Given that a fairly small (or even negligible) percentage of people in most countries are open and active naturists, this may not seem to be intuitively plausible. But let’s consider how it could be true.
Many current naturists didn’t quickly discover the pleasures of social nudity, because they just accepted the prevalent misconceptions of naturism and how open nudity is a strong taboo in most societies. So they acquired little idea of what naturism is actually about and mistakenly assumed that becoming a naturist would be more difficult than it really is – therefore probably not worth the trouble.
Fortunately, many people have eventually become naturists anyhow – although a lot later in life than necessary. That happened either because they were sufficiently curious to learn more about naturism, or they let themselves be persuaded by a naturist they knew to give it a try.
Of course, some people really will find becoming a naturist quite difficult. One type is a person who’s very reclusive or a complete “loner”, someone who’s hardly interested, if at all, in relating socially with others. People like that are pretty rare. Much more common, unfortunately, are people who aren’t open-minded enough to accept that naturist nudity isn’t at all immoral, improper, objectionable, “indecent”, or “obscene”.
Naturists should generally not try to change the minds of people like this. They’re within their rights to hold the opinions they do, even though their aversion to nudity probably resulted from social conditioning at an early age. They certainly aren’t good prospects for enjoying social nudity.
Before becoming a naturist, a person may well expect that choice would be difficult, given all the misconceptions about naturism that exist. But anyone who’s sufficiently open-minded to learn what naturism is actually about will probably be surprised to find that enjoying social nudity is a lot easier than they supposed. Once they decide to give naturism a try, they can quickly learn that dispensing with clothes – occasionally or even whenever possible – is a wholesome, fulfilling way to live.
So why is getting involved in social nudity easier than most people would expect? There’s a common saying, often attributed to Confucius: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Quite possibly that’s a concise version of an observation by a follower of Confucius, rather than the sage himself. The original insight might have been this: “Not hearing is not as good as hearing, hearing is not as good as seeing, seeing is not as good as knowing, knowing is not as good as acting; true learning continues until it is put into action.”
Or, to rephrase the idea again, until you actually try out an experience that’s new to you, you won’t really understand why other people enjoy it. The experience could be a sport like skiing, a hobby like bird watching, or… socializing naked with people who may or may not be naturists themselves. Doesn’t matter. The results are the same – provided that the actual experience is compatible with your own predispositions and personality.
There’s another reason that becoming a naturist may be easier than expected. Suppose you can convince your immediate family, people you live with, or some of your close friends that being naked around them is harmless and unobjectionable – even if they aren’t inclined to be naked themselves. (Check here for some discussion of that.) Perhaps you simply explain that you want to find out what it’s like to dispense with clothes sometimes, and they say, “Sure, go for it. We don’t mind.” Or maybe you’ve talked them into visiting a clothing-optional beach with you, and they were OK with that. Surprisingly, there are people who aren’t naturists but aren’t bothered by the nudity of others. Many people at clothing-optional beaches are just there to enjoy the beach and don’t mind the nudity.
Once you’ve found that you enjoy being naked with others who accept that, you have a green light to go naked in similar circumstances, just because you feel like it. As long as you know others who’re OK with your nudity, you’ll probably want to continue being naked with them. After all, why not? People may kid you about it, but so what, as long as they do it good-naturedly. They actually may be acknowledging they think what you’re doing is cool, and they’re impressed you’re self-assured enough to be seen naked. When you’re with some of them again but aren’t naked, you may be invited not to be shy, and to feel free to strip off – so you do. At that point, you really are a naturist.
That may seem like too much to hope for. But it really could happen if you’re not secretive about having an interest in social nudity, you let this interest be known, and you associate with people who’re open-minded enough to accept that. If so, nudity can quickly be considered as “normal” for you. Obviously, people tend to wear things that are considered normal for them – and wearing nothing just happens to be normal for you (in appropriate circumstances).
Over time, acquaintances of people who already regard your nudity as normal may accept your nudity too, simply because they respect the opinions of others who do. In that way, acceptance of your nudity may spread through your social network. “You know, Susan has this good friend who likes to be naked, and since she doesn’t mind, it may not be such a bad thing. It could be interesting to talk to him if he’s naked at her pool party this weekend.” So if friends or relatives of yours have no problem with your nudity and consider it unobjectionable and quite normal for you, then they may transmit their acceptance so it can spread to others who’ll be less likely to think of it as “weird”.
Just for illustration, suppose your spouse or significant other has become accustomed to your nudity – even if he or she isn’t also interested in social nudity. Then he/she may discuss with others how “normal” your nudity has begun to seem. So the others may be OK with your nudity in their presence – and may even be interested in hearing you discuss how you realized you enjoyed being socially naked. This is how acceptance of nudity could spread to a wider circle of friends and acquaintances – almost like, say, an interest in an exotic cuisine or enthusiasm for a new movie.
