Fans of Aenya come from all walks of life. Honestly, the scope never ceases to amaze me. Amazon tells me I’ve got readers in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. But I never imagined being contacted by someone from a Middle Eastern country, and not just any country, but IRAN of all places, which is currently being controlled by one of the strictest, anti-nudity regimes on the planet! Seriously, police in Iran will arrest you for not covering your head, if you’re a woman, that is! If you want to understand just how harsh things can be over there, I highly recommend Marjane Sartrapi’s book, Persepolis. While I’d love to count her as an ally for the nudist cause (who knows, really) the freedom to wear revealing clothing plays a significant role in her story.
As for my soon-to-be Iranian friend, I was a bit hesitant to answer his email and, I am ashamed to admit, was a little rude to him. You see, I too often have to deal with *fans* with no real understanding of nudism and no real desire to learn anything about it. For these folks, nudism is just another fetish. They ignore every assertion that the nudity in my book is 100% innocent, confident that Ages of Aenya is just one more erotic romp through A Game of Thrones-esque setting fetishizing young girls’ bodies. So, it was truly a pleasant surprise to learn that Mr. Iranian Nudist was what he said, a liberated individual with a real passion and appreciation for clothes-free living, a lifestyle that, I can only imagine, is infinitely riskier for him to practice than it is for any of us. He is also, from what I can tell, an avid reader of fantasy! After my wonderful correspondence with Min (a name I chose to protect his identity), he agreed to let me share our exchange, with some minimal editing for clarity.
Message: I am a nudist. From Iran. Yeah, that country you mention a lot on your blog. I am married but the only nudist in my home. I want to read your books, but due to two reasons, I cannot afford them. 1. Comparing rial (Iranian currency) to the dollar, the exchange rate is poor. We are living in a hard economic situation 2. Government limits. We cannot buy anything from outside the country at any price. So, if possible, please send the book to me. I would love to read all of them.
Wow. This is quite the New Year’s surprise! I’ve never received a request for books from the Middle East. I’d love to hear about how you became a nudist and what it’s like living as a nudist in your country. Do you risk getting into trouble with the law? Does your wife approve? Does she join you? Do any family members know? There are so many questions I’d like to ask, I think we could do an interview …
Regarding my books, let me make this clear: these are NOT thinly veiled arguments for the nudist lifestyle; the books in the Aenya Series are pure fantasy adventure. They have everything to do with Robert Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tolkien, and George RR Martin. Put another way: if you were to say to me that you live in Iran and love fantasy, I’d be much more inclined to send you my books. The Princess of Aenya, in particular, only very briefly mentions nudity in any way. It’s 1% nudism, 99% The Last Unicorn, The Neverending Story, and Stardust. If you’ve ever read these titles, or if you’ve ever enjoyed any of the authors I mentioned, then I think you’d love the Aenya Series. I am not sure how common these works are in Iran, but the books I’ve written have more to do with The Arabian Nights than nudism.
If you are still interested, I’d love to give you the opportunity to read them, but I have no idea how to accomplish this. Mailing books to your country would be both expensive and might possibly get you into trouble. If you have Amazon over there, you can get the books on your Kindle device, but again, I am not sure if Kindle works over there. Anyway, let me know how I can help, and if you’d agree to an (obviously anonymous) interview.
Best of luck to you and have a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Hey Nick. Thank you for your fast response.
About Nudism: Due to my nocturnal enuresis, I started sleeping nude at 10 years old, but stopped when my treatment was completed, probably at around age 12. I remember clearly how free I felt on those nights, and tried sleeping nude a few nights afterwards, just for that sense of freedom. I started practicing nudism at 20, when I was still living at home with my parents. I just went nude in my own room or whenever I was alone. They caught me sometimes, and they would get angry with me and try to get me to stop, but they eventually got used to it even though they never accepted it. So, nudism at my parent’s was never more than stripping off and staying in my room.
