You’ve probably heard about this before. I think it’s so awesome that I need to post this here.
Glen Donnelly jumped out of a perfectly safe aeroplane with a violin. He wore nothing but a smile and a good mood. Enjoy!
You’ve probably heard about this before. I think it’s so awesome that I need to post this here.
Glen Donnelly jumped out of a perfectly safe aeroplane with a violin. He wore nothing but a smile and a good mood. Enjoy!
Lots of people mistake naturism and nudism with a constant orgy. Those aren’t the people who know much about naturism and/or nudism. For this, many naturists state that their lifestyle has nothing to do with sex, which is correct. Being naked doesn’t mean you have sex all the time, just like wearing running shoes doesn’t mean you’re constantly running.
This may sound contradictory to the previous paragraph but it is the only easy way to create new naturists. Naked people aren’t sterile; they don’t use 3D-printers to create babies. They’re also human and, like all humans, they love touching and intimacy.
What better way is there to display that than by having sex with someone you appreciate?
That’s where naturists have sex. Just like most people they engage in their intimate activities without bothering others with them. If you run into people who are doing the wild thing where everyone can see them, you ran into exhibitionists or crazy people.
I understand that many people have problems keeping all these differences apart. This world is about fast, extreme, superficial. Not about subtleties that require a lot of thought – the powers that be don’t want us to do this thinking. Still it would be a good thing for the folks who keep messing up naturism and sex as being the same. There is a difference.
Most textile-oriented people won’t agree with this statement but naked is healthier. I feel like living proof and I let me tell you why. First have a look at this picture:
…do you see something odd? If not, look again. (If you have to look again you’re still learning to be a naturist as you probably only saw a penis.) I saw it immediately as soon as it appeared. There’s a bump on the right side. It’s an inguinal hernia, also known as groin rupture. People who are comfortable with seeing and knowing their own naked body will notice and acknowledge such strange occurrences much sooner than clothes people. I am convinced of that.
Doesn’t mean that I’m happy that I see it because this probably means surgery (be it minor surgery according to the doctor) and I haven’t been in a hospital since almost 40 years.
Yes, according to many naturists (I know that for certain; I’ll never say I speak or write for all of them) the world is a weird place.
The ‘general’ (non-nudist/non-naturist) world is obsessed with sex and nudity (if you don’t believe me then just open your eyes and look around).
Everyone is curious, almost hungry to see what’s under your clothes, even though it’s too obvious what’s there as there are only 2 genders in humankind and everyone has seen each of the models in the nude one time or another.
Of course, shape, size and colour may vary but the basic package for everyone is exactly the same.
For instance at a beach you can see girls wearing the most skimpy little things to “cover” what shouldn’t be seen, while at the same time the skimpiness of it all is meant to uncover everything so it can be seen. How stupid is that?
And it gets even worse.
As soon as a member of this very same curious general public is given an unobstructed view of what’s actually there, there’s no relief to their curiosity. On the contrary: shock, horror, finger pointing and screaming will ensue (probably after enough people grabbed their phones to take pictures of the corpus delicti). Indecent exposure is the least of one’s problems, being accused of sexual harassment very probably, and with some luck the police force is called out to pick you up and throw you in the back of their car and finally into jail where you, being the pervert that you are, belong. (But we do have the pictures, those are fun to show around!)
This is much better.
More honest too, because there is nothing in the way of ‘indecent exposure’.
Or isn’t it? I don’t think so.
Nudism is acceptance of and honesty about one’s body and that of others, no buts or maybes.
Covering things up is social hypocrisy.
It seems as though we’re always asking ourselves certain questions about our enjoyment of nudity in general and social nudity in particular. This is quite healthy and isn’t any indication that we doubt that such enjoyment is quite proper and reasonable. But it does tell us that there are many things we don’t understand about the strange, almost pathological, ways in which our society reacts to nudity.
Man is the sole animal whose nudities offend his own
companions, and the only one who, in his natural actions,
withdraws and hides himself from his own kind.
