Naked in Heaven

I had the chance to hike in this “closed for the season” campground high in the Smoky Mountains.
In the unseasonably warm weather I had hours to explore the site.

I love the layered look of the mountain ridges in the distance.

The colors were near peak and I felt like I was walking naked in heaven.


naked selfies are about so much more than attention

imageWe speak to Matthew Hart, a PhD student researching the selfie, about why there is an emotional and social upside of posting NSFW pictures of yourself online.

Since the iPhone gods delivered us the front facing camera, people have had a complex relationship with Selfies. To many, they’re seen as the domain of the fickle and self obsessed, something people do only when they’re clamouring for likes and validation. Their nude cousin invites even more debate, despite its unceasing omnipresence in our culture.
We’re all guilty of taking countless flattering self-portraits — most of which will never be seen by anyone except us. Clothes on or off, there is a creeping compulsion to document our own bodies. Few people are more interested in our collective obsession than Matthew Hart, a PhD student at Western Sydney University. His research looks at why young people post NSFW selfies on Tumblr.
To Matthew, naked selfies are more than an attention grab: they’re a key part of how young people use the Internet as a tool in self-exploration. i-D called him up to chat about how a naked selfie is a highly evolved act.

It feels like in recent years social media has become a scapegoat for so many issues — it’s making us isolated and depressed, and selfies are a symptom of a self-obsessed generation. But you disagree.

A lot of media and public discourse frames social media as being narcissistic and self-involved. But I see it at a means for young people to articulate particular desires; whether that’s forming intimate relationships or journeying towards body positivity. The nude selfie is just the boldest example. The standard practice is to crop faces out to make sure pictures can’t be traced back to them. But the people I speak to deliberately choose to not crop their faces out, or blur tattoos and distinguishing features. In a sense they’re being very brave.
Where are these images going?

Tumblr. Young people are able to find a very supportive audience there. Because of the social conventions of Tumblr — essentially “what happens on Tumblr stays on Tumblr” — there isn’t the risk of it leaking back out to Facebook where their friends, family, and co-workers would see it. Tumblr is a very creative online space where you’ve got a whole range of subcultures we can’t always find in real life. Young people can talk to body positive or queer communities and find other people who are going through similar life changes. They connect through selfie production.

If these naked selfies aren’t intended for a wide audience, what’s the point?

The selfie is a tool we use when we’re working towards body positivity or self-actualization. Young people could be going through a transition; they could be transgender, or simply managing many different personas at work or with friends. I think of it as an anchor. We live in such busy, hectic times we can lose track of who we are. But when you have this safe space, on the Internet, you can anchor yourself. You can come back and remember who you are and what’s important to you.
Young people have been exploring identity together forever.

How does the move online and the presence of selfies change that experience?

Selfies are very intimate. At the end of the day intimacy is one of the most important things to us. Whether it’s connecting us to family and friends or romantic partners, a very primary way of connecting is through taking photos — not just of each other, but also of ourselves. There is so much attention given to sexual selfies right now that we’re forgetting older generations took the same photos. They just hid their nude Polaroids under the mattress. Older people kept this stuff private, and younger people feel comfortable putting it on the Internet. We’re moving towards an increasingly visual culture, and the ways we communicate are relying more on visual mediums.

Why risk it though? What else are they getting out of it?

imageI think it has to do with “edgework”; which is essentially voluntary risk taking. Doing things that push boundaries. The classic example is the skydiver: they throw themselves out of a plane, risking their life for the rush. Taking nude selfies with your face visible is voluntary risk taking. They’re getting pleasure from challenging this social taboo — of putting their naked image out there. Certainly not all young people are doing it to chase that thrill, but a lot enjoy walking the boundary line.

Nipple phobia in the United States

By Stephen Fraiser

What’s wrong with America when it comes to physical human traits such as breasts – and especially nipples?
Look, let me just get this out of the way for starters: As a writer, blogger, and web professional from a conservative family in Nashville, Tennessee – ensconced deep within the Bible belt, this is not the sort of post I normally publish. This blog — Another Day, Another Digression, taken as a whole — reveals precious little skin. Besides, I’m no libertine. Blame the press and the Puritanical American sexual shame for goading this writer into revealing a long-simmering personal pet peeve: the great lengths women go to in order to hide any and all nipple outlines, nipple traces, and of course, nipple exposures. No, it’s not so much that as American society’s overall attitude toward exposed female breasts. (I mean, come on!) It’s embarrassing and stupid.

Only in the United States does the sight of a mere (female) nipple offend or excite such a large swath of the populous so as to generate capacious headlines in national news! WTF? What is wrong with these people? It’s preposterous, ridiculous, and indicative of some seriously flawed, strait-laced, repressed attitudes about what ought to be viewed as the beautiful and amazing human body.
No wonder the United States is home to an inordinate number of seeting perverts and experiences more sexual crime than comparable Western countries where nudity is neither feared nor shamed. The latent Puritanical attitudes end up doing far more harm than good.

So, when, where, and how did this odd American shame about breast exposure spring into being? (Please don’t say “The Garden of Eden.”) Are men in the United States supposed to lose control at the mere sight of a nipple? No, I don’t believe that’s it.
Many clues point to America’s Puritanical roots: Overly fundamentalist, rigid, fear-and-shame oriented, (ultimately false) religious views which practically criminalize the uncovered female breast – not to mention sex. Breasts, lest the reader need reminding, are natural. Well, once upon a time, all female breasts were natural; IMHO, the most beautiful breasts still are. For the female at least, breasts are necessary and worthy of acceptance and appreciation, not shame. Beautifully shaped female breasts (and like everything else, beauty is in the eye of the beholder) are not unlike well-toned abs, striking blue or green eyes, a fitting hairstyle, shapely legs, the preferred posterior, or any other physical characteristic of either women or men.

