In a previous post, I mentioned I saw no need for a universal injunction on Christians in bikinis. My wife and I can use discretion in the when and where, but in the right situations, she can wear the skimpiest bikini we can find. But how far does this license extend? So she can wear next to nothing, but can she actually wear nothing? Can she strip down to her birthday suit and take a swim? Can she — or any other Christian for that matter — go skinny dipping? Or would this be an obvious and egregious sin?
First, let’s get one thing clear. Despite what you may have heard or been taught, being naked is not sinful.
But what about the rest of the details surrounding the bare-breasted breaststroke?
If it’s just you and your spouse, go for it. Just be willing to accept the potential embarrassment and/or consequences if you get caught.
Just the Two of Us
Well, now we’re diving into the deep end (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun). And this is something you should approach with caution, regardless of the situation. But let me start with the easy answer: if it’s just you and your spouse, go for it. I mean, be smart, don’t do it where it’s against the law (or if you do, don’t get caught). But there’s no harm whatsoever in you two having fun. Just be willing to accept the potential embarrassment and/or consequences if you get caught. Though if you’re already considering skinny dipping, you’re probably already willing to accept them.
A Family Affair
Let’s take it up a notch. It’s not just you two, but some of your closest family, too. Kids, siblings, or even parents, if you’ve got that kind of comfortable relationship with them. Now, it gets a little trickier, but it’s still an easy enough rule of thumb. Provided (1) it’s not sexual for those involved, and (2) everyone is comfortable, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, encounters with same-gender nudity at various ages can be very beneficial for the psychosexual development of children.
If it’s just you guys and your children, with no other adults, feel free to make the call. Outside of that, I’d be extremely careful with mixed-gender adults with my children, and in my case, it wouldn’t happen at all.
Cross-gender boundaries get sharper when children are involved, of course, though if it’s just you guys and your children, with no other adults, feel free to make the call. Outside of that, I’d be extremely careful with mixed-gender adults with my children, and in my case, it wouldn’t happen at all. My brothers with my daughters, or my sisters with my sons… I’m just more reserved about that. I’d have to know and trust such family members more than I happen to know and trust any of my family (ironically enough) to even consider it. These are my kids; I don’t care to take chances. Too many people out there already have creepy uncle stories as is.
If you’re single, this sort of family setting is really the only mixed-gender scenario that I’d feel comfortable giving a green light to. You’re not given to someone else yet, and they’re not given to you. So keep you to you until someone earns the right to have you. Stick with the family.
Among a few friends, it’s far more complicated. Once you step outside the immediate family, it’s dangerous territory.
Some family is casually intimate for many people, but building that sort of familiarity with friends is sadly uncommon these days. Admittedly, some people have friends who are extremely close; I have some that are closer than family. To me, I treat these people as family in the first place. But apart from them, it’s tricky.
I must ask myself many questions. Do I trust them? If they’re Christians, will seeing me or my wife cause them to stumble? Will I or my wife stumble by seeing them? Are we all in a healthy place in our marriages? (I don’t see any good reason for a single person — or even a married person apart from their spouse — to skinny dip with the other gender outside the family.)
Hypothetically, a few couples could sinlessly skinny dip, but only if they’re deliberately keeping their hands and eyes to their own spouse or same gender. But generally, it’s just easier to say no.
So much must be known, and that means a lot of sober, rational thought, and a complete willingness to say no, much like buying a car. I might end up looking like a spoilsport or a stick in the mud, and I’m cool with that. I don’t screw with marriages. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way.
Hypothetically, a few couples could sinlessly skinny dip, but only if they’re deliberately keeping their hands and eyes to their own spouse or same gender.
But generally, it’s just easier to say no.
Naturally, all this precaution is moot if it’s a single-gender situation. If my wife and several of her girlfriends want to skinny dip away from their respective men, I’m fine with that.
Ironically, when this is scaled up further, I have far less reservations. Assuming we’re not talking about some massive orgy or something, I see no harm in being amid a massive group of skinny dippers, provided my wife and I are staying focused on each other. It’s a decision we’d have to make very soberly, and again, a “no” is simpler.
That said, if we did it, I would not concerned with someone checking out her rack when it’s one of so many on display. The cultural standard is different (see Modesty in Dress) on a nude beach, for example, and the occasional creep who’s lusting about is doing it anyway, both here and in the fully-clothed Burger King down the street. Stumbling is not a concern in that sort of environment, to me.
This is something we Christians must be cautious of. After all, we have influence on the spiritual health of others, and as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:23, not everything that’s lawful is helpful.
Interestingly enough, I’m even more comfortable about my kids in these more public, less intimate settings. On many beaches, kids can romp around wearing nothing but a smile, and I feel rather at ease with my young children among the anonymity of such a public place, though I’d have more reservations about the other kids. It all depends on the environment and audience.
Discretion and Helpfulness
Overall, it’s a matter of discretion. The Bible does nothing to condemn nudity itself, sometimes even in public settings (and in many cases it regards nudity with a deliberate indifference), but it’s something we Christians must be extremely cautious about. After all, we have influence on the spiritual health of others, and as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:23, not everything that’s lawful is helpful.
Also, we must always keep our motivations in check. For example, I should want to skinny dip so I can spend time enjoying the presence of my naked wife, not so I can see someone else’s. But within the context of a healthy marriage, skinny dipping can certainly be a lot of fun.
Just wear sunscreen.
Or better yet, wait until it’s dark.
Originally posted 2016-06-17 08:00:40.