Ah, the age-old debate around tattoos and pubic hair. Let’s also throw in piercings because that seems to get almost as much attention in online nudist circles as the other two. In every online nudist community that I have ever joined, be it the cloud of nudists on Twitter, an online forum, or Reddit, the question of tattoos, pubic hair, and body piercings inevitably springs up. So let’s talk about that. Not the tattoos, pubes, and piercings themselves, but why we keep returning to the topic.
First, not all questions about these big three “issues” are created equal. They tend to range in depth and agenda, but most of them fall either under the category of curious inquiry or moralistic judgment. To be completely honest, I have seen both of these angles discussed ad nauseam, but it’s the moralistic judgment category that I find most problematic. The reason it can be problematic is that it asks people to discuss and debate whether nudists ought to have tattoos, whether we ought to shave our pubic hair, or whether we ought to have body piercings. The problem here is not the tattoos, pubes, or piercings, but the willingness to judge others based on what they choose to do with their own bodies and to then pervert the debate by implying that true naturists and nudists don’t have tattoos, don’t shave their pubes (or do, depending on whom you ask), or would never pierce their genitals or nipples. Placing moralistic judgment on what another person does with their own body feels very contrary to the principles of naturism and nudism to me.
Here’s my question: Why do we care? Why in the world would I care what another person decides to do with their body, and why in the world should I think that my own preferences on how to interact with my body should dictate how others should interact with theirs? I do not think that most people who engage in these discussions online really care or have prejudices against tattoos or shaving, but when the question is posed and the discussion starts boiling, it’s not long before someone declares that if you are a real naturist and you really respect your body, you would not get tattoos or piercings. And here I am wondering to myself if the people sharing those views understand the hypocrisy of what they are saying. How can a nudist promote a lifestyle of body acceptance and body freedom and not value others’ right to do with their body as they please? It’s not like we nudists debate how we should style the hair on our head or whether we should wear makeup, after all, which brings me to a quick side note…
Why the obsession with genitals? Yes, obviously being nude reveals our genitals. That’s part of the package. But why draw attention to them? I don’t think this would strike me as quite so odd if there were just as many discussions circling the Internet around the way that nudists style the hair on our head or what we do with our armpit or leg hair… it’s that the pubic hair debate is always the prominent one. I will concede that one great thing about nudists is that we don’t look at any body part as taboo, whether in art or in conversation, which means talking about pubic hair is, of course, perfectly normal. OK, side note finished.
It seems perfectly innocent when the discussion revolves around what we prefer to do with our own pubic hair or what tattoos or piercings we have. It can be fun to talk about our personal likes and dislikes, our own grooming habits, or our aesthetic preferences, so I completely get it. And if we’re not wearing clothes, these are the things we are left with to personalize our style. I admit that I enjoy telling people about my tattoos if they are interested, and if I had piercings, I would probably enjoy swapping stories with other people with piercings. I wonder, though, if the discussion keeps coming back to tattoos, pubic hair, and piercings so often because there is still a debate simmering about whether nudists should have/do these things at all. Like I said earlier, nobody is discussing how we should be cutting or styling the hair on our head or how we should do our makeup, because we are all very used to the idea that each of us has free rein to do with our locks whatever we want (though I imagine you could find some negative opinions about unnaturally dyed hair in an online nudist community somewhere). When it comes to the hair on our head, nudists tend to completely avoid the discussion, as though we acknowledge that other people’s beauty routines are none of our business and that it would be silly to discuss it. When it comes to pubic hair and body modifications, suddenly it’s fair game. Fine. I won’t fight it because I do think it’s harmless, but let’s at least recognize that it is a little strange. Maybe we just run out of other things to discuss.
Regardless of any one person’s feelings about tattoos, pubic hair, or piercings, I think we all regularly get enough external input about what we should or should not be doing with our bodies, what we should or should not be eating, what we should or should not be wearing. It isn’t helpful to get that same kind of judgmental input from other nudists, people we should be able to count on to be free of judgment. As long as you are happy with the way that you decorate, groom, and adorn your own body—or choose not to—that’s all that matters. Let’s let each other make our own choices, let’s talk about it, share our experiences, share advice, and support each other’s choices even if they are not the choices we would make for our own bodies, and then let’s appreciate the fact that we have built a community where we can be as open and accepting as we are. I have always really enjoyed the diversity of body grooming and decoration that goes on in naturist and nudist circles, and being without clothes makes for an even greater canvas for creativity.
So do it, or don’t. Get your pube trimming on if that’s your thing. Get your full-body wax on if that’s your thing. Get your full bush on if that’s your thing. Get your genital or nipple piercings on if that’s your thing. Get your tattoo on if that’s your thing. You do you, I’ll do me, and I’ll support you regardless. It’s your body, enjoy it how you want to.
Finally, since I know you’re all wondering what I do with my pubes, I’ll tell you: Sometimes I trim them. Now you know, you wonderful naked weirdos, you.