Solving naturism’s problems, part 2: goals

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There are various ways to think of naturism’s situation right now. Some are more useful than others, but it’s still worthwhile to approach the situation from more than one direction. So far, we have discussed underlying problems and possible causes of these problems. (Previous relevant posts: here) Now we are going to get into a discussion of reasonable goals for naturism. It’s very important to state what our goals are, since otherwise it’s very hard to come up with effective strategies for reaching any goals. By thinking in terms of goals, we realize that we’re probably going to have to do things differently than we’ve done in the past.

to reach a goal (sm)

But let’s think a little more about problems first. In particular, does naturism have one big problem, or a number of smaller problems? The truth is that most of life’s major problems are just too big and unwieldy to deal with as a whole. We need to analyze them to break them into simpler related smaller problems. This approach is sometimes given a name: the “divide and conquer” method, and it’s really the only practical way to deal with most large problems. There are many ways to divide up a problem. In the initial analysis, we came up with a lot of subproblems and categorized subproblems under six headings (including miscellaneous).

Next, when we considered what the underlying causes of these problems might be, we grouped them into two categories: causes originating in the general culture, and causes within the social nudity community itself. We also noted that it was the second category of causes which are mainly what the community will be able to deal with, as a practical matter, at least initially.

Unfortunately, all these different ways of looking at the situation can make matters confusing. And this view of matters has another shortcoming. It formulates naturism’s situation in a negative way by listing what it is about the situation that we want to be different. But there are many ways to be different. It would be better to make positive statements about what it is that we want naturism’s situation to be in the future. This approach amounts to setting goals. Although goals can be somewhat vague and hazy, we can gradually clarify and respecify them so that we’ll know more precisely what we want to achieve.

We could simply say that our goals are to solve the problems we’ve already enumerated. But that’s a cop-out, because there are still many possible “solutions”. We need to be explicit about the goals that the solutions we devise should help us achieve. As with problems, it’s possible to identify one large goal, such as “gaining society’s full respect and approval of social nudity as a valid lifestyle choice”. But like problems, it’s really essential to divide one large goal up into a number of smaller related subgoals, for which finding strategies to achieve them is a more manageable task.

So now we’ll start to list a number of smaller, simpler subgoals, which may usefully be considered separately. This will prepare us to discuss possible strategies. These goals will be what the social nudity community should be working towards at the present time. Any given proposed strategy may actually help deal with more than one of the subgoals. For example, more effective use of the Internet should help, in different ways, with many of the subgoals. Once we’ve listed the goals, we’ll finally be ready to consider ideas for strategies to achieve them.

For convenience, the subgoals themselves can be sorted into a few categories:

Goals for better public understanding of social nudity

  • Achieve general public understanding of the psychological and emotional benefits of social nudity (e. g. body acceptance, self-confidence, feelings of community)
  • Achieve general public understanding of the health benefits of a naturist lifestyle (e. g. stress reduction, promotion of exercise and physical fitness)
  • Achieve general public understanding of the benefits of naturism to families and children
  • Significantly reduce aversion and other negative attitudes in the general public towards nudity in general
  • Educate the public about social nudity in general in order to significantly reduce the mistaken public attitude that social nudity is nothing but a guise for sexual activity
  • Significantly increase the amount of research done on such things as public attitudes towards nudity, why some people enjoy social nudity more than others, and what the verifiable benefits of social nudity are

Goals for making places and opportunities for social nudity more convenient and readily accessible

  • Expand availability of places for clothing-optional use of beaches and other public land in proportion to the number of people who would enjoy such
  • Encourage and assist formation of naturist groups at many colleges and universities
  • Encourage and assist formation of local nonlanded naturist social groups
  • Help establish facilities for naturism and social nudity in urban areas
  • Expand existing clothing-optional opportunities for vacations, recreation, and leisure activities and help create new opportunities
  • Popularize and help develop opportunities for nudity in connection with existing activities, such as yoga classes, art and photography classes, public swimming pools, gymnasiums, artistic exhibits and performances, etc.
  • Expand availability and enhancement of private landed naturist clubs and resorts by stimulating demand for them among people who enjoy social nudity

Other goals

  • Achieve participation in social nudity of important demographic groups in proportion to their percentage of the general population – especially young people and women
  • Grow participation in social nudity significantly faster than growth in overall population
  • Persuade all popular social Internet services to stop most censorship of visual images containing nonsexual nudity
  • Make full use of the Internet and other modern communication technologies to educate the public about naturism and provide services for naturists

Note that these goals are usually formulated in terms of the desired result rather than simply “do more”, “work harder”, or “do a better job” regarding efforts that are already being made. The focus has to be on the end result rather than specific strategies. If there isn’t significant progress towards the goals, then how clever the strategies are and how much effort is devoted to them misses the point.

Obviously, many of these goals are pretty ambitious. Some of them that depend on changes to ingrained cultural attitudes and traditions will probably require several generations for significant progress to be made. There will remain segments of the population that resist toleration and acceptance of social nudity for the foreseeable future. (Just as there are still segments that refuse to adopt “modern” technologies like electric power, automobiles, and photography.) So “full” achievement of some of the goals can’t be expected in the near future. What’s important is making steady, measurable progress towards the goals.

