"Warning: Clothing has been shown to cause extreme psychological
dependence. Wear it at your own risk"
Certainly there are a number of
physical benefits, and each of us can make his or her own list when
considering the personal benefits. For me, the psychic benefits are
really far more important. For too long in the western world, we have
suffered from infancy with a perverse kind of aversion to and
rejection of the human body, while at the same time exploiting it with
every kind of revealing and exaggerated dress, especially in our
advertising, media and entertainment industries.
Children especially are continually
bombarded with material that serves to exploit human sexuality in
every form. While not the focus of my present comments, it is an area
in which the prudent use of and exposure to nudism or Naturism can be
of very considerable benefit in reducing the natural curiosity of
young children and adolescents so they can develop into well-balanced
adults. We read often of the difficulties that teens have as they
reach puberty. Girls seem somehow ashamed of their developing breasts
-- an incredible fetish in this country, unfortunately -- and boys
seem terrified of getting an erection, and both sexes are anxious
about their general growth and development.
The moralist whom I mentioned earlier
stated: "The desirability and fittingness of clothing are recognized
by the overwhelming majority of mankind. From a moral point of view,
nudism disregards the problem of concupiscence [sexual appetite], and
therefore rests on unrealistic premises."
On the contrary. It is precisely here
that nudism rests its defense on very realistic premises and on
considerable experiential knowledge. Anyone who has had a minimal
experience of nudism is aware that with very few abnormal exceptions
nudism has virtually nothing to do with sexual desire or lust. I know
of nothing that has a more beneficial effect on tempering curiosity
and desire than a protracted experience of nudism. This does not mean
nudists are devoid of lust and sexual desire, nor that in practice of
nudism there are not those who grossly misuse it for their own sexual
practices, to the scandal of and very great harm to the whole.
In our arrogance we have assimilated
cultural nudity to "primitive" peoples. In that same arrogance we fail
to notice that these naked peoples are very often far more modest,
considerate of others, and respectful toward their own and others'
bodies than many in our overheated, oversexed, scandalously clothed
It seems quite clear that the
accusations of some religious groups to the effect that nudity per se
and the practice of nudism in particular is in its essence degenerated
and causes all kinds of aberration can in no way be substantiated. If
I am not seriously mistaken, the predominant objections of this type
come not so much from the mainline churches in this country, but from
the fundamentalist groups on the far right, who seem to feel that they
have a special mandate from on high to save the country and the world.
I am assuming that many nudists and
Naturists consider themselves descendants of one of the Abrahamic
faiths; that is, Christian, Jewish or Muslim. But there is a
phenomenon here in this country that is practically unique in the
world -- the growth of the televangelist, the radio evangelist, the
revival preacher. Nowhere in Christendom have there been so many and
varied groups seeking to proclaim the one and only way to eternal
salvation. The Bible has been used as a weapon, as a final and
irrefutable source of all truth and authority, arbiter of every
imaginable question or problem in matters of faith, art, science,
history and even geography!