Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sexuality and Naturism

...And why those words don't link together.

This seems to be an important topic of discussion for almost every naturist, so I figure I should finally put in my 2 cents worth. For the purpose of this post, here are my definitions:

Naturism - Being naked in a family-friendly setting with mixed company. Either you do this or you don't.
Sexuality - Using the first three definitions from the Wiktionary, anything that has to do with sexual activity, or an interest in sexual activity. I include thoughts and emotions which are of a sexual nature. The measure can be in degrees. People whose minds are often in the gutter have a high degree of sexuality.
Advanced sexual freedoms - Those who practice sex in a variety of ways. This is different from sexuality (in a high degree) in that it excludes people who only have desire.
Sexual undertones - Nobody is having sex, or being sexual in any physical way. But some make comments of a sexual nature, laugh at sexual jokes, and do other things to indicate their minds are in the gutter.

Sexuality is a part of naturism, right?

Wrong. Although I must admit that the world would be a much better place if it was. Just think, if only naturists were sexual, all the children would grow up to be naturists as well. We'd have a true clothing optional society in a couple of generations.

The truth is that sexuality exists in high degrees with a large number of people, therefore it is not a subset of naturism. Since textiles are having more babies than naturists, it's fair to conclude that a majority of sexuality exists outside of naturism.

Naturism must be a part of sexuality then, right?

Wrong. Children love to run around naked, far before they develop sexual desires. Many other naturists aren't there for the sexuality, either.

I admit that there may be a high correlation between people who have advanced sexual freedoms, and people who are willing to participate in naturism. One is a catalyst for the other. They are already comfortable being naked, and having sex, sometimes in mixed company, so slipping into naturism is an easy thing to do.

I should also note, from experience, that many who have advanced sexual freedoms DON'T easily slip into naturism. Unless they are having sex, they strongly desire clothing.

All adults have an element of sexuality, right?

Wrong. I had a friend who was truly asexual. He had no desire for anything beyond friendship, either guys or girls. Make a sexual joke, and he wouldn't get it right away. He taught me that not everyone is a sexual being. Admittedly, he wasn't a naturist either. Someday I hope to find an asexual adult naturist! There have to be some out there...

A lot of people seem to think that there are sexual undertones in naturism. I believe it is these very people who are bringing sexual undertones into naturism. It is likely that they bring these sexual undertones to other elements of their lives as well. On a related topic, I talked to a cruiser at Mazo Beach. He truly thought the beach was full of sex and cruising. I've been there enough times to know that it really isn't, since I've never seen a sex act or have been bothered by a cruiser. It's people like him who bring it to the beach. Although a minority, they inflate the numbers in their own minds. Those with sexual undertones are doing the same. (And maybe I am too?)

There are three reasons why people might think sexuality and naturism have a stronger connection than they really do:
  • Out of sight, out of mind. Seeing parts that are normally hidden make people think about them more.
  • Relaxation. People go to nude venues to relax. When people relax, their minds are free to wander. Also, they tend to look at other people more.
  • Majority rules. If a majority, or even a vocal minority, of the people bring sexual undertones with them, it will be evident to those who don't.
The first two are "curable". Going to nude venues more often will lessen the first one. The second one disappears as soon as people get busy with something. As for the last... I often feel that naturism and medical practice have a strong connection, because we meet so many doctors, nurses, and CNAs. We also meet a lot of geeks, therefore linking computing and naturism. If a lot of people laugh at a sexual joke, then yes, it's understandable to draw a link. However, it doesn't mean there is a true link. They'd all laugh if they were wearing clothes too.

The only logical way to combine sexuality and naturism is to say: A part of sexuality exists in a part of naturism. The same can be said for other random topics too: hiking and naturism, holistics and naturism, environmentalism and naturism, ornithology and naturism, geology and naturism, anthropology and naturism, antinomianism and naturism, apiology and naturism, entryism and naturism, socialism and naturism, nephology and naturism, gnosticism and naturism, naturalism and naturism. (Really, I could go on from a couple of lists.) Why don't we make a big deal about any of those? Why do we gravitate to "sexuality", when all these other combinations exist too?

