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Tine posted an article in HEALTH & BODYDissatisfaction with one’s own body is evident in many countries. For example, studies such as that conducted by Andrea Pelegrini and Edio Petroski in 2010, involving sample populations from 24 countries, have shown that such poor body image can cause people to radically alter their nutritional intake in an effort to address perceived problems. Sadly, this disaffection can begin in childhood, with the authors stating A study comprising schoolchildren of secondary education in greater Florianópolis, SC, revealed that 48.2% of these schoolchildren were dissatisfied with their body weight and “Body dissatisfaction is even observed among pre-adolescents”. The link between a positive body image and self-worth has been firmly established, such as in a publication by Hesketh et al.,(2004), which focused on obesity in adolescents. Furthermore, a demonstrable causality between self-acceptance, self-esteem and satisfaction with life, has been shown in studies including Navarro et al., (2014), which confirmed that “The relation of personal self-esteem to life satisfaction was significant for both genders”. It is, therefore, reasonable to deduce that a positive body image is likely to predict a higher level of life satisfaction, or happiness. Research has found that wider experience of the naked form correlates to an improvement in body image, in both male and female subjects (Swami, 2015). While Swami’s study concerned participants in a life-drawing class, the principle has been shown to apply to those engaging in unclothed activities within a group, known as naturism. Investigating the link between naturist activities and an improvement in life satisfaction levels As has been shown, the mediating effect of improved body image on self-esteem and of self-esteem on happiness has been widely observed. It is only recently that studies have directly targeted the links between naturism and contentment. K. J. West (2017) sought to observe the effects of naturism on positive body image, self-esteem and happiness, initially through comprehensive surveying and analysis and subsequently via real-life naturist activities. The initial study: the effects of naturist activity on life satisfaction West hypothesised that greater engagement in naturism would correlate with a higher level of general satisfaction. He recruited 849 British adults with a range of ages, ethnicity, sexuality and across the spectrum of gender. West presented them with a survey designed to ascertain ‘the effects of naturist activity on life satisfaction, mediated by improved body image and self-esteem’ (West, 2017). Without being specific about the survey’s aims, participants were questioned about whether or not they had experience of ‘clothes-free activities’. Discounting those that involve close family or a sexual partner; subsequent questions thoroughly assessed the individuals’ level of self-worth and required them to grade from 1 to 7, representing strongly disagree to strongly agree, statements regarding body image, such as: I respect my body I do not feel good about my body Despite its flaws, I accept my body for what it is Similarly, a set of questions relating to self-esteem included: On the whole, I am satisfied with myself I feel that I have a number of good qualities All in all, I am inclined to think that I am a failure While overall satisfaction with life was assessed using questions such as: In most ways, my life is close to ideal The conditions of my life are excellent I am satisfied with my life Using the scores for these questions, referenced against each respondent’s level of participation in a naturist lifestyle, West presented empirical evidence for his conclusions. Positive Body Image: Conclusions drawn from Study 1 West’s hypothesis was supported by the data. The data demonstrated a correlation between active involvement in naturism and higher incidences of overall happiness. This was mediated by a more positive body image and higher self-esteem. Analysis of the data suggests that the positive attitude to body image was not a determining factor in deciding to try naturism, yet rather a result of participating. There was also a reduced effect on improvement in satisfaction with increased involvement in naturist events. Applying the findings to real naturist activities The second study With the core hypothesis supported, the natural progression was to test how it translated to real-life activities. West identified an opportunity in a pre-arranged nudist event, 'Bare All For Polar Bears'. During this event 24 participants would be walking naked through Doncaster’s Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Having obtained permission, the subjects were given questionnaires, shortened versions of the survey in Study 1, to be completed before disrobing. The same questionnaire was presented to them immediately after the event, once they had dressed. Conclusions drawn from Study 2 Quantitative differences between pre- and post-event scores indicated ‘positive psychological effects’, appearing to support West’s hypothesis. However, caution must be applied due to both the small sample size and the possibility that other aspects had caused this effect. For example, the charitable nature of the event. The positive correlation was not reversible. This means that subjects were not more likely to embrace nakedness because they were already body-confident. The third study For this element of the research, another pre-arranged event, 'Waterworld', was employed. 100 adults were to remain naked for three hours in a waterpark in Stoke-on-Trent; there was no requirement to take part in particular activities, merely to stay in the park. Again, the method was to administer the same pre- and post-event questionnaires as in Study 2. As established, satisfaction was shown to follow, rather than to predict, naturism. Conclusions drawn from Study 3 Once again, clear evidence of a constructive effect on happiness, mediated by increased positive body image and higher self-esteem could be observed in the data extrapolated from the questionnaires. From this we can infer a correlation between naturism and satisfaction with one’s life. As in Study 1 and Study 2, the relationship between naturism and high self-esteem and happiness was not shown to be reversible. Implications of the research findings It's a scientific truism that correlation does not prove causation. Yet it cannot be ruled out that the act of being naked around non-intimate acquaintances increases life satisfaction. It would necessarily take place through a domino effect of nudity producing a positive body image. This would improve self-esteem and lead to greater happiness. West's observation that the effect of naturism on happiness decreased and involvement in such activities increased suggests that the greatest benefit would be experienced by the majority of the population, who have yet to try naturist socialising. The potential for a non-pharmaceutical approach to improving mental well-being is exciting for clinical practitioners, support organisations and for the individual. Modelphotos: Colourbox.com Written by Guest AuthorWe are happy to publish articles by guest authors that will broaden the perspective and bring new insights. If you are interested in publishing an article here on happiness.org please contact us.
