Finding the courage to enjoy social nudity

BeachCpl

Our society in the U. S., as in most other counties, is generally quite hostile to open nudity. It’s considered OK for a person to be naked in a few limited circumstances, and even to enjoy that nakedness in some fewer cases. But there’s a strong taboo against going naked openly and by choice with all but a certain very few people. In various ways this taboo is even stronger now than in recent decades – unless one is some sort of a celebrity or meets quite narrow aesthetic standards of bodily appearance.

As a result, it takes a fair amount of courage for most people to try social nudity – and to admit that they enjoy it, if they are successful in trying it. It takes courage to explain to skeptics of social nudity, let alone people who are actively hostile towards it, what is so good about it. But almost inevitably one has to undertake such explanation to the skeptics and hostiles in order to justify a choice to participate in social nudity.

Rational arguments in favor of social nudity are often unsuccessful in changing the minds of skeptics and opponents. Such arguments may include:

  • Being naked and free of clothing simply feels very good.
  • Being naked among others who are also naked engenders feelings of openness and closeness with others.
  • When we reject the crutch of wearing clothes to hide our bodies, we are able to like and accept our bodies more.
  • When we overcome our fears of being naked, we also overcome unreasonable fears of exposing other aspects of ourselves.
  • In order to enjoy social nudity, we have to acquire confidence in having mastery of our sexuality, so this sexuality becomes less of a problem for us.

Many, perhaps most, people who haven’t experienced social nudity simply do not tend to believe such claims. And we understand this, so we don’t have much confidence that making these claims will sway the attitudes of others towards social nudity.

So where, then, can we find the courage to enjoy social nudity, and as a result face the need to justify this choice? Well, partly, it helps a lot if we believe these claims ourselves, as a result of personal experience. But that may not be enough, especially at an early stage when we are trying to get started with social nudity.

Negative attitudes towards nudity are usually acquired before adulthood. Most commonly the attitudes come at an early age from one’s own family, if there is hostility within the family towards nudity. In this way, the taboo against nudity is almost like a genetic disease, passed on from one generation to the next. But even for people lucky enough to be raised in a family that is tolerant of nudity or even favorable towards it, negative attitudes can be acquired from peers when one is a little older. It’s rather impractical to advise people to be born into families with positive attitudes about nudity, and to avoid contact with others outside the family who are hostile towards nudity.

Here is one suggestion that has worked for many people to develop the courage to enjoy social nudity. What works best is to find and get to know people who already enjoy social nudity. The best way to do this is to go to places such as clothing-optional beaches or naturist parks and resorts. However, since there aren’t nearly as many such places as there should be, some effort is required. You also have to have enough courage already to get naked yourself, though this isn’t always necessary at the start, especially at clothing-optional beaches. At least you won’t need the extra courage required to justify what you are doing to other people, since people at such places are already comfortable with social nudity.

But here’s the real payoff. The people you meet who already enjoy social nudity can be your role models. They’ve already acquired the necessary self-confidence in what they’re doing. You will probably acquire gradually this same confidence simply by getting to know them and interacting with them. You may find, if you’re lucky, that some of these people can be inspiring, if they talk about how social nudity has helped them become more “centered”, stronger, and self-confident. There are other paths that lead the same way (such as meditation, yoga, even philosophy), but social nudity has some advantages, as listed above.

In the early days of modern naturism (before 1940, roughly), society was especially intolerant of it. There were serious legal obstacles placed in its way, especially in the U. S. But nudity continues to be reviled even now. Almost everywhere in the U. S. there are laws against even the most unobjectionable forms of public social nudity (at beaches, camping and hiking areas, etc.), and this situation continues to deteriorate.

Nudity is specifically not recognized as a form of free speech or political protest, and therefore not eligible for U. S. 1st Amendment protection. This is rationalized on the grounds that nudity per se is not “expressive” speech – despite quite obvious cases where nudity does express attitudes related to the naked human body in general or one’s own naked body. But courts routinely accept the duplicity of their anti-nudity position by willfully refusing to perceive what nudity can express. And even the most nonsexual depictions of nudity are routinely excluded from the largest Internet sites like Facebook and Google+ (which aren’t required to pay any attention to the 1st Amendment). In other 1st world countries, like the U. K. and Australia[1, 2, 3], the situation seems to be even worse, as governments build walls of censorship to prevent access to whatever they think some segment of their public will regard as “pornography”.

