Hi! Welcome to my message board! Use it to contact me or others or to post questions and share ideas and experiences. The topic should always be related to nudism / naturism. Feel free to respond to posts from others in a respectful way if you have something helpful or meaningful to contribute. Let's keep it light, lively, and most of all, fun! Thanks!
Hey, just posted a new blog post. Let me know what you all think. There could be some interesting discussion topics.
I had found your wordpress site a few times in the past and appreciated your philosophical stance on naturism. I have been wanting to respond to you for some time, but with this year's holiday activity, I kept holding off until I found enough quiet time to adequately respond to you on this forum.
Now here we are, between the holidays and I just came away from re-reading your latest blog.
My own backstory involves recuperating from hip surgery. I was advised to go barefooted as therapy, and then worked my way into nudism from the ground up. Along the way, I encountered irrational aversions to bare feet, and because it is difficult to fight emotion with logic, I learned how to avoid encounters.
As naturists, we do need to be able to introduce our controversies so that hard-core non-naturists will be able to fathom our rationale and allow us to exist alongside without automatically condemning us. Some people have an unreasonable attitude about bare feet in public and will not even allow discussion about it, so until the legality of bare feet is recognized, barefooting will be considered anti-social.
Nudity, just like bare feet, is so strange, that if people will not even look at it, they won't be able to see it. It is up to nudists to introduce the concept agreeably without causing unnecessary trouble.
Thank you for your response VeryGary. I agree that both bare footing and naturism are not very socially acceptable activities. However, I think that the solution is to develop good relationships with people and then in a factual and logical manner explain our position to them. In my latest blog post, I explain how I am able to share about naturism quite freely with just about anyone. They really are the same principles as sharing the Good News with people. With the latter being so much more important than the former.
Nice post. You raise a number of good points.
I had a thought as I was reading it, particularly the parts about vulnerability and safety but others as well. It's a bit woo woo, but I'll put it out there.
To present oneself naked (vulnerable) to another is to make an offer of one's Trust. Trust is valuable stuff. So, when such an offer is honored and reciprocated, a bond is made and both parties are enriched. To play with semantics a bit, it seems there are introductory moments in Naturist friendships where one starts out being a bit "naked" but after a time (often minutes) transitions to being "nude." The establishing of Trust brings acceptance and comfort and feels good in and of itself. There are elements of risk and generosity to these interactions. So, they touch, reinforce, and celebrate our humanity as they work out. This presents, perhaps, a marvelously ironic epiphany. Given the special nature of Trust and its fragility, to actually be able to reach a point or be in an environment where being socially nude with a group of others is No Big Deal is actually... A Big Deal.
Yes, I wholeheartedly agree. Thank you for putting this sentiment into words. I would add that this is one of the basics of human relationship, trusting another human being enough to be vulnerable and thus strengthening the bond of friendship. A setting where there is social nudity just provides a mechanism for this to happen more quickly.
There might be one more aspect of the dialog between naturism and textiles. (Texties? Textilies?)
Non-naturism (anti-naturism) is practically a religion all its own. Somehow, the textiles, the people who insist on covering special body parts with some clothing, are adamant regarding hiding genitals or female nipples, (including enough shape to show) and consider "not covering" to be the religious equivalent of an illegal act or crime.
This should be part of the dialog between dress and undress -- between covering or not covering -- between hiding or showing those questionable body parts. It used to be that other areas were not allowed to be shown, either: ankles, shoulders, navels, and depending on your religion, hair or face.
I've been thinking about this anti-social nudity driving force. I'm a barefooter. The Missouri Department of Health has assured me that there is not a health requirement for wearing shoes (though there are some dangers), but that individual businesses can set their own dress code. That's what prohibits public barefooting.
Even with allowable settings not requiring specific clothing, my back yard, for example, if someone else thinks that I should not go out there for my morning tea, naked, because even if they know that I do that, then I am offending their sense of decency.
Am I saying this okay? Someone please help me think through this.