– Michel de Montaigne, Apology for Raymond Sebonde (1580)
What follows are some of the questions I see arising again and again in private thoughts and in conversations among people who enjoy nudity. I certainly don’t have good answers to any of them – nobody else does either. But I suppose we all have our own partial answers. So I feel it would be worthwhile to set these down so that we can pass them around among ourselves and give them some serious thought.
Question 1. How did nudity come to be the subject of strong taboos, to some extent or other, in most “modern” societies?
We don’t, today, have a really good understanding of how nudity was regarded in pre-modern societies, before they became “modern” or came in contact with “modern” societies. But the prevalent assumption is that these earlier societies were generally very casual and tolerant of nudity. For instance, we have some testimony from writers who traveled in Polynesia in the 19th century. Herman Melville: “Fayaway—I must avow the fact—for the most part clung to the primitive and summer garb of Eden.“. Mark Twain, who visited Hawaii in 1866: “In the rural districts of any of the islands, the traveler hourly comes upon parties of dusky maidens bathing in the streams or in the sea without any clothing on and exhibiting no very intemperate zeal in the matter of hiding their nakedness.“
Yet today there’s hardly anywhere left on the planet where people have not at least come in contact with modern societies – and almost everywhere this has happened, potent taboos on nudity have arisen. There have been a number of ideas suggested for the cause of this, such as the influence of religion, social norms that stress conformity to unrealistic standards of physical “beauty”, and Freud’s notion of sublimation. No doubt there isn’t any single or simple answer. But we’re still mostly in the dark.
Question 2. Why does mere exposure to nudity disgust and offend many people to the often ridiculous extreme that it often does?
Not everybody has the most extreme reaction. But even in the modern UK, the Naked Rambler has been continuously jailed and re-jailed for 6 years, because he refuses to wear clothes on his rambles. Most people don’t seem to have much objection to Steve Gough’s nudity, but there are usually just a few who do and have effectively forced him to remain in prison indefinitely for the “crime” of nudity. Likewise, Facebook’s fear of anyone who would object to photos containing nudity (and possibly alienate advertisers as a result) has led to the ban against nudity on Facebook and similar services.
And then there’s the case of two women who voluntarily participated in the taping of a “Dr. Phil” show in 2007 in which participants would be placed in uncomfortable situations that would test their capacity for tolerance. One of the situations involved having dinner with a naked man. Two of the women have sued over the “distress” this caused them. One of the women declared in a sworn statement that “I was in shock and total disbelief of what was happening, feeling violated and disgusted.”
What is it, exactly, that provokes such a pathological reaction towards nudity from some people?
Question 3. What is the main reason for the low level of acceptance of social nudity in our society?
The question here is not about why public nudity in general is not allowed. That’s unsurprising, given factors such as the high levels of disgust and offense provoked in some people by nudity, the pervasive feeling that it is undesirable or unsafe for children to be exposed to adult nudity, the concern that nudity in public is unsanitary and unhygienic, etc. People who’re used to social nudity know that these fears are pretty unrealistic.
But can such concerns alone explain the degree of ostracism from “normal” society that can be experienced by people who “come out” openly as naturists or nudists? It’s not clear just how large the risks are, but some people have definitely lost their jobs or been unable to find suitable new jobs if they are known to participate in social nudity. Even discussing social nudity with others at work can be hazardous, if that’s interpreted as a form of “sexual harassment”. Another risk is that an expression of interest in social nudity can break up relationships or friendships.
It was not at all so long ago that open homosexuality made somebody a social pariah – even a criminal (e. g. Alan Turing in England, as recently as 1952). While a majority of people in most places still have a heterosexual orientation, recognition of a person’s right to openly pursue a nontraditional sexual orientation is rapidly becoming the norm. Yet even though prejudices against people who enjoy social nudity generally don’t reach the degree of intensity that gays once endured, nudists and naturists still entirely lack the legal protections and social acceptance that gay people now enjoy. Why is that?
Question 4. Why is the topic of nudity so widely considered unworthy of serious, reflective discussion and scientific investigation?
