Just as racism and homophobia exist to varying degrees around the world, so does bigotry against nudists. It might seem offensive to equate the two, but in countries like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, where women who refuse to cover their faces can be jailed, beaten, and raped, the comparison seems more appropriate.* Unlike homosexuality, becoming a nudist is a choice, and yet that choice is a fundamental part of my identity. I see little difference between a person’s faith and a belief in the innocence of the human body. The fear that exists among transgender people, the pressure to conform, to continually hide from scrutiny, are feelings many nudists can relate to.
Nudity harms no one, neither physically nor psychologically, and yet we are never FREE to live as we were born. The reason is rooted in outdated taboos from a time when slavery was sanctioned by God, women were stoned for adultery, and homosexuals were put to death. Our Puritan roots have deeply entrenched in us a fear and hatred for the human body, but what continues to perpetuate this attitude, despite increasing secularism, is a consumer industry which profits from shame and making people feel unattractive.
To break the nudity taboo, something that perpetuates sexism, body hatred, and an unhealthy sex obsessed society, we need heroes. Every movement needs heroes when society’s mores are challenged. For too long, we have hidden behind the walls of our resorts, far removed from the public eye. In general, there has been no way for people to learn about us, and so we are left with ugly stereotypes and misconceptions. Fortunately, there are intrepid individuals who have found the courage to act upon the conviction that the human body is neither indecent nor shameful. Throughout the world, these naturist heroes prove that we don’t need to feel ashamed of our bodies, that to be naked is a beautiful thing.
I typically don’t include owners of resorts on this list, specifically because I feel they can be detrimental to the movement. It suggests nudity should not be made public, but rather, hidden away in special places reserved for that purpose. Surely, if we are ever to attain freedom from shame, these resorts will be shutting their doors, right? But Stephane Deschenes, proprietor of Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park in Ontario, Canada, is one of the most outspoken advocates of the nudist movement, often using his business as a platform from which to introduce newcomers to the lifestyle, all the while proving how normal and healthy clothes-free living can be. On his podcast, The Naturist Living Show, Stephane brings a level-headed and in-depth approach to the subject. It really is a must listen! The other thing I like about Stephane, we both share a similar, philosophical outlook toward what he calls “ethical nudism.” For Stephane, nudism is more than just shedding your garments, but a way of seeing people without prejudice, which is why he has taken a hard stance against the “clothing-optional” trend, understanding how most of these venues, like Club Hedonism in Jamaica, turn into voyeur, exhibitionist, and swinger clubs, everything nudism is not. If you really want to understand what nudism is and isn’t, look no further than Stephane.
Nick and Lins
No list of naturist heroes would be complete without Nick and Lins. This adventurous Belgian couple has recently shot to the top of the nudist/naturist spotlight, through their blog, Naked Wanderings, which has become the “go to” guide for naked travel. They’ve circled the globe in search of body freedom, from the Americas to Europe to Asia, and they have been featured on a variety of mainstream media outlets, including CNN. Their casual attitude toward nudity is perhaps the best thing about them. Rather than argue (like I often do) for some radical new world of acceptance, Nick and Lins take a more practical approach, presenting clothes-free travel as a fun, carefree vacation, a way to destress and better enjoy life. Even so, their motto is “because life is better without clothes,” and I couldn’t agree more!
Who needs clothes? Paula Brindisi certainly doesn’t! This Argentinian is a real inspiration, devoting her life to the practice of Urban Nudism, going naked in the streets in sight of everyone, and she has been at it a long time, even while pregnant! The most powerful message a nudist can send that the human body is nothing to be ashamed of is by showing it. Not hiding at the far end of some beach or in some secluded part of the woods, this brash new wave of activism is the most heroic kind of nudism. Seriously, this girl is my hero! You can check out Paula at Urban Nudismo.
Young, charismatic and outspoken, no list of naturist heroes would be complete without Hector Martinez. Hector is the youngest founder of a landed club in history, the “NNG,” and has been shamelessly promoting his free body philosophy all over social media, on Twitter and on YouTube. In his native country of Mexico, nudism has never been popular, due, in part, to a scarcity of clubs. But Hector has been working to change all that, introducing people to the lifestyle, while helping acceptance of public nakedness grow. The best thing about Hector, he isn’t afraid to go full frontal in front of the camera. As I have long argued, we cannot hope to change attitudes if we do not practice what we preach—we cannot claim there is nothing shameful about the naked body while hiding it! The second best thing about Hector, he seems genuinely sincere in his advocacy, and is just as inspiring as any of the females on this list. You really have to check out his videos to see this guy for yourself: All about NNG. You can also donate to his Patreon page at Hector Martinez.
When asking the naturist community for male naturists to add to this list, one name came to the forefront: Ton Dou. While it isn’t hard to find men willing to expose themselves on social media, Ton proves his dedication to the cause, by finding the courage to go nude in public, while surrounded by hundreds of clothed people, in the middle of Times Square! What’s more, Ton takes his advocacy to another level, as both musician and singer, belting out songs in the nude before hundreds of onlookers (and confused gawkers, no doubt). You can watch a sample of Ton’s live NYC event at Ton Live, or buy his music at I’m Real.
