Thursday, October 18, 2012

Nude Memories

I made an interesting realization today about how my memory stores my nude outings.

Today I was making plans for next year’s week-long naked road trip. My friends and I go every year and spend almost the entire 8 days naked. It’s amazing. The only time we get dressed is to travel to another location, and sometimes not even then.

While I was planning for next year, I recalled last year with a big smile on my face. I thought back to an entire day we had spent at Deep Creek Hot Springs. It’s an extremely popular nudist location that requires a 40 minute hike into a valley where some incredible hot springs border a pleasant river. We did not bring any clothes, and hiked the whole thing nude in addition to spending the day at the springs while nude.
As I thought back to these fond memories, I realized that these memories do not include the feeling of being nude. I recall feeling warm and comfortable but not necessarily nude. I found this very interesting because it shows how natural and comfortable a day of nudity can feel. The feeling of being nude doesn’t even make it into my memories. That’s a wonderful thing.

Furthermore, as popular as Deep Creek is with nudists, there will occasionally be a couple clothed people at some point in the day. While I know there were clothed people present the last time I was there, my memory has not held on to any feelings of shame or discomfort at being nude in the presence of clothed people. My memories of the day hold no feelings of self image at all. All I have are feelings of freedom, and the memories of all the fun we had.

I thought I’d share this because it’s so wonderful to be comfortable in your own skin, which nudism does for you. I’ve yet to see anyone get involved in naturism and not notice an improvement in their body image and self-esteem. While it can take some time to get into, it almost always helps improve our own personal level of comfort with ourselves.

I love the memories I have of being free with myself and my friends, and I can’t wait for next year’s trip because I know it’s just going to be even better.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Topfreedom and Equality

I hope everyone can understand how literal I'm being when I say "men and women are not equal". Whoa, pushing the boundaries with that statement! Stay with me on this. Yes it's true, the genders ARE different, and there are some things that are done better by each gender.

When it comes to topfreedom, my reasons for showing support may differ than most. No, I am not in favour of suggesting that women's chests are the same as men's. I know most nudists try to push that point, but when you really think about it, they ARE different. Don't try to tell me otherwise, the visual is different. Sure some men can have big chests and some women have small chests, but the difference is obvious. Breasts are breasts.

That being said, I don't at all think that difference changes the sexuality of a women's breasts, or should I say the lack thereof. I believe they are just breasts and a bare female chest is no more or less sexual or taboo than a man's chest. I believe their purpose can be different (breastfeeding, etc.) but just like the rest of the body, there's a time and a place for everything, and it is not a sexual object until used as such...when the time is right, the setting is right, and the company is right. A bare chested woman is perfectly acceptable.

Am I losing you? The point I'm trying to make is that I don't support topfreedom because I think a woman's chest is the same as a man's; it's obviously not. I support topfreedom because the human body is not sexual just because it is bare or a part of it goes uncovered. I support topfreedom because I support body freedom for men and women, and I think the push for topfreedom is a very important part of our move towards a healthier societal concept of our bodies, and will hopefully lead to a more relaxed attitude towards the unclothed human body. I'll go along with the equality thing if it helps the cause, because when it comes down to it I am all for body freedom.



I will be out supporting the upcoming GoTopless Day (http://www.gotopless.org/) because I will be supporting freedom for all; freedom to choose what you want to wear or what you don't want to wear, and for it all to be healthy and beautiful. Here in Canada we are so fortunate to have the freedom to be topless; men and women alike, and I will be supporting the right that so many have worked so hard for. And I hope everyone else who supports topfreedom gets out and takes advantage of such privileges if you have them, or continue to fight for the freedom. Use it or lose it!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Private Parts

I have a sort of 'thought of the day' to share regarding what we think of private parts. As a nudist, I'm used to the common idea that a nude human body isn't sexual unless used as such, or more realistically until someone opens their legs. I've become used to censoring certain images that may be labelled as naturist photos, but depict women with spread legs or show a clear view of the labia because these are undeniably sexual photos...or so I thought until recently.

Look at this picture:


She's spreading her legs, her labia is exposed, thus this must not be appropriate as a naturist photo. But really, she's just practicing ballet, which is a beautiful thing in itself, but to perform nude exposes the human body for the magnificent machine that it is. Ballet shows what the human body is capable of and the flexibility and muscles required. This photo is beautiful, so what about that exposed genitalia? Well that's where I conclude that it's not vulgar at all, and I suggest we rethink our naturist views of the human body.

