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.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cover Up For The Children

Andrea Simoneau as many of you know, is a student and topfree activist in Farmington, Maine. She will be rallying with others on April 30, 2010 in an effort to get people exercising their rights and to try to make topfreedom a little more normal. I support her efforts but I'm going to leave those comments to all the other nudist blogs out there. I want to comment on what others have said about her.

Andrea was live on Coast 93.1fm this morning talking about her rally, and she spoke of the reactions she has received from others. And here's what pissed me off: She says the most negative reactions were from people who consider her actions morally wrong, and those who think her behaviour is bad for the children. As I write this my blood is beginning to boil so let's hope I can stay on track here.


Let me say that I am a Christian and while I don't follow a lot of traditional stuff, I still have faith and believe that we should do good as the big guy wants us to. Well my faith is where I turn for the moral grounds on which I practice nudism. And wouldn't you know it, there's nowhere in the Bible that mentions the human body should be covered, and nowhere in the Bible that mentions the human body is morally wrong to show off. Instead the Bible refers to human bodies as beautiful and wonderful and nothing to be ashamed of. I mention the Bible because I don't know where else these people are getting their 'morals' from. Yes there's what your parents teach you, but are you really going to tell me that your parents told you your body is shameful and you should hide it? Did they tell you that the child they created is ugly and should be hidden? I think the confusion lies between morals and societal expectations. If you're telling me that a woman exposing her breasts is morally wrong, I think what you really mean to say is that it's societally wrong, and that is a very different thing. Yes that behaviour is societally wrong, but it should not be morally wrong and that's why people like Andrea are out there trying to change our perceptions and fight for equality. Heck, it's not even about equality, it's about people calling human bodies shameful and that societal expectation needs to change.


And that leads me into the comment about exposing children to toplessness. Are these people seriously going to tell me that seeing a woman's breasts is going to scar a child emotionally? Really are you going to condemn the human breast to that degree? It's a part of your body, for crying out loud, it's like you think you were born with two evil demons on your chest and making reference to them makes them angry. You know what that does to kids? Deep down inside it tells them that their bodies must be hidden, nobody wants to see them, and they should be afraid and ashamed to have people see their bodies. Then comes the negative body concept and then comes another generation of people who hate themselves and their bodies and that leads to a whole host of other problems. Sad. I talk about this time and time again, and I will continue to push this. We are continuing to cater to negative body concepts because we are ashamed of ourselves.

Friday, April 23, 2010

If Catherine Zeta-Jones Says It's Normal...

I've come to a bit of a realization about our culture; we love our celebrities. I guess that's not really a revelation but I think it's an important realization for the advance of naturism into mainstream society.

Lately there has been a whole host of celebrities confessing to the press about how much they love to be nude. Headlines such as these are popping up everywhere:

Celebrities back plans to expand naturism on Hampstead Heath

Naked celebrities: Why we'd all rather go nude

Zeta-Jones misses nude lifestyle


I've read these before and didn't give it much thought; either because I don't really care about celebrities or maybe I just thought it was all for publicity. My thoughts on this changed yesterday however, when I realized just how much impact these articles can have on people. Here I am playing roller hockey with my friends, including my buddy K who is probably one of my most prudish friends and doesn't even give me the time of day to talk about my nudist experiences. Well he rolls up beside me and says something about what a gorgeous sunny day it was and then he says, "it's a great day to get naked". I almost fell over backwards in amazement! I agreed, then asked him to elaborate. He told me how he had read about some celebrity who had mentioned that she always liked to be nude at home, and how K thought that was a great idea.

Right there I realized that no matter what I said about nudism, it meant nothing to him, but if some celebrity he respects promoted nudism, then that's all he needed to make it acceptable in his mind. And I can only imagine just how much impact that celebrity had on him in order for K to come up to me and suggest enjoying the day in the nude. That's a complete 180 degree change from his thinking only a few days prior.