My long time readers may be surprised by my inclusion of Gypsy, but after some deliberation, I’ve decided that the movement can only benefit from diverse voices. Personally, I am opposed to Gypsy calling the police “pigs,” and I really, really disparage her wearing dildos in public. But it may be hypocritical for me to take such a hard line approach, when most people find my desire to go au natural equally offensive. No single person on this list has fought more vehemently for naked freedom than Gypsy. She’s held nude rallies in San Fransisco, and once disrobed in the middle of a court hearing regarding a public nudity ordinance, nearly winning the vote in the process. What is perhaps most remarkable, for me, Gypsy is as comfortable in her skin as my naturist heroine, Thelana, going without a stitch on city streets, and while making speeches to large crowds, and on her web series, MyNakedTruth.tv. She’s so often naked, you almost have to wonder whether she owns a pair of underwear (then again, who needs underwear?).
While I may not approve of her methods, Gypsy’s commitment continues to inspire (she is in the green hat on the left). You can watch her most famous video here, where she disrobes during a public court hearing.
Dr. Victoria Bateman
Yes, you read that correctly. Perhaps more than anyone on this list, DOCTOR Bateman is the most accomplished, having earned her PHd from the University of Oxford (the most esteemed school on the planet IMO). According to her Wikipedia page: Victoria N. Bateman is a British feminist economist and academic, specialising in macroeconomics and British economic history. She is a fellow in economics at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. Bateman read economics at Cambridge University, before receiving her masters and doctorate degrees from Oxford. More than simply a free body activist, Bateman is an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and the rights of sex workers, and a staunch opponent of Brexit, Britain’s decision to separate from the European Union. For anyone who thinks nudists are uneducated or anti-social lepers, Bateman proves otherwise. In terms of class, she stands polar opposite to Gypsy Taub, but this only goes to show the wide variety of voices that can exist within the nudist community, and that anyone, from any walk of life, can be a nudist. Be sure to watch her anti-Brexit video here.
Aliaa Magda Elmahdy
For a Muslim woman born in Egypt, Aliaa’s courage is particularly inspiring. Nudity in Islam is forbidden in any form, but to expose oneself to the public is more than just a social taboo, it’s a serious crime. By posting a nude selfie on her blog, Aliaa risked imprisonment in a country not known for human rights. This simple act incited outrage throughout the Muslim world, among both liberals and conservatives, and she received threats of rape and murder as a result. But it was all in protest of Sharia Law, a system that treats women more as objects than human beings. To prevent sexual violence, women are expected to dress modestly, but clothing like the burqa, that covers every inch of the body, represents nothing but oppression. What better way to protest the burqa, than its extreme opposite, complete nakedness? As Aliaa herself put it, her photo, “screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy.”
Since 1992, women have been legally permitted to go topless in New York City, anywhere in public, wherever men have been traditionally allowed. While feminists cheered for this small victory in equality, most women continue to be unaware of the law, or if they are, lack the courage to make use of it. One female activist, however, has made it her mission to inform the public via example. Moira Johnston takes to the streets wearing nothing but pants, proving to the world there’s no shame in exposing one’s nipples, whether you’re male or female (too bad the law still requires covering of the genitals, but we’re getting there!). The best part is, most people either do not seem to notice her lack of covering, or simply do not care. It only goes to prove that common decency isn’t as common as Facebook would have us believe. Watch her video here.
As her namesake suggests, this stunning beauty* is utterly shameless, and while she does not appear to own a horse, she has taken to cycling in nothing but a helmet (as a cyclist myself—I ride a Trek 7.7 FX, she rides a 7.5—I am a big proponent of safety gear!). OK, to be fair, she doesn’t do this on a daily basis. It’s all part of the World Naked Bide Ride, which she helps to organize every year. On that day, it is not uncommon to see a thousand or more cyclists on the streets of London, missing more than helmets.
God1va is a British citizen, but she can trace her roots to India, where family tradition is paramount. Coming from a traditional culture myself, I find her confidence all the more inspiring, in that she is not afraid to show the world who she is, at the risk of alienating friends and family. As her blog states, “There was also the fear factor … what if I get recognized by my family/friends? However, having been on TV fully nude at least 4 times a week for about 6 months (repeats!), and having published all my photos on the web, the cat is truly out of the bag and there is no hiding now!” On her blog and in public, Lady God1va continues to express her free body philosophy. In 2009, as part of an art exhibition, she stood completely naked on a plinth before crowds of thousands, holding a placard with the words, “Naturism – It is a human right.” Lady, I couldn’t agree more! Watch the video here. *While I know it’s taboo among naturist circles to judge a person for their looks, I couldn’t help making this remark, as Lady God1va so closely resembles my wife.
