Hey, Creepy Guy

24 Aug

This excellent piece is something very relevant to many of the things I blog about. While female public topfreedom and naturism aren’t always the same thing, the behaviour of some males towards topless women is not unlike the way some men act towards women taking part in events like the World Naked Bike Ride, and also has similarities to the way female naturists sometimes get treated by males on the Internet. Well worth a read!

Dudley Nude Reading Group – An Inevitable Controversy?

22 Aug

I’ve been reading over the past few days about a small controversy in the English town of Dudley.  Apparently, a group of naturists, led by a local author, wanted to set up a nude reading group at the public library there.  They have been refused permission by the local council, who own and run the library, and the naturists have gone back on the offensive, with Anthony Crowley, the author who wanted to set up the group, accusing the council of treating the naturists “like aliens”.  They’ve even got support from British Naturism’s Andrew Welch in their struggle against the oppressive forces of bureaucracy…

…except that this is all a bit of a storm in a teacup, really.

Firstly, I will say that as a naturist, I support Anthony Crowley’s idea.  I see that there is absolutely nothing wrong with setting up a naturist reading group.  There’s nothing wrong with setting up a naturist anything group (except maybe arc-welding, but that’s more a common sense issue).  But a reading group is especially something that I support.  I read about one book a week, I have a Masters in English and American Literature and I firmly believe reading books is a pastime that should be encouraged.

Reading and casual nudity have been combined before.  July 5th is apparently International Read Naked Day.  And you have excellent groups like the Outdor Co-ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society; a group of women in New York who started out by excercising their legal right to go top-free in Central Park and has now progressed into something more like a naturist group as they have access to a private space for nude sunbathing and reading parties.

So why, if that’s the case, am I not 100% behind Anthony Crowley and his one-man crusade to bring naked reading to the town of Dudley?

Well, it comes down to the fact that I rather sympathise with the council, especially when it comes to the use of the library.

It’s a fact that in Britain at the moment, public services are being cut left, right and centre.  And near the front of the queue for the chopping block are library services.  Libraries, sadly, are seen as non-essential.  To me, as a lover of public libraries, that is a shame, but it’s something I’m seeing first-hand.  My local library has drastically cut it’s opening hours, and a friend of mine who works as a librarian tells me it’s the same everywhere, and they haven’t been able to take on any new staff in a long time.

So for Dudley Council, the decision probably came down to being “can we afford to make one of our reading rooms closed to the general public, for a private group, who will need extra staff to ensure their needs are met – for free?”  And the answer, apparently, was “no.”

This isn’t an issue about the public acceptance of naturism.  This is one man who wanted a portion of the town’s public library sectioned off for private use by him and only people who he was going to invite.  As the local councillor Stuart Turner is quoted as saying: “It would also have caused massive disruption – we would have had to set aside quite a substantial room every Saturday morning, which would be a disruption if it was any group.”

Mr Crowley and BN’s protests about it being all about prudery and disapproval of naturism are putting words in the mouths of the councillors that simply weren’t there to begin with.

Dudley library has offered to provide books for a reading group in a private location, which I think is very good of them.  Mr Crowley would do well to look at the example of the Topless (Sometimes Naked) Co-eds.  They aren’t looking to have free use of public facilities in order to do what they do.  Instead they found a private space big enough to accomodate their group.

Gaining public acceptance of naturism is important, but sometimes we can come across as selfish.  Mr Crowley would be better to find somewhere his proposed group could use undisturbed and without relying on facilities which are supposed to be open to all to use, not because naturism should be hidden away in the dark but because it would show that we are actually quite reasonable and realistic people when it comes to our lifestyle.  That would be better PR for naturism than stamping our feet because the council made a decision that seemed fair to them.

How I Briefly Became a Writer For The Daily Star (Possibly. Sort Of.)

19 Aug

I think it’s safe to say most bloggers would like to have a lot of people read their words and opinions.  I blog for the fun of it but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t like to be reaching a big audience.

Well today I actually got the chance to do that.  Sort of.

