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

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Ordinary Nakedness
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Body Shame and Women
Shame, Children, and Abuse
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Rejecting Shame in Daily Living
"All truth goes through three stages. 
First it is ridiculed.
Then it is violently opposed.
Finally, it is accepted as self-evident." 


Notice: This article encourages people to go from reading and thinking about their attitudes about nudity to doing something about it.  Since Rom. 14:23 says "Anything that is done without believing it is right is sin.”  I would caution that you do need to believe that body shame is harmful AND that nakedness can be beneficial and right before you try social/family nudity. If you do it when you still believe it is sinful, it would be sin for YOU.

However, this DOES NOT mean that you wait until you're comfortable with it before you do it!  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.  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. 
Before going into this I will remind you of a truth Voltaire stated: "It is dangerous to be right on a subject on which the established authorities are wrong."  The establishment considers nudity to be indecent; many people know that is wrong and harmful to themselves, their children, and society. Yet they also know that going against the establishment can be risky.  Each must decide where the greater risk and potential benefit is for them and their family – working to break the cycle of shame, or letting it continue.  It is those who go against the wrong in society who both risk more and who change it for the better.

If you are reading these articles, agree that body shame is damaging and desire to live in such a way that rejects body shame and affirms the decency of the human body.  I hope the following can be of help.  Actions speak loader than words, it doesn’t matter how many times you read these articles your response to nudity is not likely to change greatly until your daily life experience of it changes.  Surprisingly, most everyone becomes comfortable with non-sexual, social nudity very quickly, when they do try 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 have the most resistance to nudity, if they aren't used to it.  But, 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; they usually take to nudity instantly, with great delight. 

Some popular "experts,” advice columnists, and religious leaders warn that adult nudity is harmful to 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 not all 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." 

However, I do understand part of the concern, non-sexual nudity is not common, in our society. Media is a large part of the reason for this.  By the time a child is eighteen they are likely to have been exposed to over two hundred thousand acts of horror and violence and not seen even one example full frontal, unashamed, nudity (in a non-sexual context) on TV.  If a child has ever seen any non-sexual nudity on TV, it was probably a show about natives living in a rain forest.  Not exactly something they relate too.  TV doesn't even show people stepping out of the shower without making sure certain "offensive" parts are covered, UNLESS there is a sexual context. 
Sexually oriented nudity in movies and pornography are the contexts in which children will most often be exposed to any nudity outside the home in this society.  If the only place children are exposed to non-sexual nudity is around their family they may (since they have no other input) 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. 

While family nudity should be a common, accepted, healthy, everyday, thing, it alone may not be enough to combat the nudity = sex messages of our culture and give children positive, shame-free attitudes about their bodies.  To effectively combat these negative messages a larger frame of reference is needed.  If non-sexual nudity around others is also common children (and adults) 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. 

Family oriented nudist clubs such as Natura and nude beaches (1) are great places for people to become more comfortable with their bodies, and see that nakedness can be normal, good, and wholesome.  But most nudist clubs and beaches are usually isolated some distance from where people live, they can be great for summer weekend getaways and traveling but they are simply to isolated to be part of most people's day-to-day life.  This is one reason we looked for property very close to a metropolitan area for Natura.  While we certainly can't offer every family the opportunity to live in a clothing optional neighborhood our location (Close to Tampa FL) will provide 500+ families that opportunity in a very convenient location in a fast growing area.

But while 500+ families can, most people can't live at Natura and they don’t usually see their friends and neighbors nude, so what to do?  I have found that people/families who are the most open about their attitudes about nudity benefit the most.  Many people are reluctant to talk to others about body shame and nudity lest others be offended. Thus they never discover that many others feel the same way, or are open-minded and willing to try it.  Those families who are open about their attitudes about nudity often find other families who are as well, so by being open they and their children have more opportunities to be relaxed and comfortable with nudity outside their family, thus they benefit far more than those who hide it.

Believe me I understand people’s fears about how others (family, pastors, church members, co-workers, boss’s, etc) may react, and we do need to exercise wisdom in how and with whom we are open.  I also know that hiding what we believe is a form of shame and that it is not good to live in fear. The Apostle Paul taught that people should not eat meat sacrificed to idols in front of those who would be offended by it (see Romans 14), he did NOT teach that people should hide, fear, and/or never discuss what they believed about the subject with others.  In fact that’s what he was doing, he was teaching about the subject, and he taught that eating such meat was not sinful for some and that people shouldn’t judge each other on that issue.  The same principle applies here.  Don’t go nude around those who would be offended by it, only around those who are not, but that doesn’t to mean to hide what you believe about body shame and nudity. 

Exercising wisdom when talking to others about why you value nudity is very important, why is nudity even at all important to you as a Christian?  (Especially since many Christians believe it is sinful.)  If you simply believe it “feels good”, so “why not”. Let me suggest that Christians who believe it is sinful will firmly hold onto their view if your reason for nudity is that it "feels good"!  Many people do drugs because they “feel good”, however drugs destroy peoples health.  Some adults have sex with children because, to them, it “feels good” however that is horribly sinful, depraved, and extremely damaging to children.  Many things that may “feel good” are not good; most Christians will quickly reject “feels good” reasoning. 

