Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

My Photo
Name:
Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Thursday, March 01, 2012

THE BODY -CLAIM IT

THE BODY

An article by Robert Warren Cromey

I have never seen a naked body that was not beautiful. At the shower room where I go after my swim I observe many naked men. Since it is at a University the young men are taut, strong and handsome. But some are hairy, plump and tattooed. An older man named Boris is enormously fat. Great rolls of fat spring up from the crevasses in his belly and back. His buttocks are huge. Yet looking carefully at him I realized his body was quite beautiful, partly because there was so much of it. He looked powerful, even dangerous. I’d hate to have him hit me with those short powerful arms hanging down from those massive shoulders. The curves and valleys caused by his girth had a massive solidity to them. I found I liked looking at him with his bald head and olive skin.

In 1969 I spent five months at Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. The program is seminars in consciousness raising and body and spiritual awareness. It is famous for its hot tubs where steaming hot water springs from the depths of the earth into tubs where the water cools so that people can bask in them. The tubs overlook the Pacific Ocean where bathers can gaze at the changing blue colors of the water, the white wave caps, and the gray rocks below where the waves smack them. The nude baskers watch the horizon, an occasional ship or even small boat and at certain times of the year whales passing by in pods.

Men and women mostly nude walk to open showers, then walk with blue and red towels, to soak in the tubs some single and some with room enough for ten. Men and women bathe together, initial modesty giving way to relaxed ease and enjoyment. Of course people look at each other’s bodies. Most of us have never seen several men and women together with no clothes on. The discreeet staring soon gives way to enjoying quiet conversation and appreciating the ocean views. That is not to say that we don’t glance anew at the pink-nippled breasts of a new woman joining us in the tub or the new penis slipping into the hot water.

Many who have not been to hot tubs at Esalen or nude beaches or colonies believe seeing naked bodies will be sexually arousing, descending into orgiastic activity. Of course, sexual feelings are stimulated by looking at nude bodies. But after a few minutes the serenity of the tubs, the magnificence of the ocean and sky, temper erotic feelings. Soon there are only human beings and views. Certainly from time to time sexual feelings crop up, fantasies abound, but behavior is calm and quiet.

I stick by my initial remark - I have never seen a naked body that was not beautiful. I have seen a man with huge angry red scars from burns covering half his chest, women who have had double mastectomies, men with full body hair, women with one breast, people who were obese, anorectically thin, scars, amputations and people with colostomy bags alone in a single tub. They were beautiful, shiny, soft, hard, clean, shapely, well proportioned and in conversation, real people.

One of the most beautiful and unusual women I met at the baths was Betty. She was an unashamedly three hundred pounds who swooped into the baths wearing a bright red and yellow muumuu. She whooshed it over her head, gazed out over the sunlit ocean and then very gently slipped into the tub and introduced herself to the five of us already there. She had long graying hair down to her broad shoulders, brown eyes and quite pretty features. She was five feet ten inches tall. Her breasts were large, coral tipped and succulent. Her huge stomach seemed to just go round and round. Her thighs were thick and strong mottled with cellulose. Her legs were muscled and her feet quite tiny. Her face was open and expressive and let out a splendid roar when she was induced to laugh. She was a mighty and beautiful woman, all woman. She said she had recently broken up with a man and was open to new relationships. She was no virgin.

Of course it is easy to see and enjoy the beauty in well-built tanned muscular men with classic and rugged features and well-tuned bodies. Model perfect women with perfect white, yellow or black figures, clear skin and perfectly proportioned figures are so easy on the eyes. It is harder for us to see the glory in women the size of Betty

At Esalen in a group setting, we learned how to do a body trip. We took some time together where some trust and willingness to take some risks was established. Our leader then asked for a volunteer to remove all their clothing and stand in front of the group and let members look at the person’s body and comment on it. After initial embarrassment and fear, before long each of the twelve members of the group allowed themselves to take a body trip. After people spoke about what they saw in the body, then the person would talk about his or her own body, what they liked or did not like, what they might do to change what they did not like.

We were instructed to stand and evaluate our own bodies, starting with the hair and head, working our way down to our toes. As usual, the person evaluating their own body said their bottom was too big or too small, women thought their breasts were either too big or too small. Men thought their penises they were either too big or too small. The same with arms, legs, feet, shoulders and head.

In analyzing other people’s bodies, group members were kind and gentle and often not comfortable telling the truth. Most people compared themselves to the people standing naked before them.

Just the process of evaluating our own bodies and getting feedback from trusted members of the group gave us a sense of our own beauty and strength. I for one found out it really didn’t matter much what other people thought of my body as long as I liked it. At 81 years old the only thing I don’t like about my body is my round tummy. I eat too much. I can do exercises to trim my waist but I don’t do it. Of course, I wish I were sexually as vigorous as I once was. But I am content with our sex life, with what we have, not with what we don’t.

I have a great interest in the female form and have a fine collection of nude paintings, photographs and small statuary of women unclothed. When I go to museums I seek out images and statues of the female form. It sure saves a lot of time in the museum. I like to watch porn, particularly enjoying the beautiful bodies of the men and women and mostly the women. The boring repetitive sucking and fucking interferes with seeing bodies. MILF is a new term for me in porn. It means Mothers I’d Like to Fuck. Older women are shown having sex, usually with younger men. I have long held the thought that many young men would love to have sex with older women and heavy women, but did not want to admit it to their buddies. Some porn shows such activity.

Sadly, we are often ashamed and embarrassed by our bodies. Few people pay much attention to their bodies except to see whether they are not too fat or too skinny and to want the perfect face and teeth.

Our bodies are gifts to us from god. We are stewards of our bodies and are to take care of and enjoy what we have been given. Christianity is full of bodily images. Incarnation is the idea that God has become a man in Jesus. Creation of the universe and human kind is indeed earthy and bodily. Resurrection of the body means to say that somehow the human form exists after death. We know that you can’t get rid of matter.

I hope by reading this paper that readers can see their bodies anew, fight off any shame about them and fully enjoy them and keep their bodies in full health and wholeness.