Nu comme le jour où je suis né

Month: January 2019

Pop-Porn Culture

Planning today’s post

Pop-Porn Culture – is a culture built around youth. Young women, studly men with defined musculature and barely concealed erections. Us older folk are definitely not the stars of this culture, though we often are its consumers. And yes, that includes many who view themselves as genuine naturists. Showing an ageing body [and it doesn’t have to be that old, just “sexy”] doesn’t feed the culture. So, I guess my images, and those of friends, like Bob, who make their visual appearances here would fall outside of the pop-porn culture. We aren’t celebrities either. We’re normal people who just happen to enjoy being nude. We pick and chose when we will be naked in a public setting – camping, a beach, a naturist community, our home, our private yard … places where we don’t intentionally confront others with our nudity.

I was just reading about an article from Elle that was lamenting the retreat by women in France, from topless bathing. It seems that the primary culprit for this cultural change is not the fear of skin cancer, but because breasts have become so associated with porn, and because social media has had a free hand to promote porn, in spite of protests to the contrary by Facebook, et al. A barely there top is acceptable where a bare breast isn’t. A barely there top is all about sexual titillation. So, after reading the article, I wondered just how much truth there was to the claims. So, I went searching for other articles and found this:

“We are so surrounded by porn and porn culture in today’s society that it’s hard to even recognize what we are actually hearing or seeing sometimes. Think about it. Look at today’s most popular TV shows, the lyrics of the most popular songs on Spotify, and the content of some of the blockbuster movies in theaters. You’ll find one overarching theme:
Sex. Sex. And more graphic sex.

It’s so crazy to think that content that was once totally unheard of, is now widely accepted, embraced, and promoted daily in our media.

Pop & Porn Culture

My friend Bob, shown above and here to the left, is busy as a critical reader for my next novel. There are at least two others naturists who will also be reviewing the book before it is ready for publishing. Bob is a friend on Twitter and at MeWe. He is a friend because he dares to be authentically himself. Unlike so many other men of our generation, and younger, he doesn’t respond to naturist images with “sexy” or with a “dick pic.” I usually find myself blocking those who sexualise images containing nudity. To comment on how “hot” a penis is, or to use heart and kissing emoticons in response, even of an older male feeds the porn-pop culture. Seeing a penis should be understood as simple “seeing” a penis without any qualitative response attached.

I know that I get way too many offers for sex, requests for more full-frontal photos, me a man on the cusp of 70 years of age. It isn’t that I don’t like sex, but I don’t care to be a sexual object for others whom I don’t even know. I can only imagine how it feels for naturist women such as Holly, Lanie, and Joy who often appear in my blog posts. So, what are we to do? Do we retreat from naturism? Or, do we continue to block, report, unfollow those who are intent on taking all innocent images as invitations to sex? I guess if we abstain from posting our images, we might think we are not contributing to the problem of pop-porn. However, I don’t really believe that is true. It is too much like retreating and burying our heads in the sand.

Rather, we need to stop being part of the problem. An example that comes to mind is one man who creates little videos of himself where he wags his penis in time to music. Every time we celebrate an image that is intentionally sexual, celebrate media stars for being nude [think Miley Cyrus] we feed the pop-porn culture. We need to call out all of these occasions for what they are AND provide a “natural” and “authentic” version of what it is to be a naturist.

Of course, this is simply my opinion and I am not the universal authority on anything outside of my limited level of “self” consciousness. What is your opinion about pop-porn?

Stepping Outside the Bubble of Naturism

Sometimes a shirt is okay

Stepping outside of the bubble of naturism comes with a risk with today’s post. I read earlier on Twitter about how we need to gently push the boundaries, rather than to overtly get in people’s faces resulting in conflict and push back. Of course that makes a lot of sense. The last thing we want as naturists, is to lose ground to the reactive, fearful, and negative broader society. We want more opportunity to be nude, socially and in private. I guess this image of me having coffee on our front patio at ground level is a bit out of the box, pushing the boundaries as the three apartments just out of view on the property are all full. As well, I rarely add in an image of me only partially clothed. But seriously, a light cover sometimes takes off the chill and makes life more comfortable.

