What’s Wrong With Nudity? (NSFW)

a pretty girl who is naked
is worth a million statues
– e. e. cummings

I haven’t been feeling my best lately.  For the past couple weeks, the weather has been trying to settle into a winter’s cold; my sleep has been restless, short, and disturbed; a sore throat took hold yesterday; I’ve been feeling a lot of minor aches and pains; I’ve not been getting outside enough for fresh air; there are no naked ladies in my apartment at the moment; and although I’m not yet to the point of actually feeling sorry for myself, I’m thinking I should at least buy the tickets to feeling sorry.

So, given what a dull day it’s been, I was more than a little cheered when, out of the blue, my generous online friend, Eolake Stobblehouse sent to me an email full of beautiful nudes.  Like most people, I think, there is almost nothing in this universe that can cause me to feel more alive than beauty.  His timing was coincidental, but Eolake could not have sent a more appreciated gift.

Eolake, by the way, is the founder of the “Simple Nudes Movement”.  If you are curious, I’ve blogged about Eolake and the Movement here.

I’ve been told that I don’t get or understand what’s wrong with nudity.  But I’m not sure that is,  strictly speaking, true.  I’m pretty confident I get that people raised to think of nudity as wrong or immoral will most likely spend their lives thinking of nudity as wrong or immoral.

That’s to say, I can see no rational reason to oppose nudity on moral grounds.  I certainly don’t believe it causes anyone harm to either view nudity or to go nude.

Some scientific studies have been done on nudity and those studies have never found that nudity is harmful to anyone.  On the contrary, it turns out going nude can be psychologically good for you — especially if you are a woman.

So, bring it on!  What’s wrong with nudity?  What am I missing here?

The beautiful woman above goes by the name of Edita and her photo here is reproduced from Eolake’s huge collection of simple nudes.  You can see a few of the nudes in his collection here.

And, if you want access to Eolake’s full collection — there’s something like 60,000 tasteful nudes on his website — You can sign up for full access here.

He has a free weekly newsletter he will email to you that’s very much worth subscribing to here.

He doesn’t pay me anything to promote him, but I’ve long been a believer in his exceptional aesthetic standards, and so I hope even more people will discover his already very popular service.

39 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With Nudity? (NSFW)

  1. Sorry you’re not feeling well, Paul.

    Interesting post. It is unfortunate that nude is often equated with pornographic, as if the naked body is something to be ashamed of. There is a profound difference between a woman who respects herself and is not ashamed of her beautiful body vs. a woman who does not respect herself and thus allows herself to be exploited.

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  2. I am extremely aware of what is wrong with most nudes and it includes most of what Mr stobblehouse calls “simple nudes”. There is nothing particularly wrong with “simple nudes”. They are generally without fail pretty but not art. Any monkey with a modern camera can take a snapshot of a pretty woman naked and the naked woman will look pretty as long as not looking amazed at seeing a monkey with the camera.

    It takes more skill to do a photograph of the human figure as an object of art than is common. I doubt Mr Stobblehouse has it yet. He does not show it consistently. “The Movement” is simply encouraging monkeys or others to grab a camera and get cute friends to show nudity. They are not overly erotic and use that bit to sell the experience to the model.

    Mr Stobblehouse gets close to art on accident occasionally but is usually only capturing the naked girl exactly like anyone else witnessing the nude display would. The beauty captured is created by God and is only documented by the camera holder.

    I like the pretty naked women but Eolake Stobblehouse’s “Simple Nude Movement” is not about art photographs. These are simply naked girls bragging and celebrating their bodies saying, “look at me nude, aren’t I cute, cheese”. They all have a voyeuristic feel to them and break the one rule Ruth Bernhardt had and looking at the camera.

    When I finish suing the FCC, photography like his and like mine will be required to have a robot exclusion protocol and be invisible to children. Search engines will have to note the ratings allowed by the browser. Filters are jokes that let the SEC surf for porn while the economy crashed. There is nothing remaining but maybe a year till it happens.

