Why playing the violin naked makes me happy.

Originally posted at Young Naturists America

When I started the violin at age 8, I soon wanted to become the best violinist in the world.

It all started with Jascha Heifetz. My first CD was his Beethoven’s violin concerto and I loved him so much that I wanted to change my last name from Donnelly to Heifetz.

I was really serious. I was gonna be awesome.

Then came along other heroes. I’ll never forget the day I ripped open the sleeve for Maxim Vengerov’s ‘Virtuoso Vengerov’ CD, pyrotechnics flying into my 12-year-old ears as I sat on the floor of the living room two feet away from the loudspeakers, giggling in awe at each new sound I’d never heard on the violin before.

One day I would eventually have a lesson with Vengerov, in London at the Royal Academy of Music where I would end up studying. It was a surreal moment and one of the proudest of my musical life. I didn’t tell him he was my towering hero at age 12; I just gave him the best playing I ever did in my life.

My encounter with Vengerov was a rare moment of synchronicity, right at the end in 2013 when I decided to end it all; because somewhere along the way, that pure childhood joy and excitement of the music got replaced with something else.

I’ll also never forget the first time I had ‘bow shake’ – a trembling bow out of nervousness from people watching or listening to you instead of the smooth nice long note you’re intending to have in the music itself. It was the last note of Fibich’s ‘Poeme’ at a competition in Sydney, and like the other unforgettable moment in my same first year of puberty – my first ejaculation as a boy – it wasn’t so much a moment of positivity or negativity, as sheer surprise and discovery.

Even before my body image problems began a wider picture of anxiety and fear was building inside me – and it wasn’t just around the violin. I have memories of feeling ‘body locked’ when socializing around the dinner table at extended family gatherings at home many times in that early to mid puberty era. I remember feeling hyper self-conscious for years – a feeling of being judged all the time that was getting worse and worse – always trying to be the ‘good boy’ in what was a strict and religious household. Is it any wonder I became a breakout nudist hippie later on to reverse this all myself?

So inside that wider picture, a body image complex began. During my growth spurts of 14-16 I had the biggest lunchbox in my school year, this crazy Tupperware container three times the size of everyone else’s in my group. We all had a laugh at it – whatevs – apparently I needed it as the ‘growing boy’ I was.

But what was actually developing, was ’emotional eating’ – of sugar and carbs especially – as an addictive behavior to cope with the world of anxiety and stress I was building up. I remember for a while not being able to go to bed each night without consuming about a dozen Antipodean ‘Anzac biscuits’. And once my growth spurts slowed down, despite my tummy slowly getting rounder I didn’t want to stop eating all that stress-relieving food I had by now grown to love.

Uh-oh.

To understand my body image story – and it all hooks into the violin – you have to know that I was immersed in a world of competitions, summer schools and master classes, a world telling me I always had to be something I’m currently not, otherwise I’m a failure, I’m lazy and I’m not a success, and so obviously, ‘Why am I even doing this in the first place?’ Unhealthy, but that’s often the culture.

I let my stomach become a visual mark of my lack of discipline, laziness and failure to be everything I wanted to be…

So at age 16 I started swimming at the local pool 2-3 times a week to try and exercise off the food and keep my stomach down. And this was the tragedy that happened: I let my stomach become a visual mark of my lack of discipline, laziness and failure to be everything I wanted to be, and it’s still a thread I’m removing from my psyche as we speak.

The next event in my timeline, from age 18, burned into my memory because I remember the T-shirt I wore, the spot I was standing on and the food I was eating at that moment, was the first time someone commented on my body shape negatively to me. It was a good friend at a music summer school in Sydney – just one tiny comment, pointing to my tummy, and saying, ‘Glen, you’re starting to look tubby’. This marked a point of no return at which I started sucking my tummy in 24/7 for the next 8 years of my life.

During this time my career flourished. I went to London to study viola up to masters level and even played in the London Symphony Orchestra in 2012. Things were going great. I ran a chamber music festival back at home, and my career was building every year. I was really proud of what I was achieving.