Now, when it comes to a blog site about naturism, the blog site exists within a relatively safe bubble as it is read by other naturists. I doubt if any non-naturists ever come back for a second visit if they even stumble upon the site for one uncomfortable exposure [pun intended]. It is that bubble that I will likely challenge with today’s post which tackles a political dimension. I realise that most of my readers are well aware of the politics within their own countries which negatively impact the world of naturism. Since so many governments are becoming reactive and conservative, basically against anything that challenges the status quo, naturism is at risk, a growing risk. Naturists are not seen and valued as part of the status quo.

Naturists come in all political persuasions – nationalists, internationalists, those who believe in the issue of climate change and those who are deniers, those who both pro and anti immigrants, and the list goes on. The only thing that unites us is the desire to be free of clothing. So, what I have to say in the words that follow will likely find ready and loud opposition. And that is okay as we need to safeguard freedom of speech.

Yellow Vests – Gilets Jaune! They became front and centre on the world stage as they marched and rioted in France. And now, they are an international force. For me this is a bit strange as for the most part, the yellow vests are strong nationalists who are resisting being pulled into the concerns of the rest of the world. Here in Canada, there is a national version – Yellow Vests Canada.

One of the aims of group which has supporters in the tens of thousands is to have all legislation from 1992 be reviewed and voted on by Canadian residents. That is a lot of history that wants to be undone beginning with NAFTA. The yellow vests group is anti-government, anti-tax, and anti-change. They want education, medical care, a social problems to paid for services rather than have “their hard earned money” get spent on others, the “I don’t have / didn’t have kids so why should I have to pay school taxes as part of my property taxes?” complaint is real. The “if they weren’t so lazy, they wouldn’t be on welfare” and “if she been a better wife then she wouldn’t need to go to a women’s shelter” all too easily find a lot of support when they realise that is their tax dollars [and everyone else’s] who pay for these services.

One doesn’t have to stretch the imagination to see that this would include the rights of women to be bare-breasted which was won following an 1991 conviction of Gwen Jacob for cycling with no covering on the top half of her body. The reversal which then provided legal protection came a few years later. So yes, the implications are real for naturism. Taking a further look into the 1992 target date and a few other things come to the surface, legalised gay marriage, right to change gender, legalised medicinal use of marijuana, and more. When a country wants to dial back to a simpler time, a lot of individual protections get lost. Once we begin to take that journey of undoing, we will end up a vassal state of our great neighbour to the south.

The yellow vests target immigration and international involvement at governmental levels. The vested interest is to retreat behind the border, building an ideological wall between Canada and the rest of the world, an echo of Trump’s wall and the U.K.’s Brexit. I personally feel that any wall becomes a prison for those contained with these walls, akin to burying one’s head in the sand hoping that problems will go away. Be careful what you wish for. The past wasn’t as rosy as many like to believe. We are wealthier than at any time in human history. We have more toys for big boys, boats, ATVs, skidoos, seadoos, RVs, motor homes … the list goes on and on. Our present wealth is real in spite of the complaint of having to pay taxes.

I want to hear your take on this. And in telling me your side, please attempt being respectful of the voices you will hear in the comments.

Learning to Live With Imperfection

Body positivity – imperfectly perfect

Body positivity – learning to not only accept the truth of one’s body, but to let go of judgments about the bodies of others. In the world of naturism, it is accepted as a near truth that those who engage in social nudity have a high level of body positivity. I have to admit that I question that commonly held belief. In a way, being nude is curiously like wearing a costume or a mask. Because of the company we keep when in a social nudity situation, it allows us to feel at one with the tribe. Yet, once we are left on our own, we see our bodies differently, and not usually with a kind lens.

