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Posted - 12/26/2012 :  5:44:42 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This got LONG and I am sorry but I want to share these thoughts. I have been scarce lately because a few comments (pretty much right near the subject of this thread) from people I know made me feel a need to introvert and consider my motives... I wanted to think long and hard (seriously no pun here) about whether my motives for naturism are wholesome, and I sort of disappeared from this forum during the process. I feel I have passed my own test, so I am back. Generally my naturist activities consist of hiking, here in the southern Nevada desert. Generally deserted canyon trails where a soul will not be seen for days but also at a nearby Hot Spring (Gold Strike - mentioned by a few including myself elsewhere here). I generally DO NOT cover if I do see someone because I am comfortable that my nudity is "in-context" (hot springs and secluded trail thereto?!) because I think that action is one of guilt or uncertainty. I do respect people and I have conversations with those I meet, and I will cover if they wish. This brings me back to my own self-tempering; was I acting as an "exhibitionist"? Ultimately I felt that my actions represent a peaceful testimony to our beliefs since I am naked and nothing else is 'unusual' although I can't quite gulp down the notion that naturism is 'unusual'; people can see that for themselves and hopefully even if it's just a few, some will be compelled to realize that naturism is indeed wholesome.

Here is what I believe:
Nudism = wholesome inclination to be naked, in general (in the sense of an earnest lifestyle choice).
Naturism = wholesome inclination to be naked outdoors, but kinda the same... Seems to involve a notion that it is OK to be seen [naked] by others who are not affronted or offended. We display self-esteem, confidence, extreme appreciation for the Lord's creation(s), peace, and simplicity/elegance in our lives. Even though this may seem paradoxical, it is almost forgettable at times that naturism actually involves being naked. It is just that simple. Utter wholesomeness and joy.
Naturism/Nudism of course have a social component, but I feel it is not a requirement and a lone naturist in a desert canyon does not lack credibility IMHO.
Exhibitionism = May or may not involve nudity AT ALL. Connotes a virtually OPPOSITE mindset; low self-esteem, narcissism / misplaced pride, encroachment upon others, and uninvited compromise of the peace of others. Exhibitionism that DOES involve nudity is clearly the spirit of the question, so to better focus, it involves poorly timed or placed nudity which may or may not be malicious, and seeks to sexually gratify the 'practitioner' (using this term lightly here). It is inherently offensive because it involves being seen for one's own pleasure without the viewer's consent. It is probably not distinguishable from nudism by non-nudists who will be the ones using instances of exhibitionism as a means to argue against nudism. In still another sense 'nude exhibitionism' can masquerade as "software" in the naturist "operating system" in the lay person's view (just as a piece of malware can masquerade as software in microsoft windows), because from a certain standpoint (that of the prudist) they are not totally disjoint, and that is where it is incumbent upon us all to be regarded as maintaining discipline (e.g. time and place, let alone behaviour).
Swinging, etc... To relate these various sexual lifestyle preferences (each of which may or may not have vast merits of its own) to naturism seems like relating auto racing to steamed broccoli, but that's been covered here already and I don't like to beat dead horses.

What I had a brief struggle with was inclusive of such an idea that if I happen to be naked during a hike (never on highly-traveled or easy trails, basically such that anyone I do see is going to be pretty 'nature-positive' and not 'socially confined'), and it gives me pleasure (such as only the breeze and sunlight can offer) to do so, and then someone happens to see me while I am enjoying such pleasure, am I suddenly an exhibitionist? I say NO, because (a) I am not deriving "gratification" (among other notions being reconciled to wholesome naturism), and (b) they can hopefully see this for themselves and gain a realistic view of what naturism really is about and frankly that's what we need to have happen, almost like a very peaceful campaign for a particular civil right. If I were to [fumble to] put a pair of shorts on even though I assume they have already seen me because I have seen them, I feel that I appear ashamed and THEN perhaps look like an exhibitionist (and arguably perhaps therefore BE one) who just happens to have lost his nerve because he suddenly has a moment of clarity about the offense he was just about to commit.

There is just one other thought that I submit as a question; the one I am still carefully pondering. Suppose the situation arises as I just described, only I could trace my pleasure (still like happiness, not gratification) through my mental pathway as being a result of having been seen naked... Am I THEN an exhibitionist? I think that I still am NOT if I know that the pleasure is being derived from sharing a (hopefully) high-quality snapshot of our lifestyle preference with someone who could benefit from the occurrence. Like it might give someone pleasure to cook someone a meal they have never tasted, or to show someone a favorite song, even to loan a hammer to the neighbor. I mean I'm not going to cook that meal with super-hot peppers for a demure tongue, nor make someone's tender ears bleed with that song's volume setting, nor strike my neighbor with the hammer, any more than I would regress to sexual behavior in front of the stranger, right?

Seeking my role in opening the eyes of the world to the simple harmless pleasure of being naked in our great outdoors.

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