European Naturism from a Nordic Outlook

Nudism In Norway and European Nudity
Naturism In Norway – Last summer, my family was at a strand vacationing together with another family that we’ve known for years. Shortly after we arrived at the sand, the daddy of the other family stripped his youngest child who was perhaps three years old at the time nude and sent the youngster to play at the border of the water. Almost as an afterthought he turned to me, with a look of concern on his face, and said You know it is OK that he’s nude, right?
Now, a little context this playa was not in America, but in Norway. It is customary in Norway, and throughout Scandinavia for that matter, for young kids to play nude at seashores up until the age of about seven or eight.

The father asked me if I knew it was OK struck me as peculiar at some time, but in hindsight makes perfect sense. Despite the fact which he and I are both Norwegian, and we were in Norway, he still felt the need to check with me to make sure I did not believe he was mistreating his kid in some way. But because he and I both live in the U.S., and have spent a substantial portion of our lives here, we are keenly aware that the sight of nude child in public immediately conjures images of child pornography rings and psychotic sex offenders.
Naturism In Norway – Famous naked statue by artist Gustav Vigeland located in a sculpture park in Oslo, Norway
The American view of nudity as sexual at best, and criminal at worst, is the single largest problem the nudist community confronts. We often wish that everyone in America had the same mindset as residents of more liberal nations. But why are those states like that in the first place? It is often joked that many Americans can’t even find North America on a map let alone countries elsewhere. So we don’t anticipate many people to understand what makes other states tick socially.
For me, I can only just speak for nudism in Norway, which will be my country of origin. But many of the states of Europe and elsewhere share certain social traits are extremely different from America and that make the people’s perspective of nudity much more forgiving. They include:
Mandatory Sex Education
Sex education is mandatory in Norway. There is no abstinence only alternative. (Like most countries, Norway is not subdivided into states that have powers different in the national government.) So there is no guarding kids in the realities of sex and the human anatomy. Sex educators have long claimed that talking to kids early and often about sex goes quite a distance toward removing the taboo surrounding the subject, and makes them not as likely to participate in it recklessly since they know the potential effects. It is no wonder in America, then, the demonization of sex and the equating of nudity with sex has made people afraid of exploring naturism.
National Broadcaster
Like many countries, Norway has a government-owned transmission company in addition to independently-owned media outlets. The mission of the national broadcaster would be to present the news never to earn money. It’s funded by a modest licensing that all households pay. Compare this to the United States, where media isn’t only 100% independently-owned, but a substantial part is owned by a little group of big firms.
To keep the readers and the audience coming, independently-owned media needs sensational reports along with the regular news. And because sex and nudity are the most-banned of all the forbidden fruits, they make to find the best news stories especially when sensationalized. Nudity is seldom portrayed positively in American media, and is frequently presented in the context of what can only be called Nude Offense stories about people committing offenses while they are already unclothed (not because they’re nude, though that significant difference is intentionally obscured in most instances).
Since national broadcasters are not profit-driven, the sleaze amount is close to zero. (For an English-language example of a national broadcaster, research the British Broadcasting Company [BBC]).
Lesser Role for Religion
The countries of Scandinavia are known for their near- of spiritual fervor. Despite embracing Christianity near the end of the Viking Age around 1,000 A.D., religious engagement has dropped significantly in Scandinavia over the previous few decades. Around 20% of Scandinavians consider themselves believers, compared to a much greater percentage in America.
Religion is probably the prime driver of anti-nudity opinion, both in the USA and other conservative nations (though we in the nudist community comprehend, praise and encourage the contribution of spiritual nudist groups who are striving to illustrate that beliefs and naturism are not mutually exclusive). Possibly the most extreme case of body-shame is the burqa, a complete-body cloak that is required to be worn by many Muslim girls.
As for Christianity, the dominant religion in America, we need not look any further than the first novel of the Bible to understand why numerous adherents are nude-averse. The narrative of Adam and Eve is among the Bible’s best known narratives – and maybe among the most misunderstood. Much to the detriment of naturism, in the Garden of Eden fall under the Naked Offense type. God was not displeased because Adam and Eve were naked. Instead, they’d bitten into the apple in the Tree of Knowledge which God had expressly forbidden. He was tipped off only by the fact that the next time He found them, they had covered up their littles. Nudity didn’t lead to the offense. But the offense was committed while naked.
These are just a couple of many differences which make the challenge for unclothed endorsement that much more difficult within the United States. I am not proposing that we can snap our fingers and transpose European societal ideals on our own, as nice as that would be. But what we do have to understand is the totality of the forces which are working against naturists.
Just as much as girls are under-represented in the nudist community, so are young adults of both genders. Despite all of the messages they receive about how nudity is awful, many of them don’t believe it at least not totally. Our mission must not only be to practice nudism in defiance of these negative perceptions, but to teach and provide opportunities for the nude-curious. Young and old, girls and boys. This battle is going to be uphill all the way, and none of the obstacles in our path are going away any time soon.
European Naturists and Nudism In Norway and other Blogs and Posts About Social Nudity by Young Naturists andYoung Naturists America
Tags: youngsters and youngsters, culture, europe, norway, sexuality, the bible
Class: Naturism and Naturism, Nudism and Naturism In Europe, Nudist Kids and Problems with Nudity and Children, Religion and Nudity, Societal Nudity Blogs
About the Writer (Author Profile)
Erik Jakobsen works in New York City, lives in New Jersey and has been an enthusiastic nudist for 25 years. He is a regular contributor to FKK’s websites.