This morning I saw a post on the Facebook page of Body Gossip, a positive body image campaign which I follow.  The post was about a TV spot on the BBC where a volunteer organiser from the group had gone up against Katie Hopkins, a woman who failed to win the UK Apprentice show in 2006 and has since been making a name for herself as a sort of “rent-a-gob” when shows and papers want a controversial and ill-founded opinion aired in a particularly self-obsessed way.

In this case, Hopkins was talking about how she flat-out doesn’t like fat people, and so favours a society in which the maximum pressure is put on people to be skinny.  To that end, Hopkins talked about how she wouldn’t offer a job in her company to a fat person.

She was mastefully shot down by Natasha, the volunteer from Body Gossip.  And when I saw that Natasha had said she didn’t know what Katie Hopkins did, I decided I’d have a look.  So one trip to Wikipedia later, I had some material for a joke at Hopkins’ expense, and I figured I may as well post it on the public thread on the Facebook page.

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I thought no more about it until later today, when the Body Gossip Facebook posted a link to a column on the website of The Daily Star, a British tabloid newspaper.  I read the article and when I got to the end, I couldn’t help but smile.  The Daily Star writers had, I am pretty sure, used my joke!

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The wording is better than mine (probably why their writer is a paid journalist and I’m just a – naked – blogger) but other than that, it’s pretty much exactly my gag.

Of course it could be a coincidence – we both thought of the same funny point to make – but what I prefer to think is that the Star writer was browsing the Body Gossip Facebook in order to find out a bit about the group, saw my comment and thought “that’s quite funny – I’ll use that!”

Some people might be a bit unhappy that something they came up with was being presented by another writer as their own work but it didn’t bother me – I wrote it on a public forum because I thought it was funny, anyone else can do with it what they wished.  I was flattered more than anything, it was nice to think they liked my joke enough to use it themselves.

So why am I writing about this on my naturist blog?

Well, I first became aware of Body Gossip after naturist friends began promoting the group.  Naturism and body positive thinking go hand in hand, in my opinion.  Naturism encourages people to feel good about themselves, however they look, and going nude socially is a big confidence-booster, at least it has been in my experience.  So I fully support what Body Gossip does in trying to encourage people to be proud of their bodies whatever shape those bodies might be.

People like Katie Hopkins, who think that if someone doesn’t look a certain way, they should be shamed and ostracised, indeed no longer treated like a person with the same worth as everyone else, are the natural enemy of people like us naturists.  They are like the people who are saying some folk shouldn’t enjoy going nude “because nobody wants to see that” – policing other people’s bodies because they don’t meet their own personal standards of what they consider attractive.  Naturists don’t (or shouldn’t) care what you look like, so long as you enjoy your life and treat yourself and others with equal respect.

That’s why when people like Hopkins speak up with their poisonous views, we should be there to shoot them down along with the body-positive activists.  And even though it was under someone else’s name, I am glad my joke got used to do that.

Families and Naturism

16 Aug

Family has been on my  mind a lot these past few days.  I travelled yesterday to Essex, where my family are from.  It wasn’t a happy occasion – my grandmother passed away a couple of weeks ago and we were attending her funeral.  All the same, it was good to see my extended family again.

None of my family members are naturists, that I know of.  My youngest cousin used to run around their farmhouse naked up until about the age of 6 or 7 though.  As far as I remember, she just hated clothes.  My aunt allowed it and as a child I remember my mum and grandmother voicing their disapproval, in the way an adult might disapprove of a parent who indulges a faddy eater.  My cousin was just a faddy dresser.

She stopped as she grew up, or at least, she wears clothes in company now.  I can’t speak for her private life!  I wouldn’t know, because my girlfriend and I have never discussed naturism with our families, not really.

It’s not really been a conscious, “let’s-never-tell-anyone” secret for us.  It’s just never come up.  We live in our own house and do our own things.  I left home at 18 and didn’t become a naturist until I was 25 – my girlfriend only really through being with me.

So I haven’t felt the need to tell my mum, or anyone else in my family. I don’t know how they’d feel about it.  I’m sure they’d be fine but until I feel like sitting down and explaining it to them, I’m leaving it as it is.

