"...sex must be brought up to an equal status as eating, praying,
meditating, playing or any other of a variety of normal, nurturing
activities of which we partake..."

BEYOND NUDISM: Sexuality as the Next Step to Healing

By Daniel D. Ziegler

Social Nudism can be a healing balm for the soul weary of carrying around the
burden of body shame. But at some point, if the healing soul longs for yet
something more, something deeper, something even beyond nudism--perhaps
even sexual--it is a sign that the soul is ready for a deeper level of healing. The
soul is now ready to examine the real roots of body shame, and once these are
discovered and discarded, the healing process of body shame can be
completed.

What are the roots of body shame in our culture? When closely examined,
shame, embarrassment and guilt over our bodies stems from thousands of
years of religious-based sexual repression. We have been led to believe that our
bodies are the cause of sexual behavior, of which most forms are considered
sinful. It is this belief that lies at the bottom of our negative attitudes toward our
bodies. To heal from this requires that a new understanding and appreciation of
sex be adopted, one based on joy and celebration for life, not on shame and
guilt. We can call it sexual acceptance. Simply put, sex must be brought up to an
equal status as eating, praying, meditating, playing or any other of a variety of
normal nurturing activities of which we partake--openly, either alone or with
others. Once achieved and we are no longer wasting vital energy concealing
unnecessary embarrassment, shame and guilt, we will finally be free to pursue
higher expressions of the human experience. Until then, we are slaves to our
own negative thoughts of shameful bodies.

Just as importantly as healing our minds of the negative attitudes toward our
sexuality is the next step toward healing of our body shame, comfort with nudity
is a prerequisite for healing our attitudes toward sexuality. The whole process of
healing begins with becoming comfortable enough with nudity to take the next
step toward addressing sexuality. If one stops at simply nudity, however, the
healing process will not become complete because body shame originates in
repressed sexuality; and likewise, if one tries to heal their sexuality without first
becoming comfortable with simple nudity, body shame will surely get in the way.
The two, nudity and sexuality, go hand in hand, yet, for obvious reasons nudity
must be dealt with first. We can even call that Step 1. Then, once a certain
comfort level is reached with simple nudity, sexuality can be addressed as Step
2. After that, healing can be completed. The result is healthy sexuality based on
an attitude of wholeness of the body that has replaced body shame based on
sexual repression. We now experience true body acceptance that includes
sexual acceptance, as we accept ourselves as healthy sexual beings.

I have written extensively about healing body shame through nudism in my book
NAKED BEFORE GOD:
A Look at Healing, Self-discovery and Spiritual
Growth Through Social Nudism
. That book, containing my personal accounts
with nudism as well as accounts of other nudists, serves as a guide to the first
step in our healing. For some, however, it will be the last step too, for they will
choose not to explore the idea that their view of sexuality may not be entirely
whole or healthy. For them, at least for now, a line has been drawn which they
choose not to cross. Such socially accepted and mainstream concepts such as
marriage, monogamy, heterosexuality, privacy surrounding sex, silence about
sex, etc., etc., etc., are deeply rooted in our psyche and, for some people, are
not open to be challenged. Others, however, once they have experienced the
healing power of nudism, will be ready for the second step--to question society’s
and their own view on sexuality as well, realizing that their body shame, and
possibly other neurotic issues, originate from thousands of years of sexual
repression. Their quest for further healing, however, will sometimes be painful as
they move forward to challenge deep-rooted ideas at the very core of their soul--
ideas even beyond the level of the nudism challenge-- but the ultimate healing
will be just as deep.

I have thought that since NAKED BEFORE GOD serves as a guide to Step 1,
healing through nudity, I would have to write another book for Step 2, healing
through sexuality. But after a little thought I realized that I would not have to write
a single word. So much has already been written. One only has to go to a
bookstore or look online for any number of books and websites dealing with
healing our sexuality. With nudity, however, it was different story. One is hard
pressed to find any literature on nudity or nudism except what is published by
various nudist and naturist organizations, and seldom does any of it mention
healing.

I offer the ideas presented here to those nudists, and anyone else, who sense
that even though the nudism experience has changed their lives in a positive
direction by freeing them up from years of body shame, there is still something
missing. I urge them to honor this feeling. That missing something, in my
estimation, is the issue of our repressed sexuality. The nudist community, for a
variety of reasons—some having to do with survival of the movement itself and
some having to do purely with the blinding effects of sexual repression--has not
addressed the root cause of body shame—our negative attitude toward our
sexuality; nor in all likelihood will it. It is up to us as individuals to continue on our
own path of healing beyond nudism.

Copyright 2008 Daniel D. Ziegler
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LESS-ONS FOR TRUTH
Reclaiming Acceptance of our Original State