24 December, 2007

Clothed In Space (or Comfortably Nude)

I alluded to this earlier, but now it's time for the full-on confession. I've always had a fascination with nudity, but only recently have I accepted it and begun to become comfortable with it. For me, nudity possesses an allure that is independent of any connotations with sexuality. That's not to say that nudity cannot take on a sexual quality, as it often does, but the truth is that I've learned to appreciate and enjoy nudity in a completely non-sexual context as well. I'd like to share an observation I've made. It's not like I've actually discussed this with anyone, but it's an impression I got reading various people's opinions. It seems to me, that aside from the whole sex issue, one of the major problems non-nudists have with nudity is that they think it's all about seeing. Whether it's having to see other people nude (arguing that most people are ugly in just their skin), or having to expose one's self to others. But nudism neither has to be about exhibitionism, nor does it have to be about voyeurism. It's not about seeing, it's about being. The appeal is simply *being* nude.

I'm not gonna pretend this is true for everyone, although I would recommend giving it an honest try at least once in your life. Ultimately, though, that's not my decision, and I still respect people who disagree with my views. But at least for me, I find that being nude is exhilarating. It's thrilling, but it's also immensely comfortable, assuming that the temperature is reasonable. Perhaps a part of me is attracted to the idea of exposing myself completely, since I've lived for so long hiding myself from people. But above and beyond that, I've always been drawn to the natural state of things. It's not unconnected to my search for spirituality. Settling on a nature-based belief system, such as the general form of paganism, has a lot to do with the idea of stripping off all of the chains of the society of man, including clothing, and re-uniting with the natural principle within. As I mentioned previously, being nude in a natural surrounding, to me, symbolizes the perfect state. It fills me with a wholeness and a vibrant awareness of the energy of life. It truly is a mystical experience.

But I can enjoy being nude indoors, as well. I have to admit I've practiced. Having a house effectively to yourself for half the day every day, during the hot summer months, tends to lead toward a continuous shedding of layers. Nobody's around, and nobody's gonna see you, so what difference does it make if you're not wearing any clothes? So you experiment, and you either find you like it or you don't. I like it. Simple as that. It's fun, so I find I want to do it more and more, as much as possible. Of course, there are conditions, like whether it's warm enough, whether you can expect to be alone, and if not, whether anyone is going to mind. I'm comfortable by myself, but I'm still not sure if it's something that I want to share with others. I mean, yeah, even I get the feeling of, "oh I don't want to see any of these people naked". And yet, a part of me is excited by the idea of it - not the seeing, but the being. Because ultimately, it's all about being, and I enjoy being nude, so why wouldn't I want to share that with other people of a like mind? But then, I feel like those kind of people aren't exactly easy to find. I have to reiterate that this has absolutely nothing to do with sex - I don't want people to get the wrong idea, else I'd be likely to find myself in an extremely uncomfortable place that I really really don't want to be...

"Have you ever taken photos of yourself nude?"

I have to admit, this question intrigues me. Particularly in this age of digital photography, where you can completely bypass the development stage, ensuring that you're the only one who has to see the pictures you take, it becomes a very valid question. It's probably not surprising at this stage, but to answer that question honestly, I'd have to say yes. I've taken photos of myself nude.

This begs the question, why? For what purpose? Curiosity? Because there's someone you want to show them to? I consider myself an artist, with some interest in photography. The nude body is a natural work of art. Put two and two together. Although I'd obviously prefer to have attractive female models, the bottom line is, I have to work with what I've got. And, this might sound a little strange, I'm not sure, but I actually consider myself somewhat attractive. Unfortunately, and this might also sound odd, I kind of feel like I look better without clothes, anyway. I mean, when I'm dressed, the only real part of me that shows is my face and my hair. And while my hair is beautiful, I've never been entirely satisfied with the shape of my face. Of course, this is just my opinion, and I'll bet that for most of the people I encounter, thinking about how attractive or unattractive I am is one of the last things they want to be doing.

So that explains it, right? Actually, I have an even more obvious answer. The first nude pictures I took were for my girlfriend. The last part of our relationship took place cross-country, and you need some kind of comfort, right? All hail the webcam. Anyhow, that might have been the start of it (I didn't own a digital photographing-device before that webcam, which I bought specifically to keep in touch with my girlfriend when she moved from sea to shining sea), but the pictures I've taken haven't exclusively been for her. Some of them I've just taken for myself.

And being an artist, they're not particularly lewd or crude. Some of them are quite interesting, from an artistic perspective, I think. I have considered putting up something of a gallery of my best shots, but I've never quite got past that feeling that nobody would want to see them, as in, "what the fuck, I don't wanna see you naked." Plus, there's obviously issues about the borderline between art and pornography, and I'd be afraid of somebody getting the wrong idea about my intentions, you know? But on the other hand, despite my hesitation, I don't think there's anything particularly shameful about my body, and I'd probably be proud to show it off, as long as everybody else is on the same page. (On a related note, I've flirted with the idea of being a nude life model, but I've never had the balls to actually try it). Maybe I could go for a private gallery of my photos, and only give permission to people I trust. I dunno. Does that sound too weird? Too perverted? Too risky? Too pointless?


