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From the Iron Lung

Quality of Life

A wry smile came across the face of 87 year old Jim Vickers-Willis, as he read 'The Age' newspaper article (April 26, 2006) headed "The Secret of Being in Rude Health is Intercourse, Of Course". Jim suffered tremendous criticism for suggesting that sex was physically good for you - in fact, Jim's first book "Are You Fun To Live With?" was originally titled "Orgasms Are Good For You" until family pressures led to change. That was the 1970's.

Decades later the medical and scientific professions are catching up, and waking up to this fact - sex protects us against disease. Research shows "sex can offer protection from depression, colds, heart disease, and even cancer", says the article.

In surviving polio and escaping the iron lung in 1954, Jim gained a profound personal experience about the quality of life. One that caused him to ask whether many of us were living in our own 'iron lungs' because we held 'life suffocating' attitudes - an evangelist was born, that would see Jim get involved in a great many, often unpopular in his day, campaigns to bring about change in his community, including campaigns to have sex education introduced into the school curriculum, to legalise some nude-bathing beaches, to get our troops out of Vietnam, to build bike paths, to make tobacco advertising illegal, to legalise voluntary euthanasia, and many others.

Jim was especially concerned about the increasing distress in adult relationships, obvious in the sky high divorce rates since the 1960's in most western societies. So, he put to work the skills he learned as a journalist to investigate this social problem, and like Sheree Hite and The Kinseys before him, to report on what he discovered. He then used promotion skills, learned when fronting the Australian 1950's square dancing boom, to bring this new age information on relationships and sexuality to public attention - on radio, television and newspapers, and in books, DVDs and recordings. The result was a rich trove of information resources that continue today to help people find meaning in their relationships, and quality in their lives.

Use the links below to access some resources Jim created to pass on information he had discovered about intimacy and creating loving relationships:

Book (Pdf): Are You (Really) Fun To Live With? (1973)

Audio: Talk on Sex for Parents & Couples (click arrow to start audio)


Some other information resources are no longer available, including Jim's film titled "Let's Get It All Off - For Goodness Sake!.

Nudist DVDEver wondered why some people go to beaches and camps where no one wears clothes? Ever wondered what it would be like, but were too uncertain to give it a try? In this 32 minute film, Jim took us all inside a nudist community, to meet and chat to Australian nudists and to see what happens on Australian nudist beaches and nudist camps, and find out why they go there. We were a fly on the wall at a nudist beach and at a nudist camp - to see for ourselves. And many were surprised with what they discovered - as the naturists (families, couples, single people, children, & adults alike) enjoy tennis, swimming, canoeing, reading under the trees, walking, square dancing, exhibition and round dancing, golf, volleyball, bouncing on the trampolines.

We heard the courageous Reverend R. Corr talk openly and comfortably about his personal experiences investigating for himself the nudist community.

Jim made this film "Lets Get It Off - For Goodness Sake" about the Australian nudist movement to pass on to State Premiers, the Prime Minister, and various Ministers. Jim's hope was that when they made laws regarding creating legal nude bathing beaches around the Australian coast (nude beaches were banned in Australia at the time) they would base their decision on accurate information - instead of blind prejudice and ignorance. Thanks in no small measure to the efforts of Jim and the nudist movement who campaigned for change, including creating this film, the politicians did legalise nude bathing beaches, and Australia now has some of the world's best free bathing beaches in the world.

Jim financed this film himself, and people participated willingly and freely in support of their dream for legal nude bathing facilities.

The film was created over a period of 4 years - being shot at Australian nudist beaches and at the River Valley Nudist Holiday Resort. To Jim, the title is what it is all about - not just the goodness of the enjoyment in naturism, but the very real and important mental and physical benefits.

Jim also created a series of Self-help Relationship and Sex Information audio-tapes. These tapes promoted open and constructive attitudes to sexuality and adult relationships. Through these tapes, Jim reminded us that "the most important sexual organ in our bodies is between our ears". Unfortunately, these recordings are no longer available.

In its day, the information Jim passed on was quite radical and controversial, and even in these much more enlightened days, many of us could well take heed of his teachings. An insight into the attitudes of the early days when he got started on this mission is sensed when reading his brief and quite funny article on how he first got involved in issues about relationships and sexuality in the swinging 60s, titled How I Got Interested In Relationships & Sexuality. He wrote, "In 1966 I walked into a Wimbledon bookshop and bought my first book on sex. It was a good one entitled "Mainly for Women". I was so embarrassed as I paid my money that I turned it over the wrong way..........read more here.

Jim went on to found the Quality of Life Association (QLA), to help raise awareness on the many important social policy issues that became a part of his life mission - from sex and relationship education, to prison reform, to eradicating tobacco use, to promoting voluntary euthanasia and the right to die with dignity, to building bike paths, and so on.

Click on the play arrow below to listen to Jim talking with Doug Aiton on Radio 3LO about the campaign to eradicate tobacco - the year was 1996:


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