What are the prudes and the religious fundamentalists so afraid of? Are they so lacking in control that they fear pouncing on women they find attractive if their chest is visible? If seeing something like the female breast — or even the outline of a nipple — were something shameful, then let those groups adopt strict wardrobe guidelines such as those followed in backwards, woman-repressing regions like Afghanistan. Bring out the burqa.

Is it possible that this needlessly shameful/ shaming attitude regarding the unclothed human body will begin to recede anytime soon? (I speak of non-explicit freedom, of course… not hard-core, XXX action in public!) I suppose it’s not likely.

America’s negative obsession with the female breast

What’s up with all the nudity?

Find me on Twitter as sewinudist

By Jamie Fessenden

Most readers who pick up a M/M Romance novel aren’t terribly surprised to find out that the characters take their clothes off, at least for the sex scenes. That’s pretty much expected. But a number of readers/reviewers have expressed surprise at just how much nudity my adult novels contain.
Tom and Kevin in Billy’s Bones are naked whenever they’re in the house alone, or outside in the yard. There are so many people wandering around naked on the grounds of the Temple in Murderous Requiem that even I’ve lost track of how many. And dorm life in Screwups appears to be one big, hedonistic romp, with people streaking, stripping, and partying without a stitch on. Do I really think that’s realistic?
Well, actually, yes. I do. All of these were loosely borrowed from real situations I’ve been in.
Like my favorite science fiction author, Robert A. Heinlein, I’m a nudist. (Don’t worry—I won’t be posting pictures.) How this happened, I’m not quite sure. I was an extremely shy teenager who had difficulty looking people straight in the eye, never mind taking his clothes off in front of everyone. But at some point in college that changed.
Body image was a big part of it. I was skinny as a toothpick and I thought that made me unattractive. Then one night, sleeping over at my boyfriend’s apartment, I decided to be bold when I went downstairs for a drink and just wear my underwear, even though his friends were watching TV in the living room. I cut in front of them and they whistled at me. “Stop making fun of me,” I said. The response I got was a slightly lecherous, “Oh, we weren’t making fun of you.”
Wait… what? Really?
Over the next few years, my shyness fell away. I lived for a short time in an apartment with two other people, and we decided clothing would be optional. Then I moved into a dorm which subjected me to co-ed bathrooms, where people of either gender might be stepping into or out of the shower when I walked in. I was exposed to streaking, skinny dipping, nude snow angels, and posing nude in the lounge for people to sketch.
Ah… those were the days.
At one point, I was dared to strip naked in a hallway, cover my entire body with marshmallow fluff, and run through the dorm. I don’t know how many people gathered for that event, but I estimate it was at least forty. So much for shyness. Although I have to say this about it: when you’re covered with marshmallow fluff, you kind of feel like you have clothes on.
Since then, I’ve been to nude beaches, nudist resorts, and clothing-optional pagan gatherings. So, yeah. Even though age and weight gain has taken its toll, I’m still pretty comfortable in my skin. So does this mean I’m going to use my novels to push some kind of evil nudist agenda?
Well, not deliberately. But you write what you know. And all of my main characters are me, in some guise or other. Tom in Billy’s Bones, Jeremy in Murderous Requiem, Danny in Screwups—they’re definitely me. But so are Kevin, Bowyn, and Jake to a lesser extent. What isn’t me is filled in from other people I’ve known. I rarely write a character who isn’t based in some part on a real person.
There are characters in my stories, of course, who wouldn’t be caught dead naked. Isaac in By That Sin Fell the Angels, Susan in Billy’s Bones, Paul in Screwups. But those characters are probably the least like me. Susan Cross is based on my mom. My mom doesn’t run around naked.
At any rate, the best I can say is, if it seems weird to a reader that my main characters are completely at ease without their clothes on, that’s simply because it doesn’t seem weird to me. Will I change it to make others happy? Probably not. But if I write a scene in which my main character goes to work naked and his corporate boss says, “Hey, Joe! How’s it hanging? Oh, never mind—I can see for myself,” I do hope my editors will point out that this probably wouldn’t happen in real life.

What’s up with all the nudity?

Take off all your clothes

Source: jay-feel on tumblr
Take off all your clothes. Shed the material garments altering your perception of this reality. She’d the material garments distracting Your authentic self from seeing the truth. The Truth of this existence. We came into this world as naked humans. Pure souls now merged within this material body. A continuation of consciousness. Born with divine love in our hearts. Conceived out of loving action. Provided with a new opportunity. To become our greatest versions. Only through agreements, we humans accepted fear into our lives. Through agreements, we humans began to believe the lies. The lies taught to create the illusion of separation. We made agreements to accept the labels and the programming. The time is now to return to the truth. To choose love over fear. To remember that we are one. Created from the same source. The time is now to let go of past agreements that no longer serve you, others or this planet. The time is now to let go of judgement. To let go of attachment to any negative or unhealthy habits. As you hold your naked body, close your eyes and return to the womb. Remembering that the source of all love begins within you. Accepting all that you are. Accepting all that you have experienced. Open your eyes and gaze at your soft skin. Feel the unconditional love you have for yourself, as you make a new agreement. Agree to love yourself 100%. To honor and respect yourself. To practice extreme self love every mOMent. To love every inch of your body. Every little hair and wrinkle. This love will heal all wounds. This love will ripple the fabric of this reality. This love in action will create happiness. This love in action will end all suffering.✨