Nudity is all about interpretation. Randomly I typed ‘boobs’ into Pinterest the other day and was told I couldn’t search for explicit material.
So I searched for ‘art nude’ and a got a lot of boobs.
I then searched for vagina and got a load of creepy arty stuff that was worse than looking at an actual vagina.
So I typed ‘penis’ and got a lot of ‘comedy’ willies and I typed pubic and got all sorts of weird stuff.
You see, it’s all about interpretation. Boobs is not a bad word and the connotations shouldn’t be either. But Pinterest doesn’t like anything to do with that part of the female anatomy. Everything else is game.
And this confuses me.
In recent months I have been chastised here on my blog for not being a protester or standing up for my rights to be a naturist.
I suppose the problem is that unlike ‘The Naked Rambler’ for instance who seems only too keen to put on his clothes once he’s done hiking, nudity is not an every day occurence in my life. I don’t demand the right to step out of my front door naked.
The rules and regulations already enforced in the UK do not hinder my enjoyment of my limited semi-naturist life style. I reserve the right to be nude. But I don’t expect to be nude every day. I don’t hate clothes.
To quote a response on the internet to the UK nudity law question:
‘Technically, there is no law against being nude in public in the United Kingdom. Simple nudity is not illegal. However, using nudity to “harass, alarm or distress” others is an offence against the Public Order Act of 1986.
In practice, this means that if you are nude, minding your own business and practicing good nude beach etiquette on a beach that is unofficial but, by common consent, considered to be a nude beach, you are unlikely to have any problem. In England and Wales, if someone…asks you to cover up, you should do so or you could be arrested. To be charged, someone would have to prove that you were deliberately trying to cause offence.’
Maybe I’m not a naturist. Maybe I’m a textile who likes to strip on the rare occasion it’s warm enough to do so or sit in my hot tub of an evening with a few like minded friends. I enjoy swims and occasional beach visits. So what are you going to do about it? Repremand me for not being naked enough?
If there’s one thing that’s for sure, sitting on the fence clearly isn’t allowed. But I guess that’s what I love about my life. No one is dictating to me what I can and can’t do. Naturism works on many levels and I’m not sorry for failing a code I wasn’t briefed on when I started out on this journey.
The onset of winter heralds a prelonged withdrawal from naturist activities for me. I loathe the cold and despite central heating spend the winter months swathed in layers praying for spring or cowering in the hot tub. But spring has come early this year and the glorious sun of recent weeks has encouraged me to examine my summer wardrobe and dispense with my winter layers. These are exciting times.
This year I have decided to dispense with the razor. I have not downed my epilator (and never will) but I have become bored of shaving my nether regions. It’s not that I am particularly okay with displaying ‘bush’ again. I love that first day smoothness. But after that it’s all spikey and uncomfortable. So I’m trying to go for a happy medium that is tidy but doesn’t require a haircut every time I take a shower.
Even so, I’m not altogether happy about this new found look. I’ve only been shaving for a couple of years but going back to the old ways is making me feel self conscious. I do think it’s a better look for someone of my age but I feel strangely self conscious about it.
I’ve never been into the hairy look on men or women. Well groomed on anyone is fine but the profusion with which some people allow everything to grow out of control genuinely bothers me. But becoming so self conscious for growing back my bikini line has made me realise the ridiculousness of the human body.
Naturism has nothing to do with sex but the weirdness of human anatomy and the things we do to our bodies removes any sexual attraction from it. I have never been attracted to anyone I have met for the first time at a naturist event. And why would I? That instant derobing of mystery pretty much kills anything before it’s even started.
I wouldn’t say this is a new take on how I see the world but it’s certainly making me see things in a slightly different way.
Like most human beings on this planet there are things about me I don’t like. Namely my boobs and my hips. Standard girl issues right? If I could change these two things I would be quite okay with myself.
Now, I could if I wanted to, deal with these issues, minor though they are in the great scheme of things. I just need about £20,000. But I am also aware that my parameters for my disappointment in my physical attributes come from the media. If tits that hang round your waist were in vogue, I wouldn’t be thinking how much a breast lift would apparently change my life.
