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  • Certain culture's views on naturism and sexuality

    American culture's obsession/revulsion complex has seemingly led to many a misunderstanding in other forums. I've seen more posted than I wanted to see, too, but....

    Other culture's, Germany, France, and the Netherlands come quickly to mind, have much more relaxed and open attitudes toward sexuality. Their view is that it's part of being human, so they don't hide from it. That doesn't mean that they condone harmful or offensive behavior, however. They don't hide their children from it either, and that has lead to more responsible sexual behavior, in general, amongst the younger folks in these societies. For example, lower teen pregnancy, just to name one. Yes, they have have some sleazy parts of town in most cities, but those areas are well known and, therefore, avoidable for those not interested. Those cultures view such questionable activities as activities that, amongst adults, can be regulated and space made for.

    Those same cultures have also adopted the same view toward making areas available for other, more acceptable, activities for those that choose to be nude. I believe that it is significant that in these cultures, naturism is flourishing. Could it be that these cultures have chosen to let morals be an individual's issue and, when presented with a harmless activity that many express a wish to engage in, that they find a place for it?

    Doug H.

  • #2
    American culture's obsession/revulsion complex has seemingly led to many a misunderstanding in other forums. I've seen more posted than I wanted to see, too, but....

    Other culture's, Germany, France, and the Netherlands come quickly to mind, have much more relaxed and open attitudes toward sexuality. Their view is that it's part of being human, so they don't hide from it. That doesn't mean that they condone harmful or offensive behavior, however. They don't hide their children from it either, and that has lead to more responsible sexual behavior, in general, amongst the younger folks in these societies. For example, lower teen pregnancy, just to name one. Yes, they have have some sleazy parts of town in most cities, but those areas are well known and, therefore, avoidable for those not interested. Those cultures view such questionable activities as activities that, amongst adults, can be regulated and space made for.

    Those same cultures have also adopted the same view toward making areas available for other, more acceptable, activities for those that choose to be nude. I believe that it is significant that in these cultures, naturism is flourishing. Could it be that these cultures have chosen to let morals be an individual's issue and, when presented with a harmless activity that many express a wish to engage in, that they find a place for it?

    Doug H.

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    • #3
      I agree that we US-ians could stand to learn a lot from European culture (and probably Australian culture too, though they generally get less press here). It seems we are still clinging to some of the Puritanism of the 18th century and the Victorianism of the 19th. Not to mention the handful of very vocal groups, usually religious conservatives, that eagerly go out of their way to find things to be offended about. So we continue with policies that, at best, cause a nuisance to many of us on this board, and at worst, promote the very behavior or outcome they are trying to avoid.

      Comment


      • #4
        If I am still allowed to write on this board I would like to add the following:

        Being an English man in Turkey ( a non-muslim in a muslim country) I find here that nudity is virtually frowned upon full-stop.

        The pressures of society (there are no religious "rules" that quote this) from the past clothe the women from head to foot in material, and the hair on the head should not be looked upon by another man other than the legal husband.

        There is of course a "modern" society here too with a very European look - and there are those who are "famous" for being naked!

        A very strange mix - and when it comes to sexuality I would be a millionaire if I got a pound ( sterling) for all the boys and young men I counted who have bisexual/homosexual tendencies. Infact sleeping with gay men is a way of survival for thousands of males.

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        • #5
          Something to clarify your ideas about "American" and "European"(including Austrailia and New Zeland) cultures is that they are one in the same...namely Western European Culture.

          The vast differences evidenced in the attitudes toward nudity is a direct result of the "perverts' of Europe being expelled from all of the mainland to England then off that isle to where else but what is today the good ol USA. These were several different groups but all had the commonality of intolerance of any not of their creed. the most well known group of these "perverts" were the Puritans also known to us as the Pilgrims.
          We today suffer from the heritage they left, though it is changing with the world "Getting Smaller" as it were.
          As my work in the field of Archeaology sent me about the golbe i found the intolerance of nudity the most pervasive in the USA and the Middle East, most other areas of the world just did not care about whether a person was nude or not and in places clothing is actually laughed at by the local population.

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          • #6
            [b]
            Aussieland tolerant of nudity? How is that? I thought they'd be just like USA and UK in their attitudes.

