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

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The Root of Shame
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Rejecting Shame
Freed From Shame
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Ordinary Nakedness
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The Harvest Of Shame
Copyright © 2004, Nate Dekan
All Scripture is from the New Century Version unless otherwise noted.

Notice: The following is a long article, so you may wish to print it out,
find a comfortable chair, and read it off-line.

Little Peter and Mary are playing in a yard sprinkler on a hot summer day.  Mom's gone inside to fix a snack when they innocently decide it would be more fun to play without their wet, sticky, uncomfortable swimsuits.  When mom comes back out, she about has a heart attack and scolds Peter and Mary, yelling "Good little boys and girls don't run around without clothes, its indecent!  Bad, bad, BAD!  Put your clothes back on this instant!"

God looked at everything he had made, and it was very good."  Genesis 1:31

Young John was home watching a movie with his mom in which women were being verbally assaulted, physically beaten, and killed.  His mom said nothing until a woman came on the screen bare breasted, and then she immediately shut it off and said, "that's enough of that trashy movie.”  John thought "Wow that's like mom said it's ok to abuse, beat, and even kill women, but not to look at one naked!"

"Why are people important to you?  Why do you take care of human beings?  You made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honor.”  Psalm 8:4,5

Elizabeth is a young adult suffering from low self-esteem, which has manifested itself in depression and an eating disorder.  This is the result of the negative and conflicting messages she has received all her life about her body.  On one hand she has been told that her body is indecent and causes males to lust.  She has even heard rape victims being blamed for rape, because they are good looking.  On the other hand she feels pressured to measure up to the unattainable image of super models and is told if she isn't attractive enough no man will be interested in her.

Lord, you have made me happy by what you have done;  I will sing for joy about what your hands have done.  Psalm 92:4

Little Sarah is taught she always has to cover parts of her body, even for things like swimming, because those parts are "shameful.”  When she asks about genitals or were babies come from her parents get very uncomfortable.  She either gets in trouble, they avoid her questions, or say "polite people don't talk about such things.”  If her parents ever refer to genitals around her they use some euphemism such as "down there" or "Pee Pee" instead of the correct terms as they do with nose, mouth, elbow, etc.  As a result, Sarah has learned extreme shame for her body and to not talk about certain things.  One day an adult her parents know and trust sexually abuses her.  She feels it is her fault because her body is bad, so she does not tell anyone about it.

I praise you because you made me in an amazing and wonderful way.  What you have done is wonderful.  I know this very well.  Psalm 139:14

Paul is addicted to hard-core pornography and is losing interest in his wife, she isn’t as exciting as the pornography.  Paul got started with pornography when he was young and was just curious about what girls looked like naked.  Pornography was the only way he could find to fill that curiosity.  He started out with "soft" porn, but the too perfect bodies and seductive poses sexually aroused him and made him hungry for more.  Therefore, he started looking for something racier which led to even more racy and raunchy stuff.  Now he is addicted to hard-core porn and is finding even it doesn't satisfy anymore.  What is he going to turn to next that will arouse him?

"Train children how to live right, and when they are old, they will not change."  Proverbs 22:6

What kinds of messages are Christians teaching or receiving about the human body today?  In the examples above did Peter and Mary learn that the bodies God gave them are good, or that they are something bad and indecent?  Did John learn, in the movie he was watching or his mom's response to it, anything about treating others with honor?  Has Elizabeth learned that her body is a gift from God that she should be happy and joyful about?  Does she understand that it is sin and not the human body that is the source of evils like lust, rape, and sexual abuse?  Or that her body alone is not her identity, she has much more to be thankful for and share with others?  If Sarah had learned that her body is good, amazing, wonderful, and something you can talk about, would she have been more likely to tell someone about the sexual abuse that happened to her? 

Interest in the human body is common to all people, not just young boys like Paul.  That interest can suppressed but not eliminated.  That suppressed interest can later assert itself in other ways, one of the least harmful of which is interest in pornography.  The most effective way to prevent this is to fulfill interest in the human body and sex in positive, healthy ways, not suppress it.  Was Paul provided with a right, positive, or healthy way to satisfy his interest in others bodies if he had to turn to pornography to satisfy his curiosity?  Was he trained, at a young age, not just that sex is wrong outside of God's will, but more importantly what is right, positive, good, and wonderful about the body or sex?

This article challenges common religious views, in this country, that parts of the human body are indecent, and cause people to lust.  Is this really true, Godly, or Biblical?  Historically many accepted religious views are clearly not God's will or views at all, they come from human tradition, often because of satanic influence!  Examples of this can be found in religious wars, the fact that slavery was accepted and justified for centuries (by many in the church), the idea that we can be saved or justified by our good works, that we need a human mediator between us and God to receive forgiveness, among many others to numerous to mention.  I have learned that if I start to question something I need to listen to that inner voice and then check it against the plum line of God's word and character, not against accepted or currently established views.  (All of God's word must be interpreted in light of His character, which is love; otherwise we will take things out of context.  We need to study the Bible to get to know God, not to get to know the

The mind goes toward its most dominating thought.  This is why the Bible tells us to guard our minds and says in Philippians 4:8 "Brothers and sisters, think about things that are good and worthy of praise.  Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected."  The bodies that God created and gave us are all of the above.  Scripture also says that we reap what we sow (Job 4:8, Proverbs 11:18, Proverbs 22:8, Hosea 8:7, Hosea 10:12, 2 Corinthians 9:6, and Galatians 6:7, 8) Thus, if we think about sex, the human body, and nudity as good and worthy or respect that is more likely how we will react to them.  However if we think sex, the human body, and nudity are indecent, impure, and obscene then that is more likely how we will react to them. 

This is exactly why pastors that have pounded the pulpit against sexual immorality have often been caught in sexual immorality, it is what they where thinking about, it is what they sowed!  We can't effectively decrease the lure of immorality, promiscuity, or pornography by attempting to stamp them out, outlawing them, or putting emphasis on what people shouldn't do.  While we need to point out dangers, we must put the emphasis on positive ways of looking at and thinking about things.  We need to tell people about living in Christ.  We need to tell people the good things they can do that please God and make life better.

I hope to show, in this article, that shame (of the body) plays into Satan's hand and gives him what he, and not God, desires.  This is not shame over sin; it is shame over God's pure and holy creation.  As long sin is in the world I do not believe that lust or other sexual sins will, or can, be eliminated.  However I hope I can show that body shame and repressing non-sexual nudity is unhealthy and makes the struggle with sexual sin worse, not better.  I hope to show that a better and more Godly way would be to intentionally develop an attitude of acceptance and wholesome respect for all of the body (which is God's gift for us), rather then an attitude of shame.  I won't do this just by using the few scriptures that deal directly with nudity.  I will primarily use scriptural principles such as the purpose and effect of God's law.  I will also affirm that God created the body said it was very good and never changed his mind!  Since God has opened the way for restoration through Jesus Christ.  We also need to look at how God intended us to live before the fall.  Should we still just accept shame as a result of the fall, or should we strive to obtain victory over it as we do other sin through Christ, as we live out our relationship with God?


Shame and discomfort of the body says that there is something sinful or indecent about parts of the body, which God created, and establishes a breeding ground for impure thoughts.  This is not true; there is nothing sinful or indecent about the human body.  If there was something sinful or indecent about the human body, there would have to be something sinful and indecent about God!  In Gen. 1:31 "God looked at everything He had made, and it was very good."  All of the human body is part of God's good creation.  God intended us to be unashamed and have pure thoughts.  His intention that humanity be naked and unashamed is shown quite clearly in Genesis 2:25 by stating that Adam and Eve where naked and unashamed.  If this had been unimportant it would not have been mentioned!  This is God's intention for us on both a physical and spiritual level.

Christian's are clear that sin and death would not exist (at all) if not for the fall, but they seem to miss the fact that shame and clothing exist for the very same reason!  We don't teach that other results of the fall like separation from God, conflict between people, sin, death, sickness, fear, greed, envy, selfishness, and hate, etc. are right, and should control the way we live, when they are so clearly wrong.  Why then have we been so deceived to teach that shame of the bodies God gave us is right and should control the way we live, when it is also a result of the fall?  Will we continue to justify away this part of how God intended us to live because of sin?  Will we toss it aside because it doesn't fit what we been taught to believe, or because it places the responsibility for lust where it belongs, indwelling sin, not on others bodies?  That makes us too uncomfortable; we don't want to face that. Should the way we regard the human body be controlled by sin that resulted in the fall or by the Holy Spirit?  Would the Holy Spirit lead us to lust after or reject the body, or accept it as God's good and pure creation?

We all have a natural and healthy interest about the human body, what happens if this natural interest only continues to be suppressed with no wholesome, non-sexual ways to fulfill it?  Just look at the warped views, sexual impurity, and crimes of this society for an answer to that!  True, because of beliefs and upbringing, some people may think parts of the body are indecent, reject the idea of wholesome, non-sexual, social nudity, and still keep sex within God's framework of marriage, but will they have had a harder struggle with impure thoughts then they would if they had been more comfortable with the body?  Moreover, while they may have kept the sex act within God's framework,  would their attitudes about sex and the body have been as positive and pleasing to God as they could have been?  A God who is good, pure, just, righteous, compassionate, loving, and Holy would not create something impure or indecent that we should be ashamed of, or would (in itself) cause us to sin, would He?!  If He wouldn't, do we need to change our attitude toward the body and nakedness?  Is it beneficial or healthy, let alone Godly, for us to consider parts of the body, that God made, to be indecent or shameful, and the cause or source of impure thoughts?

What we've been taught to believe regarding the body doesn't come from God, the Bible, or the Hebrew culture.  It comes from a belief that was very dominant in the Greek and Roman cultures during the formative years of the Church.  Simply stated part of this belief (called Gnosticism) says that all physical matter is evil, only spiritual things are good.  This heresy creates an alienated, or negative, view of God's creation.  This is a lie, God created all physical matter so it is very good.  Further while god spoke all of the rest of creation into existence scripture says that God physically formed the human body out of the dust and physically breathed life into it.  That sets us apart from the rest of creation as very special, it’s time that we recognize that.

It is only how we use creation (or think about it) that can be evil, not creation itself.  Two of the lies of Gnosticism (1.  Jesus could not have come in the flesh, since flesh is evil.  2. Only the Spirit is of value not the flesh, so we have no sin.)  are refuted in 1st John and elsewhere in the New Testament.  Unfortunately this heresy has negatively influenced Christian thought toward many "non-spiritual" things most especially the human body.  I believe that the results of this heresy can also be seen in the lack of massive Christian involvement with environmental concerns.  The Lord calls us to be good and faithful stewards of his wonderful creation, not exploiters of it.  Christians, not "New Agers", should be leading the way in living environmentally responsibly and taking a stand against those who exploit the earth. (But that's another topic!)

