If you’re like me then you probably love being nude too. Statistics show that it’s highly probable you were born nude. It doesn’t matter how much power we give the prude police to insist for the safety of all that we all cover up our filthy flesh, they still haven’t managed to deliver a baby fully clothed.
I’m not a naturist but I’ve been nude in public a lot and none of it’s been sexual. As a uni student I worked as an artist model. I’ve been glad-wrapped to a bloke and photographed for an installation. I’ve done a reverse strip where I come on stage naked and then get dressed. In the mid-90s I fronted the Nude Ain’t Rude Rally. I participated in two nude No War protests with more than 1,000 nude women between them. Every year I swim naked at Main Beach with the sisters on V-Day. Being naked isn’t wrong. It doesn’t create deviance. Repression does.
Conservative culture creates repression yet they’re too stupid to see the links. Instead conservatives continue to create causal links between nudity and sexual predation. This stigmatises nudity by accepting inappropriate sexual behaviour as a normative response to the natural body. Saying that nude beaches are the cause of sexual predators is the same as saying women in short skirts invite rape. That women shouldn’t walk alone. It’s a cultural default of ours to castigate the innocent as being responsible for the behaviour of the deviant. Instead of modifying or addressing deviant behaviour, we are expected to modify the behaviour of the innocent. Deviant behaviour, I believe, is caused by conservative and body-phobic attitudes that sensationalise and sexualise rather than normalise or naturalise the human body. Being naked doesn’t cause uninvited wanking. Getting your cock out in public is what causes an unwanted wank.
Relaxed attitudes towards nudity reflect a healthy comfort with one’s body and sense of self. Nude swimming is common throughout much of Europe and interestingly they don’t seem to have a problem with nudist-related sex pests. Being naked is normal. There is no greater tonic for self-loathing than seeing 500 naked people with real everyday bodies. Bodies that haven’t been photoshopped. Bodies that are young, bodies that are old, bodies that have had surgery, bodies that are fat, hairy, thin, dimpled, taut, muscled or flabby. Rather than being bombarded by the media with the mythology of the perfect body and your innate ‘wrongness’, exposure to nudity reminds you of your place in the spectrum of fleshy diversity.
Swimming naked not only feels good on your skin; it feels good inside your skin. You can’t compare the sensation of being naked in the ocean to wearing a swimsuit. It’s a sensual experience. Not sexual. It’s possible to enjoy your body and how it feels in the world without its being genitally focused. We live in a pornographised culture where we say ‘YES’ to giant billboards of women in lingerie advertising perfume or home loans as morally ‘safe’ but ‘NO’ to a naked woman or man on a public beach bending over to pick up their towel. Apparently that’s offensive.
People voice their concerns about clothes-optional bathing being permitted on public beaches with the simple sentence ‘What about the children?’ God, you’re right. Imagine if children grew up without feeling inadequate! What would happen to children who grew up in a culture that promoted self-acceptance and self-love? If we don’t oppress and stigmatise and shame, then how are we going to create the sexual predators of the future? Who will wank in the sand dunes? No good deviance is created without coercive control and socially sanctioned repression. Nudity is about the most unsexual thing you can see. Most swimwear is far more provocative and sexual than a naked body. It’s designed that way.
It’s no wonder we live in a society obsessed with botox and plastic surgery and body image. Because we’re told that our bodies are shameful and wrong. And that showing them causes harm to others. Especially children. As far as I am concerned, being shocked by nudity is more offensive than being nude. So here’s my suggestion re the Nude Beach discussion: Let’s get rid of remotely located nude beaches and allow people to swim as they choose, where they choose, clothed or unclothed. Or perhaps we could have a remotely located Prude Beach where the uptight shame-ridden body-phobic could swim and wank in peace.