Seriously, why might you really want to have a naked lifestyle?

Yes, of course, being totally naked just plain feels great – at least under the right conditions of temperature, social and physical environment, etc. But there’s more to life than just feeling great, isn’t there? Other good responses that answer the question “Why be naked?” are many and varied.

The reasons for wearing nothing whenever possible go well beyond just how great it feels. There are various good reasons why being clothesfree is a healthy lifestyle, both physically and psychologically. But there’s a lot more than that. Some of the best reasons for naked living, however, are subtle and more difficult to articulate. Here are some possibilities to consider for choosing to live naked:

  1. Being unencumbered by any clothing – even shoes – allows you to feel much closer to the natural world.
  2. When you’re completely naked, there are fewer inessential barriers – emotionally as well as physically – between yourself and others – especially (but not only) when everyone around you is naked too.
  3. Dispensing with clothes eliminates the possibility – and the burden – of using clothes as a type of armor or disguise to unnecessarily protect or conceal yourself from others.
  4. Living naked challenges you to accept and be at ease with yourself and your body just as they are, without pretense, embarrassment, or shame.
  5. When people interact without the misdirection of clothing, the value of “authenticity” is easier to appreciate.
  6. Without the artifice or distraction of any clothes, it’s easier to think about and discuss with others things that matter more than physical appearance or mundane trivia.
  7. With others who are naked it’s easier and less awkward to have honest, useful conversations about your body and theirs – including topics related to nakedness itself.
  8. When you’re comfortable being naked with others, you’re predisposed to feel more at ease, closer, and more trusting. Being naked is an offer of trust.
  9. Makng strong, satisfying friendships with others who enjoy nudity is easier because of the significant interest existing in common.
  10. Elminating clothes from your life as much as possible leads you to question more seriously what is important and real around you and disregard things that are neither.
  11. When we’re wearing nothing at all, it’s easier (in Shakespeare’s words) to “speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.”

Image credit: Mona Kuhn

“I just don’t wear clothes very much anymore unless I have to…”

That’s something you’ll hear from many naturists, unsurprisingly. Perhaps you’ve actually thought or even said something like that yourself. If so, great! Otherwise, can you imagine yourself doing that? It would mean you’ve realized that something most people regard as obviously essential – namely, wearing clothes – really isn’t essential at all much of the time. Being usually naked when possible is a conscious, intentional decision you could make. Or maybe it’s just something you might gradually find yourself doing – and enjoying. But the fact is, having a naked lifestyle is actually practicable.
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Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 12/21/19

  • I signed up for nude modelling to challenge myself
    Modeling naked for an art drawing or painting class is scary – even if you’re used to going naked at home sometimes or even visiting a nude beach occasionally. It’s even scarier if you have no significant experience being naked in front of strangers who will be staring intently at your naked body for an hour or two. Why did Sonya do it? A friend who had done nude modeling for years had “always spoken about how much fun she had found it.” Sonya writes that she had “spent so long working to the point of getting to be ok with my body, instead of being at war with it” – and she now needed to challenge herself on her progress.

    She writes about her very first experience modeling naked, her anxiety about it initially, and her feelings in the first few minutes. “Disrobing was difficult. All those eyes, staring at me.” But it turned out very well. “Seeing myself through other people’s eyes, laid bare on the paper was amazing for my body confidence…. The next time I am asked to life model, I’ll respond with an enthusiastic “Yes!”.” In light of the next article to be discussed, what this shows is that the discomfort from people staring at one’s naked body is a challenge – but it can be conquered by developing sufficient self-confidence. Most naturists aren’t exhibitionists or ecdysiasts, and they don’t expect to get sexual gratification from being seen naked by others. But neither do they need to be scared or concerned about being seen naked. The pleasure of nudity is just a result of accepting one’s body and not being encumbered by clothing.

  • “Staring is a big no-no”: All the questions you have about nudism, answered


    This article from an Australian source relays advice from the founder of Get Naked Australia. Most of it is aimed at people who know little about naturism or nudism, but are curious about it (in a positive or negative way). The article’s title singles out one specific issue – the concerns people have about being stared at while partially or fully naked.

