October 23, 2015 in Uncategorized
After feeling inspired by my children’s artistic efforts in an art class we recently enrolled them in, I decided to join the adult life drawing class. I wouldn’t consider myself an artist in so much as I’ve never invested any significant time in pursuing art or drawing, even though I can probably get by so far as sketching goes.
The class is small, only about 10 people, and the tutor is very encouraging, jump in the deep end and see what happens. As such I started with charcoal just so I could grasp the concept of light and tones. Looking around at the pastels and oils I can see why this concept and understanding is so essential. To some degree everything we see is about light and contrasts.
What struck me significantly was how stark a contrast there is between society’s normal taboo and obsession with nakedness, and this situation where nudity was completely irrelevant. As if it was an everyday occurrence that we see all the time, and being naked in a room of clothed people was an everyday occurrence. No doubt in artistic circles and art classes it is.
When you study the human form to draw it, you fully appreciate how insignificant the breasts and crotch are by comparison to the rest of the body. Before you is a seamless form from head to toe, and what is most striking are the angles. The way the shoulders angle in relation to the hips and head. How the spine curves to unite the two. How the limbs interact with that form.
I’ve always been mystified by social attitudes toward nakedness, but this confuses me even further. How can people be so absolutely hung up about the naked form in everyday circumstances, and yet, be so nonchalant about it when it comes to art or drawing.
I’ve posted a photo ( http://www.naktiv.net/photo/31142/angelina_151023-cropped/userid_506/ )of my efforts. I’m looking forward to developing the skills to produce some reasonable work. As it is within a single class I picked up a huge set of techniques to correctly frame things, get the creativity flowing etc. Once my hand can produce what my brain sees, I think I’ll be getting somewhere.
October 12, 2015 in Uncategorized
Although it may not seem obvious at first glance, the close association between clothing, fashion and regulation is interesting in relation to personal freedom, individuality and stereotypical roles within the modern social context.
It doesn’t take an extensive examination of society to observe that the more tightly regulated a community or society is, the more formal and restrictive the dress code is. In many instances the more heavily regulated a society is, the greater the pressure to morally conform. There are various examples within society that illustrate this phenomenon. One example would be that of the military which is highly regulated to the point that strict rules exist to dictate how military staff should dress at all times. At one level this is a rigid enforcement of discipline, aimed at producing a single cohesive unit that operates as directed without question, or individual expression.
It’s not difficult to identify other examples where clothing is a metaphor for authority, regulation and strict codes of conduct. An example of this can be seen in the business world, and the way in which gender roles are regulated through dress. In the vast majority of enterprise, executives are expected to dress in formal attire. A suit and tie, usually in uniform black or similarly dark colours. Clothes invariably reflect professional roles. Moreover, clothes often reflect the degree of regulation within an organisation. One example of this is the usually less formal attire permitted in smaller organisations, or those involved in professions that require more creative thought and free thinking.
Another interesting aspect of clothes, authority and regulation is revealed when one examines gender differences subtlety reinforced by fashion. By and large women have the opportunity to express their individuality and social liberty far more than men who are restricted to a very narrow band of socially acceptable attire. In many instances, long pants and a button up shirt are the minimum social standard men are permitted depending on their role. Usually the lower a male is on the socio-economic scale, the more casual they’re socially able to dress with a number of exceptions.
By comparison, women have a wide array of fashion available to them that not only permits expression of their individuality, but also allows quite daring exposure of their bodies. Exposed midriffs, bared arms, exposed thighs and significant cleavage. It’s often the case if a woman wishes to be taken seriously, a toning down of attire is required to align more with that of males in authority. Numerous exceptions would again exist, but in broad terms, this generally tends to be the case.
Often within organisations where men are required to dress to a particular standard, the same doesn’t apply to women. Upon closer examination, it will often be seen that women hold trivial roles within these organisations, or reduced levels of responsibility.
In terms of social values and the regulation of society, it’s not difficult to see that in societies where there are high levels of regulation, permitted dress is also tightly controlled. A clear illustration is the strict dress codes in many Muslim countries. Likewise in highly regulated states such as communist controlled countries, and conservative US states. One can observe the close relationship between socially accepted dress codes and levels of regulation.
At a subtle psychological level, this relationship between modes of attire and authority play a powerful role. It’s entirely possible for a male to wear flamboyant attire, perhaps even a skirt or dress if not long flowing shirts. Rarely if ever are such characters taken seriously. Almost anyone flamboyantly expressing their individuality is dismissed, and often by extension this is applied to women also based on their general attire.
At a subtle level men tend to conduct themselves with an air of authority, especially if they are dressed in business like attire, or minimally in trousers and button up shirt. By comparison it’s rare that women generally exude a similar air of authority unless they too are dressed in a business like manner.
Where all of this is ultimately leading is an examination of clothes and nakedness in this broad landscape of fashion, authority and regulation. Where clothes are a metaphor for authority, this more than any other factor dictates how comfortable individuals are likely to feel exercising any individual freedoms they might have.
As an example, it’s legal in the majority of westernised countries for males to be bare chested. Despite this freedom, how many would exercise this right around town? Would you go shopping in town without a top on? Would you walk shirtless around the town centre during your work lunch break? What level of intimidation would you feel exercising this right in a bustling town environment?
Many individuals will feel differently about the matter. It’s not uncommon to see shirtless men on hot summer days around shopping precincts. I would suggest in the majority of cases these men would be quite causally dressed at best, and quite likely lower on the socio-economic scale. Indeed, many might well view them as quite uncouth.
A subtle underlying point to all of this is how much regulation plays a role in the acceptability of nakedness. Prior to colonisation, many indigenous cultures had very relaxed attitudes to dress and nudity. Even if they didn’t conduct themselves naked per se, there is clear evidence that dress and strict regulation had a correlation. Compare this to the missionaries and colonists who not only had strict legal restraints, but also suffocating social restrictions that dictated how they must dress even in the hottest of climates. This level of regulation overrode any notions of good sense, comfort or even health and well being.
As things stand, this is what we have inherited. Dress codes that reinforce gender inequality, but more seriously, an almost direct correlation between degrees of regulation and acceptable dress code. Within this context, nakedness effectively represents anarchy with little to no regulation, let alone any kind of moral codes or values. Obviously nude advocates don’t see things this way, but this is the perspective many in society will have. More often than not when they examine those suggesting body freedom, rather than observing people they traditionally associate with authority, what they witness is a fringe element. People dwelling on the outer edges of normal.
This aspect of naked advocacy has dire consequences. One might consider the WNBR as an illustration. What people observe with this expression of nakedness, is people from all walks of life taking part based on personal conviction. What’s more these people are open and forthright not trying to hide their identities. They’re happy and vibrant celebrating a light hearted event with a serious message.
If one examines the phenomenon of naked charity calendars, again there is an openness and honesty not trying to conceal identity.
The point has been made numerous times, if ordinary people attempt to conceal their activities or identities, they will never been taken seriously, let alone accepted. Initially within the LBGT community it was arguably the further left, more flamboyant members who publicly risked their careers, reputation etc to defend their basic rights in the face of religious driven prejudices. Now it is common for leading figures, including executives such as Tom Cook of Apple to come out and declare their sexuality.
Given the close association of clothes and authority, regulation and individuality, if body freedom is to stand any chance of further progression, it can’t remain a guilty secret concealed by those bullied and shamed into concealment. A good dose of reality is also required. It’s quite likely that gender equality is the first stepping stone making campaigns like Free the Nipple essential to any progress. Given societies norms with regard to dress, expecting Urban Nudity is probably a bridge too far initially. Deregulating bans on nudity in wilderness areas, beaches etc is probably far more achievable. Nudity has to be accepted in at least one social context before it has any hope of being accepted in wider contexts. What seems to be somewhat more evident that a catalyst to this scenario is a reduction of strict regulations, and expansion of personal freedoms and rights. Without this important step occurring, it’s likely the close association between strict regulation of dress code is likely to prevail indefinitely.
October 11, 2015 in Uncategorized
I’ve recently been reading some academic papers and research on social attitudes toward nudity over the last century. Some of the interesting background material highlights the contradictory nature of the Greek vs Judaic values Western society has inherited. Specifically the admiration Greek culture has of the naked form, versus the morally unacceptable view Judaic culture traditionally has. IE: Greek celebrate the naked form whereas Judaism considers it shameful. As a predominately Christian influenced culture, Western society has inherited these contradicting perspectives.
A good illustration of this conflict is how we accept or reject nudity, which is intrinsically entwined with clothing whether we like it or not. At a seaside resort it would be entirely acceptable for a woman to wear a somewhat skimpy bikini into a shop. Were she to attempt the same thing on the high street of a city, she would no doubt draw the attention of many onlookers.
