Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Exhibitionists "Hiding" Behind Nudism

I've kind of pulled back on calling myself a nudist lately. It's not because I'm any less supportive or enthusiastic about the activity of nudism, but I'm becoming increasingly jaded about the community of nudism, and its seemingly unhealthy obsession with sexual purity. Now, there are practical reasons for this obsession (which I've discussed before), but that still doesn't excuse their prudishness. To be clear, it's not that every nudist is a prude - in fact, there has always been a large subset of the nudist population that is very open to sexuality, which is a fact that prudists regret, because it supposedly tarnishes the clean, nonsexual image of nudism.

Make no mistake, nudism is not intrinsically related to sexuality, and is not a sexual activity. But if we, as nudists, were to be honest about our mantra of "normal, just naked", then we ought to understand that sex can be involved in nudism in the same way that sex is involved in people's textile lives outside the world of nudism, without it suggesting that the sex is an inherent part of the activity (whether nudist or textile - sex is just a part of life, and a big and important part too, that we ought not try so hard to extricate from our lives based on bullshit puritan values). No, the thing that bothers me is this wave of elitism, which is born of nudists' desire to keep nudism's image pure - so as to render it more acceptable to mainstream textile society. This elitism breeds the sort of attitude I detest, where the pure, nonsexual nudist is a "true" nudist, and a nudist who happens to be an exhibitionist or a swinger, or gets turned on by nude scenes in movies, or what have you, is a "fake", and worse yet, a traitor to the world of nudism.

I've said it before. I get that nudism is nonsexual. And I like that nudism is nonsexual. If nudism were about naked people getting together to have sex orgies, I wouldn't be interested in it. That's precisely why I'm not a swinger, and have no real interest in becoming one. I can enjoy nudity on a purely nonsexual level. But there's also that middle ground, where being naked outdoors and in public feels sexy, and might get me aroused - not to the point that I want to start boning someone, stroking myself, getting covered in disgusting bodily fluids, no! I just mean, on a sensory level, it can be a very enjoyable sensation both physically and psychologically. And trying too hard to take the eroticism out of that just defeats the fun of it.

I'm an exhibitionist. I'm a voyeur, too. I won't lie and tell you that it isn't exciting to be able to be naked in front of other people, strangers, in different places. I won't lie and tell you that it's not exciting to be able to see attractive people nude in similar situations (most nudists are not attractive to me, just like most people in the world are not attractive to me - but every once in awhile, you'll come across someone who's attractive, and it's that much more exciting if you have the opportunity to see them naked - that's the simple truth, void of any feeble attempts to deny biology and my feelings in the hope of winning brownie points with my pastor who preaches God's decree that Man be asexual, against our very natures - that's the very basis of my point about the truth of beauty - being honest, and sincere, regardless of the image you wish to project).

Problem is, most people have this idea in their head, the image of the exhibitionist, who stands there with a stupid smile on his face, staring at all the naked people, and the voyeur, who hides in the bushes or peeks over the fence, jerking himself off while spying on all the naked people. Few voyeurs and exhibitionists actually behave like this. Most of the peepers, anyway, are not dedicated voyeurs - they're probably just curious (and who can honestly blame them?). The real voyeurs and the real exhibitionists are probably already inside the club, and are probably already good friends with you. And there's a good chance you don't know that they're a voyeur or an exhibitionist, because they aren't cartoon caricatures, they're people.

Now a lot of people being faced with that fact might think, oh god, I'm being deceived and taken advantage of, something must be done! But that's ridiculous. Voyeurs and exhibitionists are not dangerous. They're not going to rape you or your kids - in fact, if they're really voyeurs and exhibitionists, that means they enjoy just watching, and not actively getting involved; and even apart from that, their interest in the eroticism of the naked sensory experience a) does not mean they are constantly horny, looking for sexual targets, and b) does not imply that they cannot also enjoy the true nudist appeal of being naked, that is to say, the myriad nonsexual reasons that nudity is enjoyable. It's true, that a person can (and even simultaneously) be both a nudist and a swinger, voyeur, or exhibitionist. Many nudists do acknowledge this fact, but from the elitist/prudist point of view, these nudists are "dirty" nudists, not true nudists, traitors and deceivers, bringing down the name of nudism, and hurting nudists everywhere. Well that's ridiculous.

Let's think critically for a moment. Naturally, there are going to be people in the world who are turned on by nudity. Whether this is something any one person thinks ought to be the case or not, those people are going to exist. Obviously, there are a lot of people who like sex, but I think it would be a specific kind of person who is attracted to the sort of not overtly sexual nudity that nudism celebrates. Anyone with half a brain could figure out after a little research that nudist resorts are not playgrounds for sex orgies, and if that's what they're looking for, then they're bound to start looking elsewhere once they figure this out. What about the people who are curious about the nudity? Is it our place to police people's thoughts, to place restrictions upon certain kinds of motivations? Or should we judge people based on their behavior and how they comport themselves? It's easy to kick out a person who's causing a disruption, and engaging in behaviors that are clearly frowned upon. If a person behaves impeccably, should it matter whether or not he thinks nudity can be sexually exciting?

