Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 8/06/19

  • Best places to get an all-over tan in Britain
    Britain’s most daring regions revealed as London and Cornwall top list of nude sunbathers
    Britain is often starved for sunshine – so it’s not surprising that many people like to get out in the Sun when it’s possible. More surprising, according to the article, is that a poll of 2000 found that 31% said they sunbathed naked. In London 42% actually agreed with that. Apparently, many people really want an all-over tan. One wonders who they hope to impress. Just as surprisingly, the organization behind the research “said naturist beaches were “fast becoming go-to travel hotspots” – with 20 per cent of those polled saying they loved going to them and stripping off completely.” Maybe the country isn’t as prudish as sometimes thought.

  • The pleasure of naked sunbathing
    The Splendors of Lying Naked in the Sun
    And here’s a paean to naked sunbathing:
    When the sun is blazing and privacy allows, I sometimes take it all off and let the sun have at me. Lying naked on a rock, in a break of trees, where no one can find you, and under the sun, consciousness is moved to work on intuitions otherwise buried in time. Your unexceptional body, your only creature — formed like everyone else’s in dependence on the particular spectrum of radiation emitted by this star — is living its only life.
    This writer really needs to look into naturism.

  • Children and nudity
    Naked with Children
    Dan Carlson was wondering about this perennial topic, expecting to write about it. But Google turned up two interesting articles. The first, written by Aviva Rubin and published in April 2012 in the New York Times, began with this:
    I walk around my house naked. My partner often does, too. Not gratuitously, just often. We don’t bother covering up when walking from bathroom to bedroom. We leave the door open when we get dressed. So far, my 8- and 12-year-old sons remain unfazed. If I’m standing nude in the door of the bathroom telling my oldest to clean up the basement, the only thing he finds audacious is the request. And both boys still wander around naked; they get hot, they strip down. I don’t care about the visuals — naked television watching would be fine by me.
    Aviva was, of course, harshly taken to task for her opinion by many prudes, so she wrote a rebuttal to the criticism here, in which the key observation is “What disturbs me is the assumed link between nudity and sex, and the implication of sexual impropriety.” This is the exact same fallacy that is applied mindlessly to any form of nonsexual social nudity.

  • Learning to be naked
    6 Steps to Become Comfortable Naked
    The idea that one must “learn” to be naked is a bit strange. Isn’t it as simple as taking all your clothes off? Everyone – even toddlers – knows how to do that. However, the real issue is learning to be comfortable and unembarrassed when naked with others – or maybe even yourself. Probably most readers here have learned how to do that. A few, perhaps, have not. But in any case, helping non-naturists learn to be comfortable with nudity is a skill all naturists should master. Memorize the basic steps before recommending naturism to others. Nick & Lins spell it out in 6 steps. They can be summarised as:

    1. Take a good look at yourself naked in the mirror. You need to not hate what you see. But it may take time to learn “body acceptance”. Doing naturist things can help, but first you must be able to look at your naked self without flinching.
    2. Forget about trying to compare your body with the “ideal” bodies many models and celebrities seem to have. Such people are exceptional, not average. Be happy if you’re “average”.
    3. Practice being naked. Be naked at home, at least when you’re alone. Start sleeping naked, if you don’t already. Don’t be too quick to cover up after a shower or after getting out of bed (if you’ve slept naked). If you have a swimming pool, use it naked.
    4. Be naked with someone you trust. This could be a significant other (and not just when having sex). Or it could be a friend or family member, if you can tell they’re not bothered by nudity. Ask them not to tell others about your interest in nudity (if that concerns you).
    5. Practice being naked with strangers who’re used to nudity. They can be found at nude beaches, certain events like World Naked Bike Rides, naturist resorts, etc. This may be the hardest step, so don’t try until you’ve accomplished the previous steps. When you’re ready, just ignore your fears and do it.
    6. Start looking for naked activities you like. You may not care for many of the things naturists enjoy, but find some that you do. Examples: nude beaches, naked yoga, naturist resorts, naked hiking, naked sports, naked spas or saunas, etc.

Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 8/02/19

How is it that many of the most perceptive articles on nudity and naturism are written by women? That, in any case, seems to be true of this group.

  • UK NudeFest
    Sun writer bares all as she goes uncovered at the UK’s biggest naturist festival NudeFest
    Amy, the writer, at first is rather nervous, but not resentful, about her assignment: “I am naked in front of a room of strangers. What must the person on the mat behind me be seeing of my nether regions?” As the day goes on, she begins to take the experience in stride: “At the rock-climbing, I slip into the harness. It serves as a sort of spreading vice and I almost certainly give an involuntary gynaecological showcase to those queuing at the bottom.” For some reason, Amy seems most concerned about her derriere: “I definitely hate my bum more as the day wobbles on, instead of feeling less self-conscious about it. (Pictures accompanying the article don’t suggest much reason for her concern.) At the end of the day, it doesn’t seem to have been an experience she couldn’t repeat: “I go home with no washing and no tan lines and wonder, could I get used to this?”

  • Hysteria over innocent child nudity
    When did my naked child become nude?
    This is another perfect example of how our society abhors nudity. People who object to innocent child nudity employ rationalizations such as that a child will be embarrassed when she’s older if there are pictures around of her naked as a toddler. Or that pedophiles will flock to the child’s home to do… something awful… to her. The first rationalization falls flat, because it’s based on the despicable idea many in our society have that nudity is just “wrong” and so must necessarily be embarrassing. The second rationalization fails, because no sensible parent would post a naked, but not sexualized, child’s picture to the Internet in a way that allows a predator to find her. As Katherine, the child’s mother and author of the article observes, “among the harsh rebukes, another thread emerged: nostalgia for simpler times when people didn’t “freak out” over naked children or worry about how much skin kids showed.” In other words, social attitudes towards nudity actually seem to be going backwards – much like attitudes in too many other areas as well.

  • Why can’t we all just get along?
    First time in mixed nudist & textile camp
    In the U. S. not long ago, most nudist camps and resorts generally required guests to be naked, at least when it wasn’t too cold. Now it is increasingly common for them to be clothing-optional, except around swimming pool and spa areas. But are there any textile camps that are at least tolerant of naturist campers? If any, they are rather few and far between. That’s not the case in naturist camps in various other countries. One example, provided by Naturism Girl, is the camp Kosirina in Croatia. It probably helps that in Croatia naturism has been considerably more successful than in the U. S. (See my post on Croatian naturism.) Consequently, guests are not under undue pressure to either wear, or not wear, any clothes. They can simply enjoy the camping experience either way. In the U. S. this is somewhat the case with clothing-optional beaches – except that many of those have separate areas for nudes and prudes. But how do things work when the areas aren’t separate, at either camps or beaches? Naturism Girl didn’t have any problems with the textiles at Kosirina: Textiles “all know before coming that the camp is mixed and therefore there will be naked people around. I have never heard someone commenting nudity. Or even notice someone staring improperly. Perhaps there was some more looking at the naked people, but I guess that was more from curiosity than anything else.”

  • LadyGod1va writes on where naturism should go from here
    Improving Naturism
    LadyGod1va is the nom de naturisme used by a long-time naturist blogger and WNBR organizer (who now, unfortunately, is too busy to do much of either). Here she reflects on how to make naturism more successful. Her key point is that there need “to be more activities that bring naturism and textile activities together as combined events, in other words, clothing optional, and held in public areas, not secluded or fenced or promoted as naturist/nude only event.” This is close to what Naturism Girl wrote about. LadyGod1va adds: “if we continue to organise nude events exclusively for those who are already naturists or will to go nude for the first time, we are not going to get to the point where nudity is acceptable as is in some parts of Europe, or a general acceptance.” Where I think it’s necessary to go further has to do with the “we” in “we organize” and the nature of the events themselves. I think the “we” must be “individual naturists” instead of established naturist organizations, and that the events are best organized as small, personal gatherings at an individual’s home or convenient local facilities (such as a room at a cooperating restaurant). See my article here for a fuller explanation.

