A CUTIE PIE, WHOM WE ADORE:
I am a married guy, and I really want to post (anon/no-face) nudes online, just for fun! I had done it before when I was younger and single and it was a nice confidence booster, etc. but now I'm married and I don't think it would be right to do it without getting an okay from my wife. I get the feeling she would be okay with it, but I'm so nervous to bring it up and I just have no idea when or how to do it in a way that feels natural and not jarring or whatever.
For some more background, I've packed on a few pounds over the last few years and idk, I guess I'm hoping that it might help me feel better about what my body looks like now if even one or two people have nice things to say about it. Maybe it's a terrible idea, but... idk. I figured you'd have something smart to say about it, though.
This is a marvelous idea!!! Taking nudes is fabulous and a wonderful (sorry for all the adjectives) way to reconnect positively with your body. I’ve written about this before, but taking selfies helped me so much with my body dysmorphia/eating disorder recovery because it allowed me small moments of enjoying and reveling in my body.
I absolutely think that you should take some nude photos and, pending a discussion with your wife, post them. I don’t think you need your wife permission to take the photos, and personally, I don’t think that you need permission to post them either, HOWEVER, I do agree with you that a discussion beforehand is good. Additionally, you know your relationship and I do not. You and your wife might have a dynamic where you need to ask permission for this; that’s totally fine! Especially since you are not interested in having a sexual interaction with someone, a fact that might need to be explained/talked about; you obviously do not want to hurt your wife or make her feel like you’re looking to cheat. I’m just suggesting that that the act of posting your own nudes on places that are for that purpose in and of itself is delightful and does not harm anyone, and it is your body.
Onto how to bring this up to your wife: easy! (For me, not for you; sorry). You work up some wild courage—the kind of courage required to do the things in life which matter most like asking people to marry you or admitting that you’re scared—and you ask your wife if you can talk. Ask during a neutral time when neither of you is naked, stressed, angry, drunk or hungry. You can casually mention over a date night or boring TV show (turn it off to talk!) that you’d like to discuss something that you’ve been thinking about.
One massive thing that I should mention: YOU CAN SET THE TONE HERE. People vastly underestimate how much control they have over how another person reacts to a request or admission. Be honest and really straightforward; admit what you're worried about and thinking about. Admit what is appealing to you. Don’t minimize OR catastrophize. If you come in and say, “Hey, I’m really nervous about talking about this, but there is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now and I’d like to talk about it so that we’re on the same page. It might be kind of jarring so if you need time to process and think, I totally get that. [pause while you collect yourself] I used to post nude photos of myself online. No face or identifying information. It made me feel really good about my body and I’ve not been feeling great recently. I have no interest in a sexual exchange or interaction with anyone else and absolutely would not engage in any of that, this is totally about me. I’d love to do that again for the validation it brought me; I think it would really help. How could I do that in a way that would work for you and not feel hurtful or violating?”
Be open to questions and concessions. Maybe she wants to see what you post before you post it, or to have the ability to monitor your inbox on whatever site you’re on. Maybe she doesn’t want to know anything about it. Work together! That’s the good part of being married!!! You may have to answer some harder questions from her, too like, “Why isn’t my admiration for your body enough?” You’re going to have to be vulnerable with each other. She may express that this makes her feel less worthwhile, and you’ll have to adjust and adapt together. Maybe she takes the photos. I don’t know the answers! You don’t either. You’re going to have to talk it out.
And good news: TALKING IS HOT. The very idea that a guy would want to sit down, bring up a problem, and work together to create a solution that works for both of you is FILTHY FUCKING HOT. Men so rarely come to the table with, “let’s talk about this issue,” and when they do… chef’s kiss. Your wife will love that you’re being open and honest and vulnerable. That said, simply admitting to your insecurities and expressing why you want to post nudes does not mean that she owes you carte blanche to snap those pics. She gets to have boundaries, too.
I cannot, of course, guarantee that your wife will be ok with this. I will say that it is a PERFECTLY REASONABLE request, and a fun one. I think it will go well no matter what. I think it will open both of you up to talking about needs and desires. Your desire to feel more admired for example. I don’t know what her desires are— you’ll probably find something out if you listen well.
Best of luck; I hope it all goes well for you two angels!
Sophia Benoit writes this very newsletter; she also writes about sex & relationships for GQ, tries to write about Fleetwood Mac for GQ, avoids writing by tweeting at @1followernodad, works full-time as a researcher for Lights Out With David Spade, and has had bylines in The Guardian, Reductress, Refinery29, Allure, and The Cut. You can reach her or yell at her at firstname.lastname@example.org.