This past weekend I ventured up to my old stomping grounds to attend a mini high school reunion. I stayed at my dad’s place. He has a guest room upstairs which is the only air conditioned room in the house with a small window unit.
When I retired to the guest room for the night, I stripped down and slept in the nude, as is my custom. Even with the AC on, it was still quite warm so I slept atop the covers. Upon awakening in the morning, I set up my laptop to do some journaling and, naturally remained nude. I soon noticed that this naked time experience felt different from my naked time at home. There was a relative quiet and stillness that I don’t have at home where my naked time is often in a room where I’m surrounded by my computers, my books, and much of my stuff. Here, at my Dad’s house, which is out in the country and nearly surrounded by a nature preserve, I had only my laptop and my phone, and no Internet access. It was pretty much just me, in my natural state with very few distractions. Feeling comfortable and at peace, I wrote in my journal and even took advantage of the quiet and solitude to meditate for about 10 minutes.
I need to try to recreate the experience at home. Unfortunately, I don’t have such an idyllic setting here in the suburbs but I think that perhaps I can reduce or eliminate many of the distractions in my surroundings and try to create, the base I can, the peace, the quiet, and the solitude I felt in that country guest room.
Will Americans ever “get out” of the Nudist Colony? ~ Naturist Dan, The Meandering Nudist
This article resonated with me as it expresses many of my own frustrations, disappointments, and disillusionments with nudism in America.
Some things have improved in the past 20 years. Many venues now have a Web and social media presence and with the Internet, Google maps, and GPS, nudist venues are not as hard to find although some are still hard to actually get to. Many are still out in the middle of nowhere or deep in the woods. There are still remarkably few venues in urban and suburban areas.
Judging from images of “classic” nudism of about 50 years ago and what I’ve seen at resorts I’ve visited, the recreational offerings don’t seem to have changed much. Not having ever been on a resort vacation, maybe I really don’t know what I should expect. Yet, somehow, I do expect a little more.
When I first became a naturist, the draw of the opportunity to be nude with others and to swim and lie in the sun nude was enough. Over the years that hasn’t been enough of a draw for me to put other things aside and make the effort to set aside the time, make arrangements to visit, and then make the effort to travel an hour or more for the sole purpose of being nude for a few hours.
Naturist Dan also comments on how some venues are more restrictive than they were in the past. I understand that with the prevalence of camera in cell phones, concerns about sexual predators, and other concerns that pervade our society. Since my significant other has no interest in nudism or naturism, I am considered a “single” male should I visit a venue. I understand concerns about gender imbalance or wayward husbands but it’s one more obstacle.
Nudity needs to be acceptable outside the “colonies”, outside the 8-foot walls of our nudist reservations. Events like the naked bike rides and Fantasy Fest aren’t signs of acceptance of the nudist or naturist lifestyle, but of acceptance of nudity as entertainment. In America, the most highly valued commodity is entertainment. Above all else, we want to be entertained and nudity is entertaining even if we privately condemn those who parade nude for us. Righteous condemnation is an added benefit.
Today, I read a series of articles by Lim, a naturist who lives in Taiwan. In his blog posts, he describes in words and photos his experiences at a week-long hiking excursion in the Swiss Alps. The event has taken place annually for the past 12 years. One thing about this that I found interesting was that the event’s organizer encourages the participants to take photos and post them online.
Next, and this should really be a first criterion, you have got to be a REAL naturist. Richard’s rules are clear. His activities are for naturists and giving publicity to them is the surest way of getting more people to join us or to organise similar hikes elsewhere. The rules of the hike are people are encouraged to take photos and post them online. And this is a great draw for me. I have mentioned elsewhere that I can’t go to a place that forbids the camera and I really have no time for closet nudists who treat nudity as if it were a forbidden fruit that should be tasted in secret and anonymity. If we are serious about promoting naturism, we must treat nudity as normal and natural and taking photos and posting them should be encouraged. Richard has got it absolutely right. This also makes it easier for me to post photos without having to ask for the consent of everyone whose face appears in the pics.
That makes sense. Maybe it’s time we put aside our fear of being “outed” as nudists.
Nude Hiking in the Alps – An Overview
Body acceptance is the idea…Nude recreation is the way.
Lee Baxandall, founder of the Naturist Society
Body acceptance is a beginning, not an end in itself.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the idea of body acceptance in the naturist sense and in a broader sense. As a naturist, I’ve had a tendency to think of it in a personal way, accepting my own body as it is. That’s a starting point from which one builds. And nude recreation certainly had a role in helping me to accept my body.
