Sensory deprivation

On an early Spring day in March, when the weather was beautiful, I was out on the bike. I hit a forest with hardly any people around, found a secluded spot and grabbed the opportunity.

I spent an enjoyable hour there, lying in the sun, with nothing around me but trees, and nothing on me but sunlight and the occasional touch of the wind. It was fantastic, peaceful and quiet.

A big question for me will always be: Why don’t more people do this?

 

As I set off to go home, dressed to as much as textile decency requires, I suddenly had a realisation that I need to share with you all: how many people understand the sensory deprivation or even confusion that we put our bodies bodies through by hanging clothes on them so often? I had just had this wonderful experience of nothing but sun and a touch of wind. Now I was walking in the sunshine feeling too warm because of pants and a t-shirt (it was 20C/68F – too warm?), unable to feel the sun or the wind everywhere. Instead I felt the rubbing of clothes everywhere. Each time when I’ve had a naked, natural experience it gets worse to put on clothes it seems, and it takes longer before I’m “okay” with the feeling. “Okay” as in ‘accepting the inevitable nuisance’, not really ‘okay’. Non-nude people probably don’t even recognise the confused feeling of their body as it has grown so accustomed to the feeling of fabric, the tightness of some clothes, the squeeze in the privates area that inevitably happens when you wear clothes.

Is it any wonder then that people who go out naked for the first time find the experience strange? Their body isn’t hindered by the usual distractions, their brain registers the lack of the “normal discomfort” and kicks the panic button because the clothes come off.

Compare that to how the body of a naturist/nudist/nude-goer works. There the panic-button is pressed when the clothes come on.

Questions for naturists and nudists to think about

I found this post on the Nudist Philosopher site and thought it good to repost it here:

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.[1]“. 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.[2]“

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.”[3]

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”.[4] 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[5] 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[8], 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[9], 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.[10])

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.

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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.

Don’t lead me into temptation

I read somewhere (sorry, lost the source) that public nudity would create problems because people are so curious about it. Most of them won’t admit that, but if you watch videos of e.g. a World Naked Bike Ride or a public skinny dipping event, you’ll find that not many dressed people turn away from the nude folks. On the contrary, a whole lot of ogling  is going on:

 

So where does this idea come from that nudity triggers curiosity? I think it’s because of clothes and most people not being used to all things nude. When you see someone in clothes you have no idea who is beneath them. There’s a secret, a puzzle, something unknown. And it’s in the nature of the people-beast to unravel such secrets – they want to get to the bottom of someone, look through their clothesWell, a nudist takes that hurdle away.

 

 

Now, be honest. Look at the picture below and then tell me which side is the greatest source of curiosity, left or right?

temptationLeft: you’ll just keep staring if something more will show.
Right: one look and you’ve seen it all.

 

So if you don’t want to be led into temptation, nudism / naturism might be the way to go…

 

Naked sports.

Everyone does it once in a while, more or less fanatical. Sports. Whether it’s just a walk, running, cycling, volleyball or some other type of activity, there usually is something in it for you.

Many times I’ve heard and read that people, even ‘hard code nudists’, prefer to do their sports dressed when the activity level goes anything over a leisurely stroll or hike. As it’s mainly men who appear online in the nudist scene, I can only base my information on the male side of the nude sport spectrum. (Which is a shame, so please, ladies, step up.)

The problem: flopping parts. The gentlemen in question all were afraid that if they would do a sport that is more intensive than walking or swimming, their penis would flop all over and be a hinder to doing the actual sport.

To put the problem to the test, I went running for a mile. (Don’t worry, I do this more often.) And of course, I did this short run naked. I was curious about the flopping parts that were mentioned quite often, so I was determined to find out how bad this was.

After all, in many places it is written that the people in the original Greek Olympics participated in the nude, to honour the human body, and we have images to prove it:

 

 

So off I set myself, for a short run in the name of amateur science. The result: yes, there is some floppage, but not in a way that it would stop me from running naked. I am convinced that if I hadn’t occasionally looked down to actually see my penis flop, I wouldn’t have known that it did. Before someone says that running on a straight, flat road may do that: I ran a stretch of forest, with the trail going up and down, and lots of twists and turns in it. Maximum opportunity for sprained ankles, encounters with trees and floppy parts. I state that my parts did not flop in an upsetting way.

The gentlemen on the left in this picture also don’t seem to be bothered by anything flopping, and their activity level has far more opportunity for that.