So there are these and other obstacles to the free enjoyment of social nudity and the means to communicate about its significant merits. Consequently, much courage and perseverance really can be necessary in order for individuals to learn about and choose to follow this path for themselves.

Footnotes:

1. Internet censorship in the United Kingdom

2. UK Internet Censorship: David Cameron Says Government Will Block ‘Extremist’ Websites

3. Internet censorship in Australia

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This entry was posted in General naturism, Naturist philosophy, Political issues, Promoting naturism, Psychology of nudity and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to Finding the courage to enjoy social nudity

  1. Being able to be free of clothing and being free to express your feelingsto be nude or to enjoy Naturism is everyone’s right!

  2. Happy Bare says:

    It seems to be so odd that society would be so repressive to a thing as fundamental as nakedness. We all know that we come into this world naked and it is clear that our souls depart without clothes (earthly riches), but that while we are here, we must wear clothes. Is it a mass delusion that we are imperfect and therefore must hide ourselves with clothing? Is hiding our naked bodies with clothing easier than somehow hiding our imperfect selves? Could the clothing and fashion lobby be so mighty that they could foist such complete repressiveness on the entire society. Naturists know how good it feels to be naked, but we can’t be the only ones. Everyone must have at some time or other felt how good it feels to be naked, and really sexual organs can’t be that frightening, everybody has them, and uses them It is a mystery to me. Thanks for your posts, always well thought out and very enlightening. Have a great 2014.

  3. Yden4466 says:

    You make good points in article. Thank you,too HB.
    Adopting this lifestyle has turned to be a most life-affirming and healing choice for me.
    I have spent nearly a lifetime despising my body (because of medical issues I was born with). Going natural has,in 6 months,has transformed my negativity into positivity.
    I am truly happy to be NAKED and at peace!
    I’d recommend naturism to anybody. It’s great (perhaps the greatest) therapy there is.

  4. Nicky says:

    Being nude, let’s people see the real you without clothes as a barrier or wall.

  5. Tom says:

    The fashion industry is further perpetuating the fundamental christian believe that the naked human form is shameful based on Adam & Eve and Sodom & Gomorrah. Adam & Eve’s “sin” was eating from the tree of Knowledge not their nakedness. Upon being exiled from the perfect conditions in the Garden of Eden the covered their bodies as neede for protection from the harsher elements. As far as Sodom & Gomorrah this story is about the peoples actions and attitudes no where is there mention of clothing or lack there of (nudity). A search through the bible revels accounts of nudity being used in parse of God then condemned by God.

  6. nat2020 says:

    Reblogged this on Caminhar ao Natural | Walking Naturally and commented:
    Reblogged with our own opinion and Portuguese differences to U.S. .
    Please take a look to original post comments, they improve this article.

  7. nat2020 says:

    Reblogged with our own opinion and Portuguese differences to U.S. . Please take a look to original post comments, they improve this article.

  8. Windy Wilson says:

    That business about “mere” nudity not being expressive speech dates back to a Supreme Court Decision in IIRC the 70’s where nude dancing in a strip joint was expressive nudity and therefore protected, but lounging around a nudist club sunning and swimming was not (sorry, no citation).

    It seems to me that the members of the nudist club are expressing respect for nature and each other, and a sort of solidarity against pretense and posturing, a sort of non-abstract version of “I have nothing to hide from you” every minute they are nude socially or at the club.

    • You are referring to the SCOTUS decision in Barnes v. Glen Theatre, Inc., which came out in 1991. This was recognized at the time by naturists as an idiotic decision which was made to reach the pre-determined conclusion that a state could ban “adult entertainment”, since non-verbal expression such as erotic performances were not legitimate “expressive speech”. It has been used to subsequently to restrict completely nonsexual political protest containing nudity for the same reason. In fact, the decision did not affect private nudist clubs but did curtail “adult entertainment”, based on the idea that even if it had expressive content, it was not important enough to merit 1st Amendment protection. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnes_v._Glen_Theatre,_Inc.

