Seizing Opportunities

A lot has been said about generational differences and their impact on the more formal, structured naturist movement, such as clubs and organizations. In a nutshell, membership and participation, particularly in America, is on the decline, with nudism appearing to many as a fairly sedentary activity for older people. Maybe that’s accurate, maybe it isn’t. But as with everything, it depends on your motivation, environment, beliefs, and perspective. One characteristic I have noted among younger generations in relation to naturism is the willingness to seize opportunities.

While some may argue that American nudism is on the decline, it’s interesting that nudity has never been more popular. Twenty years ago, nudity on anything other than late night sexually oriented subscription or pay per view adult television was unheard of. Today, brief nude moments aren’t out of the ordinary. Shows like Naked and Afraid, Naked Dating, and various documentaries don’t shy away from nudity, although female breasts and genitals are still blurred out (an asinine practice). Just yesterday I watched an evening television show and saw an obviously nude man, filmed from behind for an extended scene. Not uncommon.

That’s just television. With the Internet and everyone carrying a mobile device nearly 24/7, you can see nudity anytime, anywhere, however you want it. Add in music videos, advertising, and video games, and nudity is much much more common than it used to be. Granted, much of today’s nudity has a strong sexual element to it and is far from what I would see as naturist. But regardless, younger generations seem to increasingly view nudity as something far from dirty or immoral. If anything, they tend to be more ambivalent towards it. This creates a very permissive environment where nudity isn’t seen as scandalous or anything like that. It’s something you either like or you don’t, no big thing.

And increasingly, they do like it! I don’t have data to support my argument other than a “gut feel” after years of observation and reading countless articles, interviews, and podcasts on the subject. But with younger generations, I’d say you’d find casual nudity among friends — at home, on vacation, at the beach, by the pool, skinny dipping at a lake, on a hike, in the backyard, whatever….much more common today than years before.

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Seizing a naturist opportunity

The driving force in this is a rejection that a nude body is inherently bad, coupled with a liberal attitude toward nudity in general and an acceptance that being nude is a positive, healthy, rewarding experience. Accordingly, they are open for opportunities to enjoy being nude or allow others to do so around them. To do it, they don’t feel the need to go to a nudist resort, particularly with the costs, bureaucratic processes and rules, remote locations, older clientele, and fairly basic facilities. “Why go there when I can be nude right here, or wherever I choose as long as I’m smart about it”.

Unlike previous generations, the young are dialed into social media and are used to everyone knowing what they think and what they’re doing. While they aren’t totally immune from societal norms regarding nudity, they don’t feel the need to be quite so secretive about it. They aren’t worried about the boss finding out, seeing a coworker there, or losing their job. They aren’t concerned with their pastor finding out. So they went to a nude beach…so what. So they stripped down at the lake this weekend with some friends…who cares. So their friends saw them naked…no biggie.

It’s all about seizing opportunities when they arise, a principle I’ve tried to add to my approach toward not just naturism, but life. Yes, organizations and clubs offer many positive attributes and are worthwhile endeavors. However, sometimes, in fact most times, naturism just happens…..if you let it.

What do you think?  Have you seized an opportunity?  Leave a comment. 

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Naturism Teaches

I often refer to naturism as a hobby rather than a lifestyle. It is something I genuinely cherish. I always have, always will. It’s part of me, an important part. But it doesn’t guide my life. There are many things that are more important. But likewise, there are things that are less important to me. If that makes me less of a naturist to some, so be it. I know who I am and what matters to me.

I have to say though, I know for certain that I am a better person today as a result of being a naturist. It has definitely changed me and helped me grow. There are two areas specifically, where I see this most prominently, body image and acceptance.

When I say body image, I’m not talking about my own. Well, that too I suppose. But I’m talking about others. I’ve definitely come to see beauty in other bodies where I might not have when I was younger. The phrase “all bodies are beautiful” is the truth, and naturism teaches that. What I would have mocked before, I now accept, and even celebrate. I’m definitely less judgmental and critical. It doesn’t mean I don’t value health and fitness. I do. But I can now see beauty, confidence, and elegance in all.

