Ogas and Gaddam – Is Nudism Sexual Online?

| June 14, 2013 | 9 Comments

Ogas and Gaddam Rank Nudism at Number 19 in Top 100 Sexual Searches But, Is Nudism Sexual Online?

Is Nudism Sexual Online? Let’s find out!

Jordan and I recently visited the Museum of Sex in New York City to check out their latest exhibitions. They always have interesting things to see, along with frequent workshops and events. I think it’s great to have this sex-positive space in Manhattan.

As we were walking through the museum, we came across an exhibit titled “Endless Searches,” which features the top 100 sexual searches that people conducted online from 2009 – 2010.

This list came from Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam, neuroscientists and authors of the book, A Billion Wicked Thoughts. For this book Ogas and Gaddam analyzed 400 million internet searches and found that 55 million, about 13%, were sex-related.

They looked at general search engines like Google and Dogpile as well as search engines specializing in porn, like Booble and NudeVista.

Is Nudism Sexual Online

Is Nudism Sexual Online ?

As we looked over the list, one word caught our attention in particular. In the 19th place, prominently placed was the term – Nudism.

We were surprised to see Nudism listed as number 19. After all, this was a visual display of the top 100 online searches for sexual / erotic content.

There was an innocent photo of three naked people, and it was surrounded by images of hardcore pornography for terms like fat sex (#16), butts (#21), and bestiality (#15).

The description next to this display only mentions the authors’ names and the search engines by way of explanation. As you can see in the photo below, there are no details as to how the terms were picked out and sorted.

nudism endless searches ogas gaddam sexual research museum of sex yna

Is Nudism Sexual? Endless Searches at the Museum of Sex

Obviously we had a lot of questions! How did nudism get classified as a sexual search? Were people searching it on porn sites or in Google? What exactly were they punching in, “nudist sex”? Did they start out doing nudist-related searches, and then the Internet led them to porn? Somehow Gaddam and Ogas concluded that people were searching about nudism for titillation.

We quickly contacted the museum to find out more. For those of you who might not be aware, Jordan is pretty relentless when it comes to getting answers and / or explanations. At least in this case, the Museum Of Sex management was great in getting back to us with their thoughts right away – this is one point that we would like to commend them for.

Here are just a few little snippets from our correspondences with the Museum of Sex and the issue of nudism being classified as sexual:

Jordan: “We understand that some people might have certain voyeuristic motives when conducting online searches for “nudism.” That said, we can’t assume that those people make up the bulk of searchers. Unless there is significant data to the contrary, the term nudism should not be included within the pornography category.

If someone searches for anal sex or MILF (or pretty much any of the other terms depicted) then the intent is to bring up results that truly belong in the realm of pornography.

As such, we ask that the term “nudism” be removed. If you have sufficient data to indicate that we are wrong then I ask that you please be kind enough to send it to us.

We have enough issues to deal with. Mainstream America is extremely conservative and any mixed messages about nudism or naturism weaken us and make educating people that much more difficult.”

Museum Of Sex: “The top 100 wall is based on the work and research of neuroscientists Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam. The categories on the wall encompass hundreds of thousands of individual searches from 2009-2010. As mentioned in the wall text, it is impossible to say _why_ someone is searching for any of the terms on the wall, whether it be for interest, curiosity, arousal, research or voyeurism.

We know that people are searching for these terms, but it is impossible at this stage of the research to confidently determine the ‘why.’ Just as we cannot sufficiently determine whether someone is searching for something submissive or dominant when they search for ‘S&M.’

If you look at the terms on the wall you will see that there are actually several terms which, like the term ‘nudism,’ may have alternative reasons for being ‘Googled’ other than voyeurism (e.g. breasts, tattoo, etc.).

The exhibition recognizes that this method of research an imperfect process and attempts to explore this. The ‘What We Leave Behind’ section explores these ‘fragments’ through artistic interpretations.

Just like Alfred Kinsey’s research was revolutionary, it also contained inherent flaws due to the technique of gathering information. There is no one true, perfect map of what we are sexually looking for and ‘Universe of Desire’ only attempts to look at trends and ask questions, not give definitive answers.”

Jordan: “The fact that the term was included in the first place is what I have an issue with.

Nudism and sex are the same as linking up search terms such as apples with farmers. True, some farmers grow apples but when people put in the search term apples, there is an extremely high probability that they are not researching farmers in general.

Would it be possible to at least clarify the issue in a more direct way? Right now, there is no real explanation about the terms other than what appears under the ‘Endless Searches.’

Is there any way to add a short disclaimer explaining the very thing you emailed me?

(If you like, we could have someone draw it up for your review)”

The Museum Of Sex: “To address your question, Ogas and Gaddam wrote a program to scan ALL searches, both sexual and non sexual over a period of a year.They then categorized each of the search terms into groups of similar words.

