The Stigma of Social Nudity in the Age of Casual Sex… Please explain this to me!

This is sort of a slow starter, so I hope you will “bare with me” until I get to the twist!

I was chatting with my millennial friend Addie the other day about outing oneself as a naturist through social media, noting that we both work in education related fields that frequently involves working with minors, and a well-intended misstep could easy escalate into an unintended kerfuffle. In fact, I endured one such incident about a year ago when my naturist platforms became entangled with my professional profile; when Facebook algorithms grabbed my Instagram data and started asking all my professional colleagues to follow Naturist Dan!

I found the glitch and disabled the effected accounts for a few weeks and essentially shrugged it off as, “Well now, there are a few more people who’ve seen my naked ass than existed three days ago.” One never knows the long-term implications of such an episode, but at the same time, I’m finding that one of the benefits of aging is caring less and less about such things, as my professional endeavors are gradually taking a backseat to my ambitions for personal fulfillment. If I had a therapist, I suspect he’d say that I’m making good progress with that.

It’s here in the conversation where a reader will typically chime in to admonish me for not coming out with the Full Monty, proudly posting photos on any social media platform that will allow full-frontal nudity, while fervently proclaiming, “I’m a naturist dammit! If you don’t like it, don’t look at me!” I’ve been the direct recipient of this sermon on repeated occasions, and I get it! We can’t fully normalize social nudity if we are apologetic at best; coy at least about revealing our identity. In my case, even if the platform allows it, (e.g. Twitter) I have yet to post personal photos that reveal genitalia, nor am I willing to let anything out there that could be picked up by facial recognition software. I’m really not eager for someone to go searching for my latest bio pic before an upcoming professional presentation, only to find me butt naked at the swim-up bar at a Mexican naturist resort. (Thank you Google Image search… you’re miraculous!)  In fact, that would be awkward even if I had swim trunks on!

But here’s where the conversation gets interesting!

As the youngest of four, my older siblings were young adults during the Summer of Love. Despite the fact that we lived only an hour away from the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco, I don’t think any of them were “cool enough” to really get into that scene, nor did they exploit the era of “any California beach could be a nude beach!” Truthfully, we were a blue-collar, Protestant work ethic, All-American Family, and the social norms of the household were extremely clear. “Thou shalt not bare thy ass in public, and should you choose to have sex before marriage, you are destined to burn in hell!” By the time I came of age, the Moral Majority was on the rise and Family Values were the heartbeat of every political campaign. With the sudden proliferation of AIDS, the once common bathhouses of San Francisco were shuttered as dens of promiscuity, and the Summer of Love gave way to the Cold War on Sexuality. “Put your clothes on, cut your hair, and get on board with Nancy Reagan’s message about abstinence and maybe we can save ourselves from the moral collapse of America.”

I mentioned Addie at the front of this piece. (You can read her guest blog posts here and here.) She is roughly the age of my own children, and embraces a similar ideology of my own children. She is neither promiscuous, nor is she narrowly conservative. And thus, given her moderate live and let live perspective, the knockout punch was her consternation as to what exactly the average rank and file human thinks naturists do when they get naked together?

Of course, any seasoned naturist knows that you have to be careful when choosing your nakation destination, should you inadvertently stumble into a swingers retreat when it wasn’t your desire to make new friends with immediate benefits. But Addie’s immediate counter to that was, “But why the hell should anyone even care about that? How many 25-30 year olds haven’t been to a social gathering in the past ten years where casual sex and hooking up with a new acquaintance was simply part of the third beverage and beyond protocol?!?” Just who chooses to participate, and what benefits they are willing to provide is a matter of personal preference, but am I just being delusional when I observe that anyone outside of today’s super-conservative religious enclaves has long since accepted today’s terms of casual sex, and even the stigma around “open relationships” has increasingly morphed over to, “Yeah…  I guess if it works for them… whatever.”

So, as I scroll through innumerable memes on Twitter with catchy sayings like “Nudity doesn’t equate sex,” or “Newd isn’t Lewd,” it suddenly occurs to me that the social construct of promoting social nudity is even more complicated than I thought!

To that end, I thought I would see if I could create a new set of guidelines to help us all get on the same page. Let’s see…

  • Sex before marriage = Well, of course. Expected.
  • Sex on the first Tinder date = Acceptable.
  • Sex on the second or third Tinder date = Required!
  • Party with alcohol = Expect unauthorized physical contact
  • Party with more alcohol, and good friends = Expect marginally authorized physical contact.
  • Party with LOTS of alcohol = Make sure you choose a house with enough bedrooms!
  • Come out as a naturist to your friends = Expect your friends to ask, “Are you a sexual deviant? WTF??”
  • Get caught naked on the internet snoozing on the beach = Get labeled as a sexual predator and banned by all social media as a menace to society, and maybe even lose your job.

