Some Benefits of Nudism for Women

Some of the great benefits of nudism include a more grounded sense of self, a sense of ownership of one’s body, a sense of bodily autonomy, and a connection with our own bodies and nature that can often elude us in the textile world. And the freedom! No words can describe it – that must be felt.

The goal of clothes/fashion is often to present ourselves for approval, to make ourselves appear desirable or to look a certain way in order to please. The focus is almost always on the way that we will be looked at and perceived by others. So, in a textile world, we often experience ourselves through the gaze and feedback of others, rather than through our own connection with life, nature, and what is going on around us. In a sense, we become disconnected from our own participation in life, distanced from our aliveness not only by layers of clothing, but by the perceptions we have of ourselves through the world’s response to us, as well as our subservience to a system that ranks appearances as defining of our value, worth, and character.

A beauty of nudism is that it allows us to step outside of that paradigm and experience ourselves as vital, alive human beings connected to the earth, to nature, to ourselves. Nudism reminds us of who we really are – beyond the encumbrances of social messages of who we’re “supposed” to be.

Women, particularly, are told that we’re supposed to look a certain way in order to have value, in order to be respected, cared about, desired, loved. Most women don’t look like that “ideal”, and surveys show that the majority of women and girls are unhappy with the appearance of our bodies, ashamed of the bodies that we live in. Now, think about that a moment. Think about the separation that happens in a person when we judge and feel ashamed of our bodies. We mentally and emotionally start to divorce ourselves from our bodies, rather than fully inhabiting our bodies and feeling connected to our own humanness. We come to view our bodies as a source of pain rather than pleasure. Something to be brought “under control” – an enemy. So many of us have this antagonistic stance with our own bodies!

The resulting consequence of this situation is that people, again particularly females, become vulnerable to sales pitches to buy different products that will supposedly improve our lives by “improving” our appearance. The idea that if one looks good enough, we will be loved and will have success and security. Not only that, but women and girls also become targets/victims of all kinds of abusive words and behaviors, as well as unsolicited sexual comments and advances. As though just by existing, we invite the male gaze and commentary and aggression. The culture as is, has developed a certain level of entitlement in men and boys to consider women in one of two ways – as sexually stimulating to be used as desired, or as “ugly” and unworthy of time/attention/respect and therefore dismissed, often to the point of non-existence.

I just read a post by a friend about her 13 year old daughter being harassed at the beach by a man who looked to be in his 40’s. He told her she was looking good. She ignored him. She did not want to interact with this man. He felt he had a right to her time, her body, her attention – the right to intrude on her life because she looked good to him. He told her she looked good again. When she continued to ignore him, he started calling her sexually explicit names and threatening her. This is the world we have created, in which many men feel entitled to demand attention and even sexual compliance from any woman who strikes their fancy. A world in which a man will talk about “showing off” his wife and even sharing her with other men. As if she is a toy rather than a human being. A world in which a man will look at a nude picture of a woman that has no sexual suggestion and will write in a public forum that “someone should pump that big butt slut.”

How did we get here? How do men feel so entitled to speak about women they don’t even know in sexually aggressive terms? And how can women and girls ever feel safe and comfortable in our bodies? Not to even mention feeling sexually empowered? Because we shouldn’t have to be divorced from our sensuality or sexuality in order to avoid misogynist aggressions. On the contrary, our bodily autonomy – including our sexual autonomy – is more important than ever. And the concept that nudity does not equal sexuality and also that nudity does NOT equal consent to anything – not looking, not commenting, not touching – is essential to our healing as a culture. Also, that the value of women and girls is inherent in our existence as human beings – not in any way connected to our appearance or to our being sexually desirable to anyone.

Nudism gives us back our natural connection to our body and to nature. It gives us a sense of belonging in the world – that has nothing to do with our appearance being approved of or giving us value. Nudism strips us of the false layers of social approval/judgment. Nudists respectfully relate to each other as human beings. I’m not saying that there is no influence of this society’s values even in nudist circles. But I am saying that nudists as a group and the spaces we create tend to be healing, respectful, and safer than most places in the world.*

Nudist values of respect, kindness, and goodwill toward all people regardless of age, size, shape, color, ability/disability, and all variations of human beings – create a safe container for people to be and live peacefully. When there are no clothes, a lot of false pretenses drop away too. And in nudist spaces, women and girls are not allowed to be sexualized and harassed like so often happens in the “regular” world. Nudists don’t tolerate that sort of crass, aggressive and unacceptable behavior. While in the regular world, most people ignore it (“What can you do? Boys will be boys”) – nudists ban men like that from our spaces.

What all of this does is allow women the space to reclaim and re-inhabit our own bodies. We can become reconnected to our own sense of self and power. We can define our existence on our own terms, rather than through the male gaze. And we can be assured that the people around us understand that nudity does not equal sexuality or consent to anything. In this world, that is a huge relief!

*When I refer to nudist spaces, I am referring to AANR (American Association of Nude Recreation) affiliated nudist places. AANR membership means that a club/resort upholds certain values and rules of nudism, including being non-sexual and family friendly. There are nudist spaces out there that are not under this umbrella, who have different values and rules – and therefore not the same sort of healing benefits as I’m writing about here. When choosing to try nudism, please be sure to choose an AANR approved club/resort.

About freekat2

I'm choosing as much as I can to be curious rather than afraid, to be open and willing to learn, to express myself as authentically and vulnerably as I can manage in any given moment, and to enjoy this journey of life.
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1 Response to Some Benefits of Nudism for Women

  1. Pingback: Permission to Live Authentically – Hold Yourself Sacred

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