The first time I saw a woman topless I was on a beach in Spain with a group of non-naturist friends. I hadn’t noticed her at first but one of my friends did. She was an older mildly-overweight German woman. The dichotomy between our reactions to seeing her, my friends vs mine, was significant. They went on and on about how no one wants to see that, she should put something on, they couldn’t unsee what they saw, etc…. It was all about how her toplessness impacted them. There were no thoughts about her, her thoughts, motives, feelings about what being topless meant to her.

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Naturism appreciates all shapes, sizes, and ages.  It’s fun for all!

I on the other hand was struck with her beauty. Not just physically, but how she carried herself — supremely confident and content. She knew exactly what she was doing. How these pasty white Americans felt about it was nowhere in the equation. I was impressed.

We saw many topless women on the beach that day and the response was always the same. If she was young, fit, and pert….she got positive comments. Otherwise, it was more of the same. It was sad to see. I wasn’t sure why they felt obliged to pass judgement on these women and their bodies at all. But they did. I had finally had enough and had to point out to them that they weren’t exactly ready for the cover of GQ themselves and they should keep their judgements to themselves. But…they didn’t get it. Too many years of conditioning perhaps.

But this highlighted to me that I was different. My response was different. Sure, I liked to see a pretty naked girl as much as the next guy. But I wasn’t so blind that I couldn’t see beauty in other body types and sizes. I can remember that moment and that German woman like it was yesterday. It was a seminal moment in my naturist evolution and maturing. I remember her fondly.

The other area where naturism has helped me grow is acceptance, specifically of my fellow nudist men. Society discourages men from admitting the beauty in the nude male in any way. You just never hear young men say that another man is good looking. The scourge of homophobia prevents it. To see that accentuated tenfold, witness men’s reaction to other nude men. “Gross, oh my god, sausage party, who wants to see that” they’ll yell as they avert their gaze.

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Nudity, male or female, is beautiful

Naturism taught me that male nudity is just as beautiful as female nudity, for the same reasons. I simply find nudity beautiful. I don’t worry about how that acceptance impacts my sexuality, because it doesn’t. I can see a nude man and appreciate a beautiful strong penis just as I can see a nude woman, and appreciate beautiful breasts. It’s the nudity that is beautiful. Their sex is immaterial.

So naturism may be a hobby in many ways, but it’s an important ingredient that makes me, me. In addition to providing me years of happiness and fun, its made me wiser and more accepting. I’m not sure who’d I be without it. Glad I don’t have to find out.

What do you think?  What has naturism taught you?  Leave a comment.  

Freehiking

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“Freehiking”, or hiking nude, is an extremely naturist experience.  Nothing beats being out in nature completely naturally.

Sometimes naturist opportunities present themselves when you least expect it. I’m a believer that it’s important to take advantage of them when they pop up, and enjoy those moments. Once such opportunity occurred with me while on a family vacation.

While this wasn’t a vacation where naturism was featured, I do keep my eye out for opportunities. We had been boating on this trip, a popular naturist pastime. Even though it was a fairly public area, it would have been VERY easy to go sans suit as long as I didn’t stand up and stayed away from other boats. But even though the opportunity was there, that wasn’t what that day was about. We were too busy tubing and driving the boat. To be honest, it really didn’t cross my mind at all at the time. I was having too much fun doing what we were doing.

But hiking was a different story. I thought I might have the chance for some “free hiking” on this trip. I’m the early riser of the family and I had asked if anyone wanted to accompany me on an early morning hike in the woods overlooking a large lake nearby. No takers. I had thought about the potential of doing some part of my hike nude, but that wasn’t my focus. I really just wanted to get outside, hike, and enjoy the countryside.  Doing it clothed was fine.

