The Sexist

How to Arouse Your Nude Model: “Wiggle Just Enough”

John Hammack has been modeling nude for 15 years, ever since a guy at the gym spied him naked in the locker room and suggested he start disrobing professionally. In the past decade and a half, Hammack has removed his clothing in front of hundreds of people in the D.C. area. Dude has got stories. Hammack, 53—"the same age as Kevin Sorbo"—agreed to talk about 15 years of accidental erections, intentional eroticism, and fathering a budding art student who wonders "why dad keeps a bathrobe in the trunk of his car."

On creative posing:

[One] model—a really good one, actually—couldn't come up with an idea until she finally decided on a Lorena Bobbitt pose.  She held the male model's dick in one hand, and a plastic knife in another.  Wish I'd been him.  The instructor called a halt to that pose, the guy had to lose his erection, and the girl hasn't been called back since. . . . the students bitched because they liked the pose.

On workplace hazards:

One class I was in I was modeling beside a skeleton that fell on me.  I'm now laying down on the floor with bones on top of me looking like a candidate for necrophilia.

On erections:

One time I was doing private modeling for a woman who is a really good artist.  She talked about a BDSM thing she was into.  Although she is attractive, I never thought of her being a sexual person before.  Of course, I got an erection that just wouldn't go away.  To this day, we never talk about it. I've posed for her several times since, but I avoid this subject—BDSM.

On getting comfortable with genitalia:

One cute story was at a religious school.  The instructor had never worked with a nude model even as a student.  She had me bring in progressively skimpier underwear until she could grow accustomed to the idea.  The last session the students asked her, 'Why not?'  She became confused because she couldn't give a good answer.  While she was stammering, I simply took it all off.  It was funny for everyone, and more than a little enlightening for her. She repeatedly expressed her gratitude at the end of the class and over the phone.

On arousal:

[Intentional arousal] has happened at least three times off the top of my head by female models. They pose sitting on my lap doing a classical pose called "The Kiss" or some other embrace.  They then start to wiggle just enough. They know what they are doing. As long as the pose lasts long enough until I can calm down, it's OK, but it really screws with a guy's mind—and they know this. One time, prior to a class beginning, I was trying to help an instructor—actually, one I'd been really attracted to for years—arrange a ceiling light. She was standing on a chair but couldn't reach it.  She asked me to hop onto the chair with her. I'm naked and I know how much I like her. If the room was otherwise empty, maybe I would have. I told her she needed to get down so I could get onto the chair.  I still ask myself, "What if?"

On penis drawings:

At least twice, once in a drawing class and once in a sculpture class, participants drew my attention to what they'd drawn.  In the drawing, she selected a rather personal part of my anatomy to pay particular attention to.  In the sculpture, a different student kept shaping and reshaping the same body part.  She couldn't seem to get it right, so she walked up for a much closer observation.

On narcissism:

Many times people have opened doors or walked by windows and seen me in my full splendor.  If the blinds are open, I never really notice.  After all, I am where I am suppose to be, doing something legally allowed.  They are the ones who should be uncomfortable. . . .  most art models really don't care.  We are into narcissism.  If we look good and won't offend anyone, we'd do it in the parking lot.  We usually like to be the center of attention.  It fulfills some need beyond the money.  For me, it makes me stay in good shape, and it is a means of expression.  I am horrible at drawing figuratively, so I think this makes up for some of the frustration.

On reactions to "I'm a nude model":

I'm a conservative, [and] I generally don't mention it to [other conservatives]. My liberal friends seem to get it—either that, or they have less morality.

Once I was at a reception at the Museum for Women in Art. I told two extremely sweet, attractive ladies in their 70s how I got invited there was because I was a friend of the hostess of a show. They asked me how I knew her, so I told them. They looked surprised, then pleased, then they smiled, then they giggled like little teenagers. Before the reception was over I made a point of kissing them both on their cheeks and hugging them.

I would never tell coworkers either in law enforcement or my current security-related work about this. Not because of reprisals, I simply don't want them to denigrate what I do. I respect what I do and the students, instructors, and artist I work for—as well as other art models. If someone tries too hard to find out how I spend my time, I tell them I am doing martial arts, because they already know I do this a lot and it fits into their overall picture of me.