Because search engine searches usually contain multiple words, they used other context clues to determine (as best they could) whether or not a search was “sexual” or not. They also examined other searches from the same individual.

I understand your passion for increased clarification on this one term, but it is important to note that “Nudity” is not the only word in the top 100 searches that have both sexual and non-sexual connotations, there are, in fact, many terms that have similar ‘problems’ (i.e. penis, daddies, ebony, lactation).

Thank you for your offer of additional text, however there is already text in the gallery that explains that this is based on the research of Ogas and Gaddam, explains their method of identifying data points, and notes how this is still an imprecise science.”


And that was pretty much the end of it.

No doubt there are people looking for erotic material when they search for nudism or related terms. But the porn industry has been targeting these words for so long that coming across porn is inevitable when searching them online.

So we still wonder, were people actually searching “nudism” for titillation or were they merely curious and led astray by the porn that came up in the results?

The museum’s responses didn’t answer all of our quandaries, but we wish they’d posted the same explanation next to this dicey list.

It is quite depressing that nudism is in there. If we ever needed proof of the widespread misconception that nudism is about sex, then this is it? Or is it proof of the more basic notion that nudity equals sex… It’s also maybe a sign of a losing battle with the words nudism, nudist, etc.

I suppose more answers can be found in Ogas and Gaddam’s book. We intend to contact them and see if we can get more answers. In the meantime, if any of you wish to lend a hand and make your voices heard… You may contact the Museum of Sex directly at: info [at] museumofsex.com

This is just one of the many issues that we are currently addressing. We are currently in the midst of fighting Google, Facebook and a slew of other online companies.

So rest assured, the Young Naturists are still out there and fighting the good fight. While our successes are few and far between we are keeping the pressure on!

Thank god for Jordan’s OCD – where would we be without it ;)

Is Nudism Sexual Online is part of our Sex Positive And Body Image Blogs By Felicity Jones For – Young Naturists And Nudists America YNA

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Category: Social Nudity Blogs, Felicity's Nudist Blog, Naked News, Censorship, Sex Positive, Social Activism

About the Author ()

Author of Felicity's Blog. Co-founder of Young Naturists America. 3rd-generation nudie. Avid reader. Feminist. 70% vegan, 30% vegetarian. When I'm not busy eating, I'm writing about naturism, censorship, topfree equality, body image and other fun topics. I like feedback, so plz leave a comment when you've got something to say!
  • zharth

    Nudism is not about sex, but it can most certainly be “exploited” (although I don’t really like that term), especially by non-nudists, for sexual purposes. I understand your objection to the word “nudism” being categorized as a sexual search term, and it’s important to educate people on the very real distinction between nudism and sex, but I think you may be over-reaching here in trying to restrict or deny the usage of the term in ways that you or the nudist community doesn’t condone. It may well be categorized /mis/-usage, but that doesn’t change the fact that people use it that way. Especially in a culture that is invested in keeping the exposure of people’s bodies taboo, nudity alone is necessarily going to involve titillation for some (and probably many) people. But I think that even in a body healthy environment, people will still occasionally experience an erotic response to the sight of an attractive body – it’s how we’re wired. And as a result, people will sometimes “exploit” the nudist lifestyle for a voyeuristic thrill. No amount of police state measures is going to completely prevent this from happening. Nor do I think it should. Rather than fight tooth and nail against basic human nature, we’d be better off accepting this fact, and focusing instead on delineating which “abuses” of nudism are truly harmful (e.g., a sexual libertine visiting a nudist resort and expecting to indulge in debauchery), and which are not (e.g., garden variety internet perverts googling nudism online for private sexual purposes). In fact, by acknowledging that sometimes people abuse nudism for sexual purposes (instead of trying to stamp out all evidence that this happens), this can only lend credence to the statement that nudism is not sexual, when that is constantly being contradicted by the way non-nudists use the term left and right.

  • SanTan

    I am going to post something that most nudist may disagree with me including you, Felicity. And I certainly am not trying to speak for anyone else but myself. But I do hope to give you a slightly different perspective on this subject of nudism and pornography.
    I have been a person that has been drawn to nudity all my life and I enjoy it for all the same reasons everyone talks about – freedom, relaxation, acceptance, enjoyment, etc., and I add beauty to the list.. But when nudist try to say that nudism is not sexual I have to disagree. It is very sexual for me and I would believe many others. To look at a beautiful woman does cause a reaction inside of me whether she has clothes on or not. And if she is nude the sexual feelings are intensified no matter who the woman is – I’m not talking lust here which can be a problem for us guys if we are not careful. My wife and I have spent tens of thousands of hours together in the nude and seeing her naked today is just as pleasing to me if not more so then 27 years ago when we were married. As much as I love and am committed to my wife, other woman are still very beautiful and can be stimulating. I don’t think this is a negative, Part of what makes life and nudity so sweet is the attraction between the sexes.
    So concerning the question of nudism and pornography, I avoid nudist websites, they can be like pornography to me. As a matter of fact, the so called erotic sites are not even remotely desirable to me. Going to a nude resort with my wife is not the same because number one they are not full of models like the so called nudist sites tend to portray, and my wife is standing there by my side so my focus remains on her. She is the reason I want to be there and brings me great enjoyment as we play nude together.

