Breaking the Grip of Shame Among Christians by Promoting Body Respect.

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The Root of Shame
The Harvest of Shame
Rejecting Shame
Freed From Shame
Redeeming the Body
Living Unashamed
Daily Living
Ordinary Nakedness
In God's Image
God's Desire
Body Shame and Women
Shame, Children, and Abuse
Triumph Over Lust


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False shame reared its head at the very beginning of time.  It was Satan's tactic in the first temptation.  When we understand it there, we will understand it in every area of life.

- Marie Powers (1)

Sexual abuse and addictions are destroying many peoples lives, including those of Christians.  Much more can and must be done to reduce these and other problems such as feelings of alienation and disconnectedness from God, each other, and ourselves.  Unfortunately there is a deception or old wives tale in this society which greatly contributes to these problems.  This web site and Natura exists to expose and confront it head on, as well as to show a better way.

The focus of this web site is body shame, this is the most elemental shame of all. When we can break free from this basic shame, it is often easier to break free from other areas of shame in our lives.  The deception which prevents many from dealing with this shame is that nudity equals sex, and/or by itself causes sexual temptation and abuse, etc.  Like other old wives tales and deceptions which may be just as strongly believed, it simply isn't true (Something that a visit to Natura or other family oriented Naturist places can prove very quickly) or scriptural.  Unlike many old wives tales, this one is not simply silly or foolish, it causes a great deal of devastation.

Least I sound unbelievable in saying nudity doesn't equal sex, let me clarify: Yes, we are (by creation) sexual beings, some things we do heighten or pervert that sexuality, some things can help bring it more into the balance God originally intended.  Shaming our bodies, making sex and bathing the only acceptable contexts for nudity perverts that balance.  According to one of the world's top authorities on sexual abnormalities, the majority of patients with deviant sexual fantasies and behaviors "described a strict anti-sexual upbringing in which sex was either never mentioned or was actively repressed or defiled." (3)  Hugh Hefner says that he came from a repressive home, other pornographers and worse have said the same. 

In a culture where nudity isn't commonly accepted outside of sex it is hard for many people to except that the two are separate and distinct, this is very unhealthy.  When clothing is worn in situations where going bare would be more practical, comfortable, and sensible it shames, emphasizes, and over sexualizes the body.  I say it over sexualizes the body because while there is a strong element of sexual attraction in the human body, the strongest element of sexual attraction should be in the personal relationship between people, not their bodies.  When nudity is accepted ONLY in sexual contexts how people are attracted to each other gets out of balance and becomes perverted.  It perverts sexual attraction because it emphasizes the body and weakens the personal/spiritual attraction.  Being comfortable with nudity when it makes sense (such as when it's hot, for relaxing, housework, sports, swimming, etc.) neither represses, perverts, or titillates, it simply helps us accept our whole bodies as good in the balanced, unashamed way God intended.

The focus of Natura is to provide families a living and recreation environment that is free from destructive body shame.  Natura is a place where clothing is NOT worn in situations where going bare is more practical, comfortable, and sensible.  At Natura nudity is accepted in many non-sexual contexts such as swimming, sports, relaxation, work, and more.  In addition Natura will offer educational opportunities for people to learn how to build stronger, more nurturing families and relationships, protect children from abuse, live more in harmony and respect with God, nature, and others.  This web site is one aspect of our educational efforts.

The Story Behind This Site and Natura

What I say here is not easy, as my family (parents and siblings not wife and children) and I are, sadly, in complete disagreement when it comes to these issues.  I had to shut a site before this one down and make some agreements, under extreme duress, that violated my conscience and what I believe is my call from God, in order to try to keep some peace in the family after they found out about it.  Even at that time, I kept my childhood sexual abuse silent because I knew that if I didn't an already bad family situation would likely get much worse. 

Unfortunately violating those agreements and continuing to do this work has now totally cost me my relationship with my birth family.  I wish that had not happened and I had no desire to hurt them, but I can not keep silent on the issues of child abuse and body shame.  I care deeply about preventing sexual abuse, addictions, educating people about how harmful body shame can be, and it can compound the damage of abuse.  The more time that goes by and the more I see in the news about sexual abuse, the harder it is to stay silent. 

Because of my family situation, I had originally put this site up and start working on Natura using the pen name of Nate Dekan rather than my real name.  Later as I became became more uncomfortable with that so I started using my birth name again.  My family discovered that which cost me my relationship with them.  Now to respect my families wishes I am again using Nate Dekan.  I have felt for many years that speaking out on this issue was my calling from God, but I had tried to work more quietly in order to keep peace with my family.  I had not fully followed what God had laid on my hart because of family, now I have no more excuses.

Although a strong, loving, and nurturing relationship with parents is the most important aspect of protecting children from abuse, the body acceptance children can learn through comfort with nudity is also extremely important.  I know that the body acceptance that I learned through nudism was absolutely vital to my recovery from abuse and my developing healthy attitudes about sex and the human body in spite of both sexual and shame abuse.

