Nudity and Sensuality Levels

Models can be requested to wear anything from a little to a lot, so it is useful for the model to know what level is expected for two reasons. First, the more revealing a photoshoot is the more the model should be charging. Second, at some point the level nudity requested may be more than the model is willing to do.

A separate, though related, question is the level of eroticism expected. More skin does not mean more erotic: figure nudes are typically non-erotic as an example. Eroticism is a concept separate from what "turns a person on" (what may be referred to as their fetish or kink). It is a measure of how alluring the model is making themselves, thus the degree of arousal they attempting to engender in the viewer. 

Sensuality Levels

We begin by define levels of sensuality based on the level model may be expected to emulate.


The absence of sensuality. For example, a typical catalogue advertisement may feature someone who is attractive, but they are making no effort to engender arousal in the viewer.


An example of sexy is choosing to wear skin-tight or low-cut outfits to a nightclub. The dress and behaviour is to encourage sexual interest and fantasizing about the person, but there is a clear sense of distance. Think "look but don't touch".  This may include flirtatiousness or poses that accentuate the model's "assets", such as in Pinup or Swimsuit, no matter the level of dress.


This level of takes the idea of encouraging the viewer to think of the model sexually and adds a level of invitation. The viewer is encouraged to not only be sexually attracted to the model, but to imagine the persona they have created as being sexually available. The pose and dress is designed to encourage pursuit.

This style of modelling poses some risk to the model in that the viewer may treat the fantasy as real availability. For this reason, models  who engage in an alluring level of posing may feel the need to use a Stage Name to protect against people who attempt to find them in real life.


Where alluring was indicating sexual availability, erotic is indicating sexual readiness. Specifically, an erotic level involves the model displaying a high level of sexual arousal themselves. This does not require nudity to achieve: a fully-dressed model can give the impression that they are highly aroused. This may involve touching the genitals but does not go as far as displaying penetration.


At this level the model is engaged in real or simulated orgasm (softcore) and possibly with penetration (hardcore).

Nudity Levels

There is a wide range in the amount and type of "skin" a model may be asked to show. The level of nudity is both the amount the body that is shown and whether or not nipples and/or genitals are exposed. 


The model is clearly fully-clothed. This style typically features an absence of eroticism.


The model is fully clothed, but the outfit may include sheer items of clothing with undergarments covering up the model. The model is likely to show bare legs, arms, back, and/or mid stomach. This style may feature a level of eroticism that is defined as Sexy. An example is posing in clubwear or a party dress.


In this style of images, the model may be wearing the least amount of clothing possible while still considered “dressed”. Two common examples are swimsuit or non-sheer underwear. Nipples and genitals are covered and not visible through the material. The eroticism level of this style is sometimes as high as Sexy but rarely may cross into Alluring.


The clothing the model is wearing is skimpy and may be partially or completely sheer. Unlike with the previous level, nipples or pubic hair may be just visible through the material. The contract may come with a provision that images that show nipples, pubic hair, or genitals may not be published. The concept of Right to Publish is covered in a later section. The eroticism level may cross from Sexy into Alluring,.


This level of nudity involves creating images that give the impression that the model is fully or partially nude. An example of this is body art in which the art material covers nipples and genitals sufficiently that the model is not technically nude. Another example is posing with a jacket open just enough to show the model is not wearing anything underneath Depending on the photoshoot, implied does not necessarily mean that the model is nude in the studio. As with Lingerie, the contract may come with a provision that images that show nipples, pubic hair, or genitals may not be published.

Non-nude Erotic

Where implied nudity draws attention to the idea that the model is barely clothed, non-nude erotic implies the model is highly aroused. Think of it as a mix of either fashion, lingerie, or implied in which the sensuality level has been pushed up to the erotic level. This means the model may be involved in poses where they are touching their genitals and demonstrating sexual arousal, but does not imply orgasm or penetration.


The model’s nipples will be completely exposed in the image. Oddly our society distinguishes between male and female nipples so female models posing topless will charge equivalent to full nudity. The contract may come with a provision that images that show pubic hair or genitals may not be published.

Artistic or Figure Nude

The model will typically be completely nude but will not pose in such a way that exposes their genitalia. Typically the eroticism level of this style is None: the intent of the resulting image is generally not to engender desire in the viewer. 

Playboy/Top Shelf 

These styles cross in the to area of erotic photography. The poses are typically explicit, showing full genitalia, and the eroticism level ranges from provocative to implied arousal. It, however, does not involve touching the genitals or sexual acts. An example is a typical Playboy spread from the days when Playboy featured nudity.

Magazine (Softcore)

This style is the point just before erotic photography crosses into pornography. Posing does involve touching genitalia but does not involve insertion. The eroticism level may cross implied arousal into implied orgasm.


At this point you’ve crossed into pornography so we’ll leave it at that.

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