This is more of a musing post because I'm not sure where our parenting practices will end up. So, as a new parent, it's no big deal for my infant to see me naked. Changing a dirty shirt, getting into pajamas, I didn't hide from his baby gaze. Fast forward to toddlerhood and it was helpful for him to see us using the bathroom as part of toilet training. Again, no big deal for us to help him change dirty clothing or to change our own. Now, I have a six year old and I would have thought that, by now, nudity would be different. To my surprise, it's still the same. Literally, naked's not news. He can dress and bathe himself, but if we're both ready to rinse off hot tub chemicals at the same time, we'll get into my shower together for two minutes (it's the only one with a hand-held sprayer). If I'm changing into pajamas and he comes in with a question, I don't duck behind a door or sternly invoke the privacy card (*more later). Basically, he has complete comfort with the body as something not to be hidden and as something normal. These interactions have remained consistently positive.
Now, I'm curious when this is going to change? I can imagine it will get to a point where our current openness is no longer appropriate i.e. a teenager might have a confusing response. I know the norms in other countries are quite different (nude beaches) and the separation between nudity and sexuality is the cultural norm. We even have a friend who runs an Alaskan adventure business and they only have one sauna shower for their staff, including teenagers. That's what's available for all their staff to get clean once a day and being naked is rather essential. I also remember going to camp where there was a communal shower, but that was divided by gender. I like that my son has no shame in his body. I'm so impressed with how much of a non-issue this is for him. In contrast, my husband spent a significant portion of his childhood without a mom and remembers that even at my son's age he had anxiety and confusion about a woman's body and how it was different (not anatomically, just not part of the normal).
Just to clarify regarding privacy, when my son was much younger and had a natural curiosity about bodies, he learned about which parts of the body are private. He knows those parts are not to be touched on other people and he knows those parts of his his body are private too. He has learned to close the bathroom door when we have guests and he is slowly learning about changing in his room during those occasions too. He understands the concept of privacy and puts it under the category of politeness and respect. He also understands how some people are closer in relation to him and there are different appropriate interactions.
So, again, I'm musing. I'm curious when, if ever, did you insist on privacy when changing? Are the privacy rules different for the parent of the opposite gender? I'm figuring that my son will make it clear for me, by his behavior, when "naked is news". Clearly, there is a connection between nudity and sexuality at some point. I don't want him to be confused when he starts making that connection. For now, I'll observe and enjoy how purely joyous he feels within his own body. I just wonder, will it change, or will he maintain this view of the body as a unique part of each person, a separate evaluation from sexual desire?