Shame and ignorance of the human body help make children very susceptible to abuse, ignorance is not bliss, as I feel my story illustrates.  Although I am deeply sorry about any pain or embarrassment that sharing my story has caused my family, I must share it so that it can help others.  Karen A. McClintock says in Sexual Shame - An Urgent Call to Healing "Families have silenced these stories for the preservation of their esteem."  In spite of what has happened I know that I am far more fortunate than many people in the family that I have.  I am not sharing this out of any spite for them, I love them very deeply.  The deception this site confronts goes back to the fall in Eden, it did not start with my family.  I believe that my parents raised myself and their other children the best way they knew how.  The problem of body shame and it's consequences goes back thousands of years and very few people have yet to confront and expose it head on.  I'm sharing this because if what I say can help prevent any sexual addiction or abuse with others, including unhealthy body shame, that is far more important than the preservation of my families esteem, or my relationship with them.

In "Pure Desire" Ted Roberts says that if a person was raised in a Christian home that tended to put a negative spin on the issue of sexuality, and that person gets into sexual bondage the shame factor goes through the roof.  "He has nowhere to go, no one to talk to about his secret." I come from a home where sex and the body definitely had a negative "spin".  I clearly remember as a child, hearing how indecent and obscene the body is.  The only time I remember being able to go shirtless (forget about nude) even as a boy was for swimming, otherwise I had to have a shirt on.  To go shirtless any other time wasn't allowed.  It seemed to me that my parents considered most any bathing suit (which by today's standards would be extremely modest) or even males going topless to be indecent (females going topless wasn't even thinkable!).  Most anything even hinting at sex including very often a simple kissing scene in some TV show was usually met with their strong vocal disgust that such filthy things are allowed to be shown. 

I have been told that what I am doing shows total disregard and disrespect for my family and all that they believe in.  No I do not disregard or disrespect ALL that my family believes in, there was and is much good in my family, but like all families they are not perfect.  But, when it comes to beliefs that regard parts of the body that God created and called very good, as sinful or shameful, promoting shame, negative attitudes about sex, not talking openly and positivily about God's gift of sex, so that Godly and right attitudes can be more easily developed regarding it, than YES those aspects of my family I do disregard, disrespect, and must speak out against.

Generations of Deception

I may overstate this, but again I want to be very clear, that my beef is NOT with my parents, it's with a deception that has blinded countless generations of good people and caused them to treat what God created to be good as something that is bad.  My parents where victims of this deception, as are millions of other good Christian people.  Often times people blame their parents for problems that go back for generations, that does no one any good.  If you see a something wrong in your upbringing it most likely goes back for generations, not just one.  It's part of them being human.

Blaming your parents does nothing to stop it, the best solution is to forgive them and find a better way and to do things differently with your children, to help stop the cycle.  I have forgiven my parents and my siblings and know that I was far more fortunate then many people who have parents that care more for things like drugs or booze than they do their own children.  My parent's loved all their children very much, but like all people they where products of an imperfect culture in a fallen world where wrong and harmful patterns, behaviors, and beliefs flow all too easily from one generation to the next.  That is until they are recognized and people work to prevent the cycle from continuing in future generations.  With the ease of communication and the vast amounts of information available now, we have far more ability to do that than any generation before us, even so change is not easy.

In this world many things of God are perverted and twisted including the attitudes most Christians have about what God created and called "very good".  Like many other people I don't think that my parents understood that repression or "overprotection" often causes far more interest in the things they wanted to protect their child from, or that if that interest is suppressed in healthy ways it is far more likely to find expression in unhealthy ways.  Like (it seems most Christians) they didn't seem to understand Scripture when it says in Romans 7 that the law causes sin to spring to life, that the purpose of the law is not to show us how to live right, but to show us that we can't live right on our own, that we need to return to a dependent relationship to God and live by the Spirit, not live trying in our SELF to be obedient to rules or laws which arouse sinful passions in us.

My Abuse

For me the rules and resulting suppressed interest found expression in looking at pornography and intense sexual exploration with neighbors when I was eight.  We where only about one year apart in age and some people may not consider children so close in age "exploring" to be abuse, but this was much more than playing doctor or the other "sexual" playing that most children do.  They where obsessed with sex wanting to do almost nothing else, they more than once blackmailed me to do what they wanted (including keeping it secret), and where both experienced doing and wanting to do sexual things that most children that age don't even know about yet, so I call it abuse.  While I believe that I was far more fortunate than many children who are sexually abused by a teen or adult forcing themselves on a them, that level of sexual activity at that age is still abuse and wrong.  It was not normal for children of that age.  From researching abuse, I also believe that to be so preoccupied with it that they must have been abused themselves, children who are abused often act out sexually with other children. From that perspective I believe that I was at least indirectly sexually abused by an adult.  It is very likely that what was happening to me, at the level it was, wouldn't have happened unless an adult had sexually abused at least one of them or some other child they had contact with..

