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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!

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Fear

I've always loved to be naked since I was a boy but growing up it was looked down on but as an adult I've been doing it more but had a great fear what people might think or will they laugh or what will they say I would spend time on the family farm naked but then stop and then again because of my fear then I decided to tell my family and to my surprise they all said they knew it lol and they all support me and slowly told friends and some was ok and some support me but I'm not afraid anymore if someone finds out about my nudist life.

Re: Fear

I will reply to this after giving it some thought. You're story is a little similar to mine.

Re: Fear

After my mother died when I was in junior high school and my father remarried a year of so later, we began spending a lot of time in the country about 35 miles from where I grew up. About three years later, when I was still in high school, we moved there permanently. There was a lot of land covered with woods and it was perfect for hiking. Only I didn't call it hiking. I was just "running around in the woods." I don't remember what prompted me to start doing that without clothes but before I left, nude hiking (running around naked, in so many words) had become something I loved doing and did whenever I had the chance. But as far as I know, no one else knew about it. At least not until I started telling the world about it after the internet came along.

I never thought about what anyone might think had I been seen ("caught"). I never had any guilt about it nor the urge to tell anyone what I had been doing. It was just something I did, offbeat thought it may have been.

They were carefree days, too. I never worried about all the things people seem to worry about now. Not ticks (there were no deer, so there were no ticks), not snakes (there were snakes, though), not sunburn (always in the shade of the trees) or anything like that. My legs and ankles were always covered in scratches, though. But there were never any kind of problems because of anything that I did. As I have had opportunities, I have continued nude hiking ever since. Unfortunately, suitable locations for outdoor nudity are at least 75 miles from home and that's a problem. And somehow, I have less free time than ever these days. Actual nudist clubs are even further away. And the best places that I know of for long nude hikes are even further than that. Such is life. And besides, it's January.

Re: Fear

It's quite common for nudists to live a double life out of fear of other people finding out.

I started out like many nudists: hiding it. As a teen I was naked in my room when no one was around. As a young man I was naked in the backyard or in the nearby woods - in secret.

I then became a little more open when I got my own place and started being a home-nudist. But when my wife started joining me, and we decided to have a nude home-life with our daughter, I went into "hiding" again as I didn't want to chance someone finding out and sending CPS our way; as I heard about it happening to other nudist families. So we agreed to keep our nudist and textile lives separate.

Still, the people who were closest to us invariably found out. When they visited us, sometimes unexpectedly, it was hard to pretend we just hadn't been naked; as we would just grab random clothing to barely cover up at the last minute. Questions would be asked, and we sometimes had no choice but to be honest.
Fortunately, when we did have to "come out of the closet", the news was usually fairly well received. Most of our closest friends/relatives "suspected" it already. My MIL was the most receptive; as she gave us the "ok" to just stay comfortable and naked when she dropped by. Second was my SIL, who agreed to our niece being nude with our daughter when she spent the weekend at our house.

So we managed to find a bridge between our nudist and textile worlds. People closest to you tend to be more understanding of your nudist proclivities.

Re: Fear

I wouldn't use the expression "double-life." That implies you're doing something you shouldn't be doing. It's merely your private life. And I never use the term "textile." It sound derogatory.

Re: Fear

BlueTrain
I wouldn't use the expression "double-life." That implies you're doing something you shouldn't be doing. It's merely your private life. And I never use the term "textile." It sound derogatory.
I'll be contrary for a moment, but only in part...

Some people do find themselves living a double-life,
finding themselves in a position where other people or institutions are in a position of power over one's private life that should not be any of their concern.

It may be difficult to quit a job or leave a small town and the victims endure the unpleasantness as long as they can, whether that is keeping your nudism secret or enduring the scorn once it is out.

It may be family or friends attempting to control you.

It is not healthy to remain that way.

It probably will take real effort and emotional anguish to break free, but I suggest persevering until you are in a place where you can live more according to your own conscience and less according to others wishes.

Those who truly know you and love you will see past this odd, embarrassing (to them) life you have taken on and make a way to continue the relationship.

