Saturday, November 26, 2016


A person who is himself not a nudist might wonder, if it's not for sexual reasons - as nudists typically profess - why do nudists enjoy being naked? If the nudity really is a non-issue, then why do people bother, sometimes going far out of there way to engage in nude recreation? If a nude activity is exactly like its clothed counterpart, except that everybody just happens to be naked, then why are those people naked?

The truth is, there are a lot of reasons people become interested and involved in nudism. Personally, I think it's often more comfortable being nude, and not having to get dressed eliminates the stress and anxiety that often comes along with figuring out what to wear in any given situation. And people who do engage in nudist recreation often come to enjoy it, because it's a friendly, laidback atmosphere with (usually) nice people. And, once you're mired in the lifestyle, it's easy to become a champion of its virtues, such as body acceptance, and the healthier alternative it provides to our society's toxic and unnatural taboo surrounding people's bodies. (Which is not to say that it doesn't have its drawbacks, too - like the lack of pockets, or the increased risk for skin cancer).

But, for sure, not everybody just "falls" into nudism. Some of its most fervent advocates are probably like me - driven to disrobe at any reasonable opportunity (and not a few unreasonable ones). I describe myself as an exhibitionist - and that's true - but it wouldn't be fair or accurate to explain away my interest in nudity by conflating it with a sexual fetish. Now, I adhere to a fluid worldview in which human sexuality and sensuality infuses much of what we do in life outside of the bedroom; and, like Jock Sturges, I'm not willing to deny - for the sake of political expediency - that there is any potential for nudism to contain a sensual element.

"It would be disingenuous of me to say there wasn't. There it is; so what?"

Indeed, that's part of its unspoken charm. But when I talk about a "sensual" element, it has nothing whatsoever to do with wife swapping and lawn orgies and what have you. That's overt sexuality. Perhaps I occupy a different mindset from those who, upon contemplating anything remotely sexual, require immediate satisfaction, and cannot enjoy the background buzz of eroticism that permeates much of human life, viewing it only as an insufferable tease, and not a pleasant reminder of the very reason we exist.

To be honest, I think there is something exciting about nudity (as I wrote about two years ago), and it's not strictly sexual, although there can certainly be an element of that involved. (I look forward to the day when we will no longer be compelled to bend over backwards in an attempt to disassociate any given activity from the potential for sexual interpretation in order to earn the badge of "legitimacy" - because lord knows if there's anything sexual about it, then the government and the public will feel justified in restricting, legislating against, and censoring it, because it's not safe for "moral, god-fearin' folk" - or, to better effect in this increasingly secular world, children).

It's about vulnerability and transgression - baring it all and exposing what's supposed to be covered up in places and situations where it's meant to stay hidden. This does not, as a frequent criticism of exhibitionism claims, generally involve the predicted expressions of horror and disgust on unsuspecting people's faces, but delight in the surprise of one daring to break such arbitrary and restrictive rules (as in the case of the innocuous practice of "streaking" which, in yesteryears, people were ironically not quite so draconian in their attitudes towards) may be included. In a sense, frolicking rather than prowling; with mischief in mind - not criminal intent.

Bottom line being that, while this is not true of all nudists - so don't assume that when they say there is "nothing to it", they are concealing a forbidden truth - there may well be an aspect to nudity (in whatever context: be it at home, alone, outdoors, or in a group) that makes it appealing in and of itself. And this fact does not presuppose (nor entirely preclude) the existence of a sexual element that would cause it to be deemed unfit for "polite" society. For even the most innocent cherub may delight in the joy of freedom from clothes - a joy that renders the experience not indistinguishable from its clothed counterpart. Not "normal, just naked", but "naked - more fun than normal!"

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