Featured Mini Documentary Produced by Saint Gabriels Newsroom in 2015

Tom Scotus

What’s Wrong With Nudity?

Flickr Image - Timothy ActwellIt’s interesting that even in our sexually permissive society, nudist colonies are anything but obsolete. An acquaintance of mine has been frequenting them for about 20 years. He’s happily married, has two teenage boys, and a good paying job. Why does he frequent these clubs?

He’ll tell you that the members are friendly, the staff is courteous and it’s just a fun place to be. He’d be insulted if you implied that there was anything immoral about it. No one makes overt sexual advances at the club, people are careful not to stare at private parts, and the topic of sex is avoided, he says.

If one were to completely believe their official publications, nudist or “naturist” clubs have nothing to do with sexual interest. They are about “getting in touch with our natural selves,” “breaking down artificial social barriers,” “enjoying the freedom of nude living” and other high and noble purposes. I’ve looked at recent examples of such publications. Although naked bodies are liberally shown, it’s a bit difficult to find examples that would inspire lust. Most people look better with their clothes on!

The noble façade of the nudist culture is almost convincing, and I’m sure that the majority of nudists have fairly innocent motives, but dig a little deeper and you may find a dark side. Small but vibrant groups of spouse swappers, drug users and swingers thrive at many of these clubs, and they are always looking for new recruits. Could finding like-minded swingers be a strong motive for many of the people who join nudist colonies?

Nudist colonies, like the early nudist publications, partially legitimize their existence by asking the timeless rhetorical question, “What’s wrong with the naked human body?” The answer, of course, is absolutely nothing. But there is something wrong us. It’s called original sin. Therefore, we are infected by a disordered sexual desire, and strutting about naked with other naked people won’t change that.

There was a time when depictions of the nude body, in any form but fine art, were considered obscene. It wasn’t nudity per se that alarmed the moral watchdogs of the day but the lust that they believed such material would inflame. Before the very late 1960s, full nudity was not allowed in American “men’s magazines.” To get around the law, adult bookstores sold magazines about nudist colonies. These publications appeared innocent enough. They showed naked people sun bathing, playing tennis or volleyball, or strolling on a sandy beach. The editorials extolled the virtues of nude living and criticized the social “Puritanism” of the time.

Fast forward 50 years: Western culture is saturated by ultra-explicit and degrading pornography. In the early 1960s, hardcore porn was illegal and hard to get, today it’s a click away on any smart phone. Porn use and porn addiction are at epidemic levels. So, the public acceptance of “innocent” depictions of nudity gradually led to our modern Sodom. It was a textbook example of the “slippery slope.” No, there’s nothing wrong with the naked human body. There’s something wrong with us. Nude living won’t liberate us. Only God can do that.