When I got engaged, I told my fiance about my nudist lifestyle. She agreed to support me and promised to go with me to a nudist beach or resort when we migrate to Europe. That made me the happiest man in the world! I had never been accepted like that before. While she is not a nudist, she has such a strong personality and does whatever she likes. She considers every option, but no one can convince her to do something she doesn’t agree to. It’s the most precious quality I see in her. The STABILITY. So, I respect her choice to not be a nudist, as I would any of her choices. Life goes on, and no one knows which one of us may find or follow a new lifestyle or philosophy in the future. All that matters is respect. This is the most valuable lesson I’ve learned from nudism.
When I turned 20, I started watching porn, and eventually clicked on a link showcasing nudist beach voyeur movies. Yeah. I agree. It was a porn website that led me to nudism, but after a short while, I felt that what I was seeing was not sexy, but innocent. I then remembered those days when I used to sleep in the buff. So I started to read about and practice nudism while chatting with other nudists. Tatiana, a woman I met through truenudists.com, taught me the principles of humanity based on nudism.
Here in Iran, there are few rights afforded to women and little respect for women. Women are violated by men who fear their empowerment. I am ashamed of this attitude. I would never consider allowing myself a freedom that my wife is not also allowed to enjoy. That is awful. I learned about women’s rights through nudism. Although Iran is a bit more liberated than Saudi Arabia, women have far fewer rights here than in Europe. Again, it’s awful. We (my wife and I) are working to respect these rights in our relationship, which isn’t always easy. But we are satisfied with the result.
In Iran, nudism is a perversion. Due to Sharia Law (although we have a new version which is sweet for the mullahs, not exactly what you see in Saudi Arabia, just a different version :D) being nude in public is considered a complete perversion. Although it’s never mentioned in the Quran or any other religious resource, it is based on the mullahs’ feelings. The situation is so complex here. That is why I started to read books in English and to learn English so I could someday migrate to Germany or the Netherlands (why not England or America?). I am a professional programmer and finding a job in a developed country shouldn’t be too hard for me.
About Books: In fact, I am in love with fantasy. I’ve read every title in ASOIAF (A Song of Ice and Fire). Twice. Maybe some parts three times. And all the Wiki pages about it. ASOIAF has two strong communities in Iran. All the books have been translated by volunteers. I even translated two of the chapters (ADOD#40,47) into Persian. I have also read the Tolkien legendarium: The Hobbit, LOTR, The Silmarillion, The Children of Húrin, and Numenor (I read them when I was in high school and during the first few days at my university. I was an active user in the Persian/fantasy community, where I found some of my best friends). I also read HP (Harry Potter) when I was teenager, and now I am reading The Wheel of Time [I’m sorry], the first book.
About Writing: I have also started to write a new fantasy novel. The story of a promised king who has emerged. It is heavily inspired by the Achaemenids, Sassanid, Islamic Arabs, Mongols, Roman Empire/Republic, Cartagians, Qin Dynasty, and Khazars. It may not be fantasy (no monsters, no dragons, no magic, but it has unique belief systems, cultures, tales, and many other background aspects derived from a creative mindset), basically an epic story that happens in a fictional world.
About the mailing: I think mailing your books to me would be too expensive for you. I wouldn’t want you to pay for that. And, it may create issues for me, due to local laws. I also don’t have a Kindle. I use my smartphone to read. If you have PDF or epub I can print it here with my printer.
Thank you. Be Safe my friend.
In Islamic countries like Iran, it is believed that women must be covered up to curb men’s sexual desires, or men will go insane with lust. Even in Morocco, the most liberal of Muslim nations, it is rare to find a girl walking the streets in shorts, or wearing a bikini to the beach. This aversion to skin has led to sexual violence against women and has even been used as an excuse for rape. Oftentimes, victims of rape are accused of committing the crime of temptation, while the actual rapist is absolved of any wrongdoing. What nudism teaches, time and again, is that men can always control their urges and that women should never be held responsible for violence directed at them. Even if the girl is entirely naked, as is often the case on nudist beaches and resorts, sex doesn’t have to happen, and rape is entirely inexcusable.
