Apparently, today is National Camera Day and in my Twitter feed I saw that AANR-West was promoting the day with images of nudists wielding cameras which struck me as a bit ironic considering that many nudist venues prohibit or restrict the possession or use of cameras on their grounds. Some venues ban photography entirely while others require that all photos be taking by a staff member. I’m sure some venues have rather strict policies while others are a bit more liberal.
I understand that some people need to protect their privacy; they don’t want family/friends/employers to discover their proclivity for being nude among others. Nor does anyone want their images appearing on some random porn site. I get it. But, at the same time, I’d like to have photographic memories of my leisure and vacation activities just as I would when visiting a textile resort or beach.
In our society cameras are ubiquitous as nearly everyone has a cellphone and every cellphone has a built-in camera. Between the omnipresence of the camera and the social media presence, whatever veil of privacy we have is very thin and transparent. It’s almost nonexistent. Sadly, too many in our society lack the ethical standards, moral fiber and respect for others, and would exploit another’s vulnerability for their own personal advantage or just pure meanness. Privacy has become a scarce commodity and needs to be guarded. However, it can never be guaranteed.
Banning cameras and cellphones at nudist parks and resorts isn’t reasonable or viable. On the other hand, unrestricted photography isn’t going work well either. There has to be a workable solution somewhere in between. There needs to be an atmosphere of trust and respect among nudists. I know that sounds Utopian and I guess it is. But we can’t live in fear, in fear that some bad person will see us naked, or in fear that our boss or our parents or anyone else will see us naked. For some, letting go of that fear is easy, for others it’s quite difficult and we need to respect that.
Fear invades and permeates our lives daily. I see the fear all around me and often I can feel in in the air. I long for a place where I can be free and fearless. And when I’m in that place I want to be able do document my experience to show others that such places do exist and that they, too, can be free and fearless.
Dirt Road Naturism – An Issue of Public Safety? by Robert Longpre
I like the idea of dirt road naturism. It would, by necessity, have to be practiced in rural areas either individually or in very small groups with the consent of the landowners. I’m sure there would be other logistical things to work out as well.
When I was in my teens, I’d often hike into the pastures and the woods beyond. In the woods, I’d come across creeks and streams and, occasionally, a small pond. There would no tractor paths or even foot trails. They were ideal places to strip down and cool off on a hot summer day. I never saw another soul in these places. That’s my idea of naturism, relaxing in nature, in my natural state. Not a sound except the chirping of the birds overhead, the rustling of the leaves in the breeze, and water rushing over the rocks in the creek — a Walden-esque paradise. I’m certain Thoreau skinny-dipped in Walden Pond.
There need to be places like this where we can go off by ourselves or in small groups to unplug, unwind, and let go of all crap we carry around with us.
I couldn’t see myself taking part in a World Naked Bike Ride type event. I’d feel as if I was on display, naked for the spectator’s amusement as they righteously condemned me for having the audacity to be so free.
I’m sensing that a profound shift in our paradigms of how we view gender and sexuality is occurring. It’s been going on for quite a while and it may still be many years before the old paradigms are replaced. Conservatives, especially in political and religious arenas, have been the most resistant to these changes as they cling onto the old binary stereotypes of masculinity, femininity, and sexual orientation. Despite our glorification of modern technology, the world is not binary and never has been. Our cultures and our institutions have tried to force everyone and everything into rigid molds in which everything is classified as one thing or another. What doesn’t fit into one mold or the other is either forcefully stuffed into a mold or rejected entirely, cast out and demonized.
It’s been my own experience and observation that the most interesting people and things exist somewhere between the extremes. People are beginning to recognize the diversity and fluidity that exists in the middle, a spectrum where our preconceived ideas about gender roles, gender identity, sexual preferences are becoming more and more irrelevant. What difference does it make that Bruce Jenner, former Olympic athlete, identifies as a woman and is now Caitlyn? So what if a boy who identifies himself as a male, likes girls’ things? What does a person’s gender or sexual preference have to do with his or her ability to do a job? I’m more concerned with what kind of person they are, how they treat others, and how well they do their jobs.
Anyone or anything on either extreme is an outlier, not the norm, and, statistically, should be disregarded as irrelevant.