Luis Andrew Martinez
You know that dream about going to school everyone seems to have? Where you suddenly realize that you’re naked, in front of classmates and teachers? For most people, it’s a nightmare, but for University of Berkeley student, Andrew Martinez, this was his reality. According to Wikipedia: Campus police first arrested him that fall for indecent exposure when he jogged naked late on a Saturday night. The county prosecutor refused to prosecute, concluding that nudity without lewd behavior was not illegal. Martinez began strolling around campus naked, citing philosophical reasons. He explained that when he dressed in expensive, uncomfortable, stylish, “appropriate” attire, he hid the fact that his personal belief was that clothes were useless in his environment except as a tool for class and gender differentiation. The university then banned nudity on campus. Martinez was also arrested in the city for indecency, fought those charges, and won. Later, after an anti-nudity ordinance was adopted, he was given two years probation. Sadly, Andrew Martinez was diagnosed with mental illness, ending his own life in prison in 2006. He was 33.
Many nudists you meet today, on beaches and at resorts, are over sixty. There is a real scarcity of young people involved in the movement, especially young women. When I attended the University of South Florida, I tried to start a nudist club, but made little headway. In our hyper-sexualized society, where body parts = lust, a woman who shows too much skin is thought to be a stripper, a porn star, or a prostitute. At the very least, a man will ogle a naked woman, especially at a non-nudist venue, unused to seeing a woman in her natural state who isn’t “asking for it.” At worst, women in the lifestyle risk violence. Simply being young, female, and a naturist takes a lot of courage. Felicity was fortunate enough to have been raised in a nudist household, and as a third generation nudist, body shame was simply something she was never taught. Now she has made it her mission to spread her family’s free body philosophy to the world. As the founder of Young Naturists America, an online organization with thousands of members (including yours truly), she organizes public naturist events, like body painting day in New York, with artist Andy Golub. She is also a prolific blogger, writing on a wide range of subjects, from combating sexism to changing negative body stereotypes.
Even among nudists, Stephen Gough “the Naked Rambler” is a controversial figure. Gough has been convicted 28 times for 46 offences, mainly in Scotland, where he was repeatedly arrested during attempts to walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats without clothes. He has been sentenced to more than six years in prison in total. Many would argue that he does not belong on this list, and Stephen himself has stated that he is not a nudist. But since there is no consensus as to what nudism is, and considerable misunderstanding regarding its practices and beliefs, I cannot rule him out. Of course, simply being naked does not make one a nudist. Strippers are not nudists. Porn stars are not nudists. Exhibitionists, people who show their bodies for the intended purpose of shocking and offending others, are the extreme opposite of nudists, emphasizing rather than de-emphasizing the body. Nudism, in essence, is a non-thing, the simple belief that the body is good, shameless, and legal. Unless Stephen intended to offend, and I have seen no evidence of this, he is a nudist, whether he says so or not. What truly sets him apart, however, is his willingness to get arrested, time and time again. Many have questioned his obstinance and sanity, but perhaps more than anyone on this list, he has shown us the absurdity of anti-nudity laws, by how much time and government money has been wasted imprisoning him, a man who has done nothing to harm anyone.
She has been exposing herself in videos, magazines and on Twitter, leaving nothing to the imagination. But, unlike Playboy models and porn stars, she has made natural nudity a focal point of her career, claiming that she would like to move to a nudist colony someday. Performers have long relied on controversy to keep the media focused on their careers. Who can forget the Beatles’ hairstyle, Madonna’s infamous Sex book, or Janet Jackson’s nipple slip? But while she may be courting controversy for publicity’s sake, her shameless confidence cannot be denied. Real naturist or not, Miley can only have a positive effect on the movement. In the past, such exposure would have been scandalous, a career ender. Instead, Miley proves how tolerant we have become as a society.
South of the border we come to Jenny Scordamaglia, who has never been one to shy away from the camera. Like few others on this list, she has the remarkable quality of appearing so comfortable in her skin, it’s easy to forget she is naked. Jenny started her career in modeling, but while many women with her looks end up in porn, she’s proven that nudity doesn’t always lead to sex, and that there are many innocent things people can do in the buff. Among these are naked yoga, which is becoming more and more popular these days. On her cooking show, Naked Kitchen, she prepares meals wearing only an apron. Despite her propensity for showing us her goods, Jenny is anything but a brainless bimbo, as her bio attests: She has been a journalist for magazines in Brazil and Peru, published her first book, “Llamado de Atencion,” to help young adults live positively, and in 2009, she hosted the biggest Latin American show from Europe, in the American Airlines Arena in Miami. She was chosen “the voice of Miami,” representing South Florida, for Comcast Xfinity, and in 2012, she opened her first meditation center, “Centro Transformacion,” in Spain. Jenny was also the official host of Miami’s “International Film Festival 2012,” which raised money for Tanzania, South Africa. And in 2013, she launched Miami TV, available on Google Play and iTunes. Learn more about Jenny on her page.
I consider these people heroes for doing more than just writing about nudism, for showing us, through their actions, that a penis is just a penis, a vagina is just a vagina, and there is nothing wrong, or embarrassing, about letting anyone see our genitals. They found the courage to reject the taboos of the past, risking ridicule and social ostracism to embolden the rest of us. If we are ever to become free, we must follow their example. We must find the courage to expose our bodies to the world. So if you love being nude, tell your friends and family. If you have a blog, post an honest selfie, the one that represents who you really are! Go nude wherever you can and as often as you can! Have a penis? Show it with pride! Have a vagina? Don’t hide it—it’s a beautiful thing! It’s YOU!
