography, sports photography, tripods, Photoshop, blahlalala on and on.
- Asking me to scavenge an empty cigarette carton off my friend so he could make a little makeshift diffuser for his flash.
- Using a cardboard box, all my scotch tape, half a roll of aluminum foil, and my guitar stand to make a big makeshift diffuser for his slave flash.
- Building a tiny lightbox in order to photograph different-colored golf balls to test different camera settings and lighting methods.
- Practicing retouching hair and skin blemishes using photoshop (I did NOT appreciate his detailed explanations of the before and after photos of MY face, thankyouverymuch)
- Practicing photoshopping makeup onto a picture of his own face.
- Sweet talking a sleepy parrot at the botanical garden for a good ten minutes in an effort to get a better pose out of it.
- Driving me batshit nuts by using me as an experimental subject at all hours of the day.
- Bringing his camera with him EVERYWHERE (even Walmart) because there might be something interesting to photograph.
- Putting up his photos on photography forums to get critiques and advice.
- Talking my ears off about all of the above, and more.

If none of that sounds familiar to you, then it would seem that the "nude" or "erotic" aspect is more important to him than the "art" or "photography" part.

In my opinion, you are not being a prude, uptight, rigid, or selfish. You are actually being very open-minded and generous by making such an effort to see it his way and be okay with it. I absolutely understand why you are having a hard time being okay with it. I would have the same concerns if I was in your situation, and this nagging fear may be your instincts telling you that something is off. You are definitely entitled to share these concerns with your husband, and to stand your ground where you feel discomfort. I agree with the above that not everything in marriage has to be, nor should be, a compromise. Some things are just NO, and you are perfectly within your rights to decide what you will or will not tolerate in your relationship. If your husband has a love of art, well that's the beauty of art - he can find endless other ways to express himself and bring beauty into the world. You are NOT crushing his dreams by declaring that wide-open beaver shots are off-limits.
posted by keep it under cover at 7:20 PM on September 27, 2010 [14 favorites]

You said in an earlier question that he would not be too thrilled about you posing for a nude painting. So, you both have insecurities about this kind of stuff, right? I think you need to have a serious conversation about this, because in spite of all the talking you're doing here, it doesn't seem like you've ever talked with him. You said above So I said, "Okay, if you want to take nude photos of women, that's fine. I only have one rule: There will be no bare pussy in my house! Unless it's my pussy!", but then said that he is interested in beaver shots. Erm, didn't you say you already said "no" to that particular act? Or was that a joke, too? It's not actually clear to me, I doubt it's clear to him.

If he is okay with saying "no nude posing" to you, I think it's perfectly fine to say "no nude picture taking" to him. You don't have to be coy about your discomfort, or pretend you're more tolerant than you really feel. Faking it will wreck your relationship for sure.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:21 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you're jealous just thinking about this (as per your first comment) that alone would be reason enough for him to seriously rethink doing this. When you add up all the other points you've since made (him wanting to do beaver shots, the new obsession with looking attractive, the lack of technical interest in photography or in any other types of nude besides female) it would raise a lot of flags with me.

I would have a very straight forward conversation - no beating around the bush - about his hopes and plans for his new hobby and how it's making you feel. Explain to him what this looks like from your end (assuming this raises flags with you too) and see how he responds. Then it may be worth discussing how he feels right now about your relationship because things like this can seriously jeopardise it, no matter how cool you're attempting to be. Even if it's completely innocent on his end, it's creating insecurities in you, which ultimately hurt both of you.

If he's genuinely interested in photography, there's plenty of ways to indulge this without it involving pornography (which is pretty much what you described). If the porno part of it is essential to his enjoyment, I think you have a far bigger problem.
posted by Jubey at 2:07 AM on September 28, 2010

Just to add; Some food for thought; It sounds like he's looking for a legitimate way to get you to let him be around young naked women. By saying it's his hobby, and he needs a hobby to get excited about life again, it makes it much harder for you to say no without seeming like the bad guy.
posted by Jubey at 2:12 AM on September 28, 2010 [3 favorites]

Oh boy- I don't change my mind in these threads too often. And since you said my first response struck a chord, that probably is still valid concerning your feelings. However, I agree with the latter posters that have said that this now sounds more like a fetish photography thing and that he's more interested in the sexual aspect of it than any artistic result.

While this new insight does not invalidate any of your feelings- whether you're concerned about losing your old dynamic, etc.- it does add strength to your apprehension about this. I guess what I'm trying to say is that even if you have (maybe somewhat selfish, but TOTALLY NORMAL) feelings of not wanting him to grow and develop into a different person because you fear losing your misery dynamic, that doesn't matter because it would be very wrong for him to suddenly devote all his time and energy into something that is mainly a sexual release that involves other women. So his motives cancel out yours.

At least that's how I see it from my armchair...
posted by Eicats at 8:44 AM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Just had a thought on this ... could be off, but I thought I'd share.

Perhaps, maybe, your husband is jealous of you and the increased attention you've been getting lately. This, then, is his awkward way of saying "I'm here; I'm sexual; I haven't felt like you're attracted to me; could you tell me that a bit more? ... and if you don't, then maybe others will give me that attention."

I wouldn't have thought this if this question/thread were your only one in this vein, but with the one from August, where he introduced you to his coworkers in the bar, and his coworkers all made comments ... could this jealousy-on-his-part be what's going on? You've said that you've told him that you're proud of his losing weight ... maybe rather than focusing on the hard work he's done and on what he used to be, tuning your comments to his current sexiness could get a better result? It might be that he feels like he's going to lose you, and this is a misguided attempt at keeping up with you.
posted by Alt F4 at 11:17 AM on September 28, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for these new comments, guys.

I should mention that my husband hasn't explicitly said that he wants to do fetish photography. He's only tried this on me, as far as I know. He occasionally photographs my crotch. I don't love it, but he doesn't show these things to anyone else, so it seems harmless (although I hate the result! There's nothing dumber looking on earth than a wide-open vajayjay).

So I'm not sure he plans to do this with his models. (Ha, they don't even exist yet, this all feels surreal.) I'm just sort of contemplating worst case right now.

Eicats, yeah, I agree with you!

Hi Alt, hm, good point. Yes, I think my husband does feel a bit envious of my new apparent hotness (this is a value others have assigned, BTW -- I don't feel it myself and would not describe myself that way).

AND -- I know I'm not romantic enough, and that he would like it if I would initiate romance and sex more. He's not at all a villain, and I'm still holding out hope that he's not a lotions and robes guy! I love him. This is hard!

Thanks so much for your responses, it's really meant a lot to me!
posted by frosty_hut at 1:58 PM on September 28, 2010

Have you and he considered couples counseling? If it was just a question of his interest in erotic/pornographic photography that would be one thing. But there's been a lot of other issues touched on here beyond that: mutual weight loss, newfound attractiveness to the opposite sex, his new care in appearance, jumping into a new hobby way too quickly without all the necessary effort and groundwork that keep it under cover mentioned, sex/romance, job dissatisfaction, and perhaps some communication gaps. That seems like a lot when listed that way! And all those things could potentially be stressors. Given that, counseling might be prudent, and give you and he a way to address things that could become problems, even if they aren't problems today.
posted by 6550 at 6:55 PM on September 28, 2010

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