As I thought about it, I began to think about the broader application of the concept, about accepting every body as it is. It occurred to me that this broader application has been there all along and I’ve been working on applying it, with varying success since my first naturist experience. Body acceptance of all bodies is, like for the individual, a starting point. Once we accept people at the physical level, we can accept them for their other aspects, their beliefs, their political views, their sexual orientation, and their gender identification. I’m not saying it’s easy to accept people for all they are, but if we can accept them at the mundane physical level, we have something we can work from.
No, I’m not there yet. I’m not sure that I am 100% accepting of my own body all the time, but I’m working on it. I’m also working on acceptance in the broader sense too. No, it’s not easy. But I think it’s worthwhile.
One Thing I’ve Wondered About Nudists
A non-nudist blogger asked, “How do men who are nudists avoid getting erections?” That seems to be a fair question. I’ve read other articles about nudism that he’s written and he genuinely seems to want to understand why people practice nudism.
One thing I’ve wondered about nudists:
How do men who are nudists avoid getting erections?
I would think that a man would be having frequent orgasms because of the female nudity that he is seeing in a place like a nudist camp.
I’ve heard that people bring towels to places like nudist camps, in order to keep germs from spreading. I imagine it isn’t a good feeling to sit on a towel that’s been covered with semen, since a man has to wipe himself clean with it so many times, or make frequent trips to the bathroom in order to clean himself or experience his orgasms in private. And I imagine it would also be awkward for a man to be introduced to a nudist woman, and for her to clearly see that he is experiencing an orgasm because of her naked body.
Many “textiles” live in a world where they are constantly bombarded by sexual imagery in advertising and entertainment media and have been taught since a young age that the human body is shameful and that seeing nudity invariably leads to sexual arousal, impure thoughts, temptation, or intercourse. It may hard for them to imagine a scenario where nudity is not intended to arouse or titillate, a context where everyone treats nakedness as completely natural and unremarkable. It has to be experienced to be believed.
I can’t speak for anyone else but I’ve never really given much thought to how I avoid getting erections in a nudist setting. I’ve never gotten an erection in a nudist setting and I’ve never seen anyone else get one either. I don’t now how I do it and I don’t make any sort of conscious effort to avoid it; it just hasn’t happened to me.
I haven’t found nudist settings to be sexually charged or erotic even when surrounded by people I might find sexually attractive. There isn’t a sexual vibe. I find more of a sexual vibe at a public pool or beach. where everyone is in a swimming costume. Some swimsuits barely cover what needs to be covered under the law and often draws attention to those places causing one to wonder what’s underneath. Of course, we all know what’s underneath but that it’s hidden in a revealing way lets our imaginations run while. In a nudist environment, nothing is hidden and we see that it’s pretty much the same as everyone else’s. It’s not a big deal.
I’ve found that nudism/naturism is attitude and a mindset where being nude is just another option and, after a while, it feels normal and comfortable. For some the normality and comfort comes sooner than for others. Remember that our largest sex organ is our brain, our mind. We have control over our thoughts.
Today Facebook presented me with the following memory from seven years ago:
“Had that dream where I was the only one naked. In this dream everyone was totally oblivious to my nudity. It was no big deal. Cool, eh?”
In the past decade, I haven’t found the infamous naked dream to be about insecurity, fear, and embarrassment. My naked dreams are usually the exact opposite. They’re about confidence, freedom, and comfort. In my naked dreams, I’m usually engaged in normal, everyday activities and generally no one takes notices of my nudity, even if I’m the only one naked. It’s a shame that the real world isn’t more like the clothing optional world of my dreams.
Yet another day set aside to do something naked. Reading, like so many other activities, is something that I prefer to do whilst in my natural state, yet due to infringements from the textile world, I do not not have enough opportunities to pursue it in in that way. Today was no exception. Life goes on and sometimes leisure activities, both clothed and unclothed, must yield to more pressing matters or to circumstances that do no allow for optimum conditions.
Maybe next year. But then again, why do I need a special day to peruse a tome whilst devoid cumbersome clothing? All I need is a good book and some privacy. Free the mind and the body.
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 policies range from strict and draconian to some that are are 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 at nudist venues and events 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 social media, whatever veil of privacy we have is very thin and transparent, almost nonexistent. Sadly, too many in our society lack ethical standards, moral fiber, and respect for others, and they 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. Whatever secrets we may harbor, there’s a very good chance that we will eventually be outed.
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 that some bad person, our boss, our family, or our friends might see us in our natural state. We need to let go of our fear. For some, letting go of it is easy while 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, even if only for a short time. 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 as free and fearless.
Dirt Road Naturism – An Issue of Public Safety? by Robert Longpré
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. Nor could I see myself participating in a Spencer Tunick installation.
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.