So, my point to all of this is that there is none. There is no point in combining "sexuality" and "naturism" because they really are completely separate topics. Combining them, and drawing links between them, only adds confusion. Please stop.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

San Onofre: Stakes and Strategy

Leave it to me to chime in a few months late on an issue... I've been seeing a myth perpetuate, so I feel as if I need to speak up about it. It's already been quickly addressed by Nudiarist, but perhaps I can make it more clear. Also, I'll discuss the strategies of both NAC and AANR.

What is the myth? That NAC and the lawsuit lost the legal status of state-owned beaches.

What is the truth? The DPR threw out the Cahill Policy, therefore making nudity illegal on ALL DPR managed public lands prior to the lawsuit.

The DPR chose to ignore the Cahill Policy with regard to San Onofre. At that point, the Cahill Policy was essentially abolished (and nudity illegal) since the DPR could choose to ignore it at any time with any beach. Thus, it no longer existed.

In this context, what exactly was NAC putting at stake in their lawsuit? NOTHING. If they lost, nudity would be illegal. If they didn't file the lawsuit, nudity would be illegal. If AANR kept talking with the DPR, nudity would still be illegal.

It sounds like AANR started this rumor:
According to these sources, other venues where nudity has been traditionally enjoyed may be under threat now that California’s Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued its ruling regarding the Cahill Policy. This situation is, of course, what the American Association for Nude Recreation feared could happen when the Naturist Action Committee filed suit against the California Parks System.

So the DPR closing random beaches and ignoring the Cahill Policy isn't the threat? What, exactly, was AANR fearing? That nudity would continue to be illegal?

It was then perpetuated by Tom:
They put at risk nude sunbathing at ALL beaches in California.

Wasn't it at risk already? More correctly, wasn't it dead?

And also perpetuated by the SCNA, who take it a step further:
Allen says he may consider getting a ticket at San Onofre in the Spring and taking the case up the court system on the nudity issue itself. The trouble with that is if he loses, then ALL the beaches are gone.

Wait -- if it's illegal already, then how exactly is Allen going to make it illegal?

It's court cases like that which made Mazo Beach legal. A person got cited for indecent exposure, and the courts said it's not indecent if it's in a traditional nude sunbathing area. They stated that they will throw out any indecent exposure citation from the traditional beach area. If they can do this in California, that would be great!

Nobody blames the EMT for trying to resuscitate a dead patient, and failing. Why are people blaming NAC for trying to resuscitate the Cahill Policy? Allen simply offers up another try in the future. I hope they keep trying.

I understand AANR's strategy as well. It's not quite as bad as Nudiarist seems to convey. Their strategy can be summarized as follows: Stay out of the spotlight.

The DPR had only one beach in the spotlight. AANR said "OK, but continue to ignore the rest." This could've worked to keep all of the other beaches semi-protected under the Cahill Policy, but that assumes that the DPR would actually do it. Sure, it's a strategy that could've worked for years, until the DPR decides to rock the boat again. Either way, it's the DPR that ultimately chooses the legality of a beach.

From the DPR's perspective, they are responding to reported problems at the beach. It doesn't matter how factual those reports are (as shown by the San Onofre case), they will still respond by doing the easiest thing they can. If it's naked people causing a problem, it's easy to just ignore an informal policy and chase them away. If problems are reported at another beach, it's easy to do the same thing again. There is little reason for the DPR to appease AANR by leaving the other beaches alone when problems are reported.

Society is increasingly against simple nudity. We're in a population explosion, and there is more traffic than ever even in remote areas. We're connected by cell phones, allowing anyone to snap a picture and call the police before even thinking about the situation. Society is becoming more sexualized too, and it's an increasing problem that this sexualization is invading naturist beaches and pressuring them to be an adult-only playground. I expect that reports of lewd conduct are increasing at beaches which lack a method to deal with it. I also expect that they are reported more frequently, since it's so easy with a cell phone and there are more people around that may do it. Lastly, I expect that there are more false alarms, where people complain about activities which really aren't lewd. I doubt that these false alarms are removed from the complaint lists.

The DPR took action from the complaints they have received. They put naturists in a defensive situation by closing San Onofre. This requires a defensive strategy. My favorite analogy is the situation where a bear approaches you in the woods. What do you do?

