My only friend in elementary school had a neighborhood friend named Jeffrey. As he and I sat at the table talking about who knows what, he piped up with a story.
“One time,” he said, “the three of us were playing truth or dare. We dared Jeffrey’s little brother to strip naked and run around the basement, and he actually did it.”
Hold the phone, I thought. He did what?! His little brother willingly got naked in front of them with penis in full view and ran around?
I wish I could’ve been there and seen it happen. I wanted to be part of it. Later on, I’d bring up this story with my friend and ask him to tell it again in more detail.
This story of nudity became an obsession with me. But why?
I had a complicated relationship with nudity growing up. During summers in preschool, we often went “swimming,” which was really just running around the playground as the counselors sprayed us with the water hose. We had to be in swimsuits, however. I remember getting naked with the other boys while changing — no second thoughts about doing it.
When I got to my elementary school years, this attitude changed. At YMCA camps, I was horrified to see the other boys getting naked in full view of each other while changing to go swimming. Why were they doing this?!
To avoid this shamefulness, I always changed in the toilet stalls and dreaded any time pool day came up.
One day, I simply refused to leave the toilet stall because I didn’t want to see the other boys mindlessly getting naked in front of each other or have them see me naked. I stood in that stall forever — only to find that my summer camp had left the pool building without me! I ran across the lawn to the next building and burst into tears as the counselors panicked over how they could have left me behind.
The shame was overwhelming.
Sometimes I think my attitude about nudity changed because of the shows and movies I watched at the time. They often portrayed nudity as something extremely disgusting (especially if someone was naked in front of the same sex), or as something really hilarious to be mocked.
I remember Alfalfa running around in his tighty-whities in Little Rascals. I remember Tommy Pickles ditching his diaper and running around naked in front of the other babies and convincing them to do the same in Rugrats. I remember Ed, Edd, and Eddy losing their speedos and comically covering themselves up lest any of the other kids see them naked.
The message I got from these shows and movies was that if anyone ever saw you naked in your most vulnerable state, you would be mocked.
Yet for some reason, I couldn’t link why nudity was shamed in society while the boys got freely naked and horse-played in the locker room. Talk about mixed messages! With the onset of puberty, the concept of seeing other males naked and being naked with them became eroticized.
A lot of my fantasies, while sexual to me, were not inherently sexual in their content. I liked the idea of simply getting naked with the other boys and going skinny-dipping, for instance. Or doing a naked dare just for laughs, like my friend and his neighbor did.
I suppose, in a sense, I was longing for innocent camaraderie and horseplay with other boys. To my subconscious mind, however, such fantasies were not so innocent anymore.
Like Tom wrote in his blog, I’ve never much desired sexual intercourse with men. Throughout my life, however, my erotic thoughts and desires have centered almost entirely on nudity. Only with fast internet service have I found a whole new world of pornography, and the crazy world of nudism opened to me.
To be continued . . .
Welcome our newest blogging brother, Eugene! And for discussion below: what was your relationship with nudity growing up? Was nudity normalized or eroticized after puberty? Have you ever wanted to experience platonic nudity with other guys?
* Photo courtesy wondermonkey2k, Creative Commons.