As human beings, we all come into this world the same way – naked. When a baby is born, there is no shame or embarrassment about their naked body. They have no concept of being nude or needing to cover up. Their pure and innocent state is completely natural.
Yet as we grow up, most of us are taught to be ashamed of our bodies and to keep them constantly covered. Many religions and cultures impose strict rules about modesty and instill deep senses of shame around the human body. As a result, nudity becomes taboo and associated with sin. We are conditioned to believe there is something inherently wrong with our natural state.
But is nudity really something we should be ashamed of? Or is it simply our own perceptions and societal norms that have made it unacceptable? I believe the latter is true. There is nothing obscene, offensive or immoral about the naked human form. Our bodies are beautiful creations worthy of appreciation, not shame.
As a naturist and someone who embraces social nudity, I have experienced first-hand the joy, freedom and self-acceptance that comes from shedding lifelong textile conditioning. Spending time naked in non-sexual social settings and freely witnessing others do the same has been profoundly liberating. It has helped me reconnect with the pure innocence we all possessed as children, before any body shame took root.
When you practice naturism, you quickly realize that naked bodies are just bodies – as benign and non-threatening as any other part of creation. Our own perceptions of nudity as automatically sexual or inappropriate are simply constructs of a dysfunctional culture. They do not reflect any inherent truth about our bodies or nature.
Naturism allows people to make peace with their bodies as-is, without all the unrealistic ideals and judgments our society otherwise places on them. As we expose our bare selves, we expose the flaws in how we’ve been taught to see nudity as well. We begin to shed the irrational shame that has weighed on us for so long.
Experiencing casual nudity demystifies the body and reminds us of our shared humanity and vulnerability. It connects us with others in an unfiltered, honest way that clothes tend to inhibit. We open ourselves to be truly seen, flaws and all, and to see others through kinder eyes in return.
This is the wonderful truth that naturism revealed to me – that our natural state need not be a source of embarrassment or angst. Our bodies are beautiful and nothing to be ashamed of. While social nudity goes against many of the norms we were raised with, it aligns deeply with our core nature as human beings.
So how can we work to normalize nudity and shed the ingrained shame around it? Here are some ideas:
- Visit nude beaches and resorts. There are many around the world that welcome first-timers. Experiencing casual social nudity is profoundly normalizing. You realize it is not a big deal, just bodies enjoying nature as intended.
- Try naked yoga classes, which are becoming popular. The focus on mindfulness and movement creates a safe, non-judgmental space.
- Take an art class with nude models. Appreciating the human form through art allows us to see nudity as the artists do – as something beautiful to behold, not something taboo.
- Go to nudist meet-up groups to connect with like-minded people. Having a community that shares your values makes it easier to stay confident.
- Normalize nudity at home. Be comfortable being naked around family members to remove any external shame triggers.
- Advocate for changing nudity laws to be less punitive for non-sexual activities like nude sunbathing. Support nude beach expansions.
- Consume more art and media featuring casual non-sexual nudity. The more we are exposed to nudity, the more normal it becomes.
- Speak out against body shaming of all kinds. Challenge those who would make others feel ashamed of their natural bodies.
With openness, education and consistent exposure to nudity, we can overcome the conditioned biases instilled in us. We can return to the naked innocence we were all born with, seeing it as normal as it truly is. The nudity our species has lived with since the dawn of humankind need not be stigmatized. There is nothing shameful about our natural human forms, unless we choose to impose shame on ourselves.
I encourage anyone crippled by body shame or anxiety around nudity to give naturism a try. Go to a nude beach, resort or event. Take a life drawing class. Do a naked yoga retreat. Find safe, welcoming places to experience social nudity first-hand. As you expose your bare body, you’ll expose and begin releasing the shame conditioning that was never really yours to carry.
The nudity we were all born with is normal and natural. It is our warped, uncomfortable relationship with nudity that developed after birth that is the true aberration. Our bodies have nothing to apologize for. We need only rediscover the naked innocence we once lived in so freely. Shed your clothes, shed your shame, and come back to the nudity that is your birthright.
Get Nude, Stay Nude, Live Nude, and Share the Nude Love!