Photo: Aiga Ozo Photography

But underneath all that success, something else was growing too – a private struggle with everything that never got dealt with from my youth – the nerves problems on stage, addictive behavior and discipline issues I didn’t know how to solve and had given up on, and most visceral of all, my body image problem which by now had reached the point where my stomach’s default state was that of tight clenching with the only exception being during sleep – 1/3 of the time.

My mental and physical anxieties got the better of me. I had my worst trauma experiences on stage ever in early 2013, and some point after that I told my parents back in Australia in an email, ‘I’m not a musician anymore.’ At the same time I had a cancer scare, with lumps popping up on my arms and legs, and this was a reality-check to me about what was clearly an unhealthy life in every way. So I knew it was time to change. And to say I changed after this, is an understatement.

I came back to Australia and I rebooted my life. What happened was a radical health transformation, and rising out of that, mindfulness and mental healing. It’s why I call my Facebook ‘Mindful Story‘. Against an entire upbringing, and from a place of desperation, I followed a new intuition and rule-book of life – health, and survival, by whatever means.

I became a different person – yeah – a barefoot, headband-wearing, leaf-worshipping, environmentalism-touting, anti-system hippie. Quarter-life crisis right?

As the son of an organic farmer, I was already exposed to the whole ‘natural health’ / alternative lifestyle thing, and to reverse my body’s problems I decided to obsessively focus on nutrition, lifestyle and physical exercise, prioritizing my body and doing whatever was right for it … no exceptions.

One thing I knew I had to work on early on, was my stomach tension. I knew swimming would be great for loosening it up by doing freestyle in the water, so I went back to that local childhood pool and then on to the ocean – away from that ‘carcinogen’ chlorine that I was learning about.

Swimming really worked. It was physical therapy to let my stomach breathe in what felt like a primordial soup or mother’s womb of an environment, the water.

But in trying to do this therapy I still felt this tight elastic band around my waist – of my swimmers – and almost like an anxious sea anemone my diaphragm was closing up at the slightest touch around it. So I knew I had to take them off. I googled ‘nude beach’ in my part of the world, and the rest as they say, is history.

Later on I realised that my biggest, most reliable reason for my burgeoning passion for living nude, was the sheer need to simply relax my stomach. When I had to wear clothes, I ended up only wearing super loose ‘pajama’ yoga pants held up by suspenders underneath my top instead of a drawstring clamping it around my waist. It took me four years before I could go back to normal jeans and belt again and have my stomach relax in them. Mission accomplished!

I was even still a Christian during my first two years of getting nude (although I eventually took that off too), because I knew that nothing in my activity was wrong, or ‘evil’, and that it was only healing in the body and the mind – to survive.

I transformed my body by immersing it in nature, following what it was telling me, and I guess I went all primal.

Nudity is a symbol for authenticity.

What came next was the social aspect of nudism, the real tool that would help my body image long-term and the bit I’m still working on today – a journey to radically accept ME in every aspect, not just my body, and to stop always trying to be something more, or someone else – like Jascha Heifetz or Maxim Vengerov.

It’s ironic that I’m actually one of those people out there normally acutely anxious about showing their body to other people – why the hell did I start ‘Nude Movement‘? The answer to that – and why I’m so passionate – is that nudity is a symbol for authenticity.

When I play the violin nude, it’s healing to me. I’m actually confident. I have no body shame. I’m in my element. It’s MY show. I’m going back to that pure joy and happiness and love that got lost in the thickets of fear and shame and anxiety along the way – by simply being myself.

I did the worst thing possible in my youth. I decided to be ashamed of my shame, and only try to hide it. This is what males catastrophically do.

And this is what I’ve learned: you know how to end the cycle of being ashamed of your shame, or being anxious about your anxiety? It’s to stop feeling shame. It’s to stop feeling anxious. It’s to accept: accept you, accept everything, just radically accept. That’s what reverses the cycle and puts it in the direction you want, for the first time in your life.

What happened to me was sad – but I’m still alive and heck I’m still young (about to turn 30) and I can do whatever I want with the life I have flowing through my blood and the healing I choose to have in it – in my mind, my emotions and my body.