As a more extreme example, imagine the same woman wearing only her undergarments to the shops. Even if those undergarments concealed more than the bikini, it would not only be frowned upon, but no doubt draw the attention of the authorities.
This is the real crux of the dilemma that body freedom advocates face. Despite the Naktiv manifesto declaring the naked human body is acceptable in all contexts, we are realistically a long way off this ideal. As it is many participants on the Naktiv site have very different perspectives on what is visually acceptable in terms of naked imagery and what isn’t.
I would pose the question, what is the difference between someone laying naked in a beautiful outdoor scene, versus them laying naked on their sofa. The body itself hasn’t changed, but people’s perception of the nakedness is different. In one context it seems acceptable and appropriate. In the other people are questioning the motive and purpose. Why is this person naked, and why indeed are they posting a picture of themselves naked with no other obviously apparent redeeming features within the image?
There have been many polls and discussions on Naktiv siteabout various hypothetical situations, would you answer the door to a stranger naked. When and where is nakedness appropriate, and should people take measures to avoid offending others.
All such polls and discussions boil down to this philosophical contradiction we’ve inherited. It’s so prevalent, that even in situations where you might well have a legal right to be bare chested, or even naked, you may not exercise that right due to social context and the pressure to conform.
This is no doubt the reason why, in places like NYC, or parts of NZ where it’s legal to be topless or naked, people don’t exercise that right because they’re socially intimidated by what people deem normal and acceptable.
This is an interesting topic that I’ve only just started delving into but in some ways it forces us all as freedom advocates to reexamine our own attitudes and assumptions. The universal declaration of human rights states that all human persons have inherent dignity and worth. The Naktiv manifesto (http://www.naktiv.net/manifesto) declares “that the naked human body is acceptable in all contexts.” If these aspirations are to be realised at all, overcoming inherited contextual prejudices is an important stepping stone.
October 1, 2015 in Uncategorized
I have to say I’m in great admiration of Urban Nudists including Steve Gough for challenging people’s comfort zone where applicable. “Hey man, it's just a dick” nicely sums up the whole crux of the situation.
People have this misconception that the sight of a naked body is going to scar them for life, or cause their children to be sexual deviants. That of course is a ridiculous notion.
Although it sounds like nitpicking, the second someone says, “we should cover up so as not to offend people,” or “we should be mindful of other people’s sensitivities," what you’re really saying is that the naked body is offensive, and should be covered up at all times, except for special circumstances.
Although the Universal Bill of Rights (http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx) take some sifting through, one of the things that they uphold is “the dignity and worth of the human person”. Taken in context, what these documents state is that all people have inherent dignity and worth irrespective of their nationality, sex, religion or cultural beliefs. Therefore, it isn’t possible for a naked person to be offensive, as the human person has inherent dignity and worth.
Although it might be difficult for some people to comprehend, let alone fully understand, if the human person has inherent dignity and worth, acceptable nakedness is non-contextual. In plain English that means it's not the place or situation that makes being naked okay, it is this inherent dignity that makes the nakedness okay. This has been tested in NZ court cases.
Without realising it, many naturists and nudists are caught in a trap of thinking nudity is only acceptable if it's in the right context. This is bourne out by numerous posts, past and present, that attempt to insist that the Naktiv site is a naturist site. Alternatively that particular images should met some naturist standard.
Inherent dignity and worth dictates that whether you're dressed in a business suit, grass skirt, crotchless leather pants or are stark naked, you are of equal worth and dignity, with the same human rights as anyone else. These documents trump any other law, culture or religion that's ever existed, where the bill of rights is written into law.
You as an individual are free to limit your rights according to your individual cultural or religious beliefs. What you're not permitted to do is infringe the rights of others based on your beliefs.
The underlying point everyone should understand, is that acceptable nakedness is unconditional. A dick is a dick is a dick, just as breasts are breasts, buttocks are buttocks, and vulvas are vulvas. Any body part in plain sight isn’t in and of itself offensive. Whether it’s the only part you see due to attire, whether it’s on an urban street, or at the beach. None of that is relevant under the universal bill of rights. If you examine cases where indecent or offensive exposure is alleged, and the bill of rights exists in law, you’ll find that there needs to have been intent to offend involved, and proof of lewd behaviour. Under the bill of rights, mere nakedness is not grounds for offence.
However uneasy some people may feel about the ramifications of these rights, they are the only way forward. They nullify meaningless cultural conditions that change with the times. The vast majority of current fashion would have had you arrested under indecency laws less than a century ago.
The envelop does need to be pushed because equality can’t exist when you need to meet some momentary pseudo standard in order to have your worth and rights recognised.
May 21, 2015 in Uncategorized
I am happily and unapologetically not a nudist. I've never in my life considered myself a nudist, and though I have tried at times to comprehend and understand the nudist mentality, I simply can't. As such I'm not one of those "like-minded" people.
The truth of the matter is I simply can't accept that there is anything shameful about nakedness or even sex for that matter. To me they are enjoyable, healthy wholesome activities. I have always been bemused that humans, who are after all, merely highly evolved apes, have acquired such a confused disdain for something that is so natural and normal. If I had to sum up my thoughts about attitudes towards both these items, I'd have to say that most humans suffer from a kind of mental illness that prevents them from appreciating what these things actually are. Enjoyable.
I've always been a bit distressed by people's obsession with nakedness, and sex for that matter. The need to view it, display it, and their inclination to pine for it. This to me has always been a symptom of the illness I mentioned. Inherent body shame is of course another notable symptom.
The reason for writing about any of this at all, relates to the fact I've been curing myself of this illness for the last four years. It's been an interesting journey. The most recent aspect of it, is having somewhat cured myself, it's now been possible to cure my wife of this illness. Something I never thought possible given the degree to which she had the illness.
If I had to pinpoint one symptom above all else, it would be mental attitude. As soon as you idolise sex or nudity, you immediately have a problem. Idolising either causes you to abhor something, or consider it sacred. Sex and nudity are neither of those things. No other animal on the planet idolises these things other than humans. Look at the messed up values we've acquired because of it. Women dressed head to toe with every part of their bodies covered because they are deemed sexual objects. At the opposite extreme, men paying women to strip naked. Advertisers exploiting people's unhealthy obsession with body image, nakedness and sex to sell all manner of things.
When it's necessary to say "non-sexual nudity" that underpins the extent to which this illness prevails. To the same extent I can't buy into personal body shame, neither can I buy into the asexuality that many in the nudist movement strive to promote. Are naked bodies sexual? Not in and of themselves. Is it possible for a naked body to be sexually arousing and aroused? Yes, of course. This is perfectly natural and normal!
The saddest aspect of all this, is the fact we all pass this sickness onto our children as it was inherited by us from the majority of our parents, culture and society. I don't know how long this illness will prevail. One thing is for certain, it's future generations that have the cure. A generation that see themselves for what they are. Healthy wholesome human beings who have no shame of themselves or others. Nor shame of what they are capable of feeling and enjoying.
To those who have a spouse that is reluctant to participate or understand, I would say if you're able to cure yourself of your own mental illness; and can acquire the skill of open communication, then you have a chance.
Don't say to others you're a nudist. Tell them you're a human 🙂
April 17, 2015 in Uncategorized
I have commented previously how much it slays me to see people grapple with their religious beliefs.
I suspect the reason it troubles me so deeply is because it's far too easy to be misled by your own thought processes. It's too easy to be so convinced of something, that your mind is imprisoned in a self imposed dungeon where no light comes in. What's more, the dungeon door is wide open, but you choose not to walk through it. There is a world of light and knowing beyond the door, but so convinced are you of your need to be punished, you endure a punishment you don't deserve.
I've spent most of my life examining the nature of existence. I've studied the bible cover to cover, been a born again Christian. I've read the Koran a number of times cover to cover. I had no issue with the premise of Islam in relation to Christianity. I've studied Buddhism, metaphysics, the occult and most importantly neuroscience.
The fundamental problem with religion, is when you examine it with critical thought, it doesn't withstand that scrutiny. The truth should not require faith to maintain its integrity. It should withstand examination from any angle and maintain its integrity. This is not the case with most religion.
People uphold the bible, Koran or other religious text as the source of their truth. There are a number of problems here. Fundamental problems.
No one text is truly authentic or authoritative. Each one is an interpretation and translation of previous texts. This in and of itself is not a huge issue. What you're relying on in the Christian context in particular, is that the correct texts were chosen.
