Jump to content

Nude beaches and children


BecxyRex
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello all! I’m having a bit of a debate with a friend, and it got me thinking. I’d love to hear everyone’s opinion on this.

We were talking about a specific beach here in town and it’s an optional nude beach. people are clothed, but a lot of them choose to be nude.

 

I personally haven’t taken my daughter, but it’s more of an inconvenience due to distance, than me being uncomfortable with the idea. My daughter is 3.5 for the record.

I’m not trying to settle a debate or anything, since we’re aware we have differing opinions, but I’m more curious how people generally feel about this topic, since it got me thinking a bit.

 

I grew up in Europe and people sunbathing nude in city parks isn’t unheard of and something I’ve been “confronted” with during childhood more than enough. I never thought anything of it. In actuality it became more of a norm to me to see bodies of all sizes and shapes. If I were to go to this beach here in my current city I wouldn’t be necessarily concerned to take my child. I don’t believe in demonizing or sexualizing nude bodies by default, but it seems a lot of people would find it inappropriate to have their children see naked people in a non sexual environment.

 

I think actually that it can be beneficial to see people comfortable in the way they are, as opposed to experiencing nudity in some medium that might portray unrealistic ideals. I see it this way, our kids will see naked people at some point in life. I hate to think about it, but it will come up in ways I won’t be aware of as a mother. Do I want my daughter to have been exposed to actual nudity before that happens? Yeah, I think it’s helpful. I think it’ll not only help her own body image, but also help her become normalized to the idea that people do look different and it’s all ok.

 

Obviously if anything inappropriate were to happen I would absolutely take my child out of there. I’m very protective of her and think about her upbringing every single day. I’ve heard the argument made, that children will look at men and they may become aroused. I’d argue that it’s a pretty messed up individual who would feel that way towards a child looking and I’d rather not apply that to the general population by default. I don’t think all men are pigs at all. I think most if not all of the dudes there just want to enjoy some sun and relax. What are people so afraid of?

 

I’m aware bad things can happen. I’ll do my all to prevent them, but I don’t see how going to a nude beach is endangering my child’s well being or innocence. I’m very interested in opinions. I’m not set on this by any means.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ultimately, it's a cultural difference. You grew up in Europe and nudity is much, much better received there than it is in the US. Remember, the US is the land of blood/gore/violence on prime time TV but as soon as someone shows a teat accidentally during the Superbowl Halftime show, all hell breaks loose. I suspect many Americans who will comment on this will voice disagreement that a nude beach is suitable for children but again, I think that boils down to cultural differences. I don't believe there is a right/wrong choice as long as the child isn't seeing sexual activity and the child is being watched by the parent, but I guess you could make that argument for an outing at any beach, nude or not.

 

Personally, I think it should be up to the parents and their own judgement. 3.5 years old may or may not be too young for a nude beach, depending on your child and your perception of their maturity level. A few very young kids may go to a nude beach and then have trouble designating between when it is okay/not okay to take their own clothes. I've heard stories from my parents from my 3-year-old years and I can guarantee I would not have been a good candidate for a nude beach. I LOVED to take my clothes off on a hot day outside, no matter who was around, and I'm pretty sure a nude beach would haven given me permission to exploit that and be a little sh__t. But again, each kid is different and I think it's up to the parent(s) to decide based on their own knowledge/understanding.

 

I'm sure the topic of child abuse may come up: would seeing nudity in such a setting open a child more to abuse? I don't know the answer to that question but I think probably not, as long as the child can understand "this is a place where adults can be naked, however you should not talk to a naked adult, even if one wants to talk to you, and NO ONE should touch you in your privates nor ask you to touch yours".

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I know nude beaches are very common in Europe and has been that way like forever. For people growing up there, it is completely normal. It's also like they have public saunas where families go - parents and children amongst other adults etc and no-one covers up with towels. All totally nude. Totally normal there and no-one flinches. No-one even looks.

 

For countries where this is not the norm, people would be outraged and horrified.