            I think it's extremely ironic that Puritans called themselves that, given that they had the most impure motives of any "Christian" sect I've heard of; mainly, their motives were to make themselves look good. (This hits rather close to home for me, since my dad is a self-proclaimed Puritan who's under the impression that he and only he has the truth)

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            • #7
              Lots of places for me to join in this thread, so here are a series of comments:

              Doug H's original statement is correct, and he could easily have added the Scandinavian countries and Finland as well (think "saunas"). All of these countries have much more open attitudes about the body and sexuality (in Denmark almost every beach in the country is clothing optional). They also have dramatically lower rates of teen pregnancy.

              Prometheus , right on about Australians being more open about nudity. It's a wonderful country with a great sense of openness and live-and-let-live. There must have been some advantages to being founded by criminals. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]


              Turkishnudes when I was in Istanbul I was surprised at how the extreme modesty carries over into what are basically same-sex locker room situations. At the Turkish Bath I visited there were signs admonishing clients to please keep covered with your towel. Since the signs were in English, I assumed they were for the benefit of visitors from other countries like myself.

              I talked with a young man from Germany who was totally bewildered by the need to keep covered in an all male situation.


              Nacktman , with respect to your training as an archeologist I disagree that one can now lump Europeans, North Americans, Australians, and New Zealanders into a single culture. Obviously they had common roots in Western Europe, but they've had several hundred years to develop distinct differences.

              My sense of the Australians is that they have a culture that has ties to England, but yet is distinct in many ways. Partly they've been shaped by having a small population in a vast and dangerous land.

              Something happened in the US during colonial days that developed body modesty to a degree that is hard to imagine today (we've loosened up a lot since then), and it wasn't all due to the Puritans. This extreme fear of the body, at least the body of the opposite sex, was found in other colonies as well.

              I also think that "perverts" is the wrong word to apply to the Puritans and others, and they weren't expelled because they were intolerant. They lived in a society that didn't tolerate any difference in religion, and so were persecuted horribly in their own countries.

              It's true of course that the Pilgrims didn't come to this country for religious freedom. They came looking for a place where they could make the rules. Once they found it they were as intolerant of differences as the people they fled in Europe.


              Raised.... , I wouldn't agree that the Puritans' motive was merely to make themselves look good. Like so many others in religious history, they started out with good intent and carried it to an awful extreme.

              The Church of England was incredibly perverse and worldly. The Puritan movement arose as an attempt to "purify" it, and bring it back to a simpler practice that would be more in keeping with the teachings of Jesus.

              It was a time when every religious body believed that it alone possessed the truth, and all others were heretics. If you alone possess the truth, then certainly you were entitled to regulate society to express that truth wherever you had the power to do so. Once the Pilgrims had their own Colony in the New World, they ruled it with an iron fist. However, that was no more than they had themselves received in Europe.

              The first people in America to truly believe in religous freedom as we understand it today were the Baptists, and the first place in the world of the time where anyone was free to worship as they pleased?or not worship at all?was Rhode Island Colony and Providence Plantations. But that's another whole topic.

              Comment


              • #8
                A brief note about early American settlers: Not all of them were as intolerant as the Puritans. Rhode Island's early colonial governor, Roger Williams, deliberately made his land a sanctuary for those who were persecuted elsewhere. My own church, the Seventh Day Baptists, took root there in those days and was allowed to flourish despite their distinct beliefs regarding baptism, the Sabbath day, and other matters.

