Perceptions About Social Nudity

social nudity

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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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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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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Body Acceptance Down Under

When I ran across this piece on body acceptance by Taryn Brumfitt, I felt compelled to share it with you here. At odds with her body most of her life, Taryn has set out on a mission to not only get comfortable in her own skin, but help as many women as she can learn to love their own bodies. This article is about the day she signed up for the Sydney Skinny, an annual event where hundreds of Australians get naked and go for an ocean swim. Taryn describes the way the experience changed her life.

(I have added photos to help illustrate the wholesomeness of body acceptance and social nudity.)

The best reason to get naked in front of a thousand people!

Taryn Brumfitt

“Look over there, another woman with only one boob!”

Screamed the sarong-clad stranger standing next to me.

I was puzzled and turned to her and asked, “What do you mean?” She pulled down her sarong and showed me her chest, on one side a breast, the other side a scar. I peered in the direction she had pointed, and another woman with a similar appearance was proudly walking out of the water.

I watched as two complete strangers joyfully connected with one another. No words were required, just one look of recognition, a smile and then an embrace. I was in tears, a blubbering mess. It was the purest form of human connection, kindness, courage and love and a story was unfolding before my very eyes.

In the course of one day my life has changed forever. I am a better human being;  I have experienced more joy than I’ll ever be able to express. I didn’t get married, I didn’t save someone’s life, nor did I rescue a small animal. I simply took my clothes off and swam in the ocean with more than a thousand strangers.

Much better!

The two ladies that have had mastectomies

The Sydney Skinny is an event like no other; it is the world’s largest nude ocean swim and happens each year at the stunning Cobblers Cove in Sydney. The event is a celebration of body acceptance and encourages participants to reconnect with their sense of adventure.

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Here’s how the day unfolded for me:

I woke up on Sunday morning feeling slightly uneasy that I had engaged in a hearty feast of curry and chocolate cake the evening before. Seriously Taryn, could you not have shown some restraint on the food front before you partook in a nude swim?

It wasn’t so much the roundness of my tummy that was that bothering me but rather at what stage of the morning I would be “offloading” the previous night’s indulgences.

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I arrived at Cobblers Cove early, filled with anticipation, excitement and nerves. Getting my clothes off in front of strangers is not something I’ve ever done. I walked around welcoming people with a smile and an air of assurance that could’ve been mistaken for confidence and bucket loads of experience in the nudity arena.  We know this not to be true.

When I got to the beach, the first thing I saw was a penis. Yep, a man’s penis and oddly, it wasn’t my husband’s. Then I saw another, and another and another.

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Within minutes, a penis was a penis and a vagina was a vagina, and we were all just human beings. Nothing more: nothing less. Nothing scandalous, nothing dirty or creepy and nothing remarkable.

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I eased myself into the water and immediately felt a sense of release, pleasure and freedom. The feeling of the water on my skin as I glided through it was delightful. The endorphin rush of being unclothed and doing something I had never done before was magical. This was life, and I was living it.

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I was in the zone that, sadly, we rarely experience. I was out of the comfort zone and basking in what I describe as the sparkle zone. I felt utterly euphoric and deliriously happy.

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And I wasn’t alone. I heard people squealing with joy exclaiming, “I never want to swim with clothes on again!” and I saw others joyfully hugging as if they had just been reunited after a lifetime apart. There were high fives, people laughing and people rejoicing.

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It got me thinking that to effect a transformative change in a person’s life it requires an action to be taken (think Anthony Robbins’ fire walk). Water is an element that has been used as a purifier in many religions. Could participation in the event be the 21st century’s non-religious “psychological cleanse” that helps individuals lay their body image demons to rest? Is it possible to walk into the water with body image worries and walk out with an undeterred commitment to learn to love and respect your body more? I believe so.And of course there were two women chatting, hugging and bonding over their shared mastectomy journey. One of the ladies explained to me how big a deal it was for her to do the swim, to get naked in front of other people and to face her fear. But looking into her sparkling eyes after she had completed the swim, I saw nothing but pride and happiness. When asked if she would do it again, the answer was a resounding YES!

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Amongst the thousand people who were there on the day, I didn’t hear one person judge another. I didn’t hear one person complain about their stretch marks, cellulite or jelly belly. People were just people; there were no barriers, there was no discrimination or prejudice. People were kind to themselves and kind to each other.

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If you want to feel comfortable in the skin you are in then maybe it’s time to take the dip of a lifetime. All you’ll need is a little bit of self-belief, an inkling of courage and your beautiful, bare, pure and authentic skin.

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French Style Naturism

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29 naturists gathered for a day of nude hiking in a wilderness area. It came about by word of mouth through a naked hiking Yahoo Group and a French nudist forum called VivreNu. The pictures are screen shots from the video posted at the end of this article.

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Unless you have participated in a similar nude event, you can only imagine how exhilarating and how much fun these people are having.

