Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nude Among Textiles (Part 1)

I got an interesting response to my annual Burning Man post from a reader named Jon. He attended Burning Man 2003 for the sole purpose of living naked among a bunch of textilers. Him and I share a common curiosity: What would a true clothing-optional society be like? Especially if the majority of the people are textile? There's no better place to find out than Black Rock City.

This clothing-optional city goes from a normal population of zero to (currently) almost 50,000! (That's more than Cap d'Agde!) It doesn't have the same luxuries as a typical clothing-optional venue, but does have the basics such as beautiful weather, grass, large swimming pools, luxury accomodation, a roller disco, and even a few cruise ships. If you're up for recreation, try some hockey, or a few other games. There are also plenty of activities for the kids after school such as teeter-totters, swings, and bouncy castles. Of course, there are adult things too after work, but some just like to complain. Hey -- wait a minute -- that last link has a naked guy wearing a cheesehead hat. Take a closer look and let me know if any of you Wisconsin nudists recognize him.

UPDATE: A number of the links above have broken, but they all linked to funny pictures related to what I'm talking about. I'm leaving them as-is, since removing the links would look silly.

Anyway, back to Jon's story. I found his story interesting because it parallels what might happen if the clothing laws were relaxed everywhere. The first brave people go nude, and the first prudes would freak out about it. Give it some time, and society would likely have the same attitude as mentioned in the story. Being the only nude in a textile group is often uncomfortable -- but why? Is it because we feel that we are dressed inappropriately? Or is it because we are worried about what others are thinking? Jon's story answers to this.

Another reason I found it interesting is because I've wanted to do the exact same thing. I want to go to Burning Man and be naked! One of these years, I finally will, and I'll probably have a similar story to tell. Until then, I have plans to be nude among textiles in a much smaller place next summer. I'll tell that story when it happens...

The following is part 1 (of 3) of Jon's story. Anything that I changed or commented on is in [brackets].


Quite some time ago I came across the following on a site about nudity at the "Burning Man" festival that stirred my imagination [I found the referenced site, but it's not one I'm going to link to here...]:

"The large majority of people at the Festival don't go nude, at least most of the time. But anyone can be nude if they wish to be. It's an interesting lesson in how nudity fits smoothly in 'everyday life' (if it can be called that in this context) when each person is free to choose how to dress without the usual social taboos. Although nude people at the Festival are a minority, in contrast to the conventional society, they are an accepted minority."

[In Aug-Sep 2003] I traveled to Nevada to see, and experience, if this was in fact, true. Believe me when I say it is! My schedule only allowed four days, but they were a memorable four days of living nude among 30,000 textile campers for the entire period!

I was fairly confident because nudity was said to be acceptable, but approaching the Black Rock Desert, I was a bit nervous because I wasn't really sure of what to expect. My confidence was bolstered as I was met at the entrance by a topless volunteer greeter wearing only a bikini bottom and baseball cap. When she asked if I was looking for a particular theme camp, I boldly replied, "Anywhere I can be nude!" The reply was, "Anywhere you want."

[Part 2]


Anonymous said...

"He attended Burning Man 2003 for the sole purpose of living naked among a bunch of textilers. "

Again this indicates quite clearly that he wanted to be nude among textiles.

So, why did he? Thought nudism shouldn't have anything to do about the others around you but just how you feel naked.

Sounds like a fetish to me. Can you explain why it isn't?

Academic Naturist said...

Yes, I can explain exactly why his modivation isn't a fetish. A fetish is defined as "something nonsexual, such as an object or a part of the body which arouses sexual desire or is necessary for one to reach full sexual satisfaction". With this in mind...

1. No object is involved, just an experience.
2. It's not required for him to achieve sexual satisfaction. If he stayed home, I'm sure he could achieve that anyway.
3. Nowhere was it indicated that he was turned on by this experience. (Either via email or the story.) If he was, he'd be suffering from a several-day-long erection, and would've had very different confrontations with the people around him.

Since every other piece of the definition has been invalidated, we're left with "something nonsexual".

He didn't want to be nude among textiles because of a fetish -- instead, he wanted to experience the unique situation. He did it out of curiosity, not sexual self-interest. The curiosity was to see how this unique city works. It's a curiosity I share. He wasn't trying to shock people, since there are plenty naked already. He didn't go on and on about who saw him. He never sent me a picture. Instead, he described a connection with others who were nude, and a feeling of being out-of-place when it was all textiles. These are the same feelings as regular nudists. An exhibitionist would tell the story in a far different way, and wouldn't post it to a true nudist forum initially like he did.

I want to present a research paper nude -- do I have a fetish too? I want to go caving nude, hiking nude, and check out Burning Man nude as well! Part of what makes nudism interesting is all the things we can do while nude. If you don't believe me, see "The Nude Life" blog. They brag about all the things they do quite often. "Attending Burning Man" is a pretty cool and unique thing that we can do nude.

I'll send Jon an email and have him answer your questions as well.

Dan said...

Hi, I did a search for "Nude among textiles" and found your site. I recently had an experience that I hope to continue and that I hope will foster more acceptance for nudists. I did a write up of that experience that I thought your readers might enjoy. The comment format won't let me post the whole thing, so here is the first two paragraphs...

I saw an ad online a couple of weeks ago for a yoga-type free form dance class being held in a little over a week. It sounded a little too liberal, new-agey for my taste (I am of the Libertarian persuasion and a little skeptical of almost everything), but the class description got me thinking. It talked of primordial forces, being oneself, and eliminating barriers and other sorts of yoga-type things. I immediately thought that I'd need to do the class naked to really feel free. So, I took a shot and sent the instructor a email with some basic questions.

She and I exchanged a few emails before the workshop, and she at least seemed open to the idea of nudity, saying that no one had "gotten completely naked yet." I told her that I've been a nude model for art classes for 30 years and that the main reason I wanted to do the class was to aid in my posing. She agreed that the class would help and that I would be a perfect fit for it.