If you aren’t so lucky to have people you live with or close friends who accept your nudity, then you just need to find others who are already naturists. Indeed, that might be the easier path to take. And it isn’t all that difficult either. Finding naturist friends can be done in a number of ways. There are various naturist resorts, clubs, meetup groups, and clothing-optional beaches in most parts of the country – all likely places to find naturist friends. Once you’ve located one or two venues you like, you’re on your way to connect with social networks of other naturists. Within these networks you’ll quite likely find others who have interests besides naturism in common with you – very good candidates for new friends.
Admittedly, scenarios like these could be overly optimistic, because of obvious factors that increase the difficulty of becoming an enthusiastic social nudist. Probably the main such factor is the irrational prejudice against nudity that is prevalent in many countries – especially the U. S. Anyone who wishes to practice social nudity should be prepared to defend that choice over the possible opposition of family, friends, or acquaintances who have been socially conditioned (probably from a young age) to fear or have an aversion to nudity (except in a sexual context).
This situation is, unquestionably, a strong deterrent to people who might otherwise be interested in social nudity. So along with that interest, some courage will be required to openly defend that interest against antagonists of social nudity. The temptation is to be secretive about this interest. But that’s probably the main reason naturism and social nudity have had such a difficult time, for over a century, becoming more widely accepted. A much better approach is to prepare oneself to debunk the prevalent misconceptions about naturism and social nudity.
Becoming able to enjoy social nudity usually requires a learning process, but it’s not really difficult. First you have to unlearn the fallacies that society teaches about nudity. The hardest part after that, probably, is convincing yourself to go ahead, set your fears aside, and take the first steps. If naturism appeals to you, the best advice is just to make that decision to go for it. Here’s another gem of ancient Chinese wisdom, from Lao Tzu: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
If you start feeling the pleasures of nudity as soon as your clothes come off, you can be pretty sure naturism is right for you! The steps to becoming a naturist won’t be the same for everyone, but here’s the general plan:
- If you feel any sense of shame about the appearance of your naked body, you’ll find discussions about “body acceptance” on most naturist websites. Social nudity itself is really the best therapy for this. To get started, just try to be naked whenever possible – even if at first only when others aren’t around.
- Learn why all the common misconceptions about naturism are wrong – and how to explain to others why that is. (Discussed at some length here.)
- Obtain the approval of the people you live with to be naked at home when you want to be – and your nudity is acceptable to everyone present. (Ideas for doing that here.)
- Find other naturists you can socialize with. For a number of ways to do this, you’ll find suggestions here and here.
- Among naturists you become acquainted with, seek out those with whom you have other important interests in common – favorite hobbies, activities, or pastimes.
- With others in your social network who are sufficiently open-minded, start to have discussions about the wholesomeness and benefits of naturism – and why you enjoy it.
- Become a mentor to others you know who seem interested in naturism themselves – and help them get started. Encourage them to become more active in naturism, help promote it, and become valued friends who can enjoy social nudity together with you.
8 thoughts on “Anyone (almost) can learn to enjoy naturism and social nudity”
People should be allowed to do anything and everything? Spending time with friends and family, whether you wear clothes or not? The human body is not shameful or disgraceful it is natural beauty and handsome?
1) NO. 2) YES. 3) YES.
Three questions that rattle around in my head…
What percentage of the population are nudist / naturist?
What percentage of the population is remotely open to the idea of being a nudist / naturist?
What would be the simplest trigger / motivation for someone to cross the line?
It seems, to me, that the answer to the first question is quite small. The second is slightly bigger. But the answer is hard to know because the idea itself is so far from people’s minds. And if it is ever on their mind, there are many hindrances and misconceptions.
The third question, I think, would vary from person to person. But I believe there is strong connection between the second and third question. For some, the trigger might be quite small and simple and easily attained. Some people, with the right trigger, might be on the cusp.
What do you think
Questions about what percentage of the population counts as “naturist” or “nudist” are certainly very intriguing and important. But however the questions are expressed, they’re very difficult to answer. My first cut at providing some answers became so long that I’m going to save that for a post on the blog.
The question “What would be the simplest trigger / motivation for someone to cross the line?” is also very intriguing and important. But here some generalization is possible. There are probably only a few triggers, broadly speaking. In some cases a person may just on a whim experiment with being naked in private – and find the experience quite enjoyable. That’s common for most preschool children, but parents usually put a stop to it before long. A somewhat older child, however, may experiment with nudity secretly and also enjoy it. Or the experimentation may only begin in adulthood.
The trigger could be as simple as personal curiosity, or it might be reading about some sort of nonsexual nudity on the Internet. Or perhaps it’s because of encountering nudity unexpectedly on a clothing-optional beach, or even learning that nudity is possible on some beach or isolated area. If someone experiments with nudity and finds they enjoy it, eventually they’ll probably look for ways to be naked on a more regular basis, even in the presence of others (but hopefully the motivation isn’t exhibitionism).