Pastors, deacons, elders, various church leaders may be convinced that you are in sin by being a nudist and feel a duty to remove you from any position of service within your church until you repent. It would be wonderful if one of them will do you the courtesy of listening to you as you make a case for nudism as a normal part of Christian life, but some church leaders simply won't listen with an open mind.
Breaking with a church is not easy if you are deeply involved. Depending on your location, you may be able to find another place that is biblical, but more centered on grace than legalism. Failing that, I know a couple that had "home church" for quite a few years until they found a new church home. They frequently invited friends to worship with them and it truly was church.
A double-life is a sad state to be in and you should find a way to be yourself as much as this world allows.

As for "textile", perhaps we should reserve it for those who won't leave nudists alone. As for the others who are more like the Peanuts comic character Linus and his security blanket, we can be more charitable!

Re: Fear

Oh, I understand entirely what you're saying. It can be the same if you vote Democratic when everyone else votes Republican, even though it's supposed to be a secret ballot. As far as church or other organizations are concerned, it sounds like the best solution for everyone is to find another church or organization. That might be easier said than done in some places, of course, especially in smaller communities where everybody knows one another's business or tries to, if you follow me. I do know, however, that churches can have personality problems within a congregation. You wouldn't notice it at first until you've been attending a given church for a while (you don't know them and they don't know you) but the differences between churches within a denomination can be surprising. But it's really a difference between the members of the church as a whole (meaning the difference between the members of one church and the members of another church).

Sorry about my attitude about the word "textile." It just comes off as condescending to me. Think about it: how does referring to someone who is wearing the merest slip of a bathing suit as a "textile." It may be accurate, of course. But ponder this, too. A nudist is not wearing clothes, save perhaps something on his feet and maybe even a cap. If they get chilly they slip on, say, a t-shirt or sweatshirt, remaining bottomless. The last part that is covered--and this is the rules for some nudist clubs--are the genitals. One could easily conclude that nudism is just about genitals. But we know that isn't true. It isn't, is it?

I used to correspond frequently with someone in Utah, who was Mormon, not surprisingly, about nude hiking. It was something of an issue with him, too, but I don't recall how he handled it.

Re: Fear

We agree on the matter of intolerance: it is intolerable!
Since this happens to be a nudist site, we tend to discuss intolerance of nudists or people who simply enjoy a little more nudity than others do, with no ulterior motive, but it could be intolerance of other sorts.

And yes, in some situations, say a beach or pool, the difference between how a nudist appears and a non-nudist appears is rather subtle, a matter of degree. Some bikinis are so brief that they reveal 95% of the skin that total nudity does, yet only offer 5% of the comfort of total nudity. No doubt there is greater difference in the state of mind.

In my father’s generation, male nudity was tolerated in certain limited settings; not as common as today: YMCA swims (men only) and when he and his navy buddies went swimming.

We have hashed through the topic of nude swim classes for boys in some schools in the Midwest. It is well-documented. Not sure how common it was, but that is less important than the fact that it occurred anywhere in the 20th Century in the United States in a public school.

A friend of mine told me that the boys on her son’s swim team were so bashful that they refused to wear anything but board shorts, rather than briefer, more streamlined swimwear. I asked her how many matches they won at swim meets. She replied, “None that I can recall”. Apparently covering one’s thighs is more important than winning swim meets. Of course kids lose meets for other reasons, but it can’t hurt to be streamlined in an event where every microsecond counts.

Our friend mentioned a time in his life when he was sneaking-in nude moments while still living with his parents; my comments about breaking free don’t apply as much to kids at that stage of life.
You do a lot of things or refrain from other things because parents set the rules. That said, a wise parent will gradually allow a child greater autonomy as they grow older. “Trust, but verify”, to take the late President Reagan badly out of context.

But to the extent that he can safely do so, a boy in his mid to late-teens will take initiative to explore his world, try new things and perhaps go naked in nature when it is safe to do so. Girls may rightfully be more cautious, but a few bold ones (such as the owner of this site) have similar adventures).