There is little known and interesting passage not in the Bible, but considered by some Bible scholars to be authentic.  While I don’t consider other works to have the same importance as the Bible, I do think they can be helpful in discerning both truth and error.  This passage was found in ancient manuscripts around the early 1900's.  (These manuscripts contain much of the Gospels and much additional that is clearly Gnostic heresy.  Although much of this “Gospel of Thomas” is Gnostic heresy, this particular passage is interesting because it seems to directly oppose the Gnostic thinking of physical things being evil.)  In it, right after Jesus had taught about being as little children, the disciples asked when they would know him and He replied, "When you disrobe without being ashamed and take up your garments and place them under your feet, like little children and tread on them, then you will see the son of the living one, and you will not be afraid".  I do not know if this passage is authentic to Jesus or not, (I'll leave that for the experts to fight over, and God to know!) although I am certain that it is not essential to the Bible, or God would have insured it was included.  But it does raise an interesting question, which is why I've included it in this discussion.  How can we truly know ourselves and others, let alone God, if we are ashamed of how God created us, and what He created us to be?

Being ashamed of how God created us, and what He created us to be, shows that shame is a sin of pride.  Only God is purely spirit, we are not God and never will be.  He created us as physical beings with spirits, there is no reason to be ashamed of our physical, created, being, unless in our pride, we are saying that it's not good enough, we should be spirit, like God.  Wanting to be like God is what got Lucifer expelled from heaven, and what caused the fall of Adam and Eve.  Remember they were unashamed of nakedness before they fell for the temptation to be like God (Gen. 3:5) and ashamed of it only after they fell for that temptation.  We are not God, but we are God's creation and his temple!

In the Old Testament there was temple of God built by man following God's instruction.  Imagine if after building it the Israelites had decided that part of it was indecent and they covered it because they were ashamed to look at it or have it be seen by others!!  Impossible! Unthinkable!  You say, how could any one possibly think part of God's temple is indecent!?  Yet that is exactly what many have decided.  The Bible calls our bodies the temple of the Holy Spirit.  This temple wasn't even made by man; this temple was completely designed, made, and given to us by God.  The Bible says in Psalms 139: 13-14 that we are marvelously made, yet some have apparently decided they know better then God and have declared parts of us indecently and shamefully made!


There are a couple of passages some use against nudity, so lets look at them now.  Some Christians point to Lev. 18 and say "The Bible forbids us from looking at the nakedness of our mother, sister, aunt, etc.”  This is simply an inaccurate translation caused by some translators discomfort in referring directly to sex, and using nakedness as a euphemism.  Biblical and language scholars agree that an accurate translation here should read that we are forbidden to have sex with our mother, sister, aunt, etc.  Even if this wasn't the case, it is part of the law and as such works to fulfill the purpose of the law, which we are no longer under.  (More about the purpose of the law later.  Suffice to say for now that nothing will show a sinful creature it's sinfulness, quicker then being told not to do something!)

The same Hebrew word 'ervah' that should be translated as sex in Lev. 18, is also used in Genesis 9: 20-27.  This is the passage where Ham's son Canaan was cursed after Ham saw his father Noah drunk and naked.  (The word naked being used in English translations.)  Again the fact that the Hebrew word 'ervah' is used here implies something more than mere nakedness.  Also the fact that while it was Ham that saw and reported whatever happened, it was his son Canaan that was cursed after Noah knew "what had been done to him" also implies something more.  Others have gone into some detail on this, but what exactly happened here can only be speculation for us, except that it was more then simple nakedness.

Many paraphrases or "translations" of 1st Corinthians 12: 22-25 could be more challenging to nudity, at first look.  Especially in "The Living Bible" paraphrase.  It reads, "And some parts that seem the weakest and least important are really the most necessary.  Yes, we are especially glad to have some parts that seem rather odd!  And we carefully protect from the eyes of others those parts that should not be seen, while of course the parts that may be seen do not require this special care.  So God has put this body together in such a way that extra honor and care are given to those parts that might otherwise seem less important.  This makes for happiness among the parts, so that parts have the same care for each other that they do for themselves."  However, if this wording is taken literally (since it is an analogy of the church, the body of Christ) it would also be saying that there are members of your Church that you should carefully protect from the eyes of others, that there are members of your church who should not be seen!  Certainly you can see how absurd this is, that it could not possibly be correct!?  Then what is meant by this passage?

When commenting on the New International Version of 1 Cor. 12: 22 in "The Church in a Pagan Society.  Studies in 1st Corinthians"  author David Ewart wrote:  "Often those parts of the body which seem weaker are most indispensable (v.22).  One might think of vital organs such as heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys, without which life could not go on."

Clark's Holy Bible Commentary says, "Verse 22 'Those members... which seem to be more feeble.'  These, and the less honorable and uncomely mentioned in the next verses, seem to mean the principle viscera, such as the heart, lungs, stomach, and intestinal canal.  These, when compared with the arms and limbs, are comparatively weak; and some of them, considered in themselves, uncomely and less honorable; yet these are more essential to life then any others.  A man may lose an eye by accident, or an arm or a leg may be amputated, and yet the body live and be vigorous; but let the stomach, heart, lungs, or any of the viscera be removed, and life becomes necessarily extinct.  Hence, these parts are not only covered, but the parts in which they are lodged are surrounded, ornamented, and fortified for there preservation and defense, on the proper performance of whose functions life so immediately depends."

Strong's Hebrew Greek Dictionary says the Greek word rendered "uncomely" in the KJV can mean "shapeless.”  The Vine Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, states that "uncomely" means "formless" in the original language.  Shapeless and formless are adjectives that could much more easily be applied to internal organs that are unseen, then to external organs that can be seen.

In light of this perspective, the last part of verse 24 holds a key to a better understanding of these verses.  "So God has put this body together in such a way that extra honor and care are given to those parts that might otherwise seem less important.”  God is the one who has already done it!  Clark writes in his commentary that "these parts (that is, the less honorably regarded internal organs) are not only covered (with skin by God), but the parts in which they are lodged (this same skin and adjacent tissue) are surrounded, ornamented, and fortified for their preservation and defense.”  Note that this commentator discusses physical protection here - not physical concealment.  There's a big difference!  One that could easily be seen in a literal interpretation.  Instead of it meaning that we are to carefully conceal certain members of the church (who should not be seen) from the eyes of others, it means that we are to protect, pray for, and support members of our church!  Doesn't this make a lot more since?!  And wouldn't it include church leadership, or those who may be in the background and not often recognized, but without whom the church could not function?

Some will say "But what about sin?"  "It is because of sin (which didn't exist when Adam and Eve were naked) that we can't go naked."  Yes, it is true that we struggle with sin but, as we shall see, trying to shift the responsibility of our sinful thoughts onto God's creation, which He pronounced "very good" (Gen. 1:31) only makes the problem worse.  Society's insistence on covering our sexual parts only serves to draw more, not less, attention to them and their sexual functions then if nudity was accepted in non-sexual settings.  (We will take a closer look at Adam and Eve later.)  Although all of creation is bruised and suffering because of the fall, the core or essential purity and goodness of God's creation has not diminished.  Parts of the human body did not become indecent at the fall; sex as well did not become sinful at the fall.  The Body and sex are still God's pure and good creation, part of His masterpiece, and gift to us.  Neither are sinful, it is the abuse and exploitation as well as the maligning and aspersion of both that is sinful.  Seeing someone naked doesn't cause sin.  Not seeing someone naked doesn't prevent or stop sin.  Our fallen, sinful nature causes sin.


The fact is forbidding nakedness can actually increase sin!  Why?  Because our sinful nature makes things that are forbidden more tempting then those things that are not.  When we forbid nakedness, because we think it promotes impure thoughts, we actually end up struggling with impure thoughts more than if nakedness was seen as no big deal and simply accepted.  Many cultures used to live naked until Christian missionaries (whom I'm sure had the very best of intentions) came along and put clothes on them.  After they started wearing clothes and were told that nakedness was sinful, sexual immorality didn't decrease it increased!  Why did this happen?  Rom 5:20 explains it.  It says that "The law came to make sin worse."  We forget that nakedness does not cause impure thoughts, sin does, and we (like the religious people that Jesus confronted) add fuel to the fire and make sin even worse with laws that God never intended us to be under!

Laws can control outward actions (when they are known to be enforced), this is very important if society is to function.  But they do not control the heart.  Let's put this to a test.  Follow my instructions very carefully.  Do not look at your right hand.  Now I'm telling you, no matter what you do, do not look at your right hand.  That's right I said do not look at your right hand.  You are absolutely forbidden to look at it.  You are forbidden to even think about looking at it!  Now how does that effect you?  Aren't you just itching to look at your right hand?  Did you look at it?  Did you want too?  Did you think, "Who is he to tell me what to do?!"  Fifteen seconds ago the last thing in the world you were thinking about or interested in doing was looking at your right hand!  But once my "law" came in, and I told you not to look at it, didn't it "arouse the sinful passions" in your flesh to make you want to do the very thing, I told you not to do?  Didn't it at the very least make you conscience of your right hand, when you hadn't been thinking of it before?  This may seem like a very silly little test, but I think it's important because it can show the power of the law to increase sin.  Why does the law do this?  Why does the law make sin worse?  Because that is what it was designed to do!  It is a tutor or mirror, teaching and showing us that there is nothing good in ourselves and leading us to Christ, the only place we can find true goodness.  A mirror like the law can not clean us up, all it can do is show us that we are dirty and need to be cleaned, in the case of sin only Jesus can clean us, nothing else!

Paul talks about this in Roman's 7, when he says that he would not have known what it was or had the desire to covet if the law had not said "do not covet".  The law was not designed to help make us right with God; it was designed to show us that due to our fallen, imperfect nature, we can never by our efforts be made right with God.  It is only when we accept, by faith, the wonderful gift of grace and life in Jesus (that God freely gives) that we can be made right with Him.  When will we learn that those who do believe in Jesus and have accepted His gift have been freed from the law of sin and death and really believe it?!   (Being freed from the law also means being freed from the power of sin.  See 1st Cor. 15:56, Rom. 6:14 & 7:1-6, Gal. 3:1-3)  I think it happens only when we are at the end of ourselves and willing to let go of our pride.  We want to be self-sufficient.  We want to be good by ourselves, be righteous by ourselves, and be pure by ourselves.  Well I have news, we aren't!  It is only by Gods grace and allowing Christ Jesus to live through us that we can be.  Not only is the law powerless in helping us control our flesh, it stirs it up!  It is only as we let Christ live in us that sin loses its flavor, and it is only by walking in the spirit that we won't fulfill the desires of the flesh.

Gods law is quite able to do its job.  The Bible warns of adding to Gods law.  Religious leaders in Jesus's time had erected many laws around the Sabbath, to ensure that people kept it holy.  Jesus repeatedly defied these man made laws and showed that those who kept the letter of those laws where guilty of breaking the spirit of Gods law.  He showed that while these laws may have made people look righteous on the outside, they where full of filth and corruption on the inside.

