Yes, I am a nudist. I am a member of the AANR (American Association for Nude Recreation). I have been publicly naked in places where other naked people are, and I will do that again if I can. But, if you are wondering why in the heck I want to be that, well, maybe I need to explain. Maybe, even, if you aren’t wondering that.
I have spent a lifetime overcoming childhood trauma. At the age of ten I was grabbed by an older boy, dragged off to a hidden place, de-pants, warned not to yell or tell anybody ever about what had happened, implying he would seriously hurt or kill me, and then he gave himself pleasure by twisting my private parts, making me hurt while being forbidden to call for help.
What does that have to do with being a nudist? Well, as you can probably imagine, what remained of my childhood and all of my puberty was turned into a nightmare. I shut down the memory of the incident as a defense mechanism, but it was still with me to the point that I would wet my pants during seventh grade classes rather than risk going to the bathroom in a school where there were eighth grade boys bigger than me. PE showers after class were a nightmare I wasn’t allowed to avoid. I not only had to conceal my privates as much as possible, but also the burn scars on my back that I gave myself as a punishment for any sexual urges I might have experienced. I lost the ability to be comfortably naked anywhere that I might’ve been seen by others, especially girls. This was a horrible, self-hating sort of thing that brought me to the brink of suicide in high school. Thank god for the Methodist minister who provided me with actual sex education and my friend Ronny who talked me out of killing myself without ever knowing that that is what he was doing.
I missed out on a key time in my development as a boy when others get an unmolested chance to wrestle with their own sexuality and identity. I had to struggle with the things I learned about child molestation. Of particular concern was the notion that victims of sexual molestation can grow up to be molesters. And a good deal of religious education tries to make you believe homosexuality was a grievous sin that could cause you an eternity in Hell. I spent too many hours fearing I would become exactly what I didn’t want to be.
But starting when the Reverend Aiken taught me about the biological science behind the facts of life, I began learning the truth about sexuality and what had happened to me.
I fully remembered the whole of my childhood trauma when I began studying human sexuality in college (and I mean book-learning, not the kind of hands-on practice that went on in the dorms.) I learned that those who become abusers after being abused were mostly children who were routinely molested, not the one-time-only sort of assault that I endured. I was not set up mentally to become some sort of sexual predator or pedophile. Instead, I was drawn to a career path in education where I could use what I had learned to prevent such things from happening. I did not try to have my abuser arrested and punished for two reasons. One, because I was still vulnerable and reporting that you had been assaulted like that was probably even harder at that time for a boy than it was for a girl. And it was hell to be a girl confessing to having been raped. But also two, because I knew my abuser was married and had children, and I had never heard any other reports of him having done such a thing to anyone else. It wasn’t for him that I didn’t report him. My family and his family were friends. They were good people whether he was or not. And protecting them is the reason I still will not name him as the person who assaulted me. Now that he is dead, and I have forgiven him, no one needs to know.
I need to be naked now in the telling of these inner secrets that no one but me knew for so many years. I need to not be shy about any of this. Primarily because anyone who has ever undergone such a thing as I did can benefit from knowing what I went through and survived in spite of. That factual nakedness is here in these paragraphs for anyone who needs to see it. It is the naked truth.
The first person I told about what happened to me at ten was the former girlfriend who actually introduced me to nudism and naturism. She was a coworker in the Cotulla school district who, like me, had family living at the time in the Austin, Texas area. We would spend weekends in the Austin area with me staying at my parents’ house in the Austin suburbs, and her staying with her sister’s family at a clothing-optional apartment house on Manor Road in downtown Austin. We would enjoy seeing the sights in Austin, taking in the available nightlife, restaurants, and things to do in the 1980s. We also enjoyed time spent with family. Of course, the uncomfortable thing was that spending time with her family meant being surrounded by naked people. They allowed me to remain within the clothing option, but they worked on me and reasoned with me about why trying nude living was a good thing.
They made it clear how being nude leads to many good and healthy things. Sunshine provides Vitamin D which is necessary to be happy and fend off depression. They made it clear how being naked makes it easier to trust others and feel trusted by them. You learn, even with clothes on, that you should connect with people eye to eye. Genitals were never the focus of your attention, and practicing that relieved a lot of the body-horror my ten-year-old mind had imposed on my soul.
They say that dolphins, living completely naked in the oceans are surrounded their whole lives by sensory joy and a zest for life unmatched by most humans. And they also say being a nudist wrapped only in sunshine and gentle breezes is nearly the same thing.
So, I eventually tried it for myself. (Only after I retired from teaching, though, as many parents and principals would not be particularly keen about a nudist English teacher teaching their precious ones.)
My wife is not overjoyed with my choice to be a nudist. It’s not so much that she disapproves, but she is completely devoted to a religion that does. And my children are embarrassed by it and don’t want to talk about it. But it has become a good thing in my life never-the-less.
I have learned to accept my body as it is, and my past experiences as they are. I know I am not a homosexual, though I also know it is not an evil thing to be one. I know I am not a sex-fiend or a pedophile because I have committed no crime that would make those labels apply to me. I haven’t, in fact, ever committed a crime that I was aware of. I am aware of the beauties, especially in art, of the nude human form. I am also aware, having seen other nudists, that no amount of wrinkled or saggy or freckled or sunburnt or boney or fat actually takes away from that inherent beauty. I like to draw naked people, as you have often seen in this blog. But I am not the sort of nudist who has to show you constant nude photos of myself. I am not an exhibitionist or an advocate of nudism that thinks his own nudity is the best advertisement there is for being naked.
But I need to be naked. Naked stories, naked essays, naked confessions, naked pictures… because being naked is a good thing to be.