Submitted by: Danielle
For as long as I can remember I've craved touch. Not anything sexual, just anything touch related, such as holding hands or hugging. I find it incredibly sad that the vast majority of people are so incredibly uncomfortable with touch! I think part of that stems from people being uncomfortable with themselves. They think: how or why would anybody ever want to love me enough to touch me in any way? The fact is that if you didn't grow up being showered with hugs or other types of touch, you probably aren't going to be very comfortable with it in adulthood. I get that. It just saddens me that I feel like I see so many people shying away from it when I feel like it would be so appropriate in so many situations. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that more hugs and handholding would fix all of the ills of the world, but I am saying that I think society has played a part in our fear of touch.
Hell, if you look at someone the wrong way, there's a chance you could be sued for sexual harassment. Touch isn't any different really. The only difference is that there's actual physical contact involved. In both situations though, if an accuser decided to bring a suit, it would be your word against theirs. That, my friends, is the byproduct of a society that is not comfortable with themselves and that is far too sensitive!
Why are we so sensitive? That answer can be found in society as well. If we spent more time teaching our young children that their bodies are nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to hide, I wholeheartedly believe that fewer people would go on to commit or be victims of sexual assaults in adulthood. If that were the case, people probably wouldn't be so quick to scream sexual-harassment, whether it was justified or not. Like I wrote a few days ago, body image issues are society's doing! I believe that the reason we have become so sex obsessed and conscious of touch is because we're made to cover up so much of our bodies so much of the time.
Remember that friend I was telling you about a few days ago who went to the nudist resort and wasn't at all uncomfortable having a conversation with another nude individual? Well, he once put it best: nobody really worries about their kids running around the resort nude causing sexual assaults because around the resort the body isn't taboo. There's nothing hiding that somebody, child or adult, wants to get at. It just simply isn't a concern.
I think he has a valid point. The more you tell someone they shouldn't or can't have something the more they're going to want to see what all the fuss is about. The longer you tell a child that it's wrong to explore their body, the more they're going to want to do it when they're out from under your thumb. Furthermore, it may result in them going in the complete opposite direction, having outrageous sexual fantasies, and eventually acting them out on another person. If this happens, it's more than likely going to be unwanted by one person which will, in the end, cause a whole slew of problems for both parties.
I know that my above example is a bit graphic, but unfortunately it's reality as I see it. We, as individuals, weren't born thinking that body exploration or touch of any sort (hugs, hand holding, etc.) was a bad thing. As a result of the fact that society has made us leave almost everything to the imagination, there are some individuals who have taken their suppressed desires to explore to extreme levels. Those are the individuals, I believe, that commit things like sexual assaults and make the rest of us fearful that every person who brushes up against us at work or in any other public place is making an advance toward us.
Sometimes I truly wish that the world was one big nudist resort where a belly to belly hug was thought of as nothing more than that, and the idea of a lawsuit for sexual harassment just didn't exist! Now, is that realistic? Absolutely not and I know that, but a girl can wish can't she?
Submitted by: Danielle
You know why I think we have so many individuals who are body conscious? I think it's because society has made them that way. Think about it with me for a second. Today we live in a society where everything is about having the most recent designer labels and keeping up with the latest fashion trends. Each individual that is conscious about some aspect of their body wasn't born being conscious of that aspect. They became conscious of it because they've either been bullied at school because of it, or if their adults now, they probably were picked on about it at one point in their lives.
I think it's incredibly sad that so many of us are trapped in this "fabric prison" where the first thing almost anybody pays attention to is what you're wearing or how you're dressed. What ever happened to the idea of getting to know a person for who they are and not the material things that they own? Oh wait, did that ever exist? Not that I can recall, at least not in the way that I'm talking about. Imagine with me for a second that the fabric that we use to fit in, to be popular, to feel comfortable, no longer existed. What would happen then? Would we all curl up into little balls and stop living because the idea of not having fabric would be just too much to handle? Would there be some rebels who say, "fabric? Who cares? I've got better things to worry about!" It's possible, and I would sure like to think that that's the way it would happen, but somehow I sincerely doubt it. It's too deeply ingrained in our brains that the only reason to be nude is because you're going to have sex. I'm here to tell you that nudity represents much more than that to a handful of people, myself included! For us, it's about the freedom and lack of confinement that being nude represents.
Let me tell you a little story: a dear dear friend of mine was at a nudist resort many years ago, saw someone wearing a sarong, really liked it, and asked the gentleman where he got it. The gentleman said he couldn't remember. My friend proceeded to ask him if he knew who made it. Without missing a beat or thinking twice, the gentleman quickly pulled it off and started looking for the label. In that moment, the fact that he was nude while looking for the label didn't faze either of them at all. It was normal everyday conversation that neither of them thought twice about.
If mainstream society had more of that mentality, the mentality that teaches children from a very young age that their bodies are nothing to be ashamed of and that they're not just sex toys, I truly truly believe we would have a lot less attempts at suicide and less suicides that actually happen. Why? It's simple in my mind: people wouldn't look at other people for how they looked or didn't look and therefore fewer people would be uncomfortable with their bodies and feel the need to escape that pain; the pain of not being accepted just wouldn't exist because aesthetics and labels wouldn't matter.