While I believe that this early introduction to sex was harmful, I feel that the shame I learned from my family and culture compounded the problem greatly and was actually FAR more damaging.  I knew very well how my parents reacted to anything regarding nudity or sex.  So, there was absolutly NO way I would have ever told them what was going on.  I believe that would have been true even if it had actually been a teen or adult abusing me.  That's why such an important part of this site, for me, is about encouraging parents to teach their kids to feel good about the body and to have positive open communication with them about the body and sexual issues.  Because, as a little kid I was terrified of what would happen if my parents found out about what was going on.  I was terrified because of how I saw them react to nudity and sexual subjects in other contexts!  

I am still terrified to think of how their reaction could have impacted my life at that young age.  (Many psychologists believe that adult reactions to learning about a child's sexual abuse can cause as much or more harm, to the child, as the abuse itself, even in cases where an adult forcibly abused a child.)  This fear of telling my parents about what was going on and the shame that I learned greatly compounded the negative impact this early sexual exploration had in my life.  If I hadn't been fearful of telling my parents or others about what was happening I am sure that it would have been stopped very quickly, and I would have probably soon forgotten about it.  However because of my fear of telling others what was going on, it continued for months and the shame, fear, and other effects from it have impacted me for life.  I know with certainty that if I had not found a healthier way to view the body through social nudism, that this negative impact could have been far worse.  Please, PLEASE, teach your kids that every part of their body is very good, that every part of it should be respected, and that if anyone does anything that is hurtful or disrespectful to them, they need to stand up for themselves and tell about it right away!

I also feel it is highly likely that shame was a driving force behind my neighbors interest as well.  In other words, if there had been positive open communication about sex, and open acceptance of nudity (apart from anything sexual) in their house and our society, would they have been so driven to this secret sexual exploration?  I, for one, don't think so.

Unfortunately, parents cannot always prevent their children from being sexually abused. However I believe that they can greatly reduce the risk, damage, and also increase the likelihood that they will find out about it so that they can help their child, if they are abused. A strong loving and supportive relationship with your children is the most important protection.  If children don't feel secure in the love they are receive from their parents, they will be far more vulnerable to others who pretend to offer them love.  Also extremely important is teaching body and sexual respect, in homes where everyone is comfortable with nudity in a non sexual context and sexual questions are openly, respectfully, positively, and age appropriately answered, if a child is sexually abused the parents are far more likely to find out about it very quickly, even immediately

A child with an open, accepting background will lack most of the fear about telling their parents about what someone has done to them, fear that a child with a background of shame would have plenty of!  A child that is taught body respect will be far more likely to speak up when someone disrespects or abuses their body, than a child who is taught shame.  In a home where nudity is not allowed, and sexual questions upset parents and/or are not answered in a positive, helpful, or respectful way, in a home where the child is fearful of how their parents may react, parents often never find out that their child has been sexually abused.  If they do it's often many years after the abuse happened!  Much, if not most, of the harm sexual abuse causes is in those years of shame, fear, and silence!  Only after abuse is discovered can it be dealt with so that healing can start.

It's Time to Expose the Deception

The body is basic to all humans, if children are not taught that the body is a good and wonderful thing and are not comfortable and familiar with nudity, how can they be anything but more vulnerable to perversion and sexual abuse?  Children who are taught body shame feel that there must be something wrong with them, not with some wrong things they sometimes DO but with THEM.  This is another reason children don't report sexual abuse and why it's effects are so harmful, because they believe that the reason this thing is happening to them is because there is something wrong or bad about them.  They learned to believe that by being taught shame!  When children are interested in a butterfly, a flower, a nose or any number of things good parents express joy at their interest and empower the child with their positive attitude and age appropriate knowledge.  But when it comes to interest in some parts of the body many of these same good parents react ways that instill shame and fear into the child rather than empowering them with joy and confidence.  It's no wonder that so many children fall victim to sexual abuse and never tell anyone about it!!!  Even with dangerous things like fire, most parents, schools, and even sometimes even churches educate far better and send far more helpful and empowering messages to their kids than they do with the body or sex!

In "Deceived by Shame, Desired by God" Cynthia Spell Humbert says: "Sexual abuse brings up a host of different emotions.  Many clients have explained that - to their dismay - they experienced physical pleasure.  Feeling terror and pleasure at the same time makes for an especially intense confusion, which often causes the victim to feel shame and self blame. God created our bodies to enjoy sexual arousal.  Arousal is normal.  The abuse of these feelings makes victims feel that their own body betrayed them."  Make no mistake an adult being sexual with a child is ALWAYS abuse, and always wrong for many reasons. But this quote illustrates both why shame and being afraid to talk to parents about body issues can be so harmful.  It also shows why sex must always be completely consensual and joyfully agreed on the part of both parties, even with husband and wife in marriage.  Terror should NEVER be a part of sex and forcing sex on anyone (even if both are adults and married) physically, through emotional corrosion/manipulation via saying things like "if you really love me" or any other means is always wrong and always an abuse and perversion of sex.

