As mentioned in Part 1 of this Blog series, the characters in my novels have very definite ideas about love, sex, and nudity. While these three concepts are often connected in people's minds, they are truly distinct, and don't have much to do with each other.
For example, one can certainly love, without sex or nudity. One can have sex without love, and - if an attempt is made - without nudity. And nudity has nothing to do with love or sex. I think most rational people should be able to accept that these concepts are separate.
The difficulty - primarily seen in American males - comes when someone has been brought-up to see nudity in a sexual way, as a turn-on. I would wager that a large percentage of American boys who grew up in the 20th century Playboy era have a natural tendency to get turned-on by seeing nude women. This forms a connection between nudity and sex that the person may need to 'untrain', in order to be comfortable, for example, going to nude beaches.
There are, of course, the religious proscriptions regarding sex. The view that we live in a "fallen world, surrounded by immorality, lust, and perversion." An Internet discsusion summarizes, "It is not the nudity which is sin, but it is our lustful eyes which we cannot control, is sin." It seems to me that the more 'religious' a person is, the less he/she can control his/her eyes. I personally know many fine, intelligent people who are totally comfortable with nudity, and it does NOT lead to lust and perversion!
As anyone who has been to a nude beach knows, it takes but a short time to 'get used to' seeing nude people, and there is no sexual arousal from it. I am speaking mostly to conservative Americans; for others, I am 'preaching to the choir'.
For many people, even those whose minds are not muddled by religiousity, the discomfort in being nude is related to their insecurities about their own bodies - which undoubtedly aren't perfect (as virtually none of our bodies are). Again, a brief visit to a nude beach will demonstrate that people can be comfortable in their skin, regardless of their body shape, weight, or even deformities. And the others on the beach are totally accepting of each other, just as they are, without being hidden by clothing.
I think that the lack of bodily openness is mostly due to our upbringing, and the prevailing social mores. Those who have traveled internationally will realize that these are very specific to the culture in which we are raised, and the rest of the world does not share the American (in which I include Canadian, and perhaps should include the British) 'perversion' of equating nudity with sex. Nudity is also not allowed in Middle Eastern countries - also being religious and male-oriented.
A full discussion of nudity - even just nude beaches - is far beyond the scope of this Blog article. The point I am trying to make is that there is no inherent reason that nudity should be connect with, or lead to, sex. And, I know that humans - even in Western civilization - are capable of being together nude, without any sexual implications.
For example, in EUROPEAN EXPERIENCE, Sam and Kelly visit several 'saunas' in The Netherlands and other Western European countries. These are essentially health spas, where people of both genders go nude, visit with each other, perhaps see their neighbors, all with no sexual motivations. There are clothing optional public parks in Europe, as well. And, there is a sizeable population of Americans who do frequent nude beaches and similar venues, where nudity is accepted.
I have personally introduced many people to the nude beach experience, and everyone has enjoyed it, after the first few minutes of discomfort - which they find originates in their own mind. In the EXPERIENCES series, there are many examples of open acceptance of nudity - such as during Kelly's birthday party with her friends at Sam's house. The story takes things well beyond the nudity stage, and some of these will be discussed in the next parts of this Blog series.
The next part will discuss sex: How can it be defined, and how does the definition impact the activities that two consenting adults can do, and the growth of their relationship? I think that some of you will be surprised by the logical progression of my philosophical treatise.