A series of posts that I've seen here on this site, and some other notes I've have from people, have really got me thinking again about this "extreme polarization" within the "nudist community," and how awful it is that something so wildly simple as taking off your clothes has to be chopped-up into regulated categories and closely-guarded social cliques. It's bad enough that I think I don't really want to be a part of these nudist-specific social networks any longer, and I'm going to say a few things here that I know will upset certain people, but I'm going to say them anyway–not to hurt anyone's feelings or stir-up trouble, and certainly not because I have any particular "agenda" beyond wanting to enjoy my life as I see fit, in peace.
Let me start-out by providing some background on who I am, philosophically-speaking, and how I have always thought of nudist activities…
Firstly, I'll state that I am a totally non-religious person. And I don't even know precisely why I include that fact here, except to hopefully illustrate that I try very hard to base all my viewpoints and actions upon reason. In my view, reason is the simplest and most straight-forward pathway toward mutual acceptance and compassion for one-another. I try to apply logic to all my actions, and I "believe" in nothing at all. I have only 5 senses available to me, and if something cannot be explained to me, quite simply, in the context of those 5 senses, then I assume it's something I can't "know" about and thus I form no opinions about it. So I'm not an atheist, exactly, and neither am I a "new age" spiritualist. I don't know what "spiritual" even means. I practice Yoga regularly, for example, because it's great exercise and makes me feel wonderful, but I'm still waiting for someone to provide me with a scientifically valid explanation of what a Chakra is.
But I do digress, and the second point I wanted to lead to is that I am a HUMANIST. I am a human-being, and I firmly and profoundly feel that the evidence around us dictates that our focus should be on the here and now, and on helping one-another live-out lives that are as wonderful, beautiful, and as pleasurable as HUMANLY possible. To me, the only thing I have any business "believing" is that the universe is fairly random, that there is no "purpose" to it, and that the only thing we really "have" is our own selves, and one-another, for a tragically brief period of time on this amazing Earth. And those factors dictate to me how vitally important it is to treat myself, one-another, and the planet with TOTAL respect and care. Those are the priorities in my life, and I don't need a lot of rules and regulations, or specially-defined structures, to tell me how to do it. It's instinctual. I know exactly who I am, and I know how I like to be treated. I try every day to extend that very same kindness to everyone that I possibly can.
So that is my belief system in a nutshell. But I hate labels and categories where they are not needed, and I think that if most people got to know me they would say that my philosophy of life defies easy explanation.
My experiences with going nude in social situations came at a fairly early age, for me, but I also didn't grow-up with it. So for me it was a totally new experience at around the same time that I was becoming aware of my sexuality for the first time, and also transitioning to becoming sexually active. And with those factors coalescing, under the circumstances, also, of enjoying the overall bohemian culture of the California beach-bum lifestyle, I will confess that the opportunities to run around totally naked, at the beach, with my good friends, had a powerful influence on my relaxed attitudes toward sex and sexual behavior.
I've already described, at length, in other blog entries, here, why I think that nudity cannot and should not be "normalized" in the sense that many people seem to mean by that phrasing. I.e., that we should all "learn" to accept nakedness as the "natural" state of being, and by so doing, somehow extract from our experience the beauty of the human form as a subject of sensuality. I cannot for the life of me come-up with any "rational" excuse to do so. But that is because I view it from the standpoint of biological and evolutionary evidence. And I think the evidence shows that human beings, as creatures of nature, are oriented by our very biological nature to the visual and tactile sensations of one-another's bodies in cueing the instincts tied to our libido. This is simply the way we actually did evolve. To think of the human form as beautiful and sexually-appealing IS completely natural. Attempting to erase the sexual appeal completely from the equation is NOT natural at all. It's antithetical to human nature and deeply, dangerously repressive, in my opinion.
But in the nudist/naturist community, somehow the simple ability to behave like adults gets hopelessly lost. I think that people are naturally on the defensive about not wanting to portray the simple act of being nude at a beach, for example, as nothing more than some manner of public orgy. I get that, and it IS important to "fit-in" with the wider context of society, for obvious reasons. But at the same time, it is awful, at least to my mind, the way things get set-off into opposing camps, both of which are surrounded by some of the ugliest legalism I've ever encountered.
On the one hand we have the "lifestyle nudists:" the hardcore swingers and the obsessively-addicted sex-seekers that have completely disconnected their natural sensual enjoyment from their ability to treat people as human beings. To them, the body really is nothing more than a sexual object, and people are nothing more than actors in a continual succession of their ever-fading ability to truly enjoy their sexuality. To my mind, these people are basically dead inside. They've given themselves over to an addiction, nothing more. I feel bad for them. I think they have truly lost the ability to experience joy; they are some of the hollowest people I've ever met.
