Nudity and the Family Jewels

“The management” of the gym I go to put up a “notice” recently, reminding everyone that they can’t be walking in the nude in the Lockers area “for ethical reasons”. Chance for us to talk a bit about the Lebanese and their family jewels.

It is no secret that we are quite a conservative society, and as such, we tend to be quite inhibited when it comes to nudity. That Lebanese guys hate to be naked around each others is easy to notice through many little things of everyday life, especially for us GiBs who tend to notice them due to our interest in men.

Our society seems to close the loop against public displays of nudity on both sides of the equation. On one hand, guys don’t like to show up naked, even in men-only environments, and never had to do it growing up for reasons like not having Pool Day at school. And on the other hand, every public place is designed to encourage this kind of privacy, from individual changing cabins to individual shower rooms, such that guys never have to get used to it anyway.

This is very different from the West, where I discovered as a kid that it was normal, for example, to shower in an open shower room along with classmates. It happened without carrying any sexual connotation whatsoever. Being raised not to associate nudity with shame and taboo as we are here, I believe the kids abroad stand a bigger chance to grow through puberty more comfortable with their body and with themselves in general.

Also in the West, it is generally accepted for guys to hang around naked in front of each others, say in a gym’s or a pool’s locker room. How many movies have that locker room scene where you get to take a peak at the lead actor? There, nudity among men seems to come much more naturally and more often than not, there are simply no ‘privacy options’ even for the shy to play prude.

As far as I can tell from my own experience, this inhibition is also true of Lebanese family men within the privacy of their own home. They are uncomfortable being naked in the presence of their wife and kids. I was almost shocked the first time I went to Europe as a kid and saw that in my cousin’s family, it was normal for daddy to shower all together with mommy and the three kids – not something I would ever see back home. And no, they were not naturists.

I don’t consider myself to be neither a voyeur, nor an exhibitionist, just a guy who doesn’t mind seeing a naked guy around. Within the limits of moral behavior, I consider that every person is free to be as uninhibited as they want – on the basis that others can just look away if they’re bothered. It’s a personal choice and a cultural matter. And as much as I respect other people’s feelings and ethics, I hate being told what to do and not do as far as personal and cultural matters…

… so to “the Management” of the gym, I just want to say that this notice sounds kind of backwards to me - and I hope it doesn’t have anything to do with homophobia…

-- by GiB#2


  1. Are all Gyms like this in Lebanon?

  2. this one's probably on the more family oriented side.. i ve heard about much more "happening" ones but i ve never been - anyone?

  3. No, not all gyms are like this! Even though mine is also family oriented, I've already seen guys walking in the locker room naked (Mostly older man, of course).
    But last time there was this guy maybe in his 20s changing in the middle of the locker room in spite of the individual changing cabins... But when I got in he apologized, which I found weird! :-O
    We also have swimming lessons at school, and we take our shower after that, but in individual showers rooms...

  4. i hope so.. seems like Lebanon may be more conservative than i thought

  5. it seems that Lebanon is more conservative than i thought..

  6. i wrote a long post here. then i
    ctrl+a > delete.
    i just don't like this post.
    whichever way i think about it, i don't like it.
    it bothers you that you can't walk around naked in the gym you chose..choose another gym - theorizing about oriental sexual taboos via this ignition point is just sleazy. and you know what's sleazier? this
    "… so to “the Management” of the gym, I just want to say that this notice sounds kind of backwards to me - and I hope it doesn’t have anything to do with homophobia…"

    whatever came off as aggressive, just don't take in..

  7. Guess what Raafat: I don't like this post either.
    As a matter of fact, I hate it: Writing it was like reviving all kind of disturbing childhood memories and complexes, and how it is to grow up gay-curious in an environment that seemed so uptight.

    I only ended posting it because I thought it's daring and unconventional. my bad.

    The only thing that bothers me in your comment is that you got out of this post that I should look for a gym where I could hang around naked, when it's precisely the opposite point I was trying to make: that if and when I am abroad in a place where it's normal to walk around naked other guys, I turned out to be more inhibited about it than any guy in the West, and that's because of this culture and education that I received. Do you get the difference?

