Maybe it’s to tease a long-term partner or someone you just met on Snapchat. Maybe people pay you for it on OnlyFans or see it for free on Reddit. Maybe it’s for nobody else’s pleasure but yours.
Regardless of what a nude photo is for, asking how to take one might seem as ridiculous as asking how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It should be obvious, right? It’s right there in the name. But, as plenty of people who have tried it might say, it’s not that simple.
“I feel both powerful and vulnerable at the same time when sending nudes,” said UK-based investment banker James, who posts nudes on Reddit. “I think this adds to the thrill of it all. I am comfortable and confident in my own body, and I like to share this with others, but at the same time, you are putting yourself out there to be judged by the world and this adds a layer of vulnerability.” James preferred to go by a pseudonym to protect his identity around what some in his workplace might consider a controversial hobby.
“Ultimately, I feel incredibly sexy and manly when I post my nudes, which I guess keeps me coming back for more.”
James said that taking nudes also brings out his creative side.
“Part of my role in society is to be a serious and professional man, and posting allows me to step outside of this and show a different side of me.”
For him, a good nude is one that shows the subject as a person, not just a collection of body parts. “Who you are is far more important than what you have. If you can convey this to those you are sending [the nude] to, you can't go wrong.”
He cautioned guys against equating nudes to dick pics.
“If in doubt, zoom out. I personally believe it’s somewhat of a trap to post just a D pick because then, you are defining yourself by the size of a body part which you have little control over,” he said.
Australia-based Reddit user “curious-sloth” started taking and sending nudes as a form of sexting but, like James, now regularly posts nudes on the platform, which has various subreddits specifically for posting and looking at nudes. Because curious-sloth and James post on these communities, they know their nudes don’t come unsolicited. It’s trickier, of course, when people want to send nudes in personal sexts.
“When it comes to personal sexting, I found sending bulge pics in grey sweatpants, for example, is a safer option that gets the other person eager to see more,” he said, explaining that this lets him get a little sexual while minimizing the risk of sending something the receiver might not be comfortable seeing.
When nudes are consensual, welcome, and even encouraged, they can be thrilling for all parties involved.
“Sending or posting nudes is an exciting thing, [so is] waiting for the replies or chats that follow, and the acceptance and ego boost are always a bonus,” curious-sloth said.
Some of curious-sloth’s nudes are just the type one might usually expect—casual thirst traps of him in bedrooms and bathrooms—while others are more artsy, carefully posed, propped, and lit.
But he said his nudes aren’t always about enticing sex. Sometimes, they’re about humor. One of his nudes, for example, is a video where he used his penis to smash an egg.
For those not inclined to try the same egg-smashing trick, curious-sloth offered some advice.
“When it comes to taking a tasteful nude, I think the key is to not have the genitals taking up significant space. Sometimes there is a time and place for a genital-focused nude, but for most applications, think of taking a nice Instagram body shot, but nude.”
Some other things people can do to take better nudes is to experiment with lighting by adjusting windows and blinds or using portable lamps. He explained that this can help people find details on their bodies that look great in photos.
Setting up a camera and using the timer function is one of the main challenges in taking good nudes, curious-sloth said, but people can get around this by shooting videos of themselves instead of photos, then taking screenshots of the stills they like.
He added that following subreddits or Twitter accounts that post nudes also helps with inspiration.
Another place one might find expertly-done nudes is OnlyFans.
A 36-year-old OnlyFans creator from Texas who goes by the alias Daddy Diesel agrees that the key to a good nude is knowing what the audience or receiver wants to see.
“[The key is] just being a good listener to what they’re actually looking for, what their interests are, if they specifically want this or that. Make sure to encompass all that, and try to make it as sexy as possible,” he said.
People who post nudes as often as OnlyFans creators need to come up with ways to spice things up, so to speak.
“It’s one thing to be nude, but it’s also nice to have different props, different kinds of things that you’re using, something just to mix it up,” said Daddy Diesel, adding that things as simple as wearing neckties, boots, or unbuttoned formal shirts over otherwise naked bodies can help make photos more interesting.
He also said that taking nudes in new locations, like outdoors, or more natural but still unexpected ones, like the kitchen, can help change things up.
Sending nudes, however, has gotten Daddy Diesel into some sticky situations, and not the kind that other people sending nudes might want to find themselves in. He recalled instances of being catfished, or of people using his nudes to catfish others.
“You need to tread lightly in many ways, because more often than not, you don’t know who you’re interacting with. They could be anybody,” he warned.
One way to send nudes more safely is to send them on platforms where they disappear after the person on the other end opens them. That way, no copies of the photos exist after they serve their purpose (but this is not a foolproof method). Another is for people to hide, block, or crop their faces from the frame, thereby making them less recognizable. Again, this still comes with some risk.
“I post anonymously, so I don’t include my face. It’s not a completely safe method, people could recognize me from my body, but I’m happy to take the chance,” said curious-sloth about posting his nudes on Reddit.
Investment banker James offered a similar piece of advice for people just beginning to take nudes: “Start slow. Send something a little risqué, semi-anonymously, to a trusted person first and see how you feel. Never do anything you aren't comfortable with and always make sure it’s on your terms. You never know, you may like it.”
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