On the other hand we have the "true nudists:" the rule-quoting legalists who are ever-watchful for anyone that dares to step out of line on the question of nudism and sexuality. If ever anyone expresses even the mildest hint of sexuality while they are nude, the "true nudists" are there to descend with holier-than-thou admonitions of how "that's not how we do it." They seem to cherish the idea that it is they, and they alone, who know the "true" path, and the "right" way to experience oneself. I wonder how often they stop to realize how foolishly obsessive they've become over something as simple as not wearing clothing. In my personal experience, I have witnessed first-hand that it is the most vociferously adamant advocates of "NON SEXUAL" nudity that turn-out to be the most depraved sex-seekers and invasive perverts around. At least the swingers have the guts to admit what they really want…
What I truly believe is that these two opposing groups are constantly at work to ruin the experience for the vast majority of us. I, for one, am an adult that knows how to behave and to coordinate my personal needs and predilections with the prevailing social context. I understand perfectly and completely well that different people have different boundaries, comfort levels, desires, etc. I embrace and respect the different circumstances that people are in, and celebrate their various reasons for wanting to be naked with other people. I completely get that there is a very important distinction to be made between one's PERSONAL experience of sexuality, and openly lewd behavior, invasive sexual come-ons and innuendo, outright staring, expressions of lust, etc. I DO get it, and I totally respect the boundary. Never, ever have I advocated that "nudism" as a general activity should be inclusive of sexual expressions that are invasive of other's boundaries or willingness to participate. In that regard, I am in agreement with the "true nudists" inasmuch that I SO completely agree with the notion of maintaining respect above all else. Personal space and the freedom to enjoy that space as one sees fit is always paramount, and NO ONE should ever feel empowered to violate that or make someone feel uncomfortable.
With that said, however, let me boil-down my over-arching approach to it all in exactly two words: LIGHTEN UP!
Why is this something we have to be so uptight about, seemingly ALL the time? Why, when people talk about the enjoyment of social nudity, do they obsessively need to prefix it with "non sexual?" I don't get it at all. I've heard many people also use the term "wholesome" nudity, as if somehow sex is not "wholesome" and therefore something to be altogether disdained.
Only once in my life have I actually ever been involved in a verbal "debate" with someone over this issue, but the person in question had one of the most militantly constrained viewpoints on the topic that I'd ever encountered. On the one hand, this person thought that it was really and truly evil to EVER wear clothing of any sort. In this person's mind, from what I could gather, they felt that you could not count yourself as a "true nudist" if you did not make every conceivable effort to be totally nude at every single possible opportunity. But on the other hand, this same person also believed that it was absolutely and totally unacceptable for anyone to ever allow thoughts of sexual attraction enter their minds while experiencing social nudity.
My main point of debate, against this stand, amounted to this: if people are ALWAYS supposed to be nude together, yet NEVER find themselves sexually attracted to one-another, then how or why would anyone ever have sex? Should we as a species, thus, simply die out for lack of all interest in sex?
It seemed insane to me then, and still does, yet I see it all around me. I simply cannot grasp how a person comes to be so miserably uptight. And it really and truly does make me feel bad for people that are so painfully constrained in their thinking. I want to reach out to them and let them know that it's all going to be okay. That it's okay to be a human-being and release oneself from the legalistic bondage of artificial morality.
This is the core of my own philosophy and approach to "nudism:" that there is absolutely nothing wrong with social nudity retaining an element of sensual delight, and a perfectly fine and acceptable circumstance under which mutual sexual attraction can occur as naturally and joyfully as anywhere else. I believe that it is just as "unnatural" to artificially attempt to inhibit one's natural feelings of personal sexuality as it is to wear an idiotic "bathing costume" at the beach.
I, for one, don't have a sexual "off switch," as many people are quoted as saying. I am, and have always been, very open and up-front about the fact that at least part of the reason I enjoy being naked in certain circumstances is that it DOES tie-in, in very enjoyable ways, to my experience of sexuality. To me, trying to tease-out and suppress my sexuality from the rest of who I am would be like trying to extract the flour from a cake after it's been baked. Makes no sense, so I don't even try. It's impossible. I am who I am, and my libido is activated at times I least expect it or even want it. I'm human.
Like most humans, I like to feel sexy. And I don't just "love" sex, I absolutely adore it. Going nude–letting go of that inhibition–plays into MANY aspects of my personality. It is liberating and joyful, it's healthy and freeing, and "lightens" my emotional being. But it also feels very sexy, also, at least to me, and I'm not going to "hide" that fact.
I enjoy being seen nude, and have no problem at all being okay with the idea that someone might find the sight of my body to be beautiful and sexually appealing. I don't want to be the object of someone's fixated lust when that type of attention is not invited or appropriate, but I'm also not going to recoil in disdainful horror if someone is aroused by the sight of my nudity and wishes to respectfully inquire as to whether such an interest might be mutual. Sex is wonderful and fun when it is lighthearted and absent of heavy-handed rules.
With all that said, I am SO put-off and disgusted with some of the recent comments I've seen posted here, in response to some photos and other people's thoughts. I think it's a travesty that people cannot bring themselves to be inclusive or to admit themselves to be as human as everyone else, not above the very natural inclinations we ALL have. I don't need to be around this sort of poisonous mindset, and thus I think that this and probably most other such sites is just not something I want to be involved with any longer. Many of you that I've met here are so very nice, and thus it's hard to make a decision like that, but my life is much more than a persona on some website, and I suspect as much to be the same for all of us 🙂
I'll close this rambling tirade with a simple call to everyone (myself included) to be humans first and "nudists" second, and stop viewing our lifestyle as something proprietary and exclusive. We are not a "band of brothers" or any such thing. We are human beings that have (re)discovered how nice it feels to be naked. That's all. There's not much more that needs to be said about it 🙂