Overcoming the fear of being seen nude

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Overcoming the fear of being seen nude

Postby Jon-Marc » Sat Jun 17, 2006 3:37 pm

As I grew up I loved being naked indoors but especially outdoors whenever I could get away with it. It was like tasting the forbidden fruit. I just had to do because it was forbidden, and because it was FUN! However, my dad didn't believe I needed underwear until I reached puberty. I had gym class in school all through my school years, and I HATED it! I was the ONLY boy there who didn't have any underwear, and it was embarrassing. The thing is that no one ever mentioned the fact that I didn't wear underwear. I developed a fear based on NOTHING! That was when I started hating for ANYONE to see me nude. That continued for decades. The interesting thing is that as an adult I didn't mind children seeing me nude--just adults other than my wife. My wife loved having children around and often had neighbor boys and girls in and out of the house. I was often seen nude by them, and I noticed that they usually didn't care that I was nude, and they never made fun of me. Some giggled, a few were embarrassed but only because they thought I would be. Most of the time they just ignored me as though seeing a nude man was an every day occurance for them.

However, my fear of being seen nude by adults continued until I was 55 and was looking at nudist photos online. My fear of not "measuring up" to other men was unnecessary because many of the men were no bigger than I was. My early embarrassment of being the only boy in the shower room after gym class without underwear had grown into a fear of what I thought I lacked.

What got me over that fear? Looking at the photos only gave me the courage to give social nudity a try. What rid me of my fear was going to a nudist resort and timidly being nude around other people. No one payed any particular attention to me. No one pointed or laughed, and I thought, "Hey, I like this! I fell in love with social nudism that day and have even lived full time in a nudist resort for over two years.

As with everything else in life, a little knowledge will set you free from body shame and rid you of any body issues you have. It did for me.
The Righteousness of Christ--the ONLY clothing I need.
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Postby Desert Hiker » Sun Jun 18, 2006 5:03 am

Thanks for sharing Jon Marc.

I think we all had to overcome to some degree this kind of fear that is associated with public, or social nudity. Most folks my age, or older can easily recall scenes like you describe in gym class--especially the gang showers. Those made me feel a bit insecure at times also. I think it is something we all have feared to some degree, at some point in our lives--not measuring up, being found to be odd somehow. Being naked in front of others is a very vulnerable predicament--you are on full display, and not able to "hide" from their gaze without looking foolish. We all have feared being teased, or made fun of, rejected, and made to feel bad. This phobia is often unfounded, and even irrational--as you so eloquently demonstrated. Most people really don't care what you, or me look like that much, and the ones that do try to make fun of others are only trying to draw attention away from themselves, and their own perceived inadequacies.

The real sad thing is, that this fear, however irrational, gives power over us to those we fear. Their "approval" of our appearance is able to lift us up, and gratify us. Conversely, their perceived disdain, or "disapproval" is able to crush us. This is a dangerous way to live, emotionally, and spiritually--other people, even complete strangers, can deal us a mortal wound with a mere roll of the eyes, or by laughing at us--or even us perceiving that they are. This fear is amplified even more by being naked--it is one thing to have your clothes rejected, but it is quite another to be rejected for our body's apearence..that is much more personal, and potentially damaging. The real freedom comes from being set free from this irrational fear. Why should we care. No one has any power over us, other than that which we give them. If someone does not like the way I/you look--it is their problem, not mine/yours. I suppose they should not look in my/your direction if it is a serious issue for them. I have chosen to reclaim that power from others--I DO NOT CARE if they find me less than ideal--NO ONE is "perfect" anyway. Of course, I am not totally inconsiderate, I am willing to dress for those who can't deal with looking at me full monty, and I will show respect of others, by dressing appropriately for what ever the occasion. But, that is all--I DO NOT dress to "impress" others...I honestly could not care less if I am wearing the latest "IN" fashions, and looking "HIP and COOL"--I have more important things to worry about than those silly things.

Life is short--Live life like you have one.

Every day is a gift from God--don't squander it, or take it for granted.

