Naturism is Healthy For The Family

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Home ยป 205 Arguments and Observations In Support of Naturism

69. True nudists emphasize a decent, family atmosphere and morality.

70. Research shows that children who grow up in a nudist setting tend to be more self-confident, more self accepting, and more sexually well-adjusted. They feel better about their bodies, and more comfortable with their sexuality.90

Research conducted at the University of Northern Iowa found that nudist children had body self-concepts that were significantly more positive than those of non-nudist children--and that the "nudity classification" of a family was one of the most significant factors associated with positive body self-concept. Furthermore, nudist children showed a significantly higher acceptance of their bodies as a whole, rather than feeling ashamed of certain parts.91 A study by psychologists Robin Lewis and Louis Janda at Old Damien University reported that "increased exposure to nudity in the family fosters an atmosphere of acceptance of sexuality and one's body." They concluded that children who had seen their parents nude were more comfortable with physical contact and affection, had higher self-esteem, and showed increased acceptance of and comfort with their bodies and their sexuality.92 Research by Marie-Louise Booth at the California School of Professional Psychology found that "individuals with less childhood exposure to parental nudity experienced significantly higher levels of adult sexual anxiety than did the group with more childhood exposure to parental nudity." 93 Separate research by Diane Lee Wilson at The Wright Institute reached the same conclusion.94 Research by Lou Lieberman of the State University of New York at Albany, in the late 1960s, found that "those young people who had casually seen both of their parents nude in the home were far more likely to feel comfortable with their bodies and to also feel mo re satisfied with the size and shape of their genitalia and breasts." 95

71. In general, "experts" such as Joyce Brothers and Dr. Spock speak out against family nudity without empirical evidence to back them up. When research is actually done, it contradicts their dire warnings.96 In several years of research at major national research libraries, I have yet to come across a scientific study which contradicts the premise that openness about nudity is healthy for children.

72. Most commentators say that it's the context in which family nudity takes place, not the nudity itself, that determines whether it's problematic. Children respond far more to parents' attitudes toward nudity than to the nudity itself, and nudity is only a problem when it is treated as one.97

73. Many psychologists argue that the implicit message conveyed by a lack of nudity in the home is that the body is basically unacceptable or shameful--an attitude which may carry over into discomfort about nudity in the context of adult sexual relationships.98

74. Children of "primitive" tribes, surrounded by nudity of all forms, suffer no ill effects. Neither do children who grow up in other societies which are more open about nudity than our own.99 Presumptions that exposure to nudity will lead to problems for children grow out of the preconceptions of our culture. Paul Ableman writes: "It is interesting to speculate as to what kind of model of the human mind Sigmund Freud would have constructed if he had based it not on clothed Europeans but on, say, a study of the naked Nuer of the Sudan. Almost all the processes which he discerns as formative for the adult mind would have been lacking. Freud assumes that children will not normally see each other naked and that, if they do happen to, the result will be traumatic. This is not true of naked cultures. . . . Thus great provinces of Freud's mind-empire would simply be missing. There would be no Oedipus complex (or not much, anyway), no penis envy or castration complex, probably no clear-cut phases of sexual development. We are emerging rapidly from the era of Freudian gospel . . . and can now perceive the extent to which he himself was the victim of prevailing ideas and prejudices." 100

75. Children who grow up in a nudist environment witness the natural body changes brought on by adolescence, pregnancy, and aging. They have far less anxiety about these natural processes than children who are never exposed to them except through layers of clothing.

76. Research has demonstrated that countries with fewer reservations about nudity (and sexuality in general) also have lower teen pregnancy and abortion rates.101
A 1985 study by the Guttmacher Institute found rates of pregnancy and abortion among teenage girls in America to be more than twice those of Canada, France, Sweden, England, and The Netherlands. The disparity couldn't be explained by differences in sexual activity, race, welfare policies, or the availability of abortion, but only in cultural attitudes toward nudity and sexuality. The study found American youth to be particularly ignorant of biology and sexuality, partly due to a climate of moral disapproval for seeking such knowledge. It found that lower levels of unwanted pregnancy correlated with factors such as the amount of female nudity presented by public media and the extent of nudity on public beaches.102

77. Clothes-compulsion intimidates millions of mothers from breast-feeding their children, even though breast-feeding is healthier and often more convenient for both the child and the mother.103
In the U.S., barely half of all mothers breast-feed; only 20% do so for a full 6 months, and only 6% for the Surgeon General's recommended 12 months.104 Breast-feeding is also declining in developing countries.105 Gabrielle Palmer writes: "In Victorian England, famous for its prudery, a respectable woman could feed openly in church, yet in contemporary industrialized society where women's bodies and particularly breasts are used to sell newspapers, cars and peanuts, public breast-feeding provokes cries of protest from both men and women." 106 Lisa Demauro notes that "our society is far more at home with the idea of sexy breasts than functional ones." 107 "Millions of boys and girls have grown up never having seen a mother breast-feeding her baby," adds Marsha Pearlman, the Florida Health Department coordinator for breast-feeding. "This is a sad commentary on our culture." 108


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