Is nudism just a hedonistic mind f**k? I often ask myself this question. Am I really in nude recreation for all the high philosophical reasons that nudists are always spouting about? When you ask any nudist "why" they're a nudist, the first thing they usually say is "for the freedom." Freedom? Freedom for what, from what? Anytime I hear the word "freedom" I think of someone living under political oppression yearning to be free. Are your clothes "really" oppressing you??It's a fair question, and a subject that needs to be addressed on a regular basis. First, let's look at the definition of "hedonism":
he·don·ismWhile not purely hedonistic, nudism is, in part, about the pursuit of pleasure. To be nude in nature, on a hiking trail or in the ocean, is a feast for the senses. No question about it. And nudists believe that such pleasure is "intrinsically good".
1. Pursuit of or devotion to pleasure, especially to the pleasures of the senses.
2. Philosophy The ethical doctrine holding that only what is pleasant or has pleasant consequences is intrinsically good.
3. Psychology The doctrine holding that behavior is motivated by the desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain.
As for clothing "oppressing" people, it all depends upon a person's particular point of view. For me, I've always been uncomfortable in clothes. Throughout high school our dress code was jacket and tie in classrooms with no air conditioning. After swimming in the nude at the YMCA as a young boy, I hated wearing bathing suits, and the trunks often came off when swimming with friends in local ponds. For years my "uniform" was a t-shirt and comfortable jeans during the day, which is all I could stand wearing, and as far back as I can remember I slept only in briefs, and they usually came off during the night. I never shop for my own clothes - my wife does all the shopping for me, not because I'm lazy, it's just that I despise the process of trying on clothes in those little cubicles.
So for me, clothing is oppressive, and being nude is liberating. Only when completely naked do I feel like my true self. When clothed, I am inhibited.
I would say that for most people, the opposite is true. Clothing plays a major role in people expressing identity, from early childhood to old age, in expressing sexuality, professionalism, fraternalism, militarism, and more. It's nearly impossible to conceive of our society functioning without clothes because of the importance people place on textiles, from the beach to the board room.
Naturally Nude goes on to question nudist motivations, if the removal of clothes in social situations is merely a precept to swinging or other sexual activity, or are those who engage in nudism merely voyeurs or exhibitionists. Again, more fair questions.
I have no doubt that some people get into nudism in order to achieve a sexual thrill. If so, they will be quickly disappointed when they discover the mundane, matter-of-fact, laid-back and non-sexual atmosphere of a nudist venue. These folks need to go to Caliente or Hedonism, or a number of other adult lifestyle clubs in order to satiate their desires.
An exhibitionist or voyeur will be quickly spotted and removed from a nudist resort.
Any honest nudist will tell you that people do indeed look, and are looked at. That is normal. People check each other out when they're all wearing clothes, too. Ultimately, once the initial glances are finished, there's more eye-to-eye contact between nudists than in just about any other social situation, with everyone going out of their way not to stare.
A mere fifty years ago it was more socially acceptable for men to be nude with each other, at the YMCA, at the swimming hole, in the locker room, etc. The women's movement in the late 60s and early 70s put an end to nude swimming at the Y, and a rise in homophobia and Christianist influence outlawed skinny-dipping, and nude gang showers in the schools are rare, if non-existent.
So, my answer to Naturally Nude is no, nudism is not a hedonistic mind fuck, but society and culture are. We are taught from an early age to be modest, to be ashamed of our bodies, to sexualize body parts such as women's breasts to the point of making their exposure criminal, and we prosecute children for taking photos of their own bodies. It's the media marketing sexuality, coupled with the irrational response of the "moral" right and the therapeutic teachings of the left, which are causing this unhealthy and schizophrenic American obsession with sexuality. We are a country in crisis when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy, yet we are too embarrassed to even talk to our children about sex, deferring that responsibility to the government and schools, who push abstinence only education. It's all quite insane.
Nudism and naturism are a means in which to counterract all this nonsense that society heaps upon us. So while the shedding of clothes can be somewhat hedonistic, it's also authentic to its naturist philosophies. As the Naturist Society states: "body acceptance is the idea, nude recreation is the way". Perhaps not the only way, but getting rid of the clothes helps the mind to better formulate the true nature of humanity, stripped of textile identity and media manipulated imagery.