I’m reclaiming my body and reclaiming who I am – and getting nude is helping me do that. It’s my turn to live! And my body is my space.

So what am I doing on my 30th Birthday on Aug 27th 2017?

I’m going to celebrate myself for once. I’m going to tell my story and stop being ashamed of my body shame. I’m going to RAISE MONEY for this issue in men and boys, because I am one of them myself.

I’m going to jump out of an airplane nude, and skydive playing my violin at 15,000 feet. A birthday dive in my birthday suit. And I want you to help me raise $15,000.

Visit gofundme.com/BirthdayDive to donate, and share my story, so that others can be inspired too.

Thank you for your support
Glen

Why does art make nudity OK?

57a87b702a00002d004f8e5aPhoto: © Angelo Musco Studio, used by permission. To sign up for future shoots click here.

I was at an art gallery the other month, playing Mozart background music on my viola while gifted artists milled around appreciating each other’s paintings of the nude human body.

I was taken aback at how sensual some of these paintings were. I guess it had been a long time since I’d viewed nude art.

They were sensual enough for some of them to cause me to feel something…’down there’.

What a riot.

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Yet, if I decided to suddenly dismount from my viola, take off my clothes, and join the lovely ladies on the wall in their nudity but as a real-life addition – that would have caused the riot – as well as probably not getting paid for my background music that evening.

Funnily enough my encounter with this art society led to my first ever life modelling two months later. It was wonderful and I’m now a regular for this group, doing another model for them next week. It’s paid work. How’s that for a new string to my bow?

But these pictures on the wall got me thinking. Something bothered me.

Here were these people, staring at explicit images of naked humans, for minutes on end, not only OK with them but commenting to each other about their appreciation of them, yet Orlando Bloom enjoying a bit of nude recreation with a friend while on vacation is the day’s biggest scandal!

We live in a nude-hysterical society. Facebook itself is having trouble trying to figure out how to allow it on their network after multiple censorship gaffes and outcries.

But let’s step back for a second. When nudity is billed as art, it’s suddenly given a free pass – a badge of legitimacy – a relief, from all the hysteria.

Is art a dream world to allow our most personal fantasies and desires to roam free where ‘real life’ normally forbids them?

Is art therapy?

If you take a look you realize this is about way more than just nudity. Many of the weird, the wonderful, the deep, the taboo, the unspeakable – all manner of ideas, messages, and human honesties – all find solace, in this wonderful thing called art.

But what are we as a species if we have to shunt our deepest expression into mediums and objects instead of real life?

Why have this distance from what we love the most about ourselves? Why can’t we TOUCH our dreams?

I’ve now realized why nudity in art is comfortable for people – the emotional reason for it being ‘OK’.

In art we don’t have the responsibility of dealing with a living human being on the other end of the nudity. It’s a bit like porn vs. sex – it’s a one-way interface with only one person giving, and another receiving.

There’s no living, conscious being to have to ‘respect’ – we can just view the person as an object, objectifying that subject and doing whatever the hell we want to do with them in our mind.

And that’s actually great – we need to enjoy the human body and its full gamut of expression, beauty, and story. But it explains why people have a problem with ‘real life’.

There’s a real-time, two-way social reality when it’s ‘real’. The subject can talk back at you for gawking at them or appreciating them for as long, or honestly, as you are. Maybe they – a conscious being sharing your meatspace – feel uncomfortable. And that brings in the possibility of judgement.

It makes me wonder if the talking portraits in Harry Potter ever tell the students to stop looking at them.

It’s crazy to think we’re all ‘violating’ the dignity of nude human beings in artworks because they’re not alive – and that we’re ‘objectifying’ them. We peer, and leer and stare at them, and it would never be ‘right’ to do that outside of art.

That makes art an outlet. It’s an invitation to look and appreciate – a safe, controlled and non-threatening platform. And because of this it’s sacred. In the case of nudity it’s a way to communicate – by simply showing – the neutrality of the sexiness of the naked human body.

