Recently the Naturist Thoughts blog posted The Reluctant Spouse which presented a perspective on the reluctant spouse I don’t recall having seen before. One important point he brings up is that your reluctant spouse is your spouse first and foremost. He also advises dropping the word reluctant because your spouse has free will and while they chose you, they may not have chosen nudism or naturism. He also advises those with a “reluctant” spouse not the blame their spouse or try to cajole them into it or make them feel guilty for not wanting to pursue it. It okay to encourage them or suggest they give it a try but don’t push it.
After reading the article, I realized that my wife is not reluctant at all. A reluctant spouse infers that she participates to some degree but she may not really enjoy it or she may be doing it just to appease you. My wife is not willing to participate in any degree. That’s not reluctance, that’s non-participation. My wife does, however, support my participation in naturism although that support may be somewhat reluctant.
She’s not reluctant, she’s just not a naturist and she is not inclined to become one, That’s her choice and I respect it. I’m a naturist but it’s not always the highest priority.
Yesterday was World Naked Gardening Day and as much as I would have enjoy working naked in my garden yesterday or any other day there were a number of reasons for not doing so. For one thing, the expected high was in the upper 50s, a tad too chilly to be nude outdoors. For another, my garden lacks the necessary privacy, considering contemporary society. Several years ago, the neighbor behind me erected a privacy fence but the view of my backyard from all other sides is relatively unobstructed and the public exposure of certain body parts is a criminal offense that could result in a sex offender status.
Don’t get me wrong. I like the idea of working in my garden in my natural state and if I enjoyed the luxury of a private garden or living a truly free (or at least an enlightened and tolerant) society, I most certainly would.
I suppose I could erect a suitable privacy fence or move to a property more suitable to outdoor nudity but I currently lack the resources for either prospect. Short of a winning lottery ticket, it just isn’t going to happen. On the other hand, naked gardening isn’t really a high priority. Of course, if my circumstances were were conducive to nude outdoor activities, I’d certainly feel more inclined to do so.
As it is, I think we already have too many fences and walls separating us, we needn’t be adding more. However, as long as we live in a fearful society that’s unwilling or unable to tear down their personal walls of separation, few walls will be torn down and many more walls will be constructed.
Too many of us live in fear of our neighbors, especially if they are in any way different from us or express their freedom in a way that we are afraid to embrace. We claim to live in the land of the free but how free are we? Most of us live in fear and as long as we live in fear, we cannot be free. We are slaves to our fears, they own us. And so, we live in our fortresses of fear, surrounded by a moat of ignorance, never stepping out of our comfort zones.
I read with interest the article The pros and cons of growing up in a Naked House by Caroline O’Donoghue. I have sometimes wondered what it might have been like to grow up in a clothing optional household. How would it have affected my perspectives and attitudes about nudity or how much sooner I might have come to them? Such a childhood would certainly have been incredibly different from the one I had. I can’t recall the topic of nudity ever being discussed nor can I recall ever seeing my parents or my siblings naked (other than my brother with whom I shared a bedroom).
As an adolescent, I was sometimes naked alone in the privacy of my room. Being nude in my room was often stimulating but it was that period of sexual development and hormonal changes. I was uncomfortable with my body but I’m not sure that I felt shame toward it. However, I considered it normal to be covered except for changing clothes or bathing. I didn’t have any problems with changing and showering for my PE classes. It was what one did and I didn’t question it.
It was later, as an adult, that I really began to feel more comfortable with my body, greatly influenced by the cultures of the countries I lived in or visited and their more relaxed attitudes about the human body. I become comfortable with being nude, either alone or in social contexts such as a sauna or hot tub. When I was nude it felt natural and even liberating.
Looking back on my teenage years when I spent summers in the country, I had found many places where I could be nude or go skinny-dipping. I had plenty of opportunities but these ideas hadn’t occurred to me. If I had a do-over, that is one aspect of my life I probably would have done differently.
The pros and cons of growing up in a Naked House – Caroline O’Donoghue
I just went through every post and updated links, restored images, and corrected some spelling and grammar in the posts. There might be a couple posts I might have missed but I’ll fix them when I find them.
