One of the best things about practicing nudism alone, or in "open, understanding" company, is not having to worry, "what if I get an erection? Will somebody interpret it the wrong way? I'll have to stop what I'm doing and cover it up!" Yes, erections are an overrated concern among prospective nudists (they don't happen that much, the atmosphere isn't that sexually charged, and people are usually pretty reasonable about them, so long as you are, too), but on the other hand, they are a fact of life for men. And, contrary to stereotype, some men, even beyond their "horny teenager" phase, continue to get erections more easily and more readily than others. (I feel that this stereotype is discrimination levied counterproductively against young men - deliberately or not - by the older male population that makes up the majority of the nudist demographic. To quote Albus Dumbledore, "youth cannot know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young").
This is going to sound counter-intuitive, but erections aren't even necessarily always sexual. If you define sex not necessarily by the physical sensations of arousal, but as an intimate act that usually occurs between two (or more) people leading to orgasm, then this has nothing to do with an incidental erection. Consider this hypothetical: two people, not involved in an intimate relationship, yet comfortable around each other and with their bodies, decide to share a bed (say they're traveling, and accommodations are sparse), and both like to sleep nude. At least one of these two people is male, and in the morning, he gets an erection as is typical of the male physiology. It has nothing to do with the person lying naked in bed next to him. In a different context, this could certainly be taken as a precursor to a sexual encounter (possibly). But given the decidedly non-sexual nature of this particular context, can't it simply be a physically pleasurable sensation for the male, that will subside on its own, given a little bit of time? Is the male not even allowed to permit himself to enjoy the sensation until it subsides? Not engaging in masturbation, I mean (how many men either masturbate or have sex every single time they wake up with a morning erection?) - which clearly renders the situation sexual - but just appreciating the sensation, instead of becoming overly self-conscious of it, and wishing for it to go away.
Would it be beyond the pale for me to say,
"stop sexualizing my erections!"?
"stop sexualizing my erections!"?
When I'm naked, and alone, there are times when I might find myself becoming physically aroused. Mind you, this can happen when I'm not thinking the least thought about sex. I could simply be comfortable and relaxed, and just a little bit of pressure (e.g., from the thighs, depending on how I sit), or a slight touch in a particular place (to scratch an itch, for example) could be all it takes to initiate the arousal process. At this point, if I'm alone, I have two choices - ignore it, or indulge it. And, when I'm alone, it doesn't much matter which one I choose. Note also, that by "indulging it", I do not necessarily mean "masturbation to orgasm".
Perhaps I am atypical, but I think it sounds absurd to expect to work towards an orgasm every single time you feel the slightest sensation of arousal. Nevertheless, I might very well "contribute" to the pleasurable physical sensations going on, by applying some added pressure, a delicate but directed touch, or even a few light strokes. This could be going on entirely absentmindedly, the same way you might scratch your back while sitting in a chair reading a book. It doesn't mean I've pulled up some porn, engaged my imagination, and have entered full masturbation mode - unless that's a course of action I deliberately choose; and in my case, that's rarely the direction in which these situations head.
The great thing about being alone is that I can do this free from anxiety. It feels good. Does it have to be any more than that? Add other people to this situation, however - nudist or otherwise - and the first thing they're going to think is, "sex!" (whether that's a good thing or a bad thing from their perspective). And to avoid the drama that these encounters will inevitably produce (especially if, heaven forbid, there are children present), I have been conditioned in these situations to be very cognizant of the relative tumescence of my penis at any given time.
There have been a few instances when I have become aroused in a nudist environment, and none of them involved explicit sexual cues. Psychology - seeing and thinking about sex - is one path towards arousal, but another, as I have described, is simple physical contact. And this contact, contrary to expectation, need not be deliberate. You must realize that the male genitalia hangs outside the body and swings freely between the legs. (Yes, the nature of this phenomenon varies by an individual's size, but this is no reason to discriminate against "the more favorably endowed").
I tried hula hooping once, and quickly learned that it is impossible for me to do so naked without growing hard, at least for a short period early on, before the blood is dispersed to other parts of my body. You try slapping your penis against your thighs rhythmically without receiving a sexual response! And many times when I stretch out in the warm sunshine, fully relaxed, my body responds to the pleasant sensations with physical arousal. Is this unusual? I don't know. But the tried and true "solution" is to turn over onto your stomach, and that only serves to apply direct pressure to the organ, contributing to (as opposed to discouraging) its tumescence. And then there was a time when I became turgid from the pressure of a book placed on my lap (at least it covered me up!).
It's one thing to observe the standard practice of hiding one's erections (although in a nudist context, cover ups may not always be close at hand - especially if you're being active), but once the process of arousal is initiated, it takes several moments - even absent any further stimulation - for the organ to return to a full state of rest. And if you're like many of the men in the population who are "growers" and not "showers", your penis may remain in somewhat of an enlarged state for several moments after it has gone soft and limp; and, given the nature of its extension, be exceptionally sensitive and prone to further accidental stimulation.
Under normal circumstances, you might hope that most nudists are not paying very much attention to your genitals, and will not notice, but who's to say? God forbid somebody should realize that you're "larger than normal", and interpret that in a way that does you no favors. "He's getting sexually aroused being naked in front of us, looking at our naked bodies! He must be a pervert or an exhibitionist!" I feel like few people - even men who generally don't have a lot of experience with anyone's penis but their own - understand the full complexity of the mechanics of human sexual arousal.
It doesn't help that society reinforces the belief that, outside of a brief period during adolescence, when an erection pops up, it's necessarily because of some direct, sexual stimulus (even if it's one we can't identify). Nor does the male sense of entitlement to satisfaction upon arousal, in support of which the theory behind "blue balls", if true (I have never personally experienced it), has been exploited. And I must say, for what it's worth, keeping erections under wraps (both in nudist communities, and in the world of fine art), only contributes to this culture of ignorance. It is for these reasons that I address this topic, in the hope that the presentation of my uncommon perspective may ultimately serve some public good.