Some thoughts on nude selfies and exhibitionism in which I might also be arguing that social media would be better without nudity at all.
Since hopping back on Twitter a while back to start sharing more of my naturism journey, I’ve noticed that there is a fairly significant group people who post nude photos and selfies on a regular basis and also profess to be either nudists or naturists.1
As a naturist, I’m completely fine with people walking around naked when appropriate. I’ll happily spend the day at the nude or clothing-optional beach or at a naturist resort with my fellow naturists for some enjoyable, non-sexual nude activities.
As a full time work-from-home person, I also spend most of my work day naked (between Zoom calls if the camera is on). Around the house it’s mostly the same — I clean the house in the nude and I’ve been known to paint rooms in the house naked (highly recommended as it means no issues with getting paint on your clothes).
One thing you will note about this newsletter and my social media accounts is that there are no photos of me (and generally no photos of nude people at all). For the newsletter, I mostly just use an Unsplash stock photo that relates to the topic or I don’t include an image. On Twitter I just don’t post pics with people in them (myself or others, nude or otherwise).
Why Post Photos?
There is most definitely a purpose to some of the naturism photos shared online. Photos taken at naturist resorts, campgrounds, while hiking, at events or the naturist beach all do a good job promoting naturism as an enjoyable lifestyle.2
But what about photos of people doing nothing but posing naked? In my opinion, that doesn’t promote naturism at all — that’s crosses the line into exhibitionism.
I get it — as naturists and nudists, we like to spend as much of our life nude as possible and we all want to share the joy that naturism and nudity brings us. I’m literally out on my deck in the sun writing this in the nude and it’s quite lovely. But posting a pic of me on my laptop in the backyard, perfectly posed such that my genitals are showing wouldn’t be promoting naturism. It would be exhibitionism.
I’m not here to judge that particular kink. Certainly there are some nudists who enjoy being seen nude and so long as nobody is hurt, it’s all good. However, I do think some people are hurt by these types of posts and by exhibitionism more generally.
Public perception of naturism and naturists as a whole is damaged, especially on social media where a search for naturists, or naturism-related content is overwhelmed by exhibitionism, porn, swinging and other posts of a sexual nature. Going through my new Twitter followers and having to view porn and other explicit content while deciding whether or not to block them is a form of assault.
Social Media and Narcissism
This type of narcissistic posting is seen all over social media in all sorts of contexts. People will post a picture of themselves reading on a Kindle or eating Chick-fil-A or visiting some beautiful place. Their goal is not to promote the Kindle as a great reading device, or Chick-fil-A sandwiches as tasty or to show the beautiful spot on earth. Rather, it’s all about self-promotion.
Look at me! I have a Kindle. Look at me! I got lunch at Chick-fil-A. Look at me! I’m in this beautiful place.
A nudist or naturist posting full frontal pics of themselves for no reason other than to say, “Look at me! I’m naked!” seems to me to be a very similar form of self-promotion and also fits the definition of exhibitionism quite well.
Exhibitionism is the act of exposing in a public or semi-public context one's intimate parts – for example, the breasts, genitals or buttocks. The practice may arise from a desire or compulsion to expose themselves in such a manner to groups of friends or acquaintances, or to strangers for their amusement or sexual satisfaction, or to shock the bystander.3
Consider the Reasons for Posting
If posts and pictures are designed to explain or promote naturism, then I think posting them is fine (assuming permission and/or consent of anyone pictured is obtained). I should also note that there are very effective ways to show and promote naturism without full-frontal nudity — Naked Wanderings YouTube channel and Bare Oaks’ Twitter are some excellent examples.
But if posts and pictures serve no purpose other than to show yourself naked, then I think it raises questions around motivation and intent.
These photos generally fall into one of two categories.
Full frontal images of the person doing nothing except posing for the photo. This might be in their yard, in the kitchen, on the couch, at the beach or elsewhere.
Full frontal images of the person doing something “normal” but in the nude. This includes things like reading a book, having a beer, cooking, changing a light bulb, painting or housework.
This assumes the photographer has permission to take the photo and the person posting it has the consent of anyone pictured to share.