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Liberalism seems to be taking hold here in the U.S., just as it has in France, except when it comes to the human body and social nudity. Many Americans believe our bodies are shameful or obscene. That’s an affront to Mother Nature.  So here are the facts: it’s not true social nudity means promiscuous sex. Social nudity may be a sensual experience, but it is not any more sexual than compared to our clothed lives, perhaps even less so. No, it would not better to be buried alive than to be seen naked in public. And no, American children, even young girls, are not psychologically damaged for life if they happen to see an adult penis. Actually, children in nudist families have healthier perspectives about their own bodies and those of the opposite sex than children who have been taught the human body is shameful.

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Perhaps those misguided perceptions will one day change. We’ll have more nude beaches, more designated naturist trails in our national parks. We might even be able to garden naked, even if it’s in the front yard, and no one will think a thing about it.

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These are people that didn’t know each other before they came together to do this hike. They are all automatically friends, united by the liberating tenets of social nudity.

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Nudists are the most accepting people I know. Your size or shape makes no difference to a nudist. You’re not too fat or too thin, too tall or short, too hairy or too smooth. Your penis isn’t too small or too big, nor are your breasts. Your flaws, or what you perceive as flaws, simply do not matter.

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And let me emphasize that social nudity is not a sexual thing. If anyone in this group finds one of the others physically attractive, it’s in the same context it would be if they were clothed. My bet is that all of these hikers were more involved with the scenery and terrain and the refreshing feeling of being free of their clothes.

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I can’t think of a better way to enjoy such beautiful, rugged terrain than with a group of new friends that have all left their clothes in the car. It really is a shame more people aren’t enjoying life’s experiences like this.

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What’s interesting about the film is the interaction with the clothed hikers that this group encounters along the trail. It obvious the clothed hikers aren’t shocked or put off in passing, even those who have kids with them. Instead they often interact with friendly, upbeat exchanges and then happily go on their way.

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Randonue des concluses 2010 by vivrenu-tv

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Dick

Dick

Ever have a conversation with someone about what it’s like to have a dick, or how you feel about your own? Brian Fender has. One by one he has 63 men take off their clothes and talk about their relationships with their dicks, how having one has impacted their lives and how they feel about things like size, sex and masturbation.

The image above is a screenshot from Brian’s film “Dick”, a film in which 63 nude men talk about their penises. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Dick and believe you will too. You can find it at https://www.indiepixfilms.com/dickdocumentary/ for $4.99.

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Naturism, A Well Established German Custom

From the BBC News Magazine

By Stephen Evans

Citizens of the former West and East Germany share many well-established customs, including naturism. But does a relaxed attitude to naked bodies mask some division over the freedom of women?

Sex in Germany, I imagine, is much the same as sex everywhere else.

It was, as we know, invented in the 60s, probably in California, and since then the techniques involved are probably pretty universal.

But attitudes to sex and sexuality and nakedness are not. And in Germany, I have to tell you that I have been surprised.

Not least when I was in the changing room of the gym to which I go.

There I was, naked from the waist down – very naked – wrestling to get a T-shirt off my head, and the T-shirt was wrestling back.

When I finally pulled the thing off, there before me was a woman – a pretty woman – in her 20s pushing her broom at my feet.

This very real vision was the female cleaner in the male changing-room. Our eyes met. I blushed. She pushed on blithely, unconcerned.

Or when I went into the local sauna bath, which every neighbourhood has.

My German friends told me that nakedness was de rigueur, so into the cabin I went to find two young, naked women. They looked at me. I looked at the ceiling.

Germans – or at least Germans in the non-Catholic north of the country – say that the sight of the nude body is completely normal – natural, as they put it.

Why, they ask, would one wear a dirty, sweaty swimming costume? And, they say, being naked is nothing to do with sex. There is never a stir or a twitch of a sexual nature.

To which I say: hmmm.

My scepticism was shared, by the way, by both the Nazi and Communist regimes.

In East Germany, nude bathing became something of a sign of dissidence, contrary to the exhortation of the Culture Ministry to “protect the eyes of the nation”.

The Nazis welcomed what Hermann Goering referred to as the “healing power of sun and air” in making a strong nation, but he did disapprove of public nudity which he called a “cultural error” that threatened female modesty.

Both regimes lost the argument. And demographics did the rest. In the rubble after World War II, there were seven million more German women than men.

And in this atmosphere, an industry grew up which was very different from that in other
Western countries, one much more aimed at women.

Germany had a well-developed mail-order industry – and it had exactly the right woman to exploit it.

Beate Uhse had been a pilot in the Luftwaffe – as a woman she had not been allowed to fight but she did pilot planes to the front line.

After the war, as the daughter of a doctor, she was beset by friends who wanted to know how not to get pregnant.

My East German female friends tell me that the independence of women continued in the East of the country far more than in the West”

She started providing them with condoms and with advice on how she thought men could be kept happy. It became what is still one of Germany’s most successful businesses.

All this has been described by the historian Elizabeth Heineman, who told me that because the business was mail-order, women were not inhibited from buying.

Particularly in the catholic South, they would not go into a shop but they would order from a catalogue.

Elizabeth told me that German women emerged from the war particularly independent and strong because the absence of men was so stark, but in the west of the country traditional roles were gradually re-asserted.

Not so, though, in East Germany.

