Why do people wear clothes in the first place ?
There are three reasons why a human would seek to cover their body;
1.) To provide protection from excessive heat, cold or adverse conditions.
2.) To outwardly project a character different from their own.
3.) For health reasons.
Whilst (1) seems quite an obvious and reasonable argument, (2) is confusing to most people and the one which causes most difficulty for textiles. (3) is in fact a total misconception as clothing restricts the body and provides excellent opportunities for culturing bacteria in a warm environment with plenty of organic material rubbing off the wearer to provide food for micro organisms. It's only through rigorous laundering, cleaning and washing that we're able to counter this effect and maintain healthy whilst wearing our clothes. Of course for some less fortunate textiles this isn't an option, and sickness is a way of life.
There are lots of reasons why we might want to project an image or "character" to our surrounding world that is different to the one we were born with. Some examples are;
1 - Self Esteem
It's difficult to pinpoint just where in history this problem came about. Certainly the shame associated with nudity dates back to biblical times, however our modern problems are likely to be a result of Gnostic teaching in the first and second century AD. Gnostics believed that the God of the old testament was a bit crazy, and did a really rough job at creation. They believed that in order to receive the blessing of Christ, it was necessary to renounce old testament creation and all associated with it, the most obvious example being the human body, which they believed to be defiled, dirty and disgusting - and most certainly worthy of covering up.
Whilst Gnostic teaching was eventually "weeded out" of the modern day Bible in the early '300s, it is clear from very early writings such as the Dead Sea Scrolls (discovered in 1948) that Gnostic teaching did have a significant effect on some early Christian writers and that the Christian Church of the time was infested with them. Around this time the Roman Empire was in full swing, and when Emperor Constantine swept to power around AD350 he decreed that Christianity would become the religion of the world - and the Roman Catholic Church was born. It is certain that the people involved with the initial establishment of this institution were heavily influenced by the early Gnostic modified letters. Of course a mere 100 years later most of these (such as the Gospel of Thomas) had been discarded - however the damage had been done. From that point onwards Church Institutions (which have shaped Western culture and law until only very recently in the '1990s) have taught of the importance of the spiritual side of life - and the subsequent unimportance of the physical side, with strong traces of the Gnostic belief in the human body being "defiled" existing even today. As a result of this, virtually every human in the Western world (and most Eastern cultures aswell) is bought up to believe from a very early age that the unmodified human body is unsatisfactory and needs to be covered up, as we should naturally be ashamed of our inadequate selves before God.
Of course the joke is lost on most people - God (whichever God you believe in) is quite capable of viewing us naked, whether we have clothing on or not. It's only when we discover this that the futility of it all is revealed..
So most of the "self esteem" reasons why we wear clothes can almost certainly be linked to our upbringing, which in turn is a direct result of the culture in which we were raised, in turn influenced by historical events such as those mentioned above. These reasons can be nullified by nothing more than simple logic, which triumphs over ignorance. To those of us who wish to go further, we find that not only is the human body not "defiled", but in fact it is something to behold, a part of us which God loves just the way it is.. the temple of the Holy Spirit.
But why is it that the genital and backside areas of the Human body are the most despised (and thus the parts most often covered)? The answer (again) can be found in the influence of those early Gnostics and their effect on the Church Institutions - to declare creation as "defiled" and "unclean". The Animal Kingdom (to which the human creature belongs) is part of that creation. Gnostic teaching seeks to separate the human soul or spirit from our body, in effect to pretend we are not part of creation but in fact something else, supposedly divine. However it's difficult to pretend to be desirable and all powerful spiritual beings if we also have to admit that we are animals which emit this horrible smelling waste product every now and then, and seem to need eachother in order to survive. The result? A conspiracy by religious beliefs to cover up the truth - that we ARE animals. The first "cover up" is the physical one - cover up those areas of the body which most remind us that we are animals - the excretory and sexual organs. By doing this we can project a character to the world more like the spirituals we aspire to be. Next we become obsessed with our figure, our appearance and.. even the way we smell, pouring what is effectively metholated spirits over ourselves to try and fool eachother into thinking we are not animals anymore.
But of course it's all a ghastly mistake. And only now, 1800 years later in the information age, do we have the ability to learn and study these issues independent of this "conspiracy".
Not everybody needs to take their clothes off in order to realise this and reset their own reasons for existence. But the fact remains - exposure to Nudism is the fastest and most effective way to reset these inconsistencies, and it's an excellent cure for self esteem problems caused by feelings of inadequacy imposed on us by our childhood upbringing and society.
2 - Control
In this situation, the wearing of clothes goes beyond compensation for mere "low self esteem" and extends into the realm of deliberate deception, an attempt to cause those around us to act differently by adopting a fictional character to replace our own, much as an actress on a stage wears a costume designed by the production to enhance the deception that she is really somebody else.
