Perceptions About Social Nudity

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An Essay by Larry Darter:

Society often creates and perpetuates stereotypes without malicious intent, yet stereotypes often lead to discrimination against and intolerance of social groups when the stereotypes used to judge them are generally unfavorable.

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Stereotyping has its roots in experiences people have had themselves, what they have read or seen in the media and in disinformation related to them by friends and family. In virtually every case stereotypical generalizations are inaccurate. Unfavorable generalizations may also be perpetuated when a series of isolated behaviors by a minority group of members identified with a particular group are unfairly assumed the defining behavior of all members of that group.

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Common Stereotypes Relating to Naturism

Naturists are one example of a group that is frequently the target of stereotypical judgments. Naturism, the practice of going nude in social, especially mixed social settings, also provides a good example of the negative prejudices that faulty generalizations can produce.

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In present-day American society, social nudity is not particularly or generally accepted. The only “public” venues open to those who embrace naturism are private property, such as privately owned nudist clubs or resorts and slivers of well-delineated, often remote public lands that have been designated as clothing-optional.

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Nudity is a taboo in America, principally because of the heritage of Puritan and Victorian moral codes that have forged the link between nakedness and sexuality. The proliferation of pornography and existence of social nudity fringe elements like “swingers” contribute to the view that nudity and sexuality are inseparably linked. Sexual taboos are transferred to nudity by inference. Many non-naturists perceive naturists as having sexually malicious intentions. At best naturists are viewed as eccentrics, at worst as sexual perverts.

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A more benign generalization made of naturists is that they are primarily older, unattractive, over-weight people who do not have body types that are attractive to look upon when nude. Images present on naturist websites and in printed media seem to suggest an element of truth to this stereotype. Many older and over-weight people are depicted. Yet the stereotype fails to consider that “ideal” body types portrayed in advertising and pornography are inaccurate distortions of what naked people really look like.

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Deconstructing the Myths of Stereotypical Naturism

Perhaps more tolerance would be extended towards naturists if people took time to learn the facts about naturism. Naturists believe that clothing is primarily used by people to mask or hide themselves and to establish social status and rank. When clothing comes off, social distinctions disappear creating more authentic human interaction with fewer pretenses and posturing, revealing the real person.

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Social nudity promotes body acceptance and higher self-esteem. It becomes self-evident that most people look pretty much the same when naked. The reality is that most naked human bodies bear little resemblance to the air-brushed, “perfect” images depicted in media stereotypes. Body acceptance promotes acceptance of one’s own body and the bodies of others in spite of differences in age, weight and shape and counters unhealthy attitudes like feelings of shame over being nude that most people are conditioned from childhood to feel.

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Naturists do not deny all connection between nudity and sexuality yet explain that sexuality is not the motivation for naturists. Naturism is about discourse not intercourse. Strict rules of etiquette exist for social nudity interaction. Harassment, staring or gawking, overt attempts to draw attention to genitalia and sexual acts are all prohibited conduct. Naturists often remark that the uninitiated would be greatly surprised to learn just how far from a sexually charged atmosphere naturist gatherings really are.

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According to the International Naturist Federation, naturism is “a lifestyle in harmony with nature, expressed through social nudity, and characterized by self-respect of people with different opinions and of the environment.” This definition goes a long ways towards explaining why naturists are not content with practicing nudity in the privacy of their own homes but see outdoor nudity as a critical element to experiencing the benefits of the lifestyle.

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Naturists want to enjoy the same recreational activities as others like swimming, hiking, boating and camping. They simply prefer to enjoy those activities without wearing clothes because they feel more at harmony with nature and the environment and feel greater personal freedom while nude.

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Most naturists do not wish to offend and do not lobby for the right to appear naked in every conceivable public place and circumstance. They seek only reasonable clothing- optional access to public beaches and lands where they can have the freedom to enjoy outdoor recreation in the manner they prefer, free from hostility and fear of legal sanctions.

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Cultivating Tolerance

Tolerance of others who are different is an accepted character attribute in people of any society. Tolerance does not necessitate approval of practices one has no desire to participate in or disagrees with. Tolerance simply involves respecting the rights of others to be different and act differently as long as it does not impinge unreasonably on the rights of others.

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Understanding the nature of stereotypes, generalizations, prejudice and discrimination is the first step in cultivating tolerance. Every person has prejudices, it is simply human nature. People should, however, in the interest of intellectual honesty, consider that fairness is compromised when they discriminate against others because of personal prejudices. Many people believe that every human being deserves respect and freedom to practice unhindered, activities that make life more meaningful for them as long as there is no harm to others or real infringement on the rights of others. After all, personal freedom is one of the hallmarks of democracy.

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Dreaming of Warm Weather

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People in the mid-west and north east part of the U.S. aren’t thinking about global warming. They’re not thinking about getting naked either. In fact, facing one of the coldest Novembers on record, they’re wearing everything hanging in their closets. But somewhere in the back of their minds, they’re thinking about getting out of their clothes in the warm sun, even if that seems a million years away.

