(This is a response to the following article by Peter Terp: www.spotnaked.com/taboo-among-nudists-and-naturists/868/)
In his article, Peter identifies five taboos which he feels exist among naturists. I’m going to give my own thoughts on the same five things.
Naturism and sex. It’s a big one. For decades, maybe even centuries, we have been given the idea by our society that the only time men and women are naked together is when they are having sex. Naturists go against that idea; naturist men and women socialise together, nude, without any sexual act or behaviour taking place.
Of course, mainstream society can’t understand that, so they assume that naturism is a sexual activity.
Naturism isn’t sexual. Naturists have broken that automatic link between being nude and being sexual. To a naturist/nudist, having no clothes on does not mean a person is having or wanting sex.
But that is not to say that naturists do not ever have sex, think about sex, or talk about sex.
Naturists are human beings, the same as anyone else, and they have the same desires and motivations as anyone else. All that being a naturist means is that you can be, and enjoy being, naked with others, without it being sexual.
If sex is a taboo subject among naturists, it is because on all sides naturists are surrounded by people linking their lifestyle with sex. Non-naturists are assuming their behaviour is sexual. Naturist images are used on porn sites. Naturism and enjoyment of nudity is a subject for sexual fantasy among non-naturists.
So it is perhaps not surprising that some naturists go out of their way to keep sex and naturism very seperate.
Of course, there are those who go the other way and argue that naturism is too resistant and oppressive about sexuality. They may have a point, too - you can seem like you are “protesting too much” if you start telling people how non-sexual it is before sex has even been mentioned!
Personally, I don’t think sex is taboo among naturists. It just has as little to do with naturism as it does to do with classic car rallies or rock climbing or knitting, so it doesn’t need to be autimatically mentioned when talking about what we do. But we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it when we want to, either.
Looking at Others
Staring at someone, clothed or nude, is impolite. And eye-contact is a positive thing which helps conversation, connection and confidence.
But it is silly to assume that when people are nude socially together they never look at one another.
It is all about behaving appropriately. If you sit on a nude beach staring at a woman, that isn’t socially responsible behaviour, it’s just creepy and weird. And no amount of “it’s natural to look” is going to defend you from the fact that you are, at best, someone with no grace or respect towards others.
But at the same time, you are a person with eyes to look out of, and if you were avoiding looking at people altogether, that would be just as abnormal as if you were staring at boobs the whole time.
Also, you quickly find in a naturist environment - beach, club, resort, whatever - that it doesn’t take long before you stop really noticing that the people you are seeing are naked, so you stop being conscious of what you are actually seeing.
So I don’t think looking is taboo - but staring rudely is, and rightly so.
Clothing Optional (vs. Nude)
I think that realistically, at least in Britain, naturist clubs with outdoor facilities are pretty relaxed about how nude you go. You dress appropriately for the situation. If it’s cold, nobody is going to begrudge you putting clothes on. If you’re doing something hazardous, wear appropriate protection.
But if there is no reason to be clothed, in my opinion, you should be nude. Or why are you there?
I wouldn’t assume a dressed person was a “perv” at a nude event or location. But I would wonder why they had taken the time (and money) to go to somewhere where the only difference between that place and any other is that you can be nude socially, and then not be nude?
So while I think it is good (and more friendly) that people aren’t draconian about enforcing nudity on visitors to naturist clubs, I think people should be made aware that nudity is the norm, and that they would be expected to behave in that way. And if they don’t wish to behave that way, they have no real reason to be there.
I’m kind of sick of this as a topic. I don’t think it’s taboo, I just think that the only people who discuss it are men with no experience of social nudity.
Because in a social nude situation, an erection just isn’t going to happen.
You won’t be confronted entirely with people who you find physically and sexually attractive. You will see all sorts, men and women. And they will see you. You will not get an erection with that particular cocktail of factors going on, I guarantee it. And as soon as you have experienced social nudity, you will wonder why you ever worried about getting an erection.
If you really can’t manage to be socially nude without becoming physically aroused to the point where your penis is erect, it might be time to rethink why you are so keen to be around naked people in the first place.
A lot of people fabricate sexual fantasies around naturism and perpetuate these online, giving a distorted view of the reality.
The fact is, you won’t get an erection. But, if you do, and people notice, no, they will not act like nothing is happening or be pleased to see you are aroused. If it happens, hide it, or go in the pool or something and that way people will know you didn’t mean it and won’t make a judgement about your reason for being there.
Erections are taboo, but that’s because they are so rare in social nude situations that the only people displaying them openly are those who are there because they find the whole thing sexually arousing, and they aren’t welcome at most nude venues.
The naturist goes nude because they enjoy being nude, the feeling and comfort of it. They go nude whether alone or with company.
The exhibitionist goes nude because they enjoy being seen naked by others (often to the point of sexual arousal). They only go nude with an audience.
How can you tell if someone is a nudist or an exhibitionist? You can’t just by looking at them. Unless you know their motivation or they are displaying that motivation in their behaviour, you can’t know.
Is exhibitionism bad? Sometimes. Some exhibitionists behave in a way which is tantamount to sexual assault - for example, men exposing themselves to women or children in public places for sexual gratification. That is not legal, and it is not behaviour which anyone who is a naturist should endorse.
But others are harmless and get their gratification without upsetting anyone and I see no problem with that.
The difficulty comes because some naturist behaviour can be interpreted as sexual exhibitionism and that can lead to innocent naturists being prosecuted and labelled as sexual offenders.
For example, if a man who is routinely nude at home walks past his open window and is seen by a mother with children, she may assume he is exhibiting himself to her and her kids for gratification. He is not, of course, but she doesn’t know that, so she goes to that explanation.
Or take the case of Steve Gough, the Naked Rambler. He’d be nude whether people were around or not, but as soon as there are people around, he is assumed to be exhibiting himself for gratification, and arrested.
I think the key to it all is understanding motivation and that will only come when the public are more aware of what naturism is and why naturists go nude, so they don’t automatically assume a naked person wants others to see them.