As for my girlfriend, I have left that up to her.  At the moment she hasn’t wanted to talk about it with anyone in her family except her sister.  She doesn’t think her parents would have a problem with it though.  They used to go to nude beaches in France when she was a kid and their household has always been pretty relaxed about nudity, especially where my girlfriend is concerned.

We did talk about Spielplatz once though (without mentioning it was a naturist club).  My girlfriend’s dad thought it sounded great – he wanted to go!

I have friends who have told their non-naturist parents, with varying results.  Some have had no problem with it, others have given a grudging acceptance (“as long as it’s not in the house/outside your room etc”).  Nobody I know seems to have irreparably damaged their relationship with family by telling them they are naturists.

We will probably have to tell them when we have kids.  We both agree that our home will be (for the children) clothing-optional, and naturist clubs and swims will be fun places that hopefully our kids will enjoy visiting.  But it won’t be fair on the kids to expect them to keep all that a secret, and make them feel like we are doing something bad or wrong.

So we’ll tell the truth, and hope they don’t disapprove quite as much as they disapproved of my aunt letting my cousin run around naked.

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Streak For Tigers at London Zoo

15 Aug

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Today is the Streak For Tigers event at London Zoo.

It’s a great idea that mixes enjoyment of nudity with raising money for animal welfare.

Basically, participants are sponsored to get naked, get painted up like tigers and run through London Zoo, with all the money raised going to help preserve Sumatran tigers in the wild.

You can find out more at: https://www.zsl.org/text-only/support-us/challenge-events/streak-for-tigers.

Two of our friends, Shaun and Becky, are taking part and I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing them the best of luck and safe streaking!

Topless Activist on Jail Hunger Strike

13 Aug

I went for some UK news yesterday to comment on, so today I’m picking some international news.

The topfree equality movement isn’t entirely the same as naturism. But there’s a lot of overlap in ideas. Basically, topfree equality argues that anywhere that a man is allowed to remove his shirt, a woman should be able to also. It argues that female toplessness should not be seen as obscene – that the idea that exposed female breasts are automatically sexual is an outdated and oppressive social construct.

Even if that’s not exactly naturist, it’s hard to argue with if you believe in naturism: if you believe men and women can socialise together nude in a casual way, you probably wouldn’t have a problem with equal topfreedom rights for men and women either.

It’s certainly an argument that I think is perfectly rational and reasonable.

Anyway, a couple of days ago, I read about topfreedom activist Phoenix Feeley. She’s currently in jail for exercising what she believed was her right to go topless in public in the state of New Jersey.

Feeley has been going through the legal system for a number of years now, and the offence she is jailed for took place in 2008. She’s rather like Naked Rambler Steve Gough in that respect; her stubbornness and dogged determination to stick to her cause and her beliefs has meant a prolonged experience with law enforcement (like Gough, she was arrested directly following an earlier release because she immediately removed her clothes in public again, and has apparently also been serving her jail time in a state of undress – although it’s unclear if this is true, or consensual on her part if it is true).

Feeley’s jail sentence comes as a result of refusal to pay a fine she received for being topfree in public because, as she put it: “I refuse to pay the fines for an act that is legal for a man but not legal for a woman.”

Feeley has now served 9 days in jail and is on hunger strike in protest at what she feels is inhumane treatment. She has alleged that the food she is being given in jail is inedible, that she has been denied basic rights and that she has been assaulted by guards; this on top of her initial protest against a law she believes is discriminatory.

I suspect another reason for the hunger strike is to continue to exert her right to protest, and to continue to draw attention to her case. If she’d paid the fine for going topfree, she wouldn’t have had as much impact as refusing to pay; likewise it is better for her cause for her to kick up a fuss rather than serve her jail time quietly.

I hope she doesn’t damage her health or lose her life by what she is doing. She seems a rather strange character (she’s in some way affiliated with Go Topless – a topfreedom campaign started by adherents of Raelism, which is a UFO-based religion). But perhaps strange characters are needed sometimes? The law can sometimes seem strange, and unreasonable (particularly where equality and the rights of women and their rights to make their own decisions about their bodies) – perhaps the only way to change that is for some people to be strange themselves?

