What do nudists think of erections?
It is a special sight for other walkers when Norbert Sander and his group of nude hikers boot through the Jena mountains with sturdy shoes, fluttering sun hats and dangling genitals. "You can tell by the way they wish us a good path that they probably find it very funny," says the 32-year-old. The studied sociologist and photographer generally does not stay where he could harass people who are attracted to him with his penis. "I'm not an exhibitionist," says Norbert, "I do nudism because I feel good about myself."
When the Erfurt native bathed in a lake for the first time without clothes six years ago, he was even more reserved with his nakedness. Back then, says Norbert, a friend with nudist experience made him take off his swimming trunks. Since then, nudism has become a kind of philosophy of life for him - and an integral part of his profession. Norbert has already published two nude photo tapes with pictures of other nudists - the Nudity and his successor Nackedei 2 - the third volume should come out in spring 2019.
"Of course I am also naked when taking pictures," says Norbert, "sometimes even small branches poke my genitals when I crouch." We have questions.
VICE: Do you enjoy stamping areas with your genitals that dressed people will sit on afterwards?
Norbert Sander: In nudist circles, it is not welcome to sit on a bench without a pad or something. I always try to put a towel under when I sit down because it's more hygienic. I don't even lie down on the grass naked, but always have a sleeping mat or a towel with me.
Where do you put your change?
Even when I'm naked, I almost always wear my shoes, a hat and a belt bag, or a cotton bag. I put everything in there that is important. Money too. Of course, it's best to be completely naked, but then you can't take anything with you. I can't get stuck anywhere in between.
Have you ever had an illness or a rash from sitting down naked somewhere?
In Thailand I visited a sweat lodge in a mountain village and sat naked on the stone slabs. I probably should have rinsed it off with hot water beforehand, but it was so dark in there that I just sat on it somewhere. When I got out, my genital area was itchy and I had red spots all over the place. Then I'm still in Thailand to see a doctor who told me that it was a mushroom. Then I got an ointment.
What was the most negative reaction you have ever gotten to your naked body?
Most negative reactions come where nudist areas are adjacent to streets or normal pedestrian walkways. A friend of mine recently told me that she was bullied by a man from a bike path when she was on the grounds of a nudist beach. He said it was impossible what she was doing. She then told him he didn't have to look over. This has never happened to me, people don't care that much about me.
Are naked bodies less erotic to you since you've been around them all the time?
I actually got used to them. But I think that's good. You don't always have to associate nudity with sexuality. Right now in the summer I am constantly editing photos of naked people for the next Nackedei band and looking at them on the computer even longer and more closely. But that doesn't turn me on at all. For me this is a connection between man and nature, and I wonder how I can get a nice picture of it rather than having any sexual thoughts.
What do you do if you accidentally get an erection anyway?
In the beginning I sometimes had an erection. But now I have that pretty well under control. When I notice "Oh dear, it's bigger than usual!", I quickly go into the water, then everything cools down. Or I think about the fact that I could visit my grandma again. That works too.
Are you constantly comparing penises, breasts, stretchers or six packs?
I'm interested in the shapes, but I don't compare them. I look at people and think about the aesthetics of their bodies: how a round belly shines in the sun or in which posture hanging breasts look beautiful, for example. I don't worry that much about the fact that the people around me are naked. And I think the others feel the same way: The first time I was totally nervous and kept wondering if everyone was looking at my body now. Then I realized that nobody was interested. Dealing with the other nudists and their openness with the body helped me to have less self-doubt.
What were the biggest and the smallest penis that you have seen other nudists?
I once photographed a man for my book whose penis was quite large and generally beautifully shaped: it was flaccid about eight inches long and as beautifully tanned as the rest of the body. I once saw the smallest penis while bathing, it was about two centimeters long.
Have you ever seen other nudists having sex?
Not me, but there are supposed to be areas around some lakes that are a little more difficult to access and that are known for people going there to have sex. This is known among nudists, I tolerate it and then don't go into the corner. But that is a different category than what we mean by nudism.
Do you use sunscreen on your penis?
You should definitely do that. I use a high sun protection factor for my whole body, I put cream on my genitals when I am 30 or 50. A friend of mine once had a severe sunburn on his penis and advised me at the beginning of my nudist time to always be careful. That was a pretty painful experience. Since then I've only ever had a slight sunburn.
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