- British Naturism campaign for women in naturism
Women in Naturism – the relaunch
BN, the national naturist organization of the UK, is not only concerned about the level of participation by women in naturism (only 30% of BN membership), but they appear to be making an effort to do something about it. BN member Donna Price has volunteered to help restart BN’s “Women in Naturism” campaign. The article mentions several possible approaches: “organising specific gatherings for women, speaking about Naturism in the media, encouraging Naturist women to bring friends to events or clubs, and participating in women’s groups on- and offline to spread the word”. Cited as a first step is: creating “a national network of Naturist women, with the aim of putting them in touch with others in their own areas or areas that they may be visiting.”
This ought to be extremely important. Why? The most likely reason is that women seem to be considerably more reluctant than men to attend a naturist activity, nude beach, resort, or local club by themselves. And that’s probably because of the existing preponderance of men at any of those things. (Example) If a woman happens to have a significant other or good friend who is an active naturist and can accompany her, the gender imbalance is less of a problem. Otherwise, the imbalance is probably a major deterrent. So the best solution could be to enable women to get in touch easily with one or more current women naturists to go with them when exploring naturist opportunities.
One assertion in the article is questionable: “It is a fact that Naturism appeals more intuitively to men than women.” Is there actual evidence for this “fact”? The gender imbalance isn’t good evidence, since there are a number of other possible reasons that the imbalance exists. One or more of these other reasons, such as negative body-image or fear of harassment, may explain the imbalance, even if naturism is equally appealing to women and men in the abstract.
- Women’s feelings about naturism
From a Woman’s Perspective: Nudism
This is actually a September 2012 article from the Southern California Naturist Association (SCNA) website. It’s been reposted in various places since then. I’m including it here for its relevance to the preceding article. A large number of women comment on their naturist experience in a variety of categories:
- My first time fears
- Accepting my body
- Single issues
- Nudist families and their children
- How to get started
The comments aren’t entirely about women’s initial fears and difficulties of getting into naturism. But there is one theme that appears in the background of many of the comments. The theme can be expressed as concerns women have about their bodies, in terms of safety and personal dignity. Women worry about their safety from unwanted attention, harassment, or even physical harm. But they also worry that, without the “protection” of clothes, their bodies may be regarded as mere objects for male attention without concern for a woman’s personal dignity, and that they will be judged based on specious cultural standards of “attractiveness”. The fact, of course, is that the concerns are usually unwarranted when only “genuine” naturists are involved.
The second of these worries, especially, is a lot more relevant for women than for men. Men also are often uncomfortable about their body’s appearance. However, in most existing societies women’s bodies are fetishized much more than men’s bodies. An example of this is the fact that there’s much less male nudity than female nudity in movies. In order for women to become comfortable with naturism it is, unfortunately, necessary to be able to immunize themselves against this cultural reality. This is easier to accomplish with organized assistance from women who’ve become at ease with naturism and their bodies. Naturist men should also help in this task, since doing it shouldn’t be solely by women. However, one suspects, naturist women have advantages in being able to handle it.
Women shouldn’t be too quick to assume that male naturists, for voyeuristic reasons, want more women to participate. The truth is that both women and men are more likely to participate in naturism if there is more equal gender balance. This is especially important for encouraging more young people to become naturists. As it is now, the most prominent demographic at many nude beaches and naturist resorts is older men. That’s just not likely to lead to increasing popularity of naturism among young people of either sex.
- Nudity in New Zealand
How a beach becomes nude, and why people like getting naked in public
So, why do people like getting naked in pubic – at least in New Zealand? In the opinion of the president of the Auckland Naturist Club, “I tend to think clothing-optional people are more friendly than the other people. There’s something about it, it’s hard to explain. When you have people around with no clothes on who are comfortable with it, they seem to be much more open and social – not in a provocative way – just in a friendly way.” This observation about naturists is pretty common, and it’s probably true. After all, people enjoy being naked because it’s relaxing, and who wants to be rude, argumentative, or confrontational when one is trying to relax – especially when naked?
The answer to the other question – how does a beach in New Zealand become nude? – is much vaguer. Often it “just happens”. There aren’t any “official” nude beaches near Auckland, and probably not elsewhere in New Zealand. And it can happen because “There is no specific offence for being naked in public” – in the words of one police spokesperson. Clear illegality is present only if there is “indecency” or “offensive behavior”. This is also true in many US states and Western European countries. The problem is that these terms are vague and subjective. But for now, that seems the best that naturists can expect.
- Body acceptance
Baring all: Could naturism be the answer to body confidence?
It’s encouraging to read positive stories about naturism in conventional print media, like newspaper and magazines. But they’re relatively rare and usually superficial, especially in the US. And they often seem to have a subtext like “Can you believe that sensible people really do this?” Or they contain neutral-sounding commentary, but the writer or reporter concludes, after having spent a few hours socially naked, with a sign-off such as “It was interesting, but I don’t think it’s for me.” The situation seems to be a little better in the UK. The article here, from a Scottish newspaper, is a good example. It’s based on interviews with two naturists and a photographer who makes nude portraits for women that are not in the “boudoir” style but instead are intended to demonstrate the subject’s body-confidence. The naturist interviewees don’t say anything that would surprise other experienced naturists. But their comments might be informative for people who have no idea what naturists actually believe.