I would propose a tenth psychological attribute.
I never thought about it much until my wife mentioned it. When a nudist interacts with her, allowing themselves to "stand before her" in the most authentic way possible, she feels a great deal of respect for that fact. So as a sign of respect and mutual understanding, she will interact with them in the same manner. It's not a sort of "you've shown me yours, so I'll show you mine" reciprocation; but rather a "I'm going to positively affirm your confidence/vulnerability by making myself equal to you." So, for example, when we first arrive at our B&B, and sees that our hosts are naked, she will quickly get naked before engaging in socialization with them.
I've heard and read about resorts where members/residents do not go nude - regardless of weather. If it's a C/O resort, it's their right I guess. But I think it denotes a certain lack of respect towards people who do get naked. Just my opinion.
Trust and Respect notwithstanding, most clothed anti-nudists (maybe I'm unnecessarily hostile) Okay, clothed non-nudists have not experienced, nor even tried, a nudist environment whereas every seasoned naturist daily experiences wearing clothing, appropriately dressed for the affair.
Attempting a rational discussion with most non-nudists reveals that they're actually against the concept, and in some cases, won't even talk about it. I understand that naturists have to carefully introduce the subject, carefully choose whom we approach, and carefully frame the entire conversation such that it is not excessively shocking to them, but, fighting emotion with logic leaves the conversation askew way too often.
Because Linda and I do not frequent venues other than our back yard with other like-minded nudists, maybe we are handicapped in discussions. However, what we encounter is that most non-nudists are anti-nudism, so we remain private about it all.
I pretty much gave up on discussing nudism with non-nudists (unless asked) a long time ago. People over a "certain age" tend to get entrenched in their belief system; and I just got tired of the same old: "You crazy guy, you!" responses. The only exception I make is with our therapist; because I feel it's too big a part of our life style to not mention.
But I don't necessarily believe that all non-nudists are anti-nudism. My wife is still fairly vocal about our nudist endeavors with her non-nudist female friends; and their attitude is rather receptive. With the exception of one "would-be nudist", they feel it's "not for them"; but they do at least find the concept "interesting." Maybe it's due in part that it's coming from a woman; which confers some legitimacy to the experience in their minds (she's been called "brave" by her friends for being socially nude, as opposed to "weird" or "crazy", as I have.)
Also, my wife describes it as a "R&R experience" (we're mainly resort nudists); so her friends can understand the value of it in that context. If she said she does her laundry naked at home; she might be met with more snickers than interest/curiosity.
These days I find it much more rewarding and interesting to discuss nudism with newbies at nudist venues. After all, they're already "there", and if they have questions or a desire to share their experience; I can help and have a productive conversation.
Thank you for the feedback Nudony! I do think that there is a great deal more mutual respect when in a naturist environment. It does seem like it is a larger characteristic that encompasses at least some of the other attributes such as safety, vulnerability and inclusivity. I am trying to differentiate it from the other aspects. How would one go about describing to a non-naturist the benefits or rewards of the respect experienced in a naturist environment?
I am surprised that others have trouble talking about naturism to textiles. It is always interesting hearing their perspectives. It is rare that people react to negatively to naturism with me. Maybe it is because I am European and people just expect it, or that I am a very outgoing person. I would love to understand why that difference in experience.
Gymnosaretay, your post is one of the best I've read on nudism in a long time written by ordinary people about their own personal experience. I also read your four-part story of how you and your wife got involved in social nudity. Much of what you wrote speaks to me.
Not knocking professional marketing people at nudist resorts or well-known naturist blogs like Nick and Lins. Your experience sounds so much like what I hear from many people skinnydipping, hot tubbing, visiting nude beaches on vacations, who aren't part of the organized nudist community.
For so many people, social nudity doesn't mean a long drive to a resort or beach, but going to the backyard pool, taking off our clothes with friends, jumping in, having a great afternoon swimming, and then drying off together by suntanning nude.
The best part about going to college near a nude beach was if friends from college were curious about social nudity, getting there was easy.