Much wiser is approaching the subject from the perspective of the harm body shame causes, showing that body shame is sinful and causes much damage in peoples lives. It is also wiser to show that comfort with non-sexual nudity can reduce sexual temptation and is acting in agreement with God when He said that all He made is “very good”.  It is hoped that this web site can better equip people to approach others from this perspective. 

How or when should you be open about what you believe?  Well, when others say nudity is indecent there is a clear opening to let your views be known!  While you may totally agree with others that strip clubs, pornography, etc. are indecent, you can take an opportunity to point out that those are not the same as simple nudity, those are the exploitation of nudity and that comfort with everyday nudity reduces interest in things like strip clubs and pornography.  When people come to your home let them know about your family’s comfort with nudity first, don’t just tell your family to cover up for guests when you haven’t even discussed nudity with your guests first!  If your guest isn’t comfortable with nudity you can decide to have everyone cover (in respect for your guest) or meet your guest somewhere else.  If they have no problem with it, you may have an opportunity to expand your non-sexual nudity beyond family (especially if you have a pool or spa). 

There is an excellent Bible study on shame called “Shame Thief of Intimacy” by Marie Powers, like most books on shame it doesn’t really address nudity (Nudity seems to be such a deeply ingrained shame, that even many books about shame don’t discuss it!) but the Bible study lessons in this book about shame are easily applied to nudity.  Perhaps you can start a Bible study on shame. That could really open up how you feel about this subject around others, as well as possibly help them break free from body shame!  When you are open AND confident about your beliefs with friends and neighbors you may very well be able to expand your experience of day-to-day non-sexual nudity beyond family. 

Being open about your family’s comfort with nudity is absolutely critical with children!  If you have kids, you know that they like having their school and neighbor friends over.  So what should you do if you and/or your kids swim or spend time around your home naked since "most" other people don't?  Many kids like being nude with family and at nudist clubs and beaches, yet they live in homes where the rule is that everyone must stay dressed when any neighbor or school friends are over (the kids they see most everyday and know best).  This is one of the biggest complaints of most “nudist” kids and it can leave them feeling that there must be something wrong with being nude, (if they have to hide it from their friends) thus many develop the same body shame as their neighbor and school friends.  This is another advantage of those lucky enough to live at Natura.  With 500+ families many of the kids school friends will also live at Natura, where nudity is common and accepted!

Kids raised in families that are open about nudity, WHILE respecting the fact that others may uncomfortable with it seem to be the least affected by body shame.  Respecting the fact that others are uncomfortable with nudity, means letting others know of your family’s lifestyle BEFORE they come to your house.  In the case of anyone under the age of 18 it's extremely important to let parents know about nudity in your house first, before their children come over. 

Again, when you are open about your family’s comfort with nudity you may find many other families are as well.  It's just not something most families talk about openly; we hope to help encourage families to be more open and change that!  Regardless, many parents realize that other families have different lifestyles.  When parents with different lifestyles are upfront and respectful enough to let other parents know about it before their kids visit, most parents will have no problems with their kids visiting. 

A good friend shares this: 

We have had dozens of kids visit with our children to swim naked in our pool and to play naked in our back yard and go to nude beach's without any problems.  Why? 

  1. We have studied nudity/naturism and its benefits; and, we can answer any question a parent might have in an authoritative and logical manner. 
  2. For those who are concerned on Biblical grounds, we can show Scripturally that it is not in any way contrary to Scripture. 
  3. We are totally open about our nudity.  We do not keep "our lifestyle" secret— which would breed mistrust. 
  4. We are fastidious about not allowing anything sexual or erotic to have any place in our practice of naturism. 
  5. We always ensure parents know that they may drop in unannounced at anytime, while their child is with us, to see what is going on. 
  6. Our confidence in the value of nudity for children is strong enough that it gives children's parents confidence that their kid(s) will benefit and not be harmed.  (We actually had one neighbor who had boys a little older than our children ask us if their boys could come over to skinny-dip so they could experience it even though they were too old to really be friends with our kids.) 
  7. We always talk personally with the parents and answer any questions they may have. 
    Over the years, we've had dozens of boys and girls accompany us in nude activities.  Not once have we had any problem with misunderstanding or accusations.  (Kids whose parents would NOT let them go with our kids sometimes made accusations; but the children who did go naked were so adamant that nothing untoward ever took place that nothing ever came of them.  It was totally obvious that the non-nude had no grounds on which to make their accusations.) 


- Paul M. Bowman, BC - CAN 
Click Here for his site on the need for social, psychological, scientific studies regarding nudity.

Paul said: "We do not keep 'our lifestyle' secret— which would breed mistrust."  If parents find out that their kids where exposed to nudity and they had no prior knowledge of it there can be MAJOR problems.  Since nudity is not a part of many families life, that is understandable.  He also said “Our confidence in the value of nudity for children is strong enough that it gives children's parents confidence that their kid(s) will benefit and not be harmed.”  This is very important.  The respectful and wise thing to do is talk to other parents and get their permission BEFORE their kids visit your house.  To help answer questions other parents may have we recommend you read and share the "Preventing Child Abuse" article on this site.  There are several articles on this site, which could be very helpful, especially from a Christian perspective. 