Today there are church and civil laws against nudity that where not established by God.  These laws were intended to keep us from lusting.  Are they effective?  Clearly not!  I've been to church camps where, (instead of swimming nude) both males and females had to wear t-shirts over swimsuits!  Did this decrease the interest in sex and the body?  NO, it increased it greatly!  It was absolutely counterproductive in keeping the kids minds off the bodies of the opposite sex, it made them more interested.  Away from camp staff, sex was about all the kids talked about!  It also made it so that the only way those kids could satisfy that interest was sexual.  I've been to nudist camps where there was far, far less sexual talk and/or activity among kids then at church camps.  Why?  Because at the nudist camp the body is simply accepted as good and natural, therefore much interest in it can be satisfied naturally and non-sexually.

Many on both sides of the issue of homosexuality probably won't like this, but think about it...  Is it just coincidence that now that there are far less opportunities for even same sex, non-sexual, nudity among youth than there used to be (i.e. group gym showers in schools that are hardly used anymore, nude swimming at YMCA pools, Scout camps, and even many schools, etc.) that there is also far more acceptance and awareness of homosexuality now?  Or that even same sex nudity now has sexual connotations, when it didn't used to?!  Which came first, the decrease of opportunities for same sex, casual, non-sexual nudity or the broad awareness, acceptance, advocacy and open promotion of homosexuality?  I think you'll find that the decrease for opportunities of same sex, casual, non-sexual nudity started in the 1950's & 60's, increased dramatically in the 70's to the present, while there wasn't real broad, casual, awareness, acceptance, and open promotion of homosexuality until the 1980's & 90's!  It may just be coincidence but I find it to be a very interesting one.  Since many youth now say they don't want to shower after gym class because gays may be "checking them out" (I never heard that when I was in school) it strongly implies that the repression of non-sexual nudity directly increases the sexual connotations of nudity.  The connotations of this regarding children are terrifying!

Does this imply that if nudity was widely accepted that we would loose interest in sex?  By no means the sexual urge God gave us is very strong and healthy.  He instructed Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply before sin and shame destroyed paradise.  What I do believe is that if nudity was widely accepted many more people (especially teens) would be far less obsessed with sex.  Although the influence of sin will still be in the world until the Lords return, I do believe that if non-sexual nudity was widely accepted peoples sexual behavior would naturally be (not perfect, but) somewhat more in line with Gods intention for it.  Why do I believe this?  Simply because repression creates obsession.  There would be an accepted non-sexual way for people to fulfill their natural interest in, and be comfortable with other peoples nude bodies.  I saw a report on the news recently that said people in the U.S. have more sexual partners than any other industrial nation.  This wasn't really surprising to me, Europe as a whole is more relaxed about sex, and nudity while the U.S. is obsessed with them.  Being comfortable with, positive  about, and more relaxed (or accepting) about sex does not equate to more sexual immorality it results in less sexual immorality!


Children are not born ashamed of their bodies.  Instead, if given a chance, very young children take great delight in being free of clothes.  Sadly, over time, we fall for Satan's deception and become ashamed of our bodies.  This shame makes parts of God's creation seem indecent or obscene when we should just be able to accept them just as easily as we do a forehead, elbow, or nose.  Body shame focuses our attention on the genitals and their functions, because (referring again to Roman's 7:1-11) its our sinful human nature to want to see what we're told we shouldn't see, and to want to do things we're told we shouldn't do.  If interest in the human body can't be filled in a healthy non-sexual environment it is very likely that it could be perverted in unhealthy ways such as voyeurism, pornography, and sexual promiscuity.  Such results can be clearly seen this culture.

If the most accessible way for a child to fulfill the natural interest in what naked bodies look like (which like other things isn't satisfied with just one answer or, in this case, look) is through pornography they will (and they do) look at pornography.  The problem of course is that pornography doesn't give a realistic picture of what normal bodies look like; it is exploitive and sexual in nature, stimulating impure sexual fantasies in adults and children.  And since it is often the most accessible way to see the naked human body, it also reinforces the association of nudity and sex.  Pavlov would be proud!  But I ask, is God?  And is pornography what you want to be the most accessible way for your child/children to fulfill their interest in what naked bodies look like?  It has been shown time and again that children who grow up in nudist homes have very little to no interest in pornography plus a much more balanced and healthy outlook on the body and sex then children who where raised in homes were non-sexual nudity wasn't accepted and common.

Many Christians don't think social nudity could in any way be Godly.  But I have to ask, what is Godly about being ashamed of the bodies God has given us?  What is Godly about calling parts of the body that God made indecent?!  Should Christians be ashamed of nakedness, or should we be ashamed of being ashamed of nakedness?!  Body acceptance and nudity has been shown to contribute to sexual morality.  A study done in 1969 showed greater sexual satisfaction in marriage and stronger marriages, among nudists then the average population.  Another work on childhood nakedness and its effect on sexual morality shows how childhood nakedness is beneficial with self acceptance and sexual identity.  It also shows how childhood nakedness can decrease problems with homosexuality, pornography, voyeurism, exhibitionism, pedophilia, sexual molestation, rape, incest, and sexual promiscuity.  I remember a proud nudist parent saying that she was told by their son's teacher that he was the only boy in the Elementary school that could be trusted to be a hall monitor by the girls restroom, he was the only one that didn't try to peak!  Divorce rates among nudists are also lower then in most church dominations.

People who have positive, Godly attitudes toward the body and sex are more likely to honor and enjoy God's purpose for sex then those that have negative, sinful, and obsessive attitudes.  People are marrying at an older age now then in most of history, there is also scientific evidence that (due to diet and other factors) children are also entering puberty (with it's increase in sexual hormones and interest) at a younger age then most of recorded history.  So it is very important for us to give children positive, Godly attitudes toward the body and sex to counteract what they hear from the world if we want them to live up to God's purpose for sex.  (The Bible talks much more about adultery then it does premarital sex, if people in Biblical times got married closer to, even before, the onset of puberty that could be a good reason why!)

Do I think social nudity is the answer for cleaning up sexual immorality in our culture?  NO, NO, NO, a thousand times NO!  I believe it can help, but because of the fall there will always be sin in this world.  The only answer to sin is Jesus Christ!  If people know Jesus, live, and put their trust in Him, He'll take care of the problems he needs to in their lives.  Whether it is selfishness, fear, lust, immorality, pornography, dishonesty, drugs, racial bigotry, gossip, gluttony, shame, etc.  Philippians 1:6 says "He who began the good work in us is faithful to complete it.”  As many benefits as I see with social nudity, I still know that efforts to directly clean up the problems in our culture while they may sound very wise, only clean the surface, at best, while the heart is still dead.  Only Jesus can revive and clean up the heart, Jesus must come first!!  But social nudity can help point people in the right direction.  A personal relationship with Jesus Christ and rejecting body shame via social nudity is a powerful and positive combination in developing positive attitudes about the body and sexual morality.


Col 2:20-23 says, "Since you died with Christ and were made free from the ruling spirits of this world, why do you act as if you still belonged to this world by following rules like these: "Don't eat this," "Don't taste that," "Don't even touch that thing"?  These rules refer to earthly things that are gone as soon as they are used.  They are only manmade commands and teachings.  They seem to be wise, but they are only part of a manmade religion.  They make people pretend not to be proud and make them punish their bodies, but they do not really control the evil desires of the sinful self."  (Emphasis mine)  How does Col. 2:20-23 relate to nudity?  Simple, we have rules in this world against nudity; these rules refer to earthly things and are manmade.  They help us pretend to be more modest and pure, i.e. not proud.  These rules make us punish and deny the goodness of our bodies.  They do nothing to deny the evil desires of the sinful self.  And they seem to be wise, while they in fact make the body more enticing to our sinful nature!  Controlling the flesh by the law is just an illusion; we must be led by the Spirit!  And the Spirit leads to Godly freedom, not more laws, and regulations!!

Again, because of the fall there will always be sin in this world.  Including lust for the body and other sexual sins.  Col 2:23 says manmade commands do not control evil desires.  Rom. 5:20 says, "The law was added so that the trespass might increase."  If we can't get rid of sin by self effort and the law does not control evil desires but in fact increases them, doesn't it make sense that we should at the very least not increase evil desires toward nudity by establishing laws against it?!  The most we can do, the thing we need to do, is not to try to control ourselves or others with more laws the Lord did not establish.  We need to allow Jesus to be in control of our lives and share Him, in love, with others.

Pretending not to be proud (v.23) gets to the hart of the problem that keeps us from depending on God alone to free us from sin.  Because we are proud we want to blame things other than ourselves for sin (like Adam and Eve did).  If we have a law that says, "thou shalt not look upon a naked person,” we can blame nakedness for our impure thoughts.  If nakedness is considered sinful it's easy to place blame and say, "I had impure thoughts because I saw someone naked, in revealing clothes, or I imagined them naked.”  But, if we acknowledge that God's creation is pure and holy, that simply seeing it could not cause sin, and if we still have impure thoughts, then we would have to acknowledge that the sin comes from inside us and does not result from just seeing nakedness.  Our sinful pride doesn't want to acknowledge that, it wants something outside of ourselves to blame our sin on.  I think this is part of why God called King David a "man after His own heart.”  When David was confronted with his adultery he didn't blame Bathsheba, he didn't say, "If I hadn't seen her bathing naked, I wouldn't have committed adultery.” or make any other excuses.  No, instead he simply took responsibility for his sin and said, "I have sinned against the Lord" (2nd Sam. 12:13)  Adam blamed Eve and God for making Eve, Eve blamed the serpent, we blame nudity or whatever, David took responsibility for his sin.


Some Christians say, pointing to 1st Timothy 2:9,10, that we must wear clothes for modesty.  So lets take a look at this.  Paul says "I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls, or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”  The context here as evidenced by the accompanying verses is for times when people are gathered for worship and instruction.  This would not be the best time to be trying to attract attention to yourself since your focus should be on God!  This wasn't a ban on nudity at appropriate times, even in church!  History clearly shows that it was custom for men, women, and children to be baptized naked, together, in church, for at least the first four centuries A.D.  Naked baptism was also the norm before and during the lifetimes of both Jesus and Paul.  (When Jesus was baptized He, John the Baptist, and others being baptized would have all been naked.  These and those watching would have included men, women, and children.  Some early artwork of the church clearly shows Jesus being baptized nude (Such as the Arian Baptistery mosaic at Ravenna.  See for a picture.), later as negative attitudes about God's creation became more prominent in the church, the art changed, with even some of the earlier artwork being painted over.)  If Paul or Jesus had, had a problem with this tradition they certainly would have said something about it.

Paul had some concern for outward appearances of modesty, but he was much more concerned with what came from the heart.  Paul knew that it is very possible to dress very modestly and still act and think in a very immodest way.  Notice that the things Paul says not to wear are physical such as gold, pearls, and expensive clothes, while the things he says to wear are inner qualities such as propriety and good deeds.  The modesty which is most important, is an inner quality or attitude, It doesn't mean dressed, it means not vain or boastful, unassuming.  Or as a quote I've seen says "Modesty isn't measured by the yard of fabric, but rather by what a person thinks and does."  Yes I am saying it's possible to be naked and modest.  If modesty means not being vain or boastful, but being unassuming, then someone who is simply naked and unadorned can be much more modest then someone, in church, dressed in their Sunday best trying to look good, attract attention, and impress others!!