UPDATE 01/18/2021: Since I originally created this post four years ago, the number of nude advocates has grown exponentially. More and more, people have been finding the courage to express their true naked selves. I myself have received nothing but positive responses for my articles, nude selfies, and videos. It’s truly remarkable to be seeing such radical social change! In this update, I’ve included Stephane Deschenes, Nick and Lins, and Paula Brindisi.
I want to address a few points regarding this article.
No. 1. If you’ll notice, there are fewer men than women on this list. While I wish I could have included more males, the reasons I haven’t are multifold. Firstly, I think it’s safe to say that male nudity is treated differently in our society. Men have traditionally enjoyed greater body freedom than women. A guy going topless in NYC isn’t going to have the same effect as Moira Johnston. Along the same lines, men in Muslim countries are not made to suffer under a burqa. There’s also the difference between men and women’s attitudes toward sex. Men rarely have to deal with sexual harassment, so whatever courage a male nudist displays pales in comparison to that of a female’s. Finally, I find men’s interest in public nudity suspect, in that it more often has to do with soliciting women and sexual gratification. We’ve all had to deal with dick pics, but how often do men get harassed by unsolicited vag pics?
No. 2. Almost all of the images I’ve chosen, wherever possible, are full-frontal, including my own! I believe it’s necessary to show the body in its entirety, and to not be coy with what parts we choose to display, because when you really boil it down, it’s not the body per se people find offensive. If we are ever to overcome our aversion to nakedness, we must become accustomed to the sight of penises and vaginas in all their wondrous glory. We must accept that there is no shame in letting others see these parts of ourselves, that they’re not so different from our ears, noses or elbows. And that starts with full-frontal nudity!
*I have recently come under fire, under a Reddit thread, for comparing prejudice against nudists to racism and homosexuality. First and foremost, I think it is important to note that yes, there are similarities, but no, the degrees to which they are similar differs significantly. I only made the comparison in reference to women in Islamist countries, who can be jailed, beaten, and raped, specifically for exposing their bodies. While this is foremost a feminist issue, it is also a matter of body freedom. Race, homosexuality, and being female are not choices one can make, but people can be ostracized, bullied, and even killed for other reasons. Choice is not the determining factor here. In America, religious families disown children who come at as atheist. In Islamic countries, atheism can bring a death sentence. On a more personal note, I spent half my childhood fearing I was mentally ill. Only crazy people run around naked! And I fretted constantly that my nudist activities would be discovered. When my conservative parents did find out, my mother spent weeks crying over it, and my father threatened to disown me. Sound familiar? So, instead of suggesting we should be less inclusive, I think it better to open the doors of communication, to learn to listen and to understand, because everyone has their own demons, and struggles in their own way.
Umm, no. People don’t go nude just because of, err, shame. There are actually, oh I don’t know, benefits to clothing. Ever considered comfort? Style? Self-expression? Or even, hmm, protection? From weather and germs? A lot of those nudists are still wearing shoes because you kind of have to when the ground is made of cement and broken pebbles.
You also muck up logic to try to insult people who don’t go nude. It’s not because of some fear of the “innocent” human body or shame or because we have a raging hatred against nature or we’re subliminal Puritans. You sound like a vegan who is convinced that people who eat meat must be indifferent to animal suffering. Some of us actually think our bodies are sacred, important, and private to only ourselves and our loved ones. Simple as that. You want to go nude, go ahead. But it’s rather annoying to the rest of us when you start preaching how horrible everyone else is for not liking it. Yes, the only possible reason why I don’t want to walk outside to see hairy butts and saggy old people is because I sure do hate the natural human body. Gotcha. The first paragraph sounds like a rant against preaching but the whole article smuggles a different kind of preaching. You can promote whatever you want without having to crap on everyone who doesn’t do what you do, you know. Just a thought.
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You might want to read more carefully before going on your own ill-informed rant. Most of what you are arguing doesn’t relate to this article AT ALL. You are attacking a straw man based on many tired misconceptions about nudism.
The biggest misconception regarding nudism is that nudists are opposed to wearing clothes. Not true! We wear clothes all the time, and for the same reasons that you do. If you bothered with a bit of research you’d know this. Nudism is all about practicality and comfort. If we’re cold, we dress up! If we’re hot, we strip off. This is in stark contrast to the dogmatic, clothing-obsessed society we live in. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve suffered under the Florida sun, in 90+ degree weather, in my heat-trapping shirt and pants, only because society expects it of me. A nudist will never insist you remain naked in cold weather!
But here is the important point you missed: there is a TABOO against nudity. If I were to visit a beach or go to a park on a beautiful sunny day without my clothes, I would get arrested, and probably get put on the Sex Offender Registry List with all the pedophiles and rapists. Why is this? For the reasons I mentioned in this piece: prejudice against the human body.
