The Conflicted, Connected Plight of Sexual Liberation and the Nudist Movement
Thank you for this brave article. The great playwright G B Shaw is reported (George Melly, New Statesman, 1962) to have described dance as ‘a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire’ yet if someone was to suggest that ballroom dancing was immoral and ought to be banned the fans of Strictly Come Dancing would be outraged. How can something so delectably sociable be immoral? Of course it has been thought to be so by, among others, Puritans and clerics of several repressive religious persuasions. Sex is a powerful human need coming close behind food and shelter and is therefore a wonderful way of controlling people who have food on the table and a roof over their heads. Ninety years (nearly four generations!) separates Warren writing '...Social nudism ...[tends]... to promote a saner outlook and more natural relations between men and women...' in 1933 from Sævik and Konijnenberg noting that, in 2023, '...Sexual shame has been found to be related to self-hostility, sexual and relational dysfunctions, body-shaming, aggression, hypersexuality and sexual addiction...' Might it not be that nudism/naturism threatens our masters' social control? I believe we nudists should be willing to admit (as you do) that we are not sexless and be willing to challenge hypersexualisation by being open about and demonstrating sexual responsibility.
Humans are and have always been social AND sexual beings - clothed or naked. Behavior is contextual and includes strong cultural and learned bias. Children have no issues with social nudity. Even many adult opponents of social nudity no doubt ran through at least one sprinkler naked with friends/family present as a child, and enjoyed the experience. Consequently, social nudity is more understandable and is an "easier sell" to societies at large and helps explain the evolution of naturism.
Sexuality is more complex. Its free or clandestine expression is venue specific irrespective of the state of dress. People commonly identify others for possible sexual interaction at diverse social venues from bars to beaches, clothed or naked, as a normal part of human experience. People commonly then engage in sexual activity! Venue specific etiquette and consent underly behavior.
For most people most of the time, sexual behavior is a private matter at naturist or textile venues.
I see socio-sexual interactions as a continuum. I don't see conflict. The perceived conflict is a construct - where there is nudity there is sexual activity. One could equally argue - where there are clothed people there is sexual activity!
Thanks for your article!