There is no right way or wrong way in spite of what various groups try to convince us. If there is a right way, it is decided on a personal level of one person. Any attempt to control others in terms of wearing or not wearing clothing is the real issue. Simple nudity that is simply being present in the world, is not the real threat that so many worry about. Rather, it is the issue that the nudity has control objectives that are aimed at others – a sexual agenda or other power agenda. One has to examine one’s motive for reacting to the nudity of another person, or one’s own nudity. Therein lays the answers.
Robert G. Longpré, Naturist Lens: The Problem of Trying to Control Others
Simple, casual nudity on my part poses no actual threat to anyone nor does it infringe on anyone’s rights. If people feel threatened or offended by my nakedness, it’s likely due to insecurities and feelings of inadequacy within their own selves. I have a pretty good understanding of my motives for wanting to be naked but you have to examine your motives for your reaction to it.
If I have any kind of agenda in being naked, it’s to enjoy personal freedom, to feel secure and comfortable in my own skin, and to be at peace with my natural state. My nudity has no other agendas; it’s not about sex or power. I’m not trying to control you or convince you that you should be naked although I’d certainly encourage you to experience it for yourself. If I can be comfortable wearing clothes why shouldn’t you at least make an honest attempt at being comfortable without them. Clothing is not natural. To be nude is to be in our natural state, our default state. Clothing is an aberration of our natural state. It may sometimes be necessary but it’s always an aberration.
Yesterday I read a couple of blog posts talking abouts things the authors would like to do in the nude before they die. I’ve probably made such a list at some point but I’ve probably forgotten most of what was on the list. Priorities have changed. To be able to freely live a nude lifestyle without judgment and sanctions is more important than checking off a list of nude activities just to say I’ve done them.
However, given the reality that I don’t live in a society in which I can freely exercise the option to be nude with impunity, I do have one item on my nude bucket list, to take, at least annually, a nude vacation. I’m not talking about a nude cruise or a visit to a nude resort in some exotic location although those would undoubtedly be great experiences. My idea of a nude vacation might not necessarily be to a naturist camp or park. My nude vacation would be somewhere a bit removed from civilization in general, a place where I could be in my natural unclothed state for the duration of my stay, a place where I would be in my natural state amidst natural surroundings.
Nude recreation is all well and good but as promoted by our national nudist organizations, leaves me wanting for something more substantial. What I’m looking for in a nude vacation is nude solitude in which I could sleep, hike, skinny-dip, sunbathe, meditate, practice yoga, write, or whatever. A vacation in which I could completely relax, where I wouldn’t beholden to any schedule. To me, a nude vacation would be time spent undoing the damage incurred by “civilized” society. A retreat such as this should be at least an annual or semi-annual excursion.
Yes, I need to look into this, even if it’s only a weekend or a few days.
Earlier this week I Received a ransom note from the cyber-terrorist who hacked the Nudist Clubhouse site. It included a sampling of posts I’d made on the site.
For a mere .02 bitcoins, which I understand is about $6, he promises to remove my data that he stole from the Nudist Clubhouse server from his system. If I don’t pay (and I have no intention of doing so), he said he will send my information and my posts out to some 400,000 email addresses he has in his database.
So he sends my posts and pictures to 400,000 people around the world who probably don’t know me or even give a shit that I get naked. I’ve been public about my nudism and my naturist activities for years. Any pictures I may have had on the site have also been posted elsewhere.
I’m sure that whatever data this guy has is rather old as I haven’t been active on Nudist Clubhouse in several years. I had a premier membership for a short time but gave it up when I discovered that its limited benefits didn’t seem to justify the cost.
I read with interest Stéphane Deschênes’ following his resignation from the INF’s Central Committee. I’ve followed Mr. Deschênes since I took an active interest in naturism and have been greatly influenced by his ideas on naturism.
In his letter, he lists several reasons why the INF needs to exist and then makes several recommendations to them. Most of the recommendations are pertinent to what he believes the INF should be doing to support the national naturist federations and organizations. I’m in general agreement and won’t expound on most of them.
However, his first recommendation, I believe concerns all naturist organizations and their members, indeed, all naturists.
1. Naturism as an Ideology or Philosophy
The INF-FNI needs to remember that naturism is an ideology or philosophy, not an activity. While events, clubs and resorts where naturism happens should be supported, the INF-FNI should be more focused on promoting naturism itself.