Are any swimsuits modest at any time?  There is no functional purpose for them, they don't protect you from injury, in fact a U.S. Government study found that swimming suits increase the chances of getting stung by sea lice or jelly fish (over swimming nude), since they most often sting when they get trapped between your suit and skin.  They don't aid in swimming, in the 1980's the West German Olympic Swim Team found that even the tight fitting competition swimsuits athletes wore slow down a swimmer.  (Although more recently new full body swimsuits have been developed that decrease drag)  I understand that they often practiced nude and (unsuccessfully) petitioned to be able to compete nude (as all athletes did in the original Olympics) at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.  Even small swimsuits inhibit the proper, healthy functioning of the skin and like other tight clothing can impede the natural flow of blood and lymphatic fluid.  All they do is cover parts of the body, with no purely functional reason for doing so.  Who really wants or likes to wear something wet and clammy anyway!  It is much better health wise when you come out of the water, to have all of your body dry at an even rate, then to have something wet and cold wrapped around parts of your body.

I personally find swimsuits, not nudity, to be offensive.  Why?  Because covering parts of the body when it is not logical to do so, such as for swimming, sunbathing, working out, etc. only draws more attention the parts covered (with colors and patterns) then if everyone just swam, sunbathed, and worked out naked.  Think about it, doesn't covering just a small part of the body really just draw attention to it, and highlight it?  (For example: do not attractive bracelets or watches on peoples wrists draw more attention and interest then bare wrists?  Also is your attention normally drawn to ears or to earrings?)  There is simply no common sense reason to wear any clothing in the water or while sunbathing!!  (Make that warm water; full body thermal suits are (of course) necessary protection to keep people from freezing in extremely cold water.)  The only reasons people wear swimsuits are either because they want to attract attention or because they believe that part of God's wonderful creation is indecent and shameful!  What dysfunctional clothing such as swimming suits really do is express contempt or discomfort (lack of acceptance) for parts of the body.


Clothing specifically designed and mandated for swimming has only been around since the 1830's.  Before that when people swam nudity was the norm, not the exception.  Modesty is also economic.  Today as in the past, nakedness is simply part of life for many simple, primitive cultures.  In third world countries nakedness is often a part of their poverty.  Nude beaches were more common before the wall fell in Eastern Germany then they are now.  Why?  Because whole (even extended) families where so poor that they often lived in one room.  There is very little modesty possible in a situation like that.  So when they went to the beach, many of them saw very little reason wear clothes, let alone spend some of the very meager amount of money they had to buy something just to wear in the water!  While nudity is still very common and accepted in Germany, it is not as common now in eastern Germany as it was before the wall fell.  Could that be because they see nudity as a sign of being poor rather than of freedom, and they don’t want to be seen as poor?

The fairly recent (in terms of world history) level of privacy attained by the luxury of indoor plumbing and separate bedrooms for children has brought a level of modesty never possible before.  Communal and/or family baths where common even in the repressed dark ages, due to the physical difficulty of providing hot water.  (That is when they bathed; the dark ages was another time when those in power and control proclaimed to the masses that the human body is indecent and sinful.  Though the level of body modesty and privacy that is taken for granted by most today, wasn't available to most then.)  It was also common for whole households (along with any guests) to sleep naked in the same room until the sixteenth century.

In art, the acceptability of nudity changes with the times and is not always deemed erotic or offensive.  An example is a fresco from the Brancacci Chapel in the church Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence, Italy by the Renaissance artist Masaccio.  This fresco (entitled "The Expulsion from the Garden of Eden") was painted in 1426-27 with fig leaves added in the 1670s to conceal the nudity of Adam and Eve which were recently removed during a restoration.  I used the altered version in the title section of this article go to to see the difference.  The famous Sistine Chapel in Rome is another excellent example of this.  Michelangelo originally painted many nudes that had clothing painted over them by another artist many years later, which have since been restored to the original.

Historians, the Bible, other ancient texts, and art of the period all tell us that nudity was much more common in Biblical times.  Plain logic does as well; cloth was made by hand on very primitive looms that were nothing more than a rectangular frame with handmade yarn stretched across it.  Obviously this method of making cloth would have been very hard, time consuming, tedious, and expensive.  Most people had very little beyond the basics of food, clothing, and shelter, clothing would have probably taken at least as high a percentage of their income than cars, and all of their related expenses take of ours!  Even then most people only had a couple outfits, if that, not 10, 20, 30, or more outfits that many people have today.

Maintaining clothing was not easy either.  They cleaned their clothes (as is still done in some parts of the world today) by beating them on rocks in a stream, this is not only hard work, it also destroys the fibers.  Slaves, captives, and the impoverished, were usually nude.  People who owed money would give their clothes as a promise of the money they owed (see Exodus 22:25-27).  Heavy and dirty work such as field work, brick making, and fishing, (see John 21:7) was also usually done nude because it made working more comfortable and it saved wear and tear on their clothes.  Children were often naked as well.  Wealthy business, community, and religious leaders and their families were very likely the only people who could afford to wear clothing all of the time.  Clothing was (and still is) a symbol of social, economic status, and pride.  With the wealthy lording it over the poor and the poor trying to imitate the wealthy.

Before, during, and after the New Testament time athletes trained and competed in the nude.  (As they should do today!)  Paul used these competitions as positive examples at least six times, (Acts 20:24, 1 Cor. 9:24-27, Gal. 2:2 and 5:7, 2 Tim 4:7-8, and Heb 12:1) with no hint of condemnation regarding nudity.  The athletes where nude because it had been proven that clothing hindered their performance, Paul referred directly to this in Heb. 12:1 (NIV) when he said "Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."  (Emphasis mine)  Instead of condemning it, Paul directly used the athletes nudity as a positive example for us!

There is no "proof text" one way or the other for something like a "nudist club" Nakedness was too common. (And like many other aspects of our daily life God didn't need to give specific instruction on this.  His Spirit, principles, and love are enough to guide us.)  Clubs for the purpose of social nudity (only) would have been absurd in that society.  If athletes trained and competed nude, today in our society, if families bathed together and slept nude in the same room today,  if people today normally went to the beach or pool nude, worked out at the gym or health club nude (By the way gym means "place to be naked" in the Greek, so perhaps the ancient gym's and bath's could be considered  "nudist clubs".), sunbathed in the park nude, worked in the garden, field, house, or fished nude, hiked and camped nude, "nudist clubs" probably wouldn't exist today either, it would be absurd!  Nudity would not be an issue in such a society, it would just simply be accepted.  Think how much money and other resources could be saved on clothing and laundry!  Kids could even play in the mud to their hearts content, then simply get hosed off, rather than getting in trouble for ruining their clothes.


Hopefully, as Christians, we all want to develop healthy, Godly attitudes toward the human body.  But if we are taught that parts of the human body are dirty and indecent, it is extremely difficult to develop those healthy, positive, God pleasing attitudes towards it.  Insisting that nakedness can only be immoral makes as much sense as insisting that fire can only destroy life and property, and has no useful or redeeming purpose.  Everything can be used for good or evil, a hammer can be used to build or destroy.  The same is true for nudity, in pornography and strip clubs nudity is exploited to arouse lust.  In most "Christian" settings today nudity as not allowed and is called indecent, resulting in feelings of shame AND lust.  However at a beach, swimming pool, gym, nudist club, at home, and other non-sexually charged environments nudity can be used to help us become more comfortable with, accept, and develop respect for the body God gave us.  Although being comfortable with nudity doesn't eliminate sexual lust it does help take some of the sexual mystery, allure, and temptation away from the body.  We may enjoy what we see everyday but we don't tend to lust, as much, for what is not forbidden.  Make something we are attracted to forbidden and we will lust for it!  Teach us something is impure and we will have impure thoughts about it.  The repression of nudity INVITES the sexual exploitation of it!

Our bodies and minds are trainable.  As a child I was exposed to potato chips and I quickly developed a taste for them.  My body and mind were trained to respond positively to them.  Now just the thought of potato chips makes my mouth water.  If I had been born into a different culture, my body and mind could have been trained to respond, in the same way to dried seaweed.  (I have seen Japanese eat dried seaweed like it was potato chips!)  Unfortunately in this culture we have been trained to automatically associate nakedness with lewdness and sex, and to respond to nakedness with lewd sexual arousal.  Cultures where nakedness is common do not associate nakedness with lewdness or sex only, as this culture does.  Truth is universal, if nakedness (by itself) in other cultures does not automatically cause lewd sexual arousal or impure thoughts, then the belief in this culture (that it does) is simply put, a lie!  Nether is this belief supportive or helpful in our quest to lead pure and Godly lives.  It is clearly NOT how God would want us to respond to the goodness of His creation.  We should see the human body as God's pure and good creation, not as something that leads to temptation.  As we develop a more Godly view of the human body our main source of sexual arousal should become the love and relationship we share with our spouse, not just a body!

As Christians (especially if we see the body as a source of temptation) we need to retrain ourselves to have respect for the body God has given us, and to see nakedness in a non-sexual, wholesome, and pure way.  To do this we must interpret what the Bible says about the body and nakedness in light of God's character, not current views.  Nothing will teach you that nakedness can be non-sexual faster than getting naked regularly in wholesome, non-sexual, social settings.  However, since Rom. 14:23 says "Anything that is done without believing it is right is sin.”  I would caution that you do need to accept and believe that nakedness can be beneficial and right before you try social nudity.  If you where to try social nudity when you believe it is sinful, that would be sin for you.

But, this does not mean that you wait until you're comfortable with it before you do it!  Believing something is good is different then being comfortable with something.  Whether it's riding a bike, driving a car, playing a sport, using a computer, cooking, or anything new, you won't become comfortable with it until you've done it.  The good news is bodies are very basic to us; most people are comfortable with non-sexual nudity within 5-30 minutes, so that part is easy!  The hardest part is BEFORE you get nude with others, once you’ve done that you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it long before you did!  Study on this more, pray and seek God's wisdom about it, and when you believe it is right so you can do it in faith, do it.

If we have started to believe something contrary to what we have been taught our whole lives it will make us uncomfortable.  Because of that conditioning, even if you've started to believe that nakedness can be pure, wholesome, and beneficial, you won't become comfortable with it until you experience it.  Actions speak louder than words.  Think about it.  What would happen if you tell yourself that all parts of the body are pure, wholesome, and acceptable, but you never change your actions to reflect that?  What if you never experience nudity, around others, in a wholesome, non-sexual environment?  Wouldn't the only way left to experience or see nudity be in a sexual environment?  And wouldn't you still have that constant message coming from the world that equates nudity only with sex?  So wouldn't your response to seeing nakedness stay pretty much the same?  Don't you need to have something to counteract the world's message?  (Seaweed is very nutritious and I could tell myself that seaweed is good for me all I want, but I'll never experience any benefits from it until after I start eating it!!)