Kids from a strict church may feel guilt and a rush of sexual feelings as they try nudity, but in time we learn to distinguish the sensuality of suddenly baring lots of skin on a pleasant day, or diving naked into a refreshing river from sexual misbehavior. Parents have trouble telling the difference, unless they have nudist experience to draw on. My dad knew the difference, but he was from a different place and time.

Re: Fear

Ramblinman
Kids from a strict church may feel guilt and a rush of sexual feelings as they try nudity, but in time we learn to distinguish the sensuality of suddenly baring lots of skin on a pleasant day, or diving naked into a refreshing river from sexual misbehavior. Parents have trouble telling the difference, unless they have nudist experience to draw on. My dad knew the difference, but he was from a different place and time.


"May feel guilt?" "May feel a rush of sexual feeling as they try nudity?"

Like how about changing that to "ABSOLUTELY 100 PERCENT are CERTAIN to feel LOTS of guilt, and a HUGE rush of sexual feelings, as they try nudity."

Everything I wrote on another post about shame and breaking taboos, together with the guilty pleasure of being filled with fear but enjoying it so much I don't want to stop, applies here.

A married couple from a background like that is all but certain to feel fear and guilt as they undress -- the wife feeling shame as she takes off her clothes and feels the eyes of male friends on her body, and the husband feeling guilt as he enjoys seeing his female friends undress, and then the wife feeling guilty pleasure as she starts to enjoy the feeling of male friends appreciating her body.

A dating couple from a background like that will feel incredible guilt as they have a rush of sexual feelings for each other -- feelings which are entirely healthy and wholesome to have for each other, but which they've been taught to suppress. Plus, they'll have all the fear and guilt of the married couple when they are naked with other people, feeling guilty pleasure because they enjoy seeing their friends without clothes and enjoy being seen by those friends, and feeling fear that they shouldn't enjoy it.

And if anything it's worse for a single person from a background like that to go through the experience of undressing with friends. There's raw fear, without the comfort of being with someone she loves.

Let's get real here. When a young woman has been raised with the belief that she shouldn't wear skirts that come above her knees when she sits, and shouldn't wear dresses or blouses that are even slightly tight, or which have a V-neck, there is no way to explain to those who haven't been raised that way how terrifying it is to unbutton that blouse, unzip and pull down that skirt, and then unhook her bra and pull down her panties, and stand there completely nude and vulnerable in front of male friends.

And while I can't really say I understand the feelings of men raised like that, I can only imagine what it's like to pull off one's pants and undershorts, and to watch female friends undress.

What I can say I understand is the strong sense of breaking taboos.

And I understand the incredible pleasure, and feeling of emotional release, and feeling of guilt, that accompany the experience of taking off my bra and panties for the first time with male friends.

It took a lot for me to face my own fears. I think the pleasure was worth it. But it was not easy in any way, and the word "fear" only begins to capture the emotions women from a background like that feel as they undress with male friends.

Re: Fear

Nudony
In time we learn to distinguish the sensuality of suddenly baring lots of skin on a pleasant day, or diving naked into a refreshing river from sexual misbehavior.


I feel you've identified the issue perfectly with this sentence. Simple nudity is not sexual misbehavior -- though it takes a lot to overcome one's fears and realize that.

I think I've written before about a college friend who nervously accepted an invitation to a swim party at a friend's home, bashfully undressed with all the usual blushing and modesty, slowly learned to accept that it was okay when friends she knew from college ran their eyes up and down her body and told her, "Sue, you're really cute and you have nothing to be embarrassed about," and because she wasn't dating anyone, felt a twinge of sadness when she saw dating couples holding each other's waists while they walked around the pool area fully nude.

My boyfriend (now husband) was the one who had invited her. He encouraged her to lay on a towel and sunbathe until she was comfortable getting up and walking around nude. She took his advice.

But what helped her the most in overcoming her fears wasn't the sunbathing, or watching dating couples walk around together, or watching me and my boyfriend embrace in a tight nude hug.

What helped her the most was when she felt comfortable enough to get up on the diving board and make a graceful dive into the pool. She knew all eyes would be on her, but she faced her fears, made the dive, and learned that just as people enjoy watching a skilled diver in her swimsuit standing on the end of the board preparing to dive, and then diving in, people enjoyed it even more when she made the dive completely nude. She'd been swimming and diving for years, and doing it nude was familiar but different all at the same time.