  • JohnThomas1

    I think that people are both searching for nudism for titillation, and some are also being led astray by the porn industry. 
    This is not “proof” of the confusion between nudity and sex, because as the museum said, it’s impossible to know people’s motivation for their searches. But we all know from personal experience that there is alot of confusion, so this does seem to support that idea. 

    This is also not “proof” that nudity “equals” sex, it only supports what we already know about people’s unhealthy attitudes toward nudity in this country. It’s disappointing that nudism is in this exhibit, but not surprising. When we no longer see nudism in sex exhibits, we will know that we’re making progress, so we can view this as a way to gauge our effectiveness.

    There is alot of work to be done to fix these attitudes, but we already knew that, so it’s no reason to give up on the words nudism and nudist. Look at what previous generations of nudists had to deal with – raids and arrests at nudist resorts – but they did not give up.


  • DuckworthBeastly

    Great article! I’ve been meaning to go check out that museum. Being sex positive is as important as being body positive. They are independent ideas, yet sex is offer demonized in naturist environments. It’s just another natural part of life. I’m glad they have such a sex positive place. On a different note, MoMath is right near there. So awesome!!! Must visit whether you are a geek or not :-)

  • JustinaWalford

    That is a great article. Thanks for this. If tattoo and breast is also in there, I can see why nudism was. Not defending it, but more showing a general frustration on the choice of terms.
    I think maybe if we look at the term “sexual” more than the terms searched within the sexual sphere, we’d get some more understanding. Sexual is not only titillation. It can be about gender identity, expression, fetish identity, roleplaying etc. As someone with a tattoo, I hate articles that promote women with tattoos as more loose, er, more “sexually free.” (And they exist! “They”! More than one!) Ugh. But I do acknowledge that my tattoo DOES say something about me. I identify with it. It’s not “sexual” but it is….hm…lacking a term. Open? Expressive? 
    Is it possible nudism falls in this category, like tattoos, because it is an openness? And the sexual side is that people *on the outside* are attracted to the freedom of expression, but uncomfortable with feeling attracted to the tattoo or the nudism. So THEY warp it into a fetish. 
    On this scale of “not-sexual but in the sexual sphere”, we see ahead of us homosexuality’s movement to be “normal” and not a fetish. Behind us, we see S&M, a world of roles more than world of sex, but lumped as a fetish because we on the outside do not understand and lump it in with sexual acts. All groups taking baby steps to being seen as unique and normal experiences but, on that journey, being categorized and simplified.

    • JustinaWalfordYeah, I see what you mean. It reminds me of a post I saw on Tumblr where someone was asking a lesbian porn blog to use the tag “lesbians” on all pornography posts and leave “lesbian” to non-porn stuff (or vice versa) so that the term for a sexual orientation wouldn’t be so sexualized / fetishized all the time. The porn blog’s answer was like sorry no, it brings us tons of traffic. 
      But yea I think eventually it will become more “normal” and not so much a fetish.
      We could hope for the same thing with nudism. Part of the reason people look up nudism is also one of the reasons they look up the body parts that made the list – penis, breast, etc. Because people don’t normally see these parts in other contexts besides sexual ones. They are taboo, subversive, just like social nudity thus is. So they can become a fetish as well. (Altho it’s not always the case, like w/the popularity of the foot fetish, as feet also made the list.) 
      Ogas & Gaddam said most men (straight, gay, whatever) like to look at penises. Well maybe they wouldn’t have to look at so much porn, or nudism, or scour the Internet for them if it weren’t so taboo to show a penis in public or in the media. lol. 
      We still don’t know how they concluded that the nudism searches were sexual, but I’m sure some or majority of the people searching were looking for some taboo titillation.
      I actually didn’t really get why tattoo was on the list til I read your comment. It still seems weird to me since tattoos are not that uncommon.

  • jneilson11

    Search engines are notorious for linking porn sites to searches using the words nudist, nude beach, and nude recreation which can be very deceiving to persons trying to learn more about non-sexual nudism. Would it be possible to get permission to re-post this (with attribution and link) to the Nook at naktiv which is a nudist non-sexual site.

  • ChristopherJudson

    Well I think it’s fine for them to use nudity (itself) in their photography but I don’t like it when porn is associated with nudism. I’m kind of here nor there. Nudity isn’t always sexy. It may be necessary when having sex but it’s also necessary to take a shower. Do you see what I mean?