REMEMBER THIS: NO ONE HAS ANY POWER OVER YOU--other than that which you give them.
Peace In Christ, Sam

Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart...--Job
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Postby Jon-Marc » Sun Jun 18, 2006 1:56 pm

The thing is, Sam, that as a child I had no problem with other boys seeing me naked because it was natural. My embarrassment was over not wearing underwear. The funny thing is that now I choose not to wear them and don't even own any. :lol: However, when I reached junior high school I noticed that some boys were much more greatly endowed than I was, and that was when I became VERY self-conscious about the size of my penis and started thinking that I was the ONLY one who was so small. I still remember one 15-year-old boy in gym who was hung like a stud horse :shock: . I really envied him, and it made me VERY self-conscious about my small manhood. Since my dad finally bought me my first underwear for my 13th birthday when I reached puberty, I didn't have the embarrassment of that any longer. However, the fear of not "measuring up" started in my teens, and my nudity was enjoyed alone. At least it didn't scare me away from wanting to be nude. There was a latent nudist in there somewhere. If only I hadn't wasted so many years being afraid. I could have enjoyed another 30 years of social nudity instead of just at home or in some private place.
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"Measuring Up"

Postby Martin » Sat Sep 02, 2006 5:15 pm

For what it's worth, Jon Marc, I believe that nearly all men are self-conscious about "measuring up" and have an almost universal desire to have a larger penis. I'm certainly no exception to that. I was much more conscious of my penis size during high school, however, than I am as an adult. My first visit to a nudist resort made me realize that people come in all shapes and sizes, and that I would fall into the "average" category in that regard. More importantly, I realized (as I'm sure you do) that body features, like clothing, have absolutely no bearing on a person's traits and personality. I can, however, relate to the self-consciousness you describe.

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Postby Jon-Marc » Sat Sep 02, 2006 7:07 pm

I still have a little self-consciousness when I see a man who would be the envy of a stud horse :lol: , but it doesn't stop me from enjoying social nudity.
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Endowment

Postby Martin » Sat Sep 02, 2006 7:23 pm

I have a nudist penpal who fits that description perfectly and, yes, I do envy that kind of endowment. But. like you, I don't let it keep me from enjoying social nudity, nor do I have any reluctance in our exchanging nude photos of ourselves. He's a wonderful friend!

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Postby tobe9972 » Sun Sep 03, 2006 12:10 am

This is a fear I can relate to as well. School P.E. was a real "bad" experience as we were ordered to take showers as freshman. So I skipped my other year of required P.E. until I was a senior and then we had it last hour so I would be able to "forget" the shower and get to the serious business of dragging the main street in town.

I too was concerned as to my size but as I have gotten older and experienced social nudity, I really don't notice that I have any less or more than others. Frankly it seems to me that we are really more equal, curious yes, but basically equal. I guess to me it just doesn't matter. I am what I am and don't know why I would want to change it.

Thanks

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Grateful

Postby Martin » Sun Sep 03, 2006 11:30 am

Well put, Steve. While I sometimes wish that I had my friend's physical attribute, I remember that God made me just the way I am. And who am I to criticize His work? I'm grateful for the body He gave me, and equally grateful for the joy and freedom He allows me to enjoy through social nudism.

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Postby Jon-Marc » Sun Sep 03, 2006 12:53 pm

Exactly, Martin. I feel sorry for all of God's people who have not discovered the freedom from body shame that I have found in Christ. I'm sure the pastor who told me I could visit his church but couldn't participate in anything because of living in a nudist resort thought I was "living in sin", but I have absolutely NO guilt about it. The Holy spirit is my Guide and my Teacher, and He has never convicted me of enjoying the freedom I have to be nude--even with other men, women, and children.
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Postby LivingFree » Sun Sep 03, 2006 1:34 pm

Jon-Marc wrote:Exactly, Martin. I feel sorry for all of God's people who have not discovered the freedom from body shame that I have found in Christ. I'm sure the pastor who told me I could visit his church but couldn't participate in anything because of living in a nudist resort thought I was "living in sin", but I have absolutely NO guilt about it. The Holy spirit is my Guide and my Teacher, and He has never convicted me of enjoying the freedom I have to be nude--even with other men, women, and children.


Jon-Marc,

Did you ever ask that pastor what about "whosoever will may come?" and also, doesn't he want to preach to "sinners?"
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Postby Jon-Marc » Sun Sep 03, 2006 4:49 pm

I stumped him with Isaiah 20 where God commanded him to walk naked for 3 years while preaching. I asked, 'Does God ever command anyone to sin?" Before he could answer that foolish question, I reminded him of Isaiah, and he had no answer for me. He said he couldn't separate sex from nudity, and that's the problem with so many isn't it? They see a naked body and immediately think of sex. They see a neighbor sunning him/herself nude and immediately get offended and complain because their children might see that. The thing is that their children probably wouldn't care. They call nudist resorts "wicked" as I heard one pastor do. Many think that there are orgies at nudist resorts, and that children are being molested there. One of my nieces exclaimed in shock to me, "Children see that?" I never found out what it was she thought they were seeing, but I assumed she just meant nude people. After all, everyone knows that children shouldn't see nude people. It would tramatize them. :lol: :wink: :roll:
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Postby LivingFree » Sun Sep 03, 2006 10:57 pm

Jon-Marc wrote:They see a neighbor sunning him/herself nude and immediately get offended and complain because their children might see that. The thing is that their children probably wouldn't care.


