My husband and I enjoy being nude in a controlled non-sexual environment, (swimming nude, visiting nude, sharing a meal nude, walking on wooded trails nude.) This is not something we share with our Christian friends and church members, since it seems that when people think of adults being in a social group nude, they assume that it is sexually oriented. That assumption is not always true, as my husband and I can attest.
My question is this: Must we give up our occasional nude lifestyle if we are members of a church and participate in church activities? Is it biblically based sinning? We have studied and searched the bible for an answer. Culturally this would not be acceptable however, my question is, are we sinning in the eyes of God?
– Bare Necessities
I don’t believe you are sinning.
God created us naked, and the shame that fell on Adam and Eve in the garden had more to do with their sin than their skin being exposed. God clothed them then, just as he would later clothe us in Christ’s righteousness.
Having said that: I do believe that in a sin-soaked world, dressing is the norm. However, we are still naked at times. The question is: when and with whom is it okay to be naked? As you have guessed, I think it depends on context.
I think nakedness with our spouses is biblically celebrated. The things we cover for the rest of the world, we reveal to our spouses: exposing ourselves (in body and soul) to our spouses is a deep expression of intimacy. Being modest (with our bodies and souls) before that protects intimacy. So by all means: be nude with your spouse.
But what then of being nude elsewhere? And how will that change when you have children?
I personally think it is risky to be naked in public spaces. In many places, public nudity is against the law: in which case, for you to be naked there would be sinning. The problem there would be the violation of the law, not the nudity per se.
If it were a nude beach – that’s a question of your and your husband’s discretion. I personally would feel very uncomfortable with that (so for me – maybe it would be a sin because it would go against my conscience? (Romans 14:23) – but I don’t believe that’s something we can call sin for other believers, because the bible doesn’t call nudity sin.
I wonder how you will feel about nudity if/when you have children. My husband and I are comfortable with our children seeing us bathe and dress, and we hope to have healthy and shame-free conversations about our bodies (and theirs)… we are comfortable with dressing-room-nudity, and our kids are welcome there.
However, kids are little sponges and they act out on their home expectations in social situations. Teaching children about what is public and what is private is a tricky thing, and I reckon if you chose to pursue more lifestyle nudity with kids around – you would have your work cut out for you. Also, I might add as a mom who has been naked around her kids – I also want to add that I really have come to appreciate the protection afforded by clothing – because children can scratch, pull, bite and put sticky fingers on all sorts of places… just sayin’. It physically hurts to have children around you sometimes, and more than once I’ve been painfully punished by a child’s rogue snagged fingernail on my freshly-showered skin. Yikes. But those are practical, not ethical, concerns.
In short: I don’t believe it’s a sin – but even coming to that position – I can still see why you haven’t told your friends and, perhaps, why it may not be a good idea to tell them in the future. As you rightly say: nudity is often correlated with sexual activity, and while that isn’t always the case – sometimes it is, and the highly sexualized world we live in does us no favors to put sex and sexuality in its proper place. Telling others about your marital nude lifestyle might be misunderstood, and worse yet – might cause others to stumble (and by that I don’t mean “it might cause others to disapprove”, I mean “others, seeing your behavior but not understanding the sacredness of the context in which you practice it, might decide that if you’ve said nudity is okay, it must be okay – and then they practice it in in a way which does violate marital intimacy or sexual holiness”)
So: maybe they don’t need to know. Because telling them wouldn’t necessarily build them up, help them, strengthen community etc… it might just be confusing.
But when you and your hubby kick back to unwind after a long day: why not do it nude? There’s something very precious about being able to recapture the “naked and not ashamed” status of the first couple from the very beginning.