Naked Men

There are times and spaces at Druid Camp where you can expect nudity from people of both genders – around the showers and sauna, especially. There’s also some informal nudity, generally in the mornings, people sunbathing and not getting kitted up until the day starts. Before I went, I knew about this and had no idea if I would cope. The idea that naked men would be intimidating, had certainly crossed my mind. I had no idea how I was going to feel about that one, evidently I’d only know by showing up.

In our wider society, the naked male body is a serious taboo, and nothing is less socially acceptable than a willy in a state of arousal. Unless you happen to be in a museum looking at Roman artefacts, in which case, you can have all the up and about penises you could possibly want. The accessible display of breasts is normal. Go into a newsagent and you can pick up breast images with little difficulty. Willies are rude. Or perhaps, one might equally say, that culturally we are perfectly happy to treat the female anatomy as a commodity for entertainment, but that we afford far more dignity to male genitalia.

But either way, naked men are something you don’t get a lot of in normal circumstances. At least, not unless you have a really interesting sort of day job…

I’ve probably seen more naked men in the last week or so than I had in my entire life to this point. Yes, apparently I’d had a more sheltered experience than I had previously realised. Before Druid Camp, I had only experienced male nudity in the context of relationship, and it would be fair to say that not all of the experience was good. I’ve learned to trust and feel safe with my bloke, but unfamiliar men? That scared me.

Only, it was fine. A bit odd, I admit, but not distressing, or frightening or threatening in any way. I spent a while trying to work out why, and came to the conclusion that it was simply this: There were no weapons on display. There was nothing predatory. No one touched me without clear indication that I was open to being touched. No one unclothed even attempted to get into my personal space. Respectful naked men are no kind of problem at all. Men with too much self-respect to use their bodies aggressively. That was a profound learning experience for me.

I do not know if it would be possible for me to get to a point of feeling so confident, so secure, and able to trust, that I would be able to countenance a communal shower or a sauna. A matter of weeks ago the mere suggestion of it was enough to make me feel physically ill. Now it’s just an uncomfortable idea. I’m not ready to go there. I’d like to feel that I could, if I wanted to, whether I actually do or not.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. View all posts by Nimue Brown

8 responses to “Naked Men

  • redgriffithshaynes

    I think there really is something about deciding whether or not to accept or reject a taboo. Taboo after all meaning ‘sacred, holy or consecrated’. Naked bodies can of course be sacred, but they aren’t always, mostly they are just… normal. I grew up in a family where nakedness above the age of 10 was not done. I never saw my father naked. Ever. The first time I saw a naked man was the first time I slept with one. When I first arrived at Camp 14 years ago aged 19 the first thing I saw was naked people. I nearly died. But you know what, like you, it was ok; and that ok eventually turned into it being ok for me to be naked in the shower and the sauna. It took a few years but it happened. And when nothing dreadful came about I did it again a few times. I am never one to loll about naked in public, I struggle too much with my body for that, and there is a certain dignity, I feel in not bearing all to the world. But now it is a conscious decision rather than one made out of fear, and functional nakedness for shower or sauna I am happy to do. In other people, nakedness now really does just seem like part of the furniture. Continued exposure is useful in breaking that taboo, if you pardon the pun!

  • druidcat

    Years ago, I brought friends with their young daughter to Camp. Said daughter returned home and told her class about the experience (What I Did On My Holidays) thus:

    “I went to Druid Camp and saw a naked man.”

    I told her off. Because Mark wasn’t naked (that minute) – he was wearing sandals.
    :)

    The thing I miss is how weird the world is when first you step back into it. Once after Camp (this year’s is only the third I’ve ever missed) I went into Tescos on the way home. Saw someone with a lovely dress – and my first instinct was to run up to them and tell them how great they looked! But you don’t do that in the ‘real’ world, do you. Perhaps we should.

  • Judith

    I have an enormous personal space and do not feel comfortable about nudity, so I found your post very interesting, and *zow* insightful distinction about what is non-threatening.

  • celticchick

    I guess it’s like going to a nudist camp where people of all ages run around naked. Some people feel more comfortable naked. I’m with you on this. It’s uncomfortable. I would worry about staring too much. I think there are probably rules for being in a naked colony. And there is something odd and even humorous about a naked male body. They have parts that hang and grow hard, which doesn’t look good running or can be embarrassing. Women have a more pleasing body shape, I think. Still, there are some things that just shouldn’t be done naked.
    As far as how our modern society became so ashamed of being naked, I think a lot of that has to do with religion. In ancient times people weren’t ashamed of their bodies as much.
    I think as long as everyone plays well with others and there are no unwanted touches, then being naked around others is probably okay. I don’t think I will be doing it anytime soon though. :)
    At least you got to experience something new.

  • Regrets, taboos and erections | Note to self

    […] I came across a blog post by Nimue Brown about naked men in which she notes […]

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    […] last year’s Druid Camp, I wrote about my experiences of Naked Men, so it seemed like a good time to revisit the subject. I’ve been to Druid Camp, there was […]

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