This happens far more often than any of us realise. We do it merely by turning up to work in a suit and tie, because we believe that by doing this our boss will see the character he wants to see, instead of who we really are. As a matter of consequence the only thing our boss should be concerned about is if the job assigned to us is being done to the best of our ability. Of course this ideal is a LONG way from the practical in our modern world!
Of course there are more extreme cases - like "dressing up" for a date, or to see the bank manager. In both cases we put on a costume to fool our fellow humans into thinking that we're something else. Our date falls in love with the character instead of us, and when the clothes finally come off, so does the relationship. And the bank, who just lent millions to the flashy businessman in the flashy monkey suit, finds out later that he has about as much business sense as an orangutan.
But the truth stands : anywhere where we deliberately dress in order to portray a character which we believe is necessary in order to get cooperation from our peers - we are seeking to deliberately control them for our own personal needs. Sadly the most extreme example of this usually occurs at what should be a truthful and intimate time between family members - weddings. At a time when truth between people would be most desired, we're all dressed in costumes often miles apart from our real character. Of course it was once said that "All the world is a stage, and we all play a part". Nowhere is this more true than in a textile based society.
Certainly nudism solves this problem. A couple who go out together to a nudist venue are far less likely to hoodwink each other into thinking that they're somebody else. But again we would be foolish to pretend that the spiritual side of us does not exist (in fact, we would be as silly as the Churches who pretend that the body doesn't exist..) so what is needed is a balanced approach. In some cases even nudism itself can become a "club uniform", especially where people go to extreme lengths to modify their body shape just so they can look "different" when nude.
3 - Fear
Although the original reasons for fear are contained in (2A) or (2B) above, the fear itself is so real it warrants a separate category of discussion. Even if we work through the issues of self esteem and control and decide that we're all nudists, there's still the fact that we choose to live amongst a world of textiles with different values to our own. Many cultures vilify nudists for nothing more than the fact of being nudists. This is because of fear on both sides - not only do the nudists fear vilification but the textiles fear the unknown.
On the Nudists' side the fear ranges from vilification from textile friends through to the risk of being arrested for being unclothed in a public place. There is little that can be done by a single person in this regard, but much that is possible for organised groups, from free beach associations through to disorganised displays of public nudity by large numbers of people - numbers too large to permit police enforcement of otherwise valid laws. In short, "there's safety in numbers". As for friends and relatives, there's no substitute for education. The rules of the textile world can be played to our own advantage, such as nudity in the home. Visitors to your home obviously have to respect this, just as we might respect the textile community and wear clothes out.
On the Textiles' side the fear is of the unknown, and usually stems from a mix of sexual fear (related to the sex switch) and upbringing / background which places nudism in the "unusual" category. As nudity in society becomes "less unusual" this one is gradually eroding away, but the sex switch problem is stronger than ever.
4 - The Sex Switch
What's a sex switch? Well what is a light switch?? Yup, a light switch turns a light on and off. So a sex switch turns sex on and off. Simple isn't it! Well ..yes,.. in the Textile world.
Simply put, a Textile uses clothing to switch their sex drive on and off. Simple. When someone removes their clothes in front of us and is nude, we think it's sexy. These lessons are drummed into us from our media. It is the staple diet of the pornography industry. It's also one of the first rules of advertising and showbusiness - always keep the audience wanting more - never give your audience exactly what they want.
Textiles considering Nudism may have a fear of losing this sex switch, especially if they're in a relationship. In a world so concerned about "performance" and selfish desires (which sees sex and love as a commodity which can be sold) removing the sex switch is downright frightening aswell as commercial suicide for the textile and porn industry.
So you're a Textile, and your partner gets a kick out of seeing you nude. It almost always initiates sexual activity. You can't even think what it would be like if you had no physical switch you could use to turn on sex. You fear what might happen if you both became nudists, and became totally used to seeing eachother nude. You think that might kill off your love life. You're wrong.
This sex switch is a lie. It replaces what really should initiate sex between two people - deep love and respect for each other. There are millions of nudist couples around the world who love eachother and are sexually very active - with no textile sex switch. It works, it works remarkably well. Virtually all nudist couples will testify that their nudism adds to their experience as a couple, and never distracts it.
As for singles who often use the sex switch through pornography to "switch on" masturbation.. yes Nudism will affect this. It shows us that we were seeking an impossible dream (living on an island). It will probably assist you in dealing with your relationships and improving them.
The whole idea that sex is something to be saught after is a lie. It is love that we all need, not sex. Love is the icing on the cake of life, and Sex is the cherry on top. But don't let the textile or pornography industries know that you know. They'll probably kill you.
On the lighter side, it is often stated that nudity can be as much an "off" switch as an "on" switch, especially in relation to Nudism. This has an element of truth when we suddenly realise that so called perfect body doesn't exist, and that everybody else looks just like we do. For many textiles, seeing a bunch of real nude bodies (as opposed to the manufactured variety) is about as sexually exciting as a road accident.