Aspects like that are why people crave it. They desperately want it, and they come to it to worship. No wonder people call creativity spiritual. It’s a space free from judgement, a realm of boundless self expression – a place, where normal rules don’t restrict us. It’s a temple of freedom of expression, and freedom of speech.

But should the freedom stop there? Why can’t we be boundless in real life? Boundless outside of the structure of art?

What – honestly – is the reason? Is it fear? Is it other people’s fear? Is it shame? Is it other people’s shame?

I think we’re ready to start working this out and getting mature about our body as a society. This generation is waking up.

It’s not easy overcoming shames drilled in since birth – but if I can do it, so can you!

Don’t let anyone else’s shaming or judgement tell you how you should live with your own body. Decide how YOU want to live in this world. And that might mean wearing clothes!

I have a good friend who tells me, ‘With nude art it’s not about the nudity.‘ And she’s right.

But who said being nude should EVER be about the nudity?

All you need is a reason important to you, to do it. For some people it’s health. For many, it’s mental healing. For others it’s as simple as tan line hate. A great reason is that skinny dipping just feels fucking great.

I thought of a quote the other week and I shared it on our Twitter:

That’s my reason for being nude.

Does nudity offend you?

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I got pulled over by a policeman on the side of the road the other week.

He took my breath. He thought I was drunk.

One of the reasons he thought I was drunk, was because I was nude.

As he approached my car window I covered my penis with my towel.

The conversation went something like:

Policeman: “Why are you naked mate?”

My reply: “I love being nude.” (I reveled in my honesty and pride.)

Policeman: (In expression of shock and unreasonableness) “Did you know that trucks and SUVs of a sufficient height with children in it can see you nude?

My thoughts: Why would children care?

Policeman: “What if you suddenly had an accident and had to get out of the car to help someone on the road?”

My thoughts: If someone’s life needs saving I’m pretty sure nudity is the last thing people are going to be concerned about.

My reply: “I’d put my shorts back on.”

Then there was some more back and forth, about how, from my point of view, I didn’t believe I was doing anything illegal under the law of ‘willful exposure’ in the jurisdiction I was driving in – even quoting a case that had tested the law that ended up being thrown out of court.

Policeman: “Any reasonable person would find your nudity offensive.”

My thoughts: Not this reasonable person.

My reply: “Well I’ve got a lot of thoughts on everything you’ve just said and I’m not sure if you want to hear-“

Policeman: “No I’m not interested in hearing what you have to say.”

My thoughts: Gee, thanks policeman. So you think you are the law and I’m not? I thought the law was interpreted in court – by judges – not you or me.

Policeman: “I’m going to be looking into this. Expect a possible summons in the mail about the nudity.”

My thoughts: Excellent, a chance to finally test this in court!

The letter never came.

Of course it didn’t. He had no proof I was driving naked.

So I expressed my appreciation at him looking into the matter, and wondered what he would find. I and my lawyer know what exactly he would have found.

In reflecting on this, I understand how this man felt. He felt a sense of duty. A duty to do the right thing. By the law.

Well I feel a sense of duty too. A duty to do the right thing. For humanity.

And in that light, I don’t want to prod the law before society is really ready to support it. It’ll hurt the chances of non-sexual public nudity having its beautiful light of day again. It’s been a long night since the open nudity days of Sparta – or men and boys bathing nude in public everywhere until just 100 years ago.

We have to promote nudity strategically – in show of numbers, in special events, in protests, through seeding trends, by capturing zeitgeists – and doing it in major, media-grabbing ways. This is exactly what Nude Movement plans to do.

And in hindsight, I can empathize with the policeman’s non-legal take on the matter as well. Maybe he is right – most people are still ‘offended’ at seeing an unclothed person in public.

But is it really true? In this era of 2016 – when people enjoy Game of Thrones as entertainment, send snapchat dick pics and watch pornography openly as a cultural norm, with sex increasingly liberal and free – is this assumption from that policeman all that accurate?

I wonder what the stats would be if a worldwide poll was done.

