Fascinating cultural differences

Aren't you also fascinated by what is "obvious" in a textile situation and what is "obvious" in a naturist situation? Same counts for swinging environments, btw. I am writing this now, because after 3 experience of sexual assault thinking to myself "I should say "no" more directly, more clearly, I should say "no" more often" (putting the blame on myself) I recently experienced it for the 4rd time and now I decided to take a closer look at what is actually in my power and what is not. So after a lot of thinking and writing poetry, here is another realization I had and I would like to share with you and ask for your opinion.

In short: the textile culture suddenly seems to be as complicated to me as the English language appeared to be after getting to know the Finnish language. Read further if you want to know what this metaphor means.

-There is the swinging environment, which is heavily loaded with mutual sexual intentions. Fine. Whatever your cup of tea tastes like.
-There is the naturist environment, which is heavily loaded with personal enjoyment of nature. Fine. Whatever your cup of tea tastes like. Some people there might like small talk, but in the beginning one is a naturist for themselves, and not to please others.
-There is the textile environment (let's say a bar, for example), which is heavily loaded with... with what? Hidden agendas? Tacit rules of social interaction? When/how is someone hinting for sex and when/how can you stop second-guessing each and every movement and remark?

What is seen as "obvious" and "normal" is different in each cultural environment. And even though I do not have much experience in the swing culture and am relatively new to the naturist culture, I really feel that the textile culture is the most complicated one. Even though I am part of that culture for most of my daily life.

So now I wonder...
-since we're all part of more than one culture and we all have more than one identity
-since we are all more or less bi(or tri-)cultural people (regarding (semi-)textile social environments)
...are we more aware of these different sets of social rules than people who only and solely belong to the textile culture?

Personally, I can also compare this to my knowledge of English and how I looked at the language differently after learning Finnish and Hungarian. English is only "easy" for me because it is the first foreign language I learned and I was exposed to it very often (television, books, etc.). After learning Finnish and Hungarian, languages that do not have gender, articles or mesmerizing time-indicators in their verbs, but instead have a very straightforward way of pronouncing and building words and meanings, I realized how difficult English actually was. When I saw a new word, I had no idea how to pronounce or write it and it was frustrating.

Now I feel the same about the textile community, where I (have to?) over-think and over-analyze someone's intentions, because he_she is trying to hide their sexual_romantic interest, because it would be impolite or awkward. But since I do not recognize the signs, the person ends up thinking I am okay with their hidden agenda and then we end up in an awkward situation in which I do not know anymore how to be polite and direct and say that I do not like this (sudden?) sexualized atmosphere.
Should I have seen it coming?
Should I have been more culturally aware?
Suddenly I see that the culture I have belonged to for most of my life is more complicated than the ones I have recently discovered. Even in the swinging culture (in my highly limited experience) people ask directly if you agree and people actually know what "no" means (both verbally and physically). The communication is so much more open and direct in both naturism and swinging and no I am very confused about the textile communication culture.

I am looking forward to your hear your experiences and opinions on these cultural differences and normalcies.

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54 thoughts on “Fascinating cultural differences”

  1. The textile culture, which unfortunately is the majority, is a repressed culture. Body freedom and especially sex are very repressed and sometimes demonized. Of course that which is repressed causes frustration and finds expression in explosive ways. When people can't normally talk to each other about such things, sometimes they go straight to action hoping their action would be accepted, or at least they will get some satisfaction.
    There are some men who fit CherBear's description, there are women who are the the counterpart, spreading their legs for every potential erection they see and using their wiles to also feel powerful. These are the consequence of an unhealthy society where acknowledging our human nature is so repressed.
    I guess this all goes to say that in the "textile culture", the "norms" or obvious signals only exist within subcultures or groups where certain behaviors are expected.

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    • Thank you so much for your response! You have an interesting view on this.
      "Of course that which is repressed causes frustration and finds expression in explosive ways". Or I would say "sneaky ways"… when you are repressed you try to get what you want in a more subtile way, you have to communicate more indirectly, because.. ? you're afraid to be judged?? (no idea at the moment…)

      People tend to say "sex is power", and there is also a famous (now old) lady in the Netherlands who was very proud and open about seeing her femininity as a powerful tool to get what she wanted. This was new information for the person who was interviewing her (who is intersex and dressed rather androgynous and identified as lesbian).

