Monday, January 6, 2014

Why "Paradise"?

I just thought of a follow-up question to my previous discussion on naturist resorts being described as "paradise". And that is, if a nudist resort is just another place on Earth, why do people describe it as paradise? On the one hand, I think it has a lot to do with the way people - even non-nudists - describe their favorite vacation spots as paradise, be it a textile beach, or a mountain ski lodge, or what have you. It's the place they go to relax, to get away from the stresses of everyday life, and often times it involves beautiful scenery. Hence the comparisons to Eden - the natural garden of earthly delights, where Adam and Eve roamed free of the concerns of modern living - and its correlates in other cultures and belief systems.

Then, of course, there's the question of why a specifically nudist resort would be considered paradise, above your typical beach resort or whatever. And, for a nudist, it's kind of obvious - it's the place you can go to practice nudism with like-minded people, and without fear of persecution. But the question remains of what it is, exactly, about nudism, that makes it so paradisiacal. The superficial answer is that Adam and Eve went naked in their own garden of paradise. But a more complicated answer would have to explore exactly what it is people like about nudism, and how it makes them feel - because the truth is that it does have a profound and sometimes spiritual effect on people.

Nudists like to say that engaging in a nudist activity is just like engaging in the corresponding textile activity, but without clothes, in order to emphasize the normality of the situation. And that approach definitely has merit. When nudists do things naked, they're not doing it in a weird way or anything, they're doing it normally, like everyone else - just naked. But at the same time, there has to be some kind of appeal to doing it nude, or else nudists wouldn't bother. I mean, if nudism didn't have any benefits, then noone would go out of their way to drive to a remote resort when they can get the same amenities cheaper and closer to home, provided they keep their clothes on!

But again, to explore why people are drawn to nudism, you'd have to explore what it is about nudism that appeals to them, and I don't want to get into all of that right now. Suffice to say, there are many benefits to shedding one's clothing, but I think the one that best explains the frequent comparisons to paradise is the spiritual aspect. I, personally, consider nature to have something of a spiritual appeal. And, for whatever reason, I don't feel like I can enjoy it fully with my clothes on. It's probably similar to the way that certain pagans feel who insist on performing their rituals skyclad (if such pagans actually exist and are not just a rumor). Being naked in nature - at least for me - makes me feel more in tune with the planet and the universe all around me. I know that sounds pretty hokey, but I guess it's just something you either experience or you don't.

So, naturally, a place where I can commune with the natural world in my birthday suit, free from the uptight rules of mainstream society, does have a tendency to feel an awful lot like paradise - or at least a lot closer than anywhere in the textile world. Now, for me, as an enthusiastic appreciator of the aesthetic value of the human body, there's also another appeal, one that I may not share with the majority of nudists (although I'm not too sure about that...), and that is seeing beautiful people's bodies unclad. Granted, not everybody is a perfect 10, and nudist demographics in particular tend to run toward the old and saggy, but it's totally worth the occasional opportunity to see somebody attractive without their clothes on. Make what you will of that, but having the chance to see beautiful people naked is one of the primary requirements for paradise in my mind - and I can't think of any other place where I can do that in person.

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