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Men Getting Naked

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Men have always enjoyed the natural camaraderie of getting naked together, apparently more so in days gone by. Today we have problems, especially in the U.S. Male social nudity is confused with male sexuality. We have have a problem interpreting what it means to be a masculine man. Except for gay or bisexual men, guys fear how being naked with other men might be interpreted. But for those not lugging this kind of macho baggage, keep celebrating being a man.

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This is a collection of thirty plus vintage photos of men getting naked together.

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Getting Naked … The Nudist

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Most nudists have a philosophy about the nudist lifestyle, such as it improves your self-esteem, or the people are so friendly and accepting, or getting naked promotes body acceptance no matter what a persons physical appearance happens to be. All of this is true, along with countless other positive opinions, but there is one thing everyone agrees on … it’s fun!

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 It’s fun to get naked with friends, to meet new ones knowing that being naked gives you an automatic connection. It’s fun to enjoy the basic elements of being human, to feel the fresh air on your body, to share that experience with others that you identify with and enjoy being with. It’s fun to not worry about those extra few pounds, or those stretch marks, or that scar under your belly. Those things are part of who you are, and nudists celebrate them, not dread them.

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 Not only do nudists come in all shapes and sizes, they come in all ages. Older nudists add zest to life by getting out of their clothes with friends. Getting naked socially gives older nudists a carefree feeling and it keeps them young. Everyone is aware of the effects of aging, that age effects everyone differently. Nudists take it in stride.

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Teenage nudists have an advantage over their clothed counterparts: they have come to terms with their natural curiosity about the opposite sex. Boys don’t spend half their time wondering what certain girls look like naked. They know. In a nudist environment they’ve seen them time and again. Instead of being overwhelmed with curiosity about her body, he is curious about who she is and spends his time getting to know her instead of visualizing her naked.

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 Children that grow up in a nudist environment have a healthier more positive perspective about their own bodies and the human form in general. They have a better understanding of the opposite sex. When they see naked adults they are neither shocked or appalled by mature bodies; they simply accept the human form for what it is. Being naked is natural for them. They thoroughly enjoy the clothesfree freedom when they are playing with their friends.

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 From a nudist in central NY: “There are lots of nudists in CNY. I have always been nude around the house and on occasion when camping. About 10 years ago we bought a camp in the hills south east of Syracuse. It’s wonderful!! Very secluded, nice pond for swimming and 45 acres where you can wander, lay out, or just chill. I’ve had many people stop by and more often than not, they end up nude as well. It’s nice to have a place where there is safety and no pressure.”

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From a lifelong nudist: “I was raised as a nudist by my parents along with my three siblings. We would often go to a nudist beach when on vacation and locally too. I am a nudist mom with my husband and our kids today. We have many nudist friends go join us for parties.”

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 From another lifelong nudist: “I was raised, as a nudist, by my parents and grandparents. I come from a very large family. I have a large family as well. My kids all go nude when at home and at other places too. We love being nude together.”

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 From a nudist of 35 years: “I have been a real nudist for almost 35 years now and I just love it and recommend it to others to try and enjoy together with others present. You will not be sorry regardless of your body size and weight. In my nudist group, I have a few overweight couples. They love their bodies still and enjoying being nude with others. I salute them with the battle of the bulge and they are an inspiration to others as an example of how to enjoy life as a nudist.”

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“People that are comfortable enough to be around others nude is a beautiful thing. I have been a nudist since I was 17 and for awhile I was somewhat insecure and self conscious but overtime I discovered I had no reason to feel that way. I’m extremely happy with the way I live my life.”

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“I am a nudist and have been for about 21 years. I love being nude with my family, relatives, and friends. I belong to a group of local nudists locally here. We meet on weekends and sometimes during the summer months. I am going to a nudist party in an hour with my sons and my boyfriend. We have childless couples and families with kids in attendance.”

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“I come from a huge huge family of nudists. My grand parents, parents, all of my siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins are all nudists as well. I have been a nudist for 30 years. I go naked with my family of 8 at home and at the beach. We love being nude for skinny dipping nude sunbathing, playing games, sports, and hanging out with other family members and many of our friends too.”

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“I am a real nudist and single mom of four children; two boys and two girls. I was raised in the nudism lifestyle and when I got married I keep this family tradition in my own family. We have great times together nude at home with others. We attend nude parties with others and I host them as well. We all have been to nude resorts and they are fun too.”

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“I started out being a nudist at age 13 with my parents and siblings. I have been a nudist for 24 years now and love being naked with family and friends. I have found this lifestyle wholesome, natural, beautiful, relaxing, pleasurable, comfortable, healthy, exciting, and so much fun for all. I recommend other families try it and enjoy the fun times you will have nude with others.”