      Where I do not agree with you, is this
      "These are the consequence of an unhealthy society where acknowledging our human nature is so repressed."
      If I understand this remark "correctly", I would respond that some people do not see sex as "human nature" or "biology speaking", but really do not feel the need, urge or necessity to have physical intercourse / sexualized intimacy. To say that sex is "just biology speaking and a basic human need" is to say that we no not have a free will and are constantly repressing our biological needs when we meet someone of the opposite sex. From my own experience and from the asexual community, I know that this is not always true. (I do consider myself a sexual being, but it depends on the place (the intention you have when going to that place and being aware of the local norms) and the person (do I feel at ease, do I feel respected?)).

      "I guess this all goes to say that in the "textile culture", the "norms" or obvious signals only exist within subcultures or groups where certain behaviors are expected."
      This is very well expressed! In naturist communities and swinger events, body language is just enough! (I want silence/I want to be alone to enjoy nature / I do(not) feel comfortable with you).. There is so much respect, there, because the signals are clear for everyone. It is for everybody's pleasure and in everybody's interest there that people listen to and respect body language.

      Before entering a community (a subculture with their own rules), you should learn about these rules, so that you know what to expect, but in case of the "normalized" textile culture, feel that all we learn about it, is that we have to avoid going out at night alone, do not drink alcohol, do not go running alone, and in general "just" avoid "potentially dangerous situations in which the strongest party will win". Where is the communication in that? Why can't we just meet drunken/in the night/alone and still respect that someone does not want to be sexualized until s/he is screaming "yes, please fuck me, I neeeeeed yoouu".

      Until then, there are too many subtile ways to send neutral signals (greeting someone politely?) that are interpreted as screaming "yes, please fuck me, I neeeeed yoouu".. and this part of human communication is still a mystery to me..

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      • "These are the consequence of an unhealthy society where acknowledging our human nature is so repressed." You didn't understand this quite as I meant it. Because some people are asexual does not change the fact that we are animals who procreate through sexual acts. For most people their sexual desires are driven by biology in the form of hormones and as such is a part of our human nature. Health and psychology factor into the individual desires and actions of course. Before we can assert our free will to consciously choose and control physical internal signals, we must first acknowledge and accept them. So many are taught from a young age that even having such thoughts is a bad thing. Sex isn't a biological need individually, but it is to carry on the species, and so is built in to our biology.
        Many folks only get naked to bath and have sex, so that many in the repressed textile culture immediately think of sex when they see nude humans. There have been studies that show in cultures where nudity and sex are more openly discussed and exhibited, there is less sexual assault and unwanted pregnancies. And of course everything is on a spectrum as to how repressed or open any individual is. Some have more laid on them from their religious and family cultures as well. Not all people feel strong enough to assert their free will when they are so repressed. I don't know if that clarifies my statement, or confuses more?

        I would say the reason that some people interpret neutral signals as sexual invitation, is because they are so pent up with frustration that it is all they can think about. Communication is a back and forth that builds on what is said. Respond appropriately, and if another inappropriate remark is sent back, your choices are to try to correct through further dialogue or end the conversation. Like I said previously, there are no norms in textile culture at large, only with subcultures, regions, etc. And even within those there are individuals. Trust your feelings and speak accordingly.

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  2. This goes very deep. but what can i say some people are good at giving signs some are not. im not good at understanding other peoples signs. but you have to set a certain limit to what you like and dislike. but it seems to me that on how the way you write this, you are super intelligent, only humans are very complex creatures so will we ever understand them completly?
    and do we need to?