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  3. Thank you, CD. This malaise will pass sooner or later. If it does not, then I am suing god and naming the Pope as a co-defendant.

    I’m not saying this to flatter you, CD, but I find reading good, thoughtful writing helps when I’m down a little, and your blog has made me feel a bit better these past few days. Thank you for that.

    Indeed, there’s a profound difference between those two people. I think, however, that as a society, we are trained to be much more aware of the woman who is being exploited than to recognize that some women are neither harmed nor exploited by, in effect, selling their naked beauty.

    One of my best friends here in town has a sister, Theresa, who at one point was an erotic dancer. Theresa used to average about $1000 per night dancing nude for patrons of a club in LA. She used the money to buy a part interest in a restaurant and then to set up a little import/export business. She is a confident, independent lady who pretty much knows what she wants and gets it. I don’t gather she feels exploited by her time dancing nude.

    I think you would like Becky and Theresa, CD. They grew up in a religious cult in Indiana. Like you, both had the brains, integrity, intellectual honesty, courage, and will to escape the cult. I think quite highly of them, and their only serious flaw, so far as I can see, is that neither one reads my blog.

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  4. Hi Curtis! I think you are being far too critical of Eolake’s nudes. It seems to have escaped you that he is by no means even attempting to create art nudes. Consequently, criticizing him, as you have done, for failing to create art nudes is ridiculous. You should take another look, this time with more innocent eyes, and I think you will see as I have that Eolake is at the top of his class or field.

    As for your own nudes, I happen to think they are excellent. You are a wonderful artist, even if you do have many crazy opinions — by which I mean opinions that are at odds with mine own.

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  5. Thanks, Paul. You are very kind and it means a lot when I receive positive feedback, especially from good writers like you. I do believe we all need that. It’s nurturing and motivating. Constructive criticism is also good — I learned to appreciate that kind of feedback during my college days when I had some excellent professors who were keen on helping me improve and very good at pointing out the holes I often stepped into.

    I am sure I would like your friends, Becky and Theresa. It sounds like we have a few things in common. How wonderful for them that they left their oppressive cult together.

    I believe the first matter of inquiry in defining exploitation vs. confidence is how the woman herself feels about it. There are others (and frankly, I haven’t given this subject enough thought to say much about it), but that is the first and most important starting point. There are cultural factors, too. Our culture has plenty of hangups that view simple nudity as something dirty and degrading. I personally don’t believe that forwards the cause of women to be treated with respect and equality. I think those hangups go back to some antiquated idea that men own women and their sexuality.

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  6. Eolake mentioned this blog – very interesting. I would like to see Curtis’s work to see from what bias he judges. Most art nudes leave me cold, while Eolake’s sites always warm me up with affectionate appreciation. The simplicity is part of the beauty! No pretension there, except for the models thinking they need to be shaved – 9 out of ten would look better au naturel.

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  7. #5: CD: “Our culture has plenty of hangups that view simple nudity as something dirty and degrading. I personally don’t believe that forwards the cause of women to be treated with respect and equality. I think those hangups go back to some antiquated idea that men own women and their sexuality.” [emphasis added]

    I have a little theory, CD. It goes like this: Male opposition to female nudity (or style of dress) is almost always profoundly rooted in the male’s desire to control the female’s reproduction choices — regardless of what rationalization is used to justify the opposition.

    Perhaps oddly enough, I came up with that theory almost on the very same day that I realized I had all my life looked at the role of women in courtship from a Victorian perspective. That’s to say, from a stupid, ideologically driven perspective that was never really based on observation. When it came to sex, the Victorians were quite often idiots.

    Overall, the Victorians thought “decent” women were almost entirely passive in sex and even in courtship. Men, on the other hand, were the active participants in sex and courtship. I had that view instilled in me growing up, CD, and I can testify that its many implications are ugly and destructive.

