Clothing optional

File:Paul Gauguin 001.jpgI extended my performing range on Saturday night: for the first time, I had a props bag. Since you ask, my props were a pot of moisturiser, three bras, a lipstick, a credit card and a bunch of keys. I mixed my physical comedy with observational comedy- moaning about stuff, with only the slightest exaggeration- and had a few laughs. I performed topless before sixteen people.

I had no clear idea of what HAI was before going three years ago, and the “clothing optional” bit would have been too much for me but that I had camped in community with several of the people a week before, and liked and trusted them; and I had committed myself to be positive, having realised how negative I was, in the middle of that camp. We caress each other, and do exercises which you might do in a Tantra workshop or personal growth event. Now I can declare myself “sex positive” though still with a moral sense around sexual matters, and I have a better understanding of myself, my responses and other people. We show each other respect, and do not penetrate or orgasm. The aim is consciousness around sexual matters.

Clothing optional means that it is the individual’s choice, in the moment, and we are in the “Room of Love” mostly naked, with some in underwear or loose clothing. This past weekend, I delighted in the beauty of bodies, and the muscular and skeletal structure under the skin.

File:Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) - Two Nudes on a Tahitian Beach.jpgIn one exercise, in groups of three, we took it in turns to ask one of the others if one could perform a particular action: may I hold your breasts? May I spank your bottom? May I kiss your lips? The other responded either yes, no, or “ask me something else”- if the response was “no”, the turn moved on. In another, one of a pair lay supine while the other approached to stroke or touch parts of the body: the one receiving could say yes, no, stop or please, to indicate boundaries: so we practised negotiating boundaries and asking, verbally and non-verbally. Previously, one response has been “maybe”- so we can also test the rules of the game. After, we shared how we felt: I strongly wanted to ask for something but forebore, because I did not want asking that to make me appear a certain way: I could state that in verbal sharing, but not while playing the game.

I have introduced HAI people to Quakers, who found each other lovely, open people, and would like to tell Quakers about HAI. I have told one or two, and not been judged for it, and I have met Quakers at HAI events. The problem is my residual belief in morality as a system of rules, rather than a mature human judgment moment to moment- one of those rules is something like nakedness in large groups must be strictly regulated. I want my judgment trusted, and fear it will not be. When I taste freedom, the benefits seem worth the risks.

Another exercise: having a choice of what to do, I affirmed myself- “I am highly intelligent”, “I am loving”- and after each affirmation three others said “Yes”. Which is a lovely experience. Try it.

It was lovely to spend time with old friends, and get to know people new to me.

27 thoughts on “Clothing optional

  1. I would absolutely DIE. Even Mike can’t see me in the nude anymore. And as I have no intention of spending five hours in the gym every week, ever again, I imagine no one ever will until I’m embalmed.

  2. Hot air intake?

    Hospital-acquired infection?

    There are an awful lot of alternatives for the HAI acronym.

    Sounds good to me. The way you write it sounds very erotic. It’s objective and almost distantly observant, but that adds to the eroticism.

    We have a nudist beach near us. We went quite a few times. There were all sorts and shapes and sizes and I think it’s good that people don’t feel obliged to look like a supermodel to take their clothes off in front of strangers.

    There were three Spanish women in front of us, who would occasionally touch each other. It was quite nice, nothing heavy.

    There was also a man behind us, who was watching us (we were doing nothing apart from reading). I looked around at one point and he was having a wank. I think that’s unacceptable on a nudist beach. He could at least have gone into the bushes.

    After that when we visited we moved further up the beach nearer the bar and (naturist) camp site, figured the ones who went to perv would stay on the fringes. Still it’s good to be happy within your body at all ages. We have such conflicting views about them.

    You had a good experience, so I am pleased for you.

  3. I was a bit confused that you’d started stand up comedy and then moved on to Healthcare Associated Infection. I’m not bothered with nakedness but can’t imagine being at the point where I wouldn’t recoil if a stranger touched me. I get annoyed when people walk too closely to me. :oops:

    • On bodies-

      Most dramatic ew comment just now, on God’s body, ew because it indicates his view of women. You may not like Steff’s comment which rigidly divides feminine characteristics from masculine, but the host Rejie’s response to her is a WTF moment.

            • I want to sell writing at some point. The answer is to start sending it off, I tell myself sternly. A woman I met was a bit shocked that I wanted to write blurbs, advertising copy, anything- what words go better together than “prostitute” and “talent”?- rather than Tell my Truth to the World, but, well, anything for a few bob, to start with, anyway.

            • Clare always finds the best posts. That one is a classic. I quite like the blog host already though, no sense of defensiveness, just earnest enthusiasm.

            • You have hit on something there. Some of them are scared and defensive, so even when their views seem less extreme they are horrible. This chap isn’t scared and defensive. I could talk with him.

            • Rachel Held Evans, then Evangelical, wrote a book on this: “The year of Biblical Womanhood” in which she did things like climb on her roof and proclaim how wonderful her husband is, because the Bible says so. It helped move her Evangelicalism more to the left.

              I love how he is so gracious about women. Women are the weaker vessel, but that in no way, shape, or form makes men any better.

            • Yeah right. How about women are the different vessel and can open pickle jars on their very own fragile little selves?

              You and Violet will never make a good pair of rad fems :(

            • What I mean by “I could talk with him” is not that I agree, but when we expressed our views I don’t think he would get scared and defensive; and I hope I might not either. Try this post for an overview of the Complementarian movement- core idea, women and men have complementary roles, defined in the Bible, eg men go out to work and women are homemakers.

            • Clare, I just yawn, I have to say. I read it, so what? So what about the blog author? As soon as I read someone is a follower of Jesus I vomit, unless it happens to be you.

              I have seen such skewed thinking in the last few weeks that I never want to read a religious blog again in my life. Or to be more accurate, by someone who writes a blog and says ‘my life is with Jesus’ or some such crap. I am not getting into a rant on your blog, but I have no wish to understand such intolerant, bigoted, discriminatory people. I need to add, I do not include you in that.

              I consider the bigoted boys and girls to have been rude, abusive and churlish to you, Violet and Pink. Less to Ark and John. See the discrimination in force here? Oh and Ms Bigot has consistently been rude to me. Women and gays? Dismiss them. Macho men? Engage with them. Patriarchal thinking down to a T.

              That has been quite enough for me with so-called religious blogs.

              Anyway, as a homemaker, I need to wash the bedroom floor.:(

            • I like reading her because she deepens my perspective. There are the Evangelicals and the Catholics getting angry about the Gay Lobby and explaining in great detail how gays are undermining society and precisely how the Bible calls them SINNERS- and there are other Evangelicals and Catholics saying, no biggie, it’s all part of normal human diversity. I enjoy reading the latter. Unless you are really interested, and I could hardly blame you for wanting other things from your blog than deep knowledge about Christian homophobes.

              I find Complementarianism and its particular style of argument interesting as a phenomenon- it shows how some people think. But it is rather an arcane subject.

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