What about this photo:


She's spreading her legs, yet she's in nature and has a wonderful smile on her face suggesting her comfort with her body and her happiness from enjoying nature naturally. Of course that's not what the photo was taken for, but the whole point of naturism is to not let the evil of the world taint the human body and label it as unclean and strictly sexual. So why should such an amazing photo be cast off as porn because of her seating position?

And here's the photo that got me thinking in the first place:


This photo was originally plucked from what I used to label as a pornographic site masquerading as an ode to the female form. What their true intentions are may forever be a mystery, but the fact of the matter is that their photos really do portray wonderful beauty, and they shouldn't be labelled as pornographic just because genitals are clearly exposed. This photo shows a playful and happy woman on the beach enjoying herself. There's not a damn thing wrong with that.

My thought pattern is this: if naturists feel that the human body is natural and beautiful, then why are we still labelling certain parts of the body as unclean or sexual. I know that's not really what we're trying to do, it's not even what we say out loud, it's just a common idea among the naturist crowd to suggest that a clear view of a woman's genitals is sexual. I disagree and say that as true nudists and naturists we should respect, admire, and accept every body part for the natural and wonderful beauty they possess. Overweight, underweight, tall, short, round, pear, thin, etc. Everybody is beautiful no matter what we've been given, and every part of our body is wonderful and not sexual until we use it as such, regardless of how we choose to expose it.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Clothing

This is going to sound weird, but I had an interesting conversation with a funeral home attendant today. Yes I know, that's odd to most people, but I work in a hospital, so it's pretty normal for me. Anyway he made some comments that got me thinking. Many nudists feel that clothing can give us false impressions about people based on how we dress. We automatically predict what a person is like just based on the clothes they wear. This is one reason many nudists prefer to get to know someone based on who they are on the inside, thus the lack of clothing.

Well this funeral home attendant was mentioning how difficult it is to tell someone's age when he sees them post-mortem. At that stage, they're naked and thus there is only the person's body to use as a judge of age. He was saying that when he sees them later when they are prepared for viewing, he is often surprised to find they look much older. How interesting that our naked bodies will so often present a younger image than our clothing will. Do we try so hard to dress a certain way that we actually make ourselves look older than we are, or do our wonderful natural naked bodies just present themselves better than a bunch of clothing?

I found this conversation interesting because nudists are always talking about false images presented by clothing, but I don't hear much about clothing representing our age incorrectly. Equally as interesting is the fact that the patient he was immediately referring to was 89 years old and he figured she looked much younger. I think that says a lot about the misconception we are presenting to people on a daily basis. When we dress, we are often putting on a false impression of who we are, and people see that false impression and come to conclusions about who we are based on that impression.

I've heard a young girl comment before about how she met another young girl at a nudist youth camp one year and they became good friends. As it turned out, when in the textile world one of them was what would be called a 'goth' and the other would be called 'preppy'. Those two people would never have met and become friends if they were in the textile world because of the false impression the clothing gave. And yet as it turned out, when they met each other without all of that, they were able to realize that their personalities matched and they got along well.

Nothing profound in this post, but just some interesting things to think about. Personally I prefer to get to know the person, and not the image.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is the AANR on our side?

The big news as of late is that the AANR (the American Association for Nude Recreation) has withdrawn from the INF (the International Naturist Federation). This really doesn't come as a big surprise to me, as I've had my questions about the AANR for some time. I'm probably not going to make a lot of friends with this post but it's important to me that the voice of naturism is doing us a good service, so let's take a look at what the AANR has been doing for us lately.

The AANR has always been presented to us as THE organization of nudism. They are the official voice of naturists and nudists, and they seem to have written the book on what is expected of such a lifestyle. AANR membership means you're a real nudist now, and a club or resort with an AANR affiliation is seen as a clean and wholesome place to practice clothes-freedom. When the media wishes to speak with nudists, they can speak to the AANR and get the official response to any pressing issues. Obviously this is a good thing, but lately I've wondered if the AANR is really on our side on some of the big issues that are important to us, and on some of the things that we need to help us gain popularity and acceptance among the general public.


First there's the battle of San Onofre beach. That was a fight that I joined, even though I live over 1300 miles away. I joined the fight because we are united as nudists, and we all need to fight to have our space to enjoy our lifestyle. California Parks removed the clothing-optional status of San Onofre after years of allowing people to safely enjoy nude recreation. So what did the AANR do when our lifestyle was threatened? Pretty much nothing. In an official statement, the AANR stated only that, "California Parks is stressing that this change in managing nudity in its parks is being limited to San Onofre." Wait a minute, seriously!? Our nude beach is being taken away, and as the official voice of nudists, you are only concerned that this is the only beach they are attacking? Thank goodness all our beaches aren't under attack, but how about you stop worrying about stepping on someone's toes and you promote the hell out of nudism and fight to keep San Onofre clothing-optional? Am I asking too much of the official organization of nudism?

