Naturism and Nudism are faces of the collective shadow. In depth psychology, shadow is partially defined as those things that we repress, that we deny about ourselves. Individually we react, unconsciously, with heat and perhaps anger when we are confronted with that which we deny in the actions and behaviours of others. Nudity provokes all kinds of heated response. When one reacts with heat to something or someone or some behaviour, one reacts to one’s own repressed shadow.
One of the big problems is that of defining shadow in strictly negative terms. Through awareness and learning, one comes to understand the ideas of personal and collective shadow. However, that awareness is typically skewed and filtered. Yes, the shadow exists; however, we often cling to the belief that humans need to repress these things for some rationally unexplainable reason. If it is in the shadow, it must belong there. Those that refuse to accept and abide by the collective decrees become bad, untrustworthy, immoral, perverts, evil. This is the collective message daily sent out by the modern western world collective unconscious with regards to those who refuse to hide their naked and natural body.
For the most part, we all buy into this collective unconscious pressure. Naturists and nudists included. Within one’s home, a decision to remove clothing to enjoy moments of clothes-free freedom is matched with closing the draperies, locking the doors, having a housecoat or some other article handy in order to quickly hide the body should someone come to the door. The message to self is that of confirming the belief of the collective. The faces of fear of exposure, of being caught, as well as guilt are part of the baggage, part of the practice.
We do the same things should we decide to dare being skyclad, being closes-free outside of the confines of the walls, locked doors and covered windows of our homes. Should we so dare, we need to prepare our yards or gardens so that we avoid being caught as much as possible. High privacy fences and/or thick high hedges are put into place. One needs to pay attention to nearby buildings that may overlook the yard so as to keep our intended nudity out of view even of these places. We have learned that our right to practice naturism or nudism in our own yards and gardens are non-existent. The rights of our neighbours supersede our own rights. The collective demands the right to avoid seeing the naked human body in normal, everyday life. Any breeches of that right often results in legal and/or social sanctions. There is no wonder that naturists and nudists have a fear of getting caught with their pants down.
Fear and guilt are real yet, the need for being naked is as real as the fear and guilt. For many, that need, mostly an unconscious need, results in repeated risks of being caught and exposed. And, it is that need which soon begins to worry – “is there something wrong with me?” – a fear that perhaps one is mentally disturbed needing psychopharmicalogical help in order to be cured of such abnormal behaviour. Sadly, most members of the collective would agree with that assessment, that people who need to be nude are sick puppies.
Within the world of social nudism, the same fear exists, the same need for secure privacy to ensure that the nudity of the members does not offend the surrounding general public and thus put the very existence of the resort at risk. There is also a fear of being exploited by voyeurs with cameras, fear of finding that voyeurs have taken their photos and placed them on the web thus exposing their nudity to the world including the families, colleagues and neighbours. The fear is real. With the collective associating nudity with perverse sex, there is a parallel agreement by social nudist who generally forbid single males, especially older males, from becoming guests or members of the resorts based on the irrational fear that all single males, especially the older ones, are perverts at best and paedophiles at worst. Being a nudist doesn’t exempt one from participating in the collective shadow.