Nudity

There are many areas around San Francisco, both public (sections of beaches far from parking lots) and semi-public (hot tubs and other beaches) where one is free to go nude. Even on other beaches I believe the National Park Service only responds to complaints by asking the "offender" to put some clothes on (as the first action). The nude areas are often twice as crowded as adjacent areas. In several areas of the mountains of Oregon and California I have hiked nude (usually off trails) for up to half a day and never met anyone who openly objected. Still, public nudity feels a little risky, especially for women. It's definitely taboo if there's any hint that it also involves sexuality, except in certain liberated environments.

It's strange to me that people only take notice when we uncover small, specific areas of the body. Wouldn't we get used to them if we saw them more often? What's the big deal about public nudity or even "social nudity" (going nude purposely in the presence of others)? Why should a man be embarrased, even in most nudist circles, if he's seen with an erection?

People enjoy nudity for many reasons. There's the feel of the sun, wind and elements directly against all of your body; the relative freedom from artifacts in a natural surrounding; the freedom from social restrictions and traditions; of course the freedom to look at other bodies; perhaps the freedom to allow others to look; and no doubt many more reasons.

Why should we be embarrassed or feel shame or the need for privacy and pretended secrecy concerning perfectly normal body parts and activities? Why do many of us, when using the bathroom, often pretend we are just washing our hands or powdering our nose?


Send me your thoughts.
Dan Robinson, danrob@efn.org, Eugene, Oregon
My home page: http://www.efn.org/~danrob/