Nudity, A Definition

Nevernude-1 While the rest of the nation's worried about the economy, two wars and an upcoming election, officials in Santa Fe, New Mexico, have been tackling an even greater problem: public nudity, and last night expanded on the city's definition of what's nude and what's not:

Nudity means the showing of the human male or female genitals, pubic area, or buttocks with less than a fully opaque covering, the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any part of the nipple, or the showing of the covered male genitals in a discernibly turgid state.

The definition comes after parents complained about the annual World Naked Bike Ride, which they say corrupted their children.

I suppose it's a good thing I stumbled onto this story, for I'm spending the next six months living in Santa Fe and now I know that "turgid" male genitals aren't meant for public consumption. Because, you know, common sense isn't enough to make that clear.

[Image Note: To answer a reader's question, yes, that is David Cross, and the image comes from his time on Arrested Development. His character was a "never nude," a person who is, well, never nude.]


  1. GraphicJack says

    Parents are so fucked. They’ll take their kids to see violent films or all them to play video games that mame or destroy the human body, but perish the thought we allow kids to see anyone nude. Okay, boners flashed in public is obviously not right, but how is a kid seeing an ass, a female breast or a flacid cawk going to “corrupt” their children? Grow up… nudity is natural, and while I don’t have an urge to ride a bike nude in public, I can’t see what harm it does anyone. Where the harm is coming from is from the parents, who teach kids to be ashamed of their own bodies.

  2. Steve says

    We are such a puritanical society. It always surprises me how we teach kids to be ashamed of their own bodies.

  3. Timzilla says

    I thought that Arizona, not New Mexico, was the “discernibly turgid State.” They’re totally a bunch of pompous, bloated tools.

  4. CoMo'mo says

    When the Toledo Public Library made internet access available to users (seems so long ago now) there was a long debate over whether to use filters to discourage “inappropriate site access”. The filters available then were not effective, many had ideological biases, and some went too far by relying on stop words without making logical exceptions. “Breast cancer” would be a blocked search. So library staff had to perform onerous oversite that wasn’t always easy, seldom pleasant, and something we objected to ethically. I recall several staff meetings where we were given instructions on discernment of taboo images. It seemed bizarre then to spend an hour hearing detailed instructions concerning female nipples. Fortunately, male nipples were overlooked. There was disagreement at the user level about COVERED turgid male genitalia.

    Enjoy Santa Fe

  5. Rob says

    Why can’t parents just teach their children that everyone has a body and it’s nothing to be embarrassed about?

  6. TampaZeke says

    Before you laugh too much about this and talk about “common sense” when it comes to ‘”turgid” male genitals’, you might want to take a step back and think about WHO’s going to be determining what constitutes “turgid”.

    It usually turns out to be Phyllis Schlafley/Maggie Gallagher/Christine O’Donnel types.

    You could very well find yourself in violation of the statute if you wear boxers that don’t support and control excessive “swing” or if your pants cup your boys the wrong way when standing, walking, sitting, bending over, etc. Heaven forbid that a man wear a pair of pants, hangs down one leg and takes a step that exposes the fact that he has exterior genitalia.

    Santa Fe won’t be having any more public ballets with male dancers, competitive cycling, Greco-Roman wrestling, swimming competitions rodeos as long as they enforce this rule.

    I notice there was no prohibition of camel toe.

  7. phineas says

    Santa Fe used to be a really cool place to live. It seems now the trailer trash has moved in with the collapse of home prices.

  8. GAYLY says

    I spent the 16th year of my life with discernibly turgid genitals and on occasion still do. It just happens sometimes. I guess awkward embarassment isn’t enough. Now, you’ll have to go to jail for popping a boner.
    I think this policy is probably due to the undue influence by the makers hideously baggy trousers.

  9. wtf says

    Frankly, I find the ban on turgid genitals to be offensive. What’s wrong with a hard cock? Are humans so freaked out by male genitalia that seeing a hard cock will cause them to be emotionally scarred for life? What Victorian Puritanical Bullshit is this?

