A Million Meals

Caring for children in today's confusing food environment

The (Un-Erotic) Glories of Nudity

For the last two years I've been indulging in nudist behavior. With my daughters. In public. And it's been wonderful. Read More

beautiful

This was lovely to read and ponder. Thank you for sharing it. I once found myself in a simillar situation in a Filene's basement in Boston (known for good sample sales and cheap designer gowns..I was there for blue jeans) At first I panicked because there were no stalls or doors or curtains..just a room full of naked and half naked women and tons of clothes everywhere..like a playroom of dress-up for grown-ups...I dind't even know where to go and stand...motivated by my own anxiety I quickly found a spot and pretended not to be mortified or embarrassed (the jeans were a great deal worth getting naked in front of other women, I guess)
Overall I shared a simillar response...and I recall even sketching the experience when I got home (art therapy grad student at the time...I probably wrote something on it too) I just found it so positive and liberating because none of the other women seemed ashamed of their bodies. I was still early in my eating disorder recovery so the accidental event felt like a gift.
Hooray for those wonderful moments of appreciation and celebration.

on the left coast most nude

on the left coast most nude places are co-ed. I took my son to hot springs and nude resorts, until about twelve. Kids between twelve until after college are uncomfortable being naked around their parents.

In third grade one of his classmates slipped a lad's magazine into school causing great excitement among his peers until he said, "That's not real, those woman are photo shopped. You are just looking at cartoons."

I also ruined drugs for him by taking him to a rave.

Co-ed

Where does this weird idea that nudity has to end when the other gender is present come from? It is not a law of nature and nobody can provide any rational and evidence based reason for it. Throughout most of human history nudity has been no big deal. The nudity taboo is, in historical terms, a very recent invention.

However the parts of the article concerning body image and related issues are very important. The pattern is the same for all body-image, body-shame and body-knowledge related indicators. There is a near perfect correlation between prudery and poor outcomes, the mechanisms are well understood. and the effects are enormous. For example teenage pregnancy rates in the most prudish western countries (eg USA) are about ten times those in the least prudish (eg Denmark). Refusing to act on the evidence is a form of child abuse.

Nudity seen by a nudist

On a summer camp canoe trip when I was 13 I walked around a corner of an outhouse and came across two girls about my age fully nude. The light was the dappled light through leaves, colored by reflection from the golden brown leaves on the floor of the forest and the scene was just absolutely beautiful. I already had a darkroom. It was an amazing aesthetic experience. By the following summer my friends and I were all skinny dipping, nude water skiing and basically all just hanging around nude all day. We would even take off our clothing on the trails and climb the local mountains nude. I subscribed to nudist magazines. I didn't want to see the airbrushed (photoshopped of the day) pictures of the men's magazines. I liked real bodies. I'm one of those boys that grew up with seeing an assortment of real bodies, male and female, in mostly outdoor settings, from about. My tastes in women I guess reflect that. I really like that outdoorsy windblown, sometimes wet, no makeup look. I belong to a nudist club and have been a practicing nudist for 50+ years and a card carrying nudist for more than 20 years. As far as what I find attractive in a woman physically is satisfied by the majority of women. I'm accepting of bodies in general and including, of course, my own. Other factors are far more important. Nudity itself isn't erotic for me. Likely that is association as the author mentioned. I associate nudity to playing outside in the sun. I include working outdoors as well, digging in the garden or other things not requiring protective clothing. Showers are a social event, like a hat tub or sauna. Sex is at best a few hours a week and is the exception. As soon as the signals change to "sex" the game, and my responses, change. Along the way I found I no longer a had any inclination to body shame. Many or most nudists let go of body shame. I invited a young lady to a local nudist club house party who was anorexic and recovering from cancer, skin and bones and afraid to gain weight. Before illness she was a very well built tall massage therapist and weight lifter (for sculpting, not overly muscled) and now she was trying to lose weight after cancer almost destroyed her. She walked in after discarding her clothing, was invited over to sit with a half dozen ladies sitting and talking. In 2 hours she came over to me and whispered "I'm not fat, am I? I'm the skinniest one here". That was the last of her anorexia problem. I was astonished.

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Zanthe Taylor, M.F.A., is a former dramaturg and English teacher who is currently raising two daughters in Brooklyn, NY.

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