I have received so many comments and emails about the topic of nudity, that I decided to keep the conversation going. Communication like this is important to our personal development and our growth as a society. My voice is just one in a crowd of millions, so please feel free to pull up a chair, find your own voice and share. Hearing your stories and opinions makes my heart sing!
As a bohemian woman and an alternative healing arts practitioner focusing on intimacy and sexology, it is very important to me that I don’t push my point of view onto my kids. I aim to give them the freedom to decide who they are without over influencing their personal development. I just try to make sure that they feel comfortable with themselves, their bodies, their sexuality and provide an opportunity for open dialogue. My kids are very open with me and because of my gentle encouragement and guidance, they talk with me on a level that very few children have the opportunity to.
I encourage my children to be themselves. One of my sons was always less comfortable with nudity. He was around naked people when we went to nude beaches, sweats, and other events where incidental nudity took place. When he was a toddler in those settings he was also nude, but as he grew, he developed his own unique comfort level. As he got older, when we attended our friend’s sweat lodge, he chose to wear a sarong, but he didn’t seem overly concerned with the fact that nearly everyone else including his siblings and parents chose to be nude. To each their own I guess.
Our other children seem comfortable both being nude and being around adults and other children who are also nude. Where some major issues came up is when we soaked in the heated pools at Cougar Hot Springs in Oregon a few years back. There was a man sitting on the edge of the pool we were in. His pubic hair was shaved and he had a black band around his penis, which was erect and fully exposed in a more voyeuristic manner. He was staring at my girls in a way that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and made my girls feel very uncomfortable.
We were on a much-needed family vacation, so engaging in any sort of conflict was not on our radar. I would have been totally comfortable conversing with him, but we all just wanted to relax. We simply switched wading pools and tried to let go of the experience and enjoy ourselves. As this scenario illustrates, as our girls grow and develop, they definitely encounter more unwanted sexual attention, not just when they are naked. It has been extremely frustrating for me as a mom who wants to encourage my girls to feel comfortable with their bodies whether they are clothed or not. But there is no point talking about this topic while wearing rose colored glasses.
In my previous post, I told the story about feeling a positive and non-judgmental vibe while breastfeeding my son topless at Daytona Beach. The flip side of that story is that I have also been nude at clothing optional beaches and had men say vulgar and degrading comments. In addition, the story about Cougar Hot Springs is only one example of a few I can think of off the top of my head where my girls, especially my oldest biological daughter (I have 4 children and 3 step-children) who is now 19 has felt uncomfortable not because she was naked, but because of someone else’s reaction to her naked body.
With nudity (especially because of the social attitudes that are prevalent in North America) there is an increased risk of experiencing unwanted sexual attention. That is why nudist resorts and beaches often have guidelines that are strictly enforced. In an ideal world, beaches would all be clothing optional and North Americans would become increasingly desensitized to nudity, therefore creating a healthier culture where males and females of all ages could feel comfortable with or without clothing.
My collective experiences have brought me to where I am today both as a mother and as a woman. I enjoy being nude. If my kids were all comfortable with my nudity (and their friends, and our neighbors, lol) I would be naked much of the day. If there were clothing optional beaches locally, I would go with the flow. One day I might wear a full piece bathing suit, the next go topless and on an especially hot day where I felt like the people attending were safe and respectful, I would gladly swim fully nude.
This conversation, which is only one of many connected to nudity, sexuality, sensuality and the plethora of related topics is vitally important. That is precisely why I write this blog. I am pleased to have so many people engaged in the conversation and I truly hope it continues. One of my favorite quotes seems appropriate. I am sure you are all familiar with it, but I will share it today as a gentle reminder that together, we can create change!