Today I read an interview of Willow, founder of Naked in Motion, by Isis Phoenix on the Naked Yoga Alliance web site in which she spoke at length about her nudity policy for her naked yoga classes.
Is nudity required in your class?
Full nudity used to be mandatory, however, women emailed about the possibility of wearing bottoms. After a while of teaching it occurred to me that I want more people to experience this practice, not just the people who are privileged enough to feel safe enough. When I offered the possibility that women and trans identifying folks could wear bottoms to class for any reason, the gender ratio became much more balanced. There are some issues that I think should be examined in the nudist community around this. Women have been kicked off of nudist beaches for wearing bottoms when they are on their periods. Cisgender men cannot know what it is like to menstruate. This mandatory nudity rule felt like part of the patriarchy trying to be in control of women’s bodies. Women and trans folk can wear bottoms for any reason. It is required that cisgender men are nude for class.
If nudist communities continue to exclude women on the basis of menstruation, we are never going to get close to a less patriarchal society. I also invite transgender people to use or wear anything that they need to affirm their gender. I’ve got criticism from men about these new rules. I want to explain myself to men and be the source of education about this issue. Everybody wants more women to be present in these classes. When there are more women, people feel safer. It is in everyone’s best interest to have more women present in class. When women take off their tops, they are already participating in nudity. When men take off their tops, they are not. You can see male joggers without tops and it feels normal. If a woman were to be jogging topless, it would not be seen as normal, she would be seen as nude. The bottoms policy gives the message to people after centuries of oppression that I am allowing you to experience this is in the way that makes you feel safe. There is nothing equal about the experience of a man and a woman naked in a space together. Nothing. That doesn’t exist. My bottoms rule is about equity, and it gives a marginalized and oppressed group tools that they need to have a successful experience. Equity in this space gives those marginalized groups more privilege and something to make them feel safer. It doesn’t mean that more people wear bottoms in class. This new rule says, I understand where you are coming from and I support you.
The idea is interesting and could have a positive impact on gender inequality in organized nudism. A bottoms-optional policy might help women to feel more comfortable and less vulnerable at nudist clubs. Clubs I’ve been to generally allow women to wear bottoms during their periods which makes sense but it does draw attention to where a nudist woman is on her menstrual cycle. As far as I know, even when they’re allowed bottoms for that reason, nudity is still required in and around the pools and hot tubs.
Over the years I’ve heard plenty of talk about “equality” in nudism and how it’s a great equalizer. But I really haven’t seen much discussion about equity in nudism. That’s an entirely different discussion that needs to happen.
Nudist Equity – Why Providing the Option to Wear Bottoms in Naked Yoga for Women and Transfolk is a Political Statement.
Here’s a question I saw on Tumblr today: “Mass participation in pubic hair removal has lead to hairless genitals now being the norm. Would mass erections at nudist events and locations lead to better acceptance of the erection as a natural state of the penis?”
In my mind, the answer is “No.” The natural, default state of the penis is flaccid. While an erection is a natural occurrence, it occurs because there has been some stimulus that has caused blood to flow into the penis causing a physiological change from its default flaccid state. An erection is, therefore, a stimulated state which might be a natural reaction to various stimuli that that man may or may not have any control over but is is not the default or natural state. Even if sporting an erection were become normalized in a nudist setting, it still would not be the natural state of the penis because an erection normally requires some kind of stimulus.
The subject of erections in a nudist setting is a difficult issue. While a boner may be a “natural” occurrence, most nudists would probably agree that they are relatively rare in nudist settings. I know I’ve never gotten an erection at a nudist location or event nor have I witnessed any. An erection might be a natural reaction to stimuli but it’s quite likely to cause offense, particularly if the man flaunts it with disregard for others. Those of us who witness an erection can’t know beyond a reasonable doubt the man’s intentions and are likely to assume the worst. Most will see it as overt sexual intent, not as a complement. I sincerely doubt that increased exposure to erect penises will normalize them or make them appear friendlier.
I’d hesitate to say that hairless genitalia is the norm although it is a very popular option. Has a large enough sample been surveyed to statistically determine if it is the norm? Even if it turns out that it is the norm, shaved genitalia is not the natural state of our genitals. Pubic hair is the default among most post-pubescent human beings. Removing the pubic hair is a change to the natural state.