I'm not sure which I find more sad. That so many of us suffer our whole lives because of issues caused by a conservative, closed-minded upbringing, or that most of us take for granted the stupid ideals and flawed philosophies of the archaic generations who brought it all upon us without realising that it needs to be changed. We not only agonise in silence over body shame, particularly genital shame, and the guilt it causes us to feel about nudity and sexuality, but we even fight against the natural truth and try to convince ourselves that society is right and we are wrong.

 

To really serve a purpose and make a point with this article, I will have to speak very plainly on issues that most people aren't too comfortable talking about openly. It is also important to understand that while naturism, or nudism, are indeed non-sexual, there is certainly still a link between nudism and sexuality – but not in the way that you probably think.

Like so many millions of other people, I grew up believing that I was abnormal and that there was something wrong with me because of my sexual curiosity as a child. I discovered masturbation at a very young age, way before the average, but it was made very clear to me from infancy that my genitals were something to hide. Something private. Something to be ashamed of. When I did accidentally find that “touching myself” felt good, I was scolded and made to feel ashamed and guilty over this simplest of natural self-exploration. A very early memory is of my grandmother telling me to “stop doing that”. A later memory, from shortly before puberty set in, is of my father explaining the birds and bees. He did his best to be open-minded and liberal, but being raised himself quite conservatively, his views and opinions were just as flawed in some ways. He at least acknowledged that masturbation is a normal pastime for boys, but even though it wasn't his intention, he perpetuated my own feelings of guilt with phrases like “don't let anyone see” and “don't do it too often”. So, even though he said it was normal, reading between the lines still told me that it was something to be ashamed of. This shame did not end with masturbation, and extended to anything and everything related to genitalia. In retrospect, I do believe that my father was very likely more liberal than he appeared, but I'm sure he felt that his views were wrong too, and so he did his best to pass on what his parents had taught him. Instead of breaking free and thinking for himself, he blindly handed down to the new generation the flawed views of the old. Like so many of us, he was imprisoned by popular opinion and senseless traditions.

If I could change anything about my childhood, I would choose to be raised a nudist.

This imprisonment defined much of our family life too. Nudity was always hidden at home, with the exception of my father occasionally walking nude to the bathroom when my sister was away at boarding school. There was no talk about the human body or sex other than that single conversation that did nothing to satisfy my childhood curiosity. Being taught that such things were private did not make my curiosity go away – it only forced me to hide it. I felt the need to spy on my parents and my sister in the bathroom, or getting dressed in their bedrooms. I did my best to see nudity whenever I could, both within my family and elsewhere. Believing at the time that my behaviour was “wrong”, “naughty”, “bad” and “unnatural”, guilt was firmly planted in my young mind, and the more ashamed I felt, the less normal I felt. The more abnormal I perceived myself to be, the more my self-esteem suffered. Although I didn't realise it at the time, my unsatisfied curiosity gave birth to the seed of sexual deviancy.

There is much more to my life story, which I will spare you. Suffice it to say, that looking back now, I can wholeheartedly testify that “abnormal” sexual interests which developed during my teenage years especially, were a direct and quantifiable result of being forced to hide my natural curiosity and of being forced to believe that any form of interest in human genitalia was filthy and wrong. It has taken years of self-analysis and effort to realise how such brainwashing during my childhood almost damaged me beyond repair. This kind of damage, that is being done to children every day, is an absolute crime. We impose attitudes of shame and guilt on our kids in the name of “protecting our children” from immorality and perversion, when in actual fact, the dark-age traditions that we pass on are the very things that push them into sexual deviancy.

It's not too late for the next generation.

As I have grown older and faced my own demons, I have come to realise, without any doubt, that much of what modern society does to protect children not only doesn't work, but achieves the opposite of what we set out to do. By creating sexual deviants through our closed-minded and conservative attitudes, we potentially contribute to the creation of rapists and paedophiles who, as everyone knows, have exactly the same kind of self-esteem problems at the very core of their personalities. We must realise a simple fact. What we are doing, and the way “normal” people raise their children in conservative homes, is doing nothing to lessen the problems of the world. To the contrary, we only perpetuate these problems. So, what is the real answer?

That answer, as simplistic as it may sound, is naturism. We shouldn't be hiding nudity from our children. No other species in existence attempts to hide their nudity from their young. Why should humans be different? In looking back on my life, I am entirely certain that if I had been raised in a naturist environment, where nudity was common, normal and completely non-sexual, that I would never have developed the unhealthy sexual interests that I did. If natural human sexuality had been discussed and dealt with more openly in my own family, my curiosity would have been satisfied at a much younger age and I would never have been forced to keep secrets from my parents. Not only would I have been infinitely happier, but I would have had a much closer relationship with my family, instead of pulling away from them because of my perceived "abnormality".

I can't do anything to change my upbringing or to undo the shame, guilt and hurt that I suffered growing up. But I most certainly can try to prevent this from happening to future generations. While there are a multitude of reasons why naturism is a healthy lifestyle for the entire family, I have no choice in the personal context of my life, but to advocate for naturism to be adopted by more families. Through the non-judgemental exposure of younger generations to normal, non-sexual nudity, we can help to address issues of natural curiosity at the right time in the lives of our children. By avoiding our traditional methods of inducing shame and guilt in our kids, we can give them happier and well-balanced lives. By treating nudity and natural human sexuality with the openness it deserves, we can avoid turning future generations into the sex-obsessed perverts that are so common in our own “modern” society.

I can't change my childhood now, but if I could, there is only one major change that would be worth making. If I could do it all over again, I would choose to be raised a nudist.

 

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