                Comment


                • #9
                  luvnaturism you are correct that my lumping of the different areas is alittle old school, but they are not as different as you might assume it took far longer to changes more that the visible surface of a cluture than the 500 yrs or so they have been seperate, throughout history (it is changing much more rapidly today, but they are the same as they were 500 yrs ago at there core beliefs and mores.)
                  The use of the term "Pervets" is also an old school term refering to the very actions you pointed out and yes they were driven out for their intolerances of others. Granted the dominant culture groups were not as open as they could be, most however did allow some freedom of thought--that's one of the reasons the era is called the "Renaissance". These small groups of intolerant creeds just were not willing to acsect any different ideas and learning/ Many still clung to the belief the world was flat and the center of the universe even though any sailor from time immemoral could have proven otherwise and the ideas of modern astronomy where being published by Galileo, Copernicus, Newton and others around the same time these groups began to form.
                  And to the Fear of the Body symdrome: it was in all the colonies true but if you check into the records you see it started among these groups and really did not become the pervasive dogma that it is today until the late 19th and early 20th century. when the living got easier and these groups started howling to the mass communication of the day, prior to this time people simply had no real problem with nudity, it wasn't the thing to do but then again it was nothing the be concerned about...just surviving the day was in the fore of any person with wits. With this upping of the oratory these groups hijacked our culture and it took each World War and Vietnam to bring some open ness however shortlived to oue society. The modern forms of these groups are what we term as fundalmentalists of any religion. And they are just as intolerant today as the Puritans of old, even some call themselves purtians, but they are still the perverse groups they have always been hence the term Pervert is applied to them.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    quote:
                    Originally posted by Jochanaan:
                    [qb]Rhode Island's early colonial governor, Roger Williams, deliberately made his land a sanctuary for those who were persecuted elsewhere. My own church, the Seventh Day Baptists, took root there in those days. . . . [/qb]
                    Roger Williams was one of the Baptists that I had in mind. He was driven out of Massachusetts Bay Colony in mid-winter because of his outrageous beliefs (such as that the land belonged to the Indians, and if the settlers wanted it they should pay for it). He was only briefly a Baptist?it was sort of a phase that he passed through?but it was during that time that he and others founded an island of religious freedom in a sea of persecution.

                    It's not an accident that one of the two oldest Jewish congregations in the US is at Newport, RI. It was one of the few rare places where they could practice their religion without interferance.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The information, mentioned above, about Rhode Island, Seventh Day Baptists and the Indian tribes coincides with the information I have about my own ancestors in Rhode Island. My early ancestrial grandfather was Elder John Crandall of Westerly Rhode Island who immigrated there from Westerleigh England in the early 1600s. They called him "elder" as he was an elder of the Seventh Day Baptist Church.

                      One geneologist-historian states (but does not list his source of documentation) that John Crandall, Roger Williams and Obadiah Holmes went to England in 1663 in order to obtain a charter to Rhode Island.

                      There is documentation that John Crandall, Obadiah Holmes and John Clarke, pastor of the first Baptist Church of Newport RI, went to Lynn Massachucetts on July 1651 to visit John Witter, who was described as "an elderly person", but they were arrested for being "anabaptist". For being a Baptist within their colony, John Clarke was fined ?20, Obidiah Holmes ?30, and Elder John Crandall ?5, and in default of fines, each was "to be well whipped".

                      Elder John Crandell and some other families in the area in Rhode Island fought on the side of the Indians against 1,100 Connecticut, Massachusetts and Plymouth colony soldiers who killed and otherwise treated the Indians badly.

                      In about 1991, the Crandall family, who, to this day, live in the old homestead which was build around 1665, deeded this acreage of possibly 700 acres, (the land had never been surveyed) as a gift to the Narragansett Indian Tribe, with the right of Crandall family members to always live in the home. This was deeded to the tribe, knowing that the tribe would not sell it for subdivisions but would cherish the land in it pristine state.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        David77 - The connection of your family to the early struggle for religious liberty is interesting. I imagine that all of the Baptist denominations in the US today trace their history back to people like Roger Williams and John Clarke (Williams founded Providence, and Clarke founded Newport).

                        What you wrote about your ancestor demonstrates that it wasn't only the Pilgrims/Puritans who were intolerant. It was the general state of affairs in those days.

                        You referred to "Narangennet" Indians. I've always known them as Narragansett?and I may not have the spellling right.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Luvnaturism,
                          Yes, I checked my source and your spelling of the Indian tribe is correct, and I will correct my spelling in my above post to Narragansett.

                          Elder John Crandall died of an infection of a wound he received in the Great Swamp Fight of December 19, 1665 when he, and a few other families fought along-side the Indians against a force of 1,100 soldiers from Massachusetts, Connecticut and the Plymouth colonies, who slaughtered many Narragansetts and some Wampanoag refugees of the Indian quarters.