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    • I agree with you: I find human being extremely complex. And this particular human being was a marketeer, so he knew how to influence people as a professional. He "listened" to me, but I still did not feel like he heard me or understood /wanted to understand the signs I was giving him.
      Humans are complex, and therefore highly interesting and worth thinking about their way of behaving. If all humans are complex beings, how can we communicate "easily" or "well" or "direct" to each other? :O
      I feel that the naturist community is so much "easier" in a way than the textile community, if it possible at all to generalize that…

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  3. This is a very interesting analogy of language and how we do not realise that the way we interact with others who have a different language to ourselves can be misunderstood in ether the textile or Naturist environment.
    Sadly some men think that it is ok to come on to a single female and make inappropriate comments especially if they are naked we should respect both men and women.

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  4. I found your blog so interesting and deeply thought. It's so wrong that males should aggressively pursue sexual satisfaction in any environment. The surroundings & situations are (in my opinion) of no consequence, if the clear response is 'NO' then there should be no question of further invasive words or actions. It is so bad that males put this savage & brutal approach towards anyone, there's not even a defence in the phrase "I thought she wanted it"! There has always to be mutual agreement in any potentially sexual situation.
    The difficulties happen, I agree, when males either misread, misunderstand or ignore any rebuttal and go ahead regardless. There has to be safety in numbers & therefore it should be more preventative in places where many people are. Avoidance of misunderstood words or actions should be better in social group places.
    I do hope you seek law help in your situation Eveliina, take professional legal advice & if need be do it totally anonymously. Just please seek help, before these brutal & unwarranted attacks invade your mind aswell as your private body.

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    • "There has always to be mutual agreement in any potentially sexual situation."
      That is part of the problem, here: when is something to be seen as "potentially sexual situation"?
      As a naturist who wishes that more people had heard of the term "asexuality", and as a person who wishes to live in a less sexualized world where everyone might have (not always) a hidden agenda.. I have a hard time figuring out when something is (suddenly??) becoming a "potentially sexual situation."
      As a couchsurf-host (and -guest) living and sleeping in a small room, I have good experiences with de-sexualizing a "bedroom". I hate those stereotypes where particular locations, ways of dressing or talking is (suddenly??) loaded with sexual "tension" that the other person feels, but I don't.

      Indeed, when I have trouble reading the signs, I should at least be in company of people who can… (then again, I hate the idea of avoiding situations because people say it is "obviously dangerous", just like how people tend to say that "of course men will try to rape you, that's how they are". I refuse to believe this stereotype, because it de-humanized men as much as it objectifies women.

      "seek help, before these brutal & unwarranted attacks invade your mind aswell as your private body."
      Well said, but I am me, and therefore I refuse to see this 4rd unwanted experience as a reason to hate sex or intimacy, instead this 4rd experience made me overthink the role of language and culture. So it has taken over my mind more than my body.
      ….maybe I should learn to respect my body more, but I prefer people to listen to me and respect my words in the very first place.

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  5. Sorry that you experienced sexual assault. That is not typical behavior of males in my culture. It should have nothing to do with "textile" culture. Telling someone not to bother you should be enough in any culture. I am not familiar with either the bar or swinger environments. If you were physically attacked, I hope you were able to get the attacker arrested and they were punished.

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    • I agree with you and hope you're right, "Telling someone not to bother you should be enough in any culture." but the difference per culture is HOW you communicate this. In the swinging culture (as far as I know) a simple gesture is enough to make the message clear. In naturism it hardly ever happens..

      And I would not say it was an "attack", rather an annoying repetition of trying to kiss me and touch me.

      And I am not going to the police. I want to use him as a learning tool: I ask him to teach me how to communicate more directly (seriously, I know that I have to learn to be more assertive and direct and sometimes "fuck politeness") in order to be stronger next time. After this has happened for the 4rd time, I thought it was time for a moment of reflection.

      When I approach him with the message: how do I have to communicate with you to make it clear that you are going too far? You are the expert in not hearing me, so if the "deaf" person teaches me sign language, I am learning a new language in order to communicate with "his type of people".

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      • Some people don't consider the other and so can't hear or understand any communication, almost to a criminal intent. He might understand a legal "restraining order" if it continues and causes concern for your safety.