 

It all comes down to what people grew up with. What is normal to them. Many people will totally disapprove and be disgusted. Many others it will just be 'meh'.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In an ideal world, yes, it would be wonderful to take our children to beaches or parks where clothing was optional due to heat, and people not be sexualizing it, etc.

 

However, in todays world, we have the Jefferey Epsteins, and the sexual predators out there as well as just plain perverts. You also have tv shows and movies sexualizing nearly everything and it's near impossible to keep children away from it.

 

Due to that, I think it's dangerous to bring children around adults who might have clothing optional and I also think it's confusing to the child.

You want to teach your child to not let someone touch them, not let anyone see their privates (and for darn good reason!)...but if you were to bring them into this kind of environment, you're then sending two different messages.

 

Keep your children safe!! It is of the utmost importance in todays world where there are, unfortunately, a lot of sick people.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It all depends on how comfortable you are with your body and with seeing other people bodies. As an extremely shy and introverted person, I would not be comfortable with it and would not want to take a child. For me, being around someone naked is reserved for someone I'm really close to and are intimate with. It's not that I think there is anything wrong with it, I just don't feel comfortable and don't want to know that much about a stranger. If I was with a child, I don't think I would want to answer any questions that might come up. I don't have children of my own, but I feel like I would want to teach them that while there is nothing to be ashamed about regarding your body, that it is something best kept to yourself and not to be seen by just anyone.

 

However, I also don't think we should hide such things from children or make them scared that all people are perverts who will take advantage of them. Children will eventually grow up and be curious about their bodies, about other people, and about sex. It's better if you are talking about it with them as they grow up. Encourage any questions they have. Teach them the positives and negatives. Yes, be careful because bad things can happen. But we should also be able to celebrate who we are, inside and outside. Each person is beautiful in their own way, regardless of what form our body might take.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It depends on what you're comfortable with as a mother. I get the sense that you feel like you may be judged as a parent for not being strongly opposed. Was your friend firing off on you or getting upset in the debate?

 

That’s a really good question. You know, it took me a while to know the answer. I know it’s ultimately all up to me, but I think you’re right that I’m a little concerned of being judged or maybe not seeing something the right way. It’s been a while since I was a child and while I turned out fine, I don’t want to make mistakes with my own if I can help it. I may be thinking too much about it, since we’re not even really going to this beach or will in the near future. I’m also a first time mom and my daughter is young enough to think over every single step :) maybe I’m trying to confirm for myself that I’m not doing anything wrong if I were to take her.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn’t but it is a product of my own culture and the fact I was sexually abused. Now I am not body conscious at home with my own family. My son routinely bathed or showered with us until the age of about 3 then the anatomy questions started and we stopped. We always called anatomy by the right names and never brushed questions aside.

 

I would have been too afraid to have my child exploited if brought to a nudie beach. I am just not comfortable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see it the same as you. I think it's healthy to see non sexual nudity from a young age. I don't see anything wrong with small children being at a clothing optional beach as long as it is a safe environment.

We have a few clothing optional beaches near me. It's mostly families. And honestly, it feels a lot more laid back and safe to me than the more popular beaches where people commonly go to strut their sexy stuff. I've been eyeballed more in my swimsuit than at the other where you can skinny dip.

I'm not European, but my parents sort of normalized nudity when I was young. They were appropriate, of course, and they were protective of me. But seeing nude people wasn't treated as odd or to be avoided. I grew up with a really healthy body image, I think, no real hang up's even as a teen about worrying about looking perfect.

The more worrisome thing is society at large as you grow up. Oversexualizing teens and the sexual assault culture we have going on.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think this debate can provoke a lot of strong reactions depending on experience and upbringing especially among survivors of sexual abuse. Having not been affected by these things changes the way I might see the world. Having also come from a place outside of North America, I think this also changes my view slightly. It is a very good point your friend's making that there are individuals out there who are mentally sick or corrupt.

 

To me this is more of a question of whether we're willing to accept that fact or not (sickness and corruption), depending on whether we ourselves have been affected by our own experiences, culture or backgrounds.