What should concern you far more deeply is that religion came out of an uneducated era when very little about how the world, indeed the universe actually worked.
On that basis a lot of religion has common threads that were like best guesses at the time.
If you compare modern religions with indigenous stories of creation, they have a commonality. That is, a mythical creature created the known universe.
Christians scoff at indigenous stories of creation. "A giant lizard you say? Preposterous! Utter poppycock."
In the next breath the missionary pipes up and describes how there is this "father" in the sky who created all mankind in his image.
At the very best what you're relying on is your own gut instinct that all those before you were right. You're depending on the "source" human being right. Be it Mohammad, Jesus, Buddha or whoever.
Buddha studied the religions of his time and found them to be lacking. To this end, from a secular perspective, a fair amount of Buddhist thought stands up to scientific scrutiny. Meditation in particular has recorded evidence of improvements to the neocortex. The modern reasoning portions of the brain.
What many probably don't realise is that science is actually philosophy. Science doesn't establish fact. It proposes certain things with a degree of probability.
The degree of probability is established via rigorous peer review, confirmation of findings by using independent data sets to verify the conclusions. Most importantly, science provides verifiable predictions. IE: If A is true, then when B and C occur, D should happen.
The important distinction here is science is philosophy that doesn't rely on faith as its foundation. IE: Because I and others believe it's true, it must therefore be true.
History is littered with false assumptions, misinterpretations and just plain misunderstanding. This should provide a clear caution not to put our faith in apparent evidence of our senses. A lot of proven theory is counter intuitive. That is, it defies our understanding of the world. Space time is one of the best examples. We know and have proven that time is slowed down by massive objects. GPS satellites need to account for the time on earth versus time in space, otherwise you'd never reach your destination. Time runs faster in space where it's not slowed as much by the earths mass.
Rather than trying to prove the basis of your faith, you should be trying to disprove it. If something has basis in reality, it will maintain it's basis no matter what lengths you go to in order to disprove it.
White is upheld as the purest form of light. The irony is, white is an illusion our brains create because white light contains every frequency of light. What our brain does with this input is simplifies it and registers intensity instead. We see no colour at all!
When this discovery was made, religious leaders at the time tried to suppress it. It brought into question the purity of all they held sacred. There are many examples like this, and as our understanding of existence improves, so there will be many more examples.
Science doesn't disprove the existence of God, so much as it questions the misconceptions of who and what God might be. All religion's caution against worshipping false Gods. What if you're worshipping the wrong God because you're following a misguided religion?
For centuries everybody believed that heavier objects fell faster than lighter ones. They didn't understand the basic principals of classic physics. It only took a very simple experiment of dropping two objects of different mass from a tower to discern fact from faith.
Stop torturing yourself unnecessarily and walk out into the light. There's air to breath, facts to find and your life will be all the more fulfilled for it. Unfetter your mind!
April 13, 2015 in Uncategorized
I feel compelled to write this blog because MarcNude’s three stages of nudity (http://www.naktiv.net/blog/789/the-3-states-of-nudity-on-becoming-a-nudist/) provides a great insight for some, but definitely not for those like myself who perhaps don't even think of themselves as a nudist. This is so much the case, I don’t feel as though I can be categorised, nor do I actually want to be. There is a very fundamental reason for this, that has an essential principal in my view.
From the very outset, from as young as I can remember, I simply liked to be naked. There are photos of me from one year onwards, naked in the yard, splashing in the pool. This doesn’t even begin to account for the amount of time I actually spent naked exploring the nearby bushland right throughout my childhood.
I had no concept of nudism. Even as a teenager, hanging out with a close school friend whose family had open views on nudity, the concept of nudism never crossed my mind. We frequently went skinny dipping, played games in the house naked on wet days, and again, hiked naked as often as we could.
For all sorts of reasons there was a long period from my late teens to late twenties that nakedness didn’t feature in my life at all. That changed when I began living on my own next to the beach. I did walk and sunbath naked as much as possible. I instinctively walked around the house bare if it wasn’t too cold to do so. The idea that I might be a nudist still never entered my mind. The only reason I was ever naked, was because it suited me to be so. When it didn’t, I wasn’t.
It wasn’t until I came to Australia and after marriage, kids and a far too stressful work life decided to pursue a healthier lifestyle. This part of the story I’ve told before. Having taken up hiking more actively, being alone in the bush reminded me of all the time I spent naked in the bush as a kid. It was this that prompted me to actually consciously be naked as an adult. This is perhaps the very first time in my life that I thought to myself, “perhaps I am a nudist.”
I was hesitant to visit the local nudist area due to it’s tarnished reputation, but had few qualms about hiking naked on tracks I knew well, and visiting a clothing optional resort I knew of. Eventually I tried out the local nudist area, and that truly is a mixed bag. It does in many regards deserve it’s negative reputation, but that said, you can simply mind your own business and enjoy the river there. It isn’t an ideal environment though.
Having spent some four years now consciously being naked when I can, I can categorically say I’m not a nudist, nor do I want to be. For me, simply being naked by choice does not a nudist make. I strongly believe in people’s right to be naked without persecution or prosecution, but not because I believe in nudism, but because this should be a basic human right. The only qualification for being naked in my view is simply being a native species of the planet earth.
To this end I don’t want to be a nudist. Nor do I want to be delegated to cordoned off areas to be naked. I should be able to enjoy the wildness as I please. Nakedness in my view shouldn’t be some special thing you make an effort at. This is the fundamental issue I have with nudism. By definition "it’s a thing.” It’s also being a something, and I am when all said and done just me.
It’s because of this I sometimes get frustrated by those that come up with “10 reasons you should be naked.” There is in fact only one reason you should ever be naked, and that’s because it’s the way every other species on the planet exists. It’s only our insane hang up with ourselves, our basic make up and nature that all this artificial pretence has come about.
I don’t want my kids to be nudists. I want them to know and understand if they feel like being naked, being naked is okay. I don’t want them to be non-sexual. There is in fact absolutely nothing wrong with sex. It’s fun, enjoyable and obviously pleasurable. Why be ashamed or abashed about that? The only reason people are, is again because of this often religiously based insanity that prevails throughout the world. I have no problem with people believing what they do. I have a massive problem with the cultural genocide religion is responsible for. The messed up confused values people don’t even understand.
I feel that for myself, and other’s like me, there is only one stage. You’re born, you’re naked, and there’s little more to it than that. Hopefully one day, other people will come to realise this. John Lennon certainly hit the nail on the head with his iconic anthem.
Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one
Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
You, you may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will live as one
March 4, 2015 in Uncategorized
Over the last few years I've observed the various arguments for and against clothes, and indeed clothing optional venues.
Nudists often argue that there is something very unsavoury going on when people don't choose to be naked, but visit somewhere that people are naked. They can't understand why, other than the desire to perv at naked people.
I haven't really had the opportunity to visit a "true" nudist venue. I'd have to choose my words extremely carefully to explain why, but in a nutshell it doesn't seem anywhere near as simple as driving to the closest CO venue, paying your money and enjoying the day naked. When I did investigate the local nudist club, it seemed to be very closed rank and secretive. You can't just turn up when it suits you to enjoy the outdoors. You have to be the right person, arrange a special visit etc. I just want to be naked, not take part in a secret society!
Within an environment where it's okay to be naked, it does strike me as kind of odd that people do wear clothes. I actually feel sorry for those wearing clothes because obviously their personal comfort and confidence levels aren't sufficient to feel ok naked.
I feel as though I have some pretty good insights as to why people don't feel comfortable being naked, and actually prefer clothes. The reasons are broad and varied, but most lead back to self consciousness.
The one thing I can't really make sense of are those who feel uncomfortable around clothed people when they themselves are naked.
In my mind clothes really make no difference when others see you naked. I get the sense that some naked people feel at a disadvantage when others are clothed. This seems like nonsense. If nakedness is acceptable within a given context, outdoors, at a beach etc. Why does nakedness suddenly become unacceptable when there are clothed observers? Why are people suddenly uncomfortable in this situation?
I think as a few have already commented on Nook, people should have as much right to wear clothes for EXACTLY the same reasons people should have the right not to wear clothes if they choose. I say that based on the following reasoning.
Society says nudity is unacceptable because if offends some people. They feel uncomfortable seeing others naked. It offends their personal sense of morality.
Nudists say clothed people within a nudist environment are unacceptable because they feel uncomfortable being naked when others aren't. They're suspicious of clothed people's motives for wanting to be clothed within a nude environment.
The thing is, if nakedness is okay, non-sexual and natural as nudists go to great lengths to tell us all, then why is it not ok within a clothed context?
