Being Naked With Joy

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First I want to thank Lee for contributing to Tantrachick in his recent post: Being Naked! I am thrilled to have another voice speaking their truth in this sacred space. It warms my heart and brightens my soul to walk this path with you! There was a follow-up comment on Lee’s post. When I began responding, I realized that I have a lot to say about nudity.

To share my childhood stories can sometimes be painful for me. There were so many conflicting messages in my home and in my life. My adopted dad who raised me from the time I was 6 months old was a nudist of sorts. He also molested me, so the messages I received about nudity were definitely mixed. On the one hand, the message is that nudity is acceptable and natural and on the other hand, the message that nudity means abuse.

My mom was more relaxed in her younger years, but when she joined the local Nazarene church, the rigid judgmental messages she received as a child drowned out her free-spirited expression. While typing these words, I feel the weight on my shoulders and deep sadness in my spirit, but then I focus on the bliss I have experienced breaking away from these destructive messages.

In my early teens, I was a wallflower; shy, timid and unsure of myself. As I continued to develop into a young woman, some of the sexual violence I experienced really pissed me off. I realized that no matter what I wore, no matter how much I tried to shrink into myself and hide from predators, they would find me. I began to understand that hiding my light and my sensuality was not the answer. So I rebelled against sexual repression. At 16, I worked as an exotic dancer. This is a story for another day, but as a grown woman, I can now see how this was a necessary part of my development and believe it or not, my healing and subsequent transformation

As a breastfeeding mother shy; I used a receiving blanket to cover my breasts as I nourished my babies, but then I rented an apartment from  a woman named Gwen Jacob. Gwen forever changed my point of view. This is Gwen’s story:

Wikipedia: “On July 19, 1991, a very hot and humid day, Gwen Jacob, a University of Guelph student, was arrested, after walking in a street in Guelph, Ontario while topless after removing her shirt when the temperature was 33 °C (91 °F) and was charged with indecency under Section 173(1)(a) of the Criminal Code. Police stated that they acted following a complaint from a woman who was upset that one of her children had seen Gwen Jacob. Jacob stated she did it because men were doing it and she wanted to draw attention to the double standard. She was found guilty and fined $75. In her

In her defense. she argued that breasts were merely fatty tissue. In finding her guilty, the judge stated that breasts were “part of the female body that is sexually stimulating to men both by sight and touch,” and therefore, should not be exposed.[4] She appealed, but her appeal was dismissed by the Ontario Court (General Division), and she further appealed to the Ontario Court of Appeal.[5]

In the meantime, protests against Jacob’s arrest and conviction led to further charges against others, in particular R. v. Arnold[6] but in this case McGowan P.C.J. applied the test of community standard of tolerance, following Butler, stating that the action of being topless caused no harm and thus did not exceed community standards of tolerance. Indeed, she commented – “… Undoubtedly, most women would not engage in this conduct for there are many who believe that deportment of this nature is tasteless and does not enhance the cause of women. Equally undoubtedly, there are men today who cannot perceive of woman’s breasts in any context other than sexual. It is important to reaffirm that the Canadian standards of tolerance test does not rely upon these attitudes for its formulation. I have no doubt that, aside from their personal opinions of this behaviour, the majority of Canadians would conclude that it is not beyond their level of tolerance.

Gwen Jacob was acquitted on December 9, 1996 by the Ontario Court of Appeal on the basis that the act of being topless is not in itself a sexual act or indecent. The court held that “there was nothing degrading or dehumanizing in what the appellant did. The scope of her activity was limited and was entirely non-commercial. No one who was offended was forced to continue looking at her” and that furthermore “the community standard of tolerance when all of the relevant circumstances are taken into account” was not exceeded. It is important to note that although Jacob claimed she had a constitutional right, the court did not address this.[7] The

The Ontario Government decided not to appeal the case to the Supreme Court of Canada, and thus it has remained the prevailing interpretation of the Criminal Code in Ontario. Since then, the court ruling has been tested and upheld several times. R. v. Jacob has been cited in similar decisions in other provinces and by the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Labaye, and is taught in Criminal Law courses.[8]

Shortly after my time living in Newmarket, Ontario in a basement apartment in Gwen’s home, I was inspired to breastfed topless on Daytona Beach. I was wearing just a bikini bottom and I carried a shade umbrella while breastfeeding my 1-year-old son with my 2-year-old daughter walking beside me. It wasn’t meant as a defiant act and I wasn’t trying to make a statement, it just seemed more natural and honestly less sexual than pulling one side of my bikini top aside to expose my breast. Plus, every man on the beach that I noticed has his top off for no reason at all, so I figured I should be able to go topless too!