Why not ask your friends and coworkers – people whose view you didn’t already know – would they be ‘offended’, shocked, appalled, morally outraged – to the degree of ringing the police to have a naked person locked up, fined, or put on the sex offender register?

Is the law out of date? Does nudity offend you?

(Image courtesy of Aleta Rodriguez used under Creative Commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/)

‘Embrace Your Body’ vs. ‘Look Good Naked’

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There’s a tragedy out there.

Every now and then I meet a person who has a big problem with their body.

Their problem is so bad that it prevents them from doing things they love in life.

I’ve even met nudists – people who REALLY have a desire to get out and be nude with other human beings – who are afraid of showing their body because they ‘don’t look good’. They’d rather wait until they do – maybe later on…

I’ve come across them, because up until two weeks ago I was one of them.

I once spoke to the cameras telling my story of nudism as a sweeping solution for the body image woes that plagued my performing career for ten years.

But the truth is that I still have problems showing my body in public – or even just to my sister!

I have my reasons for wanting to look ripped – to look masculine, to look ‘big’ – and in my mind they are healthy, safe, and sane goals to have within me.

There’s that word, ‘goals’. I happen to be a hyper goal-oriented individual and I know I should just embrace my body but how do I reconcile that with wanting to be something that I’m currently not?

It’s a battle inside me. Some days, one side wins; other days, the other.

Does it have to be this tortuous?

I may seem like a neurotic minority here – but the truth is this story is common. I am not alone.

And I am far from being alone, as a male.

This story flies in the face of naturism’s cliché that states, that when we take our clothes off all reasons to judge, categorize and rank are gone and we’re suddenly a big happy family of unified, ‘classless’ equals.

My struggle is proof this isn’t true, and all nudity does for many people is amplify the problems further.

When you take your clothes off, you can’t escape from the issue.

You literally can’t hide from others how ‘weird’ your breasts look, how ‘small’ your penis is, how ’round’ that tummy of yours is shaped. How ‘cellulite-y’ … that bum of yours is.

Your big-ass nose is already enough to deal with, right?

No matter what you think of it, humans will always judge, and if clothes aren’t there to form an opinion from, then the body will.

So let’s go there. Let’s face our fears, and go where there is nothing more to hide.

This is therapy at its finest.

Two weeks ago I had a buildup of anxiety that came to a head. I was so caught up in all my goals and busyness in life that I wasn’t even performing them to the potential I know exists inside me.

So I decided to do something radical. And it accidentally solved my body image problems forever.

I decided to take a weekend of radical self-love, three days of looking after myself physically, mentally, and spiritually – just doing whatever the hell I felt was best for me, and me alone in every moment the entire weekend. Only one attitude was my moral guide: look after myself. It became a whole state of mind, and it was powerfully relaxing.

It reset weeks of anxiety, and when a sudden opportunity came to attend a nude social meetup on the Saturday night, I was in the healthiest psychological place for doing it possible.

I went – despite me looking ‘crap’ – I enjoyed myself, and in this moment I finally found my answer. Self-nurture.

I discovered that when you’re in a place of self-nurture all you care about is ‘caring for yourself’. It is radically selfish, and radically self-helping. You are immune from shame, because shame is the last thing you feel like feeling!

When you want to look after yourself – first and foremost – why would you care what you look like in front of others? It was a new logic that healthfully invaded the mind.

So the battle within me finished, and the war was ended by bringing balance to my mind.

The reason I had such a battle was that I couldn’t just accept the blunt statement, ‘Embrace Your Body’ and have nothing else to say about it.

This statement is embodied by the wonderful and inspiring hero of mine, Body Image Movement champion Taryn Brumfitt. Her powerful documentary ‘Embrace’ has swept the Southern Hemisphere and is set to conquer the globe.

No – there was another ideal that just didn’t feel right to let go of, an ideal at the other end of the spectrum of dealing with the apparent ‘ugliness’ of our own human body.

This ideal is embodied by my other hero, Ben Greenfield of Ben Greenfield Fitness fame, a health champion and role model of mine who goes so far as to have a ‘Look Good Naked’ and longevity program.