    This is a more complicated issue than is generally acknowledged. On one hand, people having little or no experience with social nudity believe that most of its devotees have great self-confidence and no embarrassment about being naked. That’s not true, although it should be. On the other hand, people who do have some experience with social nudity often think that others who stare at their bodies are simply being gauche and uncouth. That fails to understand the previous point.

    It’s usually very good advice not to stare – whether intentionally or not – at the bodies of anyone who’s fully or partly naked. While the naked person might be fairly comfortable with nudity, if they’re relatively new to social nudity they may feel mildly to severely uncomfortable about being stared at. Of course, the same is true of anyone who’s stared at because of almost anything “unusual” in their physical appearance, manner of dress, awkward behavior due to disabilities, etc.

    However, people who know little or nothing about social nudity probably assume that anyone who’s fully or partly naked has overcome any sense of shame associated with nudity and therefore must be insensitive to and unperturbed by the stares of others. That’s not a good assumption.

    There are now a variety of “public” places where nudity is accepted and perhaps even common – such as clothing-optional beaches and resorts, fairly isolated places outdoors, or legally approved public demonstrations such as World Naked Bike Rides. Anyone who chooses full or partial nudity in such places – either for a particular occasion or as part of a consistent lifestyle – has probably decided that nudity is at least harmless or actually quite a good thing. Such people have to some degree or other overcome unhealthy body shame and society’s irrational aversion to nudity.
    There’s a mismatch of assumptions on both sides of this issue. People who don’t know much about social nudity may assume, incorrectly, that most who participate in it are quite self-confident about their nudity and have no feelings about shame or embarrassment related to it, and no concerns about how others will react to it. However, someone who’s nude in “public” may be just experimenting with it. They may have gathered the courage to try it, but are still quite sensitive to negative reactions from others.

    On the other side, people who stare at others who’re partially or fully naked may be doubtful about the legality of the nudity and probably still think that open nudity is improper and even “immoral”. So if they stare at others who’re not “properly” clothed it’s not necessarily right to assume that the staring is consciously disrespectful or simply uncouth. It’s more charitable to assume starers still suffer from irrational body shame and are simply behaving in accord with their social conditioning.

    Just as with people who become comfortable as nude models, most people who have enough time and experience with social nudity are able to overcome uneasiness when less enlightened others stare at them. Once one becomes convinced there’s nothing “wrong” about choosing not to cover certain parts of their body it’s easy to enjoy nudity and feel no shame about it. By realizing that staring results from the typical unfamiliarity or disapproval regarding nudity present in most cultures, it’s easier to understand and ignore impolite staring. Unfortunately, it takes a little time for people who are relatively new to being naked in a clothing-optional situation to become self-confident about their nudity. Since it’s usually difficult to know whether staring will cause discomfort to someone, the best general policy is not to stare.

  • Third Time’s the Charm?
    If you think it’s scary to be stared at naked in a life drawing class of maybe 10 or 20 people, what would you think about being naked in New York’s Times Square in broad daylight – open to the stares of many hundreds of complete strangers? It’s actually possible to do that legally, with the proper permits. And it can be done without embarrassment, even if you’re not an exhibitionist (which, hopefully, you aren’t). The naturist activist who goes by the name Ton Dou has been organizing that very thing, in the name of “Bare Body Freedom”. Last year he performed (naked) an “Ultimate Freedom Concert” in the Square, accompanied by two dozen naked men, one naked woman. (Some others were partially naked.) This year he repeated the performance, but this time – as the blog of The Outdoor Co-ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society notes – with about one dozen naked men and four or five women. So the better gender balance is, at least, a “step in the right direction”. Naturists can hope that the third time, next year, could be better still.

    It’s worth noting that in 2016 the OCTPFAS put on performances of Shakespeare’s The Tempest in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park with the all-female cast mostly naked. There have, of course, been a number of amateur and professional theatrical productions in recent decades with significant amounts of full nudity – but hardly ever so openly in a public park. Just imagine how comfortable the casts of such productions needed to become with stares from the audience. And incidentally, the women of the OCTPFAS regularly sunbathe topfree during the summer – completely legally – in New York City parks. Stares? Who cares?