But I was still intrigued with the idea of potentially being able to hike nude, so I figured I’d consider it once I got to the trail. I had never hiked it before and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I am very conscientious about being nude. I don’t want to shock, startle, or offend anyone. That’s not why I’m doing it and certainly not my intention. So, I knew if I wasn’t 99% sure I was alone, I’d stay clothed.

When I pulled up into the parking area at the trail head, I was the only car there. While that is a pretty good sign, it isn’t full proof. Mountain bikers use this trail and they may ride to the trailhead, so they wouldn’t have cars. Plus, there are connectors to this trail, from other trail heads with other parking areas. So, no cars here wasn’t a sure bet. They could have parked elsewhere, or hiked over from nearby camping areas. But….at 6:20 AM….it was a pretty good sign.

I started out and got about a quarter mile in when I walked through a couple of spider webs that crossed the path. So….that told me no one had been that way today. I was walking pretty fast so I didn’t think a hiker could come up behind me. A biker, yeah, maybe. But I’d hear him coming. The trail had a pretty good grade at the start and it was rocky and twig covered….and loud enough that I could hear someone approaching.

It was in the mid-high 70s so I was just wearing a t-shirt and running shorts with a small backpack.  I knew I could get undressed pretty quickly. I paused there for a minute and listened. Nothing but dew falling from leaves. I walked a bit further and stopped to listen again. Dead quiet.

I’ve taken advantage of many naturist opportunities I’ve had. I’m a firm believer that regrets suck. Much much better to take a chance now than wish you had later. Life is about experiences. You have to grasp them when they come along. So…I did.

This wasn’t my first nude hike. I had done it before on other trips. But those experiences were spur of the moment type things, very short and more nerve wracking than anything else. While I had enjoyed the experience, I wished I had been more deliberate doing it. Today, I wasn’t nervous or befuddled at all. I had given this plenty of consideration and weighed the risk vs reward. To me, there was little risk, and significant reward. Being nude in nature is simply the most natural thing in the world. I absolutely love it and I had the opportunity to experience it.

So anyway, I decided to proceed. Getting out of my clothes was very quick and easy.
Once I was nude, I looked around. Still deathly quiet and still. So, I hiked on…..nude, carrying my clothes. I continued to scan well ahead and behind me, pausing and listening. I was the only one out there. I probably went about a third of a mile before I approached a crossing trail. I decided to get dressed again. Later, I came across two other spots that were very naturist friendly where I once again disrobed. They were well positioned that I could see anyone approaching long before they saw me.

All in all, I’d guess I was nude for about a half mile to a mile. Never saw anyone while I was nude. I was passed by a mountain biker at one point. I was dressed. We exchanged greetings. That was about it. I wondered what would have happened if I had been nude? Hard to say. Could have been no big deal. Could have been a very big deal. Like I said, I’m very considerate regarding my nudity. I know the naturist lifestyle isn’t for everyone. I respect others opinions and feelings, just as I hope they do mine.

Anyway, it was a great experience. Very glad I took the opportunity. If the time and place is right, certainly something I’ll do again.

 

Stand out in a crowd

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One of the unique characteristics of “clothing optional” environments is that you may find yourself being the only one nude amongst a group of clothed people. To non-naturists, this scenario sounds like a nightmare. “They’d see me naked!!!!” Yeah…..so??

In general, I think “clothing optional” is a good thing. It provides everyone the opportunity to do what’s right for them, at their own pace. For some people, going nude is something they want to try, but are very nervous about. So…clothing optional helps. However, it does come with some baggage, namely voyeurism.

Unfortunately, some people come to clothing optional venues, particularly nude beaches, simply to see what they can see, with zero understanding of what naturism is about and absolutely no intentions of participating. Basically, they are there to look. That’s unfortunate. Few things can shatter an enjoyable naturist experience like having a perv sit there staring at you, worse yet…recording or photographing you.

