The Good, the Bad, the Naked

in life •  last year 

Something that's been a lot on my mind lately is our take on nudity and our attitude to it, as a society. Besides, this is the only thing non-book related I was able to come up with, so there you have it.
Yesterday, I took a much-needed break-day and went to the beach with a friend. As I've mentioned before, we go to this wild beach that is not high on the tourist-attraction list, which is awesome because it means few people go there so you have the beach to yourself and can relax in nature.
And as we settled down on a strip of sand, we noticed to our right a couple setting up camp and what drew my particular attention to them was that they were both naked. Completely.

Now, I've never been to a nudist beach and don't really have much experience with being naked in public.
So I stared discreetly for a bit, more out of curiosity than anything else and then, being the competitive person that I sometimes am, I decided I was up for the challenge.
So I said why the Hell not and took of my swimsuit First, in the intimacy of the sea, but then I buckled up and spent the rest of the day in my birthday suit.
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And boy, was it liberating! Seriously, if you've never gone swimming naked, you don't know what you're missing. I was impressed at how good it felt, how normal. And then I wondered why shouldn't it feel normal?
After all, the swimsuit is a fairly new invention and this is how people used to go swimming some while back. We've grown so weird about nudity that it feels like you're doing something special and slightly prohibited, but you're not.
You're doing something perfectly normal.

So, I spent the day sunbathing and swimming naked and it felt weird, sometimes, because it felt as if I was exposing myself in a way I shouldn't be although there were no clear rules on that beach stating you shouldn't go fully naked if you so wish. Even worse, it felt guilty, as if I'm showing off something bad and this is something that has been nagging me for a long time, now.
Not me, personally, I love the way I look, but this general feeling that nudity and everything related to sex is bad and dirty. We're being told how to think and what to think and that's annoying me.
At some point, two families with children came and settled down between us and that naked couple and I kept feeling weird – what if they make a fuss? The children were quite old, both above ten and one was a teenage girl, so there was nothing new, but still, I kept thinking that the parents would be scandalized.
And while they didn't say anything, they didn't look totally comfortable either and I think that's wrong. Why teach children to think of their own bodies as shameful?

Well, the easy answer is control. We're told to steer away from bad things. (Keep in mind that I'm not talking extremes here, of any kind)
Alcohol is bad, smoking is bad, and of course, sex is bad. Really bad. So is being naked. A lot of these ideas stem from the Church and from religion, in general. We're told that having sexual thoughts and desires is wrong, we're told that basically anything to do with sex is wrong and I think that's where all this fear of nakedness comes from, also.
It's dirty and yet, it's not. It's how we're born and I don't think we should be afraid of that.

Quick question, right now: Would you be okay with taking your clothes off completely on a beach? How about on the street?

If you said 'no', why did you?
I'm not talking about spending the day naked, because that can get dangerous – particularly for girls. But would you do a walk around the block, in full daylight, with no clothes on?


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So why should going naked be such a big deal? Historians disagree on when humans first started wearing clothes – 100,000 years ago seems a reasonable guess – but broadly concur that, for 99 per cent of our time on Earth, nudity has been the norm, and that dressing for the sake of decency is an almost wholly modern phenomenon. In the West, it wasn’t until the early Christian moralists began to make an association between nudity and sin that the big cover-up began. “The naked body,” wrote the art historian and author Kenneth Clark, “ceased to be a mirror of divine perfection and became, instead, an object of humiliation.”
source

This is very true, don't you think ? And yet, once we started wearing clothes, the going back was very hard, you'd be seen as a weirdo if you started going full naked, not to mention you'd get on the authorities' nerves.
And I wonder why should the authorities even care about this, surely if you're not harassing anyone, you shouldn't be on their radar. And yet, you are. A lot of people around the globe are being threatened with fines and even prosecution simply for being naked (on the beach, also) and that isn't a real reason, in my opinion. The police should be dealing with attacks, violence, rapes...stuff like that.

And again, I wonder, why do we have such a hard time about nudity (no pun intended)? Why do we dislike it so much?

One logical answer is that sure, you want to see some people naked, but most of them...nah, not really. And it's a good reason. But that's not where this fear and hatred of nudity comes from, it would make sense if it did. No, it comes from a long-ago campaign to make us feel bad about our bodies, about ourselves. And it's mighty stupid.

So what do you think? Why are we so embarrassed about being naked? And please do answer the question above, I'm most curious!

Thank you for reading,

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Being naked is really liberating, there are times when I wish I could go out without clothes.

I completely agree with you in that we are shaped by centuries of social habits and control which explains why it feels wrong to expose ourself around strangers.

But to answer your question I personally wouldn't do it because, as a man, I would get arrested and probably put on the sex offenders list...

Now to be perfectly honest I suppose I also prefer keeping my body to my wife rather than exposing myself to strangers anyway.