  • Care home welcomes naked male model after residents request a nude drawing class
    While on the subject of nude life modeling, it’s worth mentioning that people who take art classes offering this aren’t in it for sexual thrills either. Most people will never be acclaimed artists, but artistic skill in depicting the naked human body is something that most people can develop with sufficient effort and practice. Accomplishments in such endeavors are as satisfying as achievement in any other type of artistic pursuit – from making music to making furniture. This type of satisfaction is available to people of almost any age. And the nude models who enable learning how to reproduce the human form on canvas or in clay need not be embarrassed by their role, regardless of who the students are.
    More: Old people’s home invites nude model for life drawing class

  • Art Residency: International artists live in the nude for ten days


    This type of Art Residency is a relatively brief organized program for people who are serious about developing their artistic skills. The immersive experience helps them focus on and improve different aspects of their craft. In this case, the artists themselves work as nude models. This helps artists in various ways. Probably the most important way is understanding the diverse meanings of full exposure of one’s naked body to the gaze of others. Nudity, of course, has a sexual meaning, but it’s only one among many. There’s the pleasure, which naturists know quite well, of directly experiencing the natural world instead of the artificial world of clothing. There’s the self-confidence manifest in lack of concern about others’ perception of one’s naked body. There’s the satisfaction of demonstrating the naked body’s aesthetic beauty. The better that artists appreciate these different meanings of nudity, the better they can express them in their art.

  • Do’s and Don’ts: Making Nudist Friends


    In a previous collection of recent articles we considered How to Find Other Nudists. Among the approaches mentioned was visiting nude or clothing-optional beaches. It was noted that this can be tricky, since visitors to such beaches have a wide range of experience with social nudity, and differing amounts of interest in acquiring new friends while enjoying the beach. The article here offers a number of good suggestions on how to navigate around these complicating factors. Since it was published by the official organization of Haulover Beach (Florida) users, the suggestions should be very pertinent and reliable.

  • A Naturist Girl
    Here’s a good statement on naturism by Aleah, who was raised in a naturist family – and has not seriously wavered from the enjoyment of nudity, in spite of the various trials and tribulations that afflict most people’s lives from time to time. It’s one of the first posts on a new blog: Our Natural Blog. The blog is actually the work of Aleah and her husband Sam. Both Aleah and Sam introduce themselves in earlier articles on their blog. There’s also a very good background article on Aleah and Sam on the Naked Wanderings blog.

    One of the best comments in the article explains how the fear and shame usually associated with nudity is a noxious, harmful fact about our culture (as well as most others):
    We are taught to grow up,,, to wear shoes and stop climbing trees. We are taught the concept of modesty and shame. Taught what the “ideal perfect body” is supposed to look like.

    Naturist blogs from partnered couples are a relatively new thing. It will be great for naturism if the numbers keep growing, since such blogs should be especially encouraging for women to discover that naturism need not be primarily a male thing. Other good examples of this trend are Twonaturists Blog by Hannah and Nick, and Our Naked Story, by Blake and Elle.

  • Three-course dinner where ‘clothes are optional’ is coming to Cambridgeshire this chilly winter season
    The good news for people in the Cambridge area is that the event is not until January 25, so there’s still plenty of time to sign up. Naked dining events are still uncommon in the UK – but less uncommon than in most other countries where many naturists live. Events like this don’t usually just happen spontaneously. In this case, the event has been organized by the Eastern Region of British Naturism. (The folks who also organize other good things like skinny-dipping events and festivals for young naturists.) Sadly for naturists in the U. S., we do not have national (or regional) organizations that facilitate such things. One does have to wonder, though, why whoever wrote the article described the event as “risky”. Evidently a writer for the local news outlet – who isn’t a naturist.
    More: here

The gender imbalance problem in naturism

Here’s a new blog post from UK bloggers Hannah and Nick: Encouraging women into naturism. Almost immediately they say “Our experience is that there are actually very few who are actively against people removing their clothes in appropriate public circumstances. However, there does seem to be a gender divide when it comes to people trying naturism for themselves. Men are often keen, women less so.”
Continue reading “The gender imbalance problem in naturism”

Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 10/31/19

While, sadly, it’s now autumn – and getting steadily colder in the northern hemisphere – spring has arrived in the south – together with good weather for outdoor nudity. So we now have naturist stories from Australia, and should see many more until spring comes again in the north.
Continue reading “Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 10/31/19”

Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 10/18/19

It’s quite striking how much better-accepted naturism is in the UK compared to the US, considering how many other things (including language, to some extent) the two countries have in common. Although UK naturists are still definitely a minority, the articles discussed here should make US naturists very envious of the Brits. (The previous collection of articles also had much evidence of this.)

