I was born nude! Sorry about the overused cliche‚
but certain truths bear repeating. More correctly, I was born nude into a body-negative society which quickly indoctrinated
me into the illogical concept of shame. This was just one of the many hypocrisies that would gnaw at me during my midwestern
It never made sense to me why our naked body was so shameful,
for I was told that God had made us in his image. But, I was taught well, and had my share of disturbing childhood dreams
about being in some public place naked. Then there was the night that I saw my mother come out of the bathroom when
I was supposed to be asleep. I had never seen a naked woman before, so out of curiosity I looked. This peek at
the forbidden both excited me and shamed me, for being excited by my mother's nakedness.
I was a curious and exploring child who played with other
curious children. We saw each others forbidden parts when we were out of sight of the grownups. Playing "doctor"
with my older female cousin was my first close look at those hidden parts of a girl. After a few times playing this
game and exploring her crotch thoroughly, I lost interest. My curiosity had been satiated by the familiarity of her
nakedness, and it soon became no more exciting than skinny dipping in the creek with my male cousins.
This clandestine and common exploration among children who
are indoctrinated with body-shame shows both the futility of hiding nature from them and the need for a more honest and healthy
attitude toward the naked human body. We children had discovered the naturist premise that seeing the naked "forbidden
parts" of the opposite sex was actually no big deal once the mystery is removed.
I went through the rest of my middle American childhood and
adolescence with the normal proscribed modesty and its resultant obsessive curiosity. The era of the fifties had very
little body exposure to satisfy this curiosity. There were a few publicly naked statues around St. Louis, and we boys
could come by a few purloined Playboy magazines which at the time didn't even show pubic hair.
As I matured to late adolescence and early adulthood in the
mid 1960s, mixed gender nudity was only in the context of sexual activity. Then came the social upheavals of the late
60s, when free love was so casual and people pursued honesty in an effort to tell-it-like-it-is. Mixed gender nudity
could actually take a rest from sexuality.
My naturist beginnings were in the clothing casual communes
and crash-pads of New Orleans, where people bathed with the door open or changed clothes in rooms with others present.
It was no big deal to see brothers and sisters nude.
A year after the happening at Woodstock, I was at another
gathering of the tribes at the Atlanta Pop Festival (July 4, 1970) in Byron Ga.
There was possibly a quarter million of us there for three
days of love, music, dope, and good vibes. We camped in pecan groves and fields, and lived by our own standards of "morality."