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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Social Nudity is a State of Mind

social nudity

A six-year-old girl is in the back yard with three neighborhood boys that have come over to play. They are all chasing after a ball. It’s a warm summer day. The boys have taken off their shirts. The little girl, thinking it’s a good idea, does the same. When her mother looks out the kitchen window, she gasps, rushes out, takes her daughter by the hand and scolds her as she drags the little girl into the house.

The boys look on, bewildered. They’ve obviously done something wrong, just don’t understand what. Listening to the mother’s rants, they realize their friend should not have taken her blouse off because she is a girl.

This  becomes the first episode of their childhood indoctrination about nudity and the human body. The little girl is traumatized and feels guilty, yet she doesn’t understand why the boys can take their shirts off and she can’t. The boys now know it was wrong for her take her blouse off, but they’re not sure why. The illogical nature of it doesn’t matter. She will grow up feeling shame over her body. In time, for these children and millions more like them, this experience will become part of their own moral compass.

social nudity

Though nudity in ancient Rome and Greece, and various European countries today, was and is considered incidental, most people, especially in the United States, can’t fathom why anyone would want to take their clothes off in a social or public setting. They attach all kinds deviant reasons to why anyone would do such a thing, that it must have something to do with voyeurism or exhibitionist, or social nudity must be the precursor to endless orgies. They’ve been indoctrinated since their early childhood. They’ve come to believe people should wear clothes under all circumstances, even swimming, which, when you think about it, doesn’t make any sense at all. They will not, even if they have a vague subconscious urge or a natural curiosity, allow themselves the freedom to explore life from a new perspective and enjoy their own bodies.

The reasons are many. Beyond our lifelong indoctrination, we’ve been conditioned by the media to believe our bodies are unappealing if we don’t look like runway models, Hollywood starlets or porn stars. We’re too fat, too thin, too old, too saggy or wrinkly. We have flaws. Our breasts are too small or too large or sag too much. Our bellies aren’t flat. Our penises are too small. Plus social nudity suggests sex, therefore nudist must be sexual deviants.

social nudity

Fact is social nudity is nothing more than a pure state of mind. People that get together and take their clothes off, that enjoy the freedom and exhilaration of being naked with others, that know how to appreciate others for who they are instead of what they look like, have shed all the cumbersome baggage most of us have accumulated over our lifetimes. No one cares if you are fat or thin, or hairy, or seventy years old. Being nude in a group setting equalizes everyone. No one has a perfect body. Breasts and butts, vulvas and penises, nipples and testicles are all simply part of the human body. Size, skin colors and physical configurations simply do not matter. And although these body parts play a role in distinguishing our gender, it doesn’t follow that exposing them equates with immanent sexual activity. After all, we’re all either men or women, human beings, not a bunch of heathens that have to cover ourselves to prevent uncontrolled or wanton copulation.

Here are some young men playing basketball nude. Notice how natural being nude seems to them, that the element of nudity seems to add a new dimension to the game.

NUDE BASKET BALL from Arnaud Kartal on Vimeo.

I mentioned natural curiosity. For you this might be a private or subconscious urge to know what it’s like to try a nude beach or dive into a swimming pool at a nudist resort; but outwardly you know you would never be that bold. I fully believe far more people think about these things than you believe. Consider Spencer Tunick’s work, how he gathers thousands of every day average people who have volunteered to take of their clothes for a mass photo shoot.

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Spencer Tunick – MARIACHI FILMS from Mariachi Films on Vimeo.

These adventurous souls are from every walk of life. They are of every nationality and every shape and size. Many of them are not involved in social nudity, nor have they ever taken off their clothes in a public setting. But they saw Spencer Tunick’s ad and ‘heard the call’, that inner voice telling them they wanted to enjoy their body, to share it with the thousands that wanted to do the same. In the above pictures, pick out the lawyers, the bankers, the store clerks, the housewives, the unemployed. You can’t. Everyone looks the same, socially that is. They are of one mind, celebrating being part of the brotherhood of man in a different way, an exhilarating, refreshing way. Most will walk away from this experience feeling different about themselves, feeling invigorated, feeling free of the unnecessary baggage they have lugged around their entire lives. Some of them will begin to think about new adventures, such as nude hiking.