So what's the deal with nudist celebrities? Well as much as I don't want to admit it, our society is in love with famous people. We want to hear every juicy piece of gossip and we want real-time Twitter updates to keep us informed about every detail of their days. Most of it is trash and I surely don't follow it, but I think it's a little different when we're talking about nudism. It's not written the same way as typical tabloid trash, and I think this is why celebrities can do a lot for naturism. Most articles I've read involving a celebrity who confesses to enjoying the nude lifestyle is written in a positive way. The articles don't condemn nudity or the lifestyle, and more often than not, it makes naturism sound good. And clearly this is a good thing for the promotion of naturism, and this is apparent with my friend K, who has obviously gone through a complete change of opinion thanks to a celebrity who says that nudity is healthy and natural. I think celebrities have a powerful ability to change a lot of minds about simple nudity.

You know there's some irony in that. Celebrities are constantly blamed for inflicting negative body concepts upon people; especially young women. The fashion, the unrealistic bodies, etc. Well since nudism promotes a positive self body concept, these celebrities are perhaps helping the body concept movement for once.

So to all the nudist celebrities out there, I hope they keep on telling the world about nudism because apparently in our society, the word of the celebrity is supreme.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Body Concept at the Beach

When people ask me about my experiences with yoga, swimming, or going to the beach, all while I'm nude, they often say the same thing, "I could never do that, I'm too [fat][skinny][hairy][small]etc..." And I can never get it through to them that an environment in which everyone is nude is probably one of the most positive places you'll ever find for your body self concept. It's a tough image for people to understand until they've been there. I know for me it wasn't the allure of being naked that brought me back to Wreck Beach, it was the amazing feeling of acceptance among an entire shoreline of people, who were all different yet all the same in their nakedness.



I don't go to clothed beaches much anymore now that I've found Wreck Beach, but my friend M was telling me about how she ended up at one of the local beaches last year with some of her friends. She doesn't usually go to regular beaches either, but I guess her textile friends forced that visit upon her. Anyway, she told me about how she felt so much more aware of her body and her image, and how she felt like everyone was judging her there. She was constantly checking her bathing suit to check for coverage. Feeling the critical eyes of those around her, she began to worry about her image. I know what she's talking about; textile beaches are uber-critical places. You're supposed to be fit, have the right balance between revealing your body while staying legal, and your outfit must adhere to society's fashion standards for the season. Are polka dots in this season, stripes, etc? Seriously I take my favorite beach for granted sometimes until I'm reminded by M that we have it so good when we are among other nudists.



So in response to all those people out there that say "I could never be nude in front of others because I'm too [insert negative self concept adjective here]." I say you're wrong!! I know it's going to be like pulling teeth to get you to try the lifestyle, but I promise you'll notice it's much more positive and healthy for your self image. Those crazy nudists are open and accepting of all, so give it a go. I'm thankful to live next to one of the most famous nude beaches in the world and I vow to not take it for granted and enjoy it as much as I can, while trying to show others what a gem we have available to us; not just the beach, but the whole concept of nudism is available to all of us to enjoy ourselves and our bodies naturally without criticism. We are all beautiful just the way we were made, and we all need to realize that and believe it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Live Clothes-Free, Help the Earth

I don't like to repost things I find as I would rather share my own perceptions and impressions, but I really enjoyed this article and have to share it. It's all about how much energy you can save by living naked, and the article has a real nice positive view. You don't even have to be a nudist, just reduce the amount of clothing you wear when you don't need to, and it will help out. Words of wisdom for all of us!

What does "being green" mean?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Tackling the Issues of Our Youth



I always like to think we have the power to change the world, regardless of how daunting a task it may seem. I feel that nudism and naturism are the answer to a whole lot of our problems in the world. We're living in a time of violence, hatred, disrespect, crime, self-loathing, criticism, depression, the list goes on. Now I'll be the first to acknowledge that nudism isn't for everyone and there's really no way to reach everyone. If nudity were legal everywhere tomorrow, not everyone would take advantage of it, in fact it would probably be a long time before we even saw much difference on the streets. But I can't help but feel that it would have a positive impact on the world, that it would solve so many problems for us or at least be largely responsible for an overall positive shift in our attitudes.