Then there was the incident in Arizona in which a mother and stepfather were arrested for practicing nudism in their home around two young boys who said they were uncomfortable with it. As it turned out, the parents did not practice nudism in their home and the boys had only seen them in the nude by accident. Regardless, I find the AANR's statement to be a timid attempt to appease the public. "If a child seems uncomfortable, parents should let the child's views dictate their plans." Well this for one, is crap because kids would run the home if parents let children decide what's best for them. But the point really is that AANR is just trying to sound good, not trying to help nudism. This media incident makes nudism look like a shameful thing that should be practiced by adults behind closed doors, and the AANR did nothing to change that perception. I would have preferred they say something like this:
"While nudism is a healthy family lifestyle that promotes positive self body concept and encourages free thinking, it is important to accomodate all members of the family to ensure comfort in the household." That sentence pushes nudism while acknowledging that we're not a cult that forces nudity upon people. Why the heck can't the AANR come up with a statement like that? Maybe I should get a job as the voice of AANR.

Then there was the issue of the nude man making coffee in his kitchen one morning who was spotted by his neighbour. It was early in the morning, the man was in his own home, and instead of asking him to cover up or close the blinds, Police arrested him. Unbelievable, really. And what did the AANR do? Yes they commented on this issue, and they did it by labelling this guy as one of them and then calling him irresponsible. Wait a minute, who knows whether or not he is a nudist? Why the heck would the AANR again make us look bad by saying this guy is a nudist when they cannot possibly have the answer, and then blast him by saying he should have had the drapes closed. This story doesn't even have anything to do with the AANR, yet they decided to open their mouth and again make us look like shameful people who should hide from the public. Even if it is 5:30am and nobody should be looking into our windows.

Lately AANR has also been bombarded with reports of some of their affiliated clubs and resorts catering to swingers. AANR's denial of this information confirms that it does not support this behaviour, and yet it still supports these resorts. I don't even need to say any more about this, the writing is on the wall.

Oh and then of course there's the issue of the topfree section of the beach in Asbury Park, NJ. This was a bad idea from the start because it supports the concept that women's chests are different from men's, and thus they should only be revealed in a segregated area of beach. This topfree beach goes against everything nudists believe in by denying equality and promoting segregation. However, the AANR supported the idea!! Unbelievable! Are they just not doing their research, or are they just getting involved in all the wrong ways? They blast healthy nudity, and they promote negative nudity!

And my last rant is regarding this year's World Record Skinnydip attempt. This is a very special event because it is a chance for nudists to promote healthy nudity to the world in a fun and harmonizing way. And this is why I am stunned that the AANR did such a poor job of promoting the event this year. This event is our chance to bring healthy nude recreation to the masses, and the AANR went and blew it. The only reason I knew about it was because of the blogs and forums I'm on. None of these forums or blogs are seen by the general public, so it would seem the event was only promoted within our own nudist community. Unfortunately it would appear that AANR's blatant fail has hurt the cause too. I know attendance was down at my own Wreck Beach, along with a number of other resorts in the US. I don't know what this will do to the final count, but at this point it would appear that the AANR's lack of promoting this awesome event may have allowed the record to slip from our grasp this year. Seriously, one of the biggest mainstream nudist events and they let it slide on by.

I don't know how to wrap this post up other than by saying, "what the heck is the AANR doing these days?" I would like to say it's about time they stood up and fought for our rights, and promoted the crap out of the nudist lifestyle, but I think it's too late for that. Their withdrawal from the INF just tells me that I'm right in believing the AANR is following a path all it's own and has no interest in being a part of the greater naturist community. They continue to distance themselves from their fellow naturists, and ultimately the people they are supposed to represent and support.

Perhaps they are just trying to be diplomatic and not overstep boundaries. Unfortunately nothing ever changes if you don't say a few off-the-wall comments and push your cause hard, like you actually believe in it. They are acting like scared pansies who don't want to say the wrong thing, when in fact they should be telling the world that we are good people and the lifestyle is great. At this rate, nudists will always be labelled as outcasts, and the only time the public will hear about us is when someone gets in trouble, and then the negative image just gets reinforced. Come on AANR, the rest of us are breaking our backs pushing this thing to the masses, don't leave us alone in the cold.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shame

I made a startling realization today, one that has been right in front of me ever since I started on this naturist journey, but one that I hadn't thought much about until today.