                          Apparently no one in the Crandell Family Association of Westerly, Rhode Island, has yet located firm documentation of Elder John Crandall's association to Roger Williams and John Clarke, even though Elder John Crandall lived in Newport (where he was a merchant and city official) before his house was built in Westerly.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            We are tempted to ask the question, where did this aversion to the body come from? It is not enough to note its emergence without asking what preconceptions and underlying assumptions fostered body shame and sexualized nudity.

                            I was tempted to say that in Europe and much of North America before the development of effective indoor heating, nudity was uncomfortable for much of the year and thence rare outside the marriage bed. If that were true, then someone of a legalistic mindset might apply the mis-syllogism, "If people are usually clothed except when they are having sexual intercourse, then nudity is sexual."

                            Contrary to that notion is the centuries-old acceptance of nudity in many quarters of Europe.
                            Prior to the Victorian era, German children played nude in the streets until their teen years. Finnish families shared a sauna without shame. Pre-victorian Britons swam naked in the sea with no sexual implications. It seems to me that prior to the appearance of Victorian attitudes, nudity was not common, but was not scandalous.

                            But enough history. What is the current prospect for nudists and people of faith to live harmoniously?
                            I have seen a tendency in certain posts to create a demon called "fundamentalist" and blame it for all anti-nude sentiment. The Church of England and to a lesser extent the Roman Catholic church have at times also been hostile to simple nudity.

                            It would also be a mistake to assume that all Bible-believing Christians are hostile to nudity. Are all Bible-believing Christians "fundamentalist"? Can anyone answer that? I think it is obvious that several people in this forum tend to take the Bible literally, yet their literal reading of scripture does not compell them to be hostile to nonsexual nudity.

                            It is true that some passages of scripture speak against nakedness, but a literal understanding of scripture still does not preclude reading these verses in context. Whenever nudity was condemned, it was not simple nudity, but nudity in the context being too poor to have clothes for winter warmth, being spiritually naked, being vulnerable to those who would mock the accidental nudity of priests in times of worship, or the misplaced shame Adam and Eve had about corporal nudity when their problem was actually spiritual in nature. Other passages of scripture describe examples of innocent nudity in everyday Jewish life.

                            I will be the first to admit that conservative Christians are often the most vocal opponents of social nudity, but my point is that body-shame and a sexualized view of nudity is not logically compatible with Christian thought, even for Bible literalists. Rather, hostility to our natural state of nudity has always been an alien dogma that never has and never will integrate with the gospel message.

                            Conservative Christians should become some of the strongest allies of social nudism and naturism. And I don't think that bringing that change is a futile task. If it were futile, you would not see the emergence of Christian nudist Web sites and for that matter, I would not be supporting INA's goals and posting pro-naturist opinion. Many of us overcame negative views about nudity.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Trailscout, you bring up an interesting point in mentioning where did this "Body shame" start. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img] In Victorian times, a number of changes were happening in the world.
                              A number of "splinter religions", some conservative, some liberal, and an increased interest in the "occult", i.e. pre-Christian beliefs. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_eek.gif[/img] I ponder whether those wishing to maintain the tradition of being clothed, had it encoded into law as a reaction to these new religious movements.
                              Also, the colonization of sub-Saharan Africa and the South Pacific Islands by Europeans began in earnest. Unlike the the Americas, where such immigration had been common for 2-300 years. I ponder whether Europeans, who commonly wore clothes, wanting to prove themselves "superior" to the indigenous, and often nude, inhabitants raised being clothed to be equivalent to being civilized. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif[/img]
                              These are simply hypotheses.

                              As for "fundamentalists", a fundamentalist is anyone who believes that their religious beliefs are so fundamental (i.e. basic and necessary) that in brings forth two things:
                              1) A feeling of being threatened when someone else doesn't share, and therefore chooses not to live by, their fundamental beliefs. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif[/img]
                              2) The above feeling serves as a basis for having those fundamental beliefs encoded into law, thereby mandating that others must live by such beliefs. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_mad.gif[/img]

                              Such individuals and groups have an annoying tendency to ignore that, when in the USA, the Constitution expressly forbids the second. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif[/img]

                              Doug H.

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