Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Unless you intend to raise them as nudists"

"Curious in Maryland" writes to "Dear Annie":
I am the father of two sons, 7 and 11. At what point do you stop dressing or being naked in front of your children? I come from a minister's family, and my wife comes from a somewhat dysfunctional family. Let's just say they are at the other end of the spectrum and leave it at that. My wife still gets dressed and undressed in front of the boys, and thinks nothing of coming out of the shower naked while the boys are in our bedroom watching TV. I sometimes get dressed in front of them at home or at the changing room at the pool. What do you think?
Annie's answer:
Parents of the opposite sex should not be undressing in front of their children after the age of 4. Unless you intend to raise them as nudists, both of your boys are too old for this. The 11-year-old will be going through puberty soon and will become plenty confused if he is inadvertently aroused by his mother. Insist that every member of the family have some privacy.
There's a lot wrong with this little exchange, but let's focus on the phrase "unless you intend to raise them as nudists". I tend to think that Annie meant to use the words in the sense that nudism was completely out of the question, such as when you would advise someone who was loading a gun with the safety off with "unless you want to blow your head off".

But the true result of Annie's advice is that she basically told the man that family nudity was perfectly OK only in the context of nudism.

This is very strange. If the boys are too old for nudity at home, what is it about nudism that would suddenly make it appropriate? If the 11 year-old is susceptible to arousal by the sight of his nude mother, what would make him less inclined to get excited by the sight of a crowd of nudists? Annie's answer is far too ambiguous.

The correct answer to "Curious" is this: There is nothing wrong with the human body. Many studies show that children who are exposed to normal, natural nudity at home grow up with healthier attitudes about sex, and their own bodies. Chances are your boys are not even paying attention to your casual nudity, and that of your wife, and are much more interested in watching television. Since you are all comfortable with nudity, you might consider family nude recreation, which will further normalize your bodies to each other, remove the societal stigma or taboo, and wash away any shame you are feeling. More information on family nudism can be found at the websites of the American Association for Nude Recreation and The Naturist Society.


Diogo B. Provete said...

I totally agree with you: it;s not a big deal to see your family's members naked, it is indeed very helthly

Paul Rapoport said...

"and will become plenty confused if he is inadvertently aroused by his mother."

A crock. That notion comes from psychologs who purvey "overstimulation" from nudity without knowing that that "result" was concocted with no research backing at all, and a good deal of good old American body shame.

Tom Roark said...

I agree that the qualification, "unless you want to raise them as nudists," was facetious. Good alternative answer.

Elton said...

I think she was meaning well, but she thinks of nudity as some kind of stigma.

Nudiarist, you gave a good alternative answer.