Our society in the U. S., as in most other counties, is generally quite hostile to open nudity. It’s considered OK for a person to be naked in a few limited circumstances, and even to enjoy that nakedness in some fewer cases. But there’s a strong taboo against going naked openly and by choice with all but a certain very few people. In various ways this taboo is even stronger now than in recent decades – unless one is some sort of a celebrity or meets quite narrow aesthetic standards of bodily appearance.
As a result, it takes a fair amount of courage for most people to try social nudity – and to admit that they enjoy it, if they are successful in trying it. It takes courage to explain to skeptics of social nudity, let alone people who are actively hostile towards it, what is so good about it. But almost inevitably one has to undertake such explanation to the skeptics and hostiles in order to justify a choice to participate in social nudity.
Rational arguments in favor of social nudity are often unsuccessful in changing the minds of skeptics and opponents. Such arguments may include:
Many, perhaps most, people who haven’t experienced social nudity simply do not tend to believe such claims. And we understand this, so we don’t have much confidence that making these claims will sway the attitudes of others towards social nudity.
So where, then, can we find the courage to enjoy social nudity, and as a result face the need to justify this choice? Well, partly, it helps a lot if we believe these claims ourselves, as a result of personal experience. But that may not be enough, especially at an early stage when we are trying to get started with social nudity.
Negative attitudes towards nudity are usually acquired before adulthood. Most commonly the attitudes come at an early age from one’s own family, if there is hostility within the family towards nudity. In this way, the taboo against nudity is almost like a genetic disease, passed on from one generation to the next. But even for people lucky enough to be raised in a family that is tolerant of nudity or even favorable towards it, negative attitudes can be acquired from peers when one is a little older. It’s rather impractical to advise people to be born into families with positive attitudes about nudity, and to avoid contact with others outside the family who are hostile towards nudity.
Here is one suggestion that has worked for many people to develop the courage to enjoy social nudity. What works best is to find and get to know people who already enjoy social nudity. The best way to do this is to go to places such as clothing-optional beaches or naturist parks and resorts. However, since there aren’t nearly as many such places as there should be, some effort is required. You also have to have enough courage already to get naked yourself, though this isn’t always necessary at the start, especially at clothing-optional beaches. At least you won’t need the extra courage required to justify what you are doing to other people, since people at such places are already comfortable with social nudity.
But here’s the real payoff. The people you meet who already enjoy social nudity can be your role models. They’ve already acquired the necessary self-confidence in what they’re doing. You will probably acquire gradually this same confidence simply by getting to know them and interacting with them. You may find, if you’re lucky, that some of these people can be inspiring, if they talk about how social nudity has helped them become more “centered”, stronger, and self-confident. There are other paths that lead the same way (such as meditation, yoga, even philosophy), but social nudity has some advantages, as listed above.
In the early days of modern naturism (before 1940, roughly), society was especially intolerant of it. There were serious legal obstacles placed in its way, especially in the U. S. But nudity continues to be reviled even now. Almost everywhere in the U. S. there are laws against even the most unobjectionable forms of public social nudity (at beaches, camping and hiking areas, etc.), and this situation continues to deteriorate.
Nudity is specifically not recognized as a form of free speech or political protest, and therefore not eligible for U. S. 1st Amendment protection. This is rationalized on the grounds that nudity per se is not “expressive” speech – despite quite obvious cases where nudity does express attitudes related to the naked human body in general or one’s own naked body. But courts routinely accept the duplicity of their anti-nudity position by willfully refusing to perceive what nudity can express. And even the most nonsexual depictions of nudity are routinely excluded from the largest Internet sites like Facebook and Google+ (which aren’t required to pay any attention to the 1st Amendment). In other 1st world countries, like the U. K. and Australia[1, 2, 3], the situation seems to be even worse, as governments build walls of censorship to prevent access to whatever they think some segment of their public will regard as “pornography”.
So there are these and other obstacles to the free enjoyment of social nudity and the means to communicate about its significant merits. Consequently, much courage and perseverance really can be necessary in order for individuals to learn about and choose to follow this path for themselves.
Deep Creek Remembers:
Lost nude beaches. El Matador in Malibu. A nude beach until the 1990s. Depending on the crowds, time, and tides, you will still find skinny dippers there today, dreaming of a day gone by.
Lo-res 120 film scan.
The Prophet - Khalil Gibran - Speaks on Clothes
And the weaver said, “Speak to us of Clothes.”
And he answered:
Your clothes conceal much of your beauty, yet they hide not the unbeautiful.
And though you seek in garments the freedom of privacy you may find in them a harness and a chain.
Would that you could meet the sun and the wind with more of your skin and less of your raiment,
For the breath of life is in the sunlight and the hand of life is in the wind.
Some of you say, “It is the north wind who has woven the clothes to wear.”
But shame was his loom, and the softening of the sinews was his thread.
And when his work was done he laughed in the forest.
Forget not that modesty is for a shield against the eye of the unclean.
And when the unclean shall be no more, what were modesty but a fetter and a fouling of the mind?
And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
Lavender Moon et Moi, San Onofre trail six, CA.
Deep Creek Remembers
Lost nude beaches: San Onofre.
Again, I thought I would push on something naturists in California and elsewhere should care about. The crackdown on nudity at San O took this most beautiful beach away from us, and took the only nude beach away from the LA metro area. It can’t be allowed to stand. Please take one moment and click on the link below and let the new Parks Forward Commission of the California Parks Department (a reform movement starting this summer) know that you support designated nude beaches in the California State Parks and the return of the nude beach at San Onofre. Anyone can send their support, whether you are from California or elsewhere. Please consider sharing on other naturist tumblrs. THANKS.
And you can join this Facebook group if you want to be involved in the struggle to regain San Onofre:
See my post on this from earlier in the week if you want to see a sample letter! One you can copy from and use!
I support this message 100%, but I’m not too sure about the Natty Light