She swam several laps around the pool, pulled herself out of the pool and sat on the deck with her legs in the water, and had a big smile on her face. I walked over and listened to her talk about how much she enjoyed the sensation of gliding through the water. From that point on, she was no longer bashful about her body, and rather than giggling or blushing or looking away or trying to cover herself when men noticed her, she smiled back, first smiling shyly and then with growing confidence. By lunchtime, she was mostly confident with her nudity and felt just as comfortable talking to male friends nude as she would have been talking to them fully clothed in class.

For her, that experience of having male friends watch her gracefully diving into the pool helped her realize that it wasn't sexual misbehavior to be nude, and just as she was used to men watching her diving into the college pool and enjoy seeing her in her swimsuit, she could enjoy men watching her dive fully nude into an off-campus friend's pool.

What made the difference?

She knew that men enjoyed looking at her athletic and well-muscled body in her swimsuit as she walked onto the diving board, stretched out her body, prepared to dive, and then gracefully entered the water. She realized that men were looking at her the same way nude as they had looked at her for years in a swimsuit, and that her swimsuit hadn't really covered up any of her body shape or hidden it from men's view, so there wasn't any real reason for her to mind men looking at her the same way doing the same dive with no swimsuit.

Re: Fear

Some good conversations going on in SunnyDay's message board!:relaxed:

"Sorry about my attitude about the word "textile." It just comes off as condescending to me. Think about it: how does referring to someone who is wearing the merest slip of a bathing suit as a "textile." It may be accurate, of course. But ponder this, too. A nudist is not wearing clothes, save perhaps something on his feet and maybe even a cap. If they get chilly they slip on, say, a t-shirt or sweatshirt, remaining bottomless. The last part that is covered--and this is the rules for some nudist clubs--are the genitals. One could easily conclude that nudism is just about genitals. But we know that isn't true. It isn't, is it?"

You do make a good point.

I use the word "textile" to draw a distinction between the clothes-free philosophy and the pro-clothing philosophy. I don't mean it as a derogatory term; although I can understand how it can be perceived that way. I respect individual choices to stay covered or disrobe.

Where nudity begins, and ends; and where "textilism" begins and ends is an interesting topic. The "conventional" perception is that nudity becomes "real" when the genitals are uncovered. But I agree it's a very limitative viewpoint; as nudism is not just about letting the genitals "hang out."

My ex had an interesting point of view. She started out as a shy, semi-reluctant spouse who didn't want to just hang out completely naked around other people - like I did. Yet, from our very first nudist resort outing, she had no problem going bottomless. Which may seem counter-intuitive. But when she explained it to me, it actually made sense. The female genitalia is mostly internal. Hers was very much tucked in. In her point of view, since there was nothing there perceptible beyond a "patch of hair", she didn't feel self-conscious about it. Since bottomlessness was acceptable at the resort and she didn't feel truly naked that way, she had no issue just wearing a T-shirt or sarong.

My fiancée, on the other hand, did go completely nude on her first trip. However, being very self-conscious, she stayed in her lounge chair in a very closed position, with her legs crossed and her arms crossed against her chest. She was "more" naked than my ex had been, yet was a lot less "open."

Getting back to my ex, it took some time and several nudist outings before she tried socializing completely nude. Whereas she was comfortable going bottomless, taking off her T-shirt or sarong took more effort. Until she eventually "got into it" and resolved to stay naked at nudist venues. Her attitude about nudity progressively transformed into a preference for complete nudity.

My point to this is that IMHO, nudism does not begin with the uncovering of any body part in particular. Someone can be topless and not truly be covered; someone can be nude and not truly be nudist. Nudism begins with a feeling, the feeling that life can truly be enjoyable if the option of wearing as little as possible, or nothing at all, exists. In my ex's case, she didn't call herself a "nudist" or consider bottomlessness to be "naked" in the beginning. But when she started embracing being able to walk into a resort or get-together, and have no hang-ups about following her inclination nd going topless, bottomless, or more frequently just completely naked; that she started calling herself a "nudist."