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      • After 4 interactions all leading to the same conclusion it would seem to me that you have already established a relationship in which he assaults you and you chastise and rebuke him till the next time it happens again. Clearly he is getting what he wants for a very low price of being told off. You said you are not going to the police which is fine, but you have to be prepared to see this escalate. In his mind he is courting you successfully. You have to take a more robust approach to preventing any further advances. Please know that kissing and fondling will lead to more serious advances that you may not desire. End the game now.

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        • Thank you so much for your helpful response!
          "He is getting what he wants for a very low price of being told off." Yes, and the annoying part is: we had a very interesting conversation about "not having a script" (as in: if you do this as a man/woman, if implies that you want this/that and that this/that will lead to that/this, etc. like a strategy or some "steps to follow" in gendered interaction.) And he constantly agreed with me, but apparently he just used my openness ("I never know when someone is flirting or not") as my weakness. I swear, if we would have had sex, he would still assure me that "it's nothing".

          "In his mind he is courting you successfully." That's for sure, because he was constantly agreeing with me. About the gender roles, the scripts, the first time I met him, at the end of our long conversation I told him about naturism and he said he did not know about it (the philosophy, the social rules, the view on nudity as normal instead of sexual…) and he listened to me and said "I would like to try that. With you." And it was about 20 PM and he focused on me again instead of trying naturism first on your own.. Seriously: how many people have you met who have NEVER heard of naturism, want to try it with someone else? So I really felt that he was "listening selectively" and only heard what he wanted to hear and just had a picture in his head of me naked.

          Come on.. the whole fact that the promised that "nothing would happen what you don't want" already implies a double agenda, right? Because he makes me "think of pink elephant" if you know what I mean. (as in: in a situation in which I do not see any reason/lust/desire for sex, he suddenly brings up the subject, promising not to do what I was not thinking about he would do).

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        • If it is about greeting someone I met once, twice or even three times, I would still prefer a handshake (or a hug) but never kisses, but people find it so very normal (people from Colombia, France, Luxembourg, Netherlands…) and they have it in their routine (so it does mean anything, even though some have their strategies to make these kisses on the cheek more intimate, unfortunately), but if someone would give me the option: hug or kiss or hand, I would not choose the kiss, because (without any reason, as far as I remember) I sexualized kisses, even on the cheek.
          So from a young age onward (about 6? or even younger) I refused to let me kiss by my parents and sisters. Sometimes when they are very happy, I feel they have this routine of kissing on the cheek (to show celebration) and I feel they are holding back from their routine and I appreciate that a lot.

          But when meeting new people, I have a hard time telling them that I do not like kisses (or unethically unequally maybe selectively).
          Maybe only when the situation has the potential to be sexualized (in a hotel room, apparently) I should say: "no kissing, please, because even the most "normal" things can become sexual, which I want to avoid now."

          I have made many people feel uncomfortable already when they wanted to kiss me on the cheek, because it is part of the greeting/saying goodbye routine, so I find it difficult to see when to make a stance and to whom.

          Which reminds me: how terrible is it to be inconsistent?

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  6. My advice is that you should make a police report. Blaming yourself is something you must never do. Victims of sexual assault tend to do that but you must resist it. The victims are NEVER to blame. I have absolutely no knowledge or experience of the bar culture as you have mentioned or the swinging culture so I can't really contribute much. But I really think you should talk to the police about this.

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  7. Re: (are we more aware of these different sets of social rules than people who only and solely belong to the textile culture?)
    Yes!
    As far as the "male" of the species goes, just think of them, Men, as aggressive, "mobile erections on feet," that only want to invade, penetrate any orifice they can potentially get into 😉
    Men are easy 😉 Mainly they subscribe to fornicating, fighting, or eating, in my life's experience :p
    So, if you have a Man bothering you, & you don't want to fight or fornicate, then feed him & be on your merry way (heart)

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    • Haha, I wish the world was a simple as that, but I refuse to believe that men are simple beings. They also have a personality and a past…
      But thanks for the advice anyway: I always have food with me, but yeah… no everyone thinks that peanuts or apples are the best eh… distraction strategy?

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      • No, but I feel like I've met every PENIS just like him 😉 Also, because of the stupid "penises with feet" that "had" forced their way into my life, I no longer deal with any unenlightened, aggressive, abusive males of any species (heart)

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