Nu comme le jour où je suis né

The Soul of Sex and Naturism

It’s cold outside. The blue-tinged snow and the ice frosted in the sky serve as evidence that winter means business. For the next five days, the prairies are in the grip of a polar cold spell. I have no intention of going out for a walk in the countryside as the “feels like” temperature is -44 Celsius with a real temperature of -34 as I write this post. There is no winter playground to be enjoyed between now and New Year’s Day. An extreme cold weather advisory is a disincentive to travelling to visit family during this “festive” season. It’s a good thing there is central heating and a fireplace in my house. Enough with the weather report. It’s time to get down to the subject of sexuality and the senses.

“Man has no Body distinct from his Soul for that called Body is a portion of the Soul discerned by the five Senses, the chief inlets of Soul …”

William Blake, The Marriage of heaven and hell, 1790

I began the topic of sexuality almost three weeks ago and then retreated as I participated in the outer world dynamics of the season and family. There are no visitors left in the house, and with nature convincing me to stay indoors, I decided to return to this pressing topic. The first thing I did was to head to my bookshelves in search of a more psychological understanding. Most of the books were either avoiding the topic or stuck in some mythological treatise. Then, I came upon one of the few books I have yet to read by Thomas Moore called The Soul of Sex. There it was, the dirty word “sex” on the cover. Now this looked promising.

In the world of naturism, we tend to separate, that is to keep a safe distance between a nude body and sex. It is a strange thing as there is no question that we all have sexual organs and that the skin is the body’s largest sexual organ. Separation is the guiding principal – separation of the body and mind from sexuality. That separation fits well within our modern world which treats body, mind, and soul as separate entities. We see a doctor for the body, a shrink for the mind, and a religious leader for the soul. And as a result, we have issues, issues with Eros which is often believed to be physical sex. C.G. Jung said otherwise back in 1928 when he said in one of his dream seminars, “people think that eros is sex, but not at all, Eros is relatedness.”

Now, I have long believed that I was a naturist. Of course, I had my own idea of just what a naturist was. It is all about how one sees and understands oneself. I am a sexual being AND a naturist as I have come to know myself. When I am engaged in a sexual experience, like everyone else, my body is engaged, my senses are heightened, and my mind creates a story of the moment. The attempt to be fully present is waylaid by my imagination. Thomas Moore has these words: “We can’t appreciate the deeper dimensions of sex unless we consider the poetics of this body that speaks to us through sensation.” It is sensation that takes us deeper than a mechanical interaction.

The challenge as I see it, is for us to go deeper within to find our full story as humans. The sum total of each of us includes our senses which in turn constantly remind us that we are sensual beings. I want to end today’s post with the following words by Moore. It was with these words in mind that I put the above photo of myself into this post.

“The body is always available for poetic reading, and there is no need to become rigid about a particular way of interpreting it. Each person, each culture, each historical period, and each theory has the right to its own storytelling based on images that lie piled on each other in every inch of human tissue. The skin is thick with the stories, told and untold, already explored and yet to be discovered.”

Thomas Moore, The Soul of sex, p. 20, 1999


  1. Robert Payne

    So relatable to Moore, thanks for the reminder, Robert, and thanks to the minds that attempt to explain our conditions of existence.

    • rglongpre

      I will follow up this topic in the near future.

  2. jochanaan1

    I too have begun to believe that too much separation of naturism from sexuality harms our movement. Now if we can just convince both the prudes and the pornographers!

    • rglongpre

      There is no hope of convincing the pornographers or their consumers … money and lust are the problem.

  3. Marc

    Thank you for this Robert. Definitely food for thought and soul. I love sex and I love naturism, does it make me a bad naturist? I don’t think so, I’m just human. Do I mix sex and naturism, no, as I generally don’t mix personal activities with my professional customers. But this is an audacious parallel as sex is so loaded. However, like simple nudity, our society (call it culture or religion) has made sex evil, although I don’t think there’s nothing evil in sex, quite the opposite I feel. But should sex remain a private matter done behind closed doors? I believe very hard in the notion of consent when it comes to personal relationship and particularly sex. Sex should be made between consentant adults and should be seen only by consentant adults. If that line is clearly drawn, then sex and naturism shall not mix in most of the cases. This will leave naturism to what it is, a naked non sexual lifestyle based on respect for oneself, others and the environment. But I know this is more complex that what it seems…

    • rglongpre

      I appreciate your words here, Marc. More to come from me.

  4. Chet Kresiak Photography (@chet_kresiak)

    A nudist leader once said that “nudists don’t deny sexuality, they merely control it”. I think that’s about right. It’s my experience that nudists in general are more open-minded on sexual issues than most people I’ve met in my 67 years on earth. It’s healthy and normal to embrace our humanity.

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