Make no mistake, children are as, if not more, interested in their and other peoples bodies as they are in anything else.  Repressing this basic interest rather than satisfying it in an open, healthy, supervised, and controlled atmosphere can cause children to seek out and satisfy their interest on their own in secret and potentially damaging ways.  This is confirmed by Dr. Grace Ketterman, a Christian child psychologist and pediatric doctor who says: "When a baby's hands are slapped for exploring certain parts of their body, and children are taught that part's of their bodies are bad and shameful there are some very negative results.  First, they are more likely to explore those areas secretly, alone or with other children.  Second, they will almost always be afraid to ask or talk about sexual matters with their forbidding parents".(2)

If my family and culture had taken a positive view of all parts of the human body, recognizing that the whole body is created by God and thus every part of it is good, that children are naturally interested in all of it, and need to be educated about all of it, and be taught to accept all of it as something good and wonderful, I believe that the negative, intense sexual experiences I had with neighbors would have NEVER happened.  My interest in the body would have already been satisfied openly in positive and controlled ways.  I would not have been as vulnerable to the situation or felt the need to seek out and satisfy my interest in secret and/or sexually active ways.  Many adults fear that if children are educated about the body and sex, they are more likely to want to try things.  But the truth is the better educated kids are the more likely they are to respect their bodies and sex and wait until the time is right.  The truth also is that if kids aren't educated, they are still VERY interested, so they are far more likely to get into trouble by trying things in ignorance, before they are ready.

Acceptance Brings Healing

As I said above, I personally credit the nudist/naturist philosophy of body acceptance (which I discovered in books at a library when I was twelve) to saving me from becoming addicted to pornography or far worse.  The nudist philosophy of body goodness and acceptance helped me develop healthy and respectful attitudes toward the human body in spite of abuse and shame. Nudism helped heal the damage that shame, childhood sex, and pornography had caused.  Having experienced non sexual, social nudity as well as seeing it's effect in many others I feel that this is an important key to healing and helping reduce many problems, including low self esteem, depression, sexual abuse, addictions, and others.  Research supports this as well. (4) Unfortunately my family is, so far, unable to see this, they seem unable to get past the idea that nudity equals sex and is sinful, obscene, and indecent.  Many in this culture are like them.

The Naturist Society has as it's motto "Body Acceptance is the Idea, Nude Recreation is the Way", this is certainly true on an experiential level.  It is why we are working to develop Natura, so that more people can have a wholesome, family oriented place to experience non sexual, social nudity and discover the reality of this body acceptance first hand.  No amount of reading, research, or viewing of non pornographic nude photos, makes body acceptance as real in peoples lives as the actual experience of non sexual, nudity with other people of both sexes and all ages, colors, shapes, sizes, and physical conditions.  Yet, even with Natura and places like it, only a low percentage of people will ever break through false beliefs to experience that. UNLESS, those false beliefs are confronted and exposed for the harm they cause head on.  I hope to confront them and show, on this site and through Natura, that the nudity taboo is not just worse than the disease, it in fact makes the disease (sexual abuse/addiction, low self esteem, etc.) worse! 

It's Not Easy to Change

Challenging deeply rooted beliefs is not easy no matter how wrong they are.  Voltaire said: "It is dangerous to be right on a subject on which the established authorities are wrong."  Many people throughout history have suffered greatly for working to expose false beliefs on many issues.  (Including for proclaiming the truth that the Earth is not the center of the universe, do some study on Copernicus and Galileo to find how much they suffered from established religious authorities for proclaiming that which is now accepted as truth.)  Other people have also suffered for taking a stand on nudity.  One pastor I know of lost a church and ordination because he would not repent and tell his congregation that he was wrong to teach that nudity isn't sinful.  Other Christian's have been disfellowshipped from churches, had family problems, and/or lost jobs.  All I can say for those who have had problems (including myself) is I that believe God has a purpose for them and can use them as a blessing.  I know that the pastor I spoke of above now has a wonderful new church plus a Bread and Breakfast business in their home. (5)

However being open about nudity doesn't always cause problems for Christians.  Many have been very open about nudity and not had any problems at all, I feel strongly that being as open as possible is best and will cause the least problems.  As for myself, for years I have been very open about my convictions regarding nudity with many friends and associates with no problem at all.  (Although I will admit that the more rigid and narrow I feel someone is in their thinking, the less likely I am to share my convictions on this and some other issues.)  Unfortunately it was always with my family that I was always most fearful of openly sharing my convictions, from my youth.  Sadly that is not uncommon in many families.  This is something that I deeply regret, looking at the damage that was caused I feel that it would have been best to be more open with them as well, I wasn't because of fear of how they would react, but scripture says that God does not give a spirit of fear.