    One day, several years ago, I came across a study in the anthropology of human courtship. To be brief, the study revealed that women typically took a very active role in choosing who would flirt with them. That is, in choosing who would court them.

    To over-simplify: Women do not, as the Victorians believed, sit around waiting for men to court them. Instead, they make themselves as attractive as they can, then they send various “body language” signals to the men who they want to court them.

    Moreover, a man is pretty close to being a instant looser if he approaches a woman to court her without being invited by her to do so. The scientists observed very few successful courtships that began with the man, rather than the woman.

    All of which should have been obvious to me from sixth grade on, but I’d been blinded by Victorian ideology. However, the real point here, is that any man looking to control a woman’s reproductive choices could do far worse than to control her ability to make herself attractive to other men.

    And I think if you look at both the history of our own culture, and at cultures and societies around the world, you will clearly see that making women cover up, forcing women to wear modest clothing, etc. etc., heavily correlates with such things as forced marriages, child marriages, and male dominance of women’s reproductive choices.

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  8. #7: Hi Lou! Welcome to the blog!

    If you return to comment #2, and then click on Curtis’s name, the link will take you to his website. A little looking around then will find a link to his art nudes site.

    So far as I’m concerned, art nudes are almost always non-erotic. I first came across art nudes as a little kid. My father was an artist, and although he died when I was quite young, he left a whole library of fine art books behind. I used to spend hours pouring over those books, including the books of nude photography. I like and understand what Eolake is doing, and I like and understand what Curtis is doing. The two are doing different things, and it is foolish to compare them one to the other.

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  9. Religious attitudes towards nudity have haad a huge influence over the centrueis–one which has always confused me regarding the Judeo-Christian-Muslim group in particular.

    This group believes that Adam & Eve were tossed from the Garden of Eden because they were ashamed of their nudity.

    Based upon this, it would seem that being ashamed of nudity would be a bad thing!

    And yet these are the people who fear and are ashamed of nudity!

    There are real and deadly problems in the world, creating new ones based upon an unreasoning fear of nudity merely detracts from our ability to find answers to serious problems before they kill us.

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  10. Welcome to the blog, Charles! You have some very good insights. Thanks for sharing them. I was especially interested in this one:

    “There are real and deadly problems in the world, creating new ones based upon an unreasoning fear of nudity merely detracts from our ability to find answers to serious problems before they kill us.”

    Spot on!

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  11. Oops Mr Sunstone, I did not mean to criticize Eolake Stobblehouse or his movement. I enjoy looking at pretty naked women as much as anyone and probably more than most. I see that in the first sentence I stated that there was something wrong? Oops – Sorry I wrote that Mr Stobblehouse. There is nothing wrong with the photos just as there was nothing wrong with Polanski doing nudes of Ms Geimer. There was, however, something wrong with Polanski drugging Samantha Geimer and raping her. I believe display of photography of a nude less than 25 years old is not proper while the model is under 25. After the girl is 25, she could allow all the nudes she did earlier in life to be shown.
    18 and even 21 is too young to make such life-impacting decisions in my opinion. The divorce rates support my contention.

    Moderation…? Did I offend or did the banned person cause this change?

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  12. No problem, Curtis. Thanks for clarifying your thoughts for us!

    As for the moderation, that was just WordPress acting up. Some glitch somewhere. It had nothing to do with you except that your post was caught by it.

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  13. Sorry you’re poorly at the moment, Paul. Must be something going around, and I do mean ‘around’ as we’re not well on this side of the planet, either. Fever, however, can’t stop a wade into boystown this afternoon … or perhaps it’s fever that causes me to skew this post around to were it goes in my febrile head.

    Seems something suspect to me in a movement worthy of its own pledge paying homage to the beauty of the human form, yet neglecting the male version. There is no challenge to garnering a huge following after 60,000 images of young, naked women, and being ‘simple nudes’ there maybe not much in finding 60,000 young, naked women willing to be photographed. Challenge could present to consumers, however, if the male form was to be offered for equal appreciation.

