Classical vs Sexy posing

The Committee has recently received a number of queries regarding types of posing that could be called sexy, explicit, or erotic. 

Some models may have been told that sexy, explicit, erotic posing is more fun, or will get them more work. We understand that this being taught by another Melbourne based business who run modelling workshops (which is not associated with us and we will not name here). Further to this, we would add that posing in underwear is sexualised in a way that posing nude is not. 

We are diverse and come from a wide range of cultural understandings and experiences of nudity. If we want life modelling to be available to a diverse range of people that means keeping the understanding of what it is ‘standard’ so people can judge if the service they are hiring is culturally safe for the group and for the model.

We received an email from a group who had hired a number of models who had posed in a sexy way that made the group uncomfortable. The group asked for advice on how to respond to this; how to tell models not to pose in this way.

Sexualised posing is not appropriate for a standard life modelling job. This includes anything that is heavily genital focussed, or provocative in any way. We don’t mean to suggest that open leg poses are always out, however some poses will ‘present’ the genitals, while others are more sculptural.

The committee is bringing this to your attention for a couple of reasons, but the main one is CONSENT. Sexy/explicit/erotic/boudoir etc. are all valid forms of expression, but this type of posing:

  • must be negotiated in advance and agreed to by all parties
  • is more akin to sex work than life modelling, and has different responsibilities and considerations, and may include additional risks
  • should attract a significantly higher fee, starting at $150/hr.

By engaging in sexy posing without having had very clear conversations about this, a model may be exposing the artists to something they may not have agreed to see. This is especially problematic in educational settings, where you might have had to fight hard to have a model at all.

If you are okay with sexy posing, but are still paying the standard fee, you are undercutting sex workers who do this for a living, and you are setting up an expectation that other life models will do the same for the standard fee, which is not an expectation that is to be encouraged. All LMS members have been advised that sexy posing is an additional service and that it is to be negotiated ahead of time, that it attracts a significantly higher fee and is not something they are to agree to unless they are confident.

If you engage a model who is posing inappropriately for your group, we encourage you to have a quiet word to them about posing in a more classical way. We also encourage you to send this feedback to the Committee, via

Hen’s & Buck’s Events

A related topic has been working for hen’s or buck’s events. The Committee regularly receives requests from non-susbcribers relating to hen’s or buck’s events, and generally will refer them on to specific models who are also experienced in this area.

Bookings for hen’s and buck’s events are not the same as usual life-drawing. Most of the time, there will be quantities of alcohol, as well as a vaguely (or wildly) titillating atmosphere. People attending these events are unlikely to have been to life-drawing events in the past and are less likely to be familiar with the etiquette of modelling, especially with regard to making personal comments and taking photos (see also use of alcohol). 

For this reason, hen’s and buck’s events are more expensive for the hirer and more work for the model. We understand the standard fee starts at $150/hr for this kind of work also. 

Modelling in underwear

Modelling in underwear is not standard life-modelling. The Committee generally discourage modelling in underwear because, as mentioned, it can be seen as erotic and contributes to scandalising the genitals. If you have not been able to get agreement to have the model pose fully nude, we recommend requesting poses in a bathing costume, bikini, gym wear or other form fitting clothing.

If you require clothed poses of any form, including costume, this must be negotiation beforehand, not least because the model may not be wearing suitable garments to pose in. Models may request an additional fee to pose in costumes. 

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The Life Models' Society (LMS) is a collective of artists' models. We were formed in 1989 to provide a means for life models to get to know each other, and as a support group to standardise rates of pay and to improve our working conditions. Although we do not have the resources to act as a booking agency, we publish a list of available artists' models which is sent to all our subscribers, and updated several times a year.

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