Is it suddenly not natural and now entirely sexual? I think not.
I'd be interested in other people's views on this and whether anyone can provide a rational reason why people shouldn't have the right to wear clothes if they choose. Forget "normal". That's not a rational reason to do anything. Why shouldn't I or anyone else be allowed to wear clothes among nudists?
February 11, 2015 in Uncategorized
This is a lighthearted stir rather than a serious swipe at any given group or individual. I hope people take it in the tongue in cheek manner in which it's intended.
I often see polls, blogs and discussions about personal grooming habits (shaved or unshaven) and it kind of amazes me how much mileage this topic gets.
Given that there are so many individual hair styles and grooming habits in plain view everyday, I wonder what insights people expect to gain from these various inquiries into personal preference. Is there some earth shattering fact we’ve all been overlooking that’s bound to turn up any minute now?
I’m beginning to wonder if I should be more inquisitive myself. Perhaps every time I run into someone with a beard, I should quiz them why they don’t shave. In order to get an unbiased data-set, I obviously need to ask an equal number of clean shaven people why they don’t grow their beards.
It probably takes a braver soul than I to inquire of women why they do or don’t shave their legs, pits etc. It seems as though bare arm pits are a complete non-issue, but there was a time when women didn’t shave their underarms. It could well be shaving technology is so damned good these days, it’s a crime not to shave everywhere you can!
The most frustrating aspect of this research is the shifting goal posts. Within any given year people who do shave don’t, and those that didn’t do. How are we meant to get a definitive consensus on this when people keep changing their preferences all the time!
This could be the reason we need to keep asking the question and creating new polls asking the same thing. If everyone would just pick a single preference and stick to it, we might have some hope of settling the matter once and for all.
Meanwhile, I guess we must resign ourselves to being in the dark. Until people start being a little more uniform about their hair styles, let alone any other body grooming, we really don’t stand a chance of understanding why some people shave and others don’t. As to those that are neither one nor the other, they absolutely don’t help the situation.
All this individualism really is an inconvenience. Roll on the day everybody is the same, and once and for all, we can settle the matter, “to shave or not to shave?”
January 11, 2015 in Uncategorized
I recently spent 3 days at River Island just after Christmas for some hiking. The place wasn’t as busy as I imagined it might be for that time of year, but as it turns out, it seems everyone was planning to be there for the annual New Year’s party.
I set out Saturday 27th and arrived in the early afternoon. Even though I was on my own, I decided to take our 3 room tent so in the event of rain, I wasn’t cooped up in our little two person tent.
The river was higher than I’d ever seen it before. Just before Christmas there’d been some heavy storms that took out the phone lines and the like. That meant a twenty minute drive back to the nearest place I could get a cellphone signal after setting up. I’d promised my wife I’d phone that evening. After the describing the camping arrangements to her, she sounded quite enthusiastic to check out the place with the kids one weekend.
I had enough time in the afternoon to walk up to the cascades. Normally you can make your way up the river almost mid stream. As it was, navigation was limited to the sides of the stream. The white water cascades were quite a spectacle with the water running so high.
My primary objective for the trip was to hike up into the surrounding hills. That required a river crossing which just wasn’t possible on the second day. The water level was still too high, and the river running too fast to do so without swimming.
Instead I hiked up past the cascades as far as I could go. About four hours roughly. Quite a good workout scrambling up over rocks etc.
After a rest stop in the pools upon returning, I decided to check out the river crossings. The river was running about as fast as I’d dare cross it. A German/Philippine couple I chatted to the next day must have thought I was insane as I waded out into the river.
Getting to the middle wasn’t so bad as there’s a rocky shallow there. Crossing the next section proved a little more difficult. The current was quite strong and just above the top of my thighs. I had to stop a couple of times to secure my footing, but I made it none the less.
The great thing about hiking naked is you can do river crossings and dry out very fast. On the way back I crossed the second crossing higher up which was shallower and slower. I decided in the morning that would be perfect for my big hike.
The third and last day I set off around nine am after breakfast. I hiked until about two pm in the afternoon. Probably about 30km return. For these kinds of hikes I take my 2L Hi-Serria hydration backpack. It carries the water, survival kit and trail mix.
There were quite sizeable wild goats up in the hills. I gave them a wide berth. From a clearer vantage point I was glad of the decision. They were very large billy goats with huge horns.
In the late afternoon I slept for an hour in my hammock. Absolutely wiped out. Amazingly upon waking, I headed for a swim in the river, and ended up hiking another 6km up to a natural spa in the river. The great thing about rapids is finding a little hole in a rock and soaking in it while the water rushes over you.
After some food at camp I realised if I packed up and headed home, I’d be able to sleep in a nice comfortable bed that night, rather than the not so comfortable air mattress. It was an easy 2.5h drive home that night and the family were very happy to see me again.
All in all it was a great trip and I look forward to doing another. Hopefully with the family next time.
November 17, 2014 in Uncategorized
Behind the scenes of the Naktiv site there has always been a team of moderators ensuring that the http://www.naktiv.net/mission-statement and http://www.naktiv.net/rules/ of the site are adhered to. This is accomplished by flagging and/or removing inappropriate material and directing users back to the mission statement and rules. It's always been done in the most respectful manner possible. Surprisingly so in some cases compared to some sites I've been a moderator or admin for.
Perhaps to the surprise of some, this is not a nudist or naturist site per sec. Neither is it a sex or pornography site.
I've been privileged enough to have been a moderator on the site from not long after its inception. Perhaps when there were only about 100 members.
It's never been an easy task because the mission statement sets out to accomplish something that by many standards, and prevailing views and values is damn near impossible. At least that's what I used to think at times.
Given the difficulties and controversies that have occurred behind the scenes within the moderator team, in its various forms over the time the site has existed, there's been times when I've felt the objectives of the site were too ambitious. I don't believe that to be the case anymore.
I have always recognised that one thing the Naktiv site has always successfully done is challenged rigid thinking and caused me in particular to really examine not only what I think about nakedness, but also how I feel about it.
There have been times when I've felt extremely discouraged by site content. It's sometimes easy to wonder why on earth anyone would want to take a cramped shot of themselves in the bathroom that prominently exhibits their penis. There are also other images that just leave you shaking your head, wondering why on earth someone would want to post them.
On the other hand there have been more than a few people here who have prompted me to question my values and examine my assumptions about things. As a result I've gained insights, understood other's points of view and changed my thinking and view of the world as a result.
What I've come to realise as an outcome of everything above are the following observations.
The membership has increased significantly and the site is drawing a broad range of people, including a younger crowd.
It's clear that this generation view nudity with far less sexual prejudice than older generations.
My outlook on the world has changed significantly over the last three years. I looked at the world the way I thought it should be. When you do this you see things that just aren't there. When you project your assumptions, prejudices, fears and values onto the world, you end up distorting your view of it.
If for example you're adamant that nudity is non-sexual you are going to be highly sensitised to anything that suggests that it isn't . If you look at a picture in a particular way you're only going to see what offends you or challenges your perceptions of what you deem appropriate or inappropriate.
If you look at a picture impartiality you will see it in its broader context and even understand why it was posted.
If in your mind you assume the worse you'll see the worse. You won't even be able to comprehend why others don't see what you do. You'll literally be blinded to it.
With the greatest respect to all I can't help feeling there is an abnormal sensitivity to genitals when there really shouldn't be. It's either okay to have them in view or not. If it's okay in one context it should be in most others otherwise we're effectively acknowledging that in reality the exposure of genitals is actually unacceptable and should be banned.
This discussion has come up time and again on the site. I even created a poll about it which still occasionally gets votes and comments ( http://www.naktiv.net/poll/232/would-a-quot-no-genitals-quot-picture-policy-diminish-your-experience-of-th/ )
We've had moderators leave the site because they felt the rules didn't suit them in this one regard.
Its important to acknowledge Kim & Thurston's point (in the moderators group) that if you go through past deletions there are clear discrepancies. It's a reflection of the differences of view various moderators have had and one of the reasons the poll system was brought about. Because there was so much controversy and difference of opinion about photos, moderators now vote whether or not certain photos breech the mission statement or rules.
I think the people that do put their time and energy into moderating the site shouldn't be discouraged by these discussions nor feel peeved off that others don't seem to share their views.
It's the fact that we do disagree, or do have differences of opinion that indicates the balance must be pretty good. To all agree or all disagree would be a bad thing.
By having these discussions and calm expressions of view I'm sure it helps us as a collective get to a middle ground that is suitably balanced between too liberal on the one hand where pictures really are too sexualised. And too conservative on the other hand where various people feel excluded.