  1. It may come of no suprise to you that I have taken several nude photographs of myself. It was one of the first things I did when I got my digital camera. The pictures range from being purely spiritual, as in the John Lennon 'bare your truth' concept, to being potentially erotic, and various degrees in-between.

    Nudity is one of my favorite things of all-time, but being who I am, I take it for more of an erotic thing. But not strictly sexual, just intimate. See, for whatever reason, I consider sexuality to be part of general communion and togetherness more-so than having to do with your romantic partner. I feel that the hippies had the right idea with free love because it's the people who *aren't* your #1 ultimate intimate companion that would benefit most from the intimacy and togetherness of sex. It brings both people closer together to an extreme extent that can't be matched by a boyfriend-girlfriend that are already so in-tune with each-other prior to the sex. But I've said that all too many times before.

    I think you'd find that the vast majority of nudists are 100% in line with your philosophy on nudism. That's why they call it naturism instead of nudism, a lot of the time. I think the nudist resort nearest us actually gives a discount to people who are under 40. My only concern is that people say you don't even notice that you're nude after a bit, which makes me fear that the fun and exhiliration of being free may go away along with it.

  2. I've tried the nude thing before when I had the house to myself -- mostly out of laziness rather than any real desire to find out what it was like. I quickly found out that without clothes, there's an entire world of sensations, most of them not so fun.

    Like I told you, the capper on the three-day experience was finding out that cooking with grease causes tons of scalding bits of grease to fly into the air -- you normally don't notice them because you're wearing clothes. Well, I'll leave it to your imagination what happens when you're not.

    The thing about nude pictures is that it's a different kind of mirror. I'd be surprised if 50% of the people who have digital cameras have never tried it. It's a way of getting outside your head and seeing what you look like... and it can be pretty interesting, in a variety of ways. I usually have the whole "that's totally not me!" experience that I have when I hear my voice, actually.

    Doug said that he "fear[s] the fun and exhiliration [sic] of being free may go away along with [the newness of nudity]" -- this is something I wanted to bring up, too. Perhaps it's interesting now because it's so taboo and you haven't really done it... and perhaps that's where the real thrill comes from, the feeling that you're casting away the fetters society has imposed on you.

    Frankly, I think we have clothes for a reason... then again, I've had a completely different experience from you.

    I don't know if I've told you this before, or if you've been aware of it, but most of the girls who know the both of us at Bucknell have told me at one point or another that you're a "very pretty boy". Some of them made comments about your hair, but most didn't, which leads me to believe they also found your face attractive.

    I think it was Kim that saw your high school picture once and said that you were "quite a hottie".

    As far as being a nude life model, if you're really interested, I'd say go for it. You have a good body, an interesting face, and of course, long, long hair. The combination doesn't really come around often in male form, so I imagine art classes/schools would be interested in having you too. They usually post notices about nude models when they need them... and I know most of the notices I saw offered pay for modeling.

    As for a private gallery, I'm not sure what that would accomplish. On one hand, how many people do you trust? On the other, what would you possibly receive from them? Disgust? Praise? Comment on the artistic quality of the pictures? What have you really gained from it? If the pride of being able to show it off is enough for you, then go for it.

    Nudity is definitely not for me. Clothes are too comfortable and convenient for me to abandon them. They're also a physical extension of my mental wall - I don't really like people touching me, and I can't imagine that I'd like them touching my skin.

    As a final comment that pertains to both naturist resorts, art modeling, and general nudity -- my main problem with being a male and being interested in nudity is semaphoric in nature...

  3. That's great, but it would have been a lot more helpful if they had told *me*. I'm not really one to talk though, so I can't really fault them for that.

    I'm thinking the feeling about the gallery is probably the same kind of feeling that female celebrities have when they decide to pose nude for a magazine, when it's not about the money. Maybe it's a little bit exhibitionism. It's also a little bit of the idea of admitting to the world that it's not such a big deal for me, that the rest of society needs to lighten up, that I have nothing to hide, and that it's an artistic expression of my feelings on the issue. I'm not necessarily in a hurry on this particular point, though.

    I'm really not concerned about nudity losing its appeal. There's certainly a thrill about nudity, and it's something that may disappear after getting used to it. But even then, after the thrill is gone, if it ever goes away completely, there's still the fact that you can be comfortable going nude where you used to only go clothed. And the appeal of being nude isn't just the thrill. It's comfort, it's ease, and there's always the intellectual side of the liberty coin. Even if it doesn't *feel* as free anymore, it still represents freedom, to yourself and everyone else.

    It's not like nudists generally give up the lifestyle after they've sufficiently explored it.

    And when it comes time to honor the full moon in the deep night of summer, I can't imagine when that would ever be less enjoyable in the nude.

    Even if we differ in opinion, it's great to bounce these issues off my friends and see how they feel about them. It would never have been possible for me to talk about these kinds of things before I started this blog. This is probably the most major of the secret revelations I'll be making for the time being, but I look forward to talking about myself more and more, to the point where I get used to it enough that maybe I won't feel so ashamed of who I am anymore, and maybe then I'll have an easier time communicating with people in the 'real world'. It's great to actually be able to talk about the things that interest me, rather than be ashamed of them and keep them hidden away.