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Offline Dan

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Salvaging blog posts
« on: August 31, 2009, 02:57:10 pm »
Once upon a time, there was a neat blog about nudism a friend from NJ had but fellow nudists bloggers seemed to hate it and every post triggered a volley of counter post on other nudists blog. He eventually stopped and the blog is gone from the net. Fortunately, archive.org in their efforts to archive all the net saved it so you can see it here: http://web.archive.org/web/20071026091359/http://www.gymnophiliac.com/

It's a lot youth oriented and often describe the marketing failures that makes nudism unpopular with teens and young adults.

I posted below what probably would be his most controversial entry, it's the one that talks about sex. Although from what I saw from this board, people here are not offended prudes so it should turn out all right :)

Quote from: ejp
If the first commandment of nudism is to always sit on a towel, then commandments two through ten are that nudity doesn't equal sex.

Or maybe I have that backwards - the towel thing, despite being a practical bit of advice, seems rarely mentioned. But if you've spent any time at all surfing nudist web sites, reading nudist forums, news articles about nudism, or even talking to other nudists, you've probably been beaten over the head with the "Nudity doesn't equal sex" meme. It's like a Pavlovian reflex - some nudists (I'd even say the vast majority) just can't talk about nudism without mentioning that it's not sexual, regardless of whether sexuality is mentioned or at all relevant to the discussion.

Before I get too far into this, I'd like to state that I do strongly agree with the idea that nudism isn't sexual. Personally, I define nudism as the practice nudity for nonsexual purposes, which means that nudism isn't sexual by definition. Millions of nudists demonstrate on a daily basis that simply being nude in a nudist context isn't sexual, so I feel pretty that the definition is pretty accurate. Sexuality depends entirely on the context and the behaviors of the people involved, and that's simply not present in nudist environments. And if such sexuality were present, then it's not nudism anymore - I'd label it exhibitionism at that point. (Do take note that this is different from asserting that nudity itself is non-sexual, which I think is just silly - clearly, there are contexts where nudity is very sexual. Maybe I'm just splitting hairs, but this is why I try not to conflate nudity with nudism. Some nudists are so emphatic that nudity is nonsexual that one begins to wonder if they have to put their clothes on in order to have sex.)

So as a factual matter, I don't disagree with the assertion that nudism isn't sexual. But I do have a problem with the way that so many nudists use it - and I wonder if it ultimately does nudism more harm than good.

The reason that nudists adopt the mantra is fairly straightforward. Non-nudists do tend to associate nudity (and therefore nudism) with sex, and ergo make the come to the false conclusion that nudism is somehow sexual. Further, we do face opposition from the religious right and other prudish elements of our society, most of whom are staunchly anti-sex. So the argument is supposed to go something like this:

Prude: Sex is wrong/immoral/indecent, nudity is sexual, therefore nudity is also wrong/immoral/indecent.
Nudist: Nudity is not sexual, therefore nudity ought to be acceptable.

Given the premise, that's logically sound - if you can convince someone that nudity does not equal sex, then the conclusion that nudity is wrong no longer follows. However, the argument as it's presented has numerous flaws.

The primary assumption in the argument is that others think nudity is wrong only because they link it to sex. It ignores the possibility (IMHO, the reality) that these people think nudity is immoral in its own right, regardless of whether or not it's sexual. Making the distinction does nothing to win them over, because they think nudity itself is wrong.

This highlights one of my biggest pet peeves about nudists in general, or at least the large portion of them that forward this argument. It shows naivety, but more than that it shows what I can only describe as a religious way of thinking. Implicit in the argument is the belief that deep down, everyone knows that nudity is okay and the only reason they wouldn't think that is if they link it to something that's not okay, like sex. If only we can remove that connection for these naysayers, then they'll see The Truth(TM) and realize how good and wholesome and wonderful nudism is. It's like nudists can't grasp the idea that other people might think differently about the subject (I'm generalizing a bit, but I've seen it enough times to say that it's not an uncommon way of thinking among nudists).

The other aspect of it is that it's downright hypocritical. Let's look at this hypothetical naysayer argument again. It's a fairly simple one, two givens and a conclusion:

Premise: Nudity is sexual
Premise: Sexuality is wrong
Conclusion: Therefore, nudity is wrong.

By asserting that "Nudity isn't sexual", nudists are attacking the first premise well implicitly (and sometimes explicitly) agreeing with the second - that sexuality is somehow wrong. And here I'll just say flat out: sexuality is not wrong or harmful. But that's almost irrelevant to the point.

