Spanish beach holidays

Hi there.

I live in Ireland and most Irish people holiday in europe .
I am planning to go to Spain in holidays and it is impossible to find a beach that is not “top optional”

I have been to Spanish beaches on many holidays and most people are quite discrete and do not draw attention to themselves. They are simply trying to get a suntan.

While on holidays last year with my two teenage boys I simply sat in an area with the least amount of temptation and did not draw any attention to any topless sunbathing.
In Europe this is part of their culture and the Irish who travel abroad tend not to take too much notice.

My question is am I doing enough by trying to handle the situation discretely or is it necessary to avoid a beach family holiday.

I can’t afford to travel to the US and all European beaches are the same.

I would not take teenage boys to a topless beach. They don’t need that at their age. There must be more wholesome vacation opportunities that you could find.

One thing I think us essential to stress here. All beaches in Europe are top optional.
Because it is part of their culture it is very discrete and as people are accustomed to it people are less focused on it and tend not to bat an eyelid.

The more we are focused on these issues the more we tend to sexualise it. We are NOT going to the beach because people are top less. It is simply that it is IMPOSSIBLE to find a beach that is not top optional. We simply want to enjoy some time in the sun. We are not in a position to pay to travel to the US where the beach dress code is more conservative.

In this case we would have to give up the chance of ever going on a family sun holiday again.

Sounds to me like you’re being reasonable in your approach.

I’m in the US, and my preference is to travel to beaches that are a lot less busy. Not just because of what other people might wear, but just because it’s a lot more fun without being crowded. I don’t know how busy the beaches are where you are considering going, but you might consider one that attracts fewer tourists just so there will be less “in your face,” so to speak. (That sounds a bit like what you are doing already, and choosing a spot where there are fewer people and fewer temptations.)

It is actually a trip to Barcelona where we combine sightseeing with beach.

I noticed last year that the beach was less crowded midweek so we could aim to avoid the beach at peak times. I am trying to balance a family holiday that will suit everyone’s needs without compromising Catholic values.

R

I think as long as you’ve spoken to your boys about the vice of lust and things along these lines, then it is o.k.

I think I’d teach my son not to look when they notice that, however. But perhaps that would just be counter-productive. lol

It’s a somewhat serious question, though. Maybe you should ask your priest what he thinks.

As you say this is part of the culture and no one really notices anyway. By making such sights ‘forbidden’ as it were you may inadvertantly make it even more of an attraction.

This would not seem to be a case of either intrinsically wrong but of prudence and circumstances.

If your boys are teenagers and do not come from a culture where this topless thing is normative then its going to affect them isn’t it.

You have to weigh up whether they have the maturity to deal with the experience well or whether it may be an obstacle for their maturing sexuality and imaginations at this stage.

Keep in mind that having a cheap beach holiday is not a commandment!

Good luck.

Thanks for your input. It is actually a situation I am trying to avoid so we may go to another destination this year.

However we were not planning a cheap sun holiday but rather a holiday in Barcelona which would combine cultural sightseeing , family oriented activities and the occasional trip to the beach.

I suppose the issue is obtaining an understanding of how to do normal family things without compromising Catholic values.

You can never have a total guarantee that there won’t be that type of presence on the beach, but you can influence it by chosing your location wisely. Is it more a family type of resort where families with children will hang out, or is it more a resort for singles and groups? This reflects not just what you’ll see on the beach there but also the other types of entertainment and distractions on offer, such as naughty items and postcards in gift shops, non family friendly entertainment venues with publically displayed posters etc. There are quite a few smaller resorts that don’t have many hotels but are mostly private houses (some of which you can rent or go into as B&B) and this setup automatically makes the locations less attractive for the rawdy party crowd.

God made the human body to be something beautiful and to be admired, NOT to be something that most people feel need to be covered up or censored…this type of thinking is satan sneaking into our minds, wants us to think the human body is somehow ‘nasty/ dirty’ and we should feel almost guilty for looking at it, LOL.

Wisely prorecting malleable characters until they are strong does not mean Jansenism Mike.

Babies are born to drink milk and not eat meat for a reason.
That does not mean meat is evil.

Babes are simply not yet strong enough or mature enough to handle it.

Same thing.

Or should that be peek times…

I wouldn’t worry about it. I live at Bondi and a fair percentage of the girls go topless. It’s entirely normal and nothing sexual. In fact, it can be amusding to see a topless girl and a girl wearing a short skirt walk past and all male eyes will swivel to the girl wearing the skirt.

You might be giving your boys the wrong impression - that the female body is to be avoided because of sexual overtones. I don’t see any lust on the beach. Just people enjoying the sun.

Treat it a something that is a problem and it could become one.

Couldn’t have said it better if I was an Australian Atheist myself.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.