I got caught up in a discussion on this thanks to Twitter, The Sun and a project called Bare Reality. It started with the Sun telling us in its own enigmatic way that ‘Brit girls are ‘aving it large with multi-cup-size boob jobs‘. There’s no doubt we seem to be going through something of an epidemic of breast augmentation surgery in this country right now. So much for the recession!
Programmes like ‘How Not To Get Old‘ are in their own way also telling us we can wave a magic wand that makes us acceptable. But to whom? And Bare Reality has discovered that going under the knife doesn’t always solve body confidence issues, it merely morphs into another problem.
Certainly I don’t think that viewers of programmes which suggest this is a one-stop solution are getting a good balance of what really happens after surgery and how people’s lives have changed both physically and emotionally. There are however serious studies going on into pre and post surgery subjects to see how it has improved quality of life. The results long term have not been encouraging within all the test groups.
That being said, there’s much to be said for body confidence and in some cases I don’t doubt it’s done a lot for a person’s self esteem and general confidence. I guess it depends on the motivations for surgery and your expectations of the results. I tried to Google for some initial responses but predominantly it turned up results along the lines of whether or not surgery improved a woman’s sex life. Which again harks back to why you’re having the surgery in the first place. To be sexually attractive?
I found this website called ‘Way To Be Healthy’ and was disappointed by the first ‘plus point’ to surgery which was that you will ‘look better‘. By who’s standards? It continued ‘A breast enhancement procedure enhances your figure and shapes your bust. When you get a procedure done, you balance your figure and you look curvier. If your body is lacking definition, a breast enhancement procedure can add curves and increase attractiveness.‘ These phrases, and others which appeared on the site including that you could wear ‘stylish clothing’ whilst inspiring to the would be patient, are also highly negative in their suggestion that the patient lacks attractiveness, definition or curves in the first place and therefore needs surgery. It is presumptive. They don’t know who is reading. But to someone thinking of surgery, lacking in confidence, these sorts of phrases can be the last straw.
Bare Reality is an ‘art and social project exploring how women feel about their breasts’. There is no doubt that women, and indeed many men, have a warped image of what a breast should look like. We see them in the media, in the press, on page 3 of the Sun and in film. But they are all on perfect women. Women that don’t really exist. And it’s left many of us feeling inadequate and less than sexy. For young women who’s sexual attractiveness is paramount, not meeting the criteria can be hard to bear. The Bare Reality project is helping women to realise that these images are not the ones you should be comparing yourself to. That you need to look at real women.
The only thing that got me out my warped sense of self was a hefty dose of reality and regular top ups to reenforce the point. It’s one of the reasons I swim naked every month at my local naturist swim and I go naked at home as often as I can. To remind me I am normal. I am human and no matter how I feel about my breasts, it’s what I’ve got and it’s no different to anyone else. it’s a constant battle.
I manage it by filtering out all the media perfectionism wherever I can, writing blogs like this, and staying involved in the naturist community. Because that’s where it’s at. And if more women could realise this, I think we’d all be a lot happier, healthier and more forgiving to our bodies.
Every so often I pop a naturism based article into my regular Facebook feed to see who’s reading and hopefully find a few closet naturists. It never works. I get crass, childish and sexual responses from guys and nothing at all from women.
I re-posted an article from a fellow blogger on social nudity yesterday. Only one response, which was that the writer should ‘get out more and stop writing shit columns about what you presume everyone else is thinking‘.
It’s why I keep my naturist lifestyle to myself, practicing naturists and those who have the decency to stop and try to understand. I think there is no hope for the human race and I’m happiest of all keeping it at arms length.
I am teetering on the edge of being able to market myself as a naturist service provider. It’s starting to look like I may be moving home again. But this time I will have enough space to take my business from its studio to my new home. And this means I will be able to work naked.
But my business as a seamstress is perhaps one of the strangest juxtapositions I have ever heard. I don’t know if I can sell my services on the strength of my own non-clothed status. But can any service? Or is being naked at your job just an interesting aside to whatever it is that you do anyway?