It is indeed an older image; perhaps men in those days were still real men.

 

 

 

 

Luckily, once in a while, there are also ladies who are not inhibited by floppy parts, and trust me, gentlemen, even though I don’t have breasts, I can absolutely imagine that those hurt a heck of a lot more when they bounce than our parts will ever do.

Happy sports, everyone!

This morning

Last night we had a lot of rain. When I woke up I heard a strange sound outside, a kind of splashing. That’s odd because the drainpipe that runs outside my apartment has a few openings next to it, Excess water can flow out through that. Splashing means that there is water not flowing away. As it was quite early (around 4:15am, thanks to the switch back to winter time, which for Americans is the end of DST), I went out to have a look.

Hah, Autumn had provided a lot of small leaves that clogged the additional drain holes! I went out in the rain, in the nude, and took care of the leaves and some dirt that clogged the drain holes. After that, the water disappeared quickly. I threw away the leaves and then all I needed was a towel to undo what the rain had done to me. It hadn’t felt cold (13c / 55F) at all. It felt very good to do it like that – getting dressed to get your clothes soaked and icky is such a strange idea. An umbrella was out of the question as the wind was very strong – and I needed my hands to clean out the drainage hols.

At that time the chance of someone being out and about was less than minimal, so I didn’t feel like I would risk offending someone being outside naked. Truly, it was the best thing I could have done. Naked outside on the gallery, feeling the early morning rain on my skin without being cold, and fixing the drainage problem, all in one go.

Health benefits of nudism

Hello. Have you ever considered the health benefits of being nude as much as possible?

Now, you may state that clothes are healthy as they keep you warm when it’s cold, and everyone will fully agree with you. But what about the times when it’s not cold? When the temperature is just right for (or too much for even) t-shirts or less, for shorts or swimming trunks? So many people then still cover themselves up with textile.

As stated on Immortallife.info:

If you put a plaster cast on a broken arm the skin starves for Vitamin D, the muscles weaken due to strangled range of motion, the nerve synapses depress to a whimper of their former joy. Twenty-first century hominids? We shroud our entire skin palette except for face, neck and hands – we obliterate symbiosis with the planet.

Benefitsofnudism, a blogspot blog:

The Sun Helps Clear Up Psoriasis
Psoriasis is a skin disease which turns your skin purple. Those suffering from psoriasis are treated by dermatologists by having the patient sit under a flourescent light, simulating the rays of the sun. Going nude does the exact same thing. It’s cheaper, plus it’s a lot more fun.

Maybe you’ve wondered why nudists are so often depicted as healthy “despite being naked”. Well, that’s exactly the reason: they are healthy (healthier) because they’re naked so much. All the skin is allowed to breathe instead of only hands and face.

Also, you have less hassle with clothes. Now what’s that to do with health? How about less stress about what to wear, and less need for laundry detergent (which is good for the environment)?

Also, when meeting other nude people, the encounter is healthier. There is no difference between a business tycoon or a factory worker when they’re both in their birthday suit. It cuts away any class barrier that might be there.

I have a problem with clothes.

And it’s a serious one.

thumb185opt

I cut my thumb badly a few days ago. No, not going to show you how bad, it’s ugly though, trust me. And that is what gives me a real problem with clothes. A physical problem. Try buttoning up a shirt without the use of a thumb unless you love being in agony. Or taking the shirt off.And that’s only a thumb. Imagine having an arm or a leg in a cast. That will hinder you a lot too, I’m sure. (I have no experience and intend to keep it that way.)

For someone who likes to drive in the nude when it’s warm (and it’s been warm over the last days), this nuisance is more than just a sore thumb, it puts a limitation on my life style.If you don’t understand this: before driving in the nude you’ll have to take off your clothes. And that is a major annoyance when something on your body isn’t cooperating, like said thumb. It takes a lot longer and it’s painful, so in the end I decided to skip nude drives until my finger is healed.

How much easier would life be if clothing was optional. That way I would not waste a lot of time on dressing and undressing every day, and in my current state it would save me even more time.

Everything’s better naked

Found on www.xojane.com:

Everything’s Better Naked: I’m Thinking Of Becoming A Nudist

Bikini shopping is soul destroying. LET’S ALL BECOME NATURISTS INSTEAD!

By Natalie

image

Bikinis are shit and they give you tan lines. The end.