I personally would deem a female pulling aside her outer lips to expose her vulva inappropriate. Likewise a guy with a close up of his penis only. It's extremely clear what the intent is there.
It seems guys have an insistence on shots that clearly exhibit their manhood to varying degrees. This seems to be inevitable. On that basis a certain allowance should be made for females who seem to spark more controversy than the guys.
I think where obvious yoga or exercise is concerned, the focus isn't intentionally on the genitals. If you've watched any kind of gymnastics or the like, the human anatomy makes camel toes and male bulges damn near impossible to avoid. Remove the leotard and you don't need much imagination to ascertain what will be seen to what extent.
I have no doubt I might well be contradicting past views and comments I've made. The primary reason for that is carefully thinking about nakedness for a long time and refining my perspective as a result.
On balance there's nothing inherently sexual about any body part. Not until we place it in that context. This is the very phobia the general public have about nudity in the first place.
Nudists insist there's nothing lewd or sexual about the naked body. The wider public exclaim, "but we can see your genitals!"
Nudists of course respond, there's nothing inherently sexual about them.
If that's truly the case we shouldn't have such a problem seeing them. You can't say "well it's okay if they're not in your face." Obviously you don't want an out of proportion zoomed up shot of genitals in your face. At the same time you don't want to be dictating what angle or perspective is okay or not if you're fundamentally ok with seeing people's genitals in the first place.
What doesn't particularly appeal to me personally is genital piercing and jewellery. I've been to nude venues and seen some pretty eye watering stuff. It's not the kind of thing I'd like my kids to see.
None the less, there are more than enough people who think nothing of it. Who am I to judge? All I'm really doing is passing my value system onto somebody else.
So I either think it's okay for people to be naked or not.
I'm going to see stuff I don't like. Fat people, buck ugly people and dudes with a steel rod through their knob.
I have to accept that others have different standards to me, and they should have the freedom to have different standards.
Nudists feel put out because society doesn't permit them the freedom to be naked. We can't on principle apply the same double standards. That would make us no better than Facebook or society at large.
I understand the need to keep a certain standard. In so doing, let's question that standard so we always have it as a sharp edge in our minds.
Again moderation is a thankless task people might not feel appreciated for. Everyone who has moderated has made a difference. Your efforts are worthwhile.
My apologies for the length of the post 🙂
June 2, 2014 in Uncategorized
It never ceases to amaze me just how unbalanced society is.
The last few weeks I've been walking around the lake in town after work. It's a pleasant one hour stroll and very popular with cyclists, joggers and walkers.
Two things that really strike me as odd is this.
The lycra tights many women seem to wear these days are so incredibly skin tight it borders on pointless wearing anything at all for all that the tights theoretically conceal. In many cases it's very little, with many vulvas clearly outlined should you care to make the observation.
The second oddity is that as a male, I can stroll as damn near to naked as I please. At any time I can remove my top and be clad in nothing more than shorts sufficient to conceal my crotch and buttocks. It occurred to me this evening just how ludicrous it is that women don't have the same privilege.
One last strange observation.
Given the somewhat cooler temps, about 11C today, and no heating at work, I've been wearing a thermal vest and long john's.
Quickly changing out of that is kind of a drag so tonight I simply stripped the outer layers and jogged in the thermals. Translated, that's effectively jogging in my underwear.
The funny aspect of it, compared to the compression wear everyone sports these days, you really can't tell the difference. At least not in the low light.
In my own mind to some extent I basically figure "I'm not naked," so what's anyone got to gripe about.
May 8, 2014 in Uncategorized
The closing remarks I made in a comment in this blog http://www.naktiv.net/mobile/blog/488/my-theory-on-why-people-object-to-nude-images/ were perhaps a little strong. That said, as you come to understand how the mind functions and the role it plays in shaping and molding the physical attributes of the body. You come to a staggering realisation that for all the advances we have seemingly made as a species, there are aspects of our being where we are very much dragging our knuckles along the ground.
It's somewhat difficult to put into words why I made the statement I did, but to give you an idea, here's a hint at what I really did mean by mental illness.
Something like 1% of the human population control 98% of the world's wealth, and we on the whole accept this.
A great deal is understood about the human mind and how it functions. Rather than using this information to educate and improve other people's situation, it's used to control and manipulate others and take unfair advantage of them.
Darwin stumbled upon an understanding of the evolution of species and what you've probably been taught is that this theory is about survival of the fittest. The strongest genes win out. That's not actually the case. It is the most adaptive and cooperative genes that win out. Those that adapt to environmental change and work together harmoniously thrive and survive.
It's fascinating that a good deal of knowledge and wisdom taught thousands of years ago is only just now, in the last 20 or so years, being proven to be correct by modern brain science. IE: It has to date had no scientifically accepted proof.
You might wonder why is it that the world has come to be this way? The underlying answer is somewhat complex and comes down to three main drivers. Fear, ignorance and genetic evolution.
Our brains and bodies were built for survival. If you get killed today you don't pass on your genes tomorrow. For this reason you're built with a negative bias, to spot all the negatives and overlook the positives.
These genetic predispositions are starting to not serve us so well in the modern age. The world has changed at an amazing rate in the last century. So much so, we've embraced a course of self destruction. Stress related illness and obesity are at the very top of the list of things killing us off like flies. Second are the toxins we're knowingly putting into our food, household products and damn near everything else. Sugar is right up there up there on the toxin list by the way, alongside the modified gluten we guzzle down, that is akin to a tablespoon of sugar per serve.
Some might shrug their shoulders and exclaim "sheesh, what to do, what do?" and keep on keeping on because that's what everyone else does and is expected to do. That by definition is mental illness.
Dan Seigel, a renowned brain researcher, made the realisation that all defined mental illness was either rigidity of mind, a chaotic mind, or combination of both.
When you have rigidity of mind to keep living the way you live, even though you know at a very deep level it's very likely to dramatically shorten your life, that's mental illness. The fact everyone does it makes it no less a limiting aliment.
It's perhaps the case that it's not until you unplug from "the Matrix" that you start to see the world with a clearer perspective.
I stopped listening to any news about a year ago. I started really simplifying my life around the same time.
I started paying attention to my health and mental wellbeing. Right now I consume about 1 book a week on neuroscience, self improvement and various other topics.
I'm rewiring my brain.
So there are moments and comments from time to time when I might well sound crazy. Here's a truly crazy notion. When i turn 50 in two years time i intend to get younger year on year. Not because i don't want to age, or fear getting old or dying. Quite the opposite.
As a young man I studied everything imaginable and in many respects I was way ahead of my time in terms of thinking. I was however a psychological and emotional wreak of a person. I did believe in myself and my ability but I lacked conviction and confidence.
I now have those in sufficient doses to be different.
On the whole I'm certain I can evolve. I can free myself of my biological and evolutionary limitations by learning everything I can about them, fully understanding them and turning them to my advantage.
Some people identify a limitation within themselves and surrender to it. We should aspire to find a way to break through it.
I guess all this is a little like the 1984 Apple Mac ad. Think Different.
April 26, 2014 in Uncategorized
It strikes me as somewhat curious that when a particularly attractive female posts photos of themselves there seems to be a flow of gushing compliments about how beautiful they are, how stunning the photo is etc.
By comparison, similarly composed photos posted by males of themselves in similar settings barely raise a passing comment let alone any kind of compliment about how striking or handsome they are. What a striking figure they might be to encounter on a stroll.
What are your thoughts on this observation? I invite you to review numerous female photos compared to male photos as I have done on the site to confirm this anomaly.
April 21, 2014 in Uncategorized
I just finished reading Being Naked by Sally Dali which is a short pleasant autobiography available from Amazon books (http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00GP48YE4/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?qid=1398064227&sr=8-2&pi=SY200_QL40)
I enjoyed the simple easy style that the author had which felt a lot like somebody you might know telling you their life story. On that basis the book felt like it had a personal touch and Sally shares fairly intimate details without being the least bit sordid.
Perhaps what I liked most about the book is that it strikes you as something you yourself could write. By that I mean the book illustrates how straight forward it would be to tell your own story for others to share.
For least than the price of a coffee I feel this is a very worthwhile read. No massive revelations, but entertaining if nothing else.
March 25, 2014 in Uncategorized
Images of naked people. Yuk right? They have their dangly bits hanging out, piercings, tattoos. How about the old flabby ones. Who wants to see all that? Can't they just stay at home and keep it all covered up!
Picture standards have been an ongoing polarizing issue on the Naktiv site right from the very get go. What is sexual and what is not? If men or women post spread leg shots does this imply sexual induendo?