Fortunately, if the time and place are right, nothing prevents you from creating your own clothing optional environment. Perhaps at your home, by your pool, in your backyard, on vacation, swimming, hiking, camping, whatever…. I’m not saying it’s just as simple as that.  It’s a leap, particularly for someone new to naturism.  You have to really think it through and be prepared for every answer.  The key ingredient is once again, talking to people and discussing you thoughts and motivation.  Sure, if you are just suddenly nude, that may raise some eyebrows. But if you take the time to discuss it, you may be surprised.

Being nude is a joy. Be willing to ask, “would it bother you if I….” You may be pleasantly surprised with the answer!


Personally, I believe that many people have closeted naturist desires, long since suppressed, that they just don’t act on. Consequently, when approached by a friend or family member about how they would feel if that person went nude, they may be quite open to the idea.  Perhaps part of their thought process is rooted in their own suppressed desire to do something similar. Maybe your nudity rekindles a spark of interest an curiousity in them.  

I’m quite comfortable being the only one nude among friends or family.  But I’ve never done it on a whim.  I thought it through and ensured everyone was comfortable with the idea.  While I would always prefer some naturist company, going it alone is usually better than not going at all.  If you trust your beliefs, trust your family and friends, explain your thoughts and why this is important to you, you can find yourself with nude opportunities you never expected.

What do you think?  Have you ever been the only one nude among friends and family?  Leave a comment. 

Keep Calm….

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Note:  I chose to write this entry with a great deal of trepidation.  Why?  Two reasons.  First, because it’s been done to death.  Second, and more importantly, by what I say below, many naturists would label me as not a real naturist, and part of the problem to maintaining the sex-nudity link that non-naturists think is all we are about.

I don’t like being judged, particularly by people who don’t even know me.  But some will read this and judge me. That’s ok.  I have thick skin and can handle it.  So I’ll just say this:  This blog, and particularly this post, was written by a naturist.  Not a “so called naturist”. I’m a naturist who values respect, sees beauty in all bodies, and is fully able to disconnect sex with nudity.  I’m not a swinger, I’m not an exhibitionist, I’m not out to shock or offend anyone. I’m actually quite reserved and conservative.  This is just what I think on this particular topic.  I ask people to respect that and withold judgement.

One of the most commonly asked questions by non-naturists is “what do men do when they get an erection”? The question on its own illustrates the inability of most non-naturists to disconnect nudity with sex. In other words, most would believe that “if men are nude around nude women, they’ll all be erect!” Wrong. Nudity by itself isn’t inherently sexual, not to a naturist at least.

However, it is on this topic that I differ with many more traditional naturists. They would tell you that, “it never happens”. Ok, that may be true, in their experiences. In fact, that may be true in most experiences. But I don’t agree that it’s true for everyone on all occasions. I’ll admit, my experience with formal naturist resorts and clubs is limited, for reasons that will become clearer momentarily. However, speaking for myself and my penis….it does happen….not always, but it does happen fairly often.  Pretending it doesn’t, or assuming that if it does it identifies that man as less of a naturist, impure, or immoral…is to make the exact same fallacious argument that textiles have made about naturists for years — determining and subsequently condemning someone based on assumptions, misinterpretation, and preconceived notions. Just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a man by his penis.

As most men can attest, erections occur for a variety of reasons, the primary of which is, admittedly, sexual arousal. However, they also occur for other reasons, some of which may be all but involuntary. They just happen. Is that fairly rare?   Yes.  But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

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Is an erection a naturist pariah?  Should it be?

Speaking once again for myself, when I get nude as a means of relaxation or recreation, I often experience an erection, to some degree. Even if I’m alone or not thinking of anything remotely sexual, I can get an erection simply by undressing. Why? I don’t know precisely but I associate it with the enjoyment I take from being nude, the exhilaration. It’s a release.  A demonstration of my happiness and enjoyment of the moment.

For years I was very self conscious of this. On one hand, I dreamed about the idea of being able to be casually nude, with others, in every day settings. But I figured it was unlikely to ever happen since I knew I’d quite likely be erect, for at least part of the time, on some level, and therefore rejected by all the “true naturists” in the group. Basically, they’d see me as a problem, a weirdo.