Turns out, I guess, that nudity doesn’t equate to casual sex. For most people in 2019, casual sex is just an everyday thing. But if you dare to take off all your clothes and simply go for a walk in the woods or take a nap in the sun! What the hell were you thinking?

Photos in this post are from vintage naturist magazines located on the web.. If you find one the violates copyright infringement, please notify me and I will remove it immediately.

13 thoughts on “The Stigma of Social Nudity in the Age of Casual Sex… Please explain this to me!

  1. nakedwanderings says:

    We love the angle of this blog post! It’s so very true and we’re deeply sad that we didn’t come up with it first 🙂

    Today we’ve slowed down a bit when it comes to partying all night, but during the last 15 years or so we’ve indeed stumbled upon many people having sex in the toilets of a bar or club or someone else’s parents’ bedroom. And that was all pretty much socially accepted. But dare to do so at the toilet of your local naturist club and chances are that you’ll be banned for life.

    The fight to unlink nudity from sex has taken some weird twists and not only has it become quite unhealthy in some cases (we hear about resorts where even holding hands is something to avoid), it also often failed to catch up with modern times and standards.

    As for the first part of this article, it’s another huge misunderstanding that nudists don’t need/want privacy. Especially on the internet. We get those messages too… “Hey you’re a nudist, why don’t you show us your boobs?”
    The thing is that those questions don’t come from other nudists but from people who just don’t understand that nudism has nothing to do with posing full frontal nude on the internet. No, we have no shame about our bodies, but therefore we don’t really feel the need to put all of it online. If you want to see us naked, come find us at the nudist resort.

    Lastly, we also have a blog post ready about nudity and sex and given your new insight here, we’re now strongly considering rewriting a part of it. Thanks a lot for that (which we certainly don’t mean in an ironic way)!

    Liked by 2 people

    • HAHAHA!!! I would feel bad for you that I got there first, but you guys are our heroes, so… no sympathy for you!!! LOL Seriously… it is SO gratifying not to be the lone voice in the wilderness on things like this. And notice, I avoided the weirdness of people who claim to be deeply religious who are a bit less than chaste as well… at least… until now. 🤔 Thanks for your thoughtful reply. Hardly wait to meet you this summer… Someplace!

      Like

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  3. naturistplace01 says:

    I can easily think of at least three reasons for this paradoxical situation:

    1. Young people, especially millennials (and I know, being the father of one), have relaxed and generally sane attitudes about sexuality. So why do they balk at mere nudity? I think the fact that most active nudists/naturists these days are old enough to be their parents or grandparents is a big part of this. Making this even worse is that the male/female ratio is heavily tilted towards males. These demographics just don’t appeal to young people, especially young women (so young men also aren’t interested).

    2. As you’ve pointed out in February, there’s an absence of children in naturism. The general public believes this is because exposure to nudity isn’t good for children. So thinking of naturism and liberated sexuality in similar terms sets up a huge cognitive dissonance problem. Organized naturism needs to counter this by making a concerted effort to bring families with children back into the fold to blow up the idea that naturism and families don’t mix. (Young folks either already have kids or are thinking about having some.)

    3. There’s just a huge amount of sloppy, irrational, inconsistent thinking rampant in most human societies today – especially in the U. S. Critical, reasoning thought processes are simply absent these days. So people can’t even perceive how liberated but healthy sexuality that still retains taboos on casual, non-sexual nudity is just plain crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. IMO, NaturistPlace01 has hit it on the head with point #3. Irrationality has become like errant car alarms in the early 90’s: so commonplace that if you didn’t screen it out you’d never get anything done. That’s the underlying reason people have no problem with casual sex but freak at the thought of social nudity. They aren’t intellectually capable of seeing the inherent contradiction.

    But it’s not confined to naturism. It’s pervasive in men’s locker rooms. Google “men towel dance in gym” and see what you find. It shows up in men’s bathrooms as well. Guys stand in line for a stall while a row of urinals stands largely empty.

    What’s even more alarming to me (probably a result of my previous work in Social Services) is that guys who go to such lengths seem totally oblivious to the fact that their behavior practically screams “I don’t want anyone to see my genitalia!” I.e. they choose behavior that DRAWS attention to what they’re ostensibly trying to divert attention from.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Addie makes an excellent point in the sixth paragraph. Why would the application of the “third beverage and beyond protocol” have any connection with the clothing status of the people at the social gathering?

    I’ve been to numerous nudist social gatherings over the years at which a particular time or place has been designated for those wishing to apply said protocol. My personal experience with this is that having such a designation actually moves the rest of the social gathering further toward a ‘G’ rating.

    The verbiage used is usually something to the effect of ” ‘strictly social’policies apply with the exception of ‘X room’.”

    Liked by 2 people

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