Adversity is the trial of principle.  Without it, a man hardly knows whether he is honest or not.

- Henry Fielding

Into the Fire

Shortly after my family found my previous web site there was a family intervention.  Interventions normally happen when someone has a self destructive behavior, and after they reject any assistance others may offer.  In this case things went from family finding out about my web site promoting nudity, directly to a family intervention without any discussion of the situation with me or offers of assistance for me.  This was the result of fear which in part came from concern over nude photos on the web site and my computer (which I use to find, select, and edit useful or appropriate ones for my web site work), ESPECIALLY of children.  There is nothing objectionable in these photos as far as behaviour, pose, situation, context, etc. The only "objection" anyone could have is that everyone is nude.  If the people in any of these photos had been clothed showing the exact same activities, poses, and facial expressions there would not have been a problem, but because some people see simple nudity as sexual, there was a huge problem!  One example I was particularly struck by is this one, I was told in no uncertain terms that this photo was pure child porn, and sick.  Yet I contend that if this photo had been EXACTLY the same EXCEPT that the kids had been wearing swimsuits or other clothes this person would have seen just what it shows, two kids playing in water and nothing more.  The idea of it being pornographic wouldn't have even entered the persons mind, how sad!

Something is pornographic when it shows lewd and explicit sexual activity, this photo does not show ANY sexual activity.  A photo is pornographic when it has lewd or lascivious poses (nude OR clothed) this photo does not.  A photo can be pornographic because of lewd or lascivious facial expressions again nude OR clothed, this photo does not have such facial expressions.  Simple nudity does NOT make a photo or other art pornographic!  Simple nudity is NOT lewd or lascivious, it IS healthy and good!

I believe that that my family's fear may have also came from people with a church based sexual addiction program saying that I was addicted and that if I said anything else I was in denial and unrepentant.  (Given that that my site dealt in part with nudity and children, including photos, and that most people in this society equate nudity with sex, I certainly understand my families fear.  Their fear centered on concerns regarding pedophilia and child abuse which are very real concerns and one of the main reason that site existed, as well as this one.  But I was not allowed to express my position, I was only accused of contributing to what I'm trying to help prevent!  That was very hurtful and hard to take.)

Under extreme duress I had to promise to stop any work related to nudity and body shame while living in my parents house, I also had to join a church based sexual addicts support group, since in their view the only reason I could be promoting nudity was if I was a sexual addict.  Let me be clear that I do not believe my family was right at all BUT, I do believe that from their perspective, my family acted in love for me and did what they believed was best and right, I do not fault or blame them for that.  Let me also say that apart from my experience as a child that I am a virgin and proud of it.  I believe as Howard and Charlotte Clinebell say in "The Intimate Marriage" that "Sexual intimacy is more than the bringing together of sexual organs, more than the reciprocal sensual arousal of both partners, more even than the mutual fulfillment in orgasm.  It is the experience of sharing and self-abandon in the merging of two persons, expressed by the Biblical phrase 'two become one flesh'."

I believe that sex is a great gift from God, a physical representation of God's love for the church (Christ is referred to as the husband and the church as the bride many times in scripture)  I believe that sexual love is a holy symbol that unites a husband and wife as one, it is not something to be loose with or to be shared with more than one.  I feel that one of the greatest gifts I could give my wife is to be able to truthfully tell here that this gift of intimacy is something that I have shared with no one else.  This attitude that I have about sex had it's root for me in learning body respect through nudism.  That foundation was built on through Christian books about sex, Bible study, and prayer.  Unfortunately I can't say that I developed it in a home where sex was seen as bad and something that you DON'T talk about.  If parent's want their children to develop healthy, respectful, and Godly attitudes about sex, they need to talk to their children about sex in healthy, respectful, positive, and Godly ways!  (Now they also need to educate their children about the abuse of sex and the possible consequences of sex outside of God's guidelines, BUT the foundation should be that it's a wonderful gift from God that should be respected.)  If being a virgin and believing that sex is best saved as a gift for marriage makes me a sexual addict, perhaps there should be more addicts like that!

Again, the problem goes back to the fall, it did not start with my family, yours, or anyone else's of this age.  I believe that my family acted from deeply rooted, but very false and beliefs (and fear) which have been harming people from the time sin first entered humanity.  (again, I acted from fear myself which is why I wasn't more open with them.)  This is a spiritual battle.  What hurt the most was when I tried to say anything at all in defense of my position I was simply seen as unrepentant. there was no willingness to listen to any other possibility or viewpoint.  It was that way not just with family but with the church group as well, based on preconceptions and what had been told to the leader of this group, he had already made up his mind and would not listen to any other perspective. 