Re: Fear

Ramblinman
Kids from a strict church may feel guilt and a rush of sexual feelings as they try nudity...


I was going to log off and call it a night... and then a Taylor Swift song came on my radio with these lyrics that have stayed with me like an "earworm" since I first heard them long ago:

I got that good girl faith and a tight little skirt


That line PERFECTLY sums up the way lots of young women want to live life: combining a "good girl faith" with the seductiveness and sexiness implied by "a tight little skirt."

I waited to post this until I woke up because I wasn't sure I might not change my mind. But here goes.

I was raised in a home where wearing a "tight little skirt" would have led to a long but loving talk from my mom about what messages I wanted to send to boys. My husband was raised in a home with similar values but much less strict about what to wear.

But I can think of plenty of young women in the youth group I attended in college who tried to combine the "good girl faith" with tight jeans, skimpy halter tops, or other types of highly suggestive clothing designed to attract guys.

Most of those people would never consider social nudity. They were perfectly fine with wearing clothing to class designed to get men very interested in their bodies, or wearing swimsuits to the beach designed with the same intent, but taking off that clothing was totally unacceptable in their eyes, and they couldn't understand how me and my boyfriend (now husband) could enjoy the nude beach.

A few -- very few -- were willing to give it a try.

For a young woman whose appeal to guys is tied up with her "tight little skirt" and having "got that red lip, classic thing that you like" (another line from Taylor Swift's song lyrics), taking off those clothes is incredibly difficult.

But I've seen it happen, and it's really fun to watch a young couple in love who decide to finally stop denying each other the pleasure of enjoying the sight of each other's bodies, take off each other's swimsuits, hold hands while standing fully naked face to face, and then embrace, cautiously and nervously at first, but then passionately and tightly hugging as they enjoy the pleasure of pressing up against each other's skin.

Men and women are created to enjoy each other's bodies. There's nothing wrong with that. And as I've said before, social nudity is a great way for a young couple to enjoy seeing each other clothes-free, whether that means enjoying long romantic walks on a beach, swimming in a pool together, or suntanning in an isolated forest meadow.

Young love is cute. And if a young woman is willing to wear a "tight little skirt" or tiny bikini, there's really no good reason she shouldn't be willing to take it off with her boyfriend. It isn't hiding very much, and all it's doing is making her boyfriend extremely interested in wanting to know what's underneath the skirt or bikini.

Re: Fear

It's an interesting subject. I watch the media quite a bit and I have seen all the discussion from Women who protest that they should have the right to wear whatever they want, and I agree. However, the way I see it is that, our society has taught that certain ways of dressing are to advertise "our" sexuality. And, what's more, some Women flirt a lot. I'm not blaming them for that, but they have to realise that Men are genetically programmed to respond to that and a lot of them, if not most, have not been taught how to resist or respond appropriately. Look at the number of men being Outed at the moment for inappropriate behaviour 10, 20 or 30 or more years ago. Now that is not appropriate and I am not defending them, but back in the day it was accepted "to a degree", why would women not have complained at the time.

I admire the Women who first came forward, it takes a lot of courage even now to do that. I hope they get justice. I also hope that women will now resist more where attacked and that men will learn what is not appropriate.

I also hope the judiciary will have the wisdom to recognised both the Men who are claiming consent when there was none, normally they do, and the women who did truly consent and now claim they didn't. That could be the biggest challenge.

My 2 cents, hopefully it is clear!

Re: Fear

Overcoming unreasonable fear is liberating.
I recall a young woman who looked like a flight attendant, visiting our nudist camp for the first time. This place is very affirming and first-timer friendly.
Several of the women reached out to her, helped babysit her toddler when she needed to step away to the lady's room.

Our pool rules require total nudity in the water.
She arrived at the pool fully dressed; took her shoes off and dangled them in the water.
It was a blazing hot day (like it is every summer day). I was looking elsewhere and when I looked back her way, her blouse was gone. She was really enjoying the sensation, well for 15 minutes. But she realized that she was only enjoying half the comfort of her nude neighbors. She was bashful, but getting most of the attention because of her clothed appearance in a 100% nude crowd.

