Category Archives: Nudity

Nudity in Vermont

  

I don’t think anyone would disagree that Vermont is an interesting state. There are many interesting facts about Vermont. On is that, in Vermont, it’s legal to be naked in public, but it’s illegal to get naked there. Vermonters can let it all hang out outdoors — provided “it” was already hanging out when they left their home, car or place of employment. The actual shedding of garments al fresco exposes the perpetrator not only to the elements but also to the risk of prosecution for lewd and lascivious conduct. 

Legally, the distinction between garden-variety nude sunbathing and raincoat-clad flashing has much to do with what offends the public’s “sense of decency, propriety and morality.” That standard was established in 1846, when the Vermont Supreme Court was asked to decide, in State v. Millard, whether one J. Millard of Orleans County was guilty of lewd and lascivious conduct after he repeatedly “exposed his private parts” to several people “with intent to incite in their minds lewd and unchaste desires and inclinations.” Prudently, the court determined that Millard wasn’t a nudist but a pervert.

The legal threshold for bringing an L&L charge for public nudity, or even the lesser one of disorderly conduct, has evolved over time. In the early 1970s, just as hippies and back-to-the-landers were arriving in the Green Mountain State, the state police asked then-Chittenden County state’s attorney Patrick Leahy to weigh in on what Leahy called the “time-honored practice of unclothed swimming, known colloquially as ‘skinny-dipping.'” After one overzealous prosecutor sparked public outrage by jailing a man for swimming au naturel in a river, the cops expressed confusion as to the appropriate response to birthday-suit bathers. In response, Leahy penned a somewhat tongue-in-cheek missive to “any law-enforcement officer so lacking in other criminal matters to investigate, so as to have time to investigate this currently popular subject.”

“I was originally disinclined to slow the crime-fighting operation of the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office long enough to issue a memorandum of such minuscule moment,” Leahy wrote in his July 7, 1971, memo. But after “researching the issue” — mostly by consulting colleagues and reviewing “old Norman Rockwell paintings thoughtfully resurrected by the ACLU, showing such activities taking place allegedly in Vermont” — Leahy determined that “most Vermonters I’ve talked to have engaged in such scandalous activity at some time in their life (with the exception of a couple I didn’t believe, who claimed to have done so in May in Vermont).”

Ultimately, Leahy advised that while nude bathing was unacceptable in certain public areas — such as Burlington’s North Beach, where local ordinance specifically bans it — it was fine on private land out of public view. As for semi-secluded areas, Leahy determined that nudity is acceptable “if no member of the public present is offended, no disorderly conduct has taken place.” But if said nakedness doth offend, Leahy advised the cops to ask the skinny-dippers to get dressed or face a ticket.

In later years, that standard for police involvement eroded to the point where the mere public airing of one’s privates no longer qualified as a potential violation. Throughout the 1980s and ’90s, several parks and beaches around Vermont became hangouts for those who enjoy in-the-buff recreation. One such spot is the Ledges, a clothing-optional swimming hole on Wilmington’s Harriman Reservoir. In the late 1990s, as the Ledges grew in popularity, it began attracting unwanted scrutiny, drawing complaints about discarded condoms, sex in the woods and the occasional “bush-whacker,” aka public masturbator.

Though such incidents were rare, in June 2001 the Wilmington Selectboard decided to just say no. In a four-to-one vote, the board enacted the Wilmington Public Indecency Ordinance. It was spearheaded by the aptly named Margaret Frost, a grandmother who owned a cabin on the reservoir and described herself as affronted by the full-frontal nudity on view. According to an October 2002 New Yorker story about the dustup, Frost’s cabin was about 200 yards from the nearest full Monty, leading one to suppose she had a fine pair of binoculars for viewing the, um, wildlife. The following year, a citizens’ group called Friends of the Ledges drew on support from several nationwide “naturist” groups and rallied enough public support to overturn the ban. Today, the Ledges remains one of the best-known clothing-optional parks in New England.

A more successful effort to strip away the right to bare asses was mounted in Brattleboro in August 2006, after some local residents complained about teens publicly airing their privates downtown. A year later, the town selectboard passed a no-nudity ordinance, which drew international media coverage.