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Get Naked Get Awesome on Twitter

12 Aug

Get Naked Get Awesome on Twitter

@getnakedawesome.

All genuine naturist followers welcome (and any curious newbies too!)

Clover Spa Alcohol Licence Objected To

12 Aug

Nudist hotel’s plans for alcohol licence ‘will attract troublemakers’

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(Picture Source)

According to the Metro Newspaper, the application by Clover Naturist Spa in Birmingham for a licence to sell alcohol has “sparked concerns from local residents” and a local councillor:

Councillor Robert Alden said he feared the licence would turn the Clover Spa and Hotel, in Erdington, Birmingham, into a strip club and that it would attract ‘local youths and troublemakers’.

Now if you’re reading my blog, you’re already going to know how ridiculous I think that is!

I’ve actually visited Clover Spa with my girlfriend and some friends.  It’s lovely – one of the nicest naturist venues I have ever been to.  I hope to go back before too long.

The idea that this peaceful, relaxed venue would become something like a “strip club” is laughable… as is the idea that local youths would be willing to pay £15-25 for a glimpse at the bodies of the average naturist spa user, just because alcohol is served.

I have been to naturist venues that have a licenced bar and believe me, they are hardly dens of iniquity!  More like Real Ale on tap and a glass of wine by the pool.

Councillor Robert Aldren would do well to go along and see what Clover Spa is before making silly snap judgements because the words ‘nude’ and ‘alcohol’ are used in the same sentence.  Or at least, learn to listen to the people who do go.

Advice for the Newbie Naturist

10 Aug

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If you’re interested in naturism/nudism and investigating it via the internet, you’ll probably find a few articles explaining what naturism is and how to get involved.  But you’ll probably still have quite a lot of questions and confused thoughts which won’t really go away until you’ve actually got into nudism as a way of life and have some experiences of your own.

The following guide is intended to be a little different to the usual “Tips for the Newbie” articles you will find.  But hopefully it will be helpful to you if you have made the decision that naturism is for you and you are now trying to find a place for that in your life.

So if that sounds like you, here are 14 tips you might benefit from reading:

1.  Ignore a lot of the images you see on the internet.

The internet is a wonderful resource for information and, nowadays, most people’s response to learning about something new which interests them is to type it into Google to find out more.  You can certainly do that if you are a new naturist looking to know more about the lifestyle you have chosen.

But it’s important to maintain a healthy scepticism and to remember – just because someone on the internet says something is depicting naturism, doesn’t mean it is depicting the reality of the experiences you are likely to have.

Take, for example, the plethora of naturist blogs on the blogging site Tumblr.  If these blogs were your only source of information, you would be forgiven for assuming that naturism was entirely about slim, attractive young women doing various things with no clothes on and getting photographed while they do.  It isn’t just Tumblr, either: a lot of naturist organisations and publications use photographs of young females to illustrate their descriptions of the lifestyle.

The truth is naturists come in all ages, shapes, sizes and genders.  Slim young women are actually the minority.  Males outnumber women and older couples are far more common than single young people.

It is important to remember that just because a naturist blog, site or publication uses a picture of a naked person, it doesn’t follow that person is a naturist.  Even on this blog, I have no way of knowing the sources and contexts of many of the photos I post.  A nude photo could be posed by a model, be a glamour or art photo, or even be taken from a pornographic source.  It may be a personal snap of someone who would not normally be without their clothes but is on a dare or messing about while drunk or posing for sexual reasons.  Even if it is a photo of people who are naturists, it may be taken in a country or location where naturism is practised differently to yours, or where different rules apply.  You can’t know, so you make assumptions, but these assumptions may not be correct and it is not wise to assume that something is a fact of life for naturists just because you saw it on the internet.

2.  Don’t assume everything you read is absolutely accurate, either.

You will find a lot of information written about naturism on the internet.  But, as with the photos, you don’t necessarily know that what is being written is truthful, accurate or likely to reflect the experiences you will have.