In that setting on that day, I was embraced as I sauntered along the beach with my babe in my arms and my girl at my side. Breastfeeding my son topless on Daytona Beach did not elicit any unwanted cat calls or judgments and it felt natural and freeing. Unfortunately, a couple years later while nursing my younger boy (while covering him with a receiving blanket), I was shamed by a conservative and highly religious family member in front of my two other children.

As you may be able to tell from just these few stories, the messages I have received throughout my life have been conflicting. This combination of experiences, judgments, and some pretty messed up advice (don’t talk about it, put it behind you, good girls don’t do that, etc.) led me to the path of becoming “Tantrachick”. At this stage in my life, I do not need anyone else’s permission or approval to be who I am. I would be naked most of the day and night if it were socially acceptable (and legal lol). In my opinion, being naked is non-sexual in nature. For me, it is intention and connection that changes a naked moment to a sexual moment. In addition, the relationship itself changes the mood. If I am sitting naked with a group of friends, it is non sexual. If I am sitting naked with my lover, it can be non sexual as well, but is more likely to elicit feelings of arousal because there is always the potential for sex between my lover and I.

While attending sweats, swimming at nude beaches, or just hanging out in the hot tub naked with friends and/or family, I am comfortable in my own skin. I wish everyone was able to feel this way too, but from working with literally thousands of people over the past decade, I know that is not the case. In fact, one man came to my office and asked if he could just sit there naked while conversing with me. At first, I was kind of pissed. I jumped to the conclusion that he had a veurrism fetish or that he a perverted ulterior motive. He didn’t; he was just a 70-year-old British man who had never been naked in front of another human being in his entire life (not even his wife).

Did I allow this lovely man to shed his inhibitions along with his clothing while I sipped my tea and chatted about everyday happenings? You’re fucking right I did! Was he aroused? Did he get an erection? Or was he otherwise inappropriate? Not in the least! He was a total sweetheart. I know it might sound odd to someone who is uncomfortable with nudity, but I honestly didn’t even notice the difference after a few minutes.

At the end of our “freedom session”, I left my office so he could get dressed. When I returned, he had a look of relief and personal satisfaction on his face. He hugged me with all his might while sobbing and laughing at the same time. For him, after so many years of feeling ashamed about his body he looked so much more relaxed. Being naked is a natural state of being. To me, it is pornography, unmet needs, and a deeply rooted societal repression that causes humans to feel ashamed of their naked body or the nakedness of others.

As a mother of both boys and girls, I have done my best to raise my own children without shame, but society fights me every step of the way. My blog might seem like a strange place sometimes. I don’t think people understand why I do what I do. Why do I attend photo shoots where I am partially or fully naked? Why do I talk about the most intimate aspects of my sex life? Why do I talk about even the “darkest” aspects of human sexuality and expression? The answer is simple; I do all of this because I want to be a beacon of hope.

I want each person who reads this blog to feel slightly more comfortable in their own skin. I want people who are struggling with their sexuality or with their sexual identity to feel more at ease with who they are as a sexual being. I want the men and the women who love sex, who truly enjoy making love to accept and embrace themselves. I want to be transparent. I want to be vulnerable and in doing so, I want you to feel okay being transparent and vulnerable. And, I hope that you are able to feel comfortable being naked if you so desire.

I embrace you as you are, with love and respect from my heart to yours,

Joy

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. sinnerz13 says:

    Great message! I think that being topless for woman has become sexualized through magazines, papers and strip clubs. When you see a tribe without clothes you do not think sex, but if a woman is posing provocatively topless then you do. Also the fact that women don’t go topless means that breasts are very rarely seen outside the context of sex, so a topless woman in nature is considered sexually provocative.