Nevertheless, by the mid-2000s, mass displays of public nakedness were, if not commonplace in Vermont, at least tolerated. Beginning in 1996, the University of Vermont supported its students’ annual Naked Bike Ride, held each semester at midnight on the last day of classes. UVM officially sanctioned the rides until November 2011, when then-interim president John Bramley sent out a campus-wide email saying the school would no longer pony up the $17,000 needed to cover barricades, lights, private security guards, campus police and other event costs.

In his message, Bramley cited safety concerns resulting from past rides, including incidences of sexual assault, overconsumption of alcohol and bicycle-related injuries, which presumably included excessive chafing. Despite Bramley’s bum steer, the nude ride still happens, with participation contingent on the temperature.
Source: WTF: Why Is Public Nudity Legal in Vermont But Public Disrobing Isn’t?


Once You Snap, You Can’t Go Back

  
Monday, I wrote about how Millennials are doing their best to hide their nudity in the locker rooms, but on the flip side, they are all too willing to trade naked selfies with one another, be it through texts, snapchat, or various other ways. A growing numbers of youngsters are swapping naked selfies. When I was teaching one of the first things that the computer teacher taught was that once an image is uploaded online, it is there forever. Kids may think they can delete it or that a SnapChat is only there for a few seconds, but once there, someone can always find it if they know where to look.

As a teacher, I heard a lot of students talking when they didn’t know I was listening, or didn’t care that I was listening. One of the things I heard a lot was that so and so sent a naked selfie on SnapChat or they would talk about other students sending often naked or revealing pictures of themselves in text. It was happening earlier and earlier. I’d heard of this with kids as young as fifth grade.

When these Millennials get to college, they are even freer about sending nude selfies. Take a look on Twitter any day and at all the “Anon” accounts and there are constantly headless pictures of nude or nearly nude guys. I have no doubt that it is the same with women, but I don’t particularly want to see that. Anon Twitter accounts will often show their face with these pics for a limited time and then delete them, but the picture is already out there. 

The same is true with webcams. With sites like Chaturbate and Chatroulettle, people do all sorts of things for others to see, often showing their bodies but not their face. I guess this is the big difference, they don’t mind showing off to others as long as they don’t show their face. Others though don’t have a problem showing their face, and even when they don’t show their face, most everyone knows their friends SnapChat name, so whether it shows their face or not, their peers know who it is and they are showing off what they are hiding in the locker rooms.

Celebrities and non-celebrities alike often have no problem showing their nude butts, especially men (women it often comes down to their breasts), but butts have become so commonly shared that they are almost not considered nudity anymore. Let’s face it, mooning has been a thing for high school and college students for many, many years. It is the penis that is most hidden, and celebrities with particularly large ones will often allow themselves to have very brief frontal nude scenes or they “allow” their own nude selfies to be leaked online. It is always claimed to be an invasion of privacy, but once you take those pictures or videos of yourself, you have to realize that the possibility of it being leaked online is quite high.

The point that I am trying to make is that live and in person Millennials don’t want to show off their bodies and they hide behind their towels in the locker room, but these same guys who do the towel dance will send out naked selfies to all their friends later that day. While certainly not everyone, or probably even a majority, send naked selfies, a large number of Millennials do. While SnapChats, tweets, texts, and the like might be contained with just a few people, often those they hide from in the locker room, all you need to do is check out a dating app to see more dick pics than you might ever want to. Granted, dating sites are a different beast than all the others, but it shows that they don’t mind showing off the “goods” as long as a face isn’t attached or if it will get them laid.

I think that nudity is probably less an issue for gay men than straight men, but it is more of a body conscious issue with gay men. However, the SnapChat and texting phenomenon that I heard so much about as a teacher was with guys and girls (mostly guys) sending out pictures of themselves to both genders. It was a joke, at least that’s the way they saw it. Of course, like the celebrities who have their pictures leaked, there are always people who are proud of their goods and have no problem sending out dick pics. I had one incident when I was a teacher of a kid whipping out his penis to a girl in class. From what I was told, for a small guy he was quite large and quite proud of his size. In another such incident, the guy claimed that he’d been scratching his balls when it just flopped out when he removed his hand. Both instances were ridiculous, but the point is they had something they wanted to show. 