I have no interest in seeing hairy butts or sagging skin either. Nudism has nothing to do with staring at other people. It’s like saying we don’t force women into burqas because we want to stare at their faces. But we don’t criminalize things we don’t like. If we did, I’d make Confederate flags and body piercings illegal. What *is* criminalized: theft, murder, driving while drunk, are all things that cause harm, but even many things that DO cause harm: alcohol, smoking, and guns, are perfectly legal. Individual liberty ensures you can refuse to wear a mask during a pandemic, despite the fact that NOT wearing a mask can get people killed. Public nakedness, on the other hand, which is harmful to no one, will get you fined or even locked up. Where is the sense in that?
The difference between you and me is that I have absolutely ZERO problems with your desire to wear clothes. You can do whatever you want if it doesn’t affect me. But I am not afforded that same freedom. You assume that just because I don’t share your belief in always wearing clothes in public (whether out of shame or some other reason) that I condemn you, but I don’t. Nudists want nothing but the freedom to live as they want to live. We do not wish to impose our views on others, despite the fact that shame is too often imposed upon us.
Nudism is about freedom. That is all.
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We’re talking past each other. You claim I misunderstand you, I think the point of my comment went over your head. If you want to promote nudism, try doing so without buttcrapping other people about being “dogmatic”, “obsessed” utterly at the control of their “Puritan” past or some buffoonery like that. In reality, wearing underwear as a part of public custom is no less “obsessive” than wearing shoes.
So my point stands. You’re crapping on people who aren’t nudists to get your point across – even though there are perfectly good reasons for the custom. That might explain why literally every society in world history that has any sort of civilization practices the custom – not just Puritans, bucko. Because your posts are practically just giant insults disguised as arguments, you will fail to convince anyone to become a nudist.
P.S. I’m actually curious about this. What do you think about people having sex in public?
I am assuming you aren’t even reading my replies and that you actually have no interest in learning anything about nudism. There are “customs” and then there are “taboos.” Equating wearing shoes with wearing underwear doesn’t prove your point, it proves mine. It is customary to wear shoes, yes, and there is a level of practicality to wearing shoes. BUT, can you go barefoot at the park? At the beach? In your own backyard in view of the neighbors? If the answer is yes, then your point is moot. We put people in JAIL for not wearing underwear. That *is* dogmatic. Let me put it another way: if I give you $1000, would you walk out your front door naked? I bet you wouldn’t, or most people wouldn’t. Is it simply because of discomfort? No. It’s because our society HEAVILY frowns upon it. Your shoe analogy perfectly illustrates the kind of world I would like to see—I would like to see nudity treated the same way as barefootedness.
Trust me, I have studied this a lot longer than you have, and a lot of my articles will answer your questions, especially with regards to history and culture. I was a history major in college. While attitudes toward nudity differ from culture to culture, nudity was common among the Celts, Greeks, and is still common among many primitive tribes in South America, Africa, and Asia, not to mention the nudist subcultures currently existing in America and Europe. I am of Greek descent. Public nakedness has been a big part of our culture for millennia. The Greeks trained and exercised in the nude, and nude swimming was all but universal until a few hundred years ago, including at the YMCA. Try visiting a museum. Look at the nudity on display in the paintings and statues, which suggests a very different attitude shown toward nudity in the past.
Also, read your Bible. There are many pro-naturist passages in the Bible, which is why you can find many Christian Naturist groups today. John the Baptist baptized people in the nude. Where are those nude baptisms taking place now?
Finally, I don’t need to promote anything. Other people are doing that for me, and are doing a much better job. Society has been shifting to more liberal attitudes for hundreds of years. It’s only a matter of time before the taboos of the past, like homophobia and racial integration, go away. I am simply riding the wave of change.
*Asking me what I think about public sex is like a conservative Muslim asking me the same question while wondering why we Americans allow women to wear bikinis in public. It’s a stupid question. The two aren’t related.
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Without addressing it, it seems you’ve toned down into a more conversational tone. Once again, if you keep finger-wagging about how wretchedly Puritan everyone is for not liking seeing other people walking around naked, you will convince far fewer people than what you could have.
Since you’ve entered into a more conversational tone, we can finally delineate some points.
1. It’s a fair point to distinguish between custom and taboo. Nevertheless, you should have guessed that I can easily re-formulate the point. The taboo against public nudity isn’t anymore “obsessive” than the taboo against squirting ketchup on your shirt. It’s not a form of “obsession”, it’s actually a rather calm taboo and not something people really think about. You might get fined for public nudity, but you can also get fined for parking in the wrong place. There’s no “obsession” here. People who disagree with you aren’t dealing with some sort of obsessive frustration. They actually barely even think about it.
2. I’m well aware that primitive tribes practice nudity. But these are primitive tribes with little connection to civilization. The closest thing you’ll find after 12,000 years and thousands of human civilizations is the ancient Greeks, and even then, nudity was only practiced in athletics. It is most certainly not the case that someone could just walk around naked in ancient Greece without raising some eyebrows, if not worse. This one analogy you have, then, is only superficially related to the modern idea of nudism. The Greek sculptures don’t really have any relevance or connection to the historical reality of public life in ancient Greece. Those are just aesthetics of the ideal of the human body. These sculptures even depicted warriors as naked, even though it would have been suicidal for someone to go into battle naked.