  8. do you prefer such comments? tantalizing revelations & co. ?
    [it seems that Lebanon is more conservative than i thought..]

    1.it's not that i dislike this post because i found it so genuine..i disliked it because it is not up to par with the blog

    2.the blog is daring and 'unconventional' eza baddak..this post isn't

    3.you see, the problem is here: your conclusion is irrelevant to the content..you don't take a specific case and then reach something as general as the inhibition of Lebanese men

    4.when it comes down to it, you are comparing two cultures, condemning one using its characteristics as its crime - i can't agree with that.

    5.my aunt once told me this story.. in a seminar she had, they were highlighting differences in cultural practice..in infinitesimal aspects..so they gave the participants Oreo biscuits.. the north americans opened it in two.. licked the white and then ate the biscuits..the rest - just ate the biscuit.. i am not shrinking your point to how-we-eat-our-biscuits.. i'm just saying this is not a parameter of 'back/forward' ..it's just a description of conduct..

    6.in Lebanon, men hug .. kiss..hold hands and walk down the street ..do you see that in the States? no. if you do.. it's Faggot-tagged..

    7.changing your gym is not what i got out of your post.. i may be level-headed..but please..
    it was the nicest thing i could have said about it

    8.i don't think you are more inhibited that any guy in the west.. i think you are more inhibited that some men in the west .. but this applies to your inhibition status around here..

    9.i bet i can go on forever, but now i feel rude..completely not my intention :)


  9. ...As for me I do like this post , but not the last sentence. I've always wondered why we were so prude in lebanon , when I went swimming in a pool in Canada I had to shower in front of a group of school children...I kept my speedo on me. LOL. I would have felt weird stripping in front of children. We are too much influenced by our education and culture. Personnaly I don't give the matter any importance it's a social habit...in lebanon we kiss 3 times, in france they kiss only 2 times...in lebanon men do kiss each other on the cheek , whereas in europe they don't ! now that's a new material to write about ;)

  10. You convinced me Raa'fat and Jimmy, that's exactly what I'm talking about. I tend to make generalizations went sometimes I shouldn't.. We seem to all agree it's a cultural matter, I took it a up a notch and saw in it a hint of homophobia when there probably isn't any, just more conservative manners...
    By the way Jimmy, still waiting for your posts!!! ;)

  11. I'm European and I actually enjoy the privacy you get here in the Middle East, without guys trying check you out in the changing room... Because believe me, they do. Even the straight guys want to know how they compare.

    Also, I've never heard of families showering together anywhere. (If I had to guess I would say you probably went to Germany. The Germans always seem to be taking their clothes off...)

  12. karze' : http://tinyurl.com/3azoncd

  13. hahaha love it!!! that's one hell of a cultural shock to put down somewhere on that travel list!

  14. The thing I just don't understand is the stupid link between a conservative gym for families and the locker rooms for men only. Suppose the gym is family oriented, is it wrong if men (unnecessarily) changed their clothes or shower in front of everyone... at least they aren't getting naked in front of women.

    Btw raafat, you look cute :)

  15. raafat you are cute

  16. he IS cute right? come on let's turn this into a dating website :)

  17. i'm on a new project in north lebanon. and i moved here for 6 months. so i joined a new gym today, here in anfeh north lebanon. i'm not snob but when i went to register at that gym i was expecting a village kind of gym, with village kind of people, i never expected this but it's the best gym for gays in lebanon! it's not a gay gym, but, oh my god, i saw the hottest guys naked in the locker rooms!!

    Just by joining the gym, you get access to a warm indoor swimming pool with sauna and jaccuzi. So everyone there goes for a swim after workout. And by everyone i mean the hottest guys in the country. who would have thought anfeh men are that hot?? and a gym where you get to see them all naked in the locker room! you definetly wanna go there, it's called marina del sol health club! and i forgot to mention how hot was the coach there!

    i love anfeh. and i definetly love my new gym.


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