By Judy Inge
How can you introduce nudism to teen-agers? Prepare for problems. Here’s how to meet and solve them —and open a new world of glorious health to young people.
“We made a mistake,” said one long-practicing nudist couple in their middle forties. “We went away for sunbathing vacations ever since we were married, but after the children came, left them with relatives—and we went alone.”
“Do you mean,” asked the friend who was part of a nudist family-including grandchildren, in-laws, relatives, etc., “that you never discussed nudism with your children? How old are they?”
The father replied, “Our boy is 14 and the girl is 15. They’d appreciate all the fun and would really like the other youngsters at the camp we go to, but I don’t know how to approach them with the subject.”
As for the mother, she was upset over the whole situation. “They’re both nervous children, fretful all the time. But how can we get them to come here? It could be very embarrassing.”
There was little denying the fact that an abrupt introduction to nudism can bring embarrassment and also unpleasant reactions. This is especially true when parents are ardent believers in Nature and health—while youngsters remain pitifully innocent about the glories of fun in the sun.
The point here is that if the married couple enjoy nakedness at the start of their union, it is a wise thing to initiate blessed events into nudism as soon as they become toddlers. There is no substitute for this early introduction, permitting youngsters to grow up with the feeling.
But, if this has been neglected, instead of crying over spilt milk, it is best to do something. Here’s how!
Broach Subject Carefully
Begin by obtaining a few sunbathing magazines together with periodicals displaying physical culture displays. THIS IS VITAL!! To suddenly thrust nudist magazines upon young people is to invite jeers, unpleasantness and severe embarrassment. Remember: youngsters are still inhibited and shy. They are raised in a so-called civilized society which says the human body is a thing of shame! Nakedness, to them, is vulgar and erotic. This is an unhealthy situation that you should seek to correct via nudism. (Remember the old French proverb, “Evil he who evil thinks”?)
Set out a few physical culture or musclebuilding magazines. These should show scantily clad bodybuilders in the process of exercising or otherwise improving physical health. When your teen-agers read them, they begin to get a better appreciation of health and some of their prurient attitudes begin to vanish.
Another suggestion is that you put a few magazines or books around the house showing Greek statuary. These are nude statues and set the teen-ager in a proper mood and make him more receptive to the fact that the naked body is a glorious creation and not something to snicker and laugh upon.
After a while, have a nudist magazine put in a conspicuous place. If your teen-ager seems embarrassed, you could say, “Well, Mother used to do research on anatomy and sunshine and she found these magazines helpful.” Or, if there is a creative person in the family, use the excuse, “Oh, he’s preparing research on the psychology of outdoor athletics in the nude and these magazines were left around.”
IMPORTANT: At all times, neither you nor your husband should display any signs of embarrassment! Act casual. Adopt a careless attitude. Make it look as if this is the most natural thing in the world. As you well know, youngsters duplicate the attitudes and reactions of adults. If you act shocked and horrified, so will your youngsters. They imitate you. So—why not let them imitate something constructive?
After the teen-agers have been exposed to nudism in some form, get a few more magazines,- read some articles aloud to them and ALWAYS be careful to emphasize how wonderful it is to exercise and play and run freely in the nude! The healthful aspects must be promulgated as this will appeal to youngsters.
Afterward, you might “accidentally” walk by the room as the youngster dresses. . .or undresses, as the situation may be. All of these little things put him in a proper frame of mind. You then improve the situation by wearing as little clothes as possible yourself, and giving no outer signs of embarrassment or dislike if you are seen.
Because nudism is a family affair, it is ESSENTIAL that both you and your husband cooperate. In fact, if you sleep late on Saturdays, be sure to do so in the nude. Then, arrange to have your youngsters awaken you—and if you and your husband have kicked off the covers, it is a good introduction for your youngsters. B u t first they must be the ones who sleep nude and are awakened in an act of exposure. Then let them awaken both of you while still nude. This all lessens inhibitions and foolish embarrassment about God’s creation.
