I’m finding this to be a difficult post to write, and I can imagine that it might be somewhat controversial. But I believe that what I need to say here needs to be out. And I want to thank Ginger @breastsrhealthy for setting an example with her consistently helpful and respectful tone in addressing widespread ignorance and fear regarding topfree equality – see here for an excellent recent post.
This post is about blocking, and about exposure to naturism, and about what some people call “dick pics,” and about tolerance. Ultimately, it is about respect.
On Twitter, where I am @nudescribe, there are many account-holders who weave in and out of naturism and pornography, or deliberately confuse one with the other. I followed the lead of a high-profile naturist web page curator, Earl D at clothesfreelife.com / @Liveclothesfree and used his block list to block many people because of their focus on pornography. Some of them were already following me, others could have been potential followers. It makes sense to do that.
At the same time, there are so many new account holders and second account holders that to truly maintain a block list requires a “constant vigilance” that seems impossible for me, at least, to devote the time to. It’s a herculean task. I’m happy to use someone else’s list. Great.
But here’s the problem: I notice that many new followers seem to be men – young, middle-aged, older – who tend to use penis photos for their avatars. They tend to be from certain areas of the world under the sway of very conservative religious and governmental controls – areas like Indonesia, say, or Egypt, or Lebanon, or Utah. What I understand is that these men can be confused about what naturism means. And there are so many, many reasons for them to be confused, especially when they live in deeply religious societies. I think we need to show some tolerance, and seize the chance to educate, at least as much as possible, before jumping to block. We need more people, not fewer people, to understand what naturism is. And if we automatically write off people who are confused about the distinction between naturism and pornography, well… that’s a whole lot of people.
So I want to address the penis-avatar crowd directly, but what I want to say is for all of us to ponder:
Your penis is wonderful. Your body is beautiful. I hope you have discovered or re-discovered the joy that it is to feel your penis, and all of your body, respond to the breeze blowing or the water flowing over your naked skin. These sensations should be experienced. They should be part of the common knowledge of what it is to live in a body with a penis – of what it is to experience your body unclothed in the elements. Unfortunately, many men never learn these sensations, and as a result, the understanding of the natural range of movement of a basic body part is restricted exclusively and wrongly to sexual situations, and/or to situations of assigned guilt and shame. Just as unfortunately, many women never learn the sensation of the breeze over their vulva, or the lakewater buoying unbound breasts. And these sensations should be part of the common knowledge of what it is to live in a body with breasts, a body with a vulva – again, of what it is to experience your body unclothed in the elements.
You need to know that naturists can understand your focus on your penis – after all, for men it is usually the last body part to be undressed, which makes it the first body part to signify being naked. There is a sensuality to exposing the entire body. Many naturist leaders of several genders have reflected on the sensual intensity of sun or rain or surf on skin.
But naturism is much more than that. Much, much more. Change your focus to the big picture. The standard definition, from the International Naturist Federation, is:
Notice that the focus is on respect: respect for bodies -our own as much as others’ – and for nature. Respect for the range of bodies out there, of all sizes, shapes, ages and colors, ranges of abilities and genders and sexual orientations. Respect for them, for us all, as part of nature – we are part of the natural world, and our nudity reinforces that.
Sex is a part of the natural world, too. We know this. Naturists also know that because of centuries of church and government taboos on nudity, it’s understandable that people tend to confuse nudity with sex, and both of them with pornography.
But if you are truly interested in naturism, if you are truly open to naturism, you will move beyond the need to see bodies, and photos or videos of bodies. Again, this need to see bodies is understandable, because our governments and religions starve us of ourselves. If you don’t grow up seeing naked humanity – including as might be depicted in art – you are deprived of an essential way of knowing humanity and knowing who we are, what we are, how we grow and become. This deprivation is one of humanity’s greatest cruelties to itself, because the frequent results – body shame and humiliation, slut-shaming, hazing rituals, unwanted pregnancies, sexual crimes and more – are horrendous. Naturism, to its immense credit, strives to undo that kind of deprivation of bodily knowledge, or, even better, strives to make possible a world in which there is no deprivation, because naturists tend to truly know and accept our bodies in a socially and naturally supported state of nudity as often as possible.
|Photos courtesy @Naked_Club, organizers of many fine fun naturist events|
Young man from Malaysia, middle-aged man from Texas, older man from Peru, swinger couple from Barcelona: enjoy yourselves. Enjoy your bodies. If your focus online is sexual gratification, it’s easy to see that and block you. But take it upon yourselves to move beyond just looking at bodies, toward thinking about wholeness and health. Work to organize naturism, or to support topfree equality, where you live. Work to create and share a climate of respect in social nudity, preferably outdoors, so that more people can benefit from a better understanding of their own bodies, others’ bodies, and nature. Make it happen somehow.
One of the main ingredients for making naturism happen is nudity. But the key ingredient is respect.