Yes, going to the nude beach was a VERY big step emotionally and mentally, but not a big time or distance commitment. Going to a popular nightclub or even a shopping trip took longer than going to the nude beach, and cost much more money. Many students enjoyed visiting nearby textile beaches and the nude beach was just like the others — except of course the nudity part.
We now know how spoiled we were. So many people don't have any nearby nude beaches or resorts. Still, we've learned social nudity is much more common than the smaller number of people who identify themselves as nudists and go to nudist places. How many people, like you, enjoy swimming nude in their pool with family and take a casual attitude toward showering?
For that to happen informally among friends, it requires two things: what Tom Turtle correctly called "trust" and what Nudony correctly called "respect."
Even between a non-nudist dating couple who are deeply in love, crossing the line from making out to taking off their clothes requires a very deep level of trust. That's true even if they have no plans to make love, and even if they've seen each other in swimsuits that conceal very little and reveal almost everything. That's especially true for women. I'm not denying it is a very big deal for a young man to pull down his swim trunks for the first time with his girlfriend, but it is much more difficult, and requires a much higher level of trust, for a woman to undress.
There are many reasons including fear, modesty, guilt, poor body image, and any number of other emotions that flow through a woman's mind as she unhooks her bra or unties her bikini top, and pulls down her panties or her bikini bottoms, and lets a man who she deeply loves see her naked for the first time.
Much of that fear, modesty, and poor body image is really quite unreasonable and makes little sense. If a girlfriend has worn a bikini with her boyfriend, he's already seen nearly all of her body and he's seen the shape of her breasts and her pubes. If she's unhappy with her figure, maybe due to weight, there's nothing the swimsuit will hide. I understand very well the false modesty that comes from guilt due to years of being told a woman should never let any man see certain parts of her body before marriage, and the belief, usually right, that a man will be very sexually interested in seeing his girlfriend without her clothes, but those are both better arguments against wearing swimsuits or going to the beach at all.
Yes, being nude with a man requires a great deal of trust. We need to know he's not going to laugh at us, mock our bodies, or tell all his friends what we look like. That can be summarized in one word — respect. We need to trust a man, and trust comes from knowing he respects us.
That's hard even with a man we deeply love, and who we know deeply loves us.
It's far harder with friends when we don't have a romantic relationship, and it adds extra levels of emotional difficulty when several dating couples skinnydip together or go to a nude beach for the first time. There's no point denying men will look at each other's girlfriends, and if the women are honest, they look too. It's tough to see a man we love looking at other women, and to see male friends look at us.
As I try to tell overly modest young women, nudity actually releases built-up sexual tension, whether it's a dating couple or a group of male and female friends. We no longer wonder what we look like under our clothes, and while there is definitely a period of very high excitement, it subsides. Within 10 to 15 minutes, or maybe half an hour, the natural and normal and entirely healthy desire of men and women to see each other is satisfied and men and women can enjoy seeing each other nude but go about their normal activities on a beach or poolside.
We agree, Nudony, on Nick and Lins being a special case. While they're certainly nudist bloggers, they're more in the category of "travel bloggers." Some travel bloggers are so popular they manage to make a living as wandering travelers. I see other travel bloggers commenting on their side visits to nudist beaches or resorts while traveling to other places, and it's fun to read American expats who are new to nudity trying German spas, Balkan beaches, Japanese onsen, or whatever. The difference is Nick and Lins are experienced nudists who compare nude places to each other, rather than writing about their first-ever nude experience. Great for planning vacations, and for those who can't afford to travel overseas, to enjoy wishing we could live that life. That's what travel writers do.