Simone Schmollack writes for the Tageszeitung and a magazine – a women’s magazine – called Die Magazin which was founded in 1929 and continued in East Germany throughout the years of Communism.

Tourists look through remaining section of Berlin Wall Do cultural differences remain 20 years after the Berlin Wall fell?

She told me that women in the East – and she was one – had genuine economic independence and that gave them a strength in their relations with men.

Now that the Wall is down, cultural frictions are emerging.

Here is the way she put it: “When Western men go out with Eastern women, they – the men – sometimes have problems.

“Eastern women are so cool, the Westerners think. So independent. So free with sex. But then they want them to be stay-at-home, too”.

So speaks an East German woman.

With such a mix of regimes and attitudes and cataclysmic shocks to relationships, there is confusion in the unified Germany over the roles of men and women.

Nowhere more so, I think, than when a sweaty, naked Brit strays into a gym or a sauna bath.

Photographs added by Martin.

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Is Social Nudity for Everyone?

Social nudity is not for everyone, but only because most people cannot imagine taking their clothes off in a group setting. Many believe social nudity is abnormal, immoral or perverted. Many automatically associate nudity with sex, therefore those who participate in social nudity must be sex addicts, exhibitionist and voyeurs. Of course nothing is further from the truth.

People have negative views about social nudity because they have been taught from an early age that the human body is shameful, that it’s wrong to expose your body to anyone other than your spouse, and some people are reluctant to do even that. They’ve been influenced by their parents, the media, religion and government. Except for the minority that have listened to their instincts, that recognize the human body is a wonderful creation that should be enjoyed and celebrated, most people have developed mindsets that will never allow them to see social nudity as a joyful, enlightening experience.

If you had grown up in a home where your parents had no reservations about walking around the house nude, you would have done the same thing. You would have grown up believing nudity is natural and that there are circumstances where there is no reason to wear clothes. When you noticed your father’s penis was bigger, you would have assumed yours would be too when you are older, just like the rest of the body. When you were old enough to be curious about pubic hair, your mother would have told you it’s part of being an adult. You would have grown up wondering why anyone would think the human body is shameful. You wouldn’t understand why anyone thinks there is something immoral about not wearing clothes.

So the fact is social nudity is indeed for everyone. The only reason so many disagree is because of what they were taught growing up. Children simply are not ashamed of their bodies; they are taught their bodies are shameful. It’s the same doctrine as religion. If you were born and raised in Israel, you will almost certainly believe in the Jewish faith; in the Middle East you will believe in the Muslim faith; in a Catholic household you will believe in the Catholic faith; that is if you believe in any religion at all. In a household that rejects nudity, you will grow up believing social nudity is immoral.

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Here a dad is spending time with his daughters. They’ve seen him and their mother nude since their earliest memory. Their nudity is incidental. They are likely a more closely bonded family because all the barriers between them have been removed.

social nudity

Perhaps, even if you have been raised to believe nudity is immoral, you have a secret desire to find out what social nudity is all about. Perhaps you’re wondering if you are brave enough to try it and are wondering how. The following essay tells us how one lady in California went about it.

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“There is a workshop at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. They have two areas where clothing is optional — the swimming pool and around the natural hot tubs. I think clothing is optional down on the edge of the ocean, as well.

I grew up in New England, home of the Puritans. Nudity was not something I saw growing up in my family or anywhere else, really. It was not something I was used to.

social nudity

But I believed that the body should not be an object of shame. I believed there was no reason in particular, other than social convention, that we should have to remain clothed for modesty’s sake. The notion of nudity being non-modest per se never made much sense to me. It’s just convention, and convention can be changed if you are in a group that holds to a different convention.

At Esalen, nudity is perfectly acceptable. But it isn’t required. What I found was that after spending a day in an intense workshop with people, that going to the hot tubs showed me yet another side of people.

When clothes came off, so did any remaining barriers between us. People became more open when their clothes were off. Somehow, they seemed more like themselves. They could say the things they wanted to. They seemed more honest. More friendly and loving. The conversations in the nude were more like conversations that some people seem to need drugs to have. It wasn’t so much that inhibitions were lessened, although they did seem to be, but that it was the kind on inhibitions — not about sex, but about being forthcoming and authentic. As I said, people seemed more like themselves.

I also found my judgments about bodies slipping away. Sure, I noticed the elderly woman was carrying a lot of weight, but it didn’t matter. We weren’t competing on looks. We weren’t competing at all. We were just sharing ourselves openly. It seemed to me that being naked had a lot to do with that. Without our clothes as our false fronts, we were simply ourselves. The symbolic lack of semblance turned into a real openness.

Being nude with other people is a process. At first, your mind will be running crazy. Can I really do this? What will people think? All those self-conscious thoughts.

But after a while, when you see everyone else is nude and no one else is hurting you for it, you start to relax. Then, in the hot water with the beautiful ocean and surrounded by authentic people, you start to really let go of your need to pretend. To act like your clothes are you. You start being able to be yourself.

I would give into the process as best you can, but also trust that these things will happen, whether you are ready for them or not. The nudity itself will almost require that you open up. It almost forces you to feel safe. This probably sounds a little ridiculous, but that was my experience, and the experience of others I spoke with.

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