In social nudity situations, it becomes easier to not focus on bodies, ours or others. We tend to look at each other face-to-face. Our bodies are present but typically they are conscientiously not glanced at. And that, sets us at ease. If the others are looking at us generically then we feel our flaws are not remarked upon. Add to that reality, naturists go out of their way to make sure no body comments are made. In front of the mirror when we are alone, we examine ourselves as though through a microscope. Extraneous hairs are plucked, blackheads are squeezed, guts are sucked in, and still we find that our bodies don’t quite live up to our expectation.

Okay, so maybe I am talking about myself and not others. In general terms, I am okay with my body up to a point. I am more than slightly dissatisfied with my body’s betrayal – left knee and right hip pain – a fact of my getting to be older. I’m not gaining extra weight, but things are shifting around and muscle mass is more of a memory than a fact. I am particularly not happy with the fact of two aspects of my body. My belly button has decided to protrude when I am at rest. Even if I lose the extra few pounds [and I do every winter in warm climates] the belly button refuses to retreat. The second disappointment is one that is more long-standing, my testicles. With age, the sack has dropped, but not the testicles themselves. I end up with a dangling flap of scrotum. But that aside, I am okay with my body … well, maybe a little bit better than okay. I take care of my body with natural exercise and proper eating habits [most of the time].

I see changes in my wife’s body and for some strange reason, it just doesn’t matter. She is still beautiful. Whenever I say that to her, she tells me to put on my glasses or get my lens prescription changed. She doesn’t see what I see. She is much wiser than I am as she is more accepting of ageing. After all, she works in a nursing home and realistically knows that there is no escaping the changes that ageing will inflict on the body.

Listening to other naturists, I hear comments about the niggling things which cause them dissatisfaction with their bodies. But, I hear less from them than I do from friends who are never nude. I get tired of hearing about weight, diet, derogatory comments about others who are not perfect according to some constantly shifting standard. Guys are particularly bad in judging. They create rating scales for many of the women they see, especially young women. The laugh at many wondering how “he” ever hooked up with such a gorgeous woman. Or, wonder what an average kind of guy ever saw in a woman whom they place at the bottom of any ranking scale because of appearance. Curious, on clothing optional beaches and in naturist venues, those comments don’t get said.

What about you? Are you fully satisfied with your body? Are you able to refrain from judging others because of their bodies? Share your stories.

The Naked Shadow

I was listening to my wife tell me about some very good stories happening in the world near our home in Canada. One particular story was about a drug addict who had managed to get some control back in her life, enough to open a restaurant and then hire other addicts to be her restaurant staff. They served to be each other’s support system. It was definitely a story that highlighted the best of humanity. We then talked about our niece who is also an addict and who has managed to regain her career. Then my wife said that she thought that getting back on track was likely easier for a woman than it would be for a man. She added that people don’t trust me so easily, for good reason. It was enough to inspire me to write today’s post.

Even naturists have a hard time trusting men. With one in four women having been the victim of sexual abuse, there is a real fear in place that is based on reality, on a shared experience. It’s not that women are innately fearful of men, after all, the do continue to pair up with men and have families. The do seem to trust men that they know such as co-workers, bosses, teachers, service people, doctors, and so on. However men who are strangers? Not so much. These strangers might be predators who are armed with a penis that has only one objective in mind – to rape and wound. Is it a fair response to those men who are not predators? That is a question that can only be honestly answered with, “it’s not about fairness, it’s about the real danger that women face simply because they are women.

As a naturist, I wish it was a different story. I would like to be able to go to any naturist venue and be given the benefit of doubt, you know, innocent until proven guilty. These naturist venues are meant to be safe spaces for women, children and men who embrace a clothing-free life while within the safe space. It is their space. The last thing they want to do is risk their space, risk their safety. So, they lock the gates. Those who are locked out moan about the unfairness of it all, pointing out the fact of declining memberships which are placing so many of the naturist venues at risk. “Open the gates to us,” is seen as a logical response. Yet, psychological safety answers back, “You’re strangers, and you might destroy us.”

