Ollie’s Modern Life

This issue, Ollie Peart makes a stand for body positivity, and worries about the etiquette of involuntary erections


Never in my life have a thought so much about erections. I’m driving hundreds of miles to get my willy out, along with 600 other people, and jump in the North Sea at sunrise. The event is The North East Skinny Dip, a full-on naked parade into the ocean all in aid of Mind, the mental health charity. 

In the lead up to the event, I’ve been thinking ‘what would happen if I get a boner?’. I don’t know about you other chaps, but there have been occasions when my little blighter has decided to show its feathers at some of the most inappropriate moments. Granted, most of those were when I was 16, but I was still sat in Design and Technology, the dullest of lessons, so my concerns that it will do its thing in front of a load of naked people is legit.

I’m not the only one to worry. I wanted to learn from the pros, so took to Google to find out what nudists do if their tallywhacker pops up without warning. Quite a few men who are interested in becoming naturists have the same concern. So what do they do? Turns out, they just ignore it. In fact, in one post I saw, a helpful naturist said that he goes up to people with stonkers to talk about anything other than their stonker; like the buffet, or the weather. 

I don’t know why I was so worried about it. At the time when we take all of our clothes off, all 600 of us, we will be in our most natural state, naked, and then it hit me (not a penis, a thought). I am, like pretty much all of us, a victim of our hypersexualised society. 

Think about it. Next time you’re at the petrol station, forget the top shelf, have a flick through the newspapers instead. We’ve objectified bodies into these weird uber-toned pumped up sex machines where men’s arms look like veiny cocks and women’s lips plumped up fannies. I don’t mean to be crude, but take a real look and you’ll witness a hyper-realistic world where certain bodily assets are intentionally enhanced to tickle that little thing inside you that says PHWAOOOAR!

But rarely, very rarely, do we see the body in its natural state. Not amped to be fucked, but normal and relaxed. We’ve become frightened of that for some reason and I’m not quite sure what it is. The Victorians are probably to blame somewhere along the time, they were quite the prudes, but our current lifestyles are probably more to blame. 

I jabber on about how social media has arsed us all up, and it has had as toxic effect on our bodies as it has everything else. People present themselves for likes, accentuating features, not just women with makeup, but everybody with digital assistance that can hide your flaws. Worse still, those augmented adjustments are making their way into the real world with body modifications and surgery. 

I arrive at the event before dawn and am welcomed by a fire, a coffee, and hundreds of people ready to do something they never thought they would do. The atmosphere was immediately disarming, these people weren’t here to look at dicks and tits, they were here to raise money for charity, liberating themselves in the process, a massive ‘I don’t give a fuck’ to the world.

There were fat people, thin people, old people and young people and as the countdown from 10 began, we collectively whipped off our clothes and ran for the freezing cold North Sea. My worries about boners were long gone along with my childish but all too common attitude to nudity. 

The feeling was incredible. Freezing sure, but liberating and genuinely life-affirming. It’s such a simple thing, but when I break it down, it made sense. 

Our ‘sex alarms’ are, like with many things, way out of sync. Nudity for a lot of us means sex. If I see a naked woman, it must mean sex, if a woman sees a naked man, it must mean sex. This is nonsense. We’ve all heard the twat who’s said “she’s asking for it wearing a skirt that short”. We have completely lost any sense of reality when it comes to nudity and, with it, decency. Our tolerance of it and the way the body is presented has meant that any show of it is immediately branded as sexual in our minds. This has to change, and soon. 

I’m not about to stroll out of the house with my cock out and get on the bus. This isn’t about that. This is still the UK and it’s still winter. This is thinking more about how we think of nudity and how we present it. Nudity should be as natural a thing as eating and breathing, not highlighted and ogled at, not accentuated and sexualised. People should feel as comfortable in the nude as they do fully clothed.

Nudity isn’t sex, it’s freedom. 

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