Suppose, in casual conversation with friends, the subject of nudity in general or naturism in particular came up. If you were to defend nudity and express positive attitudes towards social nudity, your friends would probably be surprised, and quite possibly question your motives. Even if they knew of your inclinations, they would probably not understand why you took nudity so seriously, instead of, at best, some sort of naughty pastime.
In academia the problem is even more serious. Sexual orientation and sexuality in general are now quite respectable academic fields of study. Alfred Kinsey very bravely blazed that trail. Masters and Johnson ushered sexuality into full academic respectability. Radical right-wingers in Congress rant and rail against this kind of research, but they have little use for science of any kind (unless there are military applications). But a person who works towards a degree followed by a teaching or research position focused on human sexuality is on solid ground.
The same cannot be said for anyone who wants to study the psychology or sociology of nudity. Any interest expressed by a graduate student along those lines is a sure ticket to a job at McDonald’s. Should a tenured full professor have a similar interest and seek a grant to study some aspect of it… well, wish him or her good luck with that. As a result, there is very little actual scientific data available on many legitimate topics of interest, such as what, if anything, is different about sexual behavior among naturists, what effect, if any, exposure to adult nudity has on children, and what kind of demographic factors affect a person’s attitudes towards social nudity.
This lack of solid scientific data makes it much harder to defend social nudity against the prejudices and taboos prevalent in our society against nudity.
Question 5. Why are feelings of shame and embarrassment so often associated with being naked?
The association should be pretty obvious to most people, including long-time naturists, even if they no longer (or never did) feel shame or embarrassment about nudity. For most people, one of the first things that comes to mind when thinking about being naked in front of a group of strangers is the dream (or nightmare) of actually doing that. Many naturists, on the other hand, would welcome the opportunity to do just that, as long as it would not provoke a negative response.
Although dictionary definitions can’t be used to “prove” a point, they are useful to be clear about what one is talking about. So here’s a dictionary definition of shame: “a painful feeling of having lost the respect of others because of the improper behavior, incompetence, etc. of oneself or of someone that one is closely associated with”. As far as nudity is concerned, presumably shame “should” be felt because being naked is “improper behavior”, since nudity is a social taboo. Since naturists don’t regard being naked, per se, as improper behavior, to experience shame about it would be to have some lingering uncertainties about whether some context in which they’d like to be naked isn’t a “proper” one.
So where does this kind of feeling originate? Presumably it comes from a person’s socialization, at an early age in one’s family, or later from interactions with peers. But that’s not the whole story. Some psychologists stress the connection of shame with general feelings of inadequacy, which might be due, for example, to negative feelings about one’s body. There’s also a connection with feelings of vulnerability[6, 7]. Pretty clearly, there are some deep-seated psychological things going on that ought to be brought out into the open so they can be dealt with.
Question 6. Could greater acceptance of social nudity occur in contemporary urban societies as it did in the less urban Western societies of 1900-30?
Social nudism as we know it today originated in Germany around 1900. Unfortunately, most modern naturists and nudists know very little about those early days, even though some knowledge of the origins is very instructive. There’s hardly the space here to describe the origins, but the main point is that social nudity was almost exclusively a rural thing. The earliest sites were located in the countryside, usually in very obscure places, for the sake of privacy and because naturism in those days really meant being close to nature.
When nudism arrived in North America, around 1930, this pattern pretty much continued. There were a few sporadic attempts to secure private places in New York City for nudists to gather, but they all failed, generally because of the expense involved. To this day, periodic efforts are proposed to open naturist facilities in large urban areas, but they seldom get very far, still for economic reasons.
Will it ever be possible to overcome the economic barriers, and if so, how? This is a serious problem, since many young urban residents don’t own cars, and public transportation to reach rural locations is very inadequate in the U. S.
Question 7. Should education and advocacy for social nudity be pursued separately or together? Do they require different strategies to be advanced effectively?
At first glance it may seem unnecessary to consider these two things (education and advocacy) separately. Isn’t effective education about social nudity really just the first step to successful advocacy?
