How Can Naturists Convey Sexuality in a Positive Way?
Sexuality Within Naturism:
In our last blog, we discussed the idea of sexuality as a grand, ambient, power. It is like so many natural powers that we are part of and cannot live without (such as gravity, sunshine, oxygen, to name a few). In one sense, ambient sexuality is a kind of passive power. Not because the power is passive, but because in simply existing, we are a manifestation of it. By being alive, stepping out into nature, we absorb it. It bathes us.
Beauty takes on many different forms. It can be found in every living thing. Flowers, plants, animals, and humanity – we are blessed with a vision and experience life in all its various forms.
Our own naked human body is a manifestation of sexual power that radiated to the world and others around us. To gaze upon and appreciate various displays of beauty (from a flower to the naked form of humanity) is to experience and acknowledge this beauty! A society that curses its own naked form by labeling it obscene is pitifully lost. It no longer has a primal understanding of the very power behind its own existence.
So, aside from the great benefits of nude rest and relaxation how else can we find sex-positive ways of expressing sexuality within naturism?
In this article, I am going to address this in the following three areas: 1) Art and Culture; 2) Health, Food, Sustainability; 3) Activism.
Art and Culture
Art can be a powerful sex-positive tool. It can show the beauty of the naked human form (sexual anatomy included) in a way that promotes our sexual being. It can do this without depicting overt sexual acts (as is the case with pornography). In this way, through artistic expression, we are able to acknowledge our sexual being decoupled from any lewdness.
We should recall the nudity of some ancient cultures; not that they were squeaky clean (they did have their share of lewdness). Ancient Greece is a great example. It’s pretty common knowledge that the word “gymnasium,” and related words containing the root “gymnos” (meaning naked) come from ancient Greek. The ancient Greeks participated in naked events and activities such as nude athletics and even nude warfare (Greek Hoplite warriors). The nude form was a matter of high art within Greek culture. This is what we are hoping to achieve.
Artists depict the grandeur of sexuality, through culture. Art, music and theater can and do depict nudity but not in a lewd or pornographic way. It is my personal belief that activities such as naked body painting, nude figure drawing /painting, sculpture, poetry, writing and theater should be art forms pursued enthusiastically within the naturist community. What about nude classical music? Or any other genre of quality musical performance?
Let’s renew our encouragement and development of all kinds of nude-themed artistic expression that celebrate nature, fertility, sustainability. We need to design far more activities around these artistic forms of expression. For a good experience along these lines, you may consider attending the annual Northeast Naturist Festival someday, which is held at Empire Haven in Moravia NY – it has over 190 workshops, including all kinds of art.
How about connecting with many of the non-nudie artists out there and inviting them into our nudist communities? Many artists are implicitly in tune with and schooled in classical forms of nude art. Our events and activities should elevate nudity to an art form, high above vulgar lewdness and demolishing public misconceptions that nudity = sex = dirty.
Health, Food, Sustainability
An understanding of ambient sexuality as a universal power opens up whole arenas of thought and concern for the naturist. We should be concerned about all aspects of social morality and ethics that devalue the fertile sexual power of the nature. After all, we are all inextricably a part of mother nature.
So with that said, what about food? What about genetically modified seeds? What is greed doing to the ecological balance of natural sexual power and the ultimate health of our planet? For the sake of greed / profit, some corporations seek to ‘force feed’ us genetically modified food many of which are banned in a number of European nations!
What about invasive, highly ecologically destructive practices such as un-zoned, unregulated hydro-fracking? The repercussions of which can destroy our land, water, and ultimately the ability of our planet to be healthy and fruitful. Let our nakedness stand as a protest and a reminder that we are not consumer units that can be force-fed junk food and made to submit to the abusive exploitation of our land by the greedy few among us.
