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  • Growth of selfconsciousness

    It is assumed that without exception every child gets to a point in his or her life when the urge to cover up when naked in the presence of others becomes absolutely essential. This is almost a philosophical question, but I wonder if this is something that is acquired from general social mores or if it something that is instinctively ingrained in the psyche and simply emerges as part of puberty. If the former, can a child be reared, I wonder, so that the emerging youngster on the threshold of adolescence can be completely at ease when naked, irrespective of whoever is around him or her? Also, would there be any difference between boys and girls over the issue? Perhaps if there is a psychologist out there he or she could comment.

  • #2
    It is assumed that without exception every child gets to a point in his or her life when the urge to cover up when naked in the presence of others becomes absolutely essential. This is almost a philosophical question, but I wonder if this is something that is acquired from general social mores or if it something that is instinctively ingrained in the psyche and simply emerges as part of puberty. If the former, can a child be reared, I wonder, so that the emerging youngster on the threshold of adolescence can be completely at ease when naked, irrespective of whoever is around him or her? Also, would there be any difference between boys and girls over the issue? Perhaps if there is a psychologist out there he or she could comment.

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    • #3
      I can only tell of my own childhood, but, I was VERY shy to display my body as a child. It was only after arriving at my mid twenties that I finally "grew up".

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      • #4
        I was the same as Buzzer. Very shy as a child right up until late teens, and then I gradually relaxed, Nudity was unheard of at home, but I guess as I got older I started making my own mind up about various things - the ridiculousness of hiding my body being one of them. My own children are growing up used to me not wearing clothes all the time. I know that they too will make their own minds up in due course, but hopefully from a healthier starting point.

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        • #5
          I guess being naked was kind of thrust on me when I was about 9. I grew up as an only child who never saw his parents nude (and to this day I haven't). At the school I attended there was an announcement that swimming classes would be held for the boys one day and girls another day at a neighbouring facility. Naturally my parents signed me up and on the appropriate day arrived with towel and swim suit. We were bused to the nearby facility and told that we were to shower naked and then enter the swimming pool area without suits. That was my intro to skinnydipping. I dont really remember being shy or ashamed as I was too anxious to get into the swimming pool to learn how to swim and besides everybody looked the same.

          Later on at high school there was a pool and the segregated classes had swimming always naked in the pool while the other sex was clothed and in the gym. The next PE day the sexes went to the other venue. The only difference was that the females wore suits.
          At that time the YMCA which I occasionally visited also insisted on nude swimming.

          From then on I was hooked and look forward to any opportunity to swim naked.

          I think if all kids were thrust into a situation like we were it would eliminate this showering with boxers on or hiding behind a towel.

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          • #6
            I do not remember being ashamed of any part of my body until puberty, when the behavior of my parents (their embarassment) planted the notion that I should be. I got to the point of hating to even take my shirt off, but by late teens I had largely overcome that after finding out that not everyone thinks there's something to be embarassed about, that in fact it can be fun! After that I became quite at ease nude around any friend who didn't find it objectionable.

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            • #7
              Pampelmousse, as a Psychologist I can tell you there is no instinctive urge to cover one's nakedness.

              There is however the most primal urge to self-preservation in which covering one's nakedness could be a means of doing so ... a fur or woven cloth wrapped about the body to ward off the cold for example.
              There is also an basic urge among humans to be seen and not be lost amid the throngs and again covering one's nakedness can be used as a means of 'standing out' ... what are the latest 'fashions' if not but a way to say "hey, look at me!".

              The teen years are when we are the most aware of the social and cultural opinions of others and thus when we are most prone to 'covering up' our nakedness.
              The actions and reactions of others are what determines 'our identities' during the teen years not what and who we are ... that comes when we do 'grow up' (something that others have already noted).

              For those who remember being shy to overly shy as young children ... you most likely were not shy until someone told you, you were, so you became who they said you where as young children have no 'hang-ups' or prejudges until they are told what they are.

              Personally I was raised as a nudist as were my children and grandchildren. My parents were not 'raised' as nudists, as the concept of social nudism was not very well known in their day, but they were nudists, they just didn't have the label to latch on to until their teen years.

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              • #8
                I dont really remember ever being ashamed of my body. I was not raised in a nudist enviroment but was always comfy being nude.

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                • #9
                  Love getting naked any opportunity!

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                  • #10
                    I was socially very shy both as a child and as a younger adult. (At almost 77 I have pretty much gotten over it.) However, nudity has felt good to me for as long as I can remember, i.e. from early childhood.

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                    • #11
                      quote:
                      ...this is something that is acquired from general social mores...
                      Yep, that's the answer. Except that I would say "specific" rather than "general" mores. Think back how many times you've seen displays of primitive cultures presented by National Geographic, etal. When the entire culture is naked, there is no social shame anywhere, from infancy to dotage. But when a culture has a specific "more" that tells you to either conform or be ashamed, you will do one or the other. Except for those few who deign to think for themselves, hey?

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                      • #12
                        As a child, I was very shy. Change came in mid teens, nudity was no problem then.

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                        • #13
                          When I was very young I was not shy at all. Then from about 11-14 I became quite modest. Once puberty started (late for me) I gradually lost all modesty. Don't give a rip who sees me. Love anytime I can get naked.

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                          • #14
                            quote:
                            For those who remember being shy to overly shy as young children ... you most likely were not shy until someone told you, you were, so you became who they said you where as young children have no 'hang-ups' or prejudges until they are told what they are.


                            100% correct for me. It was my mother's extreme self-consciousness that sowed the seeds of modesty in my impressionable young mind (even though she herself never actively encouraged me to cover up.)
                            Then, of course, there was puberty. But I'm not sure whether the self-consciousness associated with puberty is a by-product of parental/societal taught modesty, or is a natural psycho-physiological event. It would seem that children in primitive nude tribes do not experience puberty as western children do.

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                            • #15
                              My experience was much the same as Fuzzy's.

                              I was extremely shy as a young child, but nude swimming and locker rooms (required daily showers) during high school through college cured me of that. Since high school I've never had any concern about being nude with other males. I came to social nudism later in life, so up to that time my instinct was to be covered up if women were around.

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