Why Do Teenagers Turn away from Nudism?

Nick & Lins ask the question:

Why Do Teenagers Turn away from Nudism and Is that Such a Big Deal?

Toddlers are born naturists and not only literally (although they’re obviously delivered naked). In fact, they might well be the most genuine kind of naturist there is, they don’t even question their nudity. Most of them will question clothes though and if they see an opportunity to get rid of them they’ll often take advantage of that. Our memory doesn’t go that far back, but we would like to remember the day when being nude was not an option anymore. Yesterday it was completely normal to run around the garden naked, jump through the sprinklers on a hot summer day while everyone smiled and agreed with your joy. The next day this was not possible anymore…

They make some good points that address the question. I won’t summarize. Just read their article.

However, I think there’s one important factor that I’ve written about: There is a general fear of nudity, even among adults. However, it’s especially salient for teenagers. Younger children in nudist homes – and very young children in general – simply aren’t keenly aware that letting other people see oneself naked is a big taboo in our society, and many others as well. Kids in middle school, if not earlier, somewhat suddenly become aware of this fact: Nudity (except perhaps in the family or with very close friends) isn’t customary and it certainly is not “normal”.

I discuss that at some length in Additional thoughts on the fear of nudity

Simply put, the problem, as I explain, is that behavior that’s unexpected and not considered “customary” or “normal” puts one in a fraught, risky position with respect to society in general – but especially so with respect to one’s peer group. And for typical teens, the peer group is all important. This situation leads to a serious fear of nudity itself – just as much as fear of, say, putting one’s hand on a hot stove. Don’t do it, or you’ll get burned!

There’s some prescient psychological theory that helps explain why the peer group matters so much to teens.

The noted psychologist Erik Erikson had a theory of the development of an individual’s personality. (See especially his book Identity, Youth and Crisis) The theory posited 8 stages of development. He called the 4th stage that of “Fidelity, Identity vs. Role Confusion”. Basically, this is when an individual tries to figure out and define his/her “identity” – that is, what kind of a person one is in terms of social categories (e. g. religious, atheist, artistic, nurturing, studious, rebellious, etc.). This stage happens typically when one is an adolescent. Failure to figure out one’s identity results in an “identity crisis”, and this may remain a problem for quite a long time. The onset of this stage is a result of “hormones”, but also cognitive development, when the brain achieves a mature ability to recognize different “categories”.

When a young person is raised in a nudist family, the category of “nudist” is still not well understood until adolescence. A few such young people may be content with this identity, but most recognize that it’s shared by very few other people he/she is aware of. This makes it difficult for the young person to identify as a “nudist” – because it is simply not a very socially acceptable identity among peers. (Even a “gang member” has less trouble finding peers to identify with.) This is especially true in a society, like most in the modern world, where the whole idea of nudity is considered scary and dangerous. The net result in most cases is the children raised in nudist families are pretty likely to reject “nudist” as an identity during (and after) their adolescence.

People, whether or not raised as nudists, may somewhat later in life accept “nudist” as an identity when they develop sufficient self-confidence and independence from social attitudes to be less concerned about others’ opinions of the identity. They may even feel confident enough (like Nick & Lins) to espouse and defend a “nudist” identity.

From an entirely different perspective, the dissatisfaction of teens with naturism is just part of the problem of the dissatisfaction of young people with adult society in general.

Before the teen years, children tend to follow their parents’ guidance on what to be interested in. They generally go along with whatever the family as a whole is doing – whether its taking trips to the beach, visiting grandma and grandpa, or going to nudist resorts. But in the teen years, they develop interests of their own and their interests no longer have so much in common with their elders.

Young people, from the teen years on like different types of activities, music, movies, games, hobbies, etc. and these interests diverge considerably from those of their parents’ age and older. So it’s not that young people don’t want to be around older people. It’s just that the two age groups just enjoy rather different sorts of things. Unfortunately, the activities available at most nudist places are much more what the older group prefers than what the younger group does. The perceptive nudist resort should have staff whose main responsibility is providing activities to young people in the ages from teens up to but not including people with their first children.