I do understand the liberated feeling though. This wasn't uncommon back in the 60s.
Fair play to you.

Thank you! and yes, you probably would get arrested, but it's totally silly. I mean if you're not upsetting anyone or hurting anyone, you shouldn't be :/ Ah, I get it, the idea of keeping your body reserved for a special someone, but I think you should have the right not to, if you wanted to.
:)

There are no bad actions per se. Be it alcohol, smoking or sex. The problem is that all these things usually cause momentary pleasure, and if people are not strong enough, these things become a vice. People end up becoming addicted to certain actions, end up looking for fleeting pleasure, and end up being unhappy in the long term, because by seeking immediate satisfaction it becomes impossible to maintain the order and discipline necessary to have a stable and successful life, that is, for self-realization .

Then, the Christian moralists had to discover this a few centuries ago, and all their prohibitions were based on the fact that the people, if they were free, would fall into all the vices and be incapable of self-realization, and what this subsequently means, would to get away from God, which is the idea of good, being able to do anything, even if it is a sin, to satisfy his vices.

Thus, when today we see the nakedness as something bad, it is not because it is bad per se, but because it can encourage the weak to pervert and sin, that is, because it can indirectly bring bad things. As you said, if people, especially women, go without clothes on the street, things become a little dangerous, not because of the nakedness itself, but because of the consequences.

Most of the religious prohibitions, indistinctly of religion, are not by the action itself, but by the direct and indirect consequences that this action can bring.

Remember also that at the height of Christianity, with their dress codes, they not only wanted to prevent women from being raped, but also that a child without parents be born, that couples be kept away from the sanctity of marriage, that men be perverted, and a large list of etceteras.

Thus, no action, such as being naked publicly, is bad in itself, as long as it is done with care, and so long as it does not affect oneself or others. Of course, this is just my opinion. Regards!

Interesting topic!

I have been naked outdoors a few times and I agree it felt liberating to me. Like some other topics, this one might be hard to opine on unless you've tried it. Thinking about it is one thing, experiencing it is something else. You may have a different opinion after doing it.

I would be okay with being naked on a beach, if it's not illegal and others are nude too, but I wouldn't do it on a street. I'm thinking of other people's level of comfort. If the beach is signed as clothing optional, then those who choose to stay clothed will at least know that naked people might be around and if they are not interested in seeing that, they should not be at that beach. Generally, no one expects to see naked people on the street. Someone might not prefer to be exposed to that, and they may need to be on that particular street, so they would be in an uncomfortable situation with little recourse.

As to why it might be uncomfortable to see, or embarrassing to be the person seen, I think people judge other people all the time, consciously and unconsciously, and being naked exposes more to be judged. Think about how we judge. We judge people's hair styles, clothes, cars, height, weight, complexion, jewelry, tattoos, makeup, slogans and logos on T shirts and hats; and then once we talk to them, we judge their intelligence, religion, politics, and basically everything they say.

If you feel good about how you look, you might not be embarrassed to be naked and may not care about any judgement. But others might not want to see you, for many reasons such has jealousy, fear of becoming aroused, not wanting to view anyone but their partner naked, as well as religious and societal reasons.

Does one individual's thoughts about what is proper behavior give them the right to do that thing, if many others will be put in a situation not of their choosing which will make them have a reaction consciously and unconsciously, some of which might be very deeply rooted in the biology of the brain and which requires some conscious work, over a period of time, to not react to? I think philosophers have been thinking about deep questions like this for centuries.

Those are some of my thoughts. Seems like a good topic to discuss in person over a meal or beverage for a few hours. I'd be interested in hearing other peoples thoughts in a more interactive manner than an online blog, but I'm also glad to chat about it in here. Thanks for the mental prompt! :)

I think we have a lot of unhealthy ideas about nudity and sex and a lot of fears concerning that area of our lives and maybe we shouldn't have them :/ Well, I've got a bunch of tattoos and I don't care who sees them. If anyone minds, I hope they know what they can do with that. I think it would be fun to go out naked :D

fear of becoming aroused,

What's there to fear about being aroused? :)
Yes, I'm sure it would make for interesting conversation, but since this is all we have..

Here's another similar post on steemit, by excellent artistic poet @jessandthesea which I think adds to our conversation!
https://steemit.com/poetry/@jessandthesea/pretty-soon-they-ll-be-calling-me-topless-in-mexico-city

As you may guess by my name I have no problem at all with living or doing anything in the buff. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the experience, you should definitely do it again sometime :)
You may also find my blog interesting if you want to read about a nudist perspective of nudity.

Indeed, I've checked out your blog and it seems interesting! I gave you a follow and will keep an eye on you. I do apologize for not upvoting anything atm, I usually do, but I'm trying to get my VP up after over-use :D

That's completely understandable :)

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