Interview with NUSA Magazine Part Two
As discussed in an earlier blog, I recently had the pleasure of talking with NUSA Sun Magazine about nudity and clothing optional resorts. If you’re just now following, please check out Part One of this series. For those just joining us, NUSA Sun is a magazine completely dedicated to the nudist community. For their anniversary edition, NUSA wanted to discuss nudity and sexuality. Jaye Francis asked me to participate in this interview because NUSA was seeking a professional, therapeutic sexuality worker to answer their questions. This is the remaining questions and answers from that interview. These questions specifically deal with sexuality in the media as well as the controversy with single male’s participation in nude spaces.
Sexuality is increasing in the media. Advertisements are showing women with less and less clothing on. PG-13 movies can have brief nudity as long as it is not sexual in nature. Television shows have become very liberal with their views on nudity. Game of Thrones has over 72 scenes containing nudity and was one of the most viewed T.V. shows this last year. Has this nudity in the media influenced the nudist community? Jaye and I discussed this topic further:
Jaye: Have the behavioral liberties prevalent in today’s society—especially with media-influenced entertainment suggesting a more open attitude toward sex and body exposure—had any influence on nudists?
Dragonfly: I am very happy to say it is no longer necessary to be a “nudist” to take your clothes off in public. I feel media has influenced our attitude toward ourselves in some ways more negatively than positive, although it has opened our attitude up toward sex and is promoting more conversation on the subject, which is an area that is much needed. Body exposure is progressively becoming more accepted and less representative of a sub-culture, and certainly no longer implies the individual is rebellious or a practitioner of an alternative lifestyle. Recreational nudity is becoming more mainstream and no longer carries the stigma it once did. I think that’s why a lot more people are enjoying social nudity, since we no longer need to rationalize the practice or put a label on those who enjoy it—unless you want to say how wonderful having an air bath really is!
Although body exposure is a positive aspect, some believe that exposure should be restricted or limited when it comes to single men. Some nudist resorts have reported that when single men attendance was not restricted nor limited, they would arrive by the bus load. The overabundance of single men would cause a gender imbalance. This imbalance would cause many of the women in attendance to feel unsafe. This idea of restriction within nude spaces is fairly new which has sparked quite the controversy within the nudist community. I discussed this idea with Jaye.
Jaye: This question comes from some of my single male friends. Body acceptance has always been part of the traditional nudist’s philosophy, promoting the idea that everyone is invited to enjoy the benefits of social nudity, regardless of size, shape, age, or gender. Recently, this idea has been challenged by those who point to the long-standing undercurrent of discrimination toward single men. Their numbers often restricted because of their gender, a “restricted or limited single men policy” implies all males are overly sexual—especially when nude—and their numbers must be controlled unless their sexuality is balanced or neutralized by a female partner. Your thoughts?
Dragonfly: Wow, so many great questions! Body image is one of those difficult topics that comes up with practically everyone I work with. Seems like everyone has some part of their anatomy or appearance they’re not happy with. Really! There is a great deal of validity to a restricted or limited single men policy. There is a social dynamic, based on the ratio of males to females that can affect the stress level and general atmosphere of a group environment. Based on the male’s subliminal drive to find a suitable mate, history and biology reveal society’s constant efforts to keep this ratio as balanced as possible. A man’s sex drive is naturally— biologically—higher. Although not aware of their body’s response, men’s hormone levels rise when they are placed in a situation that science defines as sperm competition, where each male is competing for mating rites for a limited number of females. This cumulative elevated level of testosterone is detected by females, although they are typically unaware of their own organic response. In my opinion, a limited men’s policy is a practical attempt to keep the numbers closer to equal, making everyone feel more comfortable. As nudists, the concept of body acceptance is one of those desirable goals we all aspire to. And when practiced from a personal perspective—where the most important part of acceptance starts, for example, I don’t need to be concerned about my size, shape, scars, etc.—we’re on our way to doing a pretty good job. I attribute much of this to the mindful practice of body acceptance by early nudist organizers and supporters. However, if body acceptance is going to be more than just an idealized concept of convenience, it has to work both ways. That means the observer (who is often passing subjective judgment) must not only tolerate, but accept others, regardless of whether they meet or fall short of some personal or arbitrary standard. It means welcoming all people, whether we’re talking about race, physical appearance, relationship status, gender, or sexual orientation.
With nudity becoming more and more acceptable, new problems and questions arise. The great aspect of growth is that it allows more areas for us to communicate about sexuality in general. The more we communicate with one another, the better we understand. I hope you enjoyed reading my interview with Jaye. For additional information on the nudist community, make sure you check out NUSA Sun’s website at www.nusasun.com.
As always, I am grateful for the opportunity to speak about sexuality. If you enjoyed this blog, check back soon for more educational and fun resources!