- Ever-changing attitudes to simple nudity (sort of)
Naked Came the Strangers
This article is a good example of the kind of story about nudity that’s common in the US. It’s somewhat of a pseudo-intellectual rumination that appeared (unsurprisingly) in the NY Times. The writer focuses on the type of nudity that appeared in the late 1960s at events like Woodstock. In some ways, a little progress has been made. For instance, “The women who would have been violating decency statutes by going topless at Woodstock in 1969 would now, in a majority of American states, be free to bare their nipples in public.” (While that may be correct in legal terms, the supposed freedom, obviously, is almost never exercised.) It’s not clear how much lasting effect Woodstock-like nudity has actually had, although public nudity does occur in limited circumstances, such as WNBR and occasional special events in New York City. (None of this is mentioned in the article.) The writer concludes, of course, with the sign-off that seems de rigueur in the US:
“I could never have been one of those naked people at Woodstock or Altamont or anywhere, really. … I went swimming with a group of pals who first removed their bathing suits and slung them, as was then the custom, around their necks. It did feel thrilling and slightly illicit and pleasurable, as everyone promised, that unfettered freedom of bobbing around naked in the ocean. But if I am being honest, it felt much better afterward to get dressed.”
- Naked podcasting and body acceptance
What I’ve learned about body confidence from hosting almost 50 naked podcast recordings
Two professional journalist women who were concerned about how many other women were also concerned with body acceptance issues decided in 2017 to start a series of podcasts to address the issues. So far over 50 podcasts have been done, with interviews of about 40 women. Both hosts and guests are naked for all interviews. A blurb for the series reads: “The podcast features experiences of disability, life changing illness, relationships, health, fitness and mental health. They are all gripping stories; often emotional, sometimes hilarious and always empowering.” One of the presenters, Kat, initially found the nudity difficult. But now she states “I feel very comfortable with my body and with nudity, so much so that I recently took part in a life drawing class where I was the model.”
- Can nudity be an obsession?
So, What’s the Deal with My Obsession with Nudity? It’s a Thing!
Yes, it can. And that’s not necessarily bad. People are often obsessed – and possibly with good reason – with a number of things, such as their family, their job, their hobbies, the novel they’re trying to write, planning the “ultimate” vacation – and so on. Of course, there are ways that obsessions can be problematical – if they cause a person to neglect things that shouldn’t be neglected, if they are detrimental to anyone’s health or well being, if they are in pursuit of unachievable ends. So where does an obsession with nudity fit in? You shouldn’t ignore the possible problems, which exist because of our society’s irrational aversion to nudity. So you need to get a good understanding of what’s involved if you are seriously interested in social nudity. And in order to do that, you have to learn as much as you can about it first – which may mean an “obsessive” effort on your part, if only for a short time.
- Naturism 101
Tear Down the Walls
There are many ways to get involved with social nudity. This article lists quite a few of them. You don’t need to take nearly all of these steps, however. Think of what the article offers is a menu of ways to experiment with naturism. Chances are that after you’ve tried two or three of these ideas you’ll be well on your way to being a real naturist. The actual problem is working up the courage to try any of the ideas. That’s why you may need to “obsessively” study what naturism is about, to begin with. Where do you find the information to study? It’s out there, and not very hard to find. But don’t expect to find it in your local library. Printed books and periodicals on naturism hardly exist, and if they did, most libraries wouldn’t have them. Don’t waste your time using a search engine for “naturism” or “nudism”. Most of the results will be porn-related, and not at all relevant. Don’t bother looking on Amazon, either. Most of what you can find there is shallow and unreliable – and not free, either. I should put together a post on some of the best online sources. But before getting around to that, perhaps the best suggestion I have is to check out some of the top naturist blogs you’ll find listed in the “Blogroll” in the right-hand column of this page. That alone should easily give you most of what you should know.
- Think about it
Why you should think about getting naked
Simple answers to simple questions: “Just like you accept the look of a strangers face when you first meet, you accept the naked body of another human being. Competition and any need to fake something disappears. When you’re naked you are open and honest, confident, friendly and close to the fundamentals of life. Being more in-tune with reality brings you closer to your community and environment. Getting naked in the right environment simply feels good and does you good.”
- Millenials and naturism
That Day I Got My Millennial Friends into Naturism!