3. I’m not really aware of pro-nudist passages in the Bible, let alone one that says John the Baptist taught nude. If anything, I recall that he wore some furry/hairy clothing or something. [Just did a quick check. Matthew 3:4: “John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist.”] In addition, the story of Adam and Eve says that the two realized they were naked, felt shame, and covered up.
4. Kind of hard to say you’re not promoting nudism when you have a whole blog devoted to promoting nudism.
5. I don’t think public sex is totally unrelated. I’m just curious on where you draw your line. Arguably, sex is just as natural as being naked is. Animals certainly have sex wherever they want. I don’t see how you can make any argument for public nudism that couldn’t also be made for public sex. Again, I am curious as to your thoughts on the acceptability of public sex. If a Muslim asked a generic Westerner that question, the answer would simply be “our culture lets you wear anything from a bikini to a burqa”. Now, you are not a generic Western, but in fact a nudist. So what is your answer?
1. Yes, you would not want to spill ketchup on your shirt, but you are not going to get arrested for it, or put on the Sex Offender Registry List, something that can quite literally destroy your life. (This is a point I made earlier, which you conveniently seem to have forgotten or ignored). The same goes for parking tickets. You might get fined, but you won’t go to jail or get put on the “list”. Attitudes toward nudity have ruined people’s lives. Christian Adamek, a high school kid, committed suicide after he streaked at a football game and was threatened with the list. Amanda Todd also killed herself after her nude photos were leaked online. Sorry, but your analogy is absurd. We take nudity in this country A LOT more seriously than you suggest. And that’s just in regard to the USA. In other countries, a woman can be killed for exposing herself. Aliaa Magma El-Mahdi was threatened repeatedly with death and rape after posting a nude selfie on her blog. She had to flee Egypt to save her life. This is what I would call an obsessive, Puritanical attitude toward nudity.
2. You really need to study up on your history, especially when it comes to civilizations’ views on nudity. It wasn’t just the Greeks, first of all: we can include the Egyptians, the Celts, the Romans, even modern-day Americans. As for tribes with little connection to civilization, what exactly is your point? Are you suggesting they are morally inferior because they don’t have iPhones? And yes, it is agreed that a modern Greek person could not stroll into town naked, but this better fits with your bare footedness analogy. Nobody would be jailing this person for nakedness. Athenian and Roman men spent time nude in public bathhouses, like the Swedes and the Finns in the sauna today, and the Turks and Moroccans (of the same sex) in the hammam. Swimming, exercising, sporting events, and farm work was also done in the nude. The Greeks probably spent more time nude than I do, despite the fact that yes, in certain places, like the Agora, a certain dress code was required. Most often, this was a chiton or the peplos, very loose garments which could be unfastened by removing the fibula, a kind of brooch at the shoulder. Underneath, they wore nothing. Bathing suits and bras would not be invented for thousands of years. The Greeks’ view of public nakedness in the city center was more “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service.” While they didn’t go into battle naked, for obvious reasons, their paintings and statues represented a “heroic ideal”—it was the way in which the Greeks imagined their gods and heroes. Contrast this attitude to modern America: you won’t be seeing Superman’s penis in the next movie, nor will you be seeing football players tackle each other naked in the Superbowl. (Speaking of which, remember how everyone freaked out over Janet Jackson’s nipple slip? You could barely see anything, and yet, all TV broadcasts have to be delayed 7 seconds to prevent another such catastrophe. Is this not obsession???). The Greek attitude toward nudity wasn’t limited to Greece. It spread throughout all of Europe during the Renaissance. And this liberal attitude continues to this day, in fact. I discovered nudism on the beaches of the Cycladic islands, where tourists went about naked without anyone caring.
3. Yes, but he also BAPTIZED people naked. (Interesting how you just ignore facts that do not support your view). As for Adam and Eve, they were created to be naked, but only after eating the Fruit did they begin to feel shame. It wasn’t God’s idea that they cover-up, it was man’s. I have a post about religion you might want to read, “The Missing Surah,” which I quote here:
The prophet Isiah was commanded by God to preach naked for three years. John the Baptist lived naked in the woods, and Baptized his flock in the nude, including Jesus. There is also the story of Bathsheba, who was seen from his balcony by King David, bathing out in the open. The Biblical story does not condemn her nakedness, nor draw attention to the fact that she is visible from the outdoors. Instead, David is admonished for lusting after a married woman. Conversely, there is the story of Noah, who was found drunk and naked in his tent by his son, Ham. Ham told his two brothers about his father, and Noah cursed him, but whether Noah’s nakedness was considered sinful, or just shameful, the Bible does not make clear.
Following the Renaissance Age, most Catholic cathedrals feature nudity, the most famous example of which is the Sistine Chapel. And, as Pope John Paul II declared, “The human body can remain nude and uncovered and preserve intact its splendor and its beauty … Nakedness as such is not to be equated with physical shamelessness … Immodesty is present only when nakedness plays a negative role with regard to the value of the person … The human body is not in itself shameful … Shamelessness (just like shame and modesty) is a function of the interior of a person.”
4. No, I said I don’t *need* to promote nudism because many more people are doing it and doing it better. This is another case of reading comprehension failure.