Since pornography is most commonly associated with nudity in this culture it has a strong sexual cue.  If however non-sexual things like athletics, swimming, camping, working, and relaxing around the house and yard, etc., were even more commonly associated with nudity, nudity (by itself) would loose much of its sexual cue.  Does that mean we wouldn't be sexually attracted by someone's physical appearance?  Well let me ask this, do you currently find someone attractive when they're clothed, or only when they're nude?  Of course you find people to be attractive when they're clothed not just nude!  This really wouldn't change.  However, since non-sexual nudity does remove some of the mystique from the body it does take some of the attention away from the body and places it more on the whole person.

If you are struggling with lust or addiction to pornography, I believe nudism can be a help (with direction from the Holy Spirit).  There is an outstanding article that was published in Leadership magazine years ago, that told of a pastor's 10-year struggle with lust, pornography, and strip clubs.  This article doesn't mention social nudity, but it does mention some things he found that helped him overcome his addiction.  I believe non-sexual, social, nudity relates to some of these.  He said to demythologize pornography.  Photos in pornography use only the best looking models, and are still retouched, staged and are therefore unrealizable.  (Some centerfold models have said they almost didn't recognize themselves after all the retouching that is done to their photographs.  Surprise, surprise, the perfect body in the centerfold is an illusion!)  With non-sexual, social nudity bodies are not retouched or staged and represent a broad spectrum of body types.  He said to recognize the humanity of your victims.  With social nudity you are not just passively looking at anonymous nude bodies, you are interacting with and getting to know people on a human level.  He also said to study sex in perspective.  Social nudity can definitely separate nudity from an automatic association with sex and change your perspective.  Many people have been freed from bondage to pornography, by developing greater respect for the body through social nudism.

Being unashamed and comfortable with nakedness does not guarantee purity of thought.  We still have indwelling sin, and we don't live (day to day) in a supportive world that has healthy attitudes about the body. We live in a world that is constantly feeding us very unhealthy and sinful messages about the body.  Our indwelling sin still feeds on those messages and we may also have 20, 40, 60, or more years of that negative programming in us.  It requires trust in and direction from the Holy Spirit plus, conscious, deliberate effort, to unlearn a sinful reasoning process or emotional response and replace it with a Godly one.  But the effort (of training ourselves in righteousness) is worth it.  It's a very important step in the right direction because; shame does guarantee impurity of thought!

As mentioned above, most everyone becomes comfortable with social nudity very quickly, when they are introduced to it.  When you are nude in a group of nude people it seems so natural that you tend to forget about it.  Kids going through puberty (especially males) have the most resistance to nudity, if they aren't used to it.  They are already so overly sensitive about their bodies, the changes they are going though, and the new feelings they are having, that if they weren't raised with nudity as part of their life, the very idea of it grosses them out! Have patience, if they can see the value in it, and you set a good example, it may not take them too long to adjust either.  Even if they are negative or unsure about it before hand.  Younger kids are a different story, when they go to a nudist club or beach, etc. the first time most of them take to it instantly, with great delight.


Some think nudists get a thrill over seeing others naked, but it isn't really exciting or arousing, frankly most people in this fallen, imperfect world don't have perfect bodies and look better with their clothes on!  So why would anyone want to go naked or see others naked?  For me learning to see the bodies God gave us in a more positive wholesome way is reason enough, but there are also others.  It frees people from false shame and seeing that virtually no one lives up to the TV, Hollywood, beauty magazine, or Playboy ideal also helps people feel more comfortable with and accept their bodies.  Most nudists find being naked around others very freeing, it seems to release a lot of stress and pressure.  Could this be because clothes create a barrier, and that people at some level have a need to know what others bodies really, honestly look like ("good looking" or not)?  Nudity removes a barrier between people of the false masks and images we create (with our clothes) and leaves us with only what God has created.  Forbidding nudity keeps that barrier firmly in place.  Many say nudity allows us to relate more with people, rather than the identities their clothes create, such as rich, poor, doctor, police, priest, waitress, blue collar, white collar, etc.  It is also more comfortable; it just feels good for many activities.  Once you've gone swimming or sat in a spa without a swimsuit you'll never want to wear one again!

For Christians the reason to change our attitude toward and accept nakedness is so we can allow Christ to renew our minds with the truth that God designed the human body.  That it is pure, wholesome, decent, Holy, acceptable, and not a source of shame or lust.  (Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Rom. 12:2, Live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh Gal. 5:16).  Why would God want us to be ashamed of His creation that He pronounced was very good?  Satan wants us to stumble and fall, not God.  I believe that, Satan wants us to be uncomfortable with our bodies, not God.  Satan wants us to have impure thoughts, not God.  Satan wants to distort and corrupt everything beautiful of God's.  Satan also wants us to tempt us, in our pride, to want to be like God rather then being content to simply be Gods eternally and completely loved creation.

Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed when they were in a right relationship with God.  (Gen. 2:25)  Thanks to what Jesus did on the cross and through the resurrection, those who have accepted Him into their lives have been restored to a right relationship with God ( Rom.5:10, Eph. 1:7, 1st Cor. 6:11, Tit. 3:5, 2nd Cor. 5:21, Col. 3:3, Rom. 5:17 etc., etc.).  Every sin is a perversion of truth and part of God's truth is that everything He created is good, pure, and decent.  I believe that those who are ashamed of the body have accepted a lie of Satan and follow error not truth.  Not only do I believe that nakedness is not a sin, but I believe that being ashamed of nakedness is a sin. Adam and Eve were only ashamed after they sinned and died spiritually, not before.


Ah yes, about Adam and Eve.  Why does the Bible say that their eyes were opened and they realized they were naked, after the fall?  They where not blind before the fall where they?  So how where their eyes opened and what were they really ashamed of?  Good questions, the true answers only God knows.  Any answers we give can only come from reasoned speculation.  Since the Bible often uses physical things to illustrate spiritual truth, I believe that the answer is spiritual.  I believe that it was their spiritual eyes that were opened and their spiritual nakedness that they where ashamed of, not their bodies.  After the fall they could see that (or they realized that) all of their thoughts, motives, actions, and deeds, etc. were open and exposed (naked) before God.  They had no reason to be ashamed of any of these things before the fall, now they did.  This is what they were ashamed of, not the bodies God gave them!  The physical nakedness here is also an illustration of spiritual nakedness.  They had no more reason to be ashamed of their bodies after the fall then they did before the fall.  They did have reason to be ashamed of their thoughts, actions, and disobedience to God!  They where spiritually naked and ashamed.  We assume otherwise, because we've been taught otherwise, we've been taught to associate nakedness with sex (especially sexual immorality), pornography, and sin!  At the time in which Moses wrote Genesis many other things (both positive and negative) where associated with nakedness.  Three things were closely associated with shame and nakedness that I believe fit this context very well, those are poverty, slavery, and captivity.  I believe this illustrates that they went from the riches of being spiritually alive to the poverty of being spiritually dead, and from being free in God to being a slave of and captured by sin, from being unashamed to being ashamed (not of their body per say, but) of their exposed, sinful, dead spiritual condition.

In Gen. 3:7&8 Adam and Eve where not standing around with fig leaves only covering their genitals, as depicted in much Christian art!  They first made aprons of fig leaves (I realize it may have been different back then, but most of the aprons I've seen cover the front from about the neck to the knees, except for the arms.  That covers a lot more skin then most of the paintings of Adam and Eve do!)  then they hid from God in the trees!  They where like children afraid of getting caught.  When a young child has done something wrong and is afraid of getting caught he/she will often run and hide under a bed or in a closet and try to cover themselves, so mommy and daddy can't find them.  Any notion that their consciences were appeased with a single fig leaf over the genitals is ridiculous, and not what the Bible says!  They knew what they had done was very wrong; they wanted to hide and not be found!  When God called them out they did not confess their sin, they tried to cover it up by placing blame and making excuses (again, just like children).

Why does the Bible specify "fig" leaves rather than just leaves or naming some other kind of leaf?  The original Hebrew word used here can also imply excuses!!  Because of sin they had become self righteous, independent, would not admit they were at fault, they blamed each other and Satan, even God!, and made excuses for what they had done.  Many people say that we can't go naked because God made Adam and Eve clothes in Gen. 3:21.  That is true He did make them clothes, but He also did not say or command that they should never go naked again, then or anywhere else in the Bible.  In fact God later specifically commanded Isaiah to go naked among the people (For three whole years no less! Isaiah 20:2-4.)  God would not command Isaiah to sin or do something that would cause others to have impure thoughts, would He?

So why did God make clothes for Adam and Eve?  On the practical side, they were being cast out of paradise and would now need something for protection.  But much more importantly I believe that this is again a spiritual illustration.  I Believe it shows that humanity’s feeble attempts to remedy sin are not sufficient and points to Christ, who is our righteousness.  Prior to sinning they where naturally righteous, before God, and in no need of covering (spiritual or otherwise).  This can illustrate that after they sinned they tried to provide their own covering (or righteousness).  God then showed that this is not acceptable, it is still only He that can provide our righteousness (covering), our efforts will not and cannot do it.  Since they were no longer naturally righteous, another way had to be provided (Jesus), what He did next pointed to Christ.

God did not make their clothes out of more leaves, cotton, any other plant fiber, or even synthetics, like most of the clothes we wear today.  He made them clothes from animal skin.  This implies that He killed an innocent animal, showing (from the beginning) that innocent blood had to be shed because of sin.  This could have even been an animal Adam and Eve cared for, as well as the first example of physical death that they saw.  The blood sacrifices of animals covered sins (as illustrated here).  However the sacrifice of Jesus didn't just cover sin, it took away our sin and made us righteous again!  If any one can be free from shame it should be Christians who have accepted Christ into their lives and whose sins have been taken away at the cross (John 1:29, Heb. 9:23-28, 1st Tim. 1:15,16, Heb. 10:10-14, 1st Pet. 3:18, etc., etc.) and whose spiritual life has been restored through the resurrection (Rom. 6:23, John 5:39,40, John 11:25, Rom. 5:10, Col. 2:13, etc., etc.).

You may say that these spiritual illustrations I've described are nothing but speculation.  I would agree, I will also point out that saying Adam and Eve were ashamed because of their genitals, sexual desire, or any type of sexual sin is also nothing but speculation, the Bible doesn't say that.  It does say that God commanded them to be fruitful and multiply before the fall and it doesn't record any other people in the garden that they could have even had sexual desire for, let alone sex with, outside of God's will.  In the context of husband and wife sex and sexual desire is good and blessed by God.  Male and female genitals are made good by God; they are inherently good in and out of the context of sex.  Adam never said he was ashamed because he desired sex, or because of his or Eve's genitals.  He said "I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”  To say anything else is to speculate.  There is no Biblically sound or justifiable reason to speculate that Adam and Eve's shame was directly related to sex, or the genitals.  I believe that there are Biblically sound and justifiable reasons to speculate that it was due to spiritual exposure.