One extreme is a striving to do something about it; the other, a philosophy to just be ok about it.

I am a striver, and I know that is a good thing that can help the world.

I finally accepted my body as the way it is in front of other people without having to give up my dream one day to look like a living, breathing, Greek sculpture.

I solved it, without having to shame body shamers.

This needs to be said from the voice of a passionate body image activist:

It’s OK to desire having a sexy body!

It’s OK to want to look fit for your partner!

It’s OK to dislike being fat!

People have a right to say ‘I’m sexually attracted to this person and I’m just not to that person because they’re fat and I’m not attracted to that’.

People have a right to say ‘I’m attracted to guys that look masculine and strong and confidant and not guys who look weak and small and feminine.’

I am not here to speak out against body shaming.

I don’t even have a problem with the magazines who photoshop humans into scantily clad aliens in the name of art!

Those magazine photos are sometimes beautiful – if unlifelike – and it’s you who has the choice of how to respond to other people’s statements on beauty, sexyness, and health.

The solution is not to stop aspiring for greatness.

It’s to say, ‘Devil may care’ if you’re not there.

And it’s to realize, that maybe there’s 7.5 billion opinions on beauty – on virtue – and on sexiness – in this world.

It’s OK for people to judge. They actually have that right.

Their judgement is their own. And it doesn’t have anything to do with you. Unless you want it to.

That moment I finally achieved real body acceptance, I was immune from body shaming.

That’s how to win this war. You win it by embracing both freedom of opinion, and yourself. You do it like Harnaam Kaur.

The solution is within you.

By embracing both sides.

Why I no longer call myself a nudist.

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I lie. I tell people that I’m a nudist in the public mainstream on average one time a day. I say it with passion, I say it with shamelessness, and I say it with pride.

But I hate the title.

I feel exactly like composer Steve Reich in the 1960s, when the term ‘minimalist’ was applied to his music by everyone around him.

It didn’t represent how Reich saw his place in art, and to him was a ‘stigma’ that limited the scope and audience he wanted to reach.

Well, my musical hero, this is me and the word ‘nudist’.

I keep on telling myself – in that same, on average one time a day – that actually I’m a PERSON goddammit, who just loves to be nude!

The real reason I’m having this identity crisis is that I’m on a mission to change the world. I no longer want to retreat to an obscure tribe of people outside the mainstream society. I want to change it.

Nude Movement was created for exactly this purpose. Its aim?

Make nude cool again.

The already obscure terms ‘nudist’ and ‘naturist’ – if people even get it right it – elicit images of flabby fifty-somethings playing volleyball at a corny, run-down, struggling ‘nudist colony’.

In 2016, who wants to identify with that? Who would go anywhere near that word?

We have an *audience* to persuade – and it is time to play a different game.

Already the word ‘nudie’ has popped up as an alternative gaining steam among the mainstream-minded and social media-savvy, and that along with the universal nude are ones that don’t carry yesteryear’s baggage of stereotypes no one wants to identify with.

The future of social nudity is with a new crowd – the Instagram and Snapchat youth – the people who already watch porn and aren’t complaining that they’re saturated in sexualized media ranging from the ‘creamy’ voiceovers of TV chocolate ads to the soft pornographic levels of the most viewed music videos on YouTube. They know that the body is sexy and are not going to deny that part of its reality any time soon. They’re going to enjoy it. It’s how our bodies work.

So if porn is ‘cool’, if sex is cool – then why can’t nude be cool too?

Nude and Nudie are concepts that will appeal to the new generation. They’re fresh, they’re universal, and because of that they’re unable to be stigmatized.

It’s already increasing my appeal when inviting people to nude beaches – friends who are ‘non-nudists’ and friends who definitely have a problem with what that word can mean.

Now that I’m no longer a ‘nudist’, I’m just like, ‘C’mon, it’ll be fun, its 2016, do you really still have a problem with the nude human body?’, instead of sensing a tacit pressure to become a ‘nudist’ because that’s what it seems I’m inviting them to do.

