I know a few gay men who would be disgusted with at the thought of seeing a woman naked. I don’t really understand that attitude. Sure, I’m not attracted to women, but I’m also not attracted to most men. That doesn’t mean I’m offended by seeing them naked.
This topic was the subject of a relatively in-depth discussion recently. There are plenty of straight guys that I know who feel uncomfortable or offended at the prospect of seeing another man naked. I don’t know that this feeling extends to gym locker rooms – I kind of doubt it, since that is the one place where group nudity is expected. And there are lots of straight men who don’t feel threatened at all with the prospect, just as there are gay men like me who have no problem with female nudity.
Why is it such a big deal to see someone naked if you’re not attracted to their sex?*
I think a big part of it is the sexualization of nudity in our culture. If a person equates nudity with sex, then that person will naturally feel uncomfortable when confronted with a naked person they are not attracted to, because they assume that the situation is a sexual one. This includes not only sex-specific distinctions, but also body shape, age, and a number of other characteristics. For instance, many people think that a naked person must be in good physical shape to “deserve” to be naked. This attitude is premised on the false notion that naturism is about seeing naked people and being seen in the buff, and that we should only have to see things that we find appealing.
The visual component of social nudity is irrelevant to true naturism, and that’s why it doesn’t matter if you’re attracted to others or not. If you go to a naturist event or a nude beach expecting to see all kinds of eye candy and no sagging or flabby bodies, you’re doing it wrong. For me, naturism is not about other people. It’s about me. It’s about me finding a connection with the world and with others where body image is not important, where the right to be nude belongs to everyone, regardless of their sex, orientation, race, age, or body type. I don’t care what they look like, and they don’t care what I look like. We’re interested in each other as human beings.
*I use the word “sex” rather than “gender” to refer to males and females because it is the scientifically accurate description of the biological distinction between the two. “Gender” is a cultural construct, and as such includes more than simply “male” and “female.” It extends to encompass gay, straight, and trans-gendered individuals. Gender describes the roles we play that are traditionally based on sex, but are in reality more psychologically and sociologically more complex than that.