Something else remains in the story of Adam and Eve.  When they were living in a dependent relationship with God it was He and not themselves who was determining right and wrong for them.  It was God's intention that they always live this way.  He was to be their source for everything, their God.  As long as God was their only source, questions of right and wrong would not have been a concern or even dawned on them.  Only God (not we) has the rightful authority to determine right from wrong.  The temptation they fell for was to know (or determine) right from wrong for themselves and therefore be like God.  (See Gen. 3:5)  God never told them they should be ashamed of nakedness.  God never told them nakedness was wrong, they did that themselves.  God never told them that they should be ashamed of nakedness, they determined that on their own!  When Adam said he was afraid because he was naked.  God did not agree with Adam and tell him that he was right to be ashamed of nakedness.  Far from it!  God rebuked Adam by asking "Who told you that you where naked?  Did you eat from the tree I told you not to eat?”  (Gen. 3:11) Adam's shame showed that something was wrong, not right.

We have followed Adam and Eve's example.  God never told us that parts of the human body (including the genitals) are indecent.  God never told us that simple nakedness, in itself, would lead to sexual temptation. We (with Satan's prompting) told ourselves!  We determined for ourselves that we know better then God!!!  What does scripture say about this kind of attitude?  Look at the following scriptures;  "You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!  Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, "He did not make me"?  Can the pot say of the potter, "He knows nothing?”  (Isaiah 29:16) and  " 'Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground.  Does the clay say to the potter, "What are you Making?'  Does your work say, "He has no hands"?  Woe to him who says to his father, "what have you begotten?' or to his mother, What have you brought to birth?'  “  This is what the Lord says - the Holy One of Israel, and it’s Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give orders about the work of my hands?  It is I who made the Earth and created mankind upon it.’"   (Isaiah 45:9-12) "When people are tempted, they should not say, 'God is tempting me.'  Evil cannot tempt God, and God himself does not tempt anyone.  But people are tempted when their own evil desire leads them away and traps them.  This desire leads to sin, and then the sin grows and brings death.  My dear brothers and sisters do not be fooled about this.  Every good action and every perfect gift is from God.  These good gifts come down from the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars, who does not change like their shifting shadows."  (James 1:13-17)

God tells us that it is our own evil desires that lead us to temptation, but we take the responsibility for our evil desires and blame them on God when we say the human body causes lust!  Scripture says God will not tempt us.  It also says the human body is a perfect gift from God that he said is very good!  There's a limerick that expresses most Christian's attitude about the body pretty well, "It was highly unseemly of God to have made us so vulgarly odd; Were He truly refined, He'd have surely designed us a more tasteful (G-rated) bod.  Romans 9:20 says, "You are only human, and human beings have no right to question God.  An object should not ask the person who made it, "Why did you make me like this?”  "But we in our sinful self-righteousness and pride have said in essence, "It's not my fault I have impure thoughts, if God had designed things differently I wouldn't have thoughts like that."  What utter and complete sin!!!!

Wearing clothes also makes us like God in another way.  When we are simply naked all we have is what God gave us (with nothing of our own design or making), just like the animals, the plants, and the rest of God's creation.  But when we put on clothes, we become our own creator.  With our clothes we, not God, create how we look.  We create part of our identity, our self-image, and how we feel about ourselves, when we should be trusting God for all of those things.  Clothes are an expression of self-control, not God-control, and are therefore a continuation of original sin, not a ceasing of it!  Clothes are a symbol of sin, not nudity!  If there was no sin, there would be no clothes, at least not because of sin and shame.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that we shouldn't wear clothes, to function in this world we have to, (Earth no longer has the perfect climate of Eden.) and just as God never told us not to ever go naked, He never told us not to wear clothes!  I'm also not saying that we shouldn't be creative.  Far from it, we are the expression of a very creative God, we can express that by being creative ourselves.  What I am saying is that it is good and healthy to spend time naked, without our clothes, masks, and self-created identities.  It is good to spend some time just being who God created, remembering that is He and not we who created us, after all.  I think this is why many people say they feel closer to God when naked.

I'm also saying that we should not put restrictions on ourselves or others that God did not establish.  Isaiah 29:13 says, "These people show me honor with words, but their hearts are far from me.  Their worship of me is worthless.  The things they teach are nothing but human rules." Jesus quotes it in Matt 15:9 and Mark 7:7.  Jesus also said of teachers of the law in Matt 23:4, 15 "They make strict rules and try to force others to obey them, but they are unwilling to help those who struggle under the weight of their rules."  "How terrible for you, teachers of the law and Pharisees!  You are hypocrites!  You travel across land and sea to find one person who will change to your ways.  When you find that person, you make him more fit for hell than you are."  Clearly we should not be adding to God's law restrictions that He did not put there!


Being uncomfortable with nudity isn't always an issue of morality.  I've talked with many people about the moral issues and had them agree, but not act on it.  Sometimes it's fear, (because it's new to them and goes against how they have been conditioned) but it can also be a poor body image that stops them.  They don't think they look good enough to go nude around others.  Believe me nudist clubs and beaches are not filled with super models!  Far from it, there are all types of body shapes and sizes, most being very average.  I have seen disabled in wheelchairs, disfigured, and people who have had limbs or breasts removed at nudist clubs.  I have seen good-looking fit people and unfit people that are too thin or too large for optimum health at nudist clubs.  They have found a place where they are accepted as they are and could learn to feel better about and accept their bodies.

No matter what shape your body is in, it is still wonderful.  Getting over any fear of being nude can help you realize that.  Psalm 139:14 says, "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  He made all of us wonderfully but until you decide to believe that, you will not know the freedom of being thankful to God for, accepting, respecting, and being comfortable with your body.  Overweight people tend to look better nude because there are no belts or straps pulling the body into unnatural shapes.  Seeing all types of bodies naked can help you to accept the body God gave you, you'll probably be amazed at how quickly you will become comfortable and start to accept your body more.  I encourage you to step past your fears and try social nudism; I believe you'll discover a wonderful new inner freedom and many other benefits.  It is those who don't think they look good enough to go nude that gain the most from it in terms of accepting their bodies.  People who are self-conscious about their body find they are far more comfortable, and less self-conscious at a nudist club than at a regular pool or beach in a swimsuit.

Women usually have more reluctance about trying social nudity than men.  This is often because they are more self conscience about their looks, since women's bodies have been sexually objectified more then men's.  They are concerned about how they'll compare to other women and that they'll be ogled by men who only have sex on their mind.  When they find out that they are just as normal as other women (There are no super model, perfect bodies apart from cameras and makeup, etc.), and that men aren't overcome with lust at the sight of nudity, they often find social nudism even more personally liberating and freeing then men.  They feel that in social nudism they are more truly accepted as they are, rather then for the image projected by clothes, makeup, etc.

For males (especially teens) there is a very common fear of becoming sexually aroused and getting an erection when at a social nudist club or beach.  To the surprise of many men, there is little need to be concerned.  First, the reality is that seeing an attractive lady nude at a pool or beach is less sexually arousing then seeing the same lady in a bathing suit, or an attractive evening dress since the bathing suit, or dress, etc., both attracts attention and leaves a man wondering exactly how she looks without it!  (Although the body is obviously involved in sex, in healthy, lasting, sexual attraction the primary source of attraction is personal or relational, not physical.  Nudity in a social, non-sexual atmosphere lessens this cultures over emphasized draw of physical attraction and naturally places greater importance on personal and relational attraction.)  Non-sexual, social, nudity simply doesn't excite the imagination nearly as much as a bit of cloth does!  Second, the normal state of the penis is flaccid not erect whether a male, or the people around him, are nude or clothed.  (Most men tend to overestimate their tendency to get involuntary erections).

However the reality is spontaneous erections still do occur, for most men over 30-35 less frequently, but for teens and younger adults they can be frequent, completely spontaneous, embarrassing, and happen at the most awkward times.  While an erection does indicate sexual arousal, that arousal may be totally unconscious (in fact it usually happens during sleep), or fleeting and beyond the males control, it may
even be caused by sensual things such as a breeze on the body, or the feeling of the sun coming out from behind the clouds, etc.  It is a function of the body designed by God and therefore good in itself (it is what someone does with or without an erection that can lewd or offensive, not the erection itself).  Ideally they should be accepted as a normal, and expected body function that should simply be ignored (apart from any lewd behavior).  If any male (but especially a younger one) is told he is required to cover or leave a nudist club or beach simply because of a uncontrollable, spontaneous body function (rather than because of controllable behavior), it makes him even more self-conscious and uncomfortable about erections.  It is also inconsistent to communicating a message that the whole body is good and acceptable.

However at many nudist clubs and beaches, in the U.S at least, erections are not usually simply ignored and accepted as normal.  Even teens getting erections (which should be expected), without lewd behavior, can result in the teen being asked to cover up, or even he AND his family  being asked to leave.  So, if a man, or boy, finds himself getting an erection while at a nudist club, it is WISE as well as polite and respectful of others possible feelings about erections for him to lay on his stomach for a while, swim, put a towel in his lap, or otherwise cover it, and think about something else until it disappears.  (Many naturists do choose to simply accept erections in more private family/friends situations where they know no-one will be offended by it.)  Once again the penis is flaccid most of the time and erections don't happen as often as most (even younger) non-nudist males imagine they will.  Even so, the attitude about them at many clubs is one of the primary reasons many male children (even those raised going to nudist clubs from infancy) always wear at least shorts outside the pool and hot tub or just stop going to clubs when they get into their teens.  Many believe the attitude of non-acceptance communicated about spontaneous erections is also why so few young (under 30) adult males in general are involved in social nudism, and thus one reason why it has not become much more widely accepted.  (It is usually younger people who have more energy, drive, and enthusiasm who are the trend setters popularizing everything from music and clothing to new ways of living and thinking, including many Christian revivals.)

Although social nudity is becoming more popular, I think one reason it's not much more popular is vanity.  Most people perceive themselves and others to look better in clothes.  This is why some women dread Summer and swimsuits.  They can’t hide as many of what they feel are flaws.  But even the skimpiest bikini is more sexually alluring then plain nakedness, because the bikini draws attention with a splash of color and titillation that would otherwise be absent.  Tan lines are noticed at a nudist club or beach simply because of the change of color on the skin.  In fact there's a nudist joke about this.  Two men are sitting by a pool at a nudist club when a nude lady walks by with tan lines from a bikini.  One turns to the other and says, "I bet she'd look really sexy in that bikini!"  Don't let vanity keep you from experiencing the freedom that social nudity can offer!

Another reason is social pressure.  Nudity was very common and accepted for things like swimming before the mid 1800's, one of the major factors that ended that acceptance was social, or class, pressure combined with clothing such as swimming suits becoming more affordable for the masses (due to the Industrial Revolution and mass, cheap, production in factories).  The wealthy have always used clothing as a way to separate and put themselves above the common, poor person.  In the 1800's many rich people saw swimming nude as low class or common and thus would wear swimming suits.  So as swimwear became mass produced and more affordable more people started wearing it to lift their image above the "poor, indecent, common folk" and imitate the rich.  (In addition there was also much pressure from the church and state to stop nude swimming.)  Today, I believe most people don't swim, etc. nude, simply because they don't see enough other people doing it.  There is considerable pressure to conform to the masses and not stand out.