I work in the health care field, and that's the kind of job in which you see a lot of simple nudity during the course of a normal day. Helping patients change, assisting with medical procedures, nudity just happens. Since I have become a nudist, I don't even give it a second's thought. In fact I've noticed myself staring at times; not gawking at anyone, I was just simply in another world and not at all affected by the nude body in front of me. I'm so comfortable with nudity that I barely notice when someone else may have a problem with where I'm looking. I've chuckled at my own comfort level before, but today I noticed what it can be like for others who don't share my feelings.

I was to assist a patient in taking a shower, and I was alarmed by his bashfulness. He was so afraid of being nude that he tried to shower with his gown on. After that was removed for him, he kept his underwear on and showered that way. There were people in the room, but nobody else in the shower and nobody watching him. I guess I really take it for granted that I am unashamed and comfortable because this man's attitude towards simple nudity really impacted me. After all, this was a professional setting with trained health care professionals.

What I realized about this is that nudists and naturists don't only shed their clothing, but they also shed their shame. They are freed not only from the restriction of clothing but also from the feeling that their bodies are unsightly and need to be hidden. I spend a lot of time thinking about the benefits of naturism but I don't seem to pay much attention to how restrictive shame can be. I found it sad that this gentleman had such a hard time removing his clothing in front of professional nursing staff; he made it look like the hardest thing he ever had to do. I wouldn't have given it a thought, and what that means to me is freedom. The shift in my attitude towards nudity has blessed me with the freedom to not find my own body shameful, to not find other bodies shameful, and the freedom to be happy with myself and who I am regardless of where I am or who I am in front of. Think about that for a second. That freedom is priceless.



Shame can be so terribly suffocating. All you nudists out there ought to be thankful for the wonderful freedom you enjoy; not just freedom from clothing, but freedom to love yourself and not find it shameful. Your body is a wonderful blessing given to you and only you. Love it, find it beautiful, and feel no shame.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Are Children Unsafe in a Naturist Setting?

This is a very important question, and one that was asked of me at one of the local nude swims this weekend; aren't children more at risk of being victims of predators when they are nude?

The argument made was that if you take your children to one of the family nude swims or the World Naked Bike Ride, your child's nudity will encourage the presence of pedophiles. I obviously disagree with that, but only in regards to naturist events, not when it comes to public events. Let's talk about naturist events first.

When you take your child to a genuine naturist event, I argue that they are likely safer than most public events. At nudist resorts or a nude swim, nudists form a bond between each other that creates a very tight security net. Children are always under watchful eye by not only their parents, but by every other genuine naturist there. I don't want to sound like naturists are more paranoid, but they are definitely aware of what is going on around them. Any inappropriate behaviour is always dealt with swiftly and usually ends in the suspect being removed from the premises. I don't think a pedophile would have much of a chance at a real nudist event. I also question how often a pedophile would make their way into such an event in the first place. Most resorts screen people, and the smaller events mean that it's hard for someone with ill intentions to go unnoticed.



Now when it comes to public nude events, I may not be quite so in favour of bringing children there. It's a little sad and unfortunate for those children who have been raised in a naturist environment, but public places like the World Naked Bike Ride are probably not places for children. The only reason I say this is because of the number of textiles staggeringly outnumbers the nudists at an event such as this. The nudist security net cannot possibly be present at such an event, and thus it is probably not the safest place for a child. And while a parent may feel they have an adequate eye on their child, photography is something that cannot be regulated at such an event, and nobody wants to think that nude photos of their child may be used inappropriately. It's too bad this is the case because family friendly naturism is really what we want to portray to the world, and often the WNBR is the only event textiles may see when it comes to naturism.

That all being said, the world has bad people out there, and we all know it. These people might be at the textile beach, they might be at the mall, they might be outside the school! We have to be watchful of our youngsters anywhere we go, maybe even more so in the textile world, since pedophiles can blend in easier there. I think those who believe children are more at risk at a nudist event are still relating nudity to sex, which of course isn't what nudists do. Yes, a pedophile definitely relates nudity to sex, but those intentions are easily easily spotted by a true naturist.



It is important that we continue to keep nudist resorts and events family friendly. Age discrimination only supports the perception that nudity and sex go hand in hand. That of course, is not true and healthy family-friendly nudity is beneficial to both adults and children. Children should be allowed to practice healthy nudity with their families, and families should feel safe when this is practiced in a true naturist setting.