One issue nudism positively affects is the insecurity and recklessness of our youth. These days they are dealing with a whole host of issues surrounding their self concept. They feel the pressures of their peers and society to fit into the fictitious image of a 'perfect' person. This image is dictated mainly by how you look; your weight, your skin, and your clothes. Youth are forced to feel that being themselves isn't good enough to gain acceptance and thus must change the image they portray to the world in order to accomplish success, acceptance, friends, normality. Unfortunately this is just what we see on the surface, and this change leads to a misguided sense of right and wrong. Poor decisions are made. The desire to become popular ruins self-esteem by teaching that personality means nothing and the superficial image means everything.

Teenagers who have been brought up in a nudist environment often acknowledge that their lifestyle allows them to be free of the facade and think for themselves. Instead of living behind their image, nudists are taught that all bodies are good, and that their own is nothing to be ashamed of. They are taught to have self esteem and to respect themselves and their bodies. Nudist youth don't feel the need to experiment sexually when they are young. They have a healthy and positive image of the human body, and nothing has been hidden, thus there are no secrets to explore. Their healthy self-respect also leads them to think for themselves and avoid drug and alcohol experimentation. The confidence these youth have prepares them to make the right choices during their teen years and often helps them escape what so many other youth succumb to.

There is really so much more on this topic, I just have to stop sometime. I can think of so many issues that nudism helps and I'll continue to share what I've found to support that. One thing I can tell you is that I have every intention of raising my kids in a nudity-friendly environment. I believe this will help them greatly when it comes to their confidence in themselves and their self-image, and I want to give them all the help they can get to tackle this big bad world on their own.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Should Nudists Be Labelled As Outcasts?

Yet again I'm writing this while fueled by a post someone wrote on one of the forums I frequent. And yet again the title of this post has a hint of sarcasm in it.

Someone posted a link on a forum about a reality TV episode that was filmed at a nudist resort. You can view the clip here: video.

Sadly, most of the people who commented on the post felt that the episode would do nudism harm. Well that's where I have a problem and I feel that nudists in general need to get their head into reality and realize that kind of thinking is what's doing a bad service to nudism.



This particular TV episode by itself won't do much harm to the nudist movement. It just shows an idiot of a host who can't handle simple nudity, and thus she acts like a child. It makes her look stupid and immature, but I seriously doubt anyone will think any different of nudist resorts after viewing the episode. In fact, I'd like to think it may entice some people to give nudism a try. Maybe we will see some girls show up looking for the guy with the towel. I think we are too quick to label things like this as negative, as if we have this daunting task to show everyone that we're normal, and anything that doesn't show nudists as perfect angels is a negative thing. It's like we have to bend over backwards to ensure people aren't offended. Is this TV episode of a girl who can't handle the sight of nudity really going to harm the nudist movement? Give me a break. Nudism isn't for everyone and we shouldn't sweat it. Besides, it's going to take a lot more than this stupid show to make people think we're weird.

Now if that wasn't enough, someone even went as far as to comment on the owners of the hotel themselves, as if this TV show had anything to do with them. The comment made referred to the hotel owners as 'publicity whores', and mentioned that they do anything for attention. Well actually I have spoken with them and find them to be very caring, open, and genuine people, and they happen to run one of the most successful hotels in Palm Springs. No, not one of the most successful clothing optional hotels, one of the most successful hotels PERIOD. And when it comes to running their hotel, they are extremely smart. The problem with most nudist resorts is they keep quiet and do little to advertise. Well what good is that going to do? It's a business and the idea is to get people there! If we were talking about any textile resort, this couple wouldn't be subjected to any negative comments with regards to their publicity. They are being smart about resort ownership and if anything, they are treating nude recreation with a fresh and bold flavour that we all should be enthusiastic about.

This is a problem with nudists in general; they keep their mouths shut, they're afraid to talk about the joy of nude recreation to others. What's the big idea? We want to move this nudist thing forward and here we are sitting in the dark ages, afraid to tell anyone about it. We don't want to be labelled as outcasts, but we want people to know how great nudism is. We want people to know that clothing can actually be harmful to the body in some cases, we want people to ditch their negative perceptions of the human body. Well none of this is ever going to happen if we continue to apply outcast thinking to our cause and don't treat it like a positive and worthwhile practice. Is there any minority group out there who gained rights and acceptance because they hid in the corner? Hell no, and it's about time we stopped being afraid of pushing the envelope. We need to advertise our resorts with gusto and flair, and we need to promote the nudist movement as if we are proud of it and it is the best thing since sliced bread. Stand up, be loud, be proud, and step on some toes. It's 2010 and here we are complaining about publicity. That's why we are doomed to continue to be thought of as an outcast culture and the few youth who are involved will continue to wonder why more people like us don't get into nudism.

