This blog is an offshoot of my answering questions about nudism and nudity on Yahoo Answers (answers.yahoo.com) under this same identity (rick407). When I got interested in nudism in my early 20's, I dived right in trying to find out everything I could about it: Surfing the web, buying books, visiting different nude beaches and resorts, joining local and national organizations, and visiting different forums on the Internet.
I soon realized that I could no longer see things from the average outsider's point of view. Perhaps my perspective was already tainted before I even became involved. Growing up, my family wasn't overly casual about nudity, but they weren't all that ashamed of it either. And I had the example of my cousin raising his son in a nudist family. My very first visit to a nude beach on a dare to myself (Black's Beach near San Diego) both satisfied my curiosities, and opened my eyes to how wrong our culture was about it.
Chatting at forums, clubs, and beaches became like preaching to the choir. For the most part, we all have the same attitude about it, though on just about every other subject, we differ. So I began to wonder, what does the "average" person think about it?
I keep my ears open and see plenty of curious interest in the media, and even some mention it from others who don't know I'm a nudist. I listen carefully, trying not to bias the discussion with my own views so I can see where they'll go with it. From that, my impression is that most people are curious and really aren't all that offended by nudity, though around others they'll at least pretend to be to offended reinforce what they believe to be the social norm. All of which makes the social norm seem more rigid that it probably really is among individuals.
My continued curiosity of "what do people really think" lead me to start answering questions on these subjects on Yahoo Answers. It's been pretty interesting. The younger the questioner, the more honest and innocent the questions. They tend to fall into the following categories:
Sleeping Naked: Mostly asked by younger people who are sharing a room (siblings, dorm room mates, etc.), or from those who don't feel they have enough privacy to get away with it (parents or siblings coming into the room at the wrong times).
I used to share a bedroom with my younger brother and transient nudity (changing) was no big deal. Honestly, the idea of sleeping nude hardly ever crossed my mind, but if it had, I would have had no problem with stripping as if to change and just jumping into bed that way. I don't think my brother would have thought it to be that odd, nor would my parents if they noticed it. But I understand that a lot of the people writing about it are anxious about it, though I doubt their siblings or parents would really care all that much if the slept that way.
Nudity being pornographic: Some people can't get the association between not wearing clothing and sex out of their heads. Especially thorny to many people is childhood nudity and pedophiles. Nudity by itself isn't erotic, and even a die hard pedophile would probably get bored with it after a while.
Someone saw me naked: Guess what. No matter how careful people are, someday they're going to be seen naked by accident, and there will be times when they'll see others that way. Get over it. That's what our species looks like. You're not that special, and neither are they.
Erections: Groan... So many people assume that the environment will be arousing, when it's not. OK, when too anxious and while asleep, it can happen. I don't think most of us care, as long as the person isn't trying to sport it and make an issue of why they should be removed.
Kid's being naked: Naked is our natural state. The younger the kid is, the less likely they've been fully conditioned to the cultural norm and the more likely they'd rather just run around naked whenever they can get away with it. There's something to be learned there.
Understanding other people's comfort with it (nudists and just people who are more casual about it than most people expect). I try to turn it around and have the person try to see themselves as the one with the problem.
Questions of what the Bible or religion says about it. I put my own understanding out there, but point to what others who've studied the subject say.
Lots of other random questions handled by myself and other nudists. Some of the other people answering questions are recognized from other venues (club leaders, owners, or spokesmen). But some are just nudists like myself putting in their two cents worth. Often their answers are so much better than mine, or exactly what I would have said, that I either give them a thumb's up vote and move along. Or I reinforce their view and show solidarity with their answers. Either way, there's good people out there trying to educate the sometimes uneducatable.