a page from a nudist family photo album
|family vacation to mexico||A nudist wedding. Visit local romantic nudist beach in California!||Jules sunbaths in our backyard||New apartment defiled by Trishes' friend|
|Barbara asks, "Is this porno?"||Beth visits more and more because John visits FOREVER!||Gale modifies chorus outfit||No one is safe in our house. What are you shaving there?|
|"So this is it?" A new friend gets naked||Julie, overnight guest.||Mom says, "Not without their permission!"||Gail shows off|
|A stroll before coffee, last visit to cabin||Lake hazards, especially to exposed parts||Ah, nude nature!||Carole thinks tan lines are sexy. Also, saran wrap.|
|Skinny dipping at gym||
vacation in Mexico
|Jule's friend says "this is as far as I go."||Topless Home Repairs|
At the same time, it is often noted that women were not allowed to view olympic contests (on pain of death). Classical Greek society was notoriously patriarchal and tended to permit much less freedom and participation in public life to women than to men.
An interesting book, Sexual Life in Ancient Greece, written in the early 1900s by the German classicist Hans Licht and subsequently translated into somewhat stilted English has some observations that summarize the actual state of affairs regarding clothing and nudity in classical Greece.
There were two fairly standard articles of clothing, the "chiton" and the "himation" which were used by both men and women:
The clothing of the men consisted essentially of the chiton, the woolen or linen undergarment (shirt) and the himation thrown over it. This may be described as a large four-cornered piece of cloth which was thrown over the left shoulder or the left arm. ... The mild climate often enough permitted him to dispense with the himation, and to go out in the simple chiton. Conversely, many dispensed with the chiton and went out only wearing the himation.Although there seems to have been little change over the centuries with respect to male clothing, this was not the case for women. Indeed, in the pre-Greek Minoan civilization of Crete Licht notes that for upper-class women
The upper part of the body was covered by a fairly tight-fitting garment, like a jacket, provided with sleeves. From this garment the breasts protruded, totally bare in their full roundness.This fashion disappeared with the Minoans (the Aegaean period in Licht's terminology).
In the times that followed the Aegaean period the dress of the Greek women assumed a comparatively simple form. On the bare body the shirt-like chiton was worn, the form of which was throughout Greece essentially the same, except in Sparta. ... There, girls usually wore no other article of clothing except this chiton, which ended above the knee and at the side was slit up high, so that in stepping along the entire thigh was exposed.The painting by Degas at the top of this page illustrates what is thought to be a not atypical scene of a (coed) Spartan gym class. However, it seems that the Spartans were not in step with the rest of Greece, where somewhat more prudishness was evident.
Although in Greece generally people were sufficiently used to the sight of nakedess, this costume of the Spartan girls was ridiculed. Hence they were called "thigh-showers", "those with bare thighs", and the expression "to dress in Doric fashion" ... was used of those "who liberally bared a great part of their body". In gymnastic and bodily exercises Spartan girls also put off this single piece of clothing and appeared completely naked.Sparta aside,
In the rest of Greece the chiton as a single article of dress was only worn in the house; in public the himation was indespensible for women; this, with the exception of the somewhat modified cut required by the differently conditioned build of the female's body, was not essentially different from the man's himation.With this as background, Licht goes on to consider the attitude of Greek society towards nakedness per se. He concludes that, while this attitude was in general more tolerant than in modern society, there are significant qualifications. Although full or partial nudity was permissible in ways it would not be today, there was also some sense of "shame", and nudity Youngs did exist. Further, although the nude figure (both male and female) could be appreciated for its abstract beauty, there was a significant erotic association as well.
It is certainly correct to say that the Greeks showed themselves entirely or partly naked in public far more frequently than would be possible amongst ourselves; and Wieland is doubtless right when he says in his Essay on the Ideals of the Greek Artists, that Greek art obtained its mastery in the treatment of the naked, since the sight of it was an almost everyday occurrence. He goes on to say: "The Greeks had more opportunity and were more at liberty to contemplate, study, and copy the beauty represented to them by nature and their times than is the case with modern artists. The gymnasia, the public national games, the contests for the prize of beauty at Lesbos, at Tenedos, in the Temple of Ceres at Basilis in Arcadia, the wrestling matches between naked boys and girls in Sparta, in Crete, etc., the notorious temple of Venus at Corinth, whose young priestesses even Pindar does not blush to celebrate in song, the Thessalian dancers, who danced naked at the banquets of the great - all these opportunities of seeing the most beautiful forms uncovered and in most lively movement, beautified by emulation, in the most varied positions and groupings, were bound to fill the imagination of artists with a quantity of beautiful forms."However, there are limits to this tolerance and appreciation of nakedness. In some cases there is a sense of "modesty".
One may refer to the example of Odysseus (Odyssey, vi, 126) who is washed ashore, shipwrecked, and naked in the land of the Phaeacians, and, when he hears the laughter of maidens in the neighborhood, "breaks off from the thick bush a leafy branch with his strong hand to cover his nakedness." In the national games at Olympia, from about 720 B.C., it was the custom for the runner to appear, not completely naked, but with an apron round his hips.There was evidently, at this time an "Oriental" influence at work here - meaning the Hebraic traditions of the ancient near east - which considered the genitals, after to Fall, to be necessarily associated with a sense of shame and guilt. However, the Greeks managed somewhat to outgrow this sense of shame, and even to turn it around in a return to a healthier, more pagan, conception of the body.