Not all guys are that brazen. Many, if they can get away with it, will post dick pics online anonymously to get a response and see how they measure up. Without the more free nudity in locker rooms, guys don’t necessarily know the vast array of penis sizes. Even when there was more nudity, I don’t think many understood the difference between growers and showers, because that is a secret you only find out with an erect penis. It is one of the advantages to being a gay man, we get to see the penis at all stages from flaccid to erect.

I have a feeling that the selfie is here to stay. With all things people will get more and more extreme with the selfie and the headless nude shot will become ever more common, while the towel dance will continue in the locker rooms. Privacy it seems is something that is only desired in live interaction, but behind a camera, privacy means very little as long as you can hide your face.


Locker Rooms 

  
Early in my blog, I did a post called “Naked Male Camaraderie,” which has been the most popular post on this blog. A friend recently shared a New York Times titled “Men’s Locker Room Designers Take Pity on Naked Millennials.” One of the things I talked about in my previously mentioned blog post was that guys these days don’t like being naked in front of each other, which was part of this NYT article. In the article, it states:

But gyms are still unable to provide the one thing younger men in particular seem to really want: a way for them to shower and change without actually being nude.

Each day, thousands upon thousands of men in locker rooms nationwide struggle to put on their underwear while still covered chastely in shower towels, like horrible breathless arthropods molting into something tender-skinned. They writhe, still moist, into fresh clothes.

If you’ve been in a locker room recently, you know how sad and true this is. When I was in grad school, I used to frequent the gym there. In the locker room they had the gang showers (which was supposedly a major gay hook up area), three private showers, and a sauna. I never saw anyone use the group showers unless they kept a swimsuit on and most guys kept a towel on in the sauna, the only exception being Asian guys. Except for the swimmers who’d shower in their swim trunks the guys who wore speedos tended not to have a problem with being fully nude. So with the exception of swimmers wearing speedos and Asian guys in the sauna, most other guys did the towel dance. 

  
According to the NYT article, this is because:

Showering after gym class in high school became virtually extinct in the ’90s. And if Manhattan’s high-end gyms weren’t riddled with ab-laden models or Europeans (or both), there would be few heterosexuals under 40 who have spent any naked time with other men.

A generation ago, when most schools mandated showers, a teacher would typically monitor students and hand out towels, making sure that proper hygiene was observed. In schools with pools, students were sometimes required to swim naked, and teachers would conduct inspections for cleanliness that schools today would not dare allow, whether because of greater respect for children or greater fear of lawsuits.

In a striking measure of changed sensibilities in school and society, showering after physical education class, once an almost military ritual, has become virtually extinct. This is beginning to change, especially with athletes in schools, as health officials are increasingly warning that not showering after gym class leads to MRSA infections, the potentially deadly staphylococcus infection that is resistant to most antibiotics. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has practical advice on preventing staph infections. Showering right after exercise is at the top of the list. 

If showering can help prevent a deadly disease from spreading to school children, why aren’t more schools making showers mandatory? There are several reasons, which seem as varied as insecurities about body image, heightened sexual awareness, and a lack of time in a busy school schedule. The lack of showers in schools leads to a shyness about bodies that is virtually nonexistent in older generations. Old men seem to have no problem walking around locker rooms naked but young men do.

  
In March 2015, Men’s Health had an article about locker room etiquette called “Are You the Gym Locker Room A**hole?” in which they outline their do’s and don’t’s of locker room etiquette. Here’s the problem with this article, they asked a woman about male locker room etiquette. What does a woman know about men’s locker rooms? (No offense to the women who read this blog.) Two of the things she warns against are nudity and conversations in the locker rooms. Really? According to her, men should not be nude in the locker room nor should men talk to one another. I find that utterly ridiculous.

Nudity in America is so puritanical that it’s nearly nonexistent. The NYT article makes some interesting observations about what gyms are doing to attract more members. The main thing is providing more privacy. Men are afraid to see each other naked. They are afraid they won’t measure up, whether that is with whether they are a shower or a grower or whether they are just insecure about the way their body looks as a whole. Men need not fear being naked in front of one another.

  


#FreeTheBacon

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Gratuitous female nudity is pretty much expected in films and TV shows these days, and haven’t we all had enough of that. Kevin Bacon’s apparently has had enough of it. Bacon thinks it’s time to give male actors a chance to #FreeTheBacon. (And by bacon, he means, “your wiener, your balls and your butt.”) And what better way to campaign for more male nudity than with a super serious (mock) PSA.