My attitude to images has changed a lot. I used to feel uneasy about many images because they didn't reflect what I personally felt naturism was about. Herein lies the crux of the problem. We all apply our personal standards to everyone else. When people agree with each others standards they get along. When they don't agree, tensions may arise.
This summer I spent a lot of time at the legal nude bathing area not far from home. I'd always previously been put off by the reputation it has and the activities that are said to go on there. It was an interesting experience.
The first thing of note was the diversity of people using the area. It is considered by most in town a gay hangout. Certainly there is no question regarding the amount of cruising that obviously goes on there. On the whole I never witnessed anything untoward, but in terms of a "controlled" nudist venue, I'm inclined to think tolerance levels differ greatly.
What probably struck me the most was the tolerance of behavior. On some days there were mixed couples there who were somewhat amorous, but no more so than anything I'd seen on a public clothed beach. Did being naked make a difference? No. I realized it didn't.
On other days there were the occasional gay couple being as amorous as the hetero couple. Did that make a difference because it was two naked men rather than a mixed couple?
I bet in isolation it would have made a massive difference and one can start to understand where the rumors and reputation starts to come about. Within relative context two naked guys hugging and being close to each other is no different to a mixed couple on a clothed beach. It's my view of the world that makes the difference whether or not I deem that acceptable.
So how does this all relate to pictures? I think Graeme made a good point about Clive's picture that drew some mixed comments. If it were the same image with trousers you wouldn't bat an eyelid and that's a common pose.
The thing with naked pictures is you see everything. You can't pick and choose what is appropriate and what isn't, because it's like saying we don't mind elbows so long as they aren't the focus of the pictures. Breasts are okay so long as you can't see the nipples. Bare cleavage is ok so long as is male. Pictures are okay so long as they're decent. What is decent?
Obviously on FB, graphic violence is decent, but nudity is indecent.
Whether people are clothed or not they can strike a provocative pose. What may look perfectly fine with clothes on may appear quite inappropriate naked. Realistically it's what you're looking at and how you're looking at it that makes the difference.
If you accept that nudity is ok, you also have to accept that you'll see things that don't appeal to you. I wouldn't take my kids to the bathing area mentioned because I don't feel inclined to explain why a guy has a metal ring hanging from the end of his penis. Likewise, I don't feel inclined to explain the goings on there.
Within a family environment you start to understand some of the standards that are set. At the end of the day, problems arise if you don't keep a broad mind. You don't have to like what you see, but the moment you start applying your likes and dislikes to others, you're on a slippery slope to outright censorship.
March 22, 2014 in Uncategorized
Have you discovered how artificial clothes are? How we, the collective, use them to conceal our true nature, use them as a facade to make ourselves feel powerful, relaxed, sexual and all manner of other things?
Clothes are used to express who we want to be. They're used to conceal what we're too afraid to expose to others. There are some who have discovered the freedom of going without clothes, but don't realise their freedom is extremely limited. Much of the fear, anxiety and conflict they carry around with them is retained even when unclothed. The underlying shame ingrained into them by society remains.
How am I able to make such a claim?
I can remember the first nude hike I did as an adult about three years ago. I was nervous, jumpy and apprehensive. Around ninety percent of my attention was focused on not being seen. I was walking on a public trail in a nature reserve that isn't used that frequently, but not entirely abandoned either. It was somewhat exhilarating to experience the environment unencumbered by clothes. It wasn't a relaxing, soulful experience however.
Over time, my confidence increased to a point where apprehension was about 30-40% depending on the circumstances, and enjoyment was about 70%.
The other day I walked on the same trail, and had next to no qualms about being seen. I stripped almost immediately, and didn't feel any compulsion to dress coming back despite being somewhat visible from the road and surrounding area. What changed to bring about this transformation?
The truth is, if you don't understand your own self worth and truly accept that your conduct is impeccable, you remain shackled to your ingrained sense of shame and worthlessness.
If you're apprehensive of being seen by others, you still have an underlying belief that what you're doing is unacceptable. So long as that's the case, you're not entirely free to enjoy the experience. Let me explain what I mean by that.
On my most recent walk, I knew I was in a state of mind transcendent of my physical state. The sun was warm and delightful. The breeze was gentle and blissful. The caress of the grasses against my bare skin was quite sensual. It was an experience that engaged and enticed my senses and I was completely immersed in every aspect of the environment. It made me realise, when you're focused in any way on anything other than enjoying the moment, you're not really experiencing naturism. You are instead a naked person hoping they won't be seen because there's a part of you that still relies on the external validation of others.
On another forum I participate in, I made the comment that if you were a blue handkerchief, and yet others insisted you were red, or some other colour, you'd totally disregard their comments. It would be ludicrous to even consider their view for a moment. If you knew who and what you are, it would make no difference to you what others thought you were. It's only when you depend on others to define and validate who you are that their opinion matters.
If you transpose this idea to naturism, it might help you see who and what you are. If you happen to be on a trail naked, completely enjoying the experience, and not the least bit concerned about your conduct, it's neither here nor there if you're seen. What another person thinks of you really doesn't matter, because you understand who and what you are, and know the value of your being. Really your primary focus is being human. The moment you lose that focus, and worry about what others are thinking and feeling about you, you stop being your true authentic self. You instead become what you think this other person expects of you. The moment that happens, you're some weird naked person wandering around in the wilderness for no good reason. Think about it, why else would you be there?
This mindset extends into many facets of your life. If you're uncomfortable being naked around your home or yard because the neighbours might see you, you're still clinging to limiting beliefs. If you're human, and your natural state is nude, why should you be upset that your neighbours don't see things they way they should be?
If you're at a public beach, it might create a bit of a scene if you bath naked, there is however no reason why anyone should get flustered if you change on the beach. If they feel offended by nudity, they should avert their gaze.
There is a perception that we should be considerate of other people. It might upset them to encounter someone naked. Why should you be considerate of them, when they're obviously not considerate of you?
If you're on a public trail minding your own business, doing nobody else any harm, why should you cover up when others pass. It's your choice and what you feel comfortable with. If you truly believe however, that there is nothing inherently wrong with nudity, then you shouldn't feel compelled to cover. By covering you are implying that something isn't right. It's much like a bare chested man. You don't see them reach for a shirt whenever someone comes within eyeshot.
Your behavior reflects your conviction. If that conviction is naked activities are acceptable, your behavior should reflect that. If however, you agree with wider society that nudity is offensive, you should perhaps re-evaluate your value system. Acknowledging your own self worth is an important step to true freedom.
March 18, 2014 in Uncategorized
Whether anyone has noticed or not, over the last couple of months my contributions to the nudist scene in terms of posts and comments have diminished significantly. There are two primary reasons for this.
In the first instance I started engaging in nudism because I was seeking a solace I had lost somewhere in the hustle and bustle of day to day life. I'd really lost touch with nature and wanted that connection back. Further to this I sought a spiritual reconnection.
Over a period of three years I found what I was looking for. First and foremost a reconnection with nature. Nothing reconnects you like a nude stroll through the bush or along a beach.
Much more significant than this I reconnected spiritually and have for the most part transcended the suffering and toil of daily grind and petty troubles.
What I now commonly observe is the great dilemma nudists tend to find themselves in. On the one hand people have relaxed their attitude on clothes. In many other regards nothing else has changed in terms of frowning upon yourselves and frowning upon others using the same set of standards you've always held.
People are frequently a bit apprehensive about being nude in different circumstances. "I might upset the neighbours," "Somebody walking might be offended if they see me hiking nude."
The only shame you feel in those circumstances is your own. Until that changes you're going to feel hemmed in, restricted and confined.
I personally have no body shame per sec. I openly change on public beaches because there really is nothing to be ashamed of. It's by degrees that anything becomes normal. So long as you're not prepared to act normally, normality is not going to take place.
I've seen many people cite the gay community as a good example of a marginalised group who have fought valiantly for their rights. I think the first thing that transpired there was that enough people overcame their own shame of their sexuality to openly celebrate it and turn the tide of public opinion.
One of the foremost problems I observe in nudism is the division between what's normal and what's not. There are at times lengthy discussions as to what is acceptable and what's not. What people should be doing and what they shouldn't.
The embittered commentary over Facebook standards really doesn't accomplish a great deal. At best you're fighting for the open distribution of pornography because there is no agreed standard of normality. "Non-sexual" nudity is in and of itself a huge problem that leads to double standards. On the one hand humans are quite sexual beings. Were that not the case, pornography would have no hold or sway over people.
On the other hand it's not uncommon for non sexual nudists to admire the image of a woman and comment how sexy she looks.
