Men's Naked Drawing
Last night I had the pleasure of attending a longstanding men’s nudist group called Men’s Naked Drawing NYC. This group helps guys of all shapes, nationalities, ages, and backgrounds come together to build their self-confidence, social skills, and artistic abilities. As someone who could use help with all three of these, I was excited to attend! This was my second time joining the group (the first was last week at a SoHo space). Last night’s event was held in a private apartment, hosted by a very kind and talented artist. 18 guys showed up, mingling with snacks and refreshments before the first model hit the stand. Models are asked to sign up before we begin, and I took the opportunity to go first when nobody else seemed up for it.
I’ve held some difficult yoga poses in my life, but was recommended to keep it simple for my first time (arms below the heart, specifically). I struck a basic standing pose and fixed my eyes on a vase to keep still. After a few minutes under the spotlights, I could feel the sweat dripping down my sides from my armpits. No stranger to sweat, this didn’t bother me. It was interesting to see heads bobbing up and down in my periphery, artists glancing to check their work and occasionally holding up a pencil for scale. I was tempted to glance down to see what they were doing, but I kept my gaze fixed to avoid even the slightest movement. Ten minutes went by surprisingly fast. My feet tingling, I made my way down off the platform.
Modeling was interesting, and my ego looks forward to seeing what the guys came up with. But that said, I think I prefer to be on the other end of the pencil. The guy who went after me held a menacing (or titillating?) belt between his clenched fists. This was a welcome pose for me, as fingers remain the most difficult thing for me to draw. The next guy, beautifully tattooed held a seated pose, but I only managed to get the basic form before the time was up. I had to teach early in the morning, so the next and last pose for me to draw was two gentlemen held in sweet embrace on the couch.
Unlike our all-gender events at Just Naked, this MND group doesn’t discourage erections or “sexy camaraderie” among members. While they explicitly prohibit sex or sexual activity during the meetings, there is plenty of self-touch going on (and sexual touch permitted for model(s) in a pose). Personally, I love that there are social nudist groups out there with such differing approaches to the glaringly obvious connection between nudity and sex. The comically conservative AANR groups, refusing to flatter any conversation on the subject, are at odds with this MND group which embraces the connection while drawing the line at explicit sex. Just Naked’s official position on the matter is somewhere in between the two, totally open to the conversation yet cautioning against erections, cruising, and touch at all-gender events. As you can read in our Principles, our goal is to educate attendees on cruising and other prickly areas of potential concern for women and those who are new to social nudity. We understand that some folks who are coming to our events might be in totally new territory, perhaps loaded with cultural conditioning that makes navigating the space a confusing and anxiety-provoking endeavor. I’ve been there, still am to some degree, and can say that a calm, empowering, and educational space would have served me well in the beginning.
In the spirit of growth, inclusivity, and moving this conversation forward, we’ve partnered with MND to publish one of their groups on our platform! Starting on February 19, you can join me at their monthly SoHo drawing group. The organizer, Shungaboy, is an exemplar of community organizing (and just a really sweet guy). I urge you to find their meetup group and get tapped into his world if this event interests you.