I’d like to offer an apology if I came across as too defensive in my earlier email. You see, I’ve spent a lifetime dedicated to my craft, trying to earn my place on the shelf with the greats of the literary world, but in this business, there is an industry of cheap, trashy fiction where pornography and nudism often get lumped in together. This often attracts the wrong kind of attention, people who just want to fetishize over young naked girls. I have an ongoing battle with Amazon for this very reason. The Princess of Aenya is usually recommended to people buying nudist books, even though it has nothing to do with nudism! Dealing with all of these social algorithms as an author—the way it likes to label you and put you into little boxes—can be very frustrating!
Anyway, as much as I’d love to give you the opportunity to read my work, I can’t send you a PDF file. That would just be too risky for me. If your account were to be hacked, anyone could share the PDF at no cost, and I would lose all revenue from that book. You did mention, however, that you were planning on moving to Europe, which is a great option for nudists (better than America) and my books are available there, so maybe when you move there you can give me a shot.
Writing fantasy from a non-European perspective is always welcome. As much as I love Tolkien and his many imitators, I grow tired of the same Anglo-Saxon/Germanic-inspired settings. You would think the rest of the world doesn’t even exist. It’s not even just Europe … almost all modern fantasy is focused on northern Europe. I am of Greek descent, and a lot of my writing is Mediterranean-based, so I have an idea of how you must feel.
As for nudism, I think it’s wonderful that the ideals of the naturist lifestyle have spread even to your country, thanks to the Internet. That is something I predicted would happen many years ago. I believe it is only natural that, when given a chance at freedom, people will choose it, especially when that freedom does not harm anybody. BTW, your wife sounds exactly like mine! She is also a strong, independent woman, and is very open to the nudist lifestyle, she just prefers wearing clothes (go figure). This conversation and your story, I think, could help inspire more people, and I’d love to share it on my nudist website. I would, of course, keep your identity anonymous. I would also like to correct some of your grammar. Please let me know if this is OK and if you’d like to share anything else about your experience.
Hey Nick. Thank you for your response. I am a nudist like I said, but I know that this lifestyle is sometimes associated with porn and sexual desires and such things.
Nudist is just a label and does not mean anything more than loving to be naked, in a simple and innocent way. But search ‘nudism’ on Google, and all you get is porn websites. It’s even hard for me to recognize innocent nudity from sexual nudity, due to the fact that I live in a verrrrry conservative society. Families, parents, and anyone who worries avoids nudism because the Iranian media relates it to porn. I love the Game of Thrones series, like most fantasy, despite all the sex, rape, and other crimes in it, but simple NUDITY is never shown. NUDITY means sex. No one (in these stories) sleeps in the buff or lives innocently in the buff. They are only nude for sex. I know how trashy things can get when you mix nudity with sex. Even in my mind (that I have not any experience except in my home) they get lumped together sometimes. I have had a hard time with this. Once, I struggled with POCD, Voyeurism OCD, and cheating OCD. I need to experience, to believe, that there is a better way. I hate this mechanism that ties sex to nudism. I hate these things. It’s the main reason I want to migrate to a nudist-friendly country like Germany or the Netherlands (me too, buddy).
I will buy The Princess of Aenya when my feet step into a free country. I promise. Regarding this conversation, I would be so happy if you were to post it, but anonymously, please. Here, we struggle to be free.
Very interesting, very brave of Min to live his nudist lifestyle in Iran as far as is somehow possible.
Also a good example that even dictatorships cannot completely oppress people.
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I totally agree, Bepa. It also shows that nudism, and the right to decide what clothing to wear, has much greater significance in other countries. I often hear the argument that nudism is ‘just a hobby’ that it really doesn’t mean much, but for me, nudism has always been an intrinsic part of my identity, and I do not believe anyone would be risking jail time or social ostracism if it didn’t mean as much to them.
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