I didn’t sleep at all that night. My tidy white underwear hugging my skinny butt in my experience was patent nakedness. My first night as an emancipated eighteen-year-old was marbled with social anxiety surrounding how to deal with my body around these new people.
My prior eighteen years of training in modesty set shy as my mantra and genitalia as sin waiting to happen. It was no wonder that I didn’t know what to do around guys my own age and my own conservative midwest lower middle class. I knew anxiety about sleeping in my undies was crazy, but, hey, fear is real.
Nakedness is not so counterintuitive. Every human soul connects with the world around them through that organ-that-doesn’t-seem-like-an-organ, our sensual, beautiful skin. We hear the social clang of imminent danger if we expose ourselves, but everyone deeply longs for it.
And the fear of social nakedness is real — for those wearing the nakedness as well as spectators. But this beguiling nakedness beckons me given even the slightest opportunity. This is my predicament: I want to hang with the guys in my underwear.
The conversation surrounding unclothed bodies most often dominates morality versus social resistance movements like nudism or naturism. I find one weakness of this discussion: you wind up becoming classified with a label that doesn’t at all serve you. “Oh, he’s a nudist or naturist or some such thing. He doesn’t like to wear clothes.” I prefer to think about what’s good for everyone more than the latest resistance. For today, let’s say that nudity simply means without clothing. Nakedness, on the other hand, is a state of mind. Nakedness is good for us.
Guys and Naked Fascination
We arrived at the river — a very cool swimming spot and a nice place to hang out for an afternoon. I stopped to pee on a bush, turned around and my buddy is already airing his balls. This is the story of my friends. Give anyone a chance to shake off their threads and they’ve done it. I’m not complaining; I’m always next.
This I knew from childhood, that with the exception of highly morally conditioned folk or never nudes, we intuitively know that nakedness is good for us. It’s also never necessary to make a sexual distinction with regard to nakedness. The reason is simple. We adjust our sexual behavior and expression in clothed social environments, and we’ll do the same for social nakedness. Consent is consent with or without clothing. When you remove the distinction of clothing and show respect for others, you genuinely feel good about your body, your behavior, and the beauty of nakedness.
How To Think About Nakedness
We were sitting by the campfire — naked, of course — on a starry August night. Only us and the coyotes.
Why is nakedness appealing? I asked.
Well, you know our skin is the largest organ in the body, he said. And I knew where he was going with this.
Maybe for the rest of you, it’s the largest, I said.
Asshole, he said.
Then it came to me. His track on this was in fact very helpful. The skin is indeed the largest and most misunderstood organ. Covering the skin with clothing impedes the skin’s natural function on several levels.
There is an electrical field allowing the skin to interact with the environment and internal body systems. Clothing interrupts the energy flow and the skin’s natural function. This is exactly why we feel a powerful sense of liberation and freedom when we remove our clothing especially outdoors.
On a psychological level, the skin functions as a social expression and identity. When people know you only by your head and shoulders, they see you as mind and intellect. When you also reveal your body and skin, people also relate with you as desire and emotion. That night by the campfire I understood why we feel a depth of honesty and ease in social nakedness.
To think in this way, I now see nakedness as my state before I put clothes on, not after I take them off. Put another way, you are the most you before you put clothes on. Everything else is only covering up.
Naked Yoga and Other Naked Pursuits
I have never done yoga with clothes on. My first yoga experience ever was a response to a personal challenge to myself to do something a little uncomfortable. It’s a personal growth thing I do.
It was a little uncomfortable.
I arrived, took off all of my clothes with about a dozen other guys, and for the first time in my life learned that downward dog in this case had nothing to do with animal training.
I was hooked — hooked on yoga as well as naked yoga. I discovered alignment through nakedness in my body — aligning muscles, bones, joints, and internal systems right down to the cellular level. I also discovered the alignment of my mind and heart — aligning my identity and self-perception through movement and pose. Both aspects, body, and mind, are deeply enhanced when naked because they’re not impeded by clothes. Nakedness is the magic.
Personal growth organizations and groups employ clothing optional in their programs and workshops. For example, participants in Human Awareness Institute workshops may attend naked if they wish. They believe that the vulnerability found in nakedness is an important part of a person’s essential power.
Naked Beneath The Clothing
Understanding that nakedness is a state of mind, the natural state of honesty and freedom of energy flow before we put on clothing most definitely find life also once we cover our body. We just don’t cover who we are.
You have no doubt noticed it in another — unpretentious reveal, clarity, and honesty. Almost appealing naivete. Vulnerability. It comes from the personal value of one’s own nakedness. It comes from ease in disclosing nakedness to others. Why would one show you anything else? Anything else isn’t true.
Toward Your Own Nakedness
You can enjoy a healthier mind and body that is naked. It’s not difficult. You don’t need to join a social organization or run outside and do a striptease for the neighbors. Enjoy a personal time of nakedness each day. Enjoy deep sensual naked sleep at night. What you value in yourself, others will value in you as well.
The social struggle over the right to express ourselves with naked bodies is common in the US. Other parts of the world are more tolerant. Turner Stokes fought for public nudity as a civil right. While he did make a forward motion, we still flounder with obscure and limiting laws. Use good judgment with your own practice.
Remember that nakedness is a state of mind. Anything short of an honest presentation of you without clothes is simply nude.