5. Well, I don’t have a good answer for this, because I don’t really know what the effects would be of a world where children were raised watching people having sex. Maybe it would be a good thing? Who knows. But what I will say is that I do not promote nudism simply because it is “natural.” That is another misconception. There are a lot of things that are natural that are really bad for you, like sun tanning, which will get you skin cancer. I promote nudism because I believe shame is harmful to people. I assume you equate nudity with sex because that is what you were taught. But this belief suggests a number of things about humanity: that if we were to see one another naked, we would go crazy with lust, and we would be having orgies everywhere. This is a very depressing and pessimistic outlook, I feel. Of course, there are evil people in every community, and no doubt even in nudist circles you are likely to find a rapist or a pedophile, but this is not a causal relationship. Being naked does not turn us into sex-crazed lunatics, and in fact, I have found the opposite to be true. By removing the mystery surrounding the human body, we learn to see one another as human beings, not as objects of lust. Before becoming a nudist, I used to objectify women more, holding to a very Playboy-ideal of what a woman is supposed to look like. I also suffered from issues of self-esteem. Nudism taught me to love myself, to not judge, and to see the beauty in a variety of bodies. These are benefits to nudism you will not understand unless you experience them. And yes, I have spent days surrounded by naked girls, more than a few of them attractive, and never once did I think about sex. (I am sure you find this hard to believe.) Honestly though, if sex is your concern, you would be better off banning nightclubs and bars, where men go looking for hookups, than a nude beach.
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1. Let’s not conflate different issues. The point of these examples was that there’s no real obsession going on over nudists – even when against the law. Nude leaks are a separate issue entirely – whether or not nudism becomes acceptable, certain individuals will still want to keep their bodies to themselves as private and leaks compromise that wanted privacy. If we made nudism legal and the four of five people that are nudists stopped going to jail, that wouldn’t prevent an Amanda Todd situation. You’re conflating “nudism is legal” with “everyone is now fine with being seen nude”.
2. Since you concede that no prior civilization had any idea of “you can just walk outside naked”, I do not see a point to discuss this further.
3. I’m “ignoring” any facts that you haven’t presented. Why not just point me to where anything says John the Baptist baptized people naked? It’s because there’s no reference.
I also can’t find your “Missing Surah” post. Can you link it?
4. Instead of blaming other people for “reading comprehension failure”, perhaps you should be a big boy and realize that maybe, just maybe, your words weren’t as clear as you presumed they were. But I’m sure you fully believe that any misinterpretation of your words couldn’t possibly be anything less than a cognitive “failure”.
5. It appears as if you just don’t have a clear idea view on whether sex in public should be allowed. Can’t the same “no shame” argument be applied to people having sex in public? Also, wouldn’t women walking around in cities naked increase their risk of sexual harassment? Furthermore, keep in mind that legalizing nudism would mean that children go around seeing naked people, including boys seeing naked women. It seems to me that sex education must be prior to this kind of exposure.
It doesn’t seem like you have any big problem with keeping public sex illegal. Again, I don’t see a giant difference between this and keeping nudism illegal.
1. OK, so you are confusing things here. You assume that the primary goal of nudism is to change the law. Again, not true. I used legality as an example of extreme attitudes toward the human body. Public nudity is actually legal in most states, from a technical standpoint. The problem is that judges and police officers often use vague language to incriminate naked people, for offenses like “disturbing the peace” and “public indecency.” This is a result of biased, dogmatic attitudes toward the human body. What nudists strive for, in reality, is a world of greater acceptance and lesser shame, so the Amanda Todd’s of the world feel less pressure to commit suicide for the offense of having pictures of their bodies stolen. Honestly, you cannot reasonably argue that in a world where nudity is more commonplace, people like Amanda Todd would be made to endure the same treatment.
2. Again, you are either being willfully ignorant or simply not reading my comments. In all of the cultures I mentioned, you *could* “just walk outside naked.” It simply depends on what your outside looks like. You could not visit the Agora nude without raising some eyebrows, but you could do so in the countryside, which made up 98% of the ancient world. And then there are the tribes in South America and Africa, where nudity is common 24/7.
3. Here is what we know about nude baptisms:
It is certainly known that by the Patristic period, nude baptism was the standard, as is evidenced not only textually but iconically. The Arian Baptistery in Ravenna, built circa 500, depicts in its dome a beardless and nude Jesus being baptised by John. However, this may be not a relic of earliest Christian practice in Judea but a result of the entirely different attitude toward public nudity that was a commonplace of Greco-Roman culture in a now almost entirely gentile Church. In the Patristic period, deaconesses were the ones who both anointed the entire body of female candidates and led them into the water, but the male bishop and presbyters, at the very least, would still be present at the very least.
All the detail known of John’s practice of baptism is inferred from the N.T. Gospels, and there isn’t much: they were in public, open space by natural running water, rather than the private, interior space of a mikveh, and he apparently drew a crowd. How or whether he actually, physically participated more than by speaking is unclear. I think that because of the cultural norm, that it’s likely John had females amongst his followers to assist when necessary, just as Christians certainly later did in their more involved baptism practice.
