Are you a naked person?

By “naked person” I mean, specifically, someone who often or almost always prefers to wear nothing – or as close to nothing as possible – that covers any part of their body. That term generally includes many nudists and naturists. It also includes people who live mostly without clothing because that’s the norm in the culture or society they belong to – although presently that’s quite a small number. But it doesn’t include people like exhibitionists who use nudity only for sexual gratification or to shock others.

Of course, the main concern here is with nudists and naturists who live in societies or cultures where nudity is far from the norm. In other words, under social conditions where nudity is acceptable or at least tolerated only in limited circumstances, such as in private homes or a few places where nudity is socially and legally permissible.

The point I want to make about being a “naked person” is that it should be considered a conscious affirmation of personal identity. That is to say, a state of being of significant and substantial worth in itself, and one that merits the respect of others. The deliberate choice to wear no clothing should be no different from any other clothing choice. So naked persons rightly feel that their choice to be naked is just as valid and deserving of respect as any other clothing choice. And that’s because their choice strongly reflects their personal identity.

Although most people in U. S. society – as well as the societies of many European countries – don’t wear types of clothing required by certain religious or cultural traditions, those latter choices are accepted. And that’s because it’s recognized that such choices strongly reflect the personal identities of those who make them. Someone who is, for example, Amish, Muslim, or Orthodox Jewish wears clothing that accords with their religion, because that has deep meaning for who they are. And even though choosing to wear no clothing is very seldom for religious reasons – except for modern pagans – it has every bit as much meaning for someone who self-identifies as a naked person.

Of course, many – probably most – people use additional visible means besides clothing to express personal identity. Women, and sometimes men, have long used makeup for this purpose. Hairstyles, including facial hair for men, are certainly in this category too. Tattoos have now become very popular for this purpose. The same is true for body jewelry (even though it may be visible only in the absence of clothing).

It’s true that many nudists and naturists don’t think of their enjoyment of nudity in terms of personal identity. They like being naked simply because it “feels so good” or it’s “much more comfortable” than wearing clothes. They don’t consciously think they’re “making a statement” by being naked. And that’s fine.

Yet the truth is that wearing nothing actually does convey a person’s identity, whether intentionally or not. The verb “convey” means passing some sort of information from one person to others. This is just as much the case as with the choices people make in what they wear at work (whether it’s a business suit or jeans and T-shirt), on social occasions, or in any other situation where other people are present.

Nudity qualifies as part of the identity of someone who openly expresses pleasure in being naked. So choosing to be naked reflects that identity and signals it to anyone who observes them.

11 thoughts on “Are you a naked person?”

  1. I tried it once when I was 18 but my Mom caught on. During the summer I would go to my backyard and enjoy the cold water from the hose to keep cool. I wouldn’t wear any swim shorts to feel the water on my skin. But it has been several years. I hope to someday try it again.

  2. Well stated.

    Add to that those who use nudity as a statement for other causes such as animal rights or the environment, knowing that the state of nakedness will, indeed, draw attention and most likely some kind of response.

    As we are moving away from traditional “binary gender roles,” how people use clothing, (or the lack there of) along with other body adornments (jewelry, tattoos, etc) has become just that much more meaningful to a lot more people. The increasing acceptance of existing outside of preconceived norms is, itself, becoming the norm. Perhaps that will lend itself to simple nudity as well.

    Thanks for this thoughtful piece.

    1. Dan,

      The increasing acceptance of existing outside of preconceived norms is, itself, becoming the norm. Perhaps that will lend itself to simple nudity as well.

      We should be so lucky. The exclusion of nudity from “norms” has been going on for over 100 years. What I think is that “naked people” will need to start cooperating with each other much more and put a lot more effort into changing the norm. Ain’t gonna happen automatically, IMHO. Think of things like Felicity Jones’ YNA. Even though it appealed to young people, it still fizzled out for lack of support among young folks who were supposedly more “gender fluid”, open to non-traditional relationships, into tattoos, etc.