This is a renamed article on Dan Carlson’s blog – already described here. It was originally titled “The Joys of Sharing Naturism.”. Some of the earlier articles by the same guest author (Addie) may also be of interest, because they represent the perspective of a young person who’s just discovered naturism:
- Best places to get an all-over tan in Britain
Britain’s most daring regions revealed as London and Cornwall top list of nude sunbathers
Britain is often starved for sunshine – so it’s not surprising that many people like to get out in the Sun when it’s possible. More surprising, according to the article, is that a poll of 2000 found that 31% said they sunbathed naked. In London 42% actually agreed with that. Apparently, many people really want an all-over tan. One wonders who they hope to impress. Just as surprisingly, the organization behind the research “said naturist beaches were “fast becoming go-to travel hotspots” – with 20 per cent of those polled saying they loved going to them and stripping off completely.” Maybe the country isn’t as prudish as sometimes thought.
- The pleasure of naked sunbathing
The Splendors of Lying Naked in the Sun
And here’s a paean to naked sunbathing:
“When the sun is blazing and privacy allows, I sometimes take it all off and let the sun have at me. Lying naked on a rock, in a break of trees, where no one can find you, and under the sun, consciousness is moved to work on intuitions otherwise buried in time. Your unexceptional body, your only creature — formed like everyone else’s in dependence on the particular spectrum of radiation emitted by this star — is living its only life.”
This writer really needs to look into naturism.
- Children and nudity
Naked with Children
Dan Carlson was wondering about this perennial topic, expecting to write about it. But Google turned up two interesting articles. The first, written by Aviva Rubin and published in April 2012 in the New York Times, began with this:
“I walk around my house naked. My partner often does, too. Not gratuitously, just often. We don’t bother covering up when walking from bathroom to bedroom. We leave the door open when we get dressed. So far, my 8- and 12-year-old sons remain unfazed. If I’m standing nude in the door of the bathroom telling my oldest to clean up the basement, the only thing he finds audacious is the request. And both boys still wander around naked; they get hot, they strip down. I don’t care about the visuals — naked television watching would be fine by me.”
Aviva was, of course, harshly taken to task for her opinion by many prudes, so she wrote a rebuttal to the criticism here, in which the key observation is “What disturbs me is the assumed link between nudity and sex, and the implication of sexual impropriety.” This is the exact same fallacy that is applied mindlessly to any form of nonsexual social nudity.
- Learning to be naked
6 Steps to Become Comfortable Naked
The idea that one must “learn” to be naked is a bit strange. Isn’t it as simple as taking all your clothes off? Everyone – even toddlers – knows how to do that. However, the real issue is learning to be comfortable and unembarrassed when naked with others – or maybe even yourself. Probably most readers here have learned how to do that. A few, perhaps, have not. But in any case, helping non-naturists learn to be comfortable with nudity is a skill all naturists should master. Memorize the basic steps before recommending naturism to others. Nick & Lins spell it out in 6 steps. They can be summarised as:
- Take a good look at yourself naked in the mirror. You need to not hate what you see. But it may take time to learn “body acceptance”. Doing naturist things can help, but first you must be able to look at your naked self without flinching.
- Forget about trying to compare your body with the “ideal” bodies many models and celebrities seem to have. Such people are exceptional, not average. Be happy if you’re “average”.
- Practice being naked. Be naked at home, at least when you’re alone. Start sleeping naked, if you don’t already. Don’t be too quick to cover up after a shower or after getting out of bed (if you’ve slept naked). If you have a swimming pool, use it naked.
- Be naked with someone you trust. This could be a significant other (and not just when having sex). Or it could be a friend or family member, if you can tell they’re not bothered by nudity. Ask them not to tell others about your interest in nudity (if that concerns you).
- Practice being naked with strangers who’re used to nudity. They can be found at nude beaches, certain events like World Naked Bike Rides, naturist resorts, etc. This may be the hardest step, so don’t try until you’ve accomplished the previous steps. When you’re ready, just ignore your fears and do it.
- Start looking for naked activities you like. You may not care for many of the things naturists enjoy, but find some that you do. Examples: nude beaches, naked yoga, naturist resorts, naked hiking, naked sports, naked spas or saunas, etc.
- Recollections of naturism in Europe
Looking at naturists can be life threatening – as I found out to my cost
A columnist for The Guardian recalls office workers taking their lunch hour nude in a Berlin park.
- Unique New York City naturist club organizes many social nudity events
There’s almost nothing you can’t do naked if you’re in this club
The organizers of the club, Just Naked, “are encouraging nudity-loving New Yorkers to strip down for all manner of activities: playing Pictionary, listening to poetry and jazz, eating pizza, sketching live models — and, for their latest birthday-suit bash, gymnastics.”
- Naked yoga as a way to build self-confidence
Taking a naked yoga class gave me a new appreciation for my body
Jen “made it a goal to purposely put myself in uncomfortable and emotionally terrifying situations to help my personality evolve and increase my tolerance level for nerve-wracking situations.” At a class put on by Naked in Motion she found that naked yoga was just the thing: “I was shocked that the class delivered on its promise to help quiet the negative self-talk that I so often hear running through my mind. ”
- New Zealand woman tempted to be nudist… almost
I think I might be a nudist
Lucy and a male friend try a clothing-optional Japanese onsen. “Never in my life had I ever felt so at peace with my body. No one looked at us, no one said anything. Being nude at that moment just felt completely right.”