Nudists are agreeing that there's an arbitrary line of morality that dictates what's acceptable for public behavior and what isn't, and argue that that line should be pushed just far enough such that our lifestyle is acceptable, while continuing to condemn any activity that remains on the other side of that line. Even if you think sexual activities are wrong, if you personally find them offensive, nudists more than other people should realize that that's no basis for condemning it. More to the point, it's certainly not a basis for prohibition via legislation, especially if you believe (as I do) that the general public should learn to tolerate and accept nudity. If you believe that your "right not to be offended" by sexual activity is more important than the freedom of others to engage in it, then you completely abandon the moral authority to argue against someone who believes their "right not to be offended" by nudity trumps your freedom to be nude. To do argue otherwise just makes you a hypocrite.

Nudity and sexuality, while two separate ideas, are both fundamentally forms of speech (and therefore should be protected under the freedom thereof). They differ in their content but not in any of their attributes - it's logically impossible to construct a rational argument supporting or condemning one that does not apply equally to the other. The fundamental problem is not where that line of morality falls, but rather that the line exists at all. Nudism's relationship to sexuality is a strawman argument - the real argument is whether you support censorship and prohibition or support freedom and liberty. If you support the former, then you're just opening the door for anyone who wants to ban and prohibit nudism.

Mind you, I'm not an advocate of public sex and I'm not suggesting that nudists have to be either. I don't have any particular desire to engage in public sex myself, nor do I have a particular desire to see other people engaging in it. I'm certainly not arguing that we start permitting it in private nudist venues (They're private, the owners get to make whatever rules they want). What I am arguing is that nudists stop being so hypocritically anti-sex. We have enough opposition from the religious right and other prudes without nudists themselves bolstering their arguments. The keyword here is tolerance: If we want people to tolerate nudism, we need to practice that tolerance when it comes to the things we disagree with or find offensive.

What I am suggesting is that nudists change our argument and adopt a different tactic. It shouldn't just be that "nudity isn't sexual" - but rather "nudity isn't sexual, but so what if it was?". Instead of simply emphasizing the non-sexual nature of social nudity, we ought to be emphasizing that nudity is natural, that it's wholesome and fun, that there's nothing inherently shameful or wrong in it, and that it's no different from other natural acts. Nudism has to stand or fall on its own merits, not on its non-relationship to sex. And if someone does bring up public sex, it should be "Well, if people want to do that, good for them - but it's not what we're about".

It would do nudists well to re-evaluate their often puritanical attitude towards sex for other reasons as well. Too often, the anti-sex attitude is taken to such an extreme that even normal levels of sexuality aren't tolerated at nudist venues; behaviors that are acceptable at a textile resort become unacceptable on a nudist one. If we really believe that being nude isn't inherently sexual - we should still see the same levels of sexuality we'd see at a comparable textile venue, not less. As it is, an outsider would assume we're overcompensating for something, and undermines the very case we're trying to make.

Completely sterilizing nudist environments of all things sexual has other unintended negative consequences. Another hot topic amongst nudists is how to get a more youthful demographic involved, and why exactly there's so little interest among teenagers and twenty-somethings. I'll offer this as part of the answer: if there's one truism the world over, it's that teenagers talk about sex. A lot. Irrespective of whether they're actually having it, they think about it, they worry about it, and they talk about it (I'm broadly defining "sex talk" here; not just the physical acts but all things sexual). If you look at the things they do and the places they do hang out, they're almost universally "sexy". By so completely scrubbing nudism of sexuality, we offer an environment that's about as appealing to teenagers as an old folks home (and some resorts do resemble them...). By demanding that they leave sex talk, sexual innuendo, and even the slightest hint of sexual behavior at the front gate, we're asking younger people to bottle up a big part of their personality and individualism just to participate in nudism. It's not surprising that many are consequently turned off to it. Offer an environment that actually let's people be themselves, and you might just keep more young people around. (On a personal note, this is exactly why I don't go to clubs and resorts more often than I do, preferring the somewhat less restricted environment of the beach)

On a final note, it needs to be pointed out that it really is counterproductive for nudists to be anti-sex. Sexual expression is unquestionably the bigger taboo than nudity, so as society in general becomes more tolerant and accepting of sexuality, it follows that nudism will benefit from that. Sexual liberation helps nudism - so it makes little sense for any nudist to try to impede social progress in that area.

