The USA is the only OECD nation to suffer so greatly from anxiety about the human body. This is a consequence of the influence of two main factors: the Yahweh cult myths that are all neurotic and sex-terrified, and the wave after wave of immigration from predominantly the peasant classes of other nations. Peasant cultures are almost invariably carriers of dysfunctional attitudes towards the human body because they’re the most easily influenced by power groups seeking to control individuals by means of instilling fear, repression, and sex-negativity.

Sadly this is a pretty intractable problem and it’s continually reinforced in the USA by pop entertainment, in which nudity and sex are inextricably entwined and always coupled to the “you want it but it is wrong wrong wrong” message Hollywood excels at pumping out for the masses.

Conversely in Europe there has generally been a more adequate encompassing of nudity. In my early teens my family lived in Spain. The dictator Franco was still (barely) alive and had kept Spain in the 1930s from a cultural perspective. Women wore black head-to-toe garb even in the middle of summer and the Catholic Church with all its sexually twisted notions was ascendant. Within a month of Franco’s death the beaches were filled with mothers and grandmothers exposing themselves fully to the sunlight for the first time in their lives. It wasn’t aesthetic and it certainly wasn’t sexual. It was a pure celebration of freedom.

If it was possible for Spain you’d think it would be possible for the USA, but after 27 years of living there I can’t imagine anything of the sort. The basic equation nudity = sex = bad is too deeply ingrained in US culture.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.