 

I didn't grow up in N America or Europe or any 'western' country. I grew up in a place where there is lots of child sex trade and children go missing and are sold. I think I was one of the lucky ones to have parents who safeguarded me as a female child where I grew up. Doesn't make me feel any more privileged but I know there are many, many out there who didn't have a choice. I don't forget where I came from and I've inherited some of that lack of trust overall but no, I can't say that I've been hurt in this way. I think if you get to walk around naked or not naked anywhere in any country and not be assaulted that IS privilege. I'm only mentioning this because it changes the lens through which I view things.

 

I personally wouldn't take a young child to a nudist beach but not necessarily because I think everyone is bad or I openly distrust everyone or am unfriendly. There's a lot happening in those young minds, so much to learn and so little time. There's just so much more valuable information to teach them or show them than what body parts belong where. I also believe confidence starts with you as a parent... what you do and say to your child at home, how you carry yourself as her mum. She's looking at you and how you talk with dad and your mannerisms, even how you walk. When she starts to have more awareness about her body parts she'll also start pointing and asking questions and you'll get to tell her and teach her. She will mirror you so if you do want to try and exercise in building confidence and self-esteem you don't have to look any further than yourself and how you carry yourself as an individual, how you let others talk to you or how you speak to people of the opposite sex. She'll learn everything she needs from her parents.

 

For me, yes, I do know and accept there is filth out there but that's not the main reason not to go. If it was life and death and it meant running through a beach like that, I think you'd know what to do to protect your kids in a tough situation! As it is, there's just so much more I'd rather teach her instead.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don’t believe in demonizing or sexualizing nude bodies by default, but it seems a lot of people would find it inappropriate to have their children see naked people in a non sexual environment.

 

I think actually that it can be beneficial to see people comfortable in the way they are, as opposed to experiencing nudity in some medium that might portray unrealistic ideals.

 

I agree with you.

 

America is a funny place. Full of contradictions. I have no explanation for it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is quite a controversial subject.

 

I think there is a difference between a beach where just a few people are naked and a beach where everyone is naked. I wouldn't mind bringing children in the first case (which actually is the norm is Europe, there are always topless women on the beach*) but I would in the latter. Not for any specific reason, I just wouldn't allow kids in nude beaches notably beaches with naked men.

 

I don't think there is right or wrong and I wouldn't judge anyone whatever he believes. But this pseudo-puritanism in America...

 

*PS for guys: Usually it's not the good looking so don't dream haha

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't because at age 3 he likely would have been confused by it and not in a good way. Occasionally he saw women nursing without totally covering up and that was fine -that's feeding a baby. Also at his preschool there were rules about "private parts" etc and at age 3 it would have been too hard to teach him the distinction -and not worth the effort. Seeing parents nude in the home is very different -that kind of distinction I've seen no issues with as far as children feeling confused.

 

An example -when he was around 2 he needed an extended ear exam. We needed to distract him during it so he'd be still. We were told to blow a pinwheel that he could focus on. Except what he took away from it was all the blowing we did so he started this lovely spitting habit for quite awhile after that. A waitress who leaned into him too close one day at a restaurant didn't appreciate the consequence. Kids of that age often are not communicating at a level where you can explain concepts so exposing the child to adults exposing themselves might result in unpredictable consequences that are really hard to undo.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have been drawing nude models since I was 14. And there was nothing goofy in our heads - we were just there to draw. My youngest will be 5 soon, and he has to strip off his uniform as soon as he comes home. I don't even bother because I am not interested in body shaming him with what he does in his own home. That being said, nude beaches - I don't have a problem with it, or anyone being nude - but I don't want to share myself or hubs in public. It's a personal preference. I've modeled in the nude in the past a few times. Just can't do it for leisure in my head. As far as kids, if we were at a public beach, sure, why not. Granted, OM Gosh, my eldest when he was 3.5 stripped down at a public park, and went in the lake. Took him like seconds to do it too - before I could stop him. And he had the best time. And this was NOT a nudist beach. No one cared either. In the US, we still have some people going nuts if someone is breastfeeding (insert rolling eyes here). It's definitely a cultural thing + personal decision.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually think it's the opposite of body shaming to teach a child boundaries as far as private parts, early on, in a matter of fact and positive/respectful way. Sure a parent can have those boundaries be "anything goes inside the home" - it's the parent's business - but sometimes "anything goes" is part of a "I don't want to deal with it, so anything goes" - if it's the latter (not saying tattoobunnie wrote that at all) then that's more passivity than teaching a child how to respect his or her body and others' bodies. I have a friend who emailed nude photos of her toddlers to lots of people and I thought that was unfair to the kids -they had no say in how their private areas were displayed and broadcast to goodness knows how many people.