Maybe it is, but maybe not. It could be somewhat naive to think that honestly presenting the facts about social nudity is sufficient to change most people’s minds about it. After all, attitudes towards nudity are anchored much more in emotions and feelings than they are in reasoning and logic. It’s just a basic reality about public opinion that all the facts and logical reasoning in the world will not change the minds of a large percentage of the population. In order to change minds, it’s usually necessary to appeal to aspects of an individual’s personality other than the rational part.
Consider the psychological angle. One could go on and on about the psychology of shame, embarrassment, vulnerability, pleasure, authenticity, self-actualization, etc. A large percentage of people will not be moved by that. It’s necessary to reach them in other ways. Possible avenues include things such as celebrity endorsements, movies and videos, quality art containing nudity, and so forth. Also appeals to aspirational ideals such as “spirituality”, self-improvement, health and wellness, etc. Or tie social nudity in with popular activities like yoga, exercise, dance, etc. (Forms of “modern dance” incorporating nudity were quite prominent in the early days of nudism in Germany.)
It should be obvious that such educational approaches are far different from what’s normally used in political advocacy.
Question 8. What’s the best way to use the Internet to deliver education and advocacy for social nudity? And what’s the best way to discuss all of the issues in this list online among naturists themselves?
We have to distinguish use of the Internet to communicate to the public and to communicate among ourselves. Clearly there are important differences, which become apparent when we look at the means at our disposal on the Internet. These means include blogs (where this message was originally posted), public social networks like Facebook, Google+, and Twitter, private naturist-only social networks, online discussion forums, hybrid Web/email discussion groups like those hosted at Yahoo! and Google, naturist/nudist websites (e. g. clothesfree.com), … and who knows what-all else.
The obstacles to using public social networks – heavy censorship – have already been noted. Yet such sites have by far the greatest reach within the general public. As for all the rest, there has been a long-standing problem, namely that there are so many and such diverse alternatives, and tremendous difficulties communicating between them. For example, something posted on a blog can reach most of the other sites only by laboriously duplicating the post or a link to it on each one. And then responses posted in each location are invisible from all the other locations. We’re faced with a vast archipelago of tiny islands with very limited communication channels from one to all others.
What can we do about this situation? There are technical means to address these problems, but they will require much work by technically competent people. In the meantime, all naturists and nudists who want to carry on our discussions will need to work harder to get our thoughts out there.
Question 9. What is the most important question not on this list that we should be asking ourselves about?
Here’s your chance to participate. Speak up about anything else that should be on this list. Nobody can possibly think of everything. Just keep in mind that additional questions should be really important, not merely idle curiosities.
What’s the best way to share your thoughts about this list? Ideally, by commenting here. But if you have your own blog, or a favorite message board or mailing list, put your comments there, and link back to this post so that others can come here. Keep in mind that if you post on a site that’s private or limited access, what you say has limited visibility. Feel free to copy this whole thing, or just use a link – as long as you acknowledge the source. Being conscientious about doing that (and the same for anyone else’s posts you reference) is the first step towards improving the interconnection of all our disparate conversational locales.
It’s clearly a sign of the times. So many people don’t seem to be aware of something simple: being nude does not automatically mean looking for sex. Are you going to have sex the moment you take off your clothes for a shower or a bath? Are you going to have sex the moment you wear no clothes because you’re putting on other clothes? You probably answered “No” to both these questions. If you answered “Yes” then you’d better stop reading now.
Being nude is just that: being nude. For the simple reason that you need to be or you want to be. If you automatically think beyond that, it’s like seeing someone buying a bottle of whisky and assuming that this person is going to get drunk within the next hour.
Maybe someone isn’t able to see the simple joy of being nude without any additional reason for it. Trust me, there are also people who don’t see the simple joy of enjoying a glass of whisky without the intent of getting drunk.
It’s clearly a sign of the times, as I already wrote. One that is forced upon us by the giant media who thrive on showing the worst side of people in their reality shows, or the porn industry that has its weird arithmetic of “person + nude = sex”.
Next time you see a nude person, don’t assume they want anything. Perhaps all they want is to be left alone.
Trust me. You can talk until you’re blue in the face, or any other colour you fancy, but it’s just as easy to explain how wonderful it is to walk around nude and carefree as it is to explain how an orange tastes to someone who’s never seen or tasted one.