I've read the reasons Nick and Lins give for avoiding frontal photography. They seem to feel frontal photography is wrong, but it's clearly not modesty for them. They seem to have a European perspective that I don't think I understand. As for why they put photos out at all, being travel bloggers, the number of readers on their website matters. They are selling themselves and their blog is a product. That's not much different from a car company or a furniture company that uses photos of attractive young people driving or sitting in a chair. It's simple reality that an attractive young couple will get much more attention than many in the nudist community who tend to be middle aged or retired. I don't think that's bad. They send a message that nudism isn't just for "creepy old men," and I'm afraid that's a very real concern that deters too many young people from trying social nudity. I know people who visited certain beaches on weekdays and got a completely different view of nudism than that what they experienced on a weekend visit with many more people and many of them much younger. After their midweek visit they said they'd never go back, but when we took them on a Saturday and they saw a vibrant beach filled with young adults enjoying themselves, they loved it and realized the beach wasn't the problem, it was just that most people who can go to the beach in the middle of the day during the week are retired.
I wanted to respond to some of the other comments as well.
To clarify, while I am European (I was born in France), I have lived in the United States since 8th grade. I do think that the combination of being very open about being a naturist, being of European origin, and mostly interacting with people who are between 25 and 35 years old makes a difference. I believe that most people understand that it is non-sexual nudity because they know me well. It may be that some people think it has a sexual component to it. Perhaps because they are more "woke", they don't have a problem with that. In either case, virtually no one seems to be phased one bit when they learn I am a naturist.
Sounds like you've hit the winning combination. Much of it is to with your level of integrity, respect and trust. If people already believe you are who you say you are, then learning a new fact about you will alter their idea of nudism rather than their idea of you.
Fast forward to today, and my perspective has completely changed. My prejudices about nudism have long been put to rest, and my heart is now fully in agreement with my head that there's no need to panic just because certain inches of skin are visible in a picture. Now I find myself, like Nudony mentioned, feeling far less sanguine about the strategically placed hands, arms, and props in pictures like Nick and Lins's. Whereas before my brain instinctually revolted against seeing "private bits", now it revolts the same way against the "fakeness" of a censored picture! :-) What was once refreshing to me now feels like a jarring mixed signal.
I think the mostly tasteful balance Nick and Lins strike with their self-censorship is an unfortunate but necessary "bridge" for helping non-nudists, or reluctant nudists, better understand what's really going on without getting "turned off" by their trained-in visceral reactions against frontal nudity. I see places like their blog as a "welcome center" for the less-informed, but unfortunately it does limit their ability to simultaneously relate to an audience of fellow committed nudists who have "outgrown" the need for such absurdities. I've found myself substantially less interested in keeping up with their blog than I was in the past; having learned what I needed to learn from them, there's not much left but the drumbeat of travel destination reviews, which get rather repetitive (although no doubt a useful reference for those planning a vacation ;-) ).
It's interesting to reflect on how my own perspectives have changed as I've become more comfortable with nudity on both moral and experiential levels. Sometimes I have to stop and remind myself that others around me still don't see the world that way and are unprepared to even comprehend such a perspective. For non-nudists, direct exposure to nudity (particularly full frontal) is a "conversation stopper" that can completely derail and paralyze unrelated social interaction. As absurd and neurotic as it can be, it's a fact of life of how the majority of our society is "programmed".
As an interesting example of this, I read somewhere that when the famous (infamous?) Game of Thrones series was made into a TV series (I haven't read or seen it since I'm not interested in the sort of brutal sexuality it bathes in, but I thought this bit was interesting), they had to make a substantial change to their costuming choices because of this "conversation stopper" effect. Apparently, in the original books, the prevailing fashion amongst the nobility of one of the story's main societies was for women to dress with one breast uncovered in formal settings. For a book reader, this would be an interesting story detail but one that could easily be "back-burnered" when mentally picturing scenes. But despite the TV series being filled with explicit sex and copious sexualized nudity, they decided that having several of their main characters walking around with one breast hanging out in "serious" scenes would be "too distracting" for audiences to actually pay attention to the story! I suspect that, at least subconsciously, they also sought to avoid this because, as Hollywood knows all too well, desensitizing audiences to nudity in non-sexual contexts can undermine its allure in more sexual/pornographic scenes.