Start talking about the joy of nudism and the wholesomeness of the human body right away. Tell everyone and promote the hell out of this thing. Let's give the body acceptance movement a violent shove into the mainstream and we can all reap the benefits in the long run.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

If people were meant to be nude, they would have been born this way

I've heard that quote said a number of times in the past and I found it funny, but lately I've given that concept a lot more thought. Obviously clothing is a wonderful invention that protects us in cases where our skin isn't enough. But for everyday activities, climate and time of the year depending, clothing just really isn't necessary. Yes society calls it necessary, but our bodies really weren't meant to be trapped in clothing all day.



My grandma has terrible varicose veins in her feet and her toes are all disfigured from years of being cramped into fashionable shoes. Obviously high heels are the extreme, but our feet were designed to be perfect in themselves. I was watching a movie today in which they were studying the bodies of early aboriginals in the late 1800s who had not experienced our 'civilized' creature comforts. They spent their entire lives barefoot in the wilderness, and the anthropologists and doctors were admiring the feet of the Aboriginals, saying they were perfect and without any flaws. You know what that says to me? It tells me the human body knows exactly how to take care of itself without shoes. It tells me that modern footwear might make us run faster or jump higher, but when it comes down to everyday use, cramming your foot into a shoe for most of the day is bad.

The same can be said about the rest of the body, and that is backed up by scientific proof. The skin is built to repel moisture, breathe, sweat, and sense the environment. The body can do all of this without the aid of clothing, and without the restrictions of clothing. Add clothes and now the body can't repel moisture the same way, the skin can't breathe the same way, sweat is trapped in clothing, and you can't feel the environment around you. Plus there's chaffing, nipple rub, all sorts of things that athletes hate, all thanks to unnecessary clothing. Oh and then of course bacteria gets trapped in clothing; how gross is that!?

Let's talk how destructive clothing can be on the body. Back to my grandma's case, tight clothing has been linked to health problems due to restriction of blood and lymphatic fluid. Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer conducted a research study and found that wearing a bra more than twelve hours a day without wearing it to bed increases the chances of getting breast cancer by 21 times! If that wasn't enough, how about this for the hardcore "never-nudes": The same study found that women who wear bras even to bed are one hundred and twenty five times more likely to get breast cancer! Unbe-friggin-lievable! And for the guys in the audience, tighty whities have been linked to testicular cancer. The moral of this story: let em hang! The idea behind this research is that when clothing impedes the natural flow of fluids in the body, it cannot naturally remove any cancer-causing toxins that may be building up. Scary stuff.

Our clothes-compulsiveness is making us unhealthy. Remember, if people were meant to be nude, they would have been born this way.
- Oscar Wilde

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Naked Bungy 2010

Yesterday was the much anticipated naked bungy jump. I had been looking forward to this day since last year's jump, which had been my first. For those that don't know, WildPlay Bungy in Nanaimo has been holding an annual naked bungy jump weekend in support of Schizophrenia research for a few years now. The idea is simple; come out and jump naked on a Saturday and Sunday in February, pay a fraction of the normal price, all the money goes to a good cause. I like everything about that equation so when I hear about it last year I had to go. The first jump was awesome and now I plan to go every year.

Last year there were 3 of us who went together, and this year I managed to raise that to 4. The crew that came with me this year were none of the people from last year, however. Really it wasn't that bad; one had surgery keeping her from going this year and the other was her cousin, who I don't think I know well enough to bring along this year alone. But I managed to get 3 buddies from work who were all stoked to come along so it was a full car and thus a cheaper ferry ride!

My buddy 'R' and I both worked till 8am the day of the jump, which made for a very exhausting day. The other two guys, 'M' and 'K' both worked till midnight, so they were tired too but looked awesome next to 'R' and I. We saddled up at 8am and went straight to the local breakfast place for a food boost. Then it was off to the ferry for the 10:30 sailing. I slept most of the ferry ride, obviously. Made it to Wild Play by 12:20 and signed in. Then it was the waiting game. It was way busier than I remember it last year and we didn't get to jump until 14:00. I was a little nervous about not making the ferry but it would all work out in the end.