In all honesty a woman who is sexually appealing to males will invoke that reaction no matter how she's dressed or not. It's ingrained in the collective culture. So long as you're immersed in that culture, there's no getting away from the mental suffering it brings.
This leads me to the change that has transpired in my own circumstances. The way I see it is you can either get on with what you believe in and simply enjoy it. Alternatively you can get embroiled in the turmoil of conflict between what people should and could be doing and why they can't.
When you clearly define your limitations you are thoroughly hemmed in by them. You not only resent your own situation because you can't embrace the freedom you yearn, you also resent others, thinking they are the cause of your problems.
In all honesty it's the limits within your own mind and what you think is possible or not that creates all your conflict.
If you have no shame about your body, about yourself or your conduct, you will walk openly as you please.
It's the limitations you place upon yourself that stops you. In your own mind you tell yourself, "if I do this, that will happen." You convince yourself so thoroughly it will happen, as surely as a tribesman will perish if he's been cursed to death by the village witch doctor pointing a bone at him, the same conviction will condemn you.
You can't change the world. You can however change yourself. If you undertake to do so and just live your own truth, the world will come round little by little. Perhaps most significantly, it doesn't really matter if it doesn't. So long as you live your life the way you want to and don't frown on others for the way they live, people won't frown upon you for the way you live. It's really as simple as that. The moment you start creating rules for yourself and others, others will create rules for you and everyone else.
Simply live as you wish to without worrying what everyone else is doing or thinking, and you'll soon discover a freedom that is unparalleled, and quite independent of your state of dress.
Steve Gough perhaps summed this all up with his simple statement, "Be yourself"
February 18, 2014 in Uncategorized
World peace and harmony is achievable within our lifetime because we have it within ourself to stop seeing the world with hatred and fear. YOU and I can change ourselves and that's all it takes. Every one human can be a human and live in peace, harmony and love in our heart.
How can I make the world a better place?
I can change the way that I think. A good place to start is global inequality.
The world economic system and capitalism is failing humanity. http://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/1-versus-99/?relatedposts_exclude=9238
Every time I walk past a homeless person without stopping to say hello, seeing if I could offer a meal or some other assistance within my means, I agree with inequality. I can disagree by helping as frequently as I can.
Change has to come now. Today. We can't go on like this.
Within my lifetime I've seen the world change from free love and goodwill in the 60's to every person for themselves in the 21st century. This is unacceptable. I don't agree and you shouldn't either.
It takes you and me to change this. We must change ourselves first by choosing to care, choosing to love instead of fear. Follow through with action and the whole world will change.
Start telling yourself "I rock and I can make a difference." It doesn't matter what other people think about you. Stop thinking about yourself and your personal troubles. You can feel fantastic about yourself by helping one other person today.
Let's make a difference together. You and me. Let's start a revolution of love and acceptance. We can make a big difference. We can change the world.
December 13, 2013 in Uncategorized
I read an article this morning that used an illustration that ended up being two innocent clicks away from hardcore pornography.
Ticked off I expressed my thoughts about it here: http://naturiststate.com/?p=77
I'll warn you now, the blog post doesn't shy away from describing explicit sexual acts.
December 3, 2013 in Uncategorized
Of late I've been doing some interesting reading about the spread of ideas and why and how things catch on.
Among a handful of reasons is social currency. That is, if people see visible signs that other people are doing something, they will do it as well.
This applies to both positive and negative things. During the famous "just say no" anti drug campaign, drug use among teenagers actually increased. Why? They received the message that everyone else was doing drugs. There is a similar example with anti piracy. When the movie industry published how many people were pirating movies, people started wondering why they were actually paying for theirs when everyone else was just downloading them.
That got me to thinking about nudism. It seems people are a bit sheepish about promoting the idea or even admitting they take part. Ideas catch on because they're driven by what people see others doing. If nudism remains a hidden secret, it will continue to maintain its stigma.
On the other hand, if people get the impression everyone does something, they feel more inclined to either join in so they're not the odd ones out, or at least be far more accepting of it. After all, everyone does it.
I wonder if a clever anti nudity campaign would actually turn people's thinking around.
"There is too much toplessness and public nudity on public beaches. People are skinny dipping as though it was a nude beach."
In a similar reverse psychology I wonder if you started putting up, "No public nudity" signs, or people wore, "Less public nudity" tee shirts it would actually put the concept forefront in people's minds, and therefore make it more popular.
What are people's thoughts on this? Can you think of any other ideas that would make people realize nudity is a wide spread popular pursuit.
November 9, 2013 in Uncategorized
Often I can appreciate both sides of an argument and completely understand where both sides stand and why.
Sometimes this is a blessing because I happen to be in a position where I can suggest an alternative approach both factions can heartily agree on.
At other times it's a curse because I can see where both sides are right but wrong at the same time. They're right to hold the views or values that they do, but they're wrong by being so absolutely blinded and blinkered by those very views or values that they can't see the world in any other way. "This is how it is!" Yes that is how it is, but it's also this way as well. That's without even getting into quantum physics!
So a question I am posing to a couple of different groups I network with is this:
"Do you believe a proliferation of photos on the Internet, ranging dramatically in quality and taste, helps or hinders the wider societies acceptance and understanding of nudity?"
Let me elaborate a little. Think about the people you work with, ride to school on the bus with, stand in line at the mall with.
Do you think they might become more accustomed and accepting of nudity if the majority of pictures they see advocating nudity are of guys taking shots of themselves naked with their phones. Glamor shots of women. Glamor shots of men. Selfies by women.
Do you think it's more likely they'll see nudity as a more normal thing when they predominately see advocacy sites showing pictures of people in the outdoors enjoying nudity. In groups participating in nudity. Do you think instead they might feel alienated by those types of images because what they portray seems too inaccessible. Do you think close up shots of people in their home or garden appeal to the wider audience?
Perhaps it's a mixture of all of these or perhaps even none. Are people not accustomed to nudity at all basically appalled by any kind of image with nudity in it?
Try not to think about what you personally feel is appropriate or positive. Think about how everyday people around you might perceive these things.
October 29, 2013 in Uncategorized
DISCLAIMER: This is a strongly opinionated piece. If you feel I might be criticising you personally, please don't feel that way. I am not thinking of, or speaking about anyone in particular. I am generalising and reflecting upon observations made over a long period of time across many sites I have visited.
"Look ma, no clothes!"
Have you ever experienced having to view someone else's holiday shots when all they consist of are close cropped shots of the people with little to no inclusion of the scene itself?
"This is me nude."
"This is me nude from a slightly different angle."
"This is me. Nude. Posing a little differently."
It gets very trite very quickly. As odd as it may sound I don't personally feel pictures of naked people promotes nudity that well. Pictures of people enjoying themselves participating in fun activities where it's clear that they're enjoying themselves. Pictures of people enjoying a beautiful scene. That imagery to me promotes nudity and is quite widespread on the Internet.
To be quite honest, I have little interest in looking at naked bodies in and of themselves. If you're at a nude beach or venue it's pleasant to observe others enjoying the sunshine, air and environment clothes free. One does not go there to sit and stare at naked bodies. At least I don't.
Rarely if ever do you observe others in any great detail. You either observe them at a distance or you're engaged in a face to face conversation.
I'm there to enjoy the outdoors, not to sit around comparing myself to others, or inspect their physical form at close quarters. That's not even normal in a clothed situation.
It's on this basis that I find myself indifferent if not repelled by pictures that consist of nothing more than a naked person. So you're naked in your garden. Great. Naked in the shed, on a beach etc. It's pleasing to see pictures of the beach and wish you were there. That's sharing in the experience. It's great seeing other people's garden. I particularly like hiking scenes as that's one of my favourite activities.
Someone sitting naked in a deck chair. Why? What's so great about that picture? Someone sitting with a group of friends clearly enjoying a joke together. That's a worthwhile picture. You can easily enjoy and share in the fun atmosphere.
It's been suggested that perhaps I'm not accustomed to viewing naked bodies. Give it time and you'll get used to it. Nothing further could be from the truth. There is so much to admire about the naked form. There is so much variety, beauty and so many other facets. That appreciation doesn't compel me towards wanting to view nakedness in and of itself however. It seems as abnormal to me as men on work sites leering at every attractive woman that walks past them. Women are far more than a mere object of desire. Obviously men also.
It is somewhat from this perspective of objectification that I'm not enamoured with viewing posed shots of naked bodies, that basically have no other redeeming feature, other than the fact that it's basically a "this is me naked" shot.
