Cheek

Definitions of “cheek“:
(1) the fleshy part of the face on either side of the mouth
(2) a buttock
(3) a frank, daring attitude
(4) the way some people pronounce that French word for “cool”
All of these definitions apply to one of naturism’s newest, cheekiest, and most dynamic web presences. Nurba: Urban Naturism and Body Freedom began as a website organization in late 2011 and has expanded to include Twitter and Tumblr feeds and a Facebook page.
I love nurba for encouraging people to engage with innovative contexts for nudity by pushing past boundaries–not just traditional boundaries like religious and governmental strictures, but even the boundaries of what we mean when we talk about naturism or social nudism. I think this is a highly commendable mission.
“There’s no use in dividing us all into separate groups with different names. We stand behind social and non-social nudity, body freedom, acceptance and free-thinking. Put your skin to the wind and feel for yourself: it doesn’t matter whether you call it naturism or nudism, it’s the same naked.”
Nurba aims to shake things up by focusing on (1) urban nudity, (2) nude art and design, and (3) sex-positive nudity (affirmative attitudes toward sexual practices and orientations). Here’s nurba speaking for itself:
(1) Urban Nudity
The folks at nurba posted the following text as one of the first items on their tumblr, and it was widely reblogged:
“It’s funny, isn’t it? Funny that we can promote the right to be naked, to enjoy our body, to feel freedom, all from the comfort of our own home. And we can pretend to disregard the idea of shame, all the while we tuck ourselves away into the remotest corners, into the forest, into the desert, in our own home, where nobody will find us. We haven’t fought for our rights, we have simply found places where they aren’t challenged. We haven’t proven that we feel no shame, in fact we have proven the exact opposite, that we don’t have the courage to be outspoken, that we are complacent living secretly amongst everyone else: we have proven that there is shame where there should be none. People fear what they do not know, and we have almost deliberately denied them the understanding of nudity that we have always known.”
I read this less as a rejection of traditional nudist enclaves and more as the need to add to them–to create a wider range of options–by coming up with other ideas that specifically engage urban youth. That view is supported in subsequent nurba tumblr posts:
“As a society, we have moved away from the farms, away from fields and rolling countryside, in favor of brick walls and starless skies. Rather than consent to believing that our urban life should be spent in a protective state, under wraps, hidden behind walls and clothing, I embrace my mortality and my vulnerability. I embrace my skin, and I am not ashamed of it.”
“It has become altogether too convenient for us to imagine ourselves as something innately more than human, more than animal. In the name of fabricated morality and decency, we have institutionalized an incredible dissonance towards one of the few links that ties us to our natural roots: our bodies and our skin. The most sensuous, raw, uninhibited sensations that we will ever feel as human beings have essentially been banned for the sake of an ideology that both overly sexualizes and wrongly demonizes.”
(2) Nude Art and Design
The nurba designers set up a tumblr feed that offers something other than candid beach photos by showing contexts for urban nudity, indoors as well as outside. This makes it a unique gallery. (The Vita Nuda folks deserve a shout-out here for their attractive and innovative Nudazine, which also has to do with nude art and design). Also, the nurba news feed has featured articles or reviews about design innovations of interest to naturists, such as grass carpeting and second-skin type footwear.

(3) Sex-Positive Nudity
Sex will always be controversial, right? (I mean, for some people, just the idea–just the word–sex is controversial.) But I think the tenor of Nothing to Dread’s support of YNA’s sponsorship of a booth at a Guilty Pleasures Party (earlier this year, in New York’s Museum of Sex), with which I agree, can apply to the nurba mission as well. Nothing to Dread wrote:
I believe that nudists are generally open-minded sexually. I honestly can’t see someone who isn’t comfortable with their own sexuality being comfortable while nude among strangers. I believe that the state of mind that results in our being comfortable in our own skins extends to most areas of our lives. That includes sex and sensuality.
The people at YNA understand that you must reach out if you expect to reach new people. At the Museum of Sex, they met people whose minds were already open to ideas outside the confines of America-Puritanica.
“I believe that nudists are generally open-minded sexually. I honestly can’t see someone who isn’t comfortable with their own sexuality being comfortable while nude among strangers. I believe that the state of mind that results in our being comfortable in our skins extends to most areas of our lives. That includes sex and sensuality.
The people at YNA understand that you must reach out if you expect to reach new people. At the Museum of Sex, they met people whose minds were already open to ideas outside the confines of America-Puritanica.”
nudists are generally open-minded sexually. I honestly can’t see someone who isn’t comfortable with their own sexuality being comfortable while nude among strangers. I believe that the state of mind that results in our being comfortable in our own skins extends to most areas of our lives. That includes sex and sensuality.
The people at YNA understand that you must reach out if you expect to reach new people. At the Museum of Sex, they met people whose minds were already open to ideas outside the confines of America-Puritanica
I believe that nudists are generally open-minded sexually. I honestly can’t see someone who isn’t comfortable with their own sexuality being comfortable while nude among strangers. I believe that the state of mind that results in our being comfortable in our own skins extends to most areas of our lives. That includes sex and sensuality.
The people at YNA understand that you must reach out if you expect to reach new people. At the Museum of Sex, they met people whose minds were already open to ideas outside the confines of America-Puritanica.
The Sex & Love feed at the nurba site shows agreement:
“We cannot very well promote human nature and human nakedness without promoting an open view of sex and sexuality: sex may not define us, but it is integral to human life and, despite society’s attempt to dirty it up, it makes us happy and it helps us build connections with fellow humans.”
And finally I love nurba for their clever tweets. Here is a selection of some of my favorites that you may have missed (and if you missed them why aren’t you following already?):
Unnakedness is a serious issue in society today. Friends don’t let friends suffer from unnakedness.

Naturism isn’t a choice: it’s how we were born. It is instinct. Denying naturism is the choice, and it is one that is made by far too many.
¡Ponte de pie y desnúdate!
I think your clothes have been seeing someone else. I didn’t want you to find out this way, but it might be time to break things off.
The ones telling you to chop off your foreskin for hygiene are the same ones telling you to stuff your penis in a dark, humid pouch all day.

It’s this tweet-cheekiness of nurba that makes me want to support the cause! It’s this cheekiness that makes me want to promote adding to what organized naturism has built over the past eight decades by widening the range of ways to think about and express nudity. Fun, whimsical, youthful, refreshing, chic, cheeky, nurba! All cheeks to the breeze bringing fresh and clever contexts for nudity.

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