One can be tolerant and open about sexuality without necessarily allowing an orgy on the premise. One can still say that there's an appropriate time and place for sex without being anti-sex. Permitting sexual discussion, public displays of affection, and normal sexual expression doesn't invalidate the thesis that nudism itself is nonsexual. Unfortunately, these ideas don't seem to be a part of nudist culture, and I think that's to our overall detriment.
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Nude_not_rude

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Re: Salvaging blog posts
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2009, 05:20:20 am »
Wow what a brilliant post you have highlighted there Dan! Thank you! I've got to say I fully support their argument here. Excellent writing. Am I correct in guessing this author ejp is a new member here? I do hope so.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2009, 05:24:09 am by Toddo »

Offline Danee

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Re: Salvaging blog posts
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2009, 01:44:14 pm »
What a super essay!  I, like Toddie, are in full agreement with what was written by that person.  It reminded me a little bit of the essays I posted the other day in Martijns section.  Same theme. 

http://internationalyn.org/forum/index.php/topic,1248.0.html
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Offline Dan

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Re: Salvaging blog posts
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2009, 08:44:58 pm »
Wow what a brilliant post you have highlighted there Dan! Thank you! I've got to say I fully support their argument here. Excellent writing. Am I correct in guessing this author ejp is a new member here? I do hope so.

You are correct. He said he'll lurk a bit here before getting involved because he keep bumping into the kind of attitude he criticize in this essay on the net. Many nudists look more like Tex Tyler from Loxie and Zoot (You pervs get out of my town!) than the Koala Bares resort (We're having fun naked around here, why don't you give it a try?).

His username is Eric, I told him to drop a line in the intro forum within the week so he doesn't get deleted.

Edit:

Another really good post:

Quote from: ejp
It's remarkable how satire can reveal fundamental truths the way little else can. Last year, Stephen Colbert made one of the most concise and profound observations about human nature in recent memory with truthiness, a word that has since entered the dictionary and national lexicon.

Truthiness, in a nutshell, refers to valuing what you feel is right over what is right. It's an appeal to emotion; relying on the tendency of people to value what's in their gut over facts or logic. With that one word, Colbert managed to sum up Bush's entire political strategy and the right wing media machine.

But before I devolve into politics, let's back up and apply this towards nudism.

Simply, there's no rational argument against nudism. I've been a nudist long enough, participated on enough forums, and written enough for this blog that I'm fairly confident that if there was some kind of logical basis for objecting to nudity, I'd have come across it by now. All the facts support us. Nudists demonstrate on a continual basis that social nudity doesn't cause the world to end. Yet the objections remain, always groundless.

To the degree that specific objections are levied, they never materialize: that social nudity attracts perverts, that it's an unsafe environment, etc.

But more often than not, there's not even anything specific to really debate. People are offended by nudity. It makes them uncomfortable. Or the knee-jerk "Children might see!", with no explanation of why that would be bad. Being naked just feels wrong, so that means that somehow it must be wrong, facts or logic be damned.

I run into a similar barrier when trying to get people to participate. Even if they're okay with the fact that I participate in social nudity, they don't want to themselves. Even after I handle all of their objections, and get them to agree with me that it could be fun, most people never try it - because the real objection is in their gut, not in their head.

It's not surprising that people feel this way, given our culture's schizophrenia when it comes to the human body. There's an entrenched puritanical message that there's something shameful and wrong with nudity. Corporate marketers continually bombard us with the message that our body isn't good enough [without their products]. Girls in particular are taught to be modest and are ever fearful of the "slut" label (yet more irrationality), while guys who are too casual risk being labeled queer or gay (also irrational). "Indecency" and "obscenity" are prohibited by law. This is even as we're exposed to more and more skin year after year - television, movies, and advertising are constantly pushing the boundaries of what they can show.

It's important for nudists to realize that while we may have the truth on our side, our opponents have something far more powerful: truthiness. And that's much more difficult to overcome than simple ignorance.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2009, 08:50:36 pm by Dan »
"Politics is an ocean of toes" - Jacques Parizeau (1930-2015, RIP)

Nude_not_rude

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Re: Salvaging blog posts
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2009, 12:50:36 am »
Yet another brilliant blog post from Eric! Again excellent writing, I love how he thinks. Truthiness....that's soooooo true it's laughable.

I noticed Eric did post an intro which is great! Looking forward to more of his wisdom here. Thanks for directing him to our forum. hopefully he find us much more like Koala Bares Resort than Loxie and Zoot!