  3. I must agree, in part to the last comment. I should point out, however, that those who make “statements” with their nudity cannot be considered “true” nudists. They are merely political activists whose statements, whether right or wrong, are being expressed in the nude.

    Well thought out and written treatise. I very much enjoyed it!

    1. Mitch,

      I should point out, however, that those who make “statements” with their nudity cannot be considered “true” nudists. They are merely political activists whose statements, whether right or wrong, are being expressed in the nude.

      You are mostly correct. Many political activists who use nudity as a tool are neither “true” nudists nor “naked people” in the sense I meant. Although some probably are either or both. WNBR participants may be good examples, yet many WNBR folks aren’t even naked on their rides. To the extent that their protests helped call attention to important issues, that’s good. But I don’t think most of them did much to help normalize nudity. And organizations like PETA have (I think) ceased to use nudity in their campaigns.

  4. An excellent article!
    Yes, the idea of naturism/nudism is still very much taboo in the vast majority of modern society but I personally think the tied is turning.

    As a youngster it was made clear that anything like that was viewed as disgusting but what is disgusting about the human form? In my later years, I have grown a stronger affiliation to being naked and feeling confident in my own appearance, and that includes being viewed by others of the same affiliation.

    I am now proud to call myself a naturist.

  5. As a U.S. citizen I find it incredibly frustrating how badly society and religious morals have stigmatized nudity. At age 50, I’m a relatively new nudist having first experience with social nudity just four years ago. It has added a wonderful new dimension to my life that I could never have imagined. Unfortunately, the only place I can openly express my love for nudism is at the camp I’m a member of. I am a “naked person” in that I now get naked whenever I can. Sadly, outside of my nudist camp, I can only be nude inside my house when I’m alone (as I am now). I occasionally steal a nude moment in my open garage or backyard but there’s always the worry of “getting caught”. As I was mowing my lawn earlier on this hot summer day, all I could think was how good it would feel to strip off my sweaty clothes and finish the job naked. But if a neighbor happened to catch a glimpse of my naked body I could be arrested and labeled a sex offender even though there is nothing lewd or sexual about mowing one’s lawn. In conclusion, while I love my newly found life as a naked person, I wish it wasn’t such a struggle to simply be naked me.

    1. A big “amen” to this. U. S. society – at least large portions of it – is pretty screwed up in so many ways. Naturist nudity is just thoroughly benign. But most people in the country just can’t understand that. Naturists (and nudists) really need to cooperate much more with each other to correct this problem. Sadly, I have the sense that too many naturists/nudists seem to think the effort to change things isn’t worth the trouble. Even though they may need to travel long distances to find a safe place (besides their homes) to be naked.

  6. Hi,
    I struggle with finding like minded naked people in my community. I don’t feel it is necessary to have clothing on at all most of the time. I also enjoy socializing or hiking nude while others are clothed.
    I am reaching out to you to see if there is a group or some people in Sonoma County who I would be able to connect with. The clubs are great but my spouse is not a nude person so I am unable to attend. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    I am a male, 50. My desire is to find a hiking group but any connection would be great.

    1. I don’t know all that much about the Sonoma area. I’d suggest two things to look into. There are several clothing-optional beaches in Marin County. You might meet others with interests similar to yours if you visit the beaches. As you probably know, Pt. Reyes has lots of hiking opportunities. My Northern California page has beach info. The other idea is to look into Meetup groups. If you have an account with Meetup.com, you can search for nearby hiking groups and/or naturist groups. There are several in the SF Bay area, but all are south of Sonoma. The River Dippers group is mostly north and east of Sacramento, but many members are into hiking in the National Forests around there.

      I have a naturist Meetup group for the Modesto area, which you’d be welcome to join if you want to investigate this area.

      1. Thank you for the reply. That was what my research had stated but you have confirmed all that I read.
        Meetup is an option if there was a group local.
        Thank you for the offer on your group. Unfortunately it’s a 100 miles away.
        I will continue to be the only nudist I know. Ha ha!

        Thank you again
        Troy

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