As I'm sure you know, children don't think sexual thoughts before they reach puberty and the testosterone and other hormones kick in, unless adults place those thoughts in their heads earlier. I have always loved Desert Hiker's story of how state officials interviewed their young daughters about living in a nude family, and absolutely found out nothing evil was happening. And as you know, children don't keep secrets very well. Actually, as we also know, children who grow up in nude families who are open to talk about God's plan for families, get much better sex education than if they wait until the back alley or the locker room. And the same is also true of children who get to be a part of nude social gatherings. But as you say, "they" don't know that.
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Postby SteveNTL » Sun Sep 03, 2006 11:19 pm

Jon-Marc wrote:They see a neighbor sunning him/herself nude and immediately get offended and complain because their children might see that. The thing is that their children probably wouldn't care... After all, everyone knows that children shouldn't see nude people. It would tramatize them. :lol: :wink: :roll:


Ha! I got a joke on the JewishNudists group site this morning that I laughed at, about this truth -

Children: In Their Eyes

NUDITY

I was driving with my three young children one warm summer evening when a woman in the convertible ahead of us stood up and waved. She was stark naked! As I was reeling from the shock, I heard my 5-year-old shout from the back seat, "Mom! That lady isn't wearing a seat belt!"

A little boy got lost at the YMCA and found himself in the women's locker room. When he was spotted, the room burst into shrieks, with ladies grabbing towels and running for cover. The little boy watched in amazement and then asked, "What's the matter? Haven't you ever seen a little boy before?"

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Postby SteveNTL » Mon Sep 04, 2006 12:00 am

LivingFree wrote:As I'm sure you know, children don't think sexual thoughts before they reach puberty and the testosterone and other hormones kick in, unless adults place those thoughts in their heads earlier.


Hmmm. Well, I don't know if I agree with that. May depend on how tightly one defines a "sexual thought". I think there are a whole range of thoughts children may have that I would say are based in sexuality (being a sexual being), that are not specifically directed toward copulation. Even just being aware of certain body parts, and that their parts are different than others body parts, and how different areas of the body feel. I have a couple of examples from my childhood...hmmm...they seem a little too...hmmm...well, I don't know if they are appropriate for this forum. Read me "conflicted" here.

I, too, had HUGE issues from my childhood and into my adult years about size, but really it was about being different. Of course, kids make fun without mercy. And, I was the only kid that I ever saw that was not circumcised - I didn't know what circumcision was at all, but just somehow that I looked different. And, I had almost NO bladder control at night until well into my high school years - and somehow, that problem seemed related to being deficient "down there" in some way. I took a lot of abuse from my grandparents for that - they were sure I was just lazy or something...a bad kid! It's taken me nearly 50 years to begin to heal from some of the perceived inadequacies that began in my childhood...but, now I praise God that He delights in me! WOO HOO!!!

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Postby LivingFree » Mon Sep 04, 2006 10:35 am

I probably should have said children don't have "sexualized" thoughts, rather than sexual thoughts. I like to look at it this way:

Clothed, children see that girls have longer hair than most boys; that's a sexual difference imposed upon them by their society, but it's not a sexualized thought. However, during the teen years and beyond, a developing male can be "turned on" by long blonde hair; that becomes a sexualized thought. (And by other colors of hair also, of course.)

Clothed, children begin to notice that girls cry quicker than boys do, again a standard partly imposed on them by society. In the teen years, the more tender, sensitive nature of females tends to draw males, while at the same time annoying them. At that stage of life it can easily become sexualized.

Clothed, boys begin to notice the lines in girls' faces as being different from their male friends. That's a sexual difference, but it's not sexualized until the hormones begin to flow.

Or am I completely off base here?

Unclothed, similarly, children notice that body parts are different, but simply take it in stride. They learn that girls and boys are different. That's a sexual observation, for sure, but it's not sexualized until hormonal changes cause arousal, which also causes different kinds of thoughts to form within them.

SteveNTL wrote:Even just being aware of certain body parts, and that their parts are different than others body parts, and how different areas of the body feel. I have a couple of examples from my childhood...hmmm...they seem a little too...hmmm...well, I don't know if they are appropriate for this forum. Read me "conflicted" here.


Steve, I wonder if the feelings you mentioned weren't primarily "sensual" sensations, rather than sexualized sensations? Or if not, whether those sensations were sexualized by outside influences? I guess this is a good way to test the theory that children, if left to themselves, don't sexualize life unless the culture around them sexualizes their lives for them? Don't be conflicted about sharing your examples here; how else can we sort these things out? I'm sure the SA or a moderator will let us know if we step across the line.
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