Anyone can start a blog and it is often impossible to verify someone’s identity.  What you read as “Sarah’s Nudist Blog” might actually be a male trucker from Colorado with a few issues.  People do use the concept of naturism as a vehicle to explore sexual fantasies and while there are a great many genuine, believable accounts of the naturist lifestyle on the internet, there are some which simply do not depict reality.  Unfortunately it is only through having the experience of social naturism yourself that you will learn which accounts are truthful and which belong in the realm of the imagination.

Even in mainstream publications and media, the view you will get of naturism is not always 100% accurate.  Many articles about naturism are written by non-naturists “exploring”, “investigating” or trying naturism for the first time, purely so they can have something to write about.  They may not depict the experience you are likely to have because they don’t have the understanding of naturism you will have: being nude is something you want to do, whereas they are only doing it to get their paycheck.

And even if the article is written by a genuine naturist who understands the lifestyle, they will have their own opinions and ideas which may inform their writing – you don’t have to share all of those opinions to be a naturist, and it is worth keeping an open mind about everything you read, rather than assuming that because you read it on a naturist site it must be always so for everyone.

3.  Don’t be impatient…

If you have decided that naturism is what you want to do, you will probably be quite keen to do it more, and find yourself frustrated by the restrictions imposed on you by daily life.  It might seem like the whole world expects you to wear clothes when all you want to do is hang out in the buff.  It might seem like there is a whole world of naked fun times out there which you are missing out on because of family, friends, school, work, money or location.

But don’t stress yourself.  You might not have the opportunities at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that you will never have them.  As your life changes, so too do your options for living a nude lifestyle.  You have decided you prefer not wearing clothes: that feeling will always be with you and will not go away, so there is no urgency to do more than you are ready, willing or able to do.  Take all the time you need to explore naturism in your own way.

4. …but don’t hesitate too long.

On the flip side, don’t sit around waiting for your friends or family to suddenly and spontaneously embrace naturism alongside you.  Make as much effort as you possibly can to get involved with the social side of naturism wherever you learn you might have the opportunity to do so.  If you are young, you will find there are groups around specifically for young naturists; these groups usually have an upper age limit (typically 30-35).  You want to give yourself as much time as possible to meet people and make friends before you are considered “too old” to participate in the social events these groups organise.  So think of it like this: if you are now 20, you could potentially have 10 years of regular social nude activities being organised for you – so the sooner you start getting involved, the better.  Sitting around naked in your bedroom bemoaning that none of your friends share your affinity for nakedness isn’t going to get you anywhere – be proactive and you will reap the benefits.

5.  You don’t have to tell the world…

A lot of people who are naturists advocate being as open and upfront about the nude lifestyle as you possibly can.  Their reasoning is that enjoying non-sexual nudity is nothing to be ashamed of, and the more people who are open about it, the more it can become normalised and no longer a social issue.

Which is great.  But it isn’t your responsibility to promote naturism, and you aren’t harming the cause if you choose to keep your enjoyment of it private.  Only you, personally, can make the decision about who you want to tell about your decision to embrace a naturist lifestyle and how much you want them to know.  You may be quite happy for your friends to know but not want your parents to know, or your colleagues.  You may only want to confide in close friends.  You may want to tell everybody, or tell no-one.  You only need to do what feels right for you.

6. … but don’t be afraid to act like it’s no big deal (and remember, there’s nothing wrong with you!)

On the other hand, you shouldn’t worry that, by attempting to pursue a naturist lifestyle, you are doing something which is shameful or which you are wrong for enjoying.

Being nude is healthy, positive and enjoyable and it is only the conventions of our society which tells you that you should not, and cannot, be nude non-sexually with other people.  You might not feel ready to tell the world outright “I am a naturist” but you shouldn’t feel like you have to keep everything about your enjoyment of nudity sealed away and out of sight from the world.  At the end of the day, you are the same person you have always been, you just prefer not wearing clothes when you have the chance.  The more relaxed attitude you display about that information, the less stress you will have around the fact that this makes you different from others you know.  Your parents may not be keen on the idea of you being naked round the house but in the privacy of your own bedroom, what concern is it of theirs what you wear?  If your friends don’t like the idea of you going to nude beaches, well, you aren’t asking them to come.  It’s something you are into that other people aren’t.  That’s all.  Relax about it; your life won’t fall apart if people find out you are a naturist.