. . . Being a member of the Mormon church, I was worried about their opinion when I joined. Since one of the members who encouraged my conversion was the wife of a bishop, and an art teacher I was working for, I didn't see much reason to quit. We both agreed to not discuss the matter around others.

On the misconception that nude modeling is necessarily sexual:

New art models [sometimes have this misconception]. They either quit soon after they start when they realize there are easier ways to get a date on a Saturday night, or they begin to become more professional. New art students have to deal with this, too. Right now my daughter is getting ready for this issue. She is really prudish. I guess it never occurred to her why dad keeps a bathrobe in the trunk of his car. New art students have to be dealt with tenderly until they realize I'm not trying to be their gay lover, and I'm not going to hop off the stage and assault them. They tend to avoid drawing my hands, my face, and my tender parts. The first two because they are hard to get right. I'm not so sure about the last one, though.

Artwork—not of John Hammack—by Keli Anaya.

  • Reid

    Um, isn't that wiggling sexual assault?

  • Amanda Hess

    I would say so!

  • Adrienne

    Yeah, the wiggling is sexual assault and needs to be taken very seriously, even if the man speaking doesn't personally mind it. The penis-holding is also very very wrong unless the guy consented to it beforehand.

  • Richard Long

    "The penis-holding is also very very wrong unless the guy consented to it...



  • Flutterby

    It always annoys me how so many people have such difficulty differentiating between nudity and sexuality. I'll go to nude beaches in the summer because I just don't like wearing clothes that serve no purpose other than 'modesty'. It's fine for the most part, but there's sometimes a guy or two who'll go around propositioning every single young woman they see, as if the sole reason we could possibly be exposing ourselves is to get sexual attention.

    I'd have thought even amateur art students would understand that a body is just a body, but I guess that's not always the case.

  • Sarah

    Very interesting.

    Most of the nude models my ex-boyfriend drew were plus-sized men and women. Go plus-sized men and women!

  • amy

    John - having been an artist in a figure drawing class, I can tell you that the 'tender parts' tend to be just as difficult to draw as a hand (especially if you're circumcised). Perhaps more difficult than a hand. I can practice drawing hands from observation by looking at my left hand, but only the guys in class can practice drawing male junk without a model - and even that they can't practice while doodling in their notebooks during other classes.

    So the avoidance of drawing your tender parts may be less shyness than lack of ability.

  • Lee

    15 years experience, though some of these accounts seem rather bizarre to me, as a nude model myself. I've also even been Mormon and comments like "wish I'd been him" to the penis-holding, supposed (openly displayed even?...) sexual attraction to the artists, and apparently hiding one's modeling hobby from family just don't make sense to me. To say nothing of the idea of "wiggle just enough" - you've got to be kidding. And in my mind these things should rightfully be a membership issue for anyone so involved, and which I don't think real/professional nude modeling need be, or typically is, in the least (and ironically I'm the one the Mormon church threw out because I am a nude model - CRAZY!).

    Perhaps this article is partly a case of writing sensationalism? It's about the only way I could explain some of it. The last paragraph makes the most sense. Nude modeling is hard work and compared to the tone that I feel from most of this article rather mundane and boring, at least during the actual poses.

    Speaking for myself personally, at least, I also couldn't disagree with the narcissism idea more. In fact being the "center of attention" is probably the part I struggle with the most. And though I do agree it's beyond the money. Often the money barely covers my full transportation costs, and I do it anyway. Still, my motivation is more seeing the resulting artwork and how that makes me feel and the opportunity to communicate how I feel about the human body, which unlike too much of this article seems to suggest, is a whole lot more than a penis or anything sexual at all. At least in my mind, as I'm focused on why I'm there, not some penis-oriented or sexual fantasy. If I were an artist, or model coordinator, I would NEVER hire a male model that expressed these kinds of ideas. I'd want them to grow up first, and regardless of their calendar age.

  • Lindsay Beyerstein

    I have my doubts that these female models were really deliberately trying to arouse him against his will by covert wiggling. He asserts that they know what they're doing but that assessment smacks of projection.

  • Amelia

    I think Lee should have been interviewed instead (or as well), I would love to hear what he has to say about being a nude model.

  • Ed BBarron

    Great blog. I too am a professional art model in Boston - I understand what you experience.

    Once I was asked to model for a private group of artist that get together every week to draw. They had me modeling with one of the most beautiful female model in the area. Not a problem since we had modeled together before at the local art school. After a few poses they asked us to do some poses "up close and personal". By the end of the session I could not look this women in the eyes without feeling that familiar stirring.