“In so many films and TV shows, we see gratuitous female nudity, and it’s not OK … Well, it’s OK, but it’s not fair to actresses and it’s not fair to actors because we want to be naked too,” he says to the camera. “Gentlemen, it’s time to free the bacon.” Because, after all, it boils down to one thing, and Bacon hits the nail right on the head: “This is an issue of gender equality.”

Even though Bacon wasn’t being serious, he makes a good point. The problem is we all know the real reasons why men don’t go full frontal. Many, but not enough, will show their butt, but few will show their penis. Kevin Bacon went full frontal in Wild Things, but most full frontal nudity in movies is in independent films or gay films. Let’s face it though, most men are growers not showers. Very rarely do you see an actor going full frontal when he has a small penis, most of the time, the actor is well endowed. The movie industry is also a male dominated industry and straight men don’t care about seeing another man’s penis, or at least they don’t admit to it.

Most often when men see another man’s penis, it is in porn, and we all know those are porn penises, not real life. Male porn actors are in porn because they want to show off what they have. (I know there are other reasons too, but they wouldn’t do it if they didn’t want to be an exhibitionist.) Porn gives me an unreal expectation about what a normal sized penis is. On average, a flaccid penis is on average 3.6” long, while a erect penis is 5.2” long. When it comes to circumference, a flaccid penis is about 3.7” around, and the erect penis is on average 4.6” around. But if you compared that to porn, the flaccid penis, if you ever see it, looks to be around 4-5” long while erect penis is 7-9” long.

When Lenny Kravitz had a wardrobe malfunction the other day in Sweden, he did nothing to help show the average size penis, but yet did continue the stereotype that black men are nicely hung. (Truth is I’d have to say that myth is largely true from my experiences, just saying.) by the way, I happen to like Lenny’s pubic piercing. It’s pretty hot. (NSFW link)

But my point is, men shouldn’t be so ashamed to show their penis. Of course there is a time and place for everything, but as I said the other day about the show “Hunting Season,” male nudity is common in intimate settings. Men need to quit doing the towel dance in locker rooms and be proud of what they have, big or small. We need to see male nudity normalized in films, and quite frankly, we have gratuitous female nudity, and we need more gratuitous male nudity.


Pain

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I tend to have a high tolerance for pain. Mainly, it’s because I’ve suffered with headaches my entire life. Rarely does a day go by when I don’t have a headache at some point. I’ve learned to deal with it and suffer through the pain. Most of the time a pain reliever helps; sometimes nothing does. I’ve have taken numerous medicines throughout my life to try and prevent having headaches, but nothing has ever been effective. Some have had bad aide effects, such as when a doctor prescribed Elavil (amitriptyline). It gave me night terrors. Another was Ativan (lorazepam) is supposed to be a short term drug; usually its recommended that someone should not for longer than 3-6 months. If used for long periods of time, it causes severe depression. I was a teenager when I took this drug and was on it for over a year. Some of the severe side effects include confusion, depressed mood, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself;. Not only did it not help my headaches, but it also caused severe depression. Combine the side effects of Ativan and a teenager confused about his sexuality, and you have a dangerous mix. It was during this time that I attempted suicide. I was 16 at the time.

I’m writing this because I was thinking last night of my problems with headaches. Sinus headaches, tension headaches, cluster headaches, and migraines all have afflicted me through my life. What I take for my headaches depends on what type it is. Sometimes nothing helps. Medicine may lessen the pain, but not make it go away. Beginning Wednesday night before I went to bed, my head began to hurt. I took something and went to sleep. I woke with a headache the next morning, and I knew it would be a bad one. It was one of those that hurt all over, especially behind my eyes and the back of my head. This was also a headache that came with nausea, photophobia, phonophobia, and lightheadedness. Thankfully, these types of headaches, which is generally a mixture of migraine and tension headaches, only happen 2-3 days out of a year. However, when they do occur, they are quite incapacitating. I stayed in bed most of the day yesterday and took the strongest pain medicine I had. It barely fazed it.