7.  Definitely tell your partner.

The worst thing you can do with any interest in naturism is to keep it a secret from your boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife.  I speak from experience on this.  I never fully opened up to my girlfriend about my naturism until we moved in together, a year into our relationship (in my defence, I had only recently begun to get back involved in the lifestyle after spending much of the last year doing other stuff), and so she found it initially harder to accept because I hadn’t been honest with her from the start.

If you keep it secret from your partner, no matter what their opinion on naturism for themselves is, you will risk it seeming like you are doing something shifty and underhand, you will make it seem seedy or wrong and you will make it harder for them to accept when they do find out.  They might not be happy with the idea, they might be confused, or misunderstand, or make incorrect judgements.  But if you don’t tell them at all, you are denying them the chance to form their own opinion and you are showing you don’t value their knowledge, and they might not forgive you for that.

8.  Don’t become obsessed with nudity (or naturism)

The day you discovered naturism might seem like the greatest day of your life to you.  The buzz you get from being naked might be the best you have ever felt.  You might grow to hate your clothes and love nothing more than to finally get out of them and be naked at home.  You might decide you don’t want to ever wear clothes again unless you are absolutely forced to.

Which is all great.  But don’t let those feelings become a barrier between you and the rest of the world.  If you find yourself avoiding social situations, work opportunities etc because you want to stay home naked, if you stop interacting with your family and stay stuck in your room all day because it’s the only place they don’t insist on you wearing clothes, well, that isn’t a healthy enjoyment of naturism.  That’s an obsession with being naked and it isn’t a positive thing to have in your life.

By the same standard, don’t let your interest in naturism be the only interest you have and the only one you talk about with others.  Of course, your naturism and your attitude to nudity is going to be a major part of your character and your personality.  But don’t let it be the only thing to define you.  Don’t fill your Facebook wall with posts about nudity, don’t constantly go on to your non-naturist friends about nude life.  And don’t put pressure on people you know to join in with your lifestyle.  Don’t let the fact you have a different belief to them alienate you from those others in your life who don’t share it.

Sometimes the best way to normalise something is to talk about it less, not more.  The best ambassador for naturism you can be is someone who is a great friend and good company, with a variety of interests and personality facets – one of which happens to be that you are a naturist.

10.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions of others.

If you want to know about naturism, there are plenty of people you can ask.  There are Tumblrs, Twitters, Facebook pages, blogs and websites run by naturists who you can put your questions to.  You aren’t expected to know everything about naturism right away and nobody minds answering a newbie.

11.  Don’t go thinking there are a whole bunch of rules to follow.

You’re a naturist.  It doesn’t matter if you shave your pubic hair, or don’t shave anything.  It doesn’t matter if you go to the gym or if you sit around eating pizza on your days off.  It doesn’t matter if you’re a stripper or a social worker.  You don’t have to smoke pot or vote Democrat or stop going to church.  You are a naturist whether you do any of those things or not.  There’s no rules other than an enjoyment of nudity and a recognition that mixed-gender non-sexual social nudity can be possible.  Everything else is just people’s personal preferences and that’s all.  Some particular naturist groups or venues have codes of conduct they expect members or guests to follow but those are just what they expect of the people they are inviting – they aren’t “rules of being a naturist”.

12.  You don’t need to do a naked bike ride (and you might not want to).

The World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR), which takes place in various cities all over the world, has become a summer fixture and an institution in the past few years.  A lot of naturist organisations promote the hell out of it as it shows the public that naked people are not an obscene threat to society, and a lot of places use images of the WNBR to show how men and women can socialise together nude and have fun.  A lot of people take part because they are naturists (although many more participants are promoting other causes – officially it is a protest in favour of bikes and other non-petrol-based means of transport, although WNBR participants promote many causes including road safety, gay rights and body-positivity, as well as social acceptance of nakedness).

