A recent post of mine titled What’s Wrong With Nudity has gotten a lot more attention than I had originally imagined it would. It has been re-blogged on several nudist blogs and spread around social media a few times. The post itself has drawn more comments than any other post and has received more hits in a week than my blog had previously done in the last 2 months. I did not expect this much attention for that post but I am glad to see that people are interested in what I have to say about it.
For this post I want to share with you where and how my interest in this subject really got started. Much of what I am going to share regarding my views and experiences I have not shared with anyone or very few people. The Places I have shared have been anonymous online forums and a few select trusted friends or family that I know would not be judgemental. This post will be one of a very personal nature. And many who see this post know me personally and may be surprised to learn some things about me you never knew.
As I look back on this issue of nudity and start to understand how I feel about it and my personal views I have learned and realized just how much they contrast with what we are taught from a religious perspective.
I find myself thinking back on how my interest in nudity started. I think back to my youth. I grew up in a home with no father. One brother and one sister. I don’t remember a single instance in my youth where I had ever seen my brother, sister or mother naked, or even partly naked. I had no experience with nudity other than myself growing up. When I think about it that just seems odd that in a house with 3 other people not even once did we ever stumble across another person naked. To not be naked was so ingrained into our psyches that I had no concept of what a man’s or woman’s body actually looked like. I had only my own body for reference. Now I am not saying my mother and sister should have stripped down naked to give me a lesson on womans bodies. Nudity in my home was hidden and NEVER! Talked about. Our bodies were NEVER! talked about.
The reality is that it seemed that even mentioning the word nude or naked or anything like unto it was taboo. As a young man who himself enjoyed being naked in private on occasion, found himself curious about woman soon enough. Growing up in an environment where these things could not be talked about lead to me exploring and seeking out what I wanted to know privately. As usual when there is a young man seeking to fulfill his curiosity about woman and their bodies ( I figured I knew what boys/mens looked like as I had myself for reference) the most accessible source was swimsuit magazines and underwear catalogs. That of course was not enough however. It did not show what vaginas, breasts etc looked like. This soon lead to years long struggle with pornography.
Eventually I met and fell in love with a beautiful woman whom is still with me today. Early in our relationship I remember talking to her about nudism. I talked to her about finding or starting a regular naked group meet up or club. And idea that quickly died and was never mentioned again. I knew what a nudist was but knew nothing about what they were about.
Early in our marriage me and my wife would rarely if ever get dressed. The first week of our marriage I don’t think we wore clothing once. I loved it. Being naked with my wife just me and her was just awesome. It wasnt to long before we found out she was pregnant with our first-born daughter.
For the first few years of our oldest daughters life we never concerned ourselves about whether we were naked around her or not. It just didn’t cross our minds. At least not till she was both walking and talking. That’s when things changed. We started wearing clothes and closing doors. Though she would run around naked we would try our best to keep her clothed which worked most of the time. Now we have a 3-year-old who really does not like wearing clothes at all. I think back on this and can’t help but wonder, why did we feel the need to start covering up to begin with.
Many years later I have 3 daughters. One of whom is now 12 years old. I had long since stopped thinking about it till one day my oldest daughter got me thinking about it. She of course never seemed to have a problem with nudity. I had just gotten out of the shower. My oldest daughter walked into the bathroom and there I was standing facing her completely naked with no towel. My response was a very quick “GET OUT I’M NAKED”. My daughter on the other hand simply said sorry and walked out. Her tone, comments, body language and everything else about her said “what is the big deal” she was completely unfazed. Was not embarrassed at all and simply did not understand what the problem was.
I dried off and finished my usual routine but as I was doing so I began to reflect on the difference in our reactions. Why was I so quick to hide myself and shoo her out and why was she not bothered by this at all?
Later on we sat down and talked about it together as a family and to help each other understand how we felt about it. After I really thought about it I came to realize I did not react for any other reason than a culturally ingrained ideal of modesty. I could not think of a single reference in the scriptures, conference, church magazine or other church source that gives any indication, even slightly that being naked, alone or otherwise with a spouse, child or any other person is wrong.
Since then I have contemplated much on this subject. I have studied it to a great extent using church sources, scriptures, secular sources and prayer. What I have learned is that nudity is not bad. Nudity around others is not bad. Nudity is how God created us. We should never be ashamed to be nude. We should never fear others seeing us nude. In our own homes or in groups settings nudity is not wrong or bad. Nor is it immodest when and where it is the norm or expected.
As I have explored this subject our family has sat in council, together with our children and my wife. No longer do we live in fear of nudity or seeing each other naked. We have relaxed the rules about clothing quite a bit. We have only 3 rules in our home about clothing.
1) It’s your choice how much or how little you wear. If you want to be naked, be naked. If you want to wear any level of clothing you can.
2) The only time you are required to be dressed properly is when guests are over who would otherwise be uncomfortable with any level of nudity.
3) If you leave the house where others can see you. Get dressed.
Those are the rules.
It’s really quite unfortunate that so many are uncomfortable, ashamed, embarrassed etc… about being seen naked or seeing someone else naked. It’s really sad that I can’t sit around my house naked if I want to without worrying about getting dressed when kids friends show up without notice. It’s a shame that I have to concern myself with how others may feel about such things. Public nudity is acceptable as long as it is our top half only. Full nudity within our home with or without children is legal and nothing is wrong with it yet there are still people who would think this is about sex and other perversions. That however says more about them and the way they think than anyone who does such a thing. It’s a shame that our bodies have become something to hide and be ashamed of. The world would be a much better place and the destructive nature of pornography would be a lot less in a world where non-sexual nudity was much more commonplace among children and adults alike.
From my own experience it was a lack of discussion and exposure to non-sexual nudity that lead to my history of pornography usage. It was one of the most difficult things I had ever had to deal with. With nudity being so taboo this has effectively created an environment that can be exploited to an extreme by the pornography industry. Regular exposure and openness to non-sexual nudity is important for children’s development to become healthy adults. If all we teach our kids is that nudity is only proper for sex then that is exactly how they will learn about nudity via sexual eroticism and pornography.
We do not need to fear being naked around our children. We need to fear to consequences of teaching them nudity can only ever be about sex and that our bodies are something to be ashamed of and hidden.
Clothing should be viewed as something to be used when practical and useful, such as when we are out at work or other activities or have guest over who would not be comfortable with nudity. Other practical uses would be warmth and protection.
I don’t want my children to be harmed and go down the paths of sin like I did. My issues with pornography were a result of not having a healthy outlet to learn about sexuality and our bodies. Nudity was hidden and locked away. I had no opportunity to see nudity as anything but sexual. My children need to learn in a healthy way where nudity and sexuality is not taboo and can be talked about and presented properly, without fear, embarrassment and shame.
Its time to end the taboo around nudity. Our children need to know our bodies are gifts from God and not something to be ashamed of. Our bodies are not all about sex but in fact a divine creation. The scriptures tell us our bodies are a temple. We allow others to see the temple without shame but only those who are worthy may share in the joys of the temple. Our bodies should be no different.
And that is the gospel according to Andrew