It may even be from that a leader of group that much of the unwillingness of my family to listen to another perspective came from.  You see, one of group group leaders had become addicted to pornography through "nudist" magazines as a youth.  Apart from indwelling sin, part of what may have caused that is that the "nudist" magazines he looked at where from the early 1960's. Unfortunately at that time most so called "nudist" magazines where thinly disguised pornography.  The reason for that is publishers of legitimate nudist magazines had been fighting the U.S.  Postal Service for many years to be able to send magazines with unaltered photographs, after they finally won that right many unscrupulous publishers took advantage of it in the 50's and 60's by publishing sleazy magazines with nudist on the title along with a few "nudist" articles and photos to make it appear like a legitimate nudist publication and get past postal regulations restricting pornography.  Those sleazy magazines bore no more similarity to the nudist magazines that I found in a university library from the 1930's and 40's than they would to today's legitimate nudist magazines, most of the photos in the "nudist" magazines at that time where suggestively posed and more pornographic than nudist. 

Another part of the problem is that he was just looking at images of nudity, he wasn't experiencing nudity in a non sexual context with real people.  Images of non sexual nudity in magazines, on the Internet, or in art (as good, important, and needed as they may be) are simply not the same as actually experiencing non sexual, social nudity with others in person.  Especially in a culture where people are conditioned to equate nudity with sex.  Just looking at 2 deminsional images is not likely to break that conditioning.  Experiencing real nudity in a real social environment where you are interacting with nude people with no expectation of the nudity leading to sex can break that conditioning, and often very quickly.  But the biggest challenge is that what I'm saying is counter to what most people believe and very few people have challenged those existing beliefs.  There was a time when most people believed that it was impossible for humans to fly, but some brave souls challenged that, looked at things in new ways, from different perspectives and now people fly all the time.  When enough people openly challenge unhealthy ideas about nudity and openly take a stand for body acceptance and healthier attitudes about nudity, far more people will start to look at nudity and accept it in a far healthier way than they do now.

As a Person Thinks

While in this sexual addicts group I struggled far more with impure sexual thoughts than I had in many years, why?  The answer is very simple Galatians 6:7 says "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." And Proverbs 4:23 says: "Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life." (New Century Version)  During my time with this group every week all members had to share about their struggles with sexual temptation, to be fair people shared their victories as well, but the focus of the group was on the problem.  That is why I struggled more with impure thoughts, I was thinking about and having to focus on sexually impure things directly because of my involvement with the group!

The leaders of the group also steadfastly maintained that simply seeing an attractive woman causes temptation, while Jesus says that it's not what is outside of us that makes us unclean. Jesus clearly says that evil things such as sexual sin begin inside the mind, not from outside it.  (see Mark 7:15-23)  In other words it's not seeing an attractive woman, who was created by God and is thus good, that causes sin, it's HOW WE THINK about her that causes sin.  Covering the body in clothes doesn't prevent sinful thoughts, it fact it often stimulates them by making the body more tantalizing and forbidden.  Focusing ON sin will NEVER give us victory over it, abiding in Christ, focusing ON Christ, what He did for us, who we are in Him, and Godly, pure ways of thinking about the body and sex can give us victory through Jesus.  Many ask what would Jesus do?  We also need to ask how would Jesus think?  Nude or clothed, would Jesus think that any body is indecent, obscene, or sinful?  NO!  A thousand times NO!  He created our bodies and calls them very good, that's how we should think too. 

Some people with this addicts group said that it helped them gain victory over sexual addictions, I truly hope so, perhaps the Holy Spirit rescued them in spite of the way the group was focused.  But  I feel that it's also possible that they gave up getting help in such a context and started faking victory to get relief and take some of the pressure off!  I feel that to truly get victory from sexual addiction people need to focus on on the solution, NOT the problem.  The solution is abiding and resting in Christ and His victory over sin, learning more about who they are in Christ, not as sinners, AND learning to see the human body as Christ sees it which is good, wholesome, and pure, not as Satan would have us see it as obscene and indecent or the cause of sexual lust.  Am I saying that only Christians can handle nudity without it becoming sexual, no many non Christians are far more comfortable with nudity in a non sexual context, because they haven't been as deeply indoctrinated with the idea that it is wrong so they simply don't see it as wrong.

All Things Happen for Good

As hard as the family intervention was, as much as I don't like what happened with the sexual addicts group, and as much as I don't like now being cut off from my family, I absolutely believe that it has happened for good and God's glory.  I believed that body shame was harmful before, but I basically accepted that without really researching or studying it.  My adversity caused me delve into it far deeper, was my belief about shame and nudity right or where my family right?  My former site just touched a bit on shame, while mostly touting the benefits of nudity, this situation caused me to do much more research which is hopefully reflected in this site.  Unfortunately following my convictions, delving into the subject deeper, and starting this site while I was still living at my parents home has cost me my relationship with my family.  I deeply regret that but I did not feel that I was in a position to live anywhere else at the time OR to ignore my convictions, so I have paid a very heavy price.