The other jumpers this year were super stoked to be there and the vibe on the bridge was amazing. Everyone was amped and having a great time. There was a whole crew who had body painting done and it looked awesome. Finally we got to jump and it was just as scary as I remember it. Definitely the same rush as last year, and I somehow doubt my brain will ever get used to jumping off a bridge. But it was great and everyone loved it.



Afterwards it was back into the car to race to the ferry. Thankfully we made it back to the 15:00 ferry in time and it was home time. Some dinner and I was ready for bed. I was so exhausted that I went to bed at 20:00 and woke up at 10:00 the next morning. yeah mathematicians, that's a lot of sleep! All in all it was an awesome day and I can't wait to go back again next year. Even non-nudists are awesome when everyone is naked. It just goes back to the idea that everyone is accepting when everyone is naked. Clothes are what create criticism of others, not the way your body looks. Here were 30 or so naked people who were all the same and accepting of everyone. Not necessarily nudists, just people who realize that when we are all naked we have nothing to hide, nothing to fake, nothing to really criticize. Amazing really.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The future needs to be bold



10 people were caught on February 11th on Delray Beach in Florida during Sunsport Gardens' Mid Winter Naturist Festival. The group had intended to form a human peace sign on the peace so an aerial picture could be taken, likely something similar to the photo seen here. The group was not arrested but charges were being discussed by the State Attorney's Office.

I heard about this on another naturist blog and while I normally wouldn't think twice about it, I felt inclined to voice my opinion in regards to other comments that were made about the article.

One person had commented on the article stating that the 'hip-hop iPhone generation' will not be pleased with an incident like this. The owner of the blog went on to say he/she was appalled that naturists would do something like this that would risk tarnishing the image of naturists, and expressed fear that this would create negative publicity for our cause.

Well let me just say that this type of thing is all the 'hip-hop iPhone generation' knows how to do. I seriously doubt if they will even notice this because public defiance is such a part of their culture that they likely won't be phased by something that looks so harmless. I think as a group whether they are nudists or not, the 'iPhone generation' sees little harm in public nudity and little reason for nudity laws. They were born into some of the most violent times in history which makes this kind of thing seem like small potatoes.

That being said, why are we worrying about pushing the envelope so much? If these were ten nude perverts touching kids on a beach, I can understand. But harmless defiance through public nudity can only be a positive thing for our culture. As nudists we have been pushed around too long, and thus have been forced to hide behind the privacy of our homes, or the small handful of beaches we are given to use. And there are even times when hiding in our homes isn't good enough, and nosey neighbours are calling the cops because they can see us naked through the crack in the curtain.



Our unwillingness to draw attention to ourselves is the reason we are labelled as outcasts and forced to maintain privacy. Something as harmless and natural as the human body shouldn't be seen as something more shameful than violence. It makes me sick that breasts cannot be shown on TV but disgusting violence can. It's time we pushed the envelope and fought for our cause instead of hid with our tails tucked between our legs. The only way we are going to be recognized and achieve any sort of victory is if we push the limits and draw attention to ourselves. We need to have a voice, a very loud voice that gets heard. It's time nudity ceased to be shameful and our world realized how backwards our perceptions are. A push for nudism will cure our negative body concepts, instill confidence in our youth, reduce violence, and destroy the pornography industry. Are those things we want to fight for, or should we just continue to hide and see our society continue on it's path of morale destruction? If that's the way we want it, then I guess those ten nudists should just apologize and go back into hiding.

Nude Yoga Is Awesome!

So I tried something new and exciting this weekend; nude yoga! I've been thinking about attending a class for some time now but I've been hesitant for a couple reasons. I'm not really good at yoga since I've only followed a few yoga podcasts in my living room and thus I have no idea if I'm even close to doing the poses correctly. Secondly there really isn't a lot of places to do instructed nude yoga in this city. There is one studio that only does nude yoga but it is male-only and intermediate to advanced yoga.