  9. naturalian says:

    Reblogged this on Naturalian's Blog and commented:
    Why are we so intolerant of others and afraid to bare ourselves to others?

  10. Stefan says:

    I don’t have a negative attitude towards nudity. I love beautiful nude bodies. The first girl I fell in love with I met at a topless beach in France when I was 14. She was 18. It was ill-fated from the get-go. None the less – ahhh, those boobs 🙂

    But then, I discovered that there are also extremely ugly people who use nudist beaches and I simply don’t care to see those… No, seriously, once you saw it, you cannot unsee it. So I’d rather not see it and just stick to the places where I’m not forced to see people naked I’d rather have wrapped up tightly under lots of clothing.

    Now if you know of a nude beach where there are only good looking people…

    • There are no places (except, perhaps, expensive private resorts) like what you want. Forget about it, or learn to be more accepting of others. You aren’t entitled to fulfill your preferences about the appearance of other people, at least not without some cost to you.

      • Stefan says:

        Haha, that’s the answer I expected. “More accepting of others” 😛

        It has nothing to do with “accepting” – I can’t control my esthetic preference.

        There’s music that I totally despise. It hurts my ears. My solution is not to force myself to suffer through it, but to avoid exposure. My visual senses respond the same way. I simply avoid being exposed to ugliness.

        But that’s all subjective. Clearly, there are people who do not have the same perception of reality. Maybe you should be more accepting of such differences 😉

        Anyway, my post was mostly prompted by the judgemental statement that rejection of nudity was somehow a “received negative attitude”.

        There are very good reasons to reject nudity in specific places or by specific people, even without ANY moral objections or implicit negative attitude.

        Tolerance also requires the acceptance that other people may feel differently from you, without any value judgement or negative assumptions on your part.

        I know that is especially hard when you consider your own attitude as being open-minded and tolerant.

        It’s a complicated world…

      • OK, whatever. But here’s the thing. Nudists/naturists are “accepting” folks. If you want the opportunity to look at beautiful naked people, nudists/naturists aren’t the crowd you need, because they “accept” people that you don’t. You need to get in with the crowd of “beautiful people”. Maybe you should move to Hollywood, become a successful actor, get invited to the “right” parties. Should be a piece of cake, no?

        You also have a strange idea of “tolerance”. It really means not interfering with someone else’s opinions or lifestyle even if you disapprove of it. I certainly can tolerate people who dislike some people being naked, yet still make a negative value judgment.

    • Dave Bulman says:

      Stefan,
      It seems to me that you can hardly be a ‘naturist’ in the true sense of the word. As the article points out the philosophy of naturism transcends physical appearances. For you it seems that you are also very likely to also reject the appearance of some dressed in a manner that offends or that is driving a car, or lives in a house which disapprove of. Is it not the case that acceptance of a person is about WHO that person is – in and of themselves – not how they present physically? You seem to be a person who believes in the old adage that “you know a man by the way he dresses”

  11. Reblogged this on Clothing Optional and commented:
    This is a great article.

  12. Pingback: Finding the courage to enjoy social nudity | Naturally

  13. Bear says:

    I have no idea how people enjoy swimming in the ocean while wearing a bathing suit.

    Peace ~ Bear

  14. sassycoupleok says:

    This is a subject that could rage on forever. I’ve been a nudist since I was 12. My wife (2nd) went with me to our nude resort for the first time 10 years ago. In a word, she was scared shitless!! That lasted for about 15 mins. Why, because she said she didn’t feel like she was being judged or stared at. Whereas at her place of employment, a tight skirt or short skirt, a low cut blouse or tight sweater always elicited unsavory or critical remarks and put downs, not only from the male co-workers but the females as well. She has said often to her friends that question why social nudity, that the freedom and confidence she has gained in her self has been empowering. It comes down to acceptance, respect and trust which we have with all of our nude friends. Something you will never have enough of in the textile world.

  15. swednaturist says:

    Reblogged this on swednaturist's Blog.

  16. Georges says:

    ……………… S U P E R … !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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