see also: 'the ecstasies of eros'

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Chapter IV of 'The erotic eye and its nude'


The body is not always flaunting its attractiveness. Even when it openly seduces, it shows only its one side to hide the other from view, and many an attractive part covers another one: as when the arms are crossed over the chest, when one leg is crossed over the other, when the hair covers the neck...

That is why a whole range of erotic gestures and poses haven been developed to display erotic charms that are normally hidden or perhaps even non-existent. Natural display can be involuntary, as is the case with the widening of the pupil, blushing, erections of various parts of the body, or the secretion of various smells and fluids. But it can also be voluntary. Such is the case with smiling, presenting the breasts, stretching the body, not to mention adopting a supine or prostrate position and widening the thighs.

Let us have a closer look at these manifold manifestations of the phanic drive.

Pictures of nudity can be seen on the following pages. Should you be under 18, or feel disturbed when watching pictures of the naked body, please refrain from reading this page further.

Click on the name of the photographer or the thumbnail for a larger view.
Click on the name of the artist below the larger view to be referred to his website.


Seduction begins with the gaze. It no longer idly flutters around, but tries to catch the gaze of the beloved. It can look straightforward from a frontal face:

stéphane bourson

More often, the face is gently inclined, forward and/or sideward:

dominique lefort

waclaw wantuch

igor amelkovich

ernesto timor

In all cases, the mouth is relaxed and the lips are somewhat parted. When the face is gently thrown backward, that expression often unfolds to a nearly concealed kiss:

gérard chesneau

Hypnotising with the gaze is merely an advance to mesmerising with body.

The move is inaugurated by a subtle shift from the face to the breasts:

jacek pomykalski

The further revealing of the front can be postponed by presenting the back as an advance:

christian coigny

Until finally the whole body is put on display:


igor amelkovich

konrad gös



Putting one's attractiveness to display becomes an erotic gesture in its own right, the relish of which onlyadds to the charms of the beauty displayed. Pulling the hair up is even more enchanting than the sight of the uncovered neck:

patrick wecksteen

The act of presenting the breasts or the buttocks is even more seducing than the sight of what is put on display:



didier perreau

Splaying the thighs wide only enhances the appeal of the body exposed:

william ropp

Things come to their apogee when the nude fully reclines, with its arms lifted up and its legs spread wide:

rajko bizjak


Add to this that the effect of displaying can be heightened by teasingly concealing erotic charms before eventually unravelling them. That is why erotic display has come to include an endless array of tantalising manoeuvres. These range from inclining the head and lowering the eyes, over folding the hands across the chest, lifting the legs or turning the back, to withdrawing, running away and pushing back - not to mention slowing down and restraining when eventually the two bodies are entwined. In lingering over the display of erotic charms, the nude comes to endorse the erotic eye's complementary desire to linger over the relish of visual beauty.

To begin with, a gaze from a gently turned away face looks even more inviting, especially when one eye goes hidden behind the hair:

giuseppe sarcinella

Or the expression of the lips is all the more promising when their intentions are concealed by hands that cannot refrain from grasping themselves:

dominique lefort

Even more tantalising is the lowering of the eyelids in a turned away face, especially when the half-parted lips cannot but betray the readiness to kiss:


But even when the face does not at all conceal its intentions, the tension may be heightened by crossing the arms over the breast:

marc blackie

joanna nowakowska

ernesto timor

especially when also the knees are lifted up:

philippe pache

giuseppe sarcinella

ernesto timor

or when the nude turns its back on us at that:

rené felderer

The effect of concealing is even further enhanced when it is combined with putting other alluring parts on display.

emil schildt

That holds especially true for a dorsal display. The sight of the back cannot but all the more stir the desire to see the hidden beauty of the front:


Displaying one's beauty, then, is not a matter of simply exposing oneself before the gaze of the seduced. Itis of necessity always a process unfolding in time.


Beauty is not always displayed before the eye of the beloved. More than often, beauty revealed wants to measure its effect on the eye of the onlooker. A most obvious and most cherished way to achieve this goal is admire one's own body in the mirror:

ernesto timor

In a first move, the person before the mirror identifies with the onlooker and projects his own appearance into the image in the mirror. But the own body can also be used to embody the appearence of the desired body. In that case, the person before the mirror is split up in a desiring eye and the desired body admired in the image (see the previous Chapter III).

Needless to say that the game of concealing and revealing only folly unfolds when clothes are allowed to enter the picture. Time has come, then, to examine their influence on the development of voyeurism and exhibitionism (Chapter V).

© Stefan Beyst, December 2003

From the same author:
'the ecstasies of eros'

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see also:

waclaw wantuch gabriele rigon craig morey
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