I personally feel that separating men and women in a nudist environment defeats the purpose of nudism. We are supposed to be free and comfortable with both sexes and move away from the segregation that textile society is constantly demanding. Also, I'm not ready for intermediate to advanced yoga.

So I looked and looked and finally found another guy out there who was looking for the same type of yoga class. Well that's all the encouragement we needed to do what must be done. I found a venue, he found instructors, and suddenly we have the city's only co-ed nude yoga classes every Thursday taught by both a male and female instructor. Yes a very satisfying accomplishment!

So this weekend we had our first introductory session; just the creators and a couple invited guests. Well I went in nervous but ended up loving it. It wasn't super difficult so I was able to push myself a little without going overboard, and obviously I think almost anything worth doing is better when done nude. So of course the feeling of freedom that comes from doing yoga nude is awesome. Everyone was relaxed, the instructor was awesome, and I worked up a great sweat. How gross that would have felt if I was clothed; another time when clothing makes very little sense.

I can see myself really getting into yoga because I really need to be more flexible and that is the perfect way to fix that problem. I would highly recommend doing yoga nude for anyone who already does yoga or is getting into it. It's really the only way to do it. Yoga is all about relaxation and spirituality; why create an artificial border with clothes?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Get Naked: It’s Good for Your Brain | h+ Magazine




I read a very interesting article today that I would like to share. The title caught my eye, claiming that nudity is good for your brain.

The article goes on to say that clothing is restricting our skin from properly sensing our environment. It claims that spending more time naked exercises the brain because it is receiving many more signals than when you are clothed. Apparently naked time, especially time spent barefoot, encourages your brain to do more thinking because of the extra sense. This can help to improve your balance and posture, in addition to helping prevent Alzheimer's!

Nudity also is said to reduce stress and is cleaner since bacteria can be trapped in clothing. And one of the most positive things this article mentions is a reduction in porn addiction. I always say that pornography is a very serious addiction that can ruin relationships, and it's so true that this addiction can be reduced by nudism. This is because the adult entertainment industry thrives off our negative self image and our necessity to hide our bodies. When it's all out in the open, what have they got to market?

Check out the full article here: Get Naked: It’s Good for Your Brain | h+ Magazine

Friday, February 19, 2010

What Intrigued Me About Nudism

My last post touched on some of the things I liked about nudism, but there's really so much more. I won't even touch on all the reasons in this post, and that's really what this blog is about. I intend to continue posting my experiences, thoughts, and things I've learned along my journey into nudism and as a continuing nudist.

The first thing I realized about social nudism was the feeling of immediate acceptance and the lack of judgement. When everyone is naked, nobody judges because our bodies are just what we have. People don't seem to care what you look like naked, it all comes down to personality. In the textile world, it is all about perception. For this reason, we end up worrying about what we wear, trying to hide what's underneath, and trying to influence the perception other people have of us through our clothing. This not only creates false images, but it also prevents certain people from talking to each other. I read an article written by a young adult who had attended a nudist youth camp and had become friends with another girl there. They both acknowledged that in the textile world one is preppy and the other is a goth; this choice of dress would prevent those two from ever uttering a single word to one another. But with the borders down, they were able to communicate and become friends. They were able to get to know the personality, not the perception the clothes created.

Aside from the feeling of acceptance, I instantly loved the feeling of freedom that nudity provided. Suddenly I wasn't hiding anything and it felt great. I was exposed to the world and so were the people around me, and there was an instant feeling of acceptance; we were all exposed and it didn't matter. It didn't matter where I came from or how I looked. It was just me, no artificial perceptions from my clothing. Now I could talk to the goth kid, or the hippie chick, or the preppy couple, or the Harley-riding biker, who actually is much nicer than you'd think. All people I likely would not speak to with clothes on because of that false perception clothing creates.

I also realized my body could now feel the environment around me better, I was more aware of the air on my body, the sand under my feet, the sweat on my skin working to cool me. I realized that my clothing was far less useful than I had previously thought. Clothing doesn't allow the body to naturally cool itself the way it was intended to. Without clothing my sweat was met by the air and my air conditioning system was 100% effective for the first time. I jumped into the water and for the first time I really knew how it felt. I was more aware of the temperature of the water, and the water felt great. And the sun on your naked body is such an awesome feeling. Aside from never having to worry about tan lines, nudism means no more sweaty private parts tucked into hot clothing. Feeling the sun on your whole body, and feeling the air cooling it naturally is such a great feeling. It was all these feelings that kept me coming back to Wreck Beach for the whole summer. How great it was, but I was only just beginning to explore an exciting new world as a nudist. Little did I know all that was waiting for me to find. More on that later...

