On Nudity

A coworker of mine went on a cruise last week with her husband and her 13-year-old (starting 8th grade) daughter. Her only complaint about the cruise was that there were “half naked bodies” in “family shows.” She said she felt that it was inappropriate for her daughter to see performers (of the Las Vegas showgirl variety) in “thongs.”

Here’s how I feel about nudity. It’s only wrong or dirty or inappropriate because someone told us that it is. We’re brought up to think that it’s dirty or vulgar. But we’re born naked. And under our clothes, everyone– men, women, and children– has a naked body of their own. If we didn’t make nudity such a dirty thing, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. Boobs are boobs. And ass is an ass. Everyone’s pretty much got the same shit. So who the hell cares?

It’s just the human body. And we’re all human. So get over it and grow up and stop looking at nudity strictly as something sexual and inappropriate and start looking at it as something natural that everyone is capable of being. If people weren’t so uptight about it, many people would feel a lot less guilt around it.

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  1. Ms. Inconspicuous
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if it'd be a lot less titillating (ahhem) as well, or if we'd still desire the bodies of others as we do?

    Repression has its own special thrill when you get a peek underneath the covers (I do delight in the thought that a peek at the ankle could have been lust-inducing at one time…and it's a little sad that we'll never experience that– all the absolute benefits that come with the abolition of that repression aside), but biology would seem to indicate that it makes no difference (or shouldn't make a difference).

    I do wonder.

  2. dmf
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    it's the association game. for people that feel this way, nude means sex, and it's the sex that's inappropriate to see. even though they aren't.

    personally, i feel as you do. on nudity and on language. for fuck's sake.

  3. Topaz
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Two sides to the coin here…
    Yes, we make nudity dirty. It can be see in a completely non-sexual manner. BUT…
    We sometimes dress up nudity with 'naughty' clothing with which to perform suggestively. So while nudity on a beach can be seen in a healthy nonsexual (well, by some of us, at least), the nudity suggested in a strip club is not quite appropriate.
    All in context, right?

  4. alana
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Nudity may be natural, but so is hunting/scavenging and that means little these days. The truth is, when most people see nudity on t.v. it’s in a sexual manner so we must be careful of how broad a brush we use here. Most people agree that the nudity on National Geographic and the nudity on HBO are very different in nature. (So, we’re not actually talking about the body on it’s own but the manner in which that body is portrayed.)

    With the problem of hyper-sexualization of children, this issue is more complex and nuanced than simple black and white. Yes we should teach our children not to be ashamed of their bodies, but that doesn’t mean I want my son watching two sweaty mostly naked actors grinding all over each other.

  5. Nell Gwynne
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    When my mom was in college in the 60s/70s, she had several roomates that were nudists. Furniture was covered in plastic slipcovers, adn her roomates put on clothes when parents visited.

    Flash forward to my freshman/sophomore year of college, and girls in my hall would royally freak out if anyone so much as chilled out in their underwear.

    Needless to say, my mom was a little confused.

    Jesus Tittyfucking Christ.

  6. Gray
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    You are completely right! People shouldn't deem it inappropriate. It is what it is.

  7. mrs. m
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    i was taught early that nudity had a time and a place, but in a good way. it wasn't a negative teaching. my mother thought nothing of walking from point a) to point b) in our home naked and i thought nothing of her being naked seeing as i had the same parts.

    i never saw my dad nude, because he was/is super conservative and i do understand that side of the debate, but no matter what it was a great lesson.

    i'm baffled by people who make such a big deal out of total nakedness. i love being naked (thank you, mom) and even as a big girl have always been comfortable naked and in my own skin. my husband, on the other hand, almost always has some type of clothing on.

    it's all in perception and mostly how you were raised.

    i do, however, believe that society needs a slight revamp in this country concerning nudity. it's not ALWAYS about sex. in fact, when i figured it all out it had nothing to do with sex.

    that came later. hah.

  8. theybelongtous
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    I was raised that our bodies were not to be seen by anyone else – until we were married – and then maybe.

    I am raising my kids a bit differently. We are a clothing optional household. And they understand that skin is just skin – and everyone has some.

    Yes, I pick and choose what they see on tv, as I don't think it's appropriate for them to see people in the act of sex. But people in various stages of dress – who cares.


  9. April
    Posted August 17, 2009 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    I agree. My ex-husband and I raise our son to understand that being naked doesn't equate to anything bad, but that some people don't think that way so you can't be naked around other people. We all thought nothing of walking around the house naked and we often would take family showers together. So seeing a naked body to my son doesn't equal something sexual. Now, if these naked bodies are in the act of doing something sexual, then that's different. But he doesn't blink an eye or feel weird or awkward if he sees me naked. He has no problems with being naked around me or showing me his penis when there's something wrong with it. (he often gets heat rash in that area)

    On the flip side, my friend's son is taught that nudity is a bad thing and therefore it's taboo to him. It makes him more curious about naked women and he's been caught several times with his dad's playboy magazine.

    So yeah, boobs are boobs and asses are asses and dicks are dicks.

  10. River Girl
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    very well said, and I must agree with you..
    I don't understand the reasoning behind the shame of a nude body, we should all be more comfortable with nudity..

  11. miripanda
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    I think it's great for consenting adults to see eachother naked however and whenever, and for families to make the choice for their household… but for people who didn't grow up with that mindset it can be difficult, if not impossible, to pass it on to their kids. And that's assuming they'd want to.

    My first brushes with seeing adults other than my mom naked was in a women's locker room, which was fine, and then with guys exposing themselves to me in public. Obviously women sunbathing topless on a cruise is different than a perv jerking off on the subway, but seeing things we don't wish to see, or feeling like we need to protect kids from seeing things we don't think they're ready to see, can be stressful.

  12. shorn
    Posted August 21, 2009 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    shorn's community is clothing optional, we also take baths with our children. Other than for the non-housebroken ages, suits aren't worn in the pool.

    We are very careful to keep it non-sexual, but if one of the men is caught with the gallant reflix and questions are asked an honest but appropriately framed answer is given.

  13. Sequoia Redd
    Posted August 22, 2009 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    living in a nudist colony, you get over that shit real quick.

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