Everyone wants to feel good about their body, to smile when they look in the mirror. But most people don’t. How can you when you are bombarded daily in the media about what you are supposed to look like: weight loss products that tell you you’re too fat, fashion ads with perfectly shaped models, makeup ads telling you that you can look like the girl in the picture if you use their products? Yes, it’s perfectly delightful to look at models and movie stars with gorgeous good looks, but in a nudist environment they are just one of everyone else, and they often look more like us without the air-brushing and makeup. So that cellulite on your butt, wrinkled or discolored skin, age, the size of your body parts (or lack thereof) doesn’t matter when you are naked among other naked people. They all have similar flaws. By getting involved in social nudity, instead of fretting over what your body looks like, you will be caught up in how good it feels to be naked, to be accepted for who you are, to be free of all the old baggage and preconceived notions. You will experience the wonderful feeling of being able to enjoy your body without worrying about being judged.

Naturism from Mark Blinch on Vimeo.

Many people believe nudist parks and resorts are sexually charged environments. Nothing is further from the truth. In fact nudist recreation parks, resorts and beaches Continue reading

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Good Parts/Bad Parts

From Young Naturists America

By Melissa Starr

My friend, Hadassah, has elbows. I’ve always assumed this but only a short time ago did I see her elbows for the first time to prove that she does have them. It’s funny that we’ve known each other for 14 years yet it was only recently that I saw her elbows. Why did this happen? Hadassah is of the Orthodox Jewish faith, which dictates that her whole body, including elbows and knees, must be covered. I guess she joined a more moderate branch of Judaism recently, as her elbows can now be seen. This is a huge change for her- and for me, as I look at her elbows for the first time.

For Hadassah, exposing her elbows was a breach of modesty, as seen by her faith. Her religious beliefs had more emphasis on which body parts are acceptable to see and show, perhaps, than most people’s beliefs, but how different are they from modern culture, really? While most people in the USA would agree that having people see your elbows is fine (and you may get some funny faces if you suggest otherwise!), how many people have that same good part/ bad part response when talking about… a woman’s pubic mound/ labia majora? Or a penis? Or a woman’s breast?

These body parts are the parts that are so sacred/ private/ obscene/ bad that they have many, many names. A penis could be a dick and may have a name, the labia majora may be called a crotch, and a woman’s breast might be called a boob. Even the grouping of the parts has a name: our private parts or, as some kids say, our privates. Of course, we all know numerous other names for all these parts and many parents teach their children to call them some off-the-wall names. And don’t even get me started on what we call the urine or feces that come out of these parts! All of this begs the question of why certain body parts have numerous names and are “forbidden” while other parts only have one name and get no attention. Think of the poor Continue reading

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Ladies … Take Your Clothes Off (Body Acceptance)

Have you gotten a little thicker around the middle, maybe a lot thicker? Are your hips too wide or is your butt too big? Do you have a few wrinkles here and there? Are your breasts too small, or are they large and sagging? Is your pubic area too hairy or are your labia protruding? Well, since you are very much like most women, you are a perfect candidate for nude socializing.

Or maybe you have always taken care of yourself. You walk, jog and exercise. You always watch calories and eat the right foods. If you are young, you now and then turn heads. If you are older, you may have a few stretch marks, or a scar from your cesarean incision, or you may have a few a few wrinkles or varicose veins. You still look pretty good for your age, but no one ever sees just how beautiful you are, nor do you see them.

You grew up in a home where everyone always wore clothes. Since then you have lived in a society that has subtly and overtly convinced you the human body is shameful and must never be exposed, not so much as a nipple and certainly not the private parts between your legs. It’s time to think all of this through. It’s time to let go of all those inhibitions and get out of your clothes.

I was fortunate enough to come across this piece on social nudity that was written by a woman. I don’t think she would mind if I share it with you.

Body Acceptance

 By Heather F.

How do you feel about your body? If you’re like the overwhelming majority of people in American society, then you probably would use some of the following statements to describe yourself: I’m too fat, too skinny, too big, too small, not muscular enough. The bottom line is you’re not happy with how you look.

Unfortunately, these statements about our bodies are all too often commonly held views in not only the overwhelming majority of American society, but increasingly in other societies where a diversity of body types, shapes and sizes are often celebrated. These views stem partly from a steady diet of images on TV and in the magazines that we read where bodies are always in “perfect shape.” We are told and made to believe that this is what we have to look like in order to be accepted, to be beautiful or handsome. While many of us acknowledge that we could never achieve this model of “perfection” we still act as if we can attain perfection, if only we’d try harder. Sadly, we have as a society become so paranoid and obsessive about our looks and our bodies that we don’t know whether to hide it or show it off, to be proud of it or to be ashamed of it. So just what are the factors that affect our acceptance of our bodies, what is body acceptance, and why is it so important, and how is body acceptance linked to naturism.