  • Hundreds strip off and brave North Sea in the nude in mass autumn skinny-dip
    Since 2012 British naturists in Northumberland have participated in a skinnydip at the beach on Druridge Bay close to the time of the Autumn Equinox. Almost all participants this year waded in completely naked, even though the beach is in the north of England on the North Sea, near the Scottish border – and the event began at sunrise. Daytime high temperatures in the area during September average about 60°F (16°C). The organizer of the event, however, said the temperature was “the warmest it has ever been”. He also explained that “I think people are trying to understand what we are trying to do a little bit more. It’s not just about taking our clothes off[;] it’s about taking a risk, connecting with nature, celebrating life and embracing our own bodies.” For some participants it was their first experience with social nudity. And unlike many naturist events, there were about as many women as men. But it wasn’t just a naturist event, as it also had the purpose of raising money for a local charity. The official count of participants was 737, probably a new high, and each donated £15. More than £50,000 had been raised in the previous 7 years. The event was widely reported in British news media and elsewhere, such as

  • Royal Academy visitors are invited to brush past naked man and woman in recreation of 1977 performance artwork
    Performance artist Marina Abramović came up with the simple idea of having two entirely naked performers stand facing each other in a narrow passageway and inviting members of the public (fully dressed) to squeeze between them. Marina herself and her then-boyfriend put on the first performances at an Italian art gallery in 1977. The performance was called Imponderabilia. It’s now scheduled to be repeated at London’s Royal Academy of Arts main galleries from late September to early December in 2020 – where it will be available for the general public. Two young artists will recreate the performance under Marina’s supervision (and possibly with her own participation). Although members of the public are expected to remain clothed, the piece is intended to challenge their reactions to very close interaction with others who are naked, and to “confront themes of naked vulnerability”.

    Britain’s The Sun tabloid persuaded their reporter Amy Nickell to do a reenactment of the performance together with a male model (Miguel) – both appropriately naked. Pictures of various people squeezing between Amy and Miguel give the impression (for the most part) that both handled the experience pretty well, although some of those who were required to navigate between the two did so with less equanimity – especially those of larger girth. Nevertheless, Amy reports “I was glad when I got dressed again.” Perhaps – but would she admit it if she actually enjoyed the experience? Here’s an earlier article from The Sun about the forthcoming Royal Academy of Arts performance.

  • The Yorkshire naturist club and why we shouldn’t be embarrassed by our bodies
    This is a reasonably positive article on Britain’s Yorkshire Sun Society, which was founded in 1932 and is the second oldest naturist club in the country. Patrick Galbraith, whose article this is, does remove his clothes at times. But he doesn’t seem entirely sold on the idea initially, as he begins with the admission that “It had been at least a decade since I’d seen another man in the buff and I was immediately overcome with the urge to apologise to him profusely before running away.” Although he doesn’t quite answer the implied question in the title of the article, by the end of his stay he does have this thought: “I had gone in search of the weird and discovered that it is perhaps people beyond the gates who are the weird ones – those like you and I who sweat like mad on a hot summer’s day because of some inherited belief that thighs and tummies are inherently sexual or offensive.”

  • Naked cleaners wanted in Devon and Cornwall – and they earn £45 an hour!
    What real naturist wouldn’t want to have other naturists handle tedious house cleaning chores (if the price were affordable)? It sounds almost too good to be true, so one might be a bit suspicious that a business of this sort is actually legitimate. Yet, apparently, it is. There have been a number of articles in the (British) news media about such businesses, and the article here is among the latest. The company is named Naked Cleaners (duh). According to the website, the company operates “throughout the UK”, but it is based in London. As you’d expect from a legitimate business, customers are expected to observe a number of rules, spelled out in their FAQ. For instance, touching, photographing, or videoing the cleaners isn’t allowed. Also, nobody except occupants of the home or apartment may be present – but they may be naked themselves. (They’re naturists, after all.)