There have been numerous long discussions on the site, within the moderators group etc about what is appropriate imagery and what isn't. More often than not, the pictures that most frequently come into question are the "this is me naked" shots.
Some are seedy. Some offend one half of those commenting, others who are not taken back by one image object to another. It's a pretty big judgement call, and it's very difficult to be consistent.
In my personal view, posed pictures of naked people do not promote nudity well. I feel it's the very thing that compels people to say, "I don't really want to see that. Nor do I want my kids to."
This isn't overly surprising, because many pictures don't reflect the more common reality. Here are some examples.
Two weeks ago my family and I were on an unofficial nude beach. At the far end of the beach was a guy I suspected was nude, but couldn't exactly tell because he was so far down the beach. Not far in front of us was a naked figure. Definitely nude, but facing away from us, and from their build, there was absolutely no way of telling their gender. Down the far end of the beach, another couple. I was pretty sure they were nude also, but a little hard to tell due to the distance.
Overall, there were naked people on the beach, but not so as you'd notice, and my wife who isn't a nudist was quite comfortable there. We spent about 2-3 hours. We walked along the beach, chatted with the couple in front of us. It was a great experience. I know for certain, if there had have been people parading in front of my wife and kids, there's no way we would have stayed. I myself wouldn't have been at all troubled by it. Naked bodies in and of themselves don't bother me.
In a second example, a few years ago, we happened across a naked protest. There was varying degrees of nudity to be seen, and quite a long parade to observe. Nobody was really that bothered by it. If people so chose, they could avert their gaze. Even if you chose not to, at best one caught a fleeting glimpse of bodies. This in my view is the reality of nudity. There's very seldom anything to see.
I've visited a few venues on a number of occasions. You see people from afar. You see them in conversation. You're engaging face to face. Even in a hot tub, you're not sitting there staring at their bodies, checking them out.
This is where posed, close cropped shots diverge so dramatically from what you actually experience in my opinion.
As carefully as I have chosen words and concepts to express my point of view, I'm almost certain that there will be significant misunderstandings and disagreements.
"Well what about my close up shots of body jewelry?"
I enjoy those a great deal. That isn't "me naked," that's check out the cool bling. The picture has purpose and interest.
Perhaps the fine line that separates the interesting from the absolute mundane is intent. Within the moderator circles, that factor has come up a great deal as well. "Why did someone actually think this picture was worth posting." IE: It seriously lacks any redeeming factors or points of interest other than, "hey check it out, I'm naked!"
Like so many other things, I have given this viewpoint long careful consideration. I've thought long and hard about various experiences throughout my life, and one of the reasons the Naktiv principal sounds so loud and true with me, is because it is what I believe nudity is really all about. Get naked, enjoy the natural environment and be active.
I can't help feeling that if the principal focus of nudity was to get out there and enjoy life to it's fullest, rather than focusing almost exclusively on being naked, more people would see the merits of it.
As it is, on almost every site I've come across, except those that actively discourage "this is me naked shots," you get those shots with varying degrees of taste and appeal.
Obviously I'm interested in hearing other people's point of view on this, otherwise I wouldn't have put in the effort to articulate my own views 🙂
Please add your perspective as you see fit.
October 21, 2013 in Uncategorized
Earlier this year I joined The Australian Naturist Federation and took on the webmaster role.
The main reason I joined the ANF was so that I could interface with an official body and access their resources.
l took on the webmaster role as it quickly became evident that volunteers were needed for some key positions.
The Acting President, Greg, is a really great guy with some forward thinking ideas. What I've realised in the short time that I've been involved, is how important it is for people to get involved with organisations like this if you really want to effect some change.
the Naktiv site is a fantastic brainstorming and support network. Given that we are all in different countries however, one is still an individual trying to effect change on their own. Within an organised group structure, l personally feel it's much easier to be a part of something that can help facilitate change so long as people are prepared to get stuck in and offer some of their time.
During an interesting conversation l had with a long time nudist, the point was made by them, that not long after designated beaches and venues became common place during the late 60's and 70's, nudism started going underground.
Prior to this, it was quite common place for people who wanted to bath nude to go 100 m either side of the main throng to swim and sunbath bare. In their view as soon as that stopped happening, nudism took a turn for the worse.
From my personal point of view I think there's a lot of weight to this view. In NZ it is not illegal to be naked in public. On this basis you will see people changing openly on public breaches, if not bathing and tanning nude adjacent to the main throng.
In a recent blog post l noted how we went nude on a remote beach and in so doing, discovered a hiker who must have assumed it was a nude beach and decided to strip himself and tan.
On our next trip in 2 weeks time l plan test this a little further. l found there is no reason not to change on the beach. l think it should be permissible to swim nude as well. Even on the most public beach, once you're in the water people can't really see what your attire is.
I believe if nudity is normalised in public by people just going about their business without making a huge song and dance about it, attitudes will change.
October 12, 2013 in Uncategorized
I’ve just returned from a great week away at the coast with my family. Interestingly my phone turned to a brick on the first day away, so I’ve spent the week more or less totally devoid of technology. What’s more, neither my wife nor I wore a watch. Daylight savings has just started in Australia, so it was great running entirely off our body clocks.
One beach in particular I wanted to check out is an unofficial nude beach called Myrtle Bay which is in the Murramarang National Park. Beyond an intention to visit, I had no idea how this might be accomplished.
The weather was absolutely fantastic. We had one morning of rain, but that soon cleared up to deliver a bright, hot sunny day.
My wife wanted to explore a bush track she’d walked years ago with her family. The track went via Myrtle Bay.
I’ve read some mixed reports about the beach, one in particular stating that no naked bathers were there, only families with kids.
On the day we walked, Myrtle Bay ended up being our destination. The kids were tired and hungry, and everyone was ready to stop.
I set about setting up our beach shelter and picnic mat. As I was doing so, I noticed a person a little further down the beach was standing bare, enjoying the sunshine and view.
“This isn’t a nude beach is it?” my wife asked with mild suspicion.
“I’m not sure,” I replied honestly. “If it is, at least nobody will mind me having a nude swim.”
“True,” she said, and that was that.
My son was absolutely delighted with the concept of a “bare beach”. My daughter didn’t want a bar of it. My wife was okay because there weren’t too many people there. A middle aged couple down the far end of the beach. A slightly older couple in front of us, and two separate guys further down the other end of the beach.
My son and I took full advantage of the surf. We later walked down the beach and we probably spent a couple of hours or more there. The slightly older couple approached us and pointed out some whales playing further out in the bay.
I wouldn’t have believed a few months ago my wife would be okay spending time at a nude beach; even if she herself didn’t participate.
A couple of days later, we drove further up the track and explored some of the other beaches. One in particular stood out. Oaky beach which is within the Marine park, meaning no fishing and no collecting of shell fish or anything else.
“This looks like a 'bare beach’ to me,” exclaimed my daughter. This is her term for any beach where it’s basically okay to go nude. Either because we’re the only one’s on it, and I tend to take advantage of that, or, being the like’s of Myrtle Bay, other people on the beach are bare.
My son and I took advantage of the surf again, though it was a lot rougher here. After one particular wave when my son had returned to play in the sand, I noticed a bare body bathing face down in the sand.
My wife had almost walked up to him thinking it was me. She noticed me in the surf just in time. It would have been highly unusual for me to be bathing off on my own.
Some twenty minutes later, me in the surf, her exploring the next bay and kids entertaining themselves up by the beach shelter the bare body vanished.
What’s particularly odd about all this, is none of us saw this guy arrive. None of us saw him disappear either. Just after I noticed him gone, with absolutely no sign, I got out of the water to check the kids were okay.
“He disappeared Dad.”
“I think he was a mirage.”
When my wife returned, we were all so mystified by this, we walked over to see if there was any kind of imprint on the sand. I was quite eerie seeing no footsteps in the sand leading to the spot. Maybe it really had been a mirage.
When we did reach the spot, there was indeed an imprint, and a small number of footsteps from the sandy bank to the body mark. It was almost disappointing.
It was however interesting that someone coming upon us playing naked in the surf decided it would be perfectly okay for him to sunbath naked for a while.
So we now have a new term in the family for places it’s okay to be bare. Bare beaches.
As a humorous aside; when we were at these locations, my daughter had no interest in going bare. The next day however, on one of the public beaches we were visiting, she was quite happy to strip off in order to ride on the skim board we had. She’d been swimming and had gotten dressed. Rather than get into wet swimming clothes again, she asked me, “is it okay if I go bare?”
“Of course," I replied.
It seems naked kids are always okay on the beach, and not an uncommon observation. If only this applied more broadly where nobody cared who else was or wasn’t naked at the beach.