We’re just friends, and we like go nude. Sometimes. Big deal.

See the difference?

Words are words, but words change the world. They define people. And those definitions can mean a lot.

So what should we be saying to this brave new generation of Snapchat and Instagram?

Go Nude.

Get Nude.

After all what do we want? We want more nudity in the world – not more ‘nudists’!

I don’t want to market myself as some different category of person anymore. I understand the joys and comforts of identifying with a tribe – it’s like being vegan, or paleo, or a bikie – you feel pride in your group, you feel relief from the criticizing, misunderstanding world outside. You feel validation.

But I am here to tell you that if you want to ensure the future of everything nudists love and stand for while the world becomes increasingly sexualized – it’s time to step out of your tribe.

Nudity needs a reinvention. It needs a 2.0.

And it is here. It has started.

It starts with you choosing a ‘normal’ beach close-by to swim and sunbathe nude at a tasteful distance instead of driving to an official ‘nudist’ beach far away where no one new will discover the idea of nudity as an awesome and harmless thing to do.

It starts with you promoting nudity as a normal part of normal mainstream culture with the attitude of a shoulder shrug (and letting people ‘deal with it’ at worst, or discover it and start a conversation at best) instead of waving a giant ‘nudist’ disclaimer instantly painting yourself into that corner of ‘weird people’ that nudism tends to mean.

It starts with breaking FREE.

I now simply say, ‘I love being nude!’, which is instantly more appealing, interesting, and open conversation-inviting than anything I ever said before.

I’ll still call myself a nudist sometimes. But it’s a phrase I’ll use less and less.

I’ve just removed it from the bio of my Facebook profile on my wall. It feels great. And I’m already sensing my appeal to non-nudists will improve as a result.

Nudists all yearn for society to change in ways that are utterly iconoclastic to it. It is a cultural seismic shift for all involved. Luckily we have already had victories of change like the newfound mass acceptance of LGBTQ culture now (and with Cannabis quickly following suit in losing taboo), and social nudity will require even more of people’s courage, listening, input, and above all … willingness.

They need to be willing to change.

Are you?

It’s time nudists got real about sex.

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I sometimes masturbate to pornography.

Sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s soft.

And I have sex. And I get turned on at the sight of the naked human body.

Sometimes.

And yet here I am, a family-friendly, non-predatory, humanitarian naturist and ‘nudism activist’, fighting regularly for non-sexual freedom of the human body.

Am I wearing The Emperor’s New Clothes?

The first time I ever went dancing was at a Burning Man underground dance party fundraiser in Sydney.

I was already a nudist, and I was finally ready to allow myself to dance for the first time in my life after an upbringing of conservative, ultra-strict Christian values and rules-following.

Into the night I danced nude as Burning Man embraces all forms of peaceful self-expression, and for five hours I was nothing more than joy and music, movement and body, with no drugs and without a tingle of sexual arousal felt in my body the entire time.

And yet, if something had happened down there, once upon a time as a fledgling nudist it would have been a problem with me.

When I first became a ‘naturist’, there was nothing sexual about it at all. It was a health therapy and powerful relaxation technique for this stressful fast-paced world we live in, and it plays that role now as it ever has.

I was excited. I discovered something that could help other people. So I got involved in the nudity-loving community at large, drinking up the philosophy and etiquette of what made up ‘family-friendly’, ‘ideal’, socially-acceptable naturism.

I was still a Christian at the time, and because I saw in my heart not one speck of sexual desire or dalliance in these simple activities I was doing (whether nude hiking or beachgoing or social meetups), I passionately committed to the mantra of nudism that states, ‘Nudity does NOT equal sexuality.’

I spent weeks and months deconditioning myself from being aroused at the sight of bodies that I am attracted to, and successfully dampened that part of my sexual energy – all in the name of this newfound  ‘freedom’ I had discovered.

I made myself immune (you could throw anything at me): I achieved what seemed like the epitome of safe, non-sexual, social nudity, and I patted myself on the back. It was hard work.

