Women's Issues with Nudity
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Women’s Issues with Nudity


It is certainly – and unfortunately – a fact that many fewer women than men seem to enjoy nudity, at least as measured by almost any index of participation in social nudity. At clothing optional beaches there are usually several times as many men as women. The ratio is even worse in online discussion groups for nudism and naturism. Only in private clubs and resorts, where deliberate balance policies are often applied, does the ratio seemingly even come close to 1:1.

Is this because men are more attracted to social nudity out of voyeuristic interest, exhibitionism, or other sexual motivations? Are women just less likely to find the experience of nudity (either privately or socially) enjoyable? Or is it something else?

One of the most persistent concerns/criticisms voiced by non-participants about the practice of social nudity in any of its various forms is that it must represent the ultimate dream/fantasy of the male voyeur. Though this is usually expressed by women, many men (both potential voyeurs as well as those who disapprove) may hold this opinion also.

Women's Issues with Nudity
Original oil painting-Puberty by Edvard Munch Original oil painting-Puberty by Edvard Munch

Probably nothing short of actual experience can adequately rebut this opinion. Indeed, it may well be that many voyeurs do harbor this dream/fantasy. However, individuals who actually try the experience of nudity, either alone or in a social setting, usually find that being naked is so pleasurable and satisfying in itself, that the issue of voyeurism diminishes greatly in importance.

Mature, psychologically healthy people who like to be naked are either neutral about seeing others naked or find it pleasurable, but they still derive most of their satisfaction from being naked themselves.

What about individuals who are immature, inconsiderate, or otherwise are not in the best psychological health? The answer depends on the setting. Except for situations where access can’t be controlled (such as beaches on public land), a community of people enjoying nudity (or some other pursuit where nudity is accepted even if not the main purpose) naturally tends to exclude individuals whose behavior is disruptive to their enjoyment, for whatever reason. Even in the remaining cases of public beaches, there is often a community spirit present among the regular users of such places that actively works to make voyeurism and other disruptive behavior distinctly unwelcome.

Just why do so many more men than women seem to enjoy social nudity?

If an interest in social nudity is not a manifestation of male voyeurism (or worse), then what does account for the disparity in participation between men and women?

Although many men in our society are unable to appreciate the pleasures of nudity, there seem to be many more deterrents for women than for men. These include greater problems with body image, concerns about voyeurism and sexual harassment, reasonable (though unfounded) worries about physical safety, and simply the weight of social tradition that nudity is “offensive”, indecent, lewd, and immoral – and more so for women than for men.

But even for women who personally have overcome these deterrents, are relatively at ease with being naked in public, and have even come to enjoy it (perhaps a lot), there remains one significant problem. Namely, because of all the extra deterrents to women, many more men than women choose to participate in social nudity, and consequently the remaining women may feel intimidated just by the sheer imbalance of numbers.

It is a classic self-fulfilling prophecy. Women are disproportionately deterred from social nudity, so there are fewer of them, and this itself becomes an added deterrent.

Why is it a deterrent? Not necessarily because of concerns about rude behavior or even physical safety if there are “too many” men around. It may simply be that women like to spend time socializing with other women, no more and no less when naked than when not. Women do differ from men in what tends to interest them, so at just about any kind of social gathering like seeks out like. Or it may be even simpler than that – if there are few women at naturist places, both women (and men) will readily assume women don’t WANT to be at such places.

What can be done about the problem?

So we have a handle on the problem of gender imbalance in contemporary social nudity. The essence is that women face a number of deterrents to enjoying nudity that men don’t, at least to the same degree. Therefore, in any random population many more men than women will experiment with social nudity. Hence in the absence of balance policies, the resulting imbalance adds a further significant deterrent – a feedback effect that makes the imbalance even worse.

Solution? The harmful feedback loop has to be broken. All deterents and obstacles to the enjoyment of social nudity that affect women more than men must be identified and either eliminated, or at least reduced to the point there is no difference between men and women in their effect.

The approach for dealing with each specific obstacle or deterrent will depend on what it is, so let’s look at a number of cases we can readily identify.

Continued… Read full original article…

Source: Naturist Place

Original publication 23 June, 2005

Posted on NatCorn 22nd October 2021

Reference to an article does not infer endorsement of any views expressed.

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