We’re now ready to start discussing attainable subgoals and strategies for achieving them. We need to identify goals that we can actually make progress on, and that will entail distinguishing “long-term” goals from “near-term” ones. So we have to prioritize which goals to work on first and the corresponding problems that can be “solved”.

Here’s one way to think about this. Consider the problem for a young person of preparing for a career. For instance, a person may want to have a career as a physician. That would be the general goal. But it’s not enough to specify the general goal. It’s not something that is sufficient to decide what needs to be worked on right now. If the person is in college and having trouble with relevant courses, that is the immediate problem, and the immediate goal is to get better course grades. When the immediate goal is recognized, then several possible strategies suggest themselves – for instance, reducing extracurricular and social activities to allow more time to study, developing better study habits, or finding one or more tutors to help learn the course material. Those are all things that can be acted on immediately.

We have to deal with our naturist goals in the same way: find things we can effectively do in the here and now that will help in small ways to make progress towards the goals.

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10 Responses to Solving naturism’s problems, part 2: goals

  1. Joe Bates says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful articles. If the proposed TV reality show “Naked Dating” does air, I believe this will be a great opportunity to present social nudity in a positive way. I suggest we plan to comment on news articles and to have spokespeople available for the media.

  2. Joe says:

    I think that “non-sexual” nudity is the most significant hang up of most people of all ages. I believe that this is even more of a problem today especially for young adults and teenagers. There is often no sense of boundaries today. Many times even in “clothed” social events people are having casual sex. Added to this is the problem of alcohol and drugs which lower inhibitions even more. This is a result of our “overly sexualized” cultural. (a barely clothed man or woman selling a car or drain cleaner.) When is the last time you saw a movie with nudity or even partially clothed where a married couple were having healthy, enjoyable sex? It is almost always between two people who are not married to each other. I am not making moral judgements, just observations. In this culture when we speak of “non-sexual” nudity, one group thinks we are crazy — why get naked and not get laid? The other group thinks we are perverts, or at best deluded telling ourselves it is “non-sexual” and safe.
    I do enjoy social nudity and I am not trying to “hook up” with someone but most people find that stranger than being naked.

    • Sexuality is an extremely emotional and controversial topic for most people. That’s understandable. And now that so many old, negative attitudes towards human bodies and sexuality are gradually being discarded, there’s also a strong backlash, which makes for quite a lot of conflict within the society. It’s kind of like a very slow motion earthquake that’s been shaking things up for decades and will go on for decades longer. Most people have very little understanding of what’s really going on, so they react almost randomly. Naturism and social nudity are just unavoidably caught in the middle of all the commotion. It’s hardly surprising that most people can’t figure out what to make of it. But these social currents and cross-currents are all mostly beyond our control and we just have to deal with things the way they are, while we focus on factors we do have a little control over, within our own social nudity subculture. We’ll be able to ride it out, provided the long-term trends are away from body-hating attitudes of the past.

      • Anna Liddell says:

        Aesthetics is a big problem as well. I don’t know what we do about it because we want to be inclusive to everyone, but some people really have a problem hanging around all those old men with their penises visible to everyone. I bet if you take a survey you would find out that half the people who don’t want to try nudism don’t want to because of seeing other people naked.

      • “Aesthetics is a big problem as well.” Undoubtedly this is true. “some people really have a problem hanging around all those old men with their penises visible to everyone” Undoubtedly this is true too. But how on Earth is it possible for people to consider being “nudists” or engage in any type of social nudity that doesn’t impose aesthetic restrictions if they can’t stand seeing certain body parts or certain types of people naked? Is it OK to say “people really have a problem hanging around all those old women with their saggy tits visible to everyone”? Social nudity simply is not for people who have such feelings.

        However, all those people with such finicky aesthetics should go start their own movement for “beautiful-people-nudism”. I think such a movement already exists. It’s populated by people who’re well-off enough to live in homes with private back yards and swimming pools and whose friends are all as good-looking as they are.

  3. hedonix says:

    America seems to be heading in a direction opposite to the rest of the world, at least in our “backward” southern states where I live. It seems likely that retirees from the North contribute heavily to that image, perhaps, but the Bible Belt seems alive and well here with a message that often seems contrary to the Good Book’s overall message. The knowledge of good and evil seems to have reversed itself in the minds of people in positions of great influence among common folk. That is a health-demanding challenge you would take on, of big money against relative poverty; of sales and marketing against a small grassroots uprising struggling against their own apathy. Maybe finding ways to excite those already involved is where to begin? Activity suggestions?

    • Already made some suggestions in the “apathy” post. If those were actually taken up by many naturists, a whole lot of progress would be made. But since apathy is the underlying cause of the problem, ways are needed to motivate naturists to overcome their apathy. And how to effectively motivate activism seems to be the mystery right now. If people already somewhat involved would just work harder to convince their friends + family to join in, we could perhaps get a snowball effect. I hope we don’t need martyrs….

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