It’s rather interesting, and unusual, to see a positive article on naturism in the New York Times or similar mainstream publications. Usually, whatever else the spin, a writer treats the topic with at least a little condescension. You know, something along the lines of “Well, it wasn’t as difficult to do as I’d imagined, and I sort of enjoyed it, but it’s tough to think that intelligent people (like me) take this very seriously.” Not in this case, however.
“My friends and I hardly followed the naturists’ chaste, no-judge code to the letter, but the more we visited, the closer we approached a sense of ease. The discipline of public nakedness rewarded our efforts in proportion to our degree of exertion, the euphoria of being in the moment a direct byproduct of battling the innate and unignorable weirdness of our collective situation. … On the beach, consumed with the task of pretending this was normal, I was able to attain what I assume is something like Zen. Naturism required so much effort that, somehow, it worked.”
The author, Kelli María Korducki, concludes:
“Nakedness doesn’t democratize social experience, as the naturists seem to suggest. Instead, it offers something better: a shared preoccupation. It’s so awkward to act blasé about being naked around other people — people who are also, themselves, naked — that there’s nothing left to do but submit en masse to the social and afferent novelty. Take in the warmth of the sun on your bare butt, skinny-dip unaccompanied by a sneaky sense of thrill, try not to stare at anyone’s penile jewelry. It’s easier said than done.”
What does she mean by “It’s easier said than done”? I think it’s more than just admitting some discomfort with her own nakedness and that it’s not easy to resist staring at penises, areolas, and other body parts that are “normally” covered. At least, not easy before one learns how to enjoy sharing nudity with others without undue attention to the naked bits. Nudity, perhaps with some effort, can become normal, so just enjoy it. People new to naturism should realize there’s a “degree of exertion” required initially. The effort is required, to begin with, in order to overcome many years of social conditioning that shared nakedness is “abnormal”. And it’s worth the effort.
Here’s how the experienced naturist blogger (Fred) at This is my place comments on the article:
“If one were not preoccupied with nudity to some extent, one would never take to the lifestyle. This is true of any special interest. …
If you felt a sneaky sense of thrill at skinny-dipping, then good for you. You are enjoying yourself. People who wear penile jewelry want to be looked at. Keep at the nudie lifestyle for a while and it becomes background noise. I’m still not blasé about it 40 years into social or even private nudity. Why would anyone ever want to become blasé about something they enjoyed? Novelty wears off but the satisfaction ought to remain.”
The same as with penile jewelry can be said about nipple jewelry, which is perhaps more common. Many naturists used to find such things “shocking”. Some still do. Even though they don’t find full nudity at all shocking.
It’s not unfair to say that people who enjoy social nudity like being seen naked. That’s a prerequisite for the full enjoyment. Part of the pleasure is because they are proud of having overcome embarrassment from being naked. Do not assume this is the same as being an exhibitionist. It’s not. Exhibitionists want to attract attention to themselves. That doesn’t work when most others are naked too. Exhibitionists also aim to shock people. Naturists intend the exact opposite.