Today’s question from my Q&A with J at HHH post is from a reader who wants the bare facts about nudity in public places. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
I’m so happy for the chance to ask this question b/c I have no idea who else to ask and I love your blog so much! Please talk to me about au natural/nude beaches. My dh and I are both strong Christians, but when he’s in Jamaica at a resort, he loves the au natural beach – he’s private about it and doesn’t look at other women, but loves the warm sun and sea on his skin. I’m much more modest, and I haven’t found any biblical grounds for nudity in a public place like that. This is a real problem, ’cause I want to bless him with what makes him relaxed and happy, but I don’t have the conviction that this is o.k. as a Christian. How can we resolve this? Thanks!!!
I posted a brief reply to that question. We’ll start with what I said then:
“I can do a whole post on this, but my quick answer is no, it’s not okay biblically. 1 Corinthians 7:4 says, ‘The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.’ Our bodies are not for public viewing, but belong to ourselves and our spouses. Some parts are indeed private. Moreover, 1 Corinthians 10:23-24: ‘”Everything is permissible” — but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible” — but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.’ I can’t see how traipsing around on a nudist beach is beneficial, constructive, and for the good of others. It sounds like your husband is pursuing his own interest. And I’m sorry to say, his claim that he isn’t looking at other women if he sees them on the nude beach is at the very least questionable.
“Personally, I really enjoy skinny-dipping. I can understand the pleasure of warm sun and sea (or river or pool water, etc.) on your skin. However, there are ways to accomplish this WITHOUT visiting nude beaches where you see others naked or expose yourself to others.
“Somehow you need to let him know this is not okay with you. Of course, attacking him with anger and scripture isn’t likely to get you the results you want. Try approaching him with your concerns and questions about why he does this and how you and he might do it far more privately and biblically. My thoughts and prayers are with you!”
So here’s the skinny. (Seriously, couldn’t resist.)
For your spouse, not others. This is an activity a couple should probably engage in together. If one of you wants to frolic around naked outdoors, why would you do it in the presence of others and not with your spouse? The better route would be to save outdoor nudity for those trips you can take together. That way, hubby can gaze to his heart’s delight on the woman who belongs to him, and the wife can do the same (and yeah, I’m kind of thinking she can be there to keep his eyes where they belong). It may feel very uncomfortable the first time you get naked outside, but if you choose a secluded area, you might find that you and your spouse can enjoy the experience.
Accommodating destinations. Some places will accommodate your request for such privacy. Since the wife mentioned Jamaica, I started there — at the Visit Jamaica website. According to the website, au naturel settings are popular in Jamaica and accommodated by several beaches and resorts. While there are nude beaches, the site claims that guests can “ask for a little more privacy at Reggae Vibes, Ocho Rios, and the managers will corner off a section of the beach just for you.” I take them at their word that there are options for a couple to have a private space where they can bare it all — for each other and each other alone.
Finding a spot. You can also hunt down your own place to enjoy an au naturale experience. Find a secluded cabin or house, and I bet no one would bother you. Seek out lodging that has a private pool or hot tub for the two of you to enjoy. One of my readers suggested looking at a vacation rental website for “private cabins who ask [their] hot tub users to not wear anything into [the] tub.” This anonymous reader also mentioned that “There [are] also places where they have private ponds or lakes that you could do most anything nude in your own private place.” I feel certain that such places exist, even if you might have to look a little harder to find them. You can also tap a travel agent for advice and lodging options. In almost every church I’ve attended, there has been a travel agent, so ask around to find someone who would understand and accommodate your desire.
Be careful. There are laws against public nudity (also known as “indecent exposure,” “public lewdness” and “public indecency”) in many places. In the U.S., these laws are set by each state. Thus, you have to be careful where you show your stuff. You don’t want to have to explain to your children that mommy got in trouble with the police for letting it all hang out.
Avoiding lust. One of the biggest problems with the assertion that one isn’t looking at others on the nude beach is that, even if true, you could still be a temptation to lust for others. In Matthew 5:28, Jesus said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Then in 1 Corinthians 8:13, Paul says about meat sacrificed to idols: “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.” Tying these biblical principles together, we can conclude that going nude in a way that causes someone to sinfully lust is not okay with God.
It’s hard to avoid lusting with our own eyes as well. I have a difficult time imagining a guy enjoying a visit to a nude beach and not being there in part to look at the naked women. I don’t want to cast doubt on your husband’s integrity, nor do I want to cause a wedge between the two of you, but that sounds like a tall order for any guy. While I aim my posts at the wives (did you ever notice the feminine pink and orange [original] background?), I know I have male readers and they can provide a man’s perspective which I obviously cannot, so maybe they can chime in here on whether it’s possible to go to a nude beach and not look at the women there. I gotta say that plenty of us gals would have a challenge as well if a Daniel Craig-type walked by naked. In Job 31:1, Job wisely says, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl.” We need to make that covenant ourselves, which means that public exposure of private parts isn’t a good or godly idea.
Just say no. Another obvious solution is to simply not get naked outside, period. I mentioned in my brief response to the commenter that I enjoy skinny dipping. I do, but I haven’t been in (counting on fingers) . . . forever. Because seriously, how important is it for me to get naked in a pool or body of water? Is it worth hunting down a secluded location for me to strip down and show my stuff? Is it worth the cost of putting a pool in my back yard and a high (possibly electrified) fence to keep my goods hidden? How badly do I really want to swim nude? Not that bad. If an opportunity arises someday for me to skinny dip in a private, holy way, I may indeed do so. But in the meantime, it just isn’t that important.
That said, if naked outings are a priority and a great pleasure for your husband, then the two of you should expend some time and money finding a way to enjoy this activity together and in a private, holy manner — not exposing your nudity to others. Will it take more effort? Quite likely, yes. But the benefit of keeping yourselves only for one another and not tempting others to lust is worth it.