It feels good to be naked (especially for swimming!), but what feels especially good is a healthy, accepting attitude and freedom from the bondage of shame over God's creation.  Body shame has created some very unhealthy, conflicting, negative, and I would say ungodly attitudes about the human body.  As Christians we need to let God renew our minds with purity.  In the Message paraphrase Roman's 12:2 reads, "Don't become so well adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.  Instead, fix your attention on God.  You'll be changed from the inside out.  Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it.  Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well formed maturity in you."  I believe this is all encompassing and includes how we view and treat our bodies.  Our level of comfort with nakedness is a way of measuring whether we have a Godly (accepting and positive) or Satanic (worldly and negative) attitude toward the body.


Some popular "experts,” advice columnists, and religious leaders warn that nudity in the home might sexually over stimulate children.  However studies and the experiences of nudist families have proven the exact opposite!  These "experts" seem to be making assumptions based on societal standards which equate nudity and sex rather than factual information.  (If a doctor makes a diagnoses based on incomplete or faulty information, the treatment will be wrong.)  Several studies have shown, not only, no harm to children raised around nudity, but great benefit to it in sexual and moral development as well as self-esteem.  And even far from all of the "popular,” well known, experts agree that family nudity is harmful.  Dr. Lee Salk stated that "Being natural and matter-of-fact about nudity prevents your children from developing an attitude of shame or disgust about the human body.  If parents are very secretive about their bodies and go to great lengths to prevent their children from ever seeing a buttock or breast, children will wonder what is so unusual, and even alarming, about human nudity."

Even the very popular and conservative Christian family psychologist Dr. James Dobson has said "In reference to food, you don't starve a child to death nor do you give him candy all day long.  It's balance.  It's a middle ground.”  “Especially with regard to nudity in the home, I think we want to avoid both extremes."  "Parents I think should not flaunt their nudity, their bodies; nor should they grab a towel run for the corner and crouch when they're stepping out of the shower and happen to be seen.  I think the best attitude is to show that you're relaxed about your own body and you're not fearful of it and you're not embarrassed about it."  Thankfully in saying this, he is very far from saying that simple nudity is indecent or wrong and harmful.  But I believe equating nudity to giving a child "candy all day long" may stem from the nudity = sex conditioning of this culture.  I also don't know what he considers to be flaunting nudity (would swimming, house cleaning, or watching TV nude be flaunting?)  I don't think simply not running for cover when seen stepping out of the shower is enough to communicate that our bodies are acceptable, good, and decent to children.

However perhaps, I do understand part of these other "experts" concern (including Dr. Dobson's with candy and flaunting), we know that in our society non-sexual nudity is not common, in fact it is almost unheard of on TV in the movies, etc.  In fact by the time a child is eighteen they are likely to have been exposed to over two hundred thousand acts of violence on TV and not seen on TV even one example full frontal, unashamed, nudity in a non-sexual context relevant to how that child lives.  If a child has ever seen any nudity on TV in a non-sexual context at all, it was probably a show about some primitive tribe living in a rain forest.  Not exactly something they relate too.  Our television doesn't even show people in the shower or stepping out of the shower without making sure certain "offensive" parts are covered.  Forget about honestly showing nudity in non-sexual contexts, such as at the beach, park, pool, gym, around the house, swimming, exercising, sunbathing, relaxing, housecleaning, sports, etc., etc.  Sexually oriented nudity in movies and pornography are the contexts in which children will most often be exposed to nudity (outside the home) of people in this culture who live like they do, and that they can relate to.  So what kind of message are they getting about nudity, that way?

The repression of public, non-sexual nudity results in it being more exploited for sexual purposes.  We and our children are bombarded, more now then ever before, with messages that equate nudity only with sex, not just from pornography, but also from TV, movies, magazines, music videos, the Internet, peers, everywhere.  To top it off the message is reinforced in church, instead of showing a positive godly use and place for nudity, the church says it is a sin and harmful!  If the only place children are exposed to non-sexual nudity is in the home they may (since they have no other input of non-sexual nudity) have some trouble separating it from all the sex = nudity messages they are bombarded with.  They may also feel alienated from society because they don't normally see anyone else nude outside their family.

Sadly most kids in the U.S. are so uncomfortable with simply being naked around others, that they won't even shower after gym class or playing football anymore, they wait until they get home alone.  Yet we have among the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and rape in the world!  Clearly shame and negative feelings about the human body are not healthy.

While nudity in the home should be a common, accepted, healthy, everyday, thing, that alone may not be enough to be the best value to children, or enough to combat the nudity = sex messages of our culture.  To effectively combat these negative messages children need a larger frame of reference.  They need to see that non-sexual nudity is acceptable and normal for other people, not just family.  The child that experiences nudity only at home and nowhere else will likely have the perception that nudity is not "normal.”  If non-sexual nudity outside the home is common (not just of family, but also of playmates, friends, and others) children are in a much better position to see all of the body, and nakedness, as something normal and acceptable.  They will be better insulated against the negative and impure messages they get about the body from the world, and be much better equipped to develop healthy and wholesome attitudes toward the body.  (Ideally, not only should kids shower after gym class, they should be nude in co-ed gym and swim classes!  But that is not likely to happen in today's society.)  If you have children, please, work to give them a legacy of body acceptance, instead of body shame.  Family oriented nudist clubs are great places for anyone to become more comfortable with their bodies, and see that nakedness can be normal, good, and wholesome, not bad and indecent.

“Nudist clubs" should not be necessary to promote a legacy of healthy body acceptance.  But until society comes to a place of acceptance of public non-sexual nudity around homes and yards, parks, pools, beaches, fitness clubs, gyms, physical education classes in schools, sports, on TV, in the movies, etc., I feel they are necessary and needed.  While I highly recommend family oriented nudist clubs, I will caution that some "nudist clubs" are not "family oriented.”  Remember that Satan seeks to pervert and/or destroy anything of value.  This can be seen in all other aspects of life, including church, so it should be no surprise that it can be seen in social nudism as well.  This societies complete repression of non-sexual, public, nudity means people will associate it with sex by default.  This situation attracts some people to nudist clubs and beaches for the wrong reasons (usually they are disappointed and don't stay long).  There are also some places that market themselves as "nudist" clubs that are not, they are sex or swingers clubs in disguise.  Know what a club is before you go, most clubs associated with the American Association for Nude Recreation are reputable.

In the beginning of the nudist movement, in the early 1900's nudism was about a philosophy of respect for the body as much or more than it was about simply fun and recreation.  As a result smoking and drinking were not allowed in almost all clubs, as this went with the idea of respect for the body.  Some clubs were also vegetarian, discouraged people from eating sugar or refined foods, had calisthenics every morning, and generally promoted good health habits.  Nudist clubs today bear little resemblance to this.  Promoting fun and recreation brings money to the clubs faster then promoting healthy body acceptance and respect.  Few clubs have any fitness programs or facilities, both smoking and drinking are now widely accepted, as is junk food.  With drinking often comes behavior many parents would not want their children exposed to.

I do not mean to sound discouraging here, actually considering that nudity is not much more widely accepted (especially among Christians), the moral decay of this country, and how much nudity is associated with pornography and sex, I frankly find it absolutely amazing that moral decay within social nudism is not a much greater problem.  (That social nudism hasn't quickly degenerated into the depravity that some religious people assume it is, by itself shows the inherent value of it.)  Happily there are many nudists raising their voices for maintaining higher standards.  Some clubs have discovered that a "family atmosphere" brings more quality, stable, long-term members than a "let live atmosphere" and therefore better long-term profitability. 

If you do find a nudist club that does not have a wholesome family atmosphere, don't lump them all into the same category, most are good.  My words of caution come from not wanting to give people the false idea that nudist clubs are perfect utopias.  Only God can guarantee perfection!  Nudist clubs do in general have a more wholesome and safe atmosphere than most comparable clothed beaches, campgrounds, or resorts
(although often more rustic, most nudist clubs are nice family campgrounds rather then upscale resorts).  I would rather take a family to a nudist club then to most clothed campgrounds, motels, etc.  This may be, in part, because people don't have to apply for membership at most hotels, motels, campgrounds, state or national parks etc. and they do at a nudist club.  Even with the issue of drinking, I would be more comfortable at a nudist resort with a bar than at a clothed resort with a bar.

There are many Christians that are members of nudists clubs, they're not hard to find as you get to know people, and there are even a couple of clubs that are owned and operated by Christians.  Although generally not yet local, there are some Christian nudist fellowship groups (Maybe you could start a local one?) and a great newsletter "Fig Leaf Forum" that can provide fellowship, help, and encouragement in your efforts to change your attitude toward the body.  It would also be great (especially for your kids) to not only belong to a local nudist club, but when you travel go to other nudist clubs instead of staying at regular motels, hotels, or RV parks.  For those who don't live where it's warm and sunny all year, Wintertime indoor nude swims are great too, a good cure for the Wintertime blues!  They are sponsored by nudist clubs in many cities.  If you travel internationally, Europe is a great place to experience non-sexual nudity in many situations.  The more exposed you and your children are to non-sexual nudity in many different places the better insulated you and they will be against the nudity = sex messages Satan has put into our culture.  There is far more that is positive about most nudist clubs, then negative.

There are some great nude beaches where you don't have to put up with sand in your swimsuit!  But since this country associates nudity so strongly with sex, places with open access like beaches, can also attract voyeurs and other undesirables.  Still I would go to a nude beach before a textile one; crime is usually less then at textile beaches and the overall atmosphere better.  Europe (where non-sexual nudity is much more accepted, including on TV, at beaches, public parks, and pools) doesn't have much of a problem with undesirable behavior and nudity in publicly accessible places.  Hopefully the U.S. will soon follow suit (pardon the pun!).  This is something myself and others are working toward (educating people on the problems caused by shame and the inherent goodness and dignity of the whole human body) so that nudity would be as publicly accepted as swimming suits, athletic clothing, and topless men are now.  We know this would not create a perfect society, only Jesus Christ can ensure that.  But since simple nudity is less sexually provocative than swimming suits and many other types of clothing, it should be a better society than we have now.  Examples of societies that have accepted public, non-sexual nudity, both current and in the past, show that it can be.


A very real concern in today’s society is child sexual molestation.  Raising children with accepting attitudes about the body can substantially help reduce this concern.  Experts who work in the area of child molestation say that the extreme body shame most people have and teach their children is a major factor in allowing child molesting to continue to go unreported.  A thirty-year Police veteran who investigates child molesting says.  "Molesters have found that most parents have effectively taught their children that their bodies and sex are shameful and not to be talked about.  Children are taught this to such a degree that after being molested they are usually too embarrassed to tell anyone about it."  He says one of the ways parents demonstrate shame towards the body is that when they must talk about "private parts" they do not use the correct terms for the body part they are referring to.  This detective teaches that children need to know that their bodies are good not bad and that the correct words for their body parts are not bad words, so they can go to an adult and not be afraid or ashamed to use the correct terms for their body parts to describe where someone is touching them in a bad way.