Yes, the venues might well shut down. But the point is, those venues are sacred spaces for women and families. Men, even naked men, are problems. Ask any woman who has a Twitter account or Facebook account or a whatever account. Men send dick picks, proudly displaying their weapon, their lance while crowing their mastery. And it isn’t like these men are restricting themselves to women as targets. I get way too many of these images sent to me, inviting me to suck or present my butt for their pleasure. Check out the number of men with erections on proud display in any and all social media. And all the while, they masquerade as naturists. How do we males police this so that we can somehow regain the trust of women?

Probably more than how do we “control” others, how do we effectively monitor our own shadows? Often, it is checking our words before we hit the word to post a comment or response to an image. An example was seen with an image posted of a young, beautiful woman obviously enjoying a nude moment in nature. The first comment attached to the image was “Sexy!” and then it went downhill from there. The best response would likely be a simple click on “like” without the need to qualify with a sexual connotation. I have been guilty of not paying attention and being a part of the problem. I think that is the first step, never assume that the shadow and the problem belongs to someone else. Each of us has to own our own shadow.

Living an Ordinary Life as an Ordinary Man

An ordinary author

Well, perhaps the “Ordinary Man” part is suspect [LOL!] I am seeing a subtle shift here, one that perhaps reflects the blog site’s title – A Canadian Naturist. I am a Canadian, at least as far as my birth certificate, passport, and heart remind me. My location and my feeling at home in so many places in the world make me question this whole thing about being a “nationalist” in a world that defies political boundaries. I am a Naturist, at least as far as my often being without clothing when I can get away with it, and my heart and body constantly inform me. But what about this Ordinary thing?

Before I talk about “me” as ordinary, I want to say something about how important it is for naturists and naturism to focus on the “ordinary.” If there is any hope for us to be able to bring naturism into our daily lives in the world without having to retreat into secluded and often gated areas [think of locking us in rather than others out], then we have to be and live what we hope, to live authentically. We do our cause and ourselves a huge disservice when we “glamorise” the nude body. We become our own worst enemy. Of course, being our own worst enemy is rather normal, just ask any psychologist, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, or psychotherapist. I’d never have anybody come to my office if we didn’t self-sabotage.

With the intent to look forward, I’ll leave that aside and look at being authentic. Images are a good example. So many “naturists” or “nudists” or whatever, are all about the pictures. If you honestly consider the reality, the images “shared” are predominantly about young females who are presented in an attractive/inviting/smiling pose. Now reality [go to any venue where people are nude] the women are predominantly not young in age, nor part of an advertising program. As for male images, well we all have been inundated with “dick” picks, even old guys such as myself are sent these images. And when the “dick” has a face and a body, they are suitably cast with defined abs and more often than not, youth. Back at the real world venues, males are not escapees from body-building regimes or porn sets; they are for the most part, uninteresting as far as body allure goes. In the real world, the men and women are “ordinary.” And that is a good thing, the best thing.

My images of myself are “ordinary.” When it comes to body type I could never be accused of having defined abs, or muscular arms, or a penis of an envious size. At my age, simply having a body that still functions is a blessing.

We need the ordinary to be up front and centre. Only then can we build confidence in a society that has been pummelled for decades about being imperfect, unacceptably imperfect. The intention for this has been pure economics. Our money is the target – buy these clothes, buy these diet books, do this, do that, and whatever you do, don’t be happy with who you are. And of course, the goalposts keep moving just in case you somehow reach the targets that disappointingly didn’t let you enter into the magical paradise of perfection. We desperately need normal.

Separation of Naturist vs Non-Naturist Published Works

Waiting for writing inspiration

It seems that I have been on a holiday from writing for some reason or other. Since I don’t write when it feels like it becomes work, perhaps that idea of being a holiday is not quite what I need to say. Writing is a strange, strange world. For me, it all comes down to intention. Why am I writing or not writing? I honestly can say that I don’t think much about either of these questions. Rather, I am writing or I am not writing.

What I do know is that all parts have to be aligned within me for the gates to be open. For the past few days, I have met with silence and disinterest by the Muse who stirs whatever it is within me when it comes to writing. My wife says it is the high humidity, late nights, lack of sleep and a mirrored lack of energy. Of course, she is right. All of this has an impact on my writing. But there is more to the story than that.

