It might be obvious for most people, (you know, those who know the meaning of words), but apparently, judging from the tweet above and the answers to it, (where Polish right-wingers show WNBR as an example of how the LGBTQ community has “deprived” the West), some people still confuse naturism with exhibitionism and they think that it’s gay...
Well, here’s why it’s neither of those things:
According to ICD-10 F65.2 exhibitionism is classified as sexual deviation and is described as:
A disorder characterized by recurrent sexual urges, fantasies, or behaviors involving the exposure of one’s genitals to an unsuspecting stranger.
A disorder in which fantasies about or the act of exposing the genitals to an unsuspecting stranger produces sexual excitement with no attempt at further sexual activity with the stranger.
Now here’s what the World Naked Bike Ride, and naturism in general, is all about: precisely not that.
It’s about freedom, it’s about loving your body, it’s about not caring about clothes, it’s about feeling good...
Usually, we’re naked at home or at a nude beach, among other nude people... But not necessarily. For instance in Germany it’s pretty common to see nude people sunbathing in random public parks. It’s perfectly legal, it’s considered normal, and it’s not sexual and it’s not exhibitionistic.
With WNBR there’s an additional message attached to the public nudity: bringing the public’s attention to the problems of car-based transportation in the cities and “delivering a vision of a cleaner, safer, body-positive world”. It’s a political statement, not a sexual act.
Take it from a person who has actually done it once: My first World Naked Bike Ride – and I absolutelly loved it!. I rode totally naked through the city centre of Amsterdam, and yet I’m not a exhibitionist. I don’t get off of that sexually, I don’t fantasise about it, I’m totally capable of achieving sexual pleasure without any stranger seeing me. I simply enjoy being naked, that’s it.
(Full disclosure: I did have sex in public places a couple of times, but the whole point was not to get caught by anyone. I also post some explicit content online sometimes, but it’s specifically targeted to people who want to see it. )
It differs between countries, obviously, but in all of those I’ve been publicly naked in: Germany, The Netherlands and Spain, there’s a distinction in law between just being naked in public (legal, with some exceptions like churches, cemeteries, schools...) and sexually exposing yourself (illegal).
So, what about public nudity allegedly being gay? Some people on Twitter were thinking that those photos from WNBR were taken during Pride, which is simply not true. I happen to take part in both, but in general they are separate events targeted to a different group of people.
Judging from my observations of how few of my gay friends are eager to join me at a nude beach, and how many guys I’ve met during the WNBR Amsterdam who talked about their wives/girlfriends or came together with them – I can see no clear correlation between the LGBTQ community and naturists.
Although they do have a lot in common: freedom and openness.
And that’s all it is about.