The Dark Side

I’m a Star Wars fan. Not to the point that I have a collection of figurines, do Cosplay, and routinely reference Star Wars as a suitable analogy in everyday business meetings. Not that there is anything wrong with that. It’s just not me. I just think it’s a really good story. If it’s on TV and see it in the listings, chances are I’ll stop by and watch….for the 3,457th time, regardless of which episode. Kind of like The Godfather.

I’ve always liked the idea of “The Force” with its Good and Dark sides. Various black-cloaked villains always threatening the heroes and heroines with the temptations and power of the Dark Side. I’ve always taken it to represent the side where self pursuit, desire for power, total control, omnipotence, and rule over others drives everything.

So how does this possibly relate to Naturism you ask? Bear with me here. Not that long ago I was reading a posting on a blog where the author was discussing how he had become a naturist. The story was fairly common — he spent time nude when no one was home, almost got caught once, etc… I can say that his story was common, almost implying mundane, since it so closely resembled my own. Anyway, in his entry the author took a twist I didn’t expect. He went down a path nearly all others steer well clear of. He said, and I’m paraphrasing here but this is pretty close…. He said, that it was during these early nude experiences that he quite often dabbled in “the dark side of nudism”. While not in so many words, I eventually realized he was talking about masturbating.

Oh my gosh….I was surprised, shocked even. He went there! He said the “M word” in a posting that was otherwise completely non-sexual and very naturist oriented. Wow! Now, it would have been easy to dismiss the post, and the entire blog itself as a wolf in sheep’s clothing — decidedly non-naturist while posing as one of my fellow nudie brethren. I’ve certainly come across plenty of such material on the web and have always quickly taken my web surfing elsewhere. But this time, I felt like doing that was wrong. He had hit on something. He had gotten me thinking, which I always appreciate. It didn’t mean I agreed with him or even really understood what he was saying. But I felt compelled to read on, consider the words, and potentially organize my own thoughts in a posting of my own, here. The dark side of nudism? Hmmm…..

As I said a number of entries ago, I’m interested in taking this blog to somewhere other than simply extolling the virtues of naturism. Although I admit, I still end up on that theme in most posts. I just can’t help it! But while I’m happy to champion what I view as a wonderful aspect of life, doing so becomes fairly redundant. Instead, I’m more interested in discussing life issues as they relate to naturism. And in this case, if someone rightly or wrongly refers to something as “the dark side of nudism”, then, well….there may be something there.

But I’ll admit, I’ve written this with a great deal of trepidation. When I wrote my entry about naturism and erections, and a few other posts that also addressed the topic, where I espoused a position that isn’t entirely in sync with the traditional naturist community, I received some backlash. Some of it simply reflected a difference of opinion, which is of course, fine. But others were somewhat mean spirited. So, even mentioning a sexual topic and seeming to help perpetuate the sex-naturism myth, would seem to be asking for a repeat. But the more I considered it, the more I felt like writing about it. Sex, either solo or with a partner, is part of life and I did see something to say in relation to naturism. So, I decided to trust myself and trust my readers. So….here it goes.

First and foremost….I’ll just say this. Masturbation, like any sexual activity, is not linked to naturism. They are separate activities. Just because they share a similarity, some level of nudity, doesn’t mean they go hand in hand….so to speak. One does not lead to the other. They are not inexplicably linked. But, they are both facets of life that can be viewed in similar contexts, by some. So, I do think it’s worthy of discussion.

I do not view masturbation negatively. In fact, just the opposite. As a casual past time, vs something obsessive, I think it’s extremely healthy and normal. Without a hint of shame or embarrassment, I proudly admit that, just as most men, I have masturbated since my teens and still do so today.  I don’t do it in secret and I don’t feel the need to hide it.  I’m lucky enough to be married to a woman who is very supportive and doesn’t mind if I masturbate, even as we lay in bed together in the evenings.

I didn’t always have such an open and egalitarian view towards masturbating however.  The thrill and joy of masturbating were juxtaposed to the feelings I felt afterwards….those of embarrassment and even some shame. No one was out there saying, “masturbating is healthy, everyone does it, enjoy it”. So, while drawn to it, young men are often left with mixed emotions afterwards. At least I was. I often felt like I had given in, failed even. “I should be stronger and avoid the temptation” I’d think to myself. Masturbating was wrong…..right?

So what does this have to do with naturism? It isn’t the nudity. That’s immaterial. It’s what I just highlighted — the emotions, the struggle of trying to understand why something that seems so right can be treated by many as so wrong. It’s the same struggle many budding naturists encounter.