I have in the recent past finished book three of my story, a third naturist novel, and now the first part of new series of books. None of these have been published yet and I don’t know when they will be published. Normally I would have published two of the three by this point. I have ideas that are beginning to put initial pressures on me to act in new ways as far as my writing, publishing and marketing are concerned.

For example, the newest naturist novel was written in the first person, something that is new for me. I also used a pseudonym for the novel. It has been suggested more than a few times that my first two naturist novels would likely be better stories if told in the first person. I tend to think that the critics have made a valid point and as a result, I am entertaining the idea of rewriting those two books. Yet, I don’t want to lose what was done with the original versions. The only way I can see out of this conundrum is to republish the two novels using new titles and my pseudonym as an author.

What do you think?

Love – It’s a Rough Ride

There are a few breaks in the cloud cover this morning with the promise that finally I will get to feel some sunshine on my body. It feels frustrating to be in such a warm environment and find that I must keep my clothing on whenever there is the faintest possibility that someone could see me while I am naked. I have the upper floor of our casa in which to be nude, but that is about it. In a way, that affects my mood. I become slightly more distant and on edge. Just what am I being stressed about and why? Perhaps, it has to do with the complexity of relationship where there are so many unspoken and unconscious motivations.

“Love so activates the possibilities of self-knowledge that an entire universe heretofore unknown offers itself to the wide and curious eyes of the lover. The outside world takes on colors and shadings that are surprising while the inner world expands, receiving a spark of the infinite.”

Carotenuto, Eros and Pathos, p. 9

Perhaps it is because the world both inner and outer, have expanded showing me dimensions of myself in both worlds that both attract and repel me? I learn that it is not the other who is responsible for my mood, but myself. I must choose each step, each response of find myself a victim of my unconscious which would choose without my conscious consent. I am fully aware of having a dark side and a light side hidden in the depths of my unconscious psyche.

Too often we wonder about the “other” in terms of control issues, often blaming the others for our condition and feeling states. What we feel and understand, and how we respond are fully within the realm of “self,” not “other.” The best example I can think of that places that power squarely with the self is with Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search for Meaning. It’s not a big book and well worth the effort to obtain and read it. Consciously, and more often than not, unconsciously, we own all of our feelings, issues, actions, non-actions, and choices – not choosing is a choice we make.

“… as one’s interior world becomes more intense and vibrant through love, the possibility of communicating one’s perceptions becomes more remote. What emerges from our depths cannot be translated into everyday language.”

Carotenuto, pp 9-10

And what is it that lays within the depths? The polarities. With love there is hate. The stronger the force of love, the stronger the force of hate. No emotion exists within a person without its opposite emotion also being present. Typically, we have no clue about that opposite emotion’s existence within us. And when it is felt, we usually attribute that emotion to the “other” who has somehow betrayed us.

The moment we believe that it all at the surface, where everything can be satisfactorily understood if one just asks the right questions, the further we distance ourselves from both answers and questions, especially when we are questioning their motives, moods, and reactions as though they are responsible for our own motives, moods and reactions.

And finally, for today’s post a few more words for thought:

“We must become aware that though we thirst for love, we yet reject it because we fear it, and so take refuge in the flat banality of daily life.”

Carotenuto, p. 12

Anything Goes?

I fell in love. You fell in love. In some manner or other, each of us has, at one time or the other, fallen in love. On those occasions where the other has fallen in love with us in return, anything becomes possible. I asked my wife what is different now than during our first years together when we would risk being nude in nature such as on a mountain, or on a solitary beach in the northern wilderness, or even in our home. She replied that the answer was simple. We had fallen in love. In love both of us dared what we would never have considered before that time.

” … with whom can we let ourselves go completely if not with the beloved? … love liberates, frees us to express uninhibitedly not only our emotions but also our inclination to the negative … an aspect of the shadow.”