 

I would not be ok with children being nude in a non-nude beach in front of my child. Or adults. It's not allowed in our public park, anyway.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should clarify. If there is anyone else outside of us (mom, dad, bro) who just happens to stop by, he runs like as fast as lightning to his room to put on clothes. I never had to ever ask once. He just always has known he should be dressed around others. The rule that is mandatory though is, if you are going outside or the garage, you must have clothes and shoes on. My youngest, definitely, a unique one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rose, for me, I don't see being able to walk around without being assaulted as a privledge. I see that as a basic human right. I think the distinction is important. If someone is assaulted or a child kidnapped, that's a gross violation of human rights.

Im not trying to invalidate any of your very good points and experience. It's just a pet peeve of mine when privledge is confused with human rights.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I should clarify. If there is anyone else outside of us (mom, dad, bro) who just happens to stop by, he runs like as fast as lightning to his room to put on clothes. I never had to ever ask once. He just always has known he should be dressed around others. The rule that is mandatory though is, if you are going outside or the garage, you must have clothes and shoes on. My youngest, definitely, a unique one.

 

Yes. I wouldn't have wanted to do the work of drawing the distinction for my son when he wa 3 just so he could go to a nude beach. So many other options. But in other cases I did do the work - like teaching him from early on about respect for his own body and for others' bodies, and who is allowed to touch him, etc. I would not have wanted him around nude adults who weren't his parents just so we could go to a particular beach. By contrast we took him to the D'orsay museum in Paris when he was 7 and he saw the huge nude male statue and exclaimed over the size of the man's penis. Loudly. LOL.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Rose, for me, I don't see being able to walk around without being assaulted as a privledge. I see that as a basic human right. I think the distinction is important. If someone is assaulted or a child kidnapped, that's a gross violation of human rights.

Im not trying to invalidate any of your very good points and experience. It's just a pet peeve of mine when privledge is confused with human rights.

 

Yes ,very important to have your body not violated at any point ever in your life should be a basic human right.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

At 3 1/2 they won't think much about the experience. When I was little in the change room at a public pool, woman were walking around, showering, changing out in the open. My mom would say "we are all women here..." I'm sure if we went to a nude beach, and my mom said similar I wouldn't think much about it. Toddlers are pretty open minded and accepting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think having a certain amount of modesty is good. I'm not okay with flaunting and having your bits out for everyone to see whenever. I'm sorry to those that don't agree, but there are a lot of times where I prefer to not see your bits on display.

 

Does that make me a prude, or am I shameful or shaming of others? No. I'm actually neither and if someone knew me in real life they'd never accuse me of any of those things.

But I prefer people to show less skin. I find that a woman can be mysterious and sensual with wearing beautiful clothing that shows her shape but in a more classier manner and not so tasteless or shocking. Same goes for men. I find a man who is dressed well with a sense of style and can show his masculine side without being crass, so much more attractive.

It really is personal preference.

 

When it comes to certain body parts, I just don't think it needs to be on display, just like I don't find a cats butt anything shameful either but I don't want that in my face either.

 

That's coming from an adults perspective in terms of other adults.

 

When it comes to children, I still feel we need to be far far more cautious. As I was saying before, in an ideal world, we would be able to dress and undress without people out there using it as a means of being sexual or perverse. But unfortunately, we do live in a world like that and we need to protect our children more so than anything nowadays.

Edited by SherrySher
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...