The rules require a soap shower before you swim, so she walked back to the lodge, showered and returned to the pool and waded in, smiling more broadly than ever. A lot of her smile was coming from her newfound confidence in her skin. Some of it from her newfound comfort in the summer heat.

At last she had merged into the crowd, indistinguishable from the rest of us.
She no longer stood out. I saw some of her new lady friends congratulate her when she finally ditched the last thread of clothing.

You will find plenty of conversation and friendly interest from those around you, but people quickly discover when they visit, and make their "grand entrance", no one is watching, at least not much. The fastest way to blend in is to be totally naked. The social scene is all about conversation and relationships, nothing like a beauty pageant or school dance. Eventually, you will become more a part of the community, a regular, but it takes time. The bigger the place, the more time required.

Re: Fear

As a man, I won't pretend to know how women feel about getting naked at a public nudist venue for the first time. I do know that for my fiancée and my ex, it can be summed up on one word: dread.

I think the greatest fear was judgement. Not looking "good enough" to be seen with little to no clothing. Or being sexually objectified by male onlookers from revealing their breasts/genitals. It can be a very difficult hurdle for women; some of which already have to deal with some level of it in every day life.


The first-time disrobing was an "event" for the both of them. The nervousness, the anticipation, the pressure, the hesitation about stripping down, the second-guessing; all these emotions rolled into one big ball of fear.
Once these emotions have been pushed aside long enough to actually disrobe, the "acclimatization time" varies from person to person. I've seen women arrive reluctant/scared, disrobe and be comfortable naked during/by the end of the first day. Others have to try and try again; or just never come back again.


My fiancée got naked in the ocean; and I agree with BB as it being the easiest way to start. Yet, that didn't prepare her to be "seen" naked by other people on the beach. Although she'd loved being swimming naked with me, she didn't love people looking at her and trying to talk to her while naked on the beach. She'd overcome the hurdle of being naked outdoors; but the hurdle of interacting nude with other people proved to be much more "intense" for her.

It was fairly similar with my ex. But she had the benefit of repeated attempts. It took 3 or 4 trips before she found herself at a nudist get-together; the only person covered up. Being drawn into active socialization with naked women "pushed" her to - albeit somewhat reluctantly - drop her sarong and be naked with them. And then the men joined in. I have to give her props for it as I knew that being completely naked in front of other men and interacting with them was a fairly "intense" experience for her.
But once that last hurdle had been crossed, her attitude about being openly nude started changing. No longer plagued by fear or negative thoughts, she was able to start embracing the sensual aspects of social nudity. By "sensual" I mean the feeling of the sun and wind all over her naked body, the feeling of her breasts hanging naturally or floating in the pool water; or even the friendly/approving looks or comments she received from nudist men and women. She was ultimately able to reconcile her femininity with her nudity as her self-consciousness dissipated.

This doesn't happen all the time for everyone, but if those two hurdles are crossed; being naked "in public" for the first time, and then being around people, women usually do ok. But sometimes it takes time, several attempts before self-consciousness is dealt with.

Re: Fear

Apologies in advance that this post isn’t directly about the topic, ‘Fear,’ but reading earlier posts from BeachBunny and others about the significance (or not) to covering certain parts with tiny shreds of textile reminded me of the time a few years back when I was on the World Naked Bike Ride in London and we rode past the Slut Walk demonstration in Trafalgar Square. It was a striking moment when the two groups – one nearly all naked and the other mostly in deliberately scanty outfits (lacy, see-through underwear or for some, only tape over their nipples) – saw each other and let out simultaneous whoops of appreciation and support. Some naked cyclists even hopped off and exchanged hugs with the Slut Walk protestors.

What struck me most about that encounter, though, was the realisation that the Slut Walk protest (which was new to me) made me somewhat uneasy. I fully support the idea that just because a woman dresses alluringly that does not mean she consents to harassment or sexual assault, and yet the sight of so many women (mostly) protesting in intentionally provocative outfits struck me as ‘inappropriate.’

