We received the following email recently:
My husband is not much into nude beaches and spas, but he is fine with me and my best friend going to them. He was very athletic in his younger days, and with my insecurities back then, I wouldn’t have wanted him nude and I wouldn’t be nude. Now those insecurities are gone, but he’s older and not much intrigued by it. My best friend and I go on two trips per year. Our husbands are the best two men in the world just for that!!! We often go to spas where most if not all are women, and pools, hot tubs, sun decks are always nude. Some do have men (couples) and some have lovely nude beaches. We have never been bothered, we have never felt awkward, we have never felt sinful, but from what I’m reading here on this site, we should. Why? It’s wonderful. We have come across the occasional “naughty” girls showing too much public affection, but we just pass by and ignore them.
This really isn’t a black and white issue. For certain, I know that there are cultures where public nude bathing is common practice, and has been for centuries. Often the men and women have separate areas for bathing, but not necessarily. I had experiences abroad on several occasions of going to hot springs and spas where it was common and expected that people would bath in the nude. The ones I went to had separate areas for men and women. In that culture, though, the nude bathing had little to do with sexuality even where the men and women were not separated.
However, that is not the case by and large in North America. The one time I went to a clothing optional beach in North American, I can tell you that it was a very different atmosphere. Our culture is highly sexualized and this is a key component in determining whether or not it is appropriate to go to nude beaches, spas and resorts. While we can not control if a man or woman lusts after us being fully clothed, we really are opening up a door for causing a brother or sister to stumble when we participate in nude activities with mixed genders. This Scripture that I reference to in the link speaks to our freedom in the Lord Jesus Christ, but in that freedom comes a responsibility to do what we can to minimize how our actions might cause another person to sin. In our culture, I have a hard time believing that men and women bathing together is not lust-inducing for one or the other.
The other thing I have noticed about some people who have made comments about this issue in defense of it, is that there is an exhibitionist element for many, to one degree or another. I know the person who emailed us didn’t mention this so I am not referring to her, but I have seen many who on the one hand say things like “It’s natural” and “It’s not sexual,” but on the other hand they also express that they feel good about showing their bodies to others. It’s just a very thin line that people need to be careful about.
I am not so concerned about two friends who enjoy going to nude spas in their leisure time, but I do hesitate when there is mention of men and women being nude together. Simply my opinion. I invite you to share yours.
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