This weekend just gone, I found myself in a Topshop changing room, with a handful of bikinis littered around me. The harsh lighting highlighted parts of me I’d really rather forget about, the tiny cubicle serving to make me feel like a bit of a lummox.

The swimsuit I’d opted for was a pineapple print two-piece, with a cupped, balconette style top with a tie-up halter neck. I’d gone for my usual top size, and after pulling it on I was most displeased to see that the cups hung off me, with my boobs collected at the bottom of them like two tiny flesh-colored puddles.

It’s not news to me that I have small boobs. I know that I’ll have a hard time filling anything out these days. But looking at myself, I thought about how it had looked on a model I’d seen, her bounteous mounds spilling over the top. And for just a second, I didn’t like myself much.

JUST FOR A SECOND, THOUGH. Because I then thought, “GET A GRIP. THESE ARE YOUR TITS. DEAL WITH IT.”

Swimsuit angst rolls around every year, and every year I seem to have a new reason to look a bit crap in one. After losing nearly three stone, my bum is smaller but now flappy. I don’t care, I think I look all right — but then the bikini comes on and suddenly I notice that it doesn’t look quite like it did on the mannequin.

The funny thing is, though, that I love my body. My body is my body, and I’ve always got on with it. I may have not liked my arms before, but they were strong arms that could hug people and lift up my cat. I might have not liked my bum for a bit, until my boyfriend loved it enough for both of us and I realized it must actually be quite decent. I thought I had “sausage fingers” once, but those fingers typed and help me communicate with people all over the interwebz.

Even more than I like my body, I like being naked.

Standing there in that changing room, I realized that I’ll never really like myself in a bikini, unless I get one custom made for me. There will probably always be a gap where I can’t quite fill out a top, or the bottoms will ride right up my bumcheeks, meaning I have to fish them out every half hour. They get sand all in them. They’re annoying. Bikinis are a BALL ACHE.

And so, the most sensible option is to of course become a nudist.

There’s no finer feeling in life than running around a beach at midnight with no clothes on. Every holiday we go on, if possible, we always do a sneaky skinny dip. The place we go to in Florida is always really quiet, so we creep out late at night, leg it on to the beach and drop our towels.

Running and running and running with the sand beneath our toes, the sweet breeze kissing our nether regions and laughing laughing laughing and skipping into the sea, giddy like children.

We don’t care if we look good or bad, or too fat or too thin or flat chested or flappy-of-bum. We care about the freedom and the feeling that we are not restricted by anything.

I don’t feel flat chested, because a bikini isn’t telling me that I am. I can’t feel my bottom eating up my bikini, prompting me to wonder whether I should have gone for a different size. No self-conscious fiddling with material and wondering if it’s sitting right. I’m just me, the bare bones of me, and I like it.

image

This was taken during one of our late niight naked adventures. Yep, totally naked here.

Of course, we only do this at night when we couldn’t possibly offend anyone with our bits out. What if we were to actually find a nudist beach and settle in for the day? Would it feel the same?

According to social networking site truenudists.com, there are tons of nudists near where I live. I am intrigued. NUDEDUDE1000 looks interesting. I wonder what it is about being naked that he likes?

image

 Intriguing.

I’ve had a think about what things are more fun to do when you’re naked. These are:

  • Walking around near your partner
  • Swimming
  • Eating pizza
  • Sleeping
  • Shagging
  • Sunbathing
  • Eating in general
  • Watching TV
  • Writing xoJane articles

So everything here is pointing to the inevitable truth that I should in fact just bite the bullet and become a naturist.

Have I missed any off? Are you thinking of becoming a nudist too? Or maybe you really are one and want to share your experiences? Do you hate bikini shopping too? COMMENTS BELOW!

Naked all day, every day on Twitter: @Natalie_KateM.

x

Lots of hiking/walking today

Today was grand, great and impressive. And most of my out-time walking was textile-free too. I walked and hiked a little over 10km in 3 walks today, the last one a good 6km, and about 8 to 8.5 of them were clothes-free. 🙂

This would amount to 6.25miles in total, and 5 to 5.3 miles nude. The weather was gorgeous, people were scarce and a few I ‘suddenly’ met while nude were quite positive about it. (I try to cover up when I see people coming, but sometimes they are unfair and literally come around the corner and then I just keep going.)

today's nude walk

It was fabulous being out, had a great walk through a forest/heather area while going around a lake. I hope I can do something like that again in a few days. The weather also helped a lot, I hope we keep that for a while. Say until the week before Christmas? 🙂