When I first met my husband, George, back in 1998, it would be more than accurate to say that I struggled with the way I looked. The first three lines of this page would describe me perfectly back then. I struggled with acceptance of my body and by extension myself for multiple reasons. First and foremost I saw all these women and girls around me on TV and in the magazines I read and looked at that looked like models. 5’8” to 5’11”, 110 to 115 pounds, large breasts, small hips and waist, and a tight little butt; everyone around me, the other girls at school, the characters in the programs I watched on TV, and even society as a whole held – and still holds – these images up as what I had to look like to be beautiful, to get a guy, to be one of the popular girls.

Then there was the teasing, the snide comments and remarks about my appearance and my body by my family and some of my so-called friends. Combine these things together and it’s no wonder I was struggling with body acceptance, or that females in general have such problems with body acceptance.

However, these problems are not just limited to females; males struggle with this too. Many males (writing with my husband’s help here for the male’s view) feel that they have to be muscular, thin, and without an inch of Continue reading

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Eighteen Vulvas

If you look at Penthouse Magazine, or watch a porn DVD, you know what you expect a vulva to look like. If that’s all you ever see, you think that’s what all vulvas actually do look like. They don’t. And the editors at “honi soit”, the student magazine at Sydney University want you to know. Pick eighteen random female students on any university, or eighteen females from any group, have them pull their panties down, and following sampling that was published on the cover of “honi soit” is much closer to what you’ll see.

The following is how these young women explained their reasons:

We are tired of society giving us a myriad of things to feel about our own bodies. We are tired of having to attach anxiety to our vaginas. We are tired of vaginas being either artificially sexualised (see: porn) or stigmatised (see: censorship and airbrushing). We are tired of being pressured to be sexual, and then being shamed for being sexual. Continue reading

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Everybody Has One

Like cabinet knobs in a home improvement store, anuses come in an amazing variety. Much of our lives they stay hidden, even when we’re naked, out of sight out of mind.

See the The Ninth Gate … Our Naughty Erogenous Zone.

Many people see an anus as a necessary evil, a taboo part of the human body that has no place in conversations or intimate human interaction. For others the anus is a natural wonder, a source of irresistible mystery, an erotic temptation that should play a role in every intimate encounter. They see the anus as a source of pleasure and visual delight.

Due to its close proximity, your anus adds an intriguing dimension to your genitals. It makes that area of your body a little naughtier, therefore a little more compelling given the directives of human nature. With a partner, you wonder what it’s like to touch it, to push your finger through it, to look at it closer, to taste it. If you’re a man, you wonder what it’s like to fuck him or her there.

Unless your cheeks are prone to yaw open when you bend over, it takes some effort to expose your anus. You can lie on your back and draw your legs up, or you can squat, but still you may have to do a little cheek spreading. Can you think of anything more intimate?

It also takes an effort to keep your anus clean and smelling agreeable (agreeable being in the nostrils of the beholder). After a trip to the toilet you’re likely to suffer a condition that no one would find agreeable, that is unless you live in Europe or another country where people use bidets.

Many Americans have never seen one. For them anal hygiene begins and ends with a few swipes with tissue. Our culture simply hasn’t been introduced to better ways to keep our anuses clean. In the illustration, the nozzle at the bottom of the bidet will squirt water on the woman’s anus when she turns it on. She’ll then pull up her panties and walk out of the restroom fresh as a daisy.

Interested in knowing more?

Perhaps you’re not interested because of the cost of installing a bidet, or maybe you don’t have room. No problem. The picture above is my bathroom. For forty dollars I added a bidet from Amazon to my toilet. It is unobtrusive, works like a charm and got hundreds of glowing reviews from people that will never again suffer a tainted anus.

Take a look at the variety of bidets on Amazon here.

Here is a closer view. It comes with all the necessary parts and is easily installed by anyone in twenty minutes. Under the lid, a nozzle with a deadly accurate aim discreetly protrudes downward at the back of the bowl. The jet of water is turned on and controlled by the dial at the left of the picture. I’m not sure how I ever lived without it.

If you didn’t click the Amazon link and order your bidet, the very least you can do is pick up a package of wet wipes and put it next to your toilet. They are very effective after an initial use of tissue. There are several brands and they are available at any supermarket. Europeans aren’t the only ones on the planet that should have fresh clean anuses.

Enough of that. Here’s a look at more anuses. Continue reading

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The Small Side of Average … The Series

It’s a matter of proportion and symmetry. It’s a question of what’s practical and what isn’t. It involves applications that are more sublime than challenging. It has to do with aesthetics and perspectives. Whether you think it should or not, it can affect a man’s self-esteem. Though it stays hidden from the eyes of those around him, a man’s penis is a part of his body that defines his identity.