I was fully aware of the irony that as I was being shocked by these protestors’ skimpy clothes I was myself protesting completely naked with a thousand others wearing even less than the Slut Walk protestors. At the time, I accounted for the difference by telling myself the WNBR is about highlighting issues, not sexuality, whereas the Slut Walk was about asserting a woman’s right to dress and behave in a certain (sexualised) way even if others might call it ‘slutty.’ Again, while fully supporting the protest of sexual harassment and assault, I just didn’t feel fully on board. There seemed to be an important distinction between, on the one hand, displaying genitalia in a way that suggested the sight of them was unimportant and uninteresting and, on the other hand, wearing suggestive coverings that served only to highlight the genitalia partially hidden beneath. I think in the end my overriding thought about the Slut Walk was ‘there’s a time and place, and this is not it’

In retrospect, I realise that neither protest is about promoting the right to frequent crowded public spaces in see-through knickers or none at all any time one chooses – each protest’s provocative ‘dress code’ was only designed to capture attention to highlight more important issues.

I am well accustomed to places where mixed-sex social nudity is normal and accepted, but I have no expectation or hope that it will ever be considered normal and accepted everywhere and all the time. I know there are some who enjoy WNBR rides because they hope the sight of many naked people cycling for several hours through the most densely-peopled parts of a major city will somehow ‘normalise’ nudity – and perhaps there is some beneficial envelope-pushing going on. But no one really expects that it will become normal and acceptable to cycle naked through London any day of the year, any more than any Slut Walk protestor expects of hopes that a woman may walk down the street in nothing but lacy underwear without attracting unwelcome attention. Each protest chooses its dress code precisely because it does not fit the time and place; that is what grabs the attention of the world at large they are protesting to.

The interesting thing – and here we get back to the theme of ‘Fear’ – is that within each protest itself, there is another dynamic going on. In the context of a naked cycling protest, nudity is by definition normal and acceptable. This is not always immediately apparent to first-time participants, who may come to a ride bringing all their usual fears about nudity. Over the years, I have seen many riders start out clothed (albeit scantily), fully expecting to remain that way, but somewhere along the way their perception of the dividing line between normal and inappropriate shifts, and the clothe come off. (I’ve even seen this happen with unsuspecting non-participant cyclists overtaken by the ride whose are seized by the moment.)

This ties in with my observations at nude beaches. Over the years, I have taken a number of female friends and girlfriends for their first visits. Only one was fully on board in advance (and had to be persuaded not to strip off in the car park). The others were, if not fearful, at least adamant they would not be exercising their clothing-optional rights. That just did not fit with their notions of normal and acceptable, and I absolutley respected their feelings and made it clear that 'optional' meant just that. But then they experienced first-hand the welcoming and easy-going atmosphere of the beaches. None of the reluctant women I’ve ever taken to a nude beach lasted more than twenty minutes before her perception of normality and acceptability shifted, and none wanted to put her clothes back on at the end of the day.

Re: Fear

I think there are several things going on here that you have pointed out. And dread is a good word, too. You may fear being seen nude. If you do and you're going to a nude beach tomorrow, dread has entered the picture.

One problem here, I think, is that no one "owns" nudity. You can be a card-carrying member of a dozen nudist clubs but that doesn't mean you then have the right to say what being nude is all about. There may be someone else, here we assume it is a female, who spends her Saturday nights clubbing in a provocative and skimpy outfit and doesn't believe for a minute that nudity can possibly be innocent, ordinary and especially, non-sexual. And what do you think the pole dancers at the local "gentleman's club" think about it?

All the same, I understand completely what you're uncomfortable about. It's just that others have a different idea about nudity and sexuality.

But such things also exist in Europe, too, which has a much more accepting attitude towards public nudity, at least in certain places, like the beach. It isn't 100% acceptance, mind you, but nothing like it is in the United States. After all, Jack Daniels is distilled in a county where it cannot be sold. Go figure.

Nudity in a group, once you become more or less accustomed to it, is a sort of affirming thing. And likewise, to an extent, that's one reason you want to be in a group: to be surrounded by like-minded nude people. It affirms your belief that it's okay to be nude with other people. And whether or not it actually is, becomes unimportant.