Since I was a little kid, I was ashamed of nudity. I had no issues with my body image, but I did have problems with being naked in front of other people, as if it were something very intimate, forbidden or risky. I remember being afraid of playing sports or going to the swimming pool, because I feared having to change clothes in the locker room. Even being in underwear in front of other people was scary. It was like an irrational fear.

I didn’t even like seeing other people nude or seeing explicit pornography. I preferred softer erotic content, and I found full nudity kind of gross. Luckily with time that started to change, and after many years I’ve overcome some of those inhibitions. But even today sometimes I’m still not that comfortable yet, and sometimes I even avoid intimacy.

I became interested in male erotic photography, and I began to follow some photographers who did artistic, non-explicit nudes. And little by little I began to fantasize of doing photo session like that. But that meant getting naked in front of a camera and a photographer, and that was very scary. To make my worries worse, being my friends and family quite conservative regarding that kind of work, I was afraid of what they would think. Specially since I was a 40-year-old grown up. And I didn’t have any friends who were doing stuff like that.

Anyway, I started considering the idea of modeling naked for an artistic photoshoot. I found that type of work very exciting, and I began struggling between willing to do it, and not feeling authorized to, because of my inhibitions, my background and my age.

Finally, one day my desire and curiosity overcame fear and I decided to contact a photographer who was looking for guys to do nude photography sessions. I remember the excitement when I made that appointment with him. It may sound silly, but it felt kind of risky and daring to me. I remember that I only dared to tell one friend what I was about to do, because I needed to share it with someone. She encouraged me.

I went to the session with fear, a lot of fear. I was willing, but very, very scared. At the beginning I was very nervous, because I didn’t know what could happen. Would I feel comfortable? Was the photographer trustworthy? Could anything bad happen? I tried not to show nervousness and act naturally, but I was really scared inside. And worse, I was ashamed of feeling like that, how could an adult have those kinds of inhibitions and fears?

Luckily, the photographer was very professional, he guided me, and little by little I stated gaining confidence. In the end, the experience was great, and I finished with a feeling of liberation. Posing completely naked for a stranger, in that asymmetrical relationship that forms between model and photographer, where I didn’t know what to do or how to act, where all my insecurities were revealed, it was a challenging experience for me. But having gone through it, I left with an incredible sense of accomplishment and liberation. It was an amazing feeling of elation I won’t forget.

I later repeated that experience with other photographers. I still go to each session with fear and anxiety, only just attenuated by the experience of knowing that in the end it will not be so terrible, and that I have done it before. I think these experiences have helped me feel more comfortable with myself and to be freer and more comfortable in my skin. And to accept my fears and inhibitions as not something to be ashamed of, but something I can share.