Take a look at the poll. It’s close to a draw. About half the male respondents say penis size doesn’t matter or they prefer a small size. A little higher ratio of the female respondents prefer a larger size, which stands to reason given their physical architecture. This tells me that any man with a smaller size can walk proudly on a nude beach or in a locker room.

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PENIS SIZE IS: (check one)

View Results

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Out in the sun without his clothes. He’s not hung like a stallion, nor is he concerned about the size of his penis. He’s simply enjoying being naked. Makes you wonder why days like this aren’t part of all of our lives.

What does he think about when he looks at himself in the mirror? What does he see? Does he think his penis is too small, wish he had a bigger one? Or does he like himself the way he is? Does he worry about what his new girlfriend or boyfriend will think when they first see him naked? Or is he confident they will marvel at his body as he most certainly will theirs?

So beauty, masculinity and sex appeal lie in the eye of the beholder. Since nearly half of the human population, according to the poll, finds men with smaller penises more sexually desirable, we can put aside the notion of “size matters”. Perhaps it does, but only for some. So if you look like the guys in this series, rest assured you can get naked with someone and enjoy your body.

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Certain Things Come Naturally

A different angle on understanding body acceptance, human sexuality and bisexual men.

Suppose you start with a clean slate. Suppose our many religions never got into the anti-sex business. Suppose it wouldn’t occur to us to tell young boys their penises are naughty and should always be covered. Wash away all the lifelong indoctrinations, the prejudices and the nurtured guilt. You would have a society where men could feel good about their own thoughts and see the world through a natural prism.

Such societies do exist, though they exist in the world’s remotest jungles. These people haven’t been taught to be ashamed of their bodies. They live their lives without clothes. I wonder how they perceive same-sex attractions. Not that I see these primitive worlds as dreamy Utopias. Who would want to give up electric lights and the Internet? I’m saying if we’re not taught that certain things come naturally, such as body acceptance and diversity in human sexuality, we could live our lives naturally. We could take off all our clothes at public beaches, play in the surf naked, enjoy our bodies with all their unique nuances, and the bodies of others without guilt or shame.

Men would not be frowned upon, mocked or threatened for thoughts that come to them naturally. The inherent desire for an intimate relationship with other men found in the majority of us would not be suppressed, or denied, or condemned. No, I don’t believe most men would be out pursuing intimacy with other men. Most would still be pursuing women. They would still have a desire to spend their lives with a woman, make a home and have children. But since their minds have been cleansed of the ancient and tiresome dogmas, certain circumstances bring on thoughts and ideas.

Two guys, coworkers, plan a camping weekend together, for example. They end up finding a spot in a seclude cove. They’ve been fishing all morning. It’s gotten hot so they decide to go for a swim. Off comes their clothes and they dive into the water, splash around and engage in a little horseplay. Neither has ever had a same-sex experience, nor have they sought one; yet the nudity, the close proximity, the inadvertent touching where they’ve never touched or been touched before becomes the catalyst for two erections. Certain curiosities evolve in their minds. Camaraderie and laughter turns into thoughtful gazes. Each realizes that he finds the other attractive, for a man that is. “Have you ever …” one asks the other, which opens the door for a little mutual exploring. Before day’s end, a friendship has reached a new level.

To carry the example a little further: as the weekend draws to a close, both men go home to their wives. Typically, based on testimonial I’ve read, these men returned to home with a heightened appreciation for their wives, a rekindled awareness of how much they love the women they married, yet they feel somewhat different about themselves, more rounded, more connected to life. It was a weekend a new memory was born, a weekend that brought Continue reading

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A Work of Art

Jean Delville was born in Louvain in 1867 and died in 1953. Delville considered art to play a key role in uplifting people from their blindness. He saw true artists as initiates who would present images which would teach and transform human nature. It is believed that Delville saw artists as priests and prophets.
The School of Plato, 1898

A beautiful work of art, no one could deny that. But is it also a statement?

Most of us have certain religious or spiritual beliefs. What many do not consider is that some of those beliefs are rooted in perspectives that were conceived in the minds of autocrats many centuries ago. We don’t think about what has been left out of the Bible, or what may have been altered to fit the dogma of those autocrats. That dogma included the notion that the human body, and intimate male interaction, was shameful.

Perhaps it’s time to contemplate a new perspective. Did Jesus see things differently from what we’ve been led to believe? I, for one, like to think so. The human body, in this case the male, is nothing short of miraculous creation. Is it possible Jesus saw it the same way, that He believed the body should be enjoyed and celebrated?

Here are closer views of the detail in Delville’s painting:

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