I suppose it is a sign of the increasing popularity of nudism — either for click value or genuine interest — that some publications look for somewhat unique or offbeat hooks on the subject, even if they are not entirely relevant and turn out to be exercises in distastefulness if not unfair stereotyping.

Such an article, in my view, can be found on the Vice site, with the headline “There’s a Decade-Old Boner War Raging Inside Nudist Camps.”

Yes, it was written by a male, one Mark Hay. And, yes, the headline over the post is a tipoff that the editor, if not the writer, doesn’t know much about naturism and still thinks of nudism facilities as “camps.” To be fair to the writer, he does point out that there are more that “200 nudist beaches, camps, or resorts nationwide” in the U.S.

But then he goes off onto a discussion of males having erections at social nudism events and how is “has been a historically hard problem for American nudism to get a hold on.”

Hay points out that naturists say that “erections just don’t happen all that often in nude spaces.” And he does explain what naturists will do — i.e. cover up with a towel — if an erection does occur. But Hay goes on to make his case that it is an issue, and points to a 7-year-old conversation — which he refers to later as “modern forum chatter” — on a lifestyle chatboard as evidence that some people think public erections among nudists are natural and OK.

Another somewhat dubious source Hay points to is a Q@A site called Go Ask Alice, in which a reader asks about “reflex boners.”

But he relies most on one Brian Hoffman, who wrote a book called Naked: A Cultural History of American Nudism, and goes on to discuss things from a historical perspective and that for social nudism to exist back in, say, the 1930s, any link to eroticism must be broken. Hay even mentions the single man issue we have previously discussed in this blog.

All in all, Hay attempts to make a mountain out of the proverbial molehill. He is overreaching, without any regard to the damage he might be doing to the philosophy of naturism and to those who practise it — and more important, to those who know little or nothing about it. How many women considering sticking their toes into the waters of naturism will now recoil in horror because of the fear that some man may have an erect penis in front of her?

The real truth is, as at least one of Hay’s sources explains, male erections at social nudism events are a non-issue — unless, of course, it is a “libertine” style of event (but that’s another subject). And people at social nudism events don’t focus much, if at all, on the lower regions of each other. If a male does have a reflex erection, few would notice it — and those who did would think little of it. There is a difference between a reflex erection caused by non-sexual stimuli and a man masturbating while eyeing someone. Naturists aren’t stupid. We would know the difference.

I can only think of two instances where I have seen males with erections during social nudism activities: one was on a cross-country skier, and the other was on a hiker in the summertime. In other words, their erections were the result of physical exercise, not sexual arousal or preoccupation. And I don’t know of anyone who would criticize them because that, too, would betray the philosophy of naturism.

So, despite Vice’s attempts to create an issue, male erections at social nudism events is not a problem, and anybody considering exploring naturism for the first time should put that sort of fear out of their minds.

Vice has done naturism a disservice, in my opinion.

— Jillian

Photo: Families swim at naturist camping spot Monts de Bussy, Haute-Vienne, France. (Photo: Alain Tanguay/Wikipedia)