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.
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.
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.