Aldo Carotenuto, Eros and Pathos, p. 8

All the rules are thrown out. Our literature and video productions are replete with such stories of love, usually of love gone wrong. For those outside of the throes of love, such stories serve to warn us of what just might be laying beneath the surface of our own psyche. The last thing we want as mature adults is to lose control, even if the controlling force is within us. So we push back and deny the shadows, the desires whether they are holy or demonic, consciously not able to distinguish. The more we push back, the more vulnerable we become.

Study after study point to boredom and anger being the reasons for cheating for both men and women, especially in the modern world where women have more power and a level of independence.

” But why do modern husbands and wives have affairs? Most adulterers questioned by scientists say it’s ‘lust’, ‘love’ or — pathetically — ‘I don’t know’. … Astonishingly, a 1985 study found that 56 per cent of male adulterers rated their marriage as ‘happy’ or ‘very happy’. For women, the figure dropped to 34 per cent. So, many men and some women jeopardise happy marriages for the sake of a tumble or two. Why?

Helen Fisher, The Daily Mail, Feb. 18, 2017

Not surprisingly, these relationships break within three of four years of their forming a relationship. To make it simple to understand, when the glow fades, when the rose-coloured glasses are taken off, we feel cheated. This stranger who emerges from behind our projections is not who or what we want. We get so caught up in the projected image of other, a magical other, that a real person doesn’t stand a chance in comparison.

Happily, more than half risk learning just who this stranger that emerges is. It becomes a conscious choice to risk love with a difference, not the earth-shaking love-at-first-sight, a conscious love.

Love and Suffering

At 1:30 in the afternoon, local time in Ecuador, it is a sunny 29C. We are delaying our beach walk until later in the afternoon when the sun is less intense so that we don’t have to use as much sunscreen. Yesterday afternoon, we went for a six kilometre walk along the beach before heading into the sea for a swim in the surf. It was the perfect beginning of three months in Ecuador. We finished off the day with a meal with a bottle of red wine at our favourite restaurant in the fishing village we call home during the winter. Life just doesn’t get that much better, especially when you get to do this with the woman I have loved for forty-eight years.

For the next while, I want to talk about love from a Jungian point of view. Of course, that doesn’t really explain everything that there is to say about love as there are as many faces of love as there are people, and perhaps a few more as well. I will draw upon the book Eros and Pathos, by Aldo Carotenuto as I take you and myself on this journey. So, with that said, I take these following words from the introduction as my starting point:

“It can’t be denied that the condition we assume to be normal – the love that lasts a lifetime, two partners who grow old together in continuing love – is in reality so rare as to practically constitute an anomaly.”

Aldo Carotenuto, Eros and Pathos, p. 7

I have to admit that it hasn’t always been easy and often, both of us has on more than one occasion been ready to end our relationship. To be honest, love often was an intense exercise in suffering. However, stubbornness more than anything, kept us hanging on and working to get passed the yawning caverns that were waiting to swallow what thin threads of love that remained.

“Too many unions are based on pathological need where each partner represents the other’s sickness.”

Carontenuto, p. 7

For my wife and I, it was love at first sight, literally. I had stopped in a town I had no intention of stopping in, because it was raining too hard [I was hitch-hiking en route to Salt Spring Island]. This beautiful young woman served me in the restaurant I had taken shelter in from the rain. I ordered, we talked, and three hours later I proposed and she accepted. It was the September long weekend in 1970. Of course, neither of us knew anything about the other. There was something in both of us that the other unconsciously hooked onto, something we project [our unconscious needs] onto the other. When that projection is cast, when it is received [hooked] and a reciprocal projection is received in turn, there is love-at-first-sight.

Our literature and mythology talk about love-at-first-sight. The stories like Romeo and Juliette and Tristan and Isolde, are just two examples of humans captivated, caught in the throes of this powerful love. In all such stories, the lovers are star-crossed with the ending being tragic. Consciousness plays no part in the dynamic. Yet somehow, my wife and I escaped this tragedy. Why? Perhaps, it had to do with how we navigated through the early stages of our relationship. I risked being nude in her presence. Boundaries were stretched. Layers of the unknown were exposed and made conscious.

And so the series of Eros and Pathos begins. … to be continued …

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