Every week, Dear Prudence answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.
I am an artist, and my ex-girlfriend is a sculptor. We are both women. Before we were dating, we would pose for each other seminude, and this continued during our short relationship. We decided we were better off as just friends, but we still posed for each other, as by that point I had been making a series of paintings of her and she had been using me as inspiration for a sculpture.
I recently started seeing a new guy, and don’t know how to bring this up. These sessions have never been sexual—we don’t even talk, just sketch and pose—but I know they sound like they could be. How do I tell my boyfriend about them? I’m not done with my paintings yet, but what if he’s uncomfortable with them? I can’t leave an entire series of paintings unfinished, as they’re some of my best work, but I also want to respect my partner’s feelings.
—Nude, Not Sexy
“Recently started dating” sounds like the right time for doing what you would normally do, which is seeing whether the guy is OK with your life and your art arrangements, and using that information to decide whether you’re a good fit. It’s really nice of you to want to respect his feelings, but it’s too early to be tiptoeing around him when it comes to activities that you know are above board. Just let him know that the sculpture session is happening. Explain that it’s not sexual at all and be transparent about your concern that your new relationship could be derailed by weirdness about it. Then go pose in peace.