2 March 2021  |

Dear Aunt Sevvy

My wife and I holidayed last year near a naturist/nudist beach. We tried it and enjoyed the sun on our entire bodies, with absolutely no sexual activity.

Is this wrong? Isn’t it as God originally intended in the garden of Eden? And doesn’t it also conform with our health message of the sun being good for our health?

Signed: Bronzed couple

Dear Bronzed:

The first thing that the tempter did when the first human beings sinned was to introduce bodily shame (Genesis 3:7). That has had all kinds of bad consequences. 

Some religious people are so convinced their bodies are sinful that they have difficulty being naked even in the privacy of their marital bed. This is a far cry from what God intended when he created us on the sixth day and “saw that it was good.” 

Shame about our bodies is also the same putrid wellspring from which arise some misogynistic ideas, such as that men can’t control themselves if they are exposed to a woman’s body, and women need to be modest and cover themselves lest a man be overcome with lust, and rape her. This is one of many perversions of the relationships between the sexes. Men should be responsible for their own temptations.

But at the same time, it may be foolish for a woman to expose herself to danger from men who won’t control their actions. 

No, clothes weren’t worn in Eden—but we’re no longer in Eden. Ideally, we should be perfectly comfortable with how God made our bodies, with never an impure thought entering our heads. But we live in a twisted, dishonest sexual environment. While you and your spouse may have had nothing but health in mind, it remains that nudity (as demonstrated in magazines and pornography) is now also an expression of misogyny. 

Of course, there’s nothing you can do to control what someone else thinks about when they look at you, clothed or unclothed. The existence of shame and lust aren’t your fault—they are clearly Satan’s—and I agree that we should moderate the societal and religious prudishness that has led to bodily shame. (How ridiculous, for example, is it when a mother is criticized for breast-feeding her infant in public?)

Yet I’m wondering if going to a nude beach is taking it a bit far? In this messed up world Aunty believes there are some things that should be kept for intimate moments—and nudity is one of them. 

I won’t criticize you for your choice. But saying you’re doing so for biblical reasons is a bit of a stretch. There are plenty of more important biblical admonitions to follow—such as “Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God”—that we can do without taking our clothes off in public. 

And as for sun, we don’t need to expose all our usually-covered bits to the sun to get the health benefits. Too much sun can lead to cancer. 

I am glad you enjoyed yourself, though I personally cannot imagine feeling comfortable or happy in a place where strangers could see me without my clothes on. That’s not because of shame, but because I prefer to keep my nudity private.

Aunt Sevvy

You can write to Aunt Sevvy at DearAuntSevvy@gmail.com. Please keep questions or comments short. What you send us at this address won’t necessarily be, but could be, published—always without real names. Aunt Sevvy writes her own column, and her opinions are not necessarily those of Adventist Today’s editors.

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