One thing common among child abuse victims is the feeling that what happened to them was their fault.  That it was because there was something wrong with them that they were abused.  Well if children are taught shame about their and others bodies, if when they want to take their clothes off and be naked (which all children do) they are punished and told to put their clothes back on, if they are told its bad to be naked, that their genitals are bad, is it any wonder that they feel there is something wrong with them?  Is it any wonder that this would be compounded even more by sexual abuse?  Sadly, in this world, even children raised with body acceptance will not all escape sexual abuse, but it is much more likely that if they have a strong foundation of feeling good about all parts of their body, that they will not be as emotionally scarred by it, blame themselves for what happened, or feel that it happened because there was something wrong with them.

I absolutely believe that a child being comfortable with nudity and talking with their parents positively and openly about Godly sex will make it so that they  1.  Will be far less likely to be sexually abused, and  2.  Are less likely to be as traumatized by it and much more likely to tell about it if they are abused.  If a child has been taught that the body and sex are good.  If his/her parents are positive and open about the body and Godly sex, and they know they can ask their parents questions and talk openly about it, they are much more likely to tell their parents if someone tries to touch them sexually, knowing not only that they will not be in trouble, but that their parents will believe them and be on their side.  In such a situation children need to know that they will be believed and heard.  On the other hand, if parents are uncomfortable with what their children say or ask about sex, or even tell their children that they shouldn't talk about such things, they are far less likely to have their children come to them if any one has tried to abuse them.  Instead of going to mom and dad for help, they will be scared to go to mom or dad.  Think about it, if every time a child wants to play naked or asks about the parts of their body under his/her underpants, or where babies come from, etc., mom and dad get uptight and uncomfortable, and say "you shouldn't do that or talk about such things", do you think they are likely to come to mom and dad, without fear, if someone touches them sexually?


God had to send stubborn peter a vision (see Acts 10) three times to show him that all God made is Holy and clean.  Peter (like others) had thought the gospel was only for Jews.  All others were considered unclean and unworthy.  While Peter was considering what this vision of unclean food meant three gentiles (non-Jews) came to the house and God told him to go with them without doubting.  This vision shows that all things that God made are clean and Holy and it is reaffirmed in Titus 1:15,16 "To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.  In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.  They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him.  They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good."  There is nothing beneficial or Godly in thinking that parts of God's creation are impure or that nakedness is indecent.  But you can be sure Satan takes great delight when we think like that!!!  This passage clearly states what God thinks of those who regard part of his creation as impure.  The Bible says that "both their minds and consciences are corrupted"  and that they are "detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good."  Wow, talk about not pulling any punches!

If after reading this, and seeing how God regards those who call part of His creation impure, you are still convinced that it's nakedness and not shame that is the danger,  I don't know what else to say, that could change your mind.  I could tell you that when David's wife Michal saw him dancing before Jerusalem wearing nothing but a linen ephod (something like a vest or bib) and rebuked him, 2nd Samuel 6:12, 14,16;6:20-23, it was she and not David that was cursed!  I could also tell you, that the people were asking if Saul was also a prophet, after he too (Like the other prophets) stripped off his clothes and prophesied! 1st Sam. 19: 23,24.  But, at this point (if nothing else I've said makes since) your mind is already made up and nothing could change it.  I will remind you, however, that it is the Lord's business to judge and correct, not yours or mine!  It is our place to encourage, uplift, support, and strengthen our brothers and sisters, not judge them.  I will also remind you of the wisdom of Gamaliel in Acts 5:38,39, referring to Peter and John he told the high council "If this program or this work is merely human, it will fall apart, but if it is of God, there is nothing you do about it - and you better not be found fighting against God!"

In Rome there where early Christians that could only equate meat with pagan temple sacrifices, in their minds, so they did not believe it was right to eat such meat.  There where also other Christians that did not see any problem with eating such meat and could do so with a clear conscious.  (see Rom 14)  Paul instructed these people to not judge, but to accept one another.  Today, unfortunately some people can only equate nudity to pornography and immorality; they think nudist clubs are the same (or have the same effect) as pornography or strip clubs.  They don't see that pornography and strip clubs are intentionally designed to excite and arouse people with the best looking models, make up, special lighting, the most erotic and sexual poses, atmosphere, etc.  They can not accept that, in comparison, looking at a bunch of average, imperfect, plain nude bodies at a camp ground, pool, or beach, doing regular things, instead of causing sexual temptation can help people accept the body and free them from seeing nudity (by itself) as sexually tempting.  If you are one of those who cannot accept this, I understand and accept where you are in your attitude toward the body.  I know that you are God's child, loved and accepted (as you are) by Him.  I know that you have been conditioned in this culture to think nudity is sinful.  I also know that we are all at different points in our relationship with God.  And that HE  who began the good work in us is faithful to complete it.  (Philippians 1:6)  I only ask that you try to accept and not judge myself and others that are comfortable with nudity, as well.

If I felt that nakedness was simply more comfortable or enjoyable than wearing clothes all the time, I would not have written this article, and be pursuing or promoting it at all.  It would not be worth the risk of offending fellow Christians or my family with something they believe to be sinful and wrong.  I am a naturist/nudist and promote it because I believe we have been deceived by Satan in our attitudes toward the human body and that God never intended us to be caught in this bondage and ashamed of any part of His creation.  I believe this shame is unhealthy, destructive, and dangerous to ourselves, our relationships with others and God.  I believe that Satan intends to keep us in bondage to shame and I believe Gods has called me to help free people from it.  I strongly believe that mandating that parts of the body always be covered only serves to make those parts even more interesting and alluring.  That taking away the mystery of nakedness by making it common can help take some of that sexual attraction or allure away from the body and refocus it onto the relationship, which is exactly where it should be, thereby positively contributing to sexual morality.

We often see immoral sex, violence, and murder on T.V., but not non-sexual nakedness.  Something is very wrong when these things or more accepted, cause less offense, and less protest from Christians then the sight of the naked bodies God gave us.  In writing this I hope to wake some Christians up to the fact that all of the body is God's gift to us and we should not treat any of it as something impure or indecent.  I hope to encourage Christians to develop more positive accepting attitudes toward the body, by accepting a simple, pure, chaste, and wholesome nakedness.  Teaching is different from flaunting.  While Paul may not have eaten meat around certain people, he didn't have a problem writing or speaking about meat or other controversial and upsetting, but important issues like whether Gentles could be born again, and if they had to follow Jewish laws including circumcision.  He taught what he knew was right, after much study and guidance from God, regardless of whether others agreed with him or not.


Even if what I've written makes sense to you, you are most likely still feeling uncomfortable, maybe even threatened by it.  That is understandable, something you've most likely believed  all of your life is being challenged.  You're being asked to accept as right something you've been taught is wrong.  I understand, I've been there, but when I got down to it, the idea of accepting God's creation made a whole lot more sense, seemed more beneficial, and Godly, then being ashamed of it.

So I ask you, do negative attitudes toward parts of God's creation or thinking that nakedness alone is sexually tempting honor God, or does it gratify Satan's desire to distort the things of God?  The Bible says in 1 Thess. 5:21-21  "But test everything.  Keep what is good, and stay away from everything that is evil.  So ask yourself some questions.  Does God want us to have wholesome thoughts?  Does considering any part of the human body (that God created) to be indecent or impure, positively contribute to the development of wholesome thinking?  1 Cor 10:23 NIV says  " 'Everything is permissible' - but not everything is beneficial.  'Everything is permissible' - but not everything is constructive."  According to this, is nakedness permissible?  Could nakedness be beneficial and constructive?  Are negative attitudes about the body or nudity ever beneficial or constructive?  Does thinking that nakedness leads to immoral sex or temptation, positively contribute to the development of wholesome thinking?  Most challenging of all, if negative attitudes toward God's creation don't positively contribute to wholesome and pure thinking, how are you going to change?  In John 10:10 Jesus said, "A thief comes to steal and destroy, but I have come to give life - life in all its fullness."  Think about positive or negative attitudes toward the body and nudity, what kind of attitudes destroy, and what kind would contribute to a full and abundant life?

I don't believe that God wants us to live in bondage to shame or any other deception, so I encourage you to actively pursue freedom.  Especially if you have children, I encourage you to teach them, by word and example, healthy accepting attitudes toward the body, rather then body shame.  It is far easier to prepare a child than to repair an adult.  I also encourage you to seek out other Christians who see the value of Godly body acceptance and living free from shame over God's creation.  There is much value in fellowship with those of like mind.  You should be able to find other Christians at the nudist clubs in your area.  Even with the generally prevailing negative attitude about nudity in most of the church, opening up discussion about this with other Christians you already know may bring pleasantly surprising results.  One simple way to do this may be to share this article, or direct people to this site and ask what they think.

I believe that we can get to know God better and love Him more by freeing ourselves from body shame and learning to see the beauty and purity of the human body, rather than seeing it as indecent.  If you also see Godly value in nakedness and start to pursue it, be aware, Satan would prefer to prevent your becoming free in this (or any other) area and will likely put circumstances, things, or people, in your path to make you question whether body acceptance is Godly!  Don't let Satan continue to deceive you.  Study God's word about this (in light of His character, not in light of what tradition, or others say about this) and don't let external circumstances or past conditioning sway you from what you learn is part of God's truth.  The truth regarding our bodies is that a good God creates good and pure bodies, that there is no need to be ashamed of.  He could not do otherwise.

No, social nudity does not guarantee sexual morality.  The only thing that can absolutely guarantee sexual morality is Jesus Christ and the complete absence of sin.  But I have become absolutely convinced that social nudity does help to develop positive attitudes toward, and a natural acceptance of the body that favors sexual morality.  I have also become convinced that shame and negative attitudes toward the human body are 100% destructive in promoting true, Godly sexual morality, and that accepting God's creation as pure and good does allow you to get to know God better.  I hope you see the value of rejecting body shame, working to develop pure attitudes toward the body, accepting a wholesome, God honoring style of nakedness, and that you will join me in living free in Christ and free from shame both now and forever!


Fig Leaf Forum An excellent twelve page text-only newsletter offering fellowship, edification, and encouragement to Bible-believing Christian nudists.  This is an outstanding resource for all regarding the issues of body acceptance and nudity as they relate to Christian faith.  Since it is text only it can also be a more effective tool to spark discussion with Christians who believe nudity is indecent than something containing photos.  POSTAL-MAIL subscriptions as of Jan, 2004 are $12.00 per year within the USA or Canada and $18.00 per year elsewhere for ten issues.

 Fig Leaf Forum
 P. O. Box 1955
 Winnipeg MB, R3C 3R2

To find out about family nudist clubs near you contact:

 American Association For Nude Recreation
 1703 N. Main St.
 Kissimmee, FL, 34744-3396
 (800) 879-6833

Copyright © 2002 Nate Dekan

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