I found that frustrating to say the least. Wasn’t I a naturist? I thought I had found a lifestyle I identified with. I thought I found “my people”, at least in regards to this life aspect. On this subject, we agreed — nudity is a good, positive, and healthy thing. Yet I’m cast aside like some kind of pariah….because my penis isn’t completely flaccid?? Really?

I did all I could to conform to the naturist norm — “erections don’t happen, if they do you should try to get them to go away or hide them”. But my efforts to “will them” to fade never had much success. This only compounded my frustration. Here I was, once again, trying to comply with a norm I didn’t entirely agree with, imposed by others. This predicament sounded familiar.

I understood and still do understand the concerns of others. Naturist environments should be positive, healthy, and safe, for everyone. Would women feel those qualities with men walking around with erections? Probably not, particularly if they don’t know them, aren’t friends, and don’t know what’s going on in their minds. They’d have to wonder, “what’s this guys motive”? I certainly don’t want to impact someone else’s enjoyment of something I cherish so much.

But, what they feared…”that guy”….wasn’t, isn’t, and has never been, me. I wasn’t some guy on the prowl, encouraging the situation, wanting to “show off” the goods. I was just a budding naturist, excited about being able to be nude, like I had always dreamed of. Was that so wrong? I didn’t agree with the premise — a nude penis is ok, but a nude erect penis is bad. Could it be? Sure, in some cases. But not in mine.

Consequently, I had a choice to make. I could keep things to myself, as I had done for years, and stay in the closet. Initially, I did this.  I felt like I had to.  I couldn’t be open as a naturist….because apparently I was doing it wrong.  I still sought out nude time, but only when alone, so as not to offend anyone.  If I was erect, no one would see or know.  But I didnt feel like I was doing anything wrong so I still felt frustrated.  Why should I have to hide?!

I could also try harder to conform — hoping for the best but always being ready to hide “it” or get rid of “it”, an option that never seemed very effective. I tried it anyway, coming up with topics I could focus on to hopefully remove the tendency if I felt one coming on.  I suppose I made some progress. But once again, I had a hard time with the premise — your erect penis needs to go away or be hidden.  Why?

My final option was the path I chose  — what happens, happens. Pretty simple. But that approach clearly has some risks. Not all naturists would concur with my laissez-faire approach and would likely reject me on sight. Agreed. But I thought maybe I could head that off at the pass.

Like I said, to me, an erect penis isn’t necessarily bad. But how are people to know just what your motivation is, who you are, what your story is?  Answer — you talk to them about it. Like so many things in life, discussion and meaningful dialogue goes a long way towards solving problems, incorrect assumptions and misunderstandings.  Talking helps.

A threat? A deviant? A problem? Yes….maybe. But, maybe not. Can you tell?


So, my additional step was, and is, to simply explain the situation and my thoughts to the people I’m around.  I’m more at home with small groups. In these settings, I know them and they know me. There is a trust bond. That trust makes the difference. I simply discuss naturism, what it means to me, and my thoughts on erections. Then I get their thoughts. If they don’t mind, then that’s that. If they do mind or it makes them uncomfortable, I simply try my best to make it a non-issue. If unsuccessful, I get dressed. The comfort of my guests and friends is more important to me than my being nude. If I simply proceeded with the idea of “that’s their problem”, it wouldn’t help anyone. So I don’t. And so far, it hasn’t been a problem. Sometimes I have erections, but usually I don’t. They come and go. I certainly don’t encourage them, but I don’t hide them either. No big deal. No one seems to mind.

The result — naturist bliss. Gone is the worry, consternation and embarrassment. Replaced with joy, relaxation, and happiness. As the saying goes, “keep calm, it’s only a penis”.

So what do you think?  Only looking for genuine comments and experiences.  To my naturist sisters, could you be comfortable around a friend or family member if he was erect?  I wouldn’t think it likely with total strangers. How does the bond of friendship impact your concerns or comfort level?