The Greeks freed themselves from the Oriental point of view and from 720 onwards allowed runners and indeed all the other contestants to appear quite naked. Consequently the Greeks, the healthiest and most aesthetically perfect people hitherto known to the world, soon felt a covering of the sexual parts, while the body was otherwise uncovered, to be unnatural, and recognized that such a covering only had any meaning if one had ascribed a moral and inferior value to their function.As a result, in situations, such as bathing or athletic competition, where normal clothing is restrictive, the Greeks just dispensed with it.
The further concequence of the conception was that the Greeks, on all occasions when clothing was felt to be unnecessary, burdensome, or impossible, went over to complete nakedness, without making use of any kind of apron or piece of stuff that concealed the private parts. There was no such lack of taste in ancient Greece. As is shown by the words Gmynasion (from gumnos, naked), all clothing was thrown off in bodily exercises.
The July/August 1996 issue of Archaeology magazine has an article with sidebars discussing the ancient Olympics.
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Beach Nudity, Please Read!
There's something liberating about the antic of being naked. The freedom. The exhilaration. The lack of pocket lint. Unfortunately, for most people the notion of nudity requires some rationale - no matter how silly that rationale may be. Streaking across a football field. Skinny-dipping in a lake. Mooning for the camera. Photocopying your butt. Playing naked Twister. Flashing a nun after sixth-period class, hoping she didn't recognize you and isn't at this instant phoning your parents. For most people, it's all about the naughty thrill of getting caught or exposing a private part. But not for all. No, for many it's perfectly routine, as normal and natural as, say, kissing hands or shaking a baby.
Nude beaches are the perfect denominators for these two groups, the puritans and the pure exhibitionists, the fakirs and the non-fakers. Think of it as a big game of strip poker where everybody has crappy hands. The thing to remember is that nude sunbathing isn't about sex or exhibitionism - we'll leave that to the nudist colonies and Courtney Love. Nude sunbathing is about elation and free-spiritedness (and avoiding wedgies and ugly tan lines).
I've made the trek to No Clothes Land many a time. I've dropped trou in Europe, where it's no big deal - heck, even the Royal Family has displayed a boob or two (not counting Prince Charles). Black's Beach in San Diego is world famous for nude sun worshipping. And, of course, here in Miami, we have Haulover Beach.
One of the misconceptions about nudity is that every human body is beautiful (Right). The key to inoffensive nude sunbathing is to do just that - sunbathe. Do not play volleyball in the buff. No grilling or barbecuing. Even if your Playgirl's Mr. January, do not perform an oil and air filter change on your auto while naked. An watch the jogging - you could poke somebody's eye out.
Nude beachgoers often have their social cliques and routines. They picnic and fraternize, and they love to mingle. Zoiks. These people who sashay up and down the beach wearing nothing but a smile and a spare tire are the same folks you find in the receiving line at a wedding wielding a business card and a can of Binaca.
When I venture to Haulover, I stick close to my blanket or hit the water. I donít wander about. Itís like you want to work the room, but thereís no place to put your hands and no appropriate place to hang your Walkman. (Plus, you feel like youíve gone to a party and everyoneís wearing the same thing.) Personally, I happen to like being naked. Itís never bothered me. I often get home from work, disrobe, and sit naked on my couch eating cereal. (Did I just cross the line of too much information?) Some people are uncomfortable naked. Iím not. What I do have a problem with, however, is being ugly and naked. Statistics show that the number of people who enjoy nude sunbathing is proportionate to those who should put something on. Like a tarp. Or one of those tents that they use when theyíre debugging a house. That one of the reasons why I prefer the sanctity of my blanket. I can feign sleep (or death, if necessary) should some naked old man approach me and start to discuss todayís undertow as he squats liberally in front of me.
Sunscreen: Iíd be remiss if I didnít stress the importance of proper protection. Those regions that rarely see the light of day are the first to succumb to the sunís deadly rays. Hence, watch your behind, or your buns will be toast. As for Ė how do I say this politely Ė garnishing your weenie, yes, your little buddy needs sunblock, but remember, youíre in public. There a fine line between safety and pleasure when applying lotion to Mr. Happy. Iíve seen guys go at it like theyíre greasing a fire pole. So take it easy. Don't make things hard on yourself.
When it comes to accessories, there are certain things you should and should not bring to a nude beach. Telescopes and binoculars are definite no-nos. You may think of this as a ball game, but Iím sure the Red Sox would beg to differ. Likewise with a camcorder Ė carrying a video camera at a nude beach is the pervertís equivalent of driving by a schoolyard with a van full of candy. As for ready, avoid books with titles like Justice of the Piece. Stick to Field and Stream, Readerís Digest or the Gideon Bible. Sunglasses are a must. If youíre gonna ogle, at least do it behind your Maui Jims.
As for your random beach bump-ins, there are obvious encounters. Besides bodies that youíd rather not see naked, piercings are immensely popular. Popular, I surmise, because theyíre in places that wouldnít necessarily be exposed at Publix (unless you shop at the new one by the bay). Iíve seen nipples that look like parachute rip cords.
And below the belt, Iíve seen piercings that made me recoil. (Come to think of it, Iíve seen coils down there, too.) And little napkin rings. And something called a Prince Albert. Iíve seen less metal at a gun show. And shaving. Hmmmm. Apparently trimming the hedges has become all the rage. Some folks go for the close cropping; others like it smooth. I havenít seen topiary this creative since I was at the Botanical Gardens.
Nude sunbathing can be a kick, an exciting way to liven up an otherwise dull day at the beach. For the ladies, it means being able to wear a sundress without worrying about unsightly strap lines. For the guys, it means thereís no need to adjust the boys: itís a wind sock now. For all of us it means an escape, a break from our daily worries and cares, a momentís freedom where less is so much more Ė except when it comes to that sunscreen.