Really, the only other likely trigger is when someone learns that a good friend or relative enjoys nonsexual nudity, and decides to try it themselves – with or without encouragement from the other person. Of course, the more the other person is trusted and encourages the experience of nudity, the more likely it is that someone will try it. The best case is if the other person is someone an individual has already been naked with privately.
This implies that naturists who want to interest others in social nudity should be open and talk about their enjoyment of nudity. Better still, get permission to be naked with others in natural, everyday situations.
What other triggers could there be, except for oneself or another person? I suppose there are rare instances when a person is coerced into being naked and discovers it’s actually pleasant. A few decades ago, that could happen, for example in required showering after gym classes in school. But that’s mostly a thing of the past, except perhaps for people in the military.
So the question becomes one of the specifics of how a person first experiences being naked for nonsexual reasons other than routine things like changing clothes or bathing. What specific triggers or motivators could a person have for trying nudity on their own? Could be a lot of things – something read on the Internet, nudity in a movie or other work of fiction, seeing others naked at a clothing-optional beach, being told by a third party that an acquaintance is a naturist, etc. In the case of encouragement or persuasion by a trusted acquaintance, family member, or intimate partner it becomes a matter of how much the other is trusted and persuasive.
Wow, thank you, I didn’t expect such a thoughtful and thought-out answer. 🙂
I think about those three questions from time to time.
I look around at groups of people (shopping, sorting events, groups at parks, zoos, etc.) and I think that very, very few of them are nudists, if any. This leads me then to wonder how many, if any, of them would ever be open to it. And as I think about that, I focus on one or two people and try to imagine what might trigger them to cross the line.
If my focus is on well-dressed, well-manicured women, I tend to think few things, if any, would trigger them. They might be too self-conscience and too image-conscience, and possibly too insecure. If my focus is on dressed-downed, easy-going folks I am more optimistic.
I have this gut feeling that the right circumstances, the right timing, the right mood, the right family history, the right friends, and the right cultural perspective, etc., all play into triggers. But it might be far simpler than that.
My gut then often leads me to a fourth question. What percentage of the population privately desires to be undressed at a deep-seated, subconscious level? When I look around and see the dressed-down, easy-going people I wonder if the desire is presently and often there. Certainly more for men than for women, but for women too if my above list of “right” is fulfilled to whatever degree they need to be comfortable and feel safe.
Question for you… Is there validity to this fourth question? For easy-going people is it possible that the desire to be nude is subconsciously present regularly and often?
My gut feeling is that the number of people who could be considered “active” naturists (a very vague concept) is in the 1% to 2% range in the U. S. That means you probably see some of them when out shopping, or anywhere you might encounter 100s of people. So there’s a good chance that 1 or 2 of these people are active naturists. Also, most adults are probably acquainted (by name, in person) with as many as 100 to 150 people. So most adults are probably acquainted with 1 or 2 active naturists without realizing it. The problem is how to guess who they might be, since naturists don’t usually wear T-shirts or hats that identify them as naturists. But it would certainly be nice if there were some sort of “secret sign” naturists could use to do this.
I have to believe there are lots of people like this. Perhaps even 10% to 20% of the population. Unfortunately, existing naturist organizations haven’t figured out how to “trigger” these people. An advertising campaign of some sort might do it, coupled with a way for these potential naturists to meet “active” naturists. But it would be expensive, and our organizations seem to be at a loss trying to figure out how to fund a campaign, and how to manage it in a way that’s “safe” for all concerned.
That’s certainly a valid thing to wonder about, but I think it’s not possible to actually answer without some way to see inside people’s minds. Human minds are incredibly complex, full of all kinds of predispositions and tendencies – many of which conflict with each other. There are innate predispositions, such as fear of the dark and attraction to little babies. There are tendencies acquired in childhood from families and friends. And there are influences continually acquired from everyday experience. As far as naturism is concerned, some tendencies favor nudity (because it just feels so good), while others oppose it (cultural anti-nudity conditioning).
It’s unfortunate that our naturist organizations aren’t run by people with the psychological skills to figure out how to enhance the nudity-positive tendencies (and suppress the negative ones) likely to be present in most people’s minds.
Since you’ve obviously given thought to these issues, may I suggest you adopt a shorter and less generic handle if you’d like to continue this discussion?
I’ll give your suggestion some thought. 🙂
Yes, I’ve given these things a lot of thought over the years. Nudity is a human act that some nudists treat too lightly, some too complicated. I am one of those who would say that both the desire and the experience is profound and worthy of reflection and deep thought.
Notice the website line in the form for this comment.
Totally agree. Naturism is, or can be, much more than a leisure activity.
If you provided that, I can’t see it. However, from your IP address, it seems you may live in a part of the state with relatively good access to naturist places. C’mon. Why so mysterious? You can communicate privately via DM on Twitter, or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’re so inclined.