    Give me a fucking break. Up with boners!

  10. Bryan says

    “…’turgid’ male genitals aren’t meant for public consumption. Because, you know, common sense isn’t enough to make that clear.”

    This is another instance of common sense that’s only the former. Please quote verifiable facts, develop an argument based on reason and devoid of fallacies, and draw a conclusion that supports your view.

    I think you may have a hard time proving that that the sight of an erection is in any way harmful of the public good. Unless of course we consider that dearest of American values – shame – a god-given right.

    (Oops… Silly me. Of _course_ it’s a god-given right. That’s exactly where it came from.)

  11. mm says

    God almighty what a bunch of clowns, republicans HAVE to be behind this. “Turgid state…” can mean any state that is not totally flaccid, you do not have to have an erection, only a mere swelling, and for some of us larger guys it is difficult enough to hide even a shrunken dick on a cold day, what this definition does is say to residents and visitors in Santa Fe that you better project all the anatomical smoothness of a Ken doll or you can be arrested for public indecency which comes with a lifetime membership in the registered sex offenders club by the way.

    From Urban Dictionary: Turgid a. L. turgidus, from turgere to swell. 1. Distended beyond the natural state by some internal agent or expansive force; swelled; swollen; bloated; inflated; tumid; — especially applied to an enlarged part of the body; as, a turgid limb; turgid fruit.

    This is just another grossly vague law that they know is unconstitutional because it can be applied to anybody at any time for any reason.

    I wonder if this applies to spandex wearing females sporting a major cameltoe? I used to get embarassed when I was stared at for having a healthy basket, but I do not apologize for my anatomy nor for being well enough above average in size to run afoul of the stupid laws of New Mexico, just add this to the many, many reasons not to go there.

  12. mm says

    Almost forgot, what about men with penile prosthesis? Especially the solid rod type, they ALWAYS have an erection. I can see it now, the city will grant exemptions to the hard on laws if you go to the local police station and submit to a penis inspection.

    Here is an idea for New Mexico, the UNISEX BURKAH. And like Ford used to say, “you can have it in any color you like as long as that is black.”

  13. CoMo'mo says

    I just watched the video. If the ordinance preserves the citizens from the sight of any of the Council members in a state of undress of any degree, it might not be such a bad law.

  14. says

    Here in Washington State, the law (which can be overridden by more stringent local codes, unfortunately) is that nudity is LEGAL unless it is considered “obscene”. Obviously, there’s room for prudes to make a big fuss, but at least here in Seattle we have the very well attended Fremont Solstice Parade with its nude bicyclists (

    And, GRAPHICJACK, there are many families in attendance!

    Yes, we do get complaints for prudish/Puritan parents, but most of us, I think, are not so uptight. Surely it’s the adults who care about nudity more than the kids. While our family group, Rainbow Families of Puget Sound was lining up for this year’s Pride Parade, a couple nude cyclists rode through. None of us was upset, though the tweens in our group got a good giggle.

  15. Mr. West says

    I love how insane our culture is! If lawmakers only knew how many MEN get completely SEXUALLY AROUSED by having their nipples licked, sucked, flicked, bitten, pinched, pulled, yanked, twisted, nibbled, caressed, slapped, etc….. w’d all be wearing pasties in public. THANK GOD men can go shirtless. Seeing men’s chests and nipples at 9 years old was the first thing that made me realize I was gay.

  16. wimsy says

    I love it when you guys lecture each other! Let’s have a session on proper etiquette in cleaning up sticky santorum.

  17. Jerry6 says

    Let’s see now: 1. I have never heard of a human child being born with cloths on.
    2. Humans ran around naked tens of thousands of years without putting on cloths.
    3. At some point someone came up with the idea of male “loin” cloths to protect the genital area from physical damage and discomfort.
    4. Other clothing was added for utilitarian and comfort from the cold, etc.
    5. So now, some people want to reverse the amount of clothing they wear in public.

    BIG DEAL!!!