    You quote Eolake in another post: The philosophy of DOMAI, the joy and innocence and beauty, is an ideal.

    If beauty is beauty, joy is joy and nude is some celebration of both, where are the naked young guys?

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  14. Yikes, Sandra! Sorry to hear you’re feeling it too! This stuff is no fun.

    As I recall, Eolake has been asked at times whether he would do the same with male models as he (and others now) have done with female models. And his answer has always been that, while he would welcome someone else doing it, he himself is not that into male beauty to make a go of it.

    I myself think it’s a good idea, but I wonder whether it’s not actually being done already by magazines like Playgirl. Maybe I’m wrong — I haven’t seen a Playgirl in years — but it’s my impression that their nudes are more or less simple nudes: little or no make up, little or no photoshop, natural settings, no bedroom eyes or overemphasis of sexuality, at-ease models, etc.

    If Playgirl and perhaps some others are already doing male nudes as “simple nudes”, then it might be difficult for a newcomer to get established. Depends, I guess, on what kind of competitors they are.

    Last, simple nudes are far from being art nudes, but here’s something I heard a while ago. In the US (and maybe everywhere else) women are the models for most art nudes today. But I heard that hasn’t always been the case. At one time, not too long ago, men were the models for most (but not all) “serious” art nudes.

    The changing of the guard can be traced back to just one photograph, Sandra. A photo so powerful, it changed which sex was favored for art nudes. And, by sheer coincidence, I wrote about that photo here. I did not know how important the photo was to changing which gender was favored for art nudes when I wrote about it. I only knew it was a famous photo. But if the story I’ve heard since is true, it is not only famous, but hugely significant in the history of art nudes.

    I hope you get well soon!

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  15. Hi, Paul –

    Thanks for a very lively and interesting discussion. I especially enjoyed the comments from Twinka and Sandra.

    This whole topic seems to boil down to two things: our male desire for control or domination, and our acquired homophobic tendencies.

    I’d like to see what Twinka and Sandra say about that, and of course you’re more than welcome to take a swat at it too. Enjoy your day!

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  16. I’d say, Ray, that it boils down to the male ability to be easily amused and homophobic tendencies that are so often knee-jerk in their stirrings … if I may use the word ‘stirring’ in such a provocative discourse.(And how many male readers substitute ‘inter’ for ‘dis’?)

    You dudes are puppets on strings when it comes to visuals …

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  17. Hi Ray! Thanks for dropping by!

    I certainly agree with you that the male desire to control female reproductive choices seems to motivate many men to oppose female nudity — or, for that matter, what they often label “immodest dress”. Earlier, I tried to spell out my thoughts about that in comment #8.

    On the other hand, I’m not in agreement with either you or Sandra that homophobia has much to do with anything here. I just don’t see it as being that important of a factor in explaining why there is no simple nudes movement for male nudes.

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  18. I ref my earlier comment: If beauty is beauty, joy is joy and nude is some celebration of both, where are the naked young guys?

    This is not about celebrating the human form … it is about horny guys checking out naked chicks.

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  19. Sandra: “This is not about celebrating the human form … it is about horny guys checking out naked chicks.”

    I think it’s about both, Sandra. If someone was only interested in “celebrating” the human form, they would probably gravitate towards art nudes. On the other hand, if someone was only interest in “checking out naked chicks”, they would probably gravitate towards the sort of aesthetically cheap porn that absolutely dominates the market and which is not characteristic of the Simple Nudes Movement.

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  20. “On the other hand, if someone was only interest in “checking out naked chicks”, they would probably gravitate towards the sort of aesthetically cheap porn that absolutely dominates the market and which is not characteristic of the Simple Nudes Movement.”

    Not in the inbox that cheap porn.

    Okay, elaborating … and keep in mind I have a high fever and should be sleeping, okay?

