Sex talk
Speaking of Nudity

Simon Sheppard, QSyndicate.com

bedfellow.com Is total nudity "wholesome," which is to say "not sexually exciting?" There's nothing wrong, nudists say, with getting naked.

Nudism, or "naturism," as it's sometimes known, is a social movement based on being in the buff. Naturist resorts are founded on the ideal of freedom – freedom from shame, freedom from clothes. They tend to be family-oriented places that frown on overt shows of sexuality, opting for nude volleyball games instead. (Indeed, many older guys gratefully remember nudist magazines for publishing photos of naked people back when those sorts of pictures, in an erotic context, were a crime.)

And clothing-optional beaches aren't just for Europe any more. From coast to coast, America is graced with places where you can lie around nude in the sun. In some places, nakedness can get you busted, while in others (notably certain federal parklands), nudity's just fine as long as nobody complains and no sex is involved. California has even launched its first state-run nude beach, just south of – where else? – San Francisco.

But let's face it, to some of us being naked is just plain sexy, and a number of non-naturist bare-butt venues reflect that. In places like Palm Springs and Florida, there are "clothing optional" gay resorts where hard-ons are just fine.

"I simply love looking at naked guys," says one man. "Some people say that men look sexier when they're partially clothed, but I sure as hell don't think so." And therein lies the problem with the naturist ideal of desexing nudity. Would naked bodies be less arousing if we saw nothing but nudity all the time? Is it the forbidden nature of genital nudity that makes the sight of a dick exciting? Is total nudity "wholesome," which is to say "not sexually exciting?"

Well, maybe. For some people. On the other hand, as one YMCA member says, "I've seen a whole lot of penises in my life – gym showers, nude beaches, my bed. But I never get tired of looking. They're like snowflakes, no two are alike. And a lot of them get me hot."

One positive thing that parading around in the altogether may very well do is help a person overcome his sense of shame about his own naked flesh. "When I was young," that guy from the Y confesses, "I was just so uptight about my body that I found it hard to wear shorts in the summertime. But after being seen bare by just thousands of people, I feel much more at ease. I may not be a muscle god, but hell, it's my body, take it or leave it, and I'm comfortable with that."

It's not even necessary to make your way to your friendly local gym in order to ramble in the raw. Some guys like to spend their time at home in the buff (assuming the neighbors either can't see or don't mind), and even a nonsexual gathering of friends hanging out with their cocks hanging out can be fun and relaxing. Afraid of getting a hard-on? Well jeez, it happens to the best of us. Relax.

Which brings up a basic paradox about the traditional nudist creed. See, naturists say, the organs we use for sex are nothing to be ashamed of, and should be openly displayed. But what we do with them for pleasure? Well, that's something that should tastefully be kept private. Now clearly, jacking off in the steam room can be rude to those who simply don't want to see. But, within the bounds of good judgment and good taste, going naked in the world has never hurt anyone. Not as long as you keep the sunscreen handy.

Simon Sheppard is the author of Kinkorama: Dispatches from the Front Lines of Perversion

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