Visit to a Camp
After the barriers have been broken, you then start talking about a visit to a sun camp. Emphasize the values of health, sunshine, exercise, physical calisthenics, entertainment. Do NOT mention much about the fact that all guests go naked. This is obvious. To draw excess attention to it is to make the youngsters feel shy.
You might even drop a few hints that during your own youth, you had visited such a camp and found it to be wonderful; you made many friends, found out how joyful it was to eat, sleep and play in an atmosphere of freedom.
You might then write to a number of camps that are convenient to your area. Read the literature, show it to your youngsters. Discuss comparative costs, conveniences, accommodations, etc. At this point, you could call attention to the teen-age activities available and add, “Look at these yonug fellows—they’re holding a muscle-building c o n t e s t.” Or, “Say— they’re crowning this blonde girl Miss Nudist—I think it says that her brother is awarding her the golden crown.” This also helps ease whatever anxieties your teenagers might have.
The emphasis here is on a FAMILY attendance and if your youngsters see and read about other families who happily enjoy nudism, they’ll be curious and receptive.
Again, emphasize the benefits of running naked in the volleyball fields, having fun and frolic with other youngsters. Point out the benefits of group activities and— call attention to other youngsters in their activities. IDENTIFICATION WITH OTHERS WILL MAKE YOUR TEEN-AGERS more interested. At this age, identification spells the entire difference between success and failure.
Be prepared for some shyness at first. To overcome this, ask the sun camp managers to have a few teen-agers welcome the new youngsters. Again, identification is VITAL! If your youngsters see others in happy nakedness, they will be less shy and, in fact, more eager to join them. I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that the adolescent period of life is one of close identification and similarity. They all want to be alike. Seeing others do something makes them want to do it, too. So—if possible, try to have other youngsters at close hand. Of course, the others are nude and without any self-consciousness.
When you and your youngsters join each other on the sun field or anywhere else, in glorious Nature, show NO discomfort. Act casual, laugh, be sportive. Call NO attention to nakedness, per se, but talk about the climate, the wonderful grounds, facilities, etc. If you make friends, join a little group, and in this attitude of complete casualness, your youngsters will likewise feel relaxed.
As stated previously, you must anticipate some shyness at first. Adolescence is a formative time of life and there is expected confusion and misunderstanding about the workings of the body. Clothes helped create this shame. Nudism can erase it.
Urge your young people to join others of their age group,- there is no denying they will fell less ill at ease and more relaxed in the presence of other teen-agers. If you have just one youngster, ask him (or her) to join a little athletic game. If you have more youngsters, watch that they do not stick too close to one another. Let them separate, spread out, seek companionship from others.
Admittedly, it may not be a simple task and may be difficult; cooperate with your mate and the sunshine club managers. Teenagers should not be denied the wonderful glories of nakedness in sun and water and woods. It can change them from fretful, inhibited youngsters into wholesome, athletic, tanned young athletes worthy of a Grecian sculptor.
Nude Sleeping at Home
Once your teen-agers have become oriented to the spectacle of nudism, go one step further. Using the magazines as an example, you suggest that nude sleeping is healthful. Free from the bindings of clothes, pajamas, unsightly and clumsy sleeping garments, nude sleeping is more relaxing. Try to get them to sleep without any undergarments. I have found this to be a simple accomplishment.
As parents, you will be awakening your youngsters for school. Since they sleep nude, it’s most probable they’ll kick away the blankets throughout the night. When you awaken them, still sleepy and dazed, they will show little reaction at their nudity before you. Here is an urgent tip.- both you and your husband should awaken your youngsters and both of you should wear a robe—but nothing beneath! This helps create a wholesome environment.
Show NO surprise or shock at the nude condition of the youngster. Act as if it’s nothing. If the youngster feels ashamed, give no notice. Pretend you see nothing! This is exactly the casual attitude that creates a receptive attitude toward nudism.
The American Sunbather
ISSUE: Number 2, April 1967
Publisher: The American Sunbather and Naturist Review