A lot of people are embarrassed to be naked, which stems from being told that we need to safeguard our private parts from a young age. It’s not strange that this is taught because at some point people started invading other people’s privacy to satisfy their lust (non-consensually, obviously). As a result, however, there’s quite a bit of shame around nudity.
Pleasure in Exposure
I always imagined that if a Domme told me to undress in front of her I’d feel very embarrassed and shy about it. Who wouldn’t I guess? We generally feel shyer about what we’re doing if someone is watching us. I yearned for that experience and the embarrassing feeling since when it’s sought out it can lead to sexual pleasure (more about that here).
It isn’t the nakedness that brings along that feeling of humiliation for me. Mostly, I don’t feel shy about being naked because I don’t think there’s anything strange about it. I’m very much that person who thinks we all have similar bodies so really you’re showing nothing we haven’t seen before. So what would make the above scenario embarrassing for me? I think it’s to do with the meaning of the moment. It’s about the power element at play and the observing eye, as well as the feeling of my need to please this person. And it’s about being told to undress and consciously knowing that you’re exposing yourself for them.
Outside of the kinky setting, I wasn’t always this blasé towards my own nudity. Mum would shorten my new trousers at the dinner table and ask me to try them on. “I can’t do it here in front of the window,” I’d say. “What if someone sees me in my underwear?” and Mum would laugh and casually say, “Who cares?”
I was seventeen when I joined my first football team, which was made up of new players, girls who’d previously played with boys and some who had played in girls-only teams. Our matches took place on Saturdays and parents had to drive us to the out games and right from the get-go, the coaches were insistent that we start showering together. This was because driving back with smelly players was, well, erm, smelly. But absolutely no one, myself included, wanted to go naked in front of the others.
I remember it was normal to shower after PE class in primary school but the communal showers remained empty as soon as we started secondary school. The idea alone was disdained and totally uncool. Deodorant was the way. Getting a bunch of teenage girls to shower together was, therefore, kind of difficult. I still remember the exact layout of the changing room and outside sports facilities where we first showered together as a team. I say showered together but really it was just me and another girl who had said: fuck it, let’s just get this over with.
That day the others covered their bodies in clouds of deodorant and tried to hide their sweat with a layer of clean clothes. Over the next few weeks, our coach waited outside the changing room and kept cheerfully asking if we’d showered and smelled fresh as flowers now. It took about three to four weeks until everyone got over their diffidence and after that showering was as normal as the green stains in our never-turning-white-again socks. So when I moved to the UK I was surprised to find that the sports teams I joined don’t shower together out of nudity shyness. (In five years I’ve been with four football teams, one basketball team and one rugby team.)
Acceptance from Within
Nudity can become embarrassing if the people around you think it’s weird or judge you for it. I used to worry about sending Lois as much as a picture of my boobs because everyone would know I’d done something inappropriate if it’d leak out. But likewise, it works the other way around. Once the majority of people in my football team showered together it became weird if you were the one who didn’t. So when Liam disclosed with me that he’d shared a naked picture with someone too I felt less ashamed.
Ideally, however, acceptance comes from within and when you’re able to let go of shame it becomes liberating. I’m not entirely sure when I shed my shame, but I don’t feel embarrassed by the photographs I share online. You’ve seen every part of my body and all the intimate details only a lover would usually discover. Some people like to get vaginal piercings because no one else knows they’re there but if I had them you would all be well aware.
Yet there’s one part of me that remains hidden. My face is something I haven’t revealed, which begs the question as to how free I actually am.
Seeing me at my Most Intimate
You’d think that if you’ve seen my vagina, bottom and boobs you must have seen me at my most intimate. After all, those body parts are the most private ones for most people. But perhaps since I am sharing them they’re not as private, while as I don’t show my face has become the intimate part of me. I’ve found liberty in nudity but a constraint in hiding my identity, which feels very double to me.
I’m advocating for sex and kink positivity and acceptance but by hiding my face I’m indirectly signalling that writing this blog and taking erotic pictures is something to be ashamed of and something I should keep hidden. Of course, it’s not that simple as it’s not necessarily my own beliefs that keep me from showing my face. The judgement is external and can have certain implications in regards to jobs or the people I interact with in my vanilla life. Still, it makes me feel very conflicted and it’s something that’s continuously playing on my mind.
I suppose that’s something to think about.