  2. On a naked beach, their is a calm relaxed energy. Everyone has seen it before, no big deal. But on a clothed beach there is tension. Men hope for a glimpse of nipple as a woman changes clothes. The forbidden causes this frustration. That is why it is arousing. Ban something and people strive to have it. Nudity is the same. I love being naked, but as a teenager I never saw a woman naked and not even untouched photos showing female genitalia so i had a big fear that I would not know what to do with a woman, and had no knowledge of her anatomy.

    1. Joy says:

      David,

      I could not agree more! Being naked at a beach is what I often refer to as “situational nudity”. There are many situations where nudity just makes sense (beach, hot tub, sunbathing, etc.). In these settings, there is often less resistance to a naked body. I am sorry you had to grow up without knowledge of the female body. I know this is very common in North America, which saddens me. Thank you for joining the conversation! If you are ever interested in writing a Guest Post, please let me know! I would love to feature your writing here!

      From my heart to yours,

      Joy

  3. obriend1936 says:

    Good morning Joy,
    Thanks for your uninhibited posting regarding your thoughts about being naked. This is an issue that I am most interested in. Being a septuagenarian, I especially enjoyed your story about your 70 year old client. I applaud you for being trusting enough to allow him to be naked in front of you. Brava!

    I love being naked, especially in front of females. To me, it is about acceptance. On the two occasions when Mary and I went to a clothing optional resort, I loved standing naked chatting with a nude woman whom I just met. I felt “freed” and accepted. No hard on, no sexual titillation.

    As I have said to you before, I believe that many, if not most, women seem to be afraid of men, due, no doubt, to the sexual repression of their upbringing. This sets up a horrible dynamic between women and men. The woman is fearful of a man “coming on” to her. The man sensing this, is afraid to approach the woman for fear of rejection. This dynamic leaves the woman deprived of a comfortable, enjoyable interaction with the man and it leaves the man frustrated, unfulfilled and hungry for a sexual outlet. Often, this is where porn enters the picture.

    Joy, I have to run now, but this will likely not be my last post on this subject. Three cheers for you and for naturism!
    Namaste,
    Dan

    1. Joy says:

      Good Morning Dan,

      Thanks again for your wonderful support and for sharing your thoughts on this important topic. While sweating in a sweat lodge, I prefer to be naked while sitting on a sarong as it seems less restrictive and more natural. However, while swimming a clothing optional beach, depending on my mood, I seem to prefer wearing bottoms. For me, my yoni is intentionally sacred, so I am not always comfortable being fully nude, depending on my comfort level at the time.

      This has been a huge topic of discussion in our family over the past few years because a close family member became a nudist. When people have been restricted by their conservative upbringing and have not been exposed to nudity, there can be a pretty big adjustment period. In the nudist world they are often referred to as newbies. If entering a nudist setting, there is an etiquette followed. When people are new to the scene, they tend to be a tad awkward and can unintentionally make others feel uncomfortable.

      If anyone is interested in this lifestyle, I recommend first going onto a nudist site and reading their etiquette guidelines to avoid some of the “newbie” mistakes. The behavior that has a tendency to make me feel uncomfortable in a nudist setting is when someone continues to focus on the fact that we are naked lol. I mean, I totally understand that it is a new experience and takes some time to adjust to, but hearing “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe we are sitting int he hot tub totally naked together” does not make me feel at ease.

      I am not a nudist, but I am very comfortable with situational nudity (swimming, attending a sweat lodge, sitting in a hot tub, etc.). As far as my kids, they grew up feeling comfortable about their bodies. I remember laying in the bath reading a book and my boys blasted into the bathroom in the middle of a heated argument. I was clearly fully naked, but that was the least of their concerns, all they wanted was a mediator, naked or not.

      Our kids were mainly raised on Salt Spring Island in BC. There are a few clothing optional of fully nude beaches on the island so they have grown up around nudity. I know that for my children it has definitely helped them to be more well rounded and comfortable with people of the opposite sex. My children are 11, 15, nearly 18 and nearly 20. Only my two oldest children are sexually active and they both waited until 17.5 to lose their virginity with people they cared about (I share this with permission FYI).

      I think that a lot of people associate nudity or “being naked” with sexuality because of their upbringing, society, and pornography. I do not allow the messages I received as a child and young adult from my parents and from society to shape the way I lead my life. I also do not watch pornography, so it does not influence my life.

      From my heart to yours,

      Joy

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