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“I grew up in a nudist family with my parents, siblings, other family members, and friends. Today, I have continued that same tradition of going nude with family and others. I am a single mom with 3 girls and 2 boys.”

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“I have walked down the road naked. Also walked through the woods naked and even laid down in the snow naked! Love being naked, and especially outdoors!”

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“We were raised to admire the human body and all that it does. We never thought twice to see mom or dad nude and them is growing up. Even as a teen we were very open about nudity, sex and the natural parts of life. I also raised my daughters very open to nudity, sex, Pleasure and the naturalness of it all. It’s beautiful and fun to be open to frank sexual conversations and sharing experienced rather than them only getting that from friends and books!”

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 The quoted remarks are from the Experience Project.

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Without Our Clothes

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I'm not a nudists but/and:

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Are you a nudists?

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Being Naked

The topics on Enlightened Male generally involve an appreciation for the human form or human sexuality, leaning toward male bisexuality and how that affects both men and women. You probably agree that these topics could use better understanding in our society. However, male sexuality, specifically bisexuality and homosexuality, pertain to a relatively narrow percentage of the male population. On the other hand, social nudity pertains to us all, both male and female, though most people can’t possibly imagine how naturism or nudists relates to them.

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Most people, for myriad reasons, will never take off their clothes in public, not even on a beach and certainly not at a nudist resort. They will never know the exhilaration or the liberating sense of freedom that social nudity provides for those who participate; which is why, even though I am largely preaching to the choir on this site, I like to promote clothes free lifestyles, whether that be in the privacy of ones own home or a social setting. That’s why I am entertaining the idea of featuring more posts on this subject. If I can reach just one naysayer, just one neophyte that believes he or she will never have the courage to take off their clothes in front of others, well, at least that’s something. Either way, the rest of us that already know and currently enjoy getting naked will enjoy the wholesome, carefree pictures I will post.

I’d like to hear your take on more posts on this subject.

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One would think a man would be distracted by a woman’s body among a group of nudists, but no more than he would be in a group of people fully clothed. He isn’t distracted … she is simply the female version of us. He is just glad to be there, meeting new people, making new friends. He may, just as he may in the every day clothed world, see a woman that he finds attractive. He may even approach her to introduce himself, but being naked somehow changes the dynamic. As the couple becomes acquainted and begins to know each other, the tensions and distractions aren’t present. It’s almost as if the foundation to a wonderful friendship or potential romance already exists because of the automatic connection nudists share.

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the nude human body depicted with an artistic slant.

So where does he fit in the scheme of things? He is his own unique edition of the male version of us, not judged by his size or shape, the color of his hair or skin, the length of his penis, or his social status. He, along with all the other varieties of males and females that make up the whole of humanity simply fit in. He knows nudists have an automatic connection with each other. They are all naked, enjoying the freedom to enjoy their bodies among others doing the same. They are living life in a way only a nudist can understand, not that they are weird, perverted or over-sexed. They have simply discovered how refreshing it is to celebrate the human body in its many forms, and be free of fear and misguided rules.

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Many people are curious. They feel an urge to know what it’s like to take off their clothes and enjoy their bodies with friends or in a social setting, yet they can’t bring themselves to take that first step. They are conflicted, finding themselves listening to the demon that tells them nudity is wrong, that naked bodies are disgusting or shameful. They are weighted by years of indoctrination that has instilled the notion nudity is wrong. And every time they stand naked before a mirror, they grapple with what they see as a flawed body, implanted by Hollywood and the advertising world that tell them what the human body should look like.

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Actually taking your clothes off in front of others, especially for women, can be one of the most difficult things you’ve ever done. For some the angst that builds up inside is a physical pain. You see others walking around naked, acting as if it is perfectly normal, but still it doesn’t register that it’s something everyday day people do. Your mind is telling you that it’s not for you. Yet you screw up your courage and begin to take off your clothes, soon finding yourself completely naked in front of people you may know or have never seen before.

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Depending on how thoroughly conditioned you have been, or your religious beliefs, or your worries about what other people might think, you eventually settle into the idea that being naked isn’t quite as bad as you thought. No one is staring at you. If anyone approaches, they greet you as if they don’t even realize your clothes are off. At this point many people begin to feel like they fit in, that being naked is nothing like they thought it was. They begin to actually enjoy the feeling of freedom, the exhilaration. Before the day’s end, they wonder what took them so long to take the plunge.

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The pictures in this post represent endless varieties of the human form. Yes some of these people are quite attractive and pleasant to look at, but are any of them perfect? Any one of them would probably tell you what they don’t like about their bodies. But they have gotten past the fear of being judged. They have discovered the world of nudism is a welcoming, accepting place. They have learned to enjoy and appreciate their bodies despite their self-perceived flaws.

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This is a wonderful age to become a nudist, when you are young and optimistic and have all the energy of youth. It sets up a lifetime of positive self-esteem and the opportunity to develop great friendships.

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