It's also good to let other parents know that you have some guidelines about nudity that are strongly enforced.  Here are some ideas for guidelines that we hope will help.  Apart from the first one, these guidelines should be applied equally to all ages. 

  1. Every person under the age of 18 who wants to come to our home must first have direct permission from their parents.  Before they can visit we must first talk with their parents to explain that nudity is common in our home and why. 
  2. Everyone was born with the perfect swimsuit, skin.  No other swimsuits or clothing is allowed in the pool or spa.  Nudity is completely optional elsewhere, except that since many people don't have healthy attitudes about nudity, no nudity is allowed where it could be seen from the street or other houses. 
  3. Participation is completely private.  If a child wants to tell others that they went nude and it's all right with the child's parents, that's fine.  In order to respect others privacy, they may not, however tell anyone about any other people they may have seen nude.  It's up to each individual if, who, and when they tell others about their nudity. 
  4. Unless children from the same family first come with their parents, there are only one, or at the most two, newcomers at a time.  Those going nude around others for the first time will become more comfortable quicker when the only other people around already feel that being nude is the best way to swim, play, work, and relax. 
  5. Nothing sexual, No showing off, calling attention to, or teasing others about any body related stuff. 

For a printer friendly letter/consent form, which can be given to parents for both them and their children to sign, Click Here.  You can also copy and customize it to fit your situation. 

Social nudity helps people feel more comfortable with and accept their bodies regardless of age. Most people find being naked with others very freeing—it seems to release a lot of stress and pressure. Could this be because clothes create a social barrier and that people, at some level, have a need to be and interact with others free of this artificial barrier? Nudity removes the barrier and permits people to see what others really look like forbidding nudity denies it. Going nude removes the false masks, facades, and images we create with our clothes and leaves us with only what God created. 

Social nudity allows us to relate with whole people, rather than the images their clothes create (such as rich, poor, doctor, police, priest, waitress, blue collar, white collar, etc.) Being nude is also simply more comfortable; it is functionally superior for many activities. Once you have been swimming or soaked in a hot spa without a swimsuit you will never want to wear one again!  Most importantly social nudity frees people from body shame. Social nudity gives people a chance to develop a healthier, more wholesome, simple acceptance of the human body. 

I encourage you if haven't yet tried it, STOP JUST READING ABOUT IT and try it! You won't become comfortable with social/family nudity, or benefit from it, until you experience it. Your children can’t benefit from it until they experience it either!  Again, actions speak louder than words. 

Think about it. Imagine telling yourself, and your children, that all parts of the body are pure, wholesome, and acceptable, while never changing your actions to reflect that positive sentiment. You would still always lock or close the bathroom and bedroom doors when washing or changing. You would still wear dysfunctional, articles of clothing for activities such as swimming.  If so, you and your children would never experience nudity in a wholesome, positive, non-sexual context so the only way left to experience or see nudity would still be in a sexual context.  Wouldn't the messages you projected for your children to see still equate nudity only with shame, sex and pornography?  So wouldn't your and their response to seeing nakedness stay pretty much the same?  Doesn’t your family need the experience of shame-free, non-sexual social nudity to help counteract the nudity=shame and nudity=sex messages of the world? 

Theory is good but there's nothing like experience.  Help change you and your family’s concept of nudity from unhealthy, negative, and narrow (shame, sex & pornography only) to healthy, positive, and broad (at the beach or pool, swimming, sunning, relaxing, playing, sports, working out, sleeping, house and yard work, camping, walking, hiking, etc., etc.). If you have taught your children shame, this is an opportunity to admit that you’re human and you were wrong.  Talk with them and tell them that after research you have discovered that body shame can by very harmful and although you will not force it, you will encourage them to reject shame and be comfortable with nudity.  Start setting the example by getting comfortable with nudity yourself; hopefully you can also find a good nudist club(1) in your area and go as a family.  If enough families take this approach future generations will suffer far less from body shame. 

Nate Dekan

Founder -
Executive Director - Natura Family Naturist Resort

(1) One note of caution: Please find out as much as you can about a club or beach before taking children.  While many, like Natura, are very family oriented, many clubs in the U.S. (unlike Europe) also have very few children or any activities for them.  In places with few other children for playmates your kids could easily become bored.   ALSO, unfortunately not all so called “nudist” clubs (sadly even AANR affiliated ones) restrict nudity from being openly sexualized.  Thus not all are fit for families or in my opinion to call themselves “nudist”. 

I do not mean to sound discouraging here, actually considering that nudity is not much more widely accepted and how much nudity is associated with pornography and sex, It’s amazing that nudist clubs and beaches are not all much more overtly sexual, after all that's how many people think they are!  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 and beaches do in general have a more wholesome and safe atmosphere than most comparable clothed beaches, campgrounds, or resorts (Most nudist clubs are campgrounds rather then upscale resorts).

Copyright © 2002 Nate Dekan

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