In the research I've been able to do since I've become far more convinced than I ever was before of how harmful body shame is.  I believe that as a result I am now in a far better position to help others understand how damaging body shame is with this site, than I ever could have before.  I also believe that it is even more important than I did before.  Because of the impact this writing had on others it opened the doors to developing Natura.  Bill Martin was very impressed with the writing on both sites and expressed interest in developing a naturist resort community based on and to help promote these values.  When I realized that he had a background in the development of large housing projects and was very serious, we started working together to make it a reality.  Among other things we both believe that much more research to back this up needs to be done and published.  Helping to fund such research is one of the many things we hope to do through Natura. 

Nude Photo's

My first site had non sexual nude photos to illustrate it's point that nudity is good.  This may have proved to be a stumbling block, as the nude photos caused some (like my family) who consider nudity to be sinful to jump to conclusions and not even consider what the site said.  Without photos I felt that perhaps some people would be more likely to read and thoughtfully consider what is said, so my second site had none.  However, I have found that not having photos does not open closed minds.  Photos can be a very powerful communication tool and I think that it is critically important to show positive images of non sexual nudity.  That and the fact that traffic and correspondence from people who had seen the second site are much lower has caused me to again reconsider the use of photos.  No matter what the subject, illustrations or photos make for more pleasant reading and can help communicate the message.  I know of no successful magazine on any subject that doesn't have photo's or artwork.  Even so I will also maintain a text only mirror site in the hopes that some who may be distracted by the photos on one site, may still read the other.

Now I'll really upset some people as I feel this is especially important regarding children.  In the past most nude pictures of children where seen as sweet, cute, and innocent, even wholesome, and good.  That's exactly how they should be seen!  But now (in order to protect children) almost any nude photo of a child is regarded as indecent, sexual, and pornographic.  Parents have had children taken away because of innocent photos of children running through a sprinkler naked, bathing, or even breast feeding.  This has done great harm to many families and does NOTHING to protect children from pedophiles or others, instead it puts children in far greater danger. I'll say that again in case someone missed it.  This does NOTHING to protect children from pedophiles or others, instead it puts children in far greater danger. 

Let me explain, we reap what we sow and for society to sow attitudes that naked children are sexual, indecent, and pornographic, rather than sweet, cute, innocent, and wholesome is extremely dangerous for children.  Adults are instinctually attracted to children in order to nurture, raise, and protect them, but this natural attraction can be perverted.  When even childhood nudity is only seen in a sexual context and as indecent rather than healthy and good that natural, good attraction becomes very easily perverted.  This is insane, can't people see that regarding childhood nudity as sexual, does NOT protect children from pedophiles, that instead it does the EXACT OPPOSITE and feeds their sickness!  This should be obvious!!!  Childhood nudity should be so common that it reduces the likelihood of people thinking of it in a sexual context.  Today, it is so taboo and nudity in general is so closely associated with sex, that more people are far MORE likely to think of even childrens nudity in a sexual context, this feeds on itself and is extreamly dangerous for children!  Think about it!  Not only can the attitude of adults be perverted by the taboo around nudity, but when children are prohibited from being or seeing others nude they are also at greater risk because they have more unsatisfied interest in the body and thus have less knowledge and confidence about the human body and what behavior is right or wrong regarding it.  Children should be so empowered to feel good about and respect their body and what behavior is right or wrong, that when anyone tries to abuse them, or behave improperly that they report it immediately!!! 

Worth the Risk

Even with the price I have paid and may yet pay, the harm body shame causes is so damaging and my calling to speak out on it so strong, that I must continue regardless.  Sadly, truth often divides people, even those who love each other.  I do not expect this to be an easy task, I know that my family does not like it.  Challenging strongly held beliefs, no matter how damaging they may be, is never easy. Jesus himself said that truth divides people, even families. (see Luke 12: 49-53)  Speaking out against established norms is very risky, even when those norms are wrong and harmful.

This subject is one even Ph.D.s who write about shame seem reluctant to tackle.  Many have written much on how damaging shame is from dysfunctional families, sexual and physical abuse, even body image, but few seem willing to do anything but skirt the most basic and essential shame of all, that of nudity.  Nudity even seems to cause some excellent writers to be double minded, in a very good book on preventing child abuse(6) on one page the author says shame can cause far reaching damage while on another page she instructs a mother to tell her child that curiosity about things such as "the body parts we cover" can cause trouble!  How does that teach the child anything other than body shame?  What a message to tell a child, that curiosity in the bodies that God made will cause trouble!  No, it's not having that interest satisfied in open, observed, controlled, and respectful ways which honor God that can cause trouble!!!