One of the activities we are leading within the Young Naturists America Upstate New York Chapter is Naked Locavore Cooking. This summer we had our first event which took place on June 29, 2013. We celebrated healthy, natural, organic food – free of hormones, genetic modification, and dangerous processed food additives. Not only that, but we stood naked, as if protesting against those who want to strip our land through un-zoned, hyrdro-fracking, threatening the fertile, productive, agricultural heritage that is the Upstate Finger Lakes Region.
Here again, we see that our nudity can be elevated to a grander cause. One of stewarding and protecting the health of our earth, including the sexual power of its natural fertility. This is so much nobler than the association of nudity = sex = dirty.
Activism? Many nudies perceive activism exclusively as an action against a specific law, a means of gaining more legal rights to be nude, or as the fight for gender equality (topfree movement). It is of course all those things. But, at the same time, it is much more. We need to understand this in order to focus our action.
Activism is in fact sex-positive. Once again, let’s assume that most people in the world assume that the equation of nudity = sex = dirty is true. Going back to our first blog about the inadequacy of our nudie language, the generalized term – sex — is pretty useless. It needs further clarification in the equation of nudity = sex = dirty.
What the people usually mean when using the word “sex” is active sexuality. Therefore it is no great mystery why things like sexual titillation, intercourse, orgasm are immediately associated. When done publicly, active sexuality is typically considered inappropriate, gross and lewd (not to mention – against the law almost universally).
Of course active orgasmic sex done in private is not lewd! Need I even point out that the nudie culture, like most of society, respects that active/orgasmic sex is a private matter? Naturism is not hedonism and this is precisely why appropriate activism is sex-positive. Fellow nudies respect the privacy of orgasmic, active sex by behaving appropriately while participating in public / social nudity.
Non-lewd display of our genitals restores honor to them. It strips away the curse that our body parts are somehow ‘obscene’ by recognizing that sexual titillation is a private matter. It is much easier for people to accept the sight of full nudity, once free of the fear of an imposed and embarrassing specter of unwelcome lewd behavior.
In short, non-lewd activism (in a broader sense), honors our genitals by showing that nudies are well behaved, and respectful. Concomitantly, that is why public sexual or lewd behavior is so destructive to the nudie cause. It is, in many ways, a betrayal of the public trust and reinforces a genital-negative, sex-negative public opinion of naturism and social nudity. It is what causes family members to think their nudie relative has become a ‘perv’ and gone off the deep end by embracing nudism and the naturist lifestyle.
In addition to actions such as the top-free movement, there are many other forms of potential activism that can be positive without being perceived as lewd. One such example can be open, public breastfeeding (which is currently forbidden in many situations). Public breastfeeding while making no big effort to conceal the breast or nipple promotes acceptance of the human body as well as fertility, nourishment and growth. Does the woman who dares to publicly breastfeed her child think of herself as an activist? Maybe and maybe not. But by doing this without shame, she becomes a symbol.
Jim Cunningham, in his book, Nudity and Christianity, discusses how early Christians conducted their baptisms in the nude. Such a practice would certainly be considered a form of activism today and something Christian nudists should certainly consider. Cunningham also discusses group skinny dipping in public places (not just nudist resorts) as a form of activism. Such activities assert customary nudity in a public situation where it is certainly appropriate. Any such activity that publicly demonstrates a positive, non-lewd display of our naked bodies is, by default, a form of activism. It confronts people and our culture with our naked nature in a positive way. It signals – “Stop hiding our bodies, stop calling them obscene, accept and honor them!”
We absolutely must rescue the human form and sexuality from the insane curse of being perceived as “obscene.” Our bodies, our sexuality, our reproductive organs are NOT obscene! They are “us” and they are beautiful. Why must society hide, cover, and “fetishize” our bodies? Well-behaved public and social nudity is genital positive, and therefore sex-positive as well. It breaks down the association that nudity =sex (orgasmic) = dirty (lewd).
In the next blog posts we are going to move from sexuality as a grand ambient power, and expressions of that within naturism and the non-nude world, to concepts of active sexuality and covenant.