Remember, in my opinion, this is a societal issue, not an individual one. With all that said, whether you're an open nudist now, or one that hasn't quite gotten the courage to tell society what you think of the way they've made you conform, know that I stand behind you 100% in wanting our bodies to be about more than how they can be used for sex! I too am not happy with the fact that we're trapped in this textile world where labels and fabrics are everything! Today, tonight, or whenever you read this I hope it gives you the courage and inspiration to stand up and say, "fabric? Who cares? I've got better things to worry about!"
For all of you who read this who are struggling with body image issues know and remember two things as you reach the bottom of this post: first, you came into the world nude and chances are your parent or parents thought you were perfect just the way you were! Second, if you're an adult now and you were picked on earlier in your life for the way an aspect of your body looked, you're beautiful just the way you are and I promise, promise, promise, promise that there's someone out there who loves you for who and what you are, not what's on the exterior, you just have to find them! Whatever you do, try to keep holding your head high and never give up hope!
I had a very eye opening experience last night.
While attending a late night birthday party at an apartment complex designed for physically disabled adults, one of the residents alarm signals went off. Every apartment has an emergency pull cord in their bedroom and bathroom that when pulled it sounds an outdoor buzzer and flashing light. Some of the party attendees went over to her apartment and she was able to yell the entry code to them from her bathroom so they could get in to help her.
What happened next just plain pissed me off. The most able bodied person there refused to go into the bathroom to help her because "seeing her like that is against my religion." WTF? I seem to recall something in the bible about Jesus telling us to clothe the poor and naked. There was no UPS or FedEx back then. If you were so inclined to give clothes to the poor and naked, you had to go mingle with some poor and naked people. This dude felt all righteous about leaving a disabled woman in distress because he might have had to see something we all have. What would Jesus do? I sure know what I would like him to do to that idiot.
People are so incredibly stupid sometimes.
A long time ago watched a show on Spencer Tunick. I've seen some of his work before but I never knew his real motivation until seeing the show. I didn't know whether he was an "artist" or just someone hiding behind a profession that exists to feed some secret fetish. It was like when I was a kid and read a book about the psychic powers of plants. In the book the man said when he injured himself the EEG hooked up to the plant would spike. He said he he started killing sperm instead because it was easy to get and didn't hurt as much. I always wondered if the guy got caught masturbating somewhere and then wrote the book as an elaborate diversion to distract from that fact. He was doing it for science. Anyway, I thought it may have some relevance to the afore mentioned artist.
Having seen the show though, I think he's genuine. Many people participate in his events as their own little way of saying "screw you" to the "establishment", some others do it just for the thrill, but the story I admired the most was of a young woman who had been gang raped and then used the experience with Spencer Tunick as a significant part of her healing process. A lot of healing comes from being able to look at your own naked body and see the good things in it.
The one thing that surprised me the most is that Tunick is not a nudist. In fact, he was visibly freaked out while being nude at a nudist retreat. He complained about a lack of pockets for his film and that we nudists just don't cooperate with instructions. Those cotton wearers can be so silly. I'm not sure how it is at other family nudist resorts, but where I go, it is best to stay away from the ends of the pool because they play seriously aggressive volley ball and you're likely to get pelted with a ball.
If you ever read this Spencer, consider doing a photo shoot of nude physically disabled people. With the rampant physical and sexual abuse of the disabled as children, perhaps it could be used to give us our turn for healing or just to perhaps give a great big "screw you" to the mainstream's perception of beauty. I would be there in a heartbeat.
I remember once when I had a very weird anxiety attack.
You know how some kids have nightmares about being naked at school? Who knows, maybe you've had them too. Well, I have honestly had nightmares in the last few years about being back in school and having clothes on. I'm not kidding.
I laid in bed half asleep "daydreaming" about being back at the resort. It was freedom there. I could sit around and talk about life and whatever with Cathy, politics or hobbies with Jim and computers with Chuck whenever he was there. No matter what I was doing, I wasn't self-conscious or fidgety. The only thing that touched me there was either the hug of a friend or whatever I was sitting on. Being naked is so liberating.
I liken this to something I talked about with my optometrist. Since moving to Arizona, I have had problems with my right eye. I have severe dry-eye. Even though it doesn't hurt, I am always aware of it. All day long, I am always aware of some sensation in my eye. It doesn't stop me, it's just that constant nagging sensation. The only time it goes away is when I go back to my home town. It's humid there and my dry-eye goes away so the sensations are gone.
Clothes are the exact same way. All day long I am acutely aware they are there. There isn't a second that goes by that I am not feeling them touch some part of me. It bothers me. Damn, this almost sounds neurotic. At the resort, the sensations were gone. Everything I did there I could do without distraction. I read so many books while I was there. I could lay, sit, walk, swim, soak, talk, read, eat and everything else without having to to do anything else in advance.
What startled me out of my rest was the sudden realization that it's all gone. Yes, I can still be naked at home, but I'm a prisoner now. Because of most of the world's screwed up notion that being nude is about sex, I'm now a prisoner. If I want to go grab a soda or just walk 20 feet out my front door to take out the trash or fill up my water jug, I have to stop what I'm doing, find clothes, put them on, do whatever and then come back and undo it all. 10 minutes of my time wasted because someone else's parents raised them wrong and taught them nudity was shameful. I have to spend my life being annoyed and inconvenienced because other people are stupid. I know that's how life is but it is just plain wrong.
I thought writing all this out would make me feel better but it didn't. It's not easy to resign myself to the fact that I will be a prisoner for the rest of my life and that others find amusement in my desire to not be uncomfortable. This is really truly bothering me and I'm starting to feel like a caged animal being tortured.