HRH, my cat, gave me some comfort. She lay beside me and kept patting my head with her paw. After 15 years, she knows when I have a headache. I’m sure there is a mixture of genetic, physical, and psychological reasons for my headaches. I’ve had them for as long as I can remember. Maybe one day, they will either stop or they will find some kind of preventive measure that works. I hope each of you are some of the blessed people who never suffer from headaches, and if you do suffer from headaches, I hope that it is infrequently. I assume that most people who have some type of chronic condition learns to deal with it in the best way they can, as I have learned to deal with my headaches.


EAT! DRINK! BE MARY!: TMI Questions from Sean

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I am not a huge drinker. I am a social drinker more than anything, but my friends tend to consume two or three drinks for each of mine. I especially don’t drink around people who I’m not out to or feel comfortable around because I tend to lose my inhibitions and am a lot gayer. However, when I saw this post from Sean at Just A Jeep Guy, I couldn’t resist adding my two cents. I love these TMI questions when it’s something I can relate to. So here goes:

1. Cocktails at brunch: Bloody Mary or Mimosa? Bloody Mary during cold weather, and Mimosas if it is hot outside. Both are pretty fantastic drinks if made right, but too cheap of a champagne can ruin a Mimosa and its easy to make a bad Bloody Mary if you don’t know what you’re doing.

2. Do you have a favorite food/drink pairing? A good Pinot Grigio with Veal Scallopini (or Scaloppini al Vino) or linguini with clams in a white wine sauce. Of course, you can never go wrong with beer and pizza. Also a favorite is Lazy Magnolia’s (a Mississippi brewery) Southern Pecan Nut Brown Ale with pecan crusted chicken is a great pairing.

3. Beer? Wine? or Cocktails? Why? Beer or Mike’s Hard Lemonade on a hot day hanging out with friends. White wine when it’s a more formal event. Cocktails, particularly a margarita or cape cod when out at a bar, unless I don’t want to spend much money, then it’s Bud Light.

4. Red wine or white wine? White wine. I can’t stand red wine.

5. Tell me about the hard stuff. Nothing beats Tito’s Handmade Vodka. It’s a wonderful smooth tasting vodka, and it always gives me lovely dreams.

6. Cigars? No, I’ve tried to smoke them, but I hate them for two reasons: 1) they smell like burning dog shit, and 2) I can’t get the taste out of my mouth the next day.

7. When was the last time you were hungover? Worst hangover? It’s been several months since I’ve had a hangover, but the worst lasted about 3 days. I do my best not to drink enough to have a hangover. It was due to mixing alcohols. I keep with one type of alcohol a night, so that I want get sick. I can’t mix liquor and beer or change the beer I am drinking or drink more than one type of liquor.

8. Best hangover cure. Before I go to bed, I take three-four ibuprofen (depending on how much I had to drink) and a full glass of water. I usually don’t have a hangover if I do this.

9. Craziest/baddest thing you did when you had too much? Did you remember it or did your friends inform you? Make it a fun one! Ok, this might break some illusions some of you have about me, but several years ago, I got really drunk in New Orleans and gave a go-go dancer a blowjob while he was dancing on the bar. I remember it quite well. I am cursed/blessed with remembering everything when I’ve been drinking. It was slutty and a hell of a lot of fun at the time. And yes, I’d do it again if given the chance, lol.

BONUS
Are you a cheap date? How many drinks does it take you get you into bed? Yep, I’m probably a cheap date, especially if tequila is involved. Tequila makes me horny, and I am not one to drink a whole lot, so yeah, I’m a cheap date. If on a date I am unlikely to drink more than two or three drinks. If out with friends, I rarely drink more than the equivalent to a six pack of beer.

So there you have it. My TMI questions about booze.


Reasons to Survive November

Reasons to Survive November

November like a train wreck—
as if a locomotive made of cold
had hurtled out of Canada
and crashed into a million trees,
flaming the leaves, setting the woods on fire.

The sky is a thick, cold gauze—
but there’s a soup special at the Waffle House downtown,
and the Jack Parsons show is up at the museum,
full of luminous red barns.

—Or maybe I’ll visit beautiful Donna,
the kickboxing queen from Santa Fe,
and roll around in her foldout bed.

I know there are some people out there
who think I am supposed to end up
                in a room by myself

with a gun and a bottle full of hate,
a locked door and my slack mouth open
          like a disconnected phone.