Like Stéphane Deschênes, I view naturism as more than an activity for summer weekends. I see naturism as a philosophy and a lifestyle that I try to incorporate into my life as much as possible along with other interests and philosophies. For me, it’s an attitude and a perspective. I feel that nudism and naturism have gotten away from their roots as a healthy way of life and moved almost exclusively toward being primarily a recreational activity. Our largest national organization is the American Association for Nude Recreation and the motto of The Naturist Society is “Body acceptance is the goal, nude recreation is the way.”
In his letter’s introduction, he says, “The INF-FNI does many things simply because of tradition.” I think that may also be applied to AANR and TNS. Many of their members are older and set in their ways. While they enjoy lounging by the pool or playing shuffleboard and pétanque, it’s of little interest to younger nudists. Like anything else, only those who can adapt to change survive the change. Over the past few years I’ve noticed that nudist organizations and clubs have been slow to adapt to changes in technology (i.e., the Web and social media) and to changes that would attract new members.
I can hope that the INF and other naturist organizations can adapt to change so they can be of service to a new generation of nudists and naturists.
How marvelous it is to go commando in Ohio in February. When the temperature is in the mid-sixties I usually take advantage of the opportunity. When temperatures are warm enough to permit full nudity I’m frustrated that society is not enlightened enough to permit it as well.
Nudity is our natural state, our default state of being. We are born naked and, almost immediately, we are covered in fabric and from that moment on, most of us will be taught that we must be covered at all times with only certain, clearly defined exceptions. Most will never know the joy and freedom of being nude or, for that matter, even realize that it’s even an option.
Ever since man decided that civilization was a good idea, he was been in a constant state of warfare with nature and all that is natural. Man has separated himself from nature even though, despite his vehement denials, he is very much a part of nature. Through the process of becoming civilized we have convinced ourselves that we are separate from nature and somehow above it. Nature is something that must be tamed, controlled, and conquered. We have even extended our war on nature to ourselves, waging war against all that is natural about ourselves and the natural processes that affect us all. We repress our natural inclinations and our instincts. Those we can’t repress we attempt to modify or bend it to conform to our will or to society’s expectations. Our bodies, our minds, and our souls have become our mortal enemies in a fight to the death which we will eventually lose.
Can’t we have a harmonious mix of civilization and nature? Can’t we accept what is natural about us and recognize that we are all connected to one another and to nature? We will ultimately lose the war against nature. The Earth was around billions of years before Man walked upon it and will be around billions of years after there is no longer any trace that Mankind ever existed. The Earth continues evolve in spite of our efforts to conquer it. Extinction is the rule rather than the exception. All dominant species that came before are now extinct. We will eventually become extinct and some other species will become dominant. Perhaps we will have the distinction of being the first species to actively contribute to and be the cause of our own extinction.
I am lucky in comparison to so many who are trapped in their workspaces and living spaces by the weather. I remember looking out on sunny winter days when the temperature was harsh, longing for a bit of freedom to escape au naturel into the world.
At least I was clothing free in my home. The same can’t be said for so many who are trapped in their clothing, trapped by their minds that have embraced fear, or false norms of what it is to be a human. Some are so imprisoned that they even hide from themselves, denying themselves as though that would somehow grant them entry into some afterworld of pure light where everyone who makes it is swaddled in layers and layers of robes singing the praises of a god who has condemned most of humanity to eternal suffering. So, they practice being sexless, subservient denying the gift of their mind and their body and their gender and their instincts.
If one assumes there is a god, then that god created these human bodies, naked. He or she created bodies and minds and instincts. We have a story of that creation and in that story we are celebrated in our nudity. Our rejection of that nudity got us tossed out of that Garden, a paradise. So we created a different paradise based on our initial rejection of the Garden, a paradise where there is no way to differentiate gender, no temptation of body, no temptation by environment – we have a featureless paradise that is more cocoon that reward for living a good life. And then we redefine a good life to be one that is lived in fear and swallowed pride and anger where “self” is denied, where the “present” is denied.
And so we hide feeling empty, longing for freedom yet terrified that to engage fully in the world will damn us for eternity. We fear our god, we fear, we cower, we hide.
Robert G. Longpré
So many people are trapped and imprisoned in their clothes, their minds, their identities, their beliefs, their ideologies, and the other prisons we create for ourselves. Most have never really known freedom, true freedom – freedom from fear, freedom from the illusions we carry around in our heads.