Sexual Submission Was My Missing Puzzle Piece By virtue of when I was born (1979, if you’re curious), I am part of a generation of women raised with very specific ideas about what it means to be a woman. One of them made me believe I was broken for many years. You don’t need a man for anything. This notion was practically preached at me. Not unlike a sermon in church. But for years by the many women in my family. “You can do what you want. You can be anything. Don’t settle. Don’t get married unless that’s what you want. And if you do, remember, you don’t need him.” I still agree with that entire lesson - most of it. Before Sexual Submission There are two distinct parts of my sexual and romantic life: before submission and after submission. Before I discovered BDSM as something more than a strange set of sexual preferences that was incomprehensible to me (at the time), I was your average vanilla heterosexual cis woman. I dated. I fucked. Gave blowjobs. I got married. Of course, I also never had an orgasm, didn’t masturbate, and never watched porn. Trashy romance novels with ripped bodices on the cover were my limit (and I devoured them as fast as I could get my hands on them). Before submission, I tried to take care of whoever was in my life that I loved: boyfriends, then my husband, and after him, the men I fucked. If they needed something: care, an ear, or even a sandwich - I was happy to provide it. It was how I showed my affection. I understood that much about myself at the time. A string of bad luck I had the bad luck to attract and fuck men who didn’t show affection in the same way. They took but rarely, if ever, gave anything back. Not a phone call, not a hug, and certainly not orgasms - although one man did try. If he’d stuck around longer, he may have been surprised to see how far I (pardon the expression) came. I was incapable of two things in the Before Submission period of my life: articulating what I wanted sexually and allowing anyone to have control over any portion of my life. While I was a fiercely independent woman, just as I’d been raised to be. It was because I was as unsatisfied and unhappy with my life. As any woman is in a bad marriage, directly followed by a lonely divorce. Taking charge? The only time a man wanted to discuss sex with me was when we were already naked. My mouth would open to say: “I like it when you spank me” or “It’s okay to be a little rough” but no words would come out. Over the years I tried “taking charge” in bed multiple times. It’s what all the magazines said to do - and after a few seconds, I was lost and clueless. Since the men in my life had also been taught to let women take charge, they were of no help. Even as I was grabbing life, and the men I fucked, by the balls, I found myself alone at night, crying. And feeling sorry for myself, then becoming angry at myself. Why? Because deep down, in a private place I couldn’t admit I even had, I desperately wanted someone to take care of me. I wanted someone to tell me to go to bed, to tuck me in at night, to check in on me, to feel as responsible for me as I did for them. I didn’t have a name for what I wanted, and I was deeply ashamed of it. Was I broken? Defective? This isn’t what I’d ever been taught a woman was supposed to want. After Sexual Submission Every big change in our lives has a catalyst. A central action or moment in time that propels us forward. Even if we don’t know it’s happening. For me, that moment was when the best lover I'd had so far dumped me because I couldn’t orgasm. He was turned off by my inability to let go of control over my own body so that I could experience sexual pleasure. I realized later that if we were as “meant to be” as I thought at the time, he would have helped me with this problem. But he was another in a long list that didn’t mind letting me take care of him but wasn’t interested in reciprocating. My lack of orgasms was a problem that needed fixing. On that masturbatory journey, I began to pay attention to what turned me on. I looked for stories, finding and loving Literotica. Image searches brought me falling into the world of Tumblr porn. I was drawn over and over again to the same stories and images: a woman giving up control of her entire being to a man who dominated her and brought them both pleasure. I was also intrigued by the real life blogs and stories I found about people who lived a BDSM life. The amount of communication required to make it work seemed daunting but it made sense to me. Talking about what you like before you get naked made sense. It wasn’t something I could imagine doing until I got my hands on my first checklist. Now this made sense to my highly organized self. X marks the spot Thinking you enjoy BDSM and D/s is much different than the act of submission. My first Dominant partner was a man I met online. We both blogged about our lives. I was beginning to explore my interest in kink, BDSM, specifically submission. The first time I said, “Yes, Sir” to him in response to a command, it happened. The final puzzle piece of who I am as a person clicked into place. Sure, I was still the same person I’d always been. Anyone looking at me would never see the difference. But I knew that a hole I never knew existed had just been filled. I am a submissive woman. I want a Dominant man to serve and submit to. But I also want a partner who finds pleasure in taking care of me. To help me grow. To make me do the things I easily neglect, as I take care of the people I love. No, I don’t need just any man, nor do I want one. Yes, I can take care of myself, survive on my own, build a career, and raise children without BDSM. But without it, life loses its colour. It’s not as vibrant or full. Submission to the Dominant I love beyond all measure completes me. In this role, understanding who I am. Loved and cherished as I love and cherish him... I know exactly who I am, and I am complete. Written by Kayla LordsKayla Lords is a freelance writer, sex blogger, and a masochistic babygirl living the 24/7 D/s life. She hosts a weekly podcast, Loving BDSM, where she and her Dominant talk about loving BDSM in a loving D/s relationship and share what they've learned and experienced as a kinky couple.