What this world needs is the creation of the image of the polite pervert, the person who can enjoy the erotic stimulations that life sends us, without acting like the stereotypical pervert, making rude comments, harassing strangers, engaging in lewd behaviors in public. Ironically, the polite perverts go largely unnoticed, due to their great ability to control their perversion and not act out in stereotypically perverted ways. So they go ignored, and the public, seeing only the type of pervert who acts out, begins to associate perversion with acting out. Then, in their language and their policies, they begin to fight perversion when the original goal was to fight those disruptive behaviors. And the casualty is the polite pervert who does not engage in those disruptive behaviors, but who is nevertheless discriminated against in the language of the policies and attitudes that have adapted to treating perversion as if it were the causal factor triggering the sort of rude and lewd behaviors they want to abolish.

And so sex becomes an enemy, and people repress themselves, and we end up in this terrible state of affairs, overwhelmed by deception and hypocrisy, where everyone is absolutely obsessed with sex (more so because it's taboo), but too terrified to admit it because they don't want to be one of those obnoxious perverts that they and all their friends are constantly compelled to complain about (because that's the zeitgeist, and god forbid you should step out of line and refuse to conform to popular notions - then again, you've been raised with these erroneous beliefs, so you probably don't even realize how wrong you are).

It's quite a mess, isn't it? Well, I'm doing my best to right it by advocating for sexual liberation - the goal being not to induce sexual anarchy, but to encourage the polite perverts, the ones who are being overlooked, to admit to their perversion in the hope that in doing so, more people will be able to recognize that perversion doesn't have to be about indiscriminate sex orgies and all the "terrible" things god (and our politicians) warn us about.

And in the meantime, I see no reason to be alarmed by the fact that sex perverts are going to necessarily be attracted to nudism. As long as nudists continue to make it clear that nudism is not about having sex orgies, and that overtly sexual behaviors will not be permitted in nudist venues, that's all that really needs to be done. There's no point in fretting over the perverts who might have the wrong idea - they can be educated, and if this doesn't change their perverted feelings, then what more can you expect? You're never going to be able to force people to not be attracted to nudity, and you're never going to be able to stop perverts from having some interest in nudism, on account of the fact that nudity is so hard to come by in this puritan world. So you might as well stop worrying about it. You can't perfectly police the image of nudism, either - you will never get everyone in the world to have the "right" (according to your limited perspective) view of nudism, and you really shouldn't want to (think diversity), so you might as well stop losing sleep over it.

People will always be attracted to nudity. You can't change it or stop it. If that's the result that public acceptance of nudism requires, then you better think of a different strategy, because you're never going to get there. You might wonder what other strategy one could possibly have - well I've already got one. Ending the sex taboo. Prohibitionists and abolitionists (these people actually believe commercial sex work is a form of slavery) will try to convince you that embracing sex will initiate a rapid societal decline into a state akin to that of Sodom & Gomorrah. This is a lie. It's called propaganda. It's seductive because it's designed to be - it's designed to make you accept their goal (controlling sex). But it's not true.

The same argument is used about drug use, and all sorts of "vice crimes" that don't hurt anyone. Pretty much everything you've been told is wrong. Why do you trust the media and politicians? Why do you trust scientists and teachers without critically examining the evidence yourself? Everyone has an agenda, everyone stands to profit from getting other people to believe their lies. Even I do. But that's why I try so hard to emphasize skepticism, and honesty to combat hypocrisy. I don't want you to believe what I say, I just want you to consider the point of view that's being silenced. Because only after balancing the issue, and critically examining the two sides can you come to a balanced decision, and have a much greater chance of accepting what is true, instead of what is convenient (or what someone else is invested in having you believe).

Everywhere I go, I see chants of sex is bad, sex is dangerous, sex is dirty. So naturally, since I enjoy sex in a good, wholesome, healthy manner, I want to promote my perspective, which is quite contrary to the popular image, which encourages no end of discriminatory language and practices against those who engage in sex (who certainly, in most cases, don't view themselves in the same negative terms their opponents fling at them). What is your goal in this world? To make everyone else think the way you do? To force them to embrace your idea of what's good and what's evil, of what's valuable, and what's rubbish? To act and think like you? Do you want to control other people? Shame on you. My goal is freedom of choice - giving people the ability to choose to live their lives the way they want to - not the way you or the sheriff or the mayor or God wants.

Generalization is the enemy of individuality. And I caution you to avoid using it where you can. I feel guilty about using it myself against my opponents, but I'm dealing with people who hurt me and others like me, due to their narrow-mindedness. I don't think most of them are bad people, I could probably be friends with them given the chance. They might not even realize how hurtful the ideas they toss around are. But that's why I'm speaking out to raise awareness. Don't criticize people who don't live like you. Try to get to know them first - actually get to know them, not just research stereotypes and more generalizations. And in the meantime, refrain from judging them, just because they're not like you, and you maybe can't understand them through the lens of your own biased perspective (everyone has a biased perspective, even me - that's why it's important to put extra effort into being objective and thoughtful, and thinking before you speak). Not everyone has it in them to be a better kind of person, but if you do, you owe it to yourself and the rest of humanity to try.

1 comment:

  1. Your observations are right on target. To deny the erotic in the observation of the naked form is a foolish denial. Some nudist organizations drive me nuts repressing natural behaviors too conform to societal norms that are neither social or normal. Alas, the battle to innocently be naked pegs one an outlaw pervert. And often in the nudist community, to understand and have fun with the urge to be naked and see naked as an exhibitionist/voyuer is part of the rainbow of nude feelings to be denied. This can be fun, this can be non-threatening. If a person has these feelings, where is the general tolerance that accepts non-exploitive manifestations that a capitalist society legally markets everyday?