Child Safety at Natura or Other Nude Places

Natura is being designed to (among other things) be very family oriented, and to reach outside the "nudist" community via things like classes on natural parenting, building strong and nurturing relationships, the harm of body shame, preventing child abuse, and much more.  We hope it will be one of the world's safest places for children and will be instrumental in changing the way people approach protecting children from trying to keep children ignorant about very important and basic things such as parts of their and other peoples bodies, to empowering and educating children about the body, teaching that it is good, acceptable and should be respected. 

I would love to be able to say that no child will ever be abused at Natura, however - to be blunt - that would be irresponsible at the very least.  Parents and others need to be aware that abuse can happen anywhere, even where they think their children should be the safest.  Children are sexually abused in many places and situations where they should be safe, at church's, at schools, at camps, in sports programs, by baby sitters and more including most tragic of all, at home by family.  On this site, at Natura, and through other efforts we hope to show how important it is for families to be comfortable with nudity and talking about sexual issues in order to help protect children from sexual abuse. 

It's time to take another approach to protecting children from abuse by empowering them with information, confidence, AND respect for the human body.  If there is open communication about the body with kids and they are taught to respect it, rather than kept ignorant, ashamed, or fearful of it, they are in a much better position to stand up to someone who wants to abuse them, to report any sexual abuse, and to not be as traumatized by it.  When it comes to the human body, sexuality, and children, ignorance is NOT bliss! 

It is our hope that Natura will be a place where children are taught respect for the human body, where there is open, age appropriate, communication about sexual issues.  Where parents and other adults will be on the look out for harmful and wrong behavior around children, and where children will be aware of it as well and report anything if it does happen.  All employees, residents, and members will have background checks and if anything does ever happen we will report it to and work with local authorities.  With this society equating nudity so much with sex we realize that some people may be attracted to nudist clubs for the wrong reasons.  We are aware of that and will do our best to filter such people out.  However, such people are also attracted to church's, parks, schools and many other places for the wrong reason.  No matter where you are it is ultimately your responsibility to protect your children, to depend on others to do it could always give a since of false security.

We do believe that because we confront these issues head on, that Natura and places like it are the riskiest places for people who would sexually abuse others to go.  I'm certain this will offend many Christians, I'm sorry about that as I am Christian myself.  But to be blunt if they don't want to risk being caught, pedophiles have far less risk of being caught in places where people are bound in, and teach body shame, like many if not most churches!  We hope that with this site and our other educational efforts that we can be a major force in freeing this society, especially Christians and children from bondage to shame and in preventing child sexual abuse.

James 3:17 says: "But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere."  "First of all pure", wow!  To me that mean's that if we do not regard the human body (nude or clothed) as pure and good our wisdom is coming from somewhere else, NOT heaven!  Unfortunately most Christians do not seem to regard the human body as pure or decent, it is my prayer and hope that this site and our other efforts can change that and help people to joyfully accept themselves and others just as God created them, without shame. 

May God's love, wisdom, and grace guide you through this site.


Nate Dekan

Founder -
Executive Director, Co-Founder  - Natura Family Naturist Resort


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The Reject Shame Team

A critical aspect of this sites existence and success is the RS Team.  While I never felt alone before, feeling very strongly that this is God's call for me, this time I also have a team of dedicated volunteers who share the vision of this site and will ensure that no matter what may happen to me the site will go on. 

These are people who deeply believe in the message of this site and the need to get this message to others.  They are advisers, mentors, activists, editors, site hosts, site back-ups, site promoters, and more.  Most importantly, they are supporting this site with prayer.  Without them this site would not exist or reach many others with it's message.  I am deeply grateful to them.

If you want to join this team of volunteers and prayer warriors committed to supporting the message on this site please e-mail me here.

(1) Shame Thief of Intimacy, Marie Powers, 1998 Gospel Light - This is a Bible study on the subject of shame which I highly recommend to everyone.  It is available, with many other resources at our store.

(2)  Real Solutions for Abuse-Proofing Your Child,   Dr. Grace Ketterman,  2001 Vine Books

(3) Love Maps, John Money, 1986 Irvine Publishers

(4)  Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences & Engineering Vol 59(9-B), Mar 1999, 5104. Standard No: ISSN: 0419-4217 Abstract from a dissertation on treatment for body image and self esteem with abused women, by Richard Eugene Pearl Sr. at Tennessee State University

(5) Fellowship Bible Church, Anaheim, CA

(6)  Real Solutions for Abuse Proofing Your Child,   Dr. Grace Ketterman,  2001 Vine Books

Copyright © 2002

This article may be freely copied and distributed unaltered.

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.... thanks the International Naturist Association (INA) for providing our web hosting.  INA is a young progressive organization dedicated to promoting body acceptance and the naturist lifestyle/ philosophy throughout the world, their support is invaluable to us.  Click on this link to go to their site.