Some people will never agree that it’s silly to put on clothes when it’s warm enough to go without them. Lifelong conditioning does strange things to a brain. Imagine, dear fellow nudist, that suddenly someone comes up to you and tells you you don’t need to eat, that life goes on as usual without food. That’s hard to believe as well. (Okay, as far as we know now it’s not true, so please don’t try it.)
I think we need to see the ideas of convinced textiles in a similar light. Being enthusiastic about your nudist lifestyle in an honest way is perhaps the best approach. Talk about it but don’t tell people to do it too. Suggest that they might try it some time. Do you feel the nuance?
We all know that clothes aren’t natural. They were adopted as a necessity against the influences of weather and climate. No living creature is ever born with clothes on. Still, people’s minds are ingrained with the certainty that you need clothes. Teach someone something from birth and it becomes (second) nature. (Lots of sad examples for that.) If someone you meet is interested in, or even inclined to try nudism, a good way might be to encourage them to do it in the safety of their home, alone. And not just once, but advise them to try it several times. The first time is the most difficult one – most modern people have grown so distant from the sight of their own body that they’ll immediately focus on the things they hate about it. It takes time to get used to that for them. Unfortunately. But with some luck, if they do try and like it, they’ll let you know.
I have been thinking about the greater amount of men versus women who are practicing nudists. After viewing a couple of vintage videos that showed that up until recently is was much more socially aceptable for men than women to participate in nude activities. I wondered if male nudity is something embedded deeply in the collective unconscious of humanity.
The collective unconscious is a concept developed by psychologist Carl Jung. It posits the idea humanity has collective unconscious mind that independently shapes and organizes human experiences. This consists of universal inherited preexisting forms, images and representations shared by every culture and group of people in human kind. When these representations are personified Jung calls them Archetypes. Following that thought I am suggesting that one of those universal representations is the nude male.
Read the entire post at: male nudity and the collective unconscious « home clothes free.
This year we at Freedom Fields Naturist Ranch decided that it was a good time in our lives to get our way of living life clothing free out into the main population of the textile world.
We have thought of many ideas along the way to help promote naturism in a positive light and bring about a better awareness of who we are and what we enjoy so much about being naked. We then decided that the best form of awareness is for a worthy cause, hence we are partnering with Tit4Tat Canada and hosting a “2014 Breast Cancer Calendar Photo Shoot” here on Sunday June 30th 2013. …
Read the entire post at Naktiv.net/nook.
In a Dutch town there was an action against discarding the local nude beach. (Report in Dutch here.)
A most interesting part in this article is: “Strafwet. De strafwet staat bloot recreëren overal toe, zolang anderen zich daar niet aan storen.”
Criminal Law. Criminal law allows nude recreation everywhere, as long as others don’t take offence.
Now that’s something I didn’t know. Basically this says you’re allowed to go nude anywhere as long as you’re not bothering others. Quite cool!
This webpage for a Dutch naturist area (in Dutch of course) explains that the law article where this is detailed is number 430a. Most important part: “Het wetsartikel 430a maakte naaktrecreatie dus mogelijk op alle plaatsen die voor ongeklede recreatie geschikt zijn. In het algemeen zijn dit plaatsen waar geen openbaar verkeer langs komt.”
Law article 430a therefore enables nude recreation in all places that are suited for clothes-free recreation. In general these are places where no public traffic passes by.
(Public traffic here needs to be seen also as pedestrians and cyclists of course, not just cars.)
Another website (maintained by a lawyer), “Strict in criminal law” (Scherp in strafrecht) states: “Of een plaats voor naaktrecreatie geschikt is, wordt bepaald door plaatselijke omstandigheden en de redelijkheid.”
Whether or not an area is suitable for nude recreation is decided by the local circumstances and reason.
Which makes sense of course. With public awareness that nude recreation is more and more common, there would nothing against finding a silent/secluded spot in a forest and drop all clothes there for a while. Doing so in the middle of a town will certainly be frowned up (and that would be the least), so with these things in mind, the possibilities for nude recreation in the Netherlands become quite a lot more extensive.