The ubiquity of the WNBR has given many new naturists the impression that it is something they should get involved with and while that is positive for WNBR, there is no compulsion for any naturist to take part if they don’t want to.  I suppose many feel it is their best option because it is, for a day, an event where social nudity is acceptable, even normalised, as well as being open to all with no additional requirement beyond having a bike and being willing to strip.

But the WNBR is not a naturist event and it does not represent all that naturism is.  If you are wanting to experience naturism, the WNBR may not be what you are looking for.  Especially if you are new to social nudity.  The WNBR takes place fully in public and any spectator can come along, which means the crowd is full of people who have come to see nudity and (in many cases) photograph it.  Especially if you are a young woman.  This doesn’t bother some, but to others it can make for an unpleasant experience (especially when pictures of you naked turn up on voyeur websites) and, to reiterate, going through that is not a requirement of being a naturist.  Naturist events are private, secure and populated only by other naturists.  Cameras are usually prohibited except for official photographers.  If you are anxious about social nudity, there are a lot better places than the WNBR to experience it for the first time.

13.  Don’t worry about getting aroused (it won’t happen).

This is probably more a problem for males than females but there is a lot of worry about what to do if you experience sexual arousal in a naturist environment.  There is, definitely, more worry than there should be.

It won’t happen.  You’ll be nervous at first and if there’s one thing that’s going to kill your chances of getting an erection, it’s nerves.  By the time you get over your nerves, you will have relaxed and gotten used to the fact everyone is naked, and getting aroused won’t be a worry.

14.  Whatever you do, enjoy yourself!

Originally published on the Get Naked Get Awesome Tumblr 28 Jan 2013

Taboos In Naturism

10 Aug

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(This is a response to the following article by Peter Terp: www.spotnaked.com/taboo-among-nudists-and-naturists/868/)

In his article, Peter identifies five taboos which he feels exist among naturists.  I’m going to give my own thoughts on the same five things.

Sex

Naturism and sex.  It’s a big one.  For decades, maybe even centuries, we have been given the idea by our society that the only time men and women are naked together is when they are having sex.  Naturists go against that idea; naturist men and women socialise together, nude, without any sexual act or behaviour taking place.

Of course, mainstream society can’t understand that, so they assume that naturism is a sexual activity.

Naturism isn’t sexual.  Naturists have broken that automatic link between being nude and being sexual.  To a naturist/nudist, having no clothes on does not mean a person is having or wanting sex.

But that is not to say that naturists do not ever have sex, think about sex, or talk about sex.

Naturists are human beings, the same as anyone else, and they have the same desires and motivations as anyone else.  All that being a naturist means is that you can be, and enjoy being, naked with others, without it being sexual.

If sex is a taboo subject among naturists, it is because on all sides naturists are surrounded by people linking their lifestyle with sex.  Non-naturists are assuming their behaviour is sexual.  Naturist images are used on porn sites.  Naturism and enjoyment of nudity is a subject for sexual fantasy among non-naturists.

So it is perhaps not surprising that some naturists go out of their way to keep sex and naturism very seperate.

Of course, there are those who go the other way and argue that naturism is too resistant and oppressive about sexuality.  They may have a point, too – you can seem like you are “protesting too much” if you start telling people how non-sexual it is before sex has even been mentioned!

Personally, I don’t think sex is taboo among naturists.  It just has as little to do with naturism as it does to do with classic car rallies or rock climbing or knitting, so it doesn’t need to be autimatically mentioned when talking about what we do.  But we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it when we want to, either.

Looking at Others

Staring at someone, clothed or nude, is impolite.  And eye-contact is a positive thing which helps conversation, connection and confidence.

But it is silly to assume that when people are nude socially together they never look at one another.

It is all about behaving appropriately.  If you sit on a nude beach staring at a woman, that isn’t socially responsible behaviour, it’s just creepy and weird.  And no amount of “it’s natural to look” is going to defend you from the fact that you are, at best, someone with no grace or respect towards others.