    The “Simple Nudes Movement” seems nothing more than a way for guys to check out naked chicks without having to queue up at the local news agent for the latest while considering themselves appreciators of beauty, when in fact most are just perving over pussy.

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  21. Thanks for the clarification!

    I imagine a lot of people would agree with you, Sandra, but your characterization of the Simple Nudes Movement strikes me as fitting the average stuff you can easily find on the net but not really fitting the Simple Nudes Movement. I just can’t reconcile your opinion of the Simple Nudes Movement with my own. So I guess we’ll need to agree to disagree on this one.

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  22. Thanks, but it’s not mine I’m that concerned about, but Cj’s. I can deal with anything but a sick child.

    For you, Luv … hot lemon and honey … with a stiff shot of something really head-clearing.

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  23. Yikes! You didn’t tell me your child was ill. From what little I’ve seen, children tend to feel these things harder than adults.

    Thanks for the advice! I’ll look around for some lemon juice and honey. I’m more likely to find beer and potato chips in this place, though.

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  24. She brought the bloody virus home from school … incubators of illness, those institutions … and is more chirpy about the whole situation that I am.

    Beer and chips deffo won’t do it. If nothing else, hot water, sugar and Jack Daniels will do wonders. Start early enough in the day and by dusk you should be feeling very little pain and completely ignoring all sniffles.

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  25. Chirpy? Good for her! I myself don’t feel too chirpy at the moment. I appear to have caught mine from my neighbor across the hall.

    It’s the nine o’clock hour AM here. I’m seriously considering going back to bed in a bit. But if I don’t, then hot water, sugar, and Jack Daniels is something I might manage to find around here.

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  26. Cj is chirpy for a living. Seems her lot in life.

    Find the combo. You will not be sorry … until tomorrow, when you will still not be sorry, but possibly a bit foggy. Considering The Seven, however, Foggy, Queasy and Pervy are all better company than Sneezy and Grumpy.

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  27. Hi Gandalfe! Welcome to the blog!

    Actually, WordPress has been good to me when it comes to my tendency to post an occasional Simple nude — or even post a regular art nude.

    I think I would be forced to go elsewhere if they were not reasonable about it, but they have indeed been reasonable. I used to post an art nude every Saturday with no problems. I’m pretty happy with them.

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  28. Charles Barnard
    November 20, 2010 at 7:13 AM
    “This group believes that Adam & Eve were tossed from the Garden of Eden because they were ashamed of their nudity.
    Based upon this, it would seem that being ashamed of nudity would be a bad thing!
    And yet these are the people who fear and are ashamed of nudity!”

    I know, tell me about it. You should meet my family and tell them this. My family believes in this and also has the same belief…about fearing and being ashamed of nudity. A few times, I’ve been told to wear a shirt (I’m a man) when I go downstairs to eat something in the house I live in. I usually compromise by wearing shorts so as not to “offend” anyone (still don’t understand why nudity is offensive), but that’s where I draw the line. When I’m told to wear a shirt, it usually results in me getting extremely mad and this past weekend was a result of such an incident. But, I don’t want to get into that.

    I wish clothes had never been invented. Then, we would have to be nude all the time. Granted, very few people look like perfect models, but at least then, there would be no such thing as pornography since everyone would know what everyone else looks like without clothes. There would be no need to “sex” it up without the taboos of it. Don’t take my comment as an argument. I’m siding with you. I’m just adding my two cents to it. I wish people would stop being ashamed of nudity since there’s no way to turn back time and stop clothes from being invented (as much as I’d like to). You’re right that being ashamed of nudity is a bad thing. But, most people would disagree with that because they feel that nudity is a shameful thing, even though it’s not really. People make too big of a deal about the human body. They sexualize just about anything. Next thing you know, they’ll want babies to be born fully dressed so as not to see their innocent nudity and become offended by it.

    I know this comment is late, but I just discovered this article today. I wish I had seen it sooner, but that’s okay. You know what they say…”better late than never”. Okay, I’m done now.

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