Discussion Topic: Family Nudity

With our eroticized culture in which everything from the human body to consumer goods is sexualized, how are Christian parents to raise a family with a healthy view of the body and the proper role of sexuality? In what ways can we be honest and forthright with our kids, at whatever stage they are, in ways that combat the culture’s misinformation and are not shame-based? I had some thoughts and would appreciate your feedback as well.

One of the things we can do is revisit our definition of purity, specifically when it comes to sex. We have to find a way to address the positive goal of waiting until marriage without turning a girl’s virginity into a commodity that she is holding for the worthiest bidder. Rather than the preoccupation with “don’t do it,” perhaps we need to emphasize “here’s how to make it the best—by waiting until marriage.” Certainly, there can be warnings about consequences for early copulation, but we can put the emphasis on “there is only one ‘first time,’ so why not make it the very best?” instead. In this way, we remove the shame factor and replace it with the “make it the best” factor.

We can also stop objectifying people, especially women, by designating part of their bodies as pure and part as obscene. We are whole persons, and our bodies reflect the image of God. That means every part of them.

There is value in considering the prospect of being naked in the home so that the body is seen as normal and not sexual. When our children see others in various life stages, it takes away the fear of the unknown and removes shame. Do we really want the first penis a girl sees to be in the context of a sexual encounter? Because raging hormones will drive their curiosity to find out anyway. We are kidding ourselves to say otherwise. Do we really want a boy’s earliest sight of a naked female to be in the porn he stumbles across or that a friend shows him? The average first porn exposure age is 12, so let’s be real here. Wouldn’t it be better for them to think nothing of the sight of genitalia and not associate them with sexuality but just see them as regular body parts like elbows or ears? By removing the mystique of the forbidden, we might actually be porn-proofing our kids!

Christ bore our shame on the cross, so there is no need to have shame-based training or to call a body created in the image of God “obscene.” Why not reclaim what the enemy has twisted and instead raise families with a healthy theology of the body and a respect for each other that precludes the objectification of others? Why not live the way we were created to live, now that our relationship with God is restored and we can be unashamed once more? (Gen. 2:25)

Anyway, those are some of my thoughts. What do you think?

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12 replies
  1. hawk4295 says:

    I totally agree “make it the best”. We can preach married sex is awesome without a boys first vision of a nude woman being Mom. Fantastic marriage of 36 years and very thankful of not seeing my mom walking around the house naked.

  2. LovingMan says:

    There will be other opinions I’m sure… but I whole heartedly agree with yours! I did not raise my kids in a nudist way but if we happened upon a family member in the nude it was treated as no big deal. My wife n I tried to emphasize the positive nature of married sex when talking about sex with our kids. But of course we kept the bedroom door locked.
    I think it is important to recognize that we can’t raise perfect children and that we do the best we can. We also need to emphasize to our kids the absolute power of the atonement of Jesus Christ and that one IS made pure via faith in Jesus and by applying His atoning sacrifice to our sins.
    When we have repented we need not beat ourselves up over our past sins. We must believe in Jesus but also BELIEVE Jesus. He taught that forgiveness is real. Do we believe Him?

  3. TexasWife says:

    Great post! And definitely a worthwhile discussion to have if we can all approach it open minded with out letting our long held traditional hangups get in the way.

  4. Grace911 says:

    I agree with putting emphasis on making our children's first sexual experience the very best it can be, and with treating our bodies as natural. But it's equally important to discuss boundaries and their importance. I'm not sure how easy that would be if we were all sitting around naked. There needs to be a balance, although I suppose one could also have an extensive discussion on where those boundaries lie. And that's one to have and settle before discussing the subject with kids.

  5. Hotnorthern says:

    Flat out no. I’m so glad I have never seen my parents nude. I do not want those images in my head. You can teach kids to appreciate sexuality and their own bodies while still respecting themselves and other people. We don’t need to desexualize the human body otherwise it won’t be that exciting to see it. When it should be exciting when two spouses who love each other share their bodies with each other.

    • Waiting Hardly says:

      Sexualizing = objectifying, and sexual attraction needs to be based upon depth of relationship, not appearance. We’ve got to separate the two, or we are in effect sexualizing the image of God reflected in the body.

  6. Waiting Hardly says:

    Still wondering why some body parts are obscene when seen by some people, but good and pure when seen by others. Shame was man made after the Fall, but Christ has borne our shame and restored our relationship with God and each other. Would the same God who commanded Isaiah to go naked and barefoot for three years object to nudity within the non-sexual family setting? I sense a disconnect.

  7. CarpeD says:

    I grew up in a family that was pretty relaxed about nudity. I'm happy to report that it did not scar me to see my parents naked, and I'm grateful I was raised to appreciate rather than be ashamed of the human body – clothed or otherwise.

    On the other hand, this approach did not exactly porn-proof me. So while I value the concept of family nudity, I don't think we can rely on it to protect our children from sexual hang-ups.

    • H K says:

      I'm happy to confirm that!I have been raised in a sauna culture where I'd see my sisters and parents nude all the time. We sat next to each other in our small sauna twice every week, and I have zero trauma beacuse of that. Else there would be pretty traumatized people living in northern Europe.

  8. pnwwoodsman says:

    I think it's important to consider the difference in values vs culture. Values are rights and wrongs, but culture is subjective. The Western attitude towards the human body and nudity isn't necessarily "healthy" imo.

    I think as a man, our deep and long held curiosity about the human body can turn bad or go into porn specifically because of the "taboo" nature ascribed to non sexual nudity. It's considered some exotic mystery rather than a decent, non lewd fact of humanity. Lack of frankness and honesty can often lead to unhealthy fixations.

    Our bodies are not bad. It's the choices we make, from the values we're given – and fear of or shame of the body is not a virtue that inspires a more moral worldview.

  9. Woods says:

    Just speaking for ourselves. We too kept our bedroom door closed while raising kids. The guys or girls might see one or the other nude but we avoided mixed viewing with the exception of need due to accidents or other such. Nudity wasn't a big deal if it happened but was not the norm around the house.

    As a purely practical matter in today's America here's something all adults should keep in mind regardless of morals, scriptural correctness, right or wrong; please remember children not only talk but nowadays they text in one form or another and phones now have cameras. No matter how you raise them they also exaggerate and use bad judgement in order to impress friends and schoolmates. In certain states, like ours, all adults and especially teachers are required to report. Any adult who fails to report evidence of what later turns out to be any "improper" behavior, as determined by law, can be prosecuted, (and persecuted in most cases). It may be good to discuss this here but you do not want to be explaining yourself to some state agency that suddenly appears at your door with the police, prosecutor etc for some story or picture circulating among a bunch of kids. All too often, no matter what they say, you will be seen as guilty till you prove different if you are even given a chance.

    Raising kids has always been hard enough. We need to be aware of society and the world our kids live in outside the home. We must rely on God, His word, and a lot of prayer and thanksgiving while taking care not to make things harder than they need to be.

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