by Trine and Silje
A quick search online will reveal that there are persistent stories about naturism being in decline. Even topless sunbathing is in decline, we learn. The young aren’t interested, we learn. They’re too prudish. Granted, we also learn from FFN, French Naturism’s official body, that many of the people using naturist campsites and beaches under their jurisdiction are under 35, writes Trine
Two years ago, French Elle magazine asked if it was ‘La fin du topless a la plage?’ (the end of going topless on the beach)
Are the young prudish? The same generation sending naked selfies to each other? Sexting each other? No, I don’t think they’re too prudish at all. But the phone-in-the-mirror-while-pouting shot is usually intended for private consumption…up to a point. Relationships fall apart, and the male recipient has revenge by posting them online (it happens that males who send photos are occasionally ‘outed’ in this manner as well, but it’s less common).
I’ve blurred the faces from the images because we can’t tell if the subjects are even aware their images are online, and they have a right to their privacy. Which is where we’re heading with this post…
But it’s not just teenage girls who enjoy a frisson of excitement in taking nude selfies, adds Silje. Older ladies, mature ladies, ‘milfs and cougars’ as they’re defined in porn world, also like the idea of naked selfies, showing that an older generation can be as sexy, as sexual, as alluring as their daughters.
Older men are in on the act too, but from the research I’ve undertaken, it appears they’re less inclined towards bathroom mirror selfies as having their partner photograph them. Often they’re in various stages of erection, so not suitable for this blog, but it’s interesting that although there are many candles on the cake, they still wish to portray themselves as young and virile.
Before you ask, yes I, Silje, have done some naked selfies in the bathroom mirror, but the quality isn’t so good, and I now would use a proper camera with a self-timer to take naked ‘selfies’ (although these are not so evident as ‘selfies’) if I am going to do self-portraits. Why do I do it? My husband likes them. But as with the evidence online, his preference is simply to be photographed by me. They make us laugh, and that’s what life is all about. That’s why we do it.
Meanwhile, Trine says she has never taken nude selfies and has no interest in doing so.
But let’s get back to the naturist angle, adds Trine
Isn’t the likelihood that declining nude or topless sunbathing and swimming owes much to omnipresence of smartphones? A girl in her twenties or a mature woman in her sixties might like to take selfies, and demonstrate her sexuality to herself or to a partner, but out there on the beach, now, everyone is carrying a smartphone. Everyone naked, women particularly, are now easy prey for any voyeur who can post online minutes after getting home. A female, whatever her age, may be confident to go nude, at home, or in public on the beach, but she is much less likely to wish to become an internet sensation without her permission.
Perhaps this is, in part, why the decline of topless or nude beach activities are being reported. Perhaps this is also why French naturism, the FFN, has conducted a survey to learn that naturism in the under 35s is alive and well within its membership. Inside the environs of a naturist campsite, amongst like-minded souls, the use of cameras is much less likely to be an issue (of course, it’s not impossible that photographs aren’t taken, but the allure of photographing fellow naturists is much diminished in organised naturism).
The availability of smaller cameras with megapixels and better lenses mean any naturist can be captured in high definition at distance, unaware of the presence of a camera.
The lesson to be learned is that naturist etiquette -the ground rules by which we exist, such as ‘always carry a towel for hygiene purposes’, needs to be upgraded to be fit for purpose in the 21st century. ‘Bag the phone, bag the camera’ now needs to be written into the naturist ‘constitution’ in some shape or form. You’re at the beach, you don’t need to be taking messages, calling friends and maybe sneaking photos. If genuine naturists were to adopt this code of conduct it would lead to a situation whereby smartphones, in evidence, might just become a mark of the voyeur. That call, that conversation, isn’t likely to be a matter of life and death, so why not enjoy the here and now, enjoy the moment, rather than living it second hand with a phone at your ear constantly?
Trine and Silje