But I hate those people back
from the core of my donkey soul
and the hatred makes me strong
and my survival is their failure,

and my happiness would kill them
so I shove joy like a knife
into my own heart over and over

and I force myself toward pleasure,
and I love this November life
where I run like a train
deeper and deeper
into the land of my enemies.

Reasons to Survive November,” Tony Hoagland, from What Narcissism Means to Me (Graywolf Press).
 

The Ancient Olympics

ancient-olympics When I took my first history class in college, I did a research project on the Ancient Olympics. I had always been fascinated with the thought of athletes competing in the nude, but I also was in by the Summer Olympics that year, which were being held in Atlanta. My family and I actually went to the Olympics that year since it was close by and had a great time. I was thinking today about doing another history post and I was thinking about all the conversation we have been having about circumcision, and the idea of the Ancient Olympics came to me.

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One of the things I learned during that research project on the Ancient Olympics is that men were not allowed to compete if they were kynodesmecircumcised, which meant that during that time Greek Jews were not allowed to compete in the Ancient Olympics. I also learned that in order to protect their penis during wrestling matches and other contact sports, the men would tie a string around the tip of their foreskin enclosing their glans, thus keeping them safe. The kynodesme was tied tightly around the part of the foreskin that extended beyond the glans. The kynodesme could then either be attached to a waist band to expose the scrotum, or tied to the base of the penis so that the penis appeared to curl upwards.

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The ancient Olympics were rather different from the modern Games. There were fewer events, and only free men who spoke Greek could compete, instead of athletes from any country. Also, the games were always held at Olympia instead of moving around to different sites every time.

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Like our Olympics, though, winning athletes were heroes who put their home towns on the map. One young Athenian nobleman defended his political reputation by mentioning how he entered seven chariots in the Olympic chariot-race. This high number of entries made both the aristocrat and Athens look very wealthy and powerful.
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There are numerous myths about how the Olympics began. One myth says that the guardians of the infant god Zeus held the first footrace, or that Zeus himself started the Games to celebrate his victory over his father Cronus for control of the world. Another tradition states that after the Greek hero Pelops won a chariot race against King Oenomaus to marry Oenomaus’s daughter Hippodamia, he established the Games.

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Athletic games also were an important part of many religious festivals from early on in ancient Greek culture. In the Iliad, the famous warrior Achilles holds games as part of the funeral services for his best friend Patroclus. The events in them include a chariot race, a footrace, a discus match, boxing and wrestling.

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The footrace was the sole event for the first 13 Olympiads. Over time, the Greeks added longer footraces, and separate events. The pentathlon and wrestling events were the first new sports to be added, in the 18th Olympiad.
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Click on any of the event names to see a description of a particular sport:

olive-wreath-ancient-olympicsThe victorious olive branch. The Ancient Olympic Games didn’t have any medals or prizes. Winners of the competitions won olive wreaths, branches, as well as woolen ribbons. The victors returned home as heroes – and got showered with gifts by their fellow citizens.
Here are two videos the History Channel did about the Ancient Olympics. Too bad, they have them wearing modesty pouches.

By the way, for those interested, here is an explanation of women’s role in the Ancient Olympics:
Married women were banned at the Ancient Olympics on the penalty of death. The laws dictated that any adult married woman caught entering the Olympic grounds would be hurled to her death from a cliff! Maidens, however, could watch (probably to encourage gettin’ it on later). But this didn’t mean that the women were left out: they had their own games, which took place during Heraea, a festival worshipping the goddess Hera. The sport? Running – on a track that is 1/6th shorter than the length of a man’s track on the account that a woman’s stride is 1/6th shorter than that of a man’s! The female victors at the Heraea Games actually got better prizes: in addition to olive wreaths, they also got meat from an ox slaughtered for the patron deity on behalf of all participants! Overall, young girls in Ancient Greece weren’t encouraged to be athletes – with a notable exception of Spartan girls. The Spartans believed that athletic women would breed strong warriors, so they trained girls alongside boys in sports. In Sparta, girls also competed in the nude or wearing skimpy outfits, and boys were allowed to watch.
Another side note, Spartan marriage rituals are quite fascinating, if any one is interested I will do a straight post about Spartan sexuality and the marriage rituals. It will have some about gay sex, these were the Spartans after all.


Moment of Zen: The Olympics


Moment of Zen: Ten Joys of Summer


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