See the following for details of the above:
David Hellholm, Tor Vegge, Øyvind Norderval, and Christer Hellholm, eds. Ablution, Initiation, and Baptism: Late Antiquity, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity / Waschungen, Initiation und Taufe: Spätantike, Frühes Judentum und Frühes Christentum, 3 vols. (De Gruyter, 2011).
Robin M. Jensen, Living Water: Images, Symbols, and Settings of Early Christian Baptism (Brill, 2011)
I recommend you read this post:
Quick answer: Yes, nude baptism was practiced in Ancient times.
4. Time and time again, you have given me strawman rebuttals, which indicates you have no interest in actually learning anything new. I cannot write *clearly* enough for someone who has no interest in understanding.
5. Unlike yourself, I don’t like to make judgments on things I know nothing about. Is there research to suggest public sex is harmful to children? If there is, I would oppose public sex. And, if research indicated nudity was harmful to children, I would oppose public nudity also. As it stands, all research on that topic has shown only positive results, as testimony given by people like Felicity Jones, a third generation nudist, also shows. Either way, sex really has NOTHING to do with nudism. Sadly, these two subjects appear to be inseparable in your mind because you have been raised to believe nudity and sex are synonymous. They are not, and the fact that you cannot help but equate the two is a major problem, not just for you, but for society as a whole. We should not impulsively be wanting sex simply because a woman is naked. This would suggest we are just animals incapable of restraint. It is an argument used to oppress women in Islamist countries, who are forced into burqas and are sometimes imprisoned for *being* raped, under the assumption that a man cannot help but rape a woman if he sees too much skin.
I believe humanity is better than that. And we have evidence to support this claim. In countries where public nudity is more commonplace, the rate of sex crimes and teen pregnancy is lesser than in the US. In Greece, women are less afraid to walk down a dark alley at night, even though they may have been seen at the nude beach that morning. As for your children analogy, the members of my family who have been exposed to nudity at a young age have had nothing but positive results: better self-esteem and a healthier attitude toward sex in general.
FINAL THOUGHTS: It appears this discussion has run its course, so these are going to be my final thoughts. You visited my blog to argue about a lifestyle and a philosophy you know nothing about, and rather than come away with some deeper understanding, you appear determined to remain in your bubble of ignorance. If you have no interest in nudism, by all means, stay as you are. I don’t really care. You have said nothing I have not heard a million times before—these are just tired arguments and misconceptions I have been debunking for decades. In fact, I have made *your* case better than you have, in my article, “Where Naturism is Wrong.” This is called “steelmanning.”
Listen, if you want to educate yourself, you have to keep an open mind, do your own research, read some other blogs (there are numerous links in this piece). But most importantly, you have to TRY THINGS FOR YOURSELF.
All your arguments will dissolve to nothing once you actually experience nudism for yourself. It might take some courage on your part, but you can start at home, work your way to a beach or a hiking trail, and then try visiting a resort. I suspect my stance disturbs you precisely because you *are* interested in nudism. I suspect you are arguing more with yourself here than with me. Why else would you be wasting your time arguing with some stranger about things that do not affect you? Don’t you have better things to do? People who *really do not care* about a subject do not spend days and days arguing about it. It’s like all the closet homosexuals who spend every waking moment fighting homosexuality, only to come out of the closet years later.
The truth of the matter is this: human beings do not make decisions based on logic. We are emotional creatures. We do what feels good, what makes us happy. We decide what we want on an emotional level, then conjure all the arguments we can think of to justify our decisions. All the words in the world will never convince you that I am right and you are wrong. You have to be willing to experience the other side. And once you do, nothing I will have said will matter. Remember, I didn’t come to YOUR blog to argue my side, you came to mine.
It is an extremely difficult thing to overcome what you have been taught from the time you were in diapers. But freeing yourself from shame, from lust, from the taboos of the past, learning to love yourself, to find a greater sense of humanity and a deeper connection to nature, is a journey worth taking.
[Please don’t bother responding to this post, as I will be shutting down further comments. And yes, I get the final say, it’s my blog!]
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I find your criticism “hairy butts and saggy old people” bigoted offensive and somewhat psychotic misanthropy. You ought to be ashamed of your mouth, not your body.
You and your kind who hate human bodies have no legitimate right to force other people to comply with your perverted shame and hate. Sure, sometimes clothing is convenient for protection, but not always. In hot summer weather clothing is hot and sweaty, but anti-human zealots want to punish anyone who chooses to be more comfortable.
Some of us actually think our bodies are sacred, important, and beautiful. We have no more reason to hide ourselves than any other species. All of nature is beautiful and we are arguably the most beautiful animals. Shame and guilt over our bodies is a form of psychotic self hate.
You do you. cover up all you like, but MYOB, and let your neighbors choose for ourselves.
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The right to choose how we cover our bodies or not is arguably the most fundamental human right. If we can’t control our own bodies, we have no freedom at all.
Thank you for publishing this list.
Dear Nick, I have read your article and the comments between you and scientist christian. Nick you are dead on I could not disagree with you at all! You are a hero along with others that you mentioned. Thank you for supporting and believing. Michael.
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I know that argument got a bit out of hand, as these things go, but I kept it up for other people to see and make their own judgments. Thanks for the comment!