As for me personally, I followed a similar path of coming to accept both naturism and masturbation as very healthy and fulfilling activities. I didn’t shout my thoughts from the roof tops on either issue. But the key is, I navigated my way though the decision process and came out much better for it. While I never felt shame or embarrassment over being nude, it took more reflection and thought before I could reach the same point regarding masturbation. But fortunately, I did.

Consequently, I found the author’s position of masturbating as “the dark side of nudism” to be completely misplaced. It is neither a bright side or a dark side of nudism, no more than its the dark side of car repair or cooking. They don’t have anything to do with each other. It’s a part of life in general, bright or dark, as determined by the individual.

So, what do you think? Did you ever see these lines as blurred? Was the author on target with seeing this as linked with nudism? Or is it yet another example of people incorrectly associating the two? Is this just part of adolescence? Do you think I’ve gone too far by even discussing this topic?


Removing Shame

Nobody likes being embarrassed. But it happens. You say something, do something….and then whoops….red face embarrassment sets it. Why? It varies I suppose. You feel dumb. You come off in a less than flattering light. You show yourself to others in a manner that they aren’t used to. But regardless, as we mature, we learn that being embarrassed isn’t really that big of a deal. It’s part of life.  

Many view being nude as embarrassing, particularly if someone sees you. For some, it’s the ultimate embarrassment. But for a naturist, that’s certainly not the case. Being nude is something we cherish and celebrate. As I’ve said before, I feel pride when I’m nude, alone or around others, nude or clothed. That pride isn’t rooted in some level of vanity over my nudity. Instead it’s pride that I found and embraced naturism. I’m proud that I enjoy being nude and can see all the wonderful things it has brought me. 

Many naturists reach this point in the lives. However, the road to get there can be a difficult one. Some struggle with their attraction to being nude, succumbing to societal norms that deny nudity as something enriching, wholesome, and wonderful. This struggle, that I’ve spoken of many times, can be life changing for some would-be-naturists. It can lead some to feel shame in their desire to be nude. Shame. Really consider that for a moment. They feel shame in their own nudity…their own body. It’s hard to understand.  

I can see embarrassment and shame as being on a continuum. In other words, what starts out as embarrassment, can turn into shame if you obsess on it, don’t truly recognize and understand it, or fail to develop a coping strategy for it. Whether Adam and Eve learning shame over their nakedness in the Garden of Eden or a young man or woman feeling shame over wanting to be nude but being told it’s wrong, shame is a powerful thing. Unfortunately, it finds itself into many people’s lives in a misguided fashion.   

A common thread I’ve noticed among naturists biographies, is that those who come to it later in life, nearly always say they wished they had done so earlier. The reasons for not doing so vary — jobs, family, misunderstanding of what it was. But likewise common, is that many “later-life naturists,” knew at a young age that they quite enjoyed being nude. Unfortunately, life factors, embarrassment and shame being chief among them, caused them to turn away from naturism and deny it. While I’m glad they found it later in life, it’s sad that they felt so much negative emotion in relation to it earlier in life. You have to wonder, what could have been?

I’ve found that as I age, I am much less concerned with what other people think and how others view me. As a result, I’m increasingly comfortable with my naturist side and my naturist activities — looking for them, celebrating them, being open about them. If everyone is comfortable with my nudity, I am quite comfortable being nude among non-naturists. I see it as healthy and fulfilling, not just for me, but as an example for them. Maybe they secretly have a repressed desire to be nude themselves, covered by years of embarrassment and even shame. If so, I’m happy to serve as a guiding light.  

While naturists are not a homogeneous group and can’t be viewed with a cookie cutter approach, we do know something about seeing past or overcoming embarrassment and shame. We know something about looking for the positives and even when those may be misunderstood by many, we find a way to embrace them and celebrate them. Sure….I get embarrassed sometimes. But I feel no embarrassment or shame over my nudity. One of the many reasons I’m so happy I found naturism, or it found me.  

The Meandering Naturist — Demographics of Nakedness

Superb, thought provoking post from The Meandering Naturist regarding some of the “myths” of naturist demographics….well, what some may perceive as myths.  I’ve always found that arbitrarily grouping people together, based on one or two traits, can be very inaccurate.  Naturists are no different.  For instance, based on our predisposition to being nude, naturists are can be viewed by some as immoral, fool hearty people obsessed with sex.  I don’t know about you, but that certainly isn’t me.  Beyond the obvious common thread of a sharing a penchant for being nude, naturists can come from all walks of life, have varied political, moral, and religious views, and have very different values.  Are there some commonalities among many naturists?  Sure.  But we have to be careful with just how broad of a brush we paint.