Sunday Reads: Vice overreaches with social nudism article

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)

4 thoughts on “Sunday Reads: Vice overreaches with social nudism article

  1. We totally agree with you on this. My husband loves to hike nude and on occasion gets an erection, has nothing to do with sex, has everything to do with the hike and enjoying the outdoor elements. The penis has been villainized for too long, why can’t we just let it be. Erections aren’t long lasting and will disappear as quickly as they appear. (Ms. K)


  2. If they took out the rather childish language interspersed throughout the article, it wouldn’t be all that bad. But, they’re trying to speak to a younger crowd, which is too bad as it’s that crowd that already needs help “getting it” about naturism, and this doesn’t help much.

    The article is too brief, or wastes too much time discussing irrelevant ideas, seems to end abruptly, and doesn’t really present a very complete discussion of the matter. And, I don’t know anything about that Hoffman guy, or his book on naturism, but the quotes attributed to him don’t make him sound like a naturist, himself.

    Anyway, I doubt most people serious about, or seriously considering, naturism will turn to Vice as a reliable source of information.

    On the subject of erections in social nude situations, I think it is mostly dealt with as needed, but usually the individual who has an erection deals with it before it draws any attention, really.

    This is also an issue in figure modeling. There are art schools which don’t hire young males, say early 20’s, because they’ve had too many problems with spontaneous erections with models that age.

    I didn’t begin modeling until I was in my early 40’s, by which time I wasn’t so prone to such physical occurrences, but I thought about how just seven or eight years earlier I still could find myself having an erection at any time for no perceptible reason. (I once read this has something to do with getting more blood flow, and thus oxygen, through the penis as needed. This is also said to be why guys will wake up with an erection, at whatever age, without remembering dreams or anything else which might have been arousing. It was likened to the penis taking a deep breath.)

    There are exceptions amongst young male models having problems with this. I know a few guys who are art students, and also model, who seem to be able to keep things under control. I also know a few male models who started when they were 18 or 19, and have kept at it now into their 30’s-40’s, so it doesn’t have to derail a model’s career. I think it’s a matter of being serious about concentrating on posing, at any age.


  3. I am male and I have been a nudist since 1988. I have only seen one or two men with partial erections over the years and no one seemed to pay any attention to it. You are correct in stating this this person is making a mountain out of a mole hill.


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