But as I matured further in my journey of nudism and sex (exploring the latter, also for the first time, again because of my upbringing), I realised what I had become.

I became a monk-like, zen, Kumbaya asexual naturist, and I was living an utter denial of reality.

A few times during this period of ‘purity’, I ‘failed’ – caving in to pornography once again. And not this time because I was a Christian, but because I was a ‘true nudist’ – a ‘real’ naturist, who didn’t do that sort of thing.

So I grew up.

And I started accepting reality.

This is the truth I finally realised, and the truth the entire nudism world must embrace if it wants a place in today’s increasingly sexualised and porn-saturated world:

Nudity can be BOTH sexual and non-sexual.

Nudity is a sexual thing.

Nudity is a non-sexual thing.

Both statements are true. They are true for different contexts, and for what you want to choose (or the way your body works – asexuality is a thing).

We are sexual beings, we are sexual creatures, and the truth is that simple non-sexual nudity CAN operate within our wider context of being attracted to each other.

It happens in the change room at the local pool. It happens when you take a shower, or take a dump. It happens when you put on your clothes in front of your partner, after sex.

See?

Two extremes, two statements, at either end of the spectrum.

One extreme is decided aversion to non-sexual social nudity: a fear of desensitising oneself from what one is attracted to, and as a result losing what is a huge part of the compelling excitement, and experience of sex.

The other extreme is the decision that desensitisation is the only way to safely practice non-sexual social nudity – because only then will you gain the comfortable trust of others who want that freedom too.

Today I am calling for a radically different decision to be made.

We do not have to make a choice between these two freedoms. We do not have to make a trade-off, a sacrifice, a side-picking. It does not require painful negotiation or hard work in every moment!

What it takes is an emotional courage and intelligence, and we are damn ready as a society to take this conscious step.

What it takes is a little letting go of fear…

Are you ready to take this step of faith? Or do you think you will lose something?

Our civilisation is ripe overdue for a mature, honest conversation about our body and all its functions. It’s time to stop being ashamed of how it works, why we pursue what we pursue, and why we (diversely) enjoy what we enjoy. As a lover of non-sexual social nudity, I love the human body – it’s damn sexy – and I’m not ashamed of that! I’m proud of my balance.

We need to stop being afraid of each other, and instead be curious to understand each other.

True freedom is balance. True freedom is the middle ground. True freedom, is choice.

You have that choice and power! You have the power inside you to respond to the human body in whichever of these two legitimate, safe, and humane ways, that you want.

And you ought to have the freedom to choose.

It’s time to call out The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Because it’s time. That we got real.

Where our message is headed.

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This picture says it all.

Our target audience is mainstream society, in every way. Front and centre. We do not want anyone to not hear our sustained conversation about the human body and our relationship with it.

We as humans have evolved with our naked, unclothed body for hundreds of thousands of years.

And although we are increasingly discarding barbarisms from past cultures, which honor the violent side of our survival design, we have a long way to go.

World peace is not exactly here yet.

It is time to adopt what is positive, and helpful, for our species’ evolution. One of those aspects is the non-violent freedom to live as we are born and evolved – nude – in all its consciously respectful, and non-harmful ways.

In order to achieve this we need to cut deep. It gets emotional. It even gets barbaric.

It’s a long road. But thing can change fast. Our new generation is more open-minded, more equipped, more informed and thus more willing to experiment than any generation before, and we now have a platform – the internet – to achieve social change (with victories like LGBTQ+ tolerance) at a speed never achieved in human history.

Look beyond the culture you live in. Look beyond the country, the decade, the century that you currently live in.

Look behind – and look beyond. See your place in that wide perspective of time and space.

Do you want to shape the future of humanity? Will you help us create a ROAR to make the world change for the better? Will you come out and start a conversation with your friends and family, and be the change you want to see in the world?

Join us, and get involved with us on social media. Get nude.

Let’s get real…about our bodies.

Welcome to the Nude Movement Blog

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Welcome to the official blog for Nude Movement Media.

We will have posts from contributing editors around the globe covering politics of the body in the mainstream and news from our campaign as it happens.

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