  • Stephen Kosciesza

    Well, I can't say I've modeled with any woman who tried to get a rise out of me; usually, it's been almost clinical in its professionality (made up word, I know!).

    But I do remember once working with one particular woman; not only was she incredibly sexy (and John knew her and would agree), but we were also very fond of each other.

    SHE set the pose--the most intimate pose I'd ever dared attempt with a woman.

    I know she wasn't trying to get any kind of vertical response. We were modeling nude in a VERY public setting--Artomatic. Anybody (duly warned by signs) could come in and draw, or just observe. So an erection would have been a real no-no, and we both knew it.

    The pose was basically a hug, and we found ourselves having a whispered conversation. But when that conversation started going in an ill-advised way (under the circumstances), I said, "Can we talk about something else? I'm trying not to get a hard-on, here!" She instantly replied, "Oh! Sorry!"

  • Stephen Kosciesza

    Amy, funny you say that about "it" being hard to draw, "especially if [we're] circumcised" I've been a model for 15 years. I'm an uncircumcised man. And I've seen it over and over: in college age classes, the young women tend to draw my "it" circumcised. I have to wonder if they're not comfortable actually looking at "it" (especially on an older man), and they draw what they expect. And of course, here in the USA, if you haven't seen many, there's a good chance you've only seen circumcised.

  • amy

    Hi Stephen - I guess it was just me having an easier time with our uncut model - especially for 10 or 15 minute sketch poses. That's not much time for all the details that tend to hide underneath the foreskin. Funny that so many students would prefer to draw from memory rather than taking advantage of being able to draw from observation.

    Thanks for being a model! I really enjoyed my figure drawing classes and I thought they made me a much better artist.

  • John Hammack

    Calm down. Methinks thou doth protest too much. Are you perhaps leaving something unsaid about your own motivations. Remember a couple of things: My experiences are over almost 21 years and probably thousands of classes at many diverse places.
    Also, many of Amanda's questions brought out experiences that I'd forgotten. They were asked because people who read these articles are looking for sex. I did not design the questions and I did not design the situations. I simply answered the questions. if anything, I held back. Over 21 years almost nothing sexual has ever happened. Putting in the same amount of time into a different pursuit would have probably given me more to talk about than art modeling. Just because your motivations, inspirations, and focus are different from mine during those long hours of standing as still as possible, does not mean everyone feels the same way. I applaud you if you live up to a higher moral standard than I do. We should always respect those like yourself who look for the very best of motivations.

  • John Hammack

    I remind you telling me the situation, but I don't remember who it was. Please remind me off line.
    I'll admit that a whispered conversation would excite me much more than a nude female, especially if the conversation digressed into something sordid and vulgar like sex. Of course over here where I am now I'm not getting much whispered conversation or nude females.
    On the other hand, I love my wife.

  • John Hammack

    Well Lindsay, the "projection" may have started before the wiggling began, butt I don't remember it that way.

  • Max

    First of all, great series of articles! I really enjoyed reading them all.

    John Hammack, thank you for your candor and for sharing your experiences. I've been a model for a decade and can vouch for everything you've said. This article focuses on the sexual side of art modeling (understandable), but your answers give good insight into the world of modeling. I too come from a conservative background (not Mormon), and still consider myself a conservative - it's amazing how many artists are surprised by that, as if only liberals are willing to pose nude!

    I agree with Lee that the narcissism is the biggest draw for me. I love being at the center of the class, but I also enjoy being nude. I love the creative process and working with students. I thoroughly enjoy working with other models, male or female. And yes, there is a sexually gratifying aspect as well. Rather than a single thing, I think all aspects of modeling appeal to me. The human body is God's greatest work of art. I'm thankful I can use mine to help re-create that beauty in art.

    I would love to get together with other experienced models and swap stories sometime...I know those of us with a lot of experience have much to tell!

  • John Hammack

    I agree Max. Let me know the next time you are over here in the Middle East. We'll get together for cocktails, and maybe drinks too.
    I will admit shamefully that I agreed with every comment you made. Both the altruistic ones and the self-satisfying ones.
    If I could draw figuratively, I'd draw the backs of athletic women I find it so sensual. Every time I approach women here with that sort of proposition, they start yelling for the Taliban to take me away.