First is to back away slowly. Both NAC and AANR did this by talking with the DPR. But, the DPR decided to take a chomp at San Onofre.

Then, the strategies diverge. AANR decided to offer up their arm to the bear, in hopes that it satisfies the bear. They assumed that the bear would eat the arm, then spare the rest and maybe make a few promises to avoid humans in the future. Hey, it could work. It's a valid strategy.

More specifically, it's a valid strategy for an offensive situation. For example, if AANR demanded 5 new beaches to be created, and the DPR compromised to only create 3. This compromise would be wonderful! Business in general is offensive (always want to expand, advertise, and gain new markets), which is why businessmen tend to say that compromises must be made to get what you want. The keyword is 'want', indicating it's an offensive strategy. When applying it to the bear scenario, it sounds dumb. Applying an offensive strategy to a defensive situation generally doesn't work.

More realistically, the bear would eat the arm and everything else attached. Then they might consider humans an easy target.

If the bear took a chomp at me, I'd climb the nearest tree and kick it in the face if it tries to follow. I might get eaten, same as the other strategy, but I'm not going to offer up myself, or any part of myself, on a silver platter. This is the strategy that NAC went with -- defend all our limbs at all cost, and show them we're a tough contender.

Yes, they lost. And everyone is saying "I told you so!" What did they lose? NOTHING. Legal nudity at the beach was lost before the lawsuit. Nobody, except AANR, talked about what they might've gained with the actions:
From the day the suit was filed, it was unlikely to accomplish anything more than to delay the Department. Even if successful, the suit would have only required the Department to go through a public hearing process, after which it would not be bound in any fashion to follow any recommendations made through the hearing process, and could have then proceeded to do as it pleased at San Onofre.

A public hearing process? NAC is great at winning those! Especially in California! The NEF/Roper Poll (2006) found that nude beaches have an 84% approval on the west coast. Naturists would've won the public hearing process, and therefore revived the Cahill Policy into an official policy stronger than before. San Onofre would be legal, and other beaches wouldn't be under attack in the near future. Remember that NAC initially won the first court case, so they started off good.

So would you risk nothing for a slim chance to officially legalize the nude beaches? NAC said yes, and AANR said no.

AANR thinks that the lawsuit will make the DPR act quicker to enforce textilism at other beaches. AANR thinks that their strategy would've allowed nude beach use for longer. I don't think the DPR is going to act any faster or slower, since they have the same legal standing from either strategy. If anything, the NAC has shown that naturists will make it as difficult as possible for the DPR bear to eat us.

I should also note that it's a good time for naturists to be kicking at the DPR. California is very poor, and the DPR and law enforcement are strained from budget cuts. Even though the DPR has the legal standing to issue citations for nudity, I don't think they can afford to yet. NAC at least has some time to take further action. They could take further legal action, call on naturists to overwhelm the DPR with letters, sweet talk the DPR into profiting from beach parking, or any number of things. All-in-all, now is the time for change. If we gave up one beach and went stalemate for a couple of years, the DPR would be a stronger force to deal with later. Tom, at least, thinks we should've waited: "NAC sued prematurely and lost the Cahill policy. " (He said this multiple times.) Ummm, wasn't it dead already? Let's start CPR after lunch.

Another strategy deviation to consider is what would've happened if NAC and AANR joined forces. I don't think more money, or more naturists from AANR, would've changed the courts decision that Cahill isn't an official policy. Adding AANR's name to the supreme court request would've given it slightly better chances of being heard, but probably not enough. I don't think AANR could've done much to help, but by joining up in the beginning they would've done less things to hurt. The SCNA explains (and NAC also mentioned):
I know AANR's reps (Debra Sue Stevens, etc.) met with the chief deputy of the Parks Dept when the ban was first proposed and they gave Parks the impression it was ok to close San Onofre. Debra refuses to believe she threw gas on the fire but she did. Well-meaning people who don't know all the facts (Park's statistics about crime and lewd behavior was very incorrect but AANR did not challenge it) need to stay out of this!

How the whole San Onofre thing spun into a call for donations for both AANR and TNS/NAC is beyond me... What exactly has AANR done again? NAC is doing the work, so send all your donations to them.