I decided to come back to my blog! I had been doing a lot of reflecting and praying over the past few weeks and in order to get some of the answers I need, I was impressed that I need to start writing again. This makes sense as it is so easy for me to consume, consume, consume (this can also be said as “scroll, scroll, scroll”). I very much value the experiences that have happened to me during the current pandemic and I want to express some of that here.
I had been following a lot of blogs and posts about sexuality and how to be healthier with it as I have had struggles with pornography throughout my life. I have learned so much about why it is a problem and how we can help with it.
In October 2019 I stumbled across the following post on Reddit. The title “Why I Think Nudity Is Healthy” intrigued me as it seemed like a paradox. To give you a summary, the article explains how nudism can help those who wish to remain chaste and pure and keep the commandments. It talks about how the world wants to convince us that the sight of a naked person will immediately lead to sex, and in effect sexual transgression.
However the author talks about his family and his wife and how they allowed their children to see them nude as they grew and how it made it so much easier to discuss difficult topics around sexuality and the body. It wasn’t something they were ashamed or afraid of, but something they discussed openly. (1)
This article buzzed in my mind for a good portion of the week. It seemed so contradictory to me, that nudity could prevent promiscuity instead of encourage it. There was a really big struggle in my mind, one I prayed constantly about. Here are some quotes that really hit home for me:
By making us believe that female flesh is somehow inherently lustful, Satan has developed a powerful tool to pervert our sons and demean our daughters. Lucifer has duped us into believing that we, as men, are weak minded and that we will yield to temptation if we see too much female flesh, no matter how it is presented. We also believe that women posses a body which is somehow inherently cloaked with shame because it causes boys and men to lust by even thinking about it, say nothing about seeing it.
When the human body is presented as God would present it, as the mortal housing for our souls, and not as as an object of sexual lust, which is how Satan would present it, the I believe there is absolutely nothing to fear.
But that does not stop Hollywood, music, television, and worst of all, the pornography industry from exploiting the human body in exchange for money. Since the creation of man, Satan has worked tirelessly to pollute and distort all that is good in this world. Why would he stop at our own bodies?
Lust is not found in the honest, beautiful, divinely created female body. Lust is found in the eye of the beholder. Hopefully it will never take root in any of us, but if it does, we must learn to control it and eventually conquer it all together.
So many of these ideas really hit home for me. I believe the female body is divine, created in the image of our Heavenly Mother, as men are in the image of Heavenly Father. Part of my curiosity for pornography stemmed from the admiration of the human form.
I read other articles online, other posts from people who believed similarly. And the logic kept ringing true for me: the sight of the nude form is not sexual unless we make it that way.
Not to say that we shouldn’t make it sexual. The point is that the one who sees the body decides how to respond to it. We are agents, given that divine power to choose. We may have habitualized our brains to respond a certain way, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change that.
One other thought I had as I studied all this out was that I could not find any downsides to these ideas of people seeing each other in a non sexual context. All I could find were benefits. This gave me cause for concern, how could something be so good without any downsides.
I was able to speak to the author of the post quoted above about this. In his family they instituted an “open door policy” where he and his wife did not hide their nudity from their kids as they were changing or any other reason for their nakedness besides sexuality. His kids are adults now and I asked him if he saw any downsides to his children seeing him and his wife naked as they grew up.
“So you saw no bad effects from the open door policy in your home with your kids?” No! Not a single one.
My daughter is married in the temple and my son is on a mission. I have friends who scoffed and scorned the idea of an open door home and told me I was doing great damage to my kids. Well, those same people are now dealing with unwed pregnant teenagers and all kinds of serious porn issues.
To my knowledge my son never even tried to dabble in porn. I asked him. He always said no. And every now and then I would check our router logs to see what kind of sites were being visited. Never saw any indication through all of his teen years that he had anything to do with porn. But why should he? For him there was nothing mysterious about the female body. It was just a body… to be respected and honored but nothing to be curious about
He mentioned that he is a small sample size (2) but he knows of others who have had similar outcomes.
So my mind returns to this:
- I don’t want my kids to suffer what I went through growing up with the issues of pornography
- I want my kids to love the beautiful gift God has given them in their bodies.
- I want my girls to know that they do not control the actions of men because of how they dress. Everyone always has agency to choose how to react.
- I don’t want my kids to feel awkward around the topics of sexuality and our bodies. I want them to feel comfortable talking to us about it.
So I continue to investigate family nudity as something that can be beneficial for my family. I feel that I was inspired to find this and learn about it.
It isn’t something that both my wife and I agree on, so that is something we have to work out. But I feel that with the guidance of the Spirit, and our love for each other and our kids, we will be able to find something out of this knowledge to help our family to develop with healthy attitudes toward their bodies, their sexuality, and their divine heritage.
I would really appreciate some feedback from you all on this subject. I have posted this in order to get discussion about this amongst those I know well. I understand that this might make some uncomfortable, but I am trying to act with faith and not fear. I have tried really hard to be honest and authentic and unapologetic to who I am and the things I am going through.
Regarding the author’s friend mentioned in the post, the author told me the following:
my friend who…said he wants to raise his son in such a way that he never sees any kind of female nudity until the night of his honeymoon. That same boy is now 15 and I just heard a few days ago that he got an lds 15 year old girl in the same ward pregnant. (2)
One thing that should also be noted is that these numbers are from a very small sample size. I have only really spoken to him about this, but from my studies it seems to be a common theme around people who implement the same ideas in their families. So there is nothing conclusive that can be said but it is interesting nonetheless.