But at the same time, you are a person with eyes to look out of, and if you were avoiding looking at people altogether, that would be just as abnormal as if you were staring at boobs the whole time.

Also, you quickly find in a naturist environment – beach, club, resort, whatever – that it doesn’t take long before you stop really noticing that the people you are seeing are naked, so you stop being conscious of what you are actually seeing.

So I don’t think looking is taboo – but staring rudely is, and rightly so.

Clothing Optional (vs. Nude)

I think that realistically, at least in Britain, naturist clubs with outdoor facilities are pretty relaxed about how nude you go. You dress appropriately for the situation.  If it’s cold, nobody is going to begrudge you putting clothes on.  If you’re doing something hazardous, wear appropriate protection.

But if there is no reason to be clothed, in my opinion, you should be nude.  Or why are you there?

I wouldn’t assume a dressed person was a “perv” at a nude event or location.  But I would wonder why they had taken the time (and money) to go to somewhere where the only difference between that place and any other is that you can be nude socially, and then not be nude?

So while I think it is good (and more friendly) that people aren’t draconian about enforcing nudity on visitors to naturist clubs, I think people should be made aware that nudity is the norm, and that they would be expected to behave in that way.  And if they don’t wish to behave that way, they have no real reason to be there.

Male Erections

I’m kind of sick of this as a topic.  I don’t think it’s taboo, I just think that the only people who discuss it are men with no experience of social nudity.

Because in a social nude situation, an erection just isn’t going to happen.

You won’t be confronted entirely with people who you find physically and sexually attractive.  You will see all sorts, men and women.  And they will see you.  You will not get an erection with that particular cocktail of factors going on, I guarantee it.  And as soon as you have experienced social nudity, you will wonder why you ever worried about getting an erection.

If you really can’t manage to be socially nude without becoming physically aroused to the point where your penis is erect, it might be time to rethink why you are so keen to be around naked people in the first place.

A lot of people fabricate sexual fantasies around naturism and perpetuate these online, giving a distorted view of the reality.

The fact is, you won’t get an erection.  But, if you do, and people notice, no, they will not act like nothing is happening or be pleased to see you are aroused.  If it happens, hide it, or go in the pool or something and that way people will know you didn’t mean it and won’t make a judgement about your reason for being there.

Erections are taboo, but that’s because they are so rare in social nude situations that the only people displaying them openly are those who are there because they find the whole thing sexually arousing, and they aren’t welcome at most nude venues.

Exhibitionism

The naturist goes nude because they enjoy being nude, the feeling and comfort of it.  They go nude whether alone or with company.

The exhibitionist goes nude because they enjoy being seen naked by others (often to the point of sexual arousal).  They only go nude with an audience.

How can you tell if someone is a nudist or an exhibitionist?  You can’t just by looking at them.  Unless you know their motivation or they are displaying that motivation in their behaviour, you can’t know.

Is exhibitionism bad?  Sometimes.  Some exhibitionists behave in a way which is tantamount to sexual assault – for example, men exposing themselves to women or children in public places for sexual gratification.  That is not legal, and it is not behaviour which anyone who is a naturist should endorse.

But others are harmless and get their gratification without upsetting anyone and I see no problem with that.

The difficulty comes because some naturist behaviour can be interpreted as sexual exhibitionism and that can lead to innocent naturists being prosecuted and labelled as sexual offenders.

For example, if a man who is routinely nude at home walks past his open window and is seen by a mother with children, she may assume he is exhibiting himself to her and her kids for gratification.  He is not, of course, but she doesn’t know that, so she goes to that explanation.

Or take the case of Steve Gough, the Naked Rambler.  He’d be nude whether people were around or not, but as soon as there are people around, he is assumed to be exhibiting himself for gratification, and arrested.

I think the key to it all is understanding motivation and that will only come when the public are more aware of what naturism is and why naturists go nude, so they don’t automatically assume a naked person wants others to see them.

Originally published on the Get Naked Get Awesome Tumblr on 25 Jan 2013