Of course, you can’t walk around naked all the time so you might as well spend your money on clothes you are comfortable in when you have to wear them. And I guess that’s where I come in.
I have seen occasional advertisements for naturist service providers – from legit masseurs to plumbers and gardeners. I know of nude photographers (that’s where you’re naked not just your model okay?) and naked artists. I am also aware of homeworkers who spend their office hours in the nude.
But do you work in an office or other mixed environment where you are naked? Are your colleagues all naked too? Or do you have to specifically set up a company for your naturist friends in order to populate it with the people you need?
I guess it would be too much to expect naturists to be able to work eau naturale in a standard office environment. However Nude House in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, which bills itself as ‘the first company in the world that utilises the selling skills of nudists to create a comfortable environment for these nudists to operate from commercially’ is aiming to start up other ‘Nude Houses’ around the world.
Clearly this is of wider interest to the community. The International Naturist Business Association seeks to provide support to businesses and services who earn all or part of their income from the naturism industry.
Many naturist websites have a business directory for those individuals who want to integrate nudism into their business.
A lot of creatives are able to work naked. Naked art is very popular. And I suppose that’s partly because of their working environment. They mostly work alone in a home studio or other stand alone space. Of course art also attracts more open minded individuals so it’s no wonder so many creatives work nude. So in a way its keeping the naked aspect very much behind closed doors. But is it even thinkable that people could work naked in a textile office environment in the future? I think not.
I honestly don’t think nudity in public as a lifestyle choice is ever going to happen. It will always be under a certain level privacy whether it’s a closed club, business such as ‘Nude House’ or someone’s home and I think that’s just the way it is. Because people’s reactions to nudity aren’t going to change.
I found a question on Yahoo Answers from a woman naked Danielle who suggested an optional ‘Naked Day’ at work could be quite fun. The responses were saddening. One responder described a naked day at the office as being ‘embarrassing, inconvenient, humiliating and just pointless’. Others said they didn’t want to see their coworkers even partially unclothed and someone suggested it would just be full of fat old men.
Until you can deal with this sort of attitude you will be struggling. And I don’t think you can challenge people with these attitudes. Because you cannot force people to understand what nudity is really about. They have to understand it for themselves.
This year has been good for finding naturist friends in our own age groups. We had already met a lovely couple at our local swim last year and our friendship has thankfully endured. But thanks to Twitter, WordPress and Facebook it’s been a productive year and we’ve met a number of singles and couples in their 20s and 30s for swims, skinny dips and beach visits. It makes me excited about the future and who else we might find along the way.
But it’s taken work. People don’t just appear from nowhere and being where we are in the country, many people and locations are not within convenient traveling distances. I’ve spent hours on the internet, blogging and promoting, posting messages on Facebook, we’ve driven hours to events, put people up at our house and endured cold conditions for skinny dips. All worth it of course.
But now that it’s September autumn, and cooler weather, will quickly follow. We were hoping to get in another beach visit before the end of the year, but the unpredictability of the weather has made organising group events very tricky, especially when others have to travel so far to get to our nearest coast line in the Midlands.
Our main focus of attention over the following months will probably be our local swim at Sleaford which is always accommodating to accompanied guests. We have been housed in a temporary pool for the last year whilst our regular location has been undergoing a total refurbishment and we’re all excited about going back there permanently in late October.
Additionally, living conditions have changed and my partner and I now have a parent and housemate free house so being naked is no longer a novelty or a special treat. There’s also the added perk of a hot tub and a secluded garden so really we are well set up here. Swims therefore, are going to be less of an opportunity to get naked and more of a social experience and a chance to meet new people we might invite to our home once we have got to know them. We always take great care when meeting new people and I think we should all be mindful of protecting ourselves in the first instance.
There’s no doubt that if you want to find people, you have to do the leg work. And if you want to keep your local naturist community alive you have to join in to keep things going. Sometimes it’s very tempting to just sit back at home and get on with your own life. But trying new things with other people and particularly if you are introducing new people to naturism or just staying in contact with friends further afield is a valuable and useful task.