How it all started

Well I've never really been one to want to take my clothes off. In fact, I think I covered up more than most people. It took me until I was 21 before I even wore sandals. Not really sure what that was all about, but for some reason I always wore socks and would never want to expose my feet. I didn't have a problem with taking my shirt off in the summer time, but the timing would have to be right and I would have to feel it was appropriate.

It must have just been the timing, or just a time in my life of exploration, but finally my inhibitions started to go away. In 2006 I was working a job that took me out to UBC every afternoon to drop off some of the guys I worked with. Well it was summer and it was hot, and my friend 'J' asked me if I wanted to go down to the famous Wreck Beach. I had never gone and I figured what the heck? Being mountain bikers, we had very expensive and rather heavy downhill bikes in the company van with us. We couldn't leave those unattended so we ended up riding them all the way down the Wreck Beach stairs; something I will never do again. We got a lot of weird looks on the way down and almost took out a few people, but we made it and suddenly there was a strange new landscape before me. I stood in wonder at all the naked people; tall, short, large, skinny, people with tattoos and those without, children, adults, teenagers, both genders, and every race I could imagine, they were all there. I was amazed at what I saw. Here was this wonderful place where everyone was comfortable to be naked around each other. I marvelled that all these different people, obviously from all walks of life, could come together and tear down their societal coverings and become equal. And really that's exactly what I saw, because when everyone's naked, everyone is the same. You can't judge people based on what they wear when they aren't wearing anything at all. It was a wonderful experience, and while it was too soon for me to participate, the scene I saw intrigued me.

As I watched everyone around me, I saw very little that I could analyze about people. I couldn't tell who the punk guys were, I didn't know who the lawyers were, I didn't know which group was the college kids, the jocks, or the nerds. The only way I could really know anything about anyone, was to speak to them, or at least sit close enough that I could listen to their conversations. I could only start to draw conclusions once I heard how they spoke, how they acted, and what they had to say. To put it simply, I had to get to know the real person - I couldn't pass judgement based on what I saw. This became even more apparent as the sun started to go down, and people began to get dressed and leave. I watched as the couple next to me put leather motorcycle clothing on. I had no idea they were bikers! And more importantly, I had been laughing along with them earlier, which I probably never would have done had I known they were bikers. I probably would have been afraid to go near them! I watched as the younger people down the beach dressed in clothing I would wear, and they grabbed their books and bags before walking off. So they were the college kids - I never would have known. I watched as all different types of people put on the clothing that typically defines to people who we are, but at the end of the day it's just clothing. What a revelation I was making, and it would change the way I looked at people and the world for the rest of my life.



I ended up going back a short while later while I had some free time and after taking a deep breath, I disrobed. I put my ipod on and laid on the beach for a while enjoying the feeling of the sun all over my body; a feeling I had never felt before but it felt great. It was so liberating, so unrestrictive, and I didn't need to worry about tan lines! I felt suddenly so comfortable with myself and somehow connected to all the likeminded people around me. I marvelled that instead of being ashamed of my body, I felt much more comfortable with everything out in the open. When we wear clothes, we are hiding ourselves, and I think that whether we are aware of it or not, we feel like everyone else is hiding something and there's an underlying sense of secrecy. It may be very subliminal, but looking back at my feelings that day, that was exactly what I was experiencing.

Well I had my first nude experience out of the way and I was hooked. I went down to Wreck every day I could. On work days when I was doing paperwork or doing call outs, I would bring my books down to the beach and do what I needed in the sunshine in the buff. he he, if only all my clients knew where I was when I was calling them. The rest is history, really. I've met some great people as a nudist, and managed to convince a few of my textile friends to join in. There's tons I want to experience still and I look forward to all that's in store and yet to explore as a nudist. I'll share some more experiences and ideas in further posts.