Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why Nudism is Good

There is a dreadful anxiety surrounding nudity among many in the general public. A rather common opinion is that nudity is wrong, sinful, and offensive and best left practiced behind closed doors if people must engage in nudism so that they do not offend others by exposing themselves. Some object to any public exposure of a naked human body on moral, religious or decency grounds and regard the exposure of a naked body as inherently sexual. Societies, especially here in this country have enacted laws that criminalize nudity on the basis of an indecency theory. Such laws imply that it is reasonable to associate emotions like disgust and shame with the nude human body. As many other countries across the world know and many societies in the past have proven, this is simply not true. Nudity is a natural and normal state of being that should be embraced and supported in all of its positive forms.

Like pretty much any activity or state of being, nudity has good and bad forms. Good forms of nudity and nude activities include but are not limited to sunbathing, swimming, enjoying nature and simply socializing. Naturism is the philosophy of living in harmony with nature. This includes an affinity and respect for wildlife and the natural environment, an attempt to live a healthy lifestyle, and the acceptance of the human body as naturally good and wholesome, hence a rejection of the culture of lust and shame regarding the nude human body.

Nudity also has its bad forms and these include most of what the mass media ties to nudity: harassment, molestation, exhibitionism, voyeurism and hedonism. Much of the fear and sensationalism surrounding nudity in American society stems directly from the publicly held belief that nudity is somehow necessarily or at least usually connected with sex. Many advertisers contribute to this notion by producing risqué commercials and popularizing bare sex appeal as a virtue. For the most part, these advertisers are following a “sex sells” mantra and disregard the effects that their messages have on society and the people who see them and the conceptual images of nudity and sex in the eyes of those people.

There is, of course, no necessary connection between nudity and sex, but rather only a coincidental one. Nudity does not need to imply sex in the least. There are forces in American society that have made a fortune endorsing and reinforcing that causal link, but that doesn’t make it any truer. That nudity implies sexuality is the biggest misconception that naturists have to fight and this connection between nudism and sex is the biggest reason why so many in society view nudism in a negative way. There is a difference between displaying genitalia in a mixed social setting and sexual behavior. All conventional nudist organizations reject the use of the terms “nudism” or “naturism” as a cover for sexual activity. Most nudists are very conservative and monogamous in their sexual behavior. Family-oriented nudist resorts have policies regarding displays of physical affection, restricting any manner of public sexual conduct. This is not to say that nudists are against sexuality or passing judgment on sexual activities among consenting adults. Nudists simply believe as most of society does that there is an appropriate time and place for it. Naturists enjoy social nudity, but like everyone else they keep their sex life private.

Nudism is a wholesome, healthy lifestyle and there are innumerable reasons to be nude when you can. Being nude in a comfortable and relaxed situation is a serene and wonderful experience and offers the freedom to be happy, healthy, active, productive, sane, social, bold, unashamed, and truly alive. Social nudism is an interesting and effective way to communicate and bond with others. Nudity is relaxing and stress-relieving, which is healthy for the body and mind. Nudity also has other positive physical health benefits. Moderate exposure to sunlight increases Vitamin D intake and actually improves many aspects of skin health, discouraging fungal and bacterial infections. In fact, sunlight exposure is even sometimes prescribed for people with some skin diseases. Nudity allows more exposure and gets sunlight to body areas normally neglected.

One of the most compelling principles of nudism is the ideal of body acceptance. Mainstream society and mass media makes harsh judgments about and often discriminates against those who don’t match the unrealistic air-brushed and digitally enhanced ideal promoted by Madison Avenue. In the past women have born the brunt of being made to feel shame by not living up to these unrealistic ideals of the body, but now many younger men are also being made to feel insecure because they don’t match up to similar unrealistic ideals. Most nudists and naturists make you feel welcome no matter what you look like. Nudists have developed some very positive ideas about what nudity should be about and promote acceptance. This in turn helps many to develop a better self-image and improved body image.

Nudity is not an activity or act or a behavior, but simply a lifestyle in the absence of clothing. Participating in social nudist gatherings is not an event, it’s just an opportunity to feel free, be comfortable and healthy. I think it is always important to remember that you are not getting nude for others, but getting nude for yourself. Nudism shows people can be nude with dignity. The human body should be considered sacred and beautiful. Nudism is a way to enjoy nudity the highest level. We should be proud and feel pure while nude, not ashamed or dirty-feeling.

1 comment:

  1. I suppose I should be flattered, but it would be nice to have a link back to my original essay on this topic (Why Nudity Is Good), considering the subject matter and the borrowing of content.