    The rate for naked cleaners is £45 per hour (about $58 US). But that’s what the company is paid – presumably the cleaners don’t get all of it. Although the cleaners work naked, they aren’t necessarily long-time naturists – let alone “adult entertainers”. They may be quite new to working naked. One cleaner, quoted in the article, said “I was new to naturism. I had never done it before – I hadn’t even been on a nudist beach or anything like that. I’d just done it in private. I wasn’t nervous because I’m quite comfortable being naked.” However, she explained, “I found the first time quite liberating if anything, because I like being naked. If I’m by myself or with my close friends or a boyfriend, I’ll walk around naked. I’m not sure exactly why I like it, I just feel more comfortable that way.”

  • Student animal doctors strip off for naked calendar to raise money for drought-stricken farmers
    We turn now to Australia, another English-speaking country where naturism is (probably) more successful than in the US. Since we’re nearing the end of 2019, ’tis the season for a new spate of calendars to make their appearance for 2020. Last January we asked the question Why are calendars featuring naked people such a fad in Britain? It was noted then that Australia also had such calendars – and the latest for 2020 is also from Down Under. According to the article
    Student vets have stripped off their scrubs for a cheeky naked calendar to mark the end of five gruelling years of study. The calendar has become a tradition for veterinary students at Australia’s James Cook University – and this year’s class are no exception. Striking nude poses with strategically placed hats, 40 classmates took part, with the proceeds going towards their graduation ball and a local charity.
    Although whoever decides such things (pusillanimously, as usual) didn’t allow any full-frontal nudity, the calendar pictures are generally entertaining and imaginative. The calendar can be purchased online for $20 AUD (about $14 US) plus S/H at Vets Uncovered. Quite a bargain. Another article on this is here.

  • 10 Biggest Fears of a Beginning Nudist and How To Overcome Them
    The hyperactive (and non-US) bloggers at Naked Wanderings list some of the most common fears that intimidate prospective naturists. The list will be very familiar to current naturists. And the truth is that if a prospective naturist will actually give social nudity a try in a suitable environment, all but one of the fears on the list will quickly be perceived as small problems, at most. The one remaining fear, unfortunately, is the biggie: “How will I explain this to friends and family?” This one needs a lot more thought and effort to overcome.

    The advice given in the article for this fear is really too skimpy. For instance “The easy solution: Just don’t tell them. It’s none of anyone’s business if you prefer to spend your free time at a nudist resort.” That is, of course, quite unrealistic unless you’re a hermit living by yourself – in which case you may already be used to getting along with few or no clothes. Not only is the advice unrealistic, but the tendency of many or most naturists to be secretive about their enjoyment of nudity is most unfortunate. It’s probably the biggest reason that naturism has struggled so long and so unsuccessfully to really catch on. Simply put: people who become curious about naturism probably have at least some relatives or friends who share their interest – but aren’t aware of that since the others are also secretive. So people who are curious about naturism have much difficulty overcoming the other fears in the first place. A good approach would be to bring up the subject of naturism casually in conversation, perhaps by mentioning news stories like any of the above. If done often enough, others who don’t have a negative attitude towards nudity could be found. It’s also important to become convinced that enjoying nonsexual social nudity is not doing anything wrong. After that, it’s easier to figure out how to explain this fact to others.

Thoughts on “Why I am a Nudist”


Photo credit: Mona Kuhn

Nick Alimonos is a prolific writer of fantasy fiction and also on naturism and philosophical topics. Why I am a Nudist is a recent post of his. I can’t disagree with any of the main points, but it does suggest a few additional thoughts. To be clear, I prefer to use the terms “naturist” and “naturism”, but I see little significant difference from “nudist” and “nudism”. Since Nick has written so much on naturism, I haven’t yet read all of it, so I apologize in advance if he has expressed the same ideas I’ll present here.

To begin with, Nick writes “The reasons I choose to be a nudist is something I feel I have failed to adequately express, but the simple answer is: naked feels good and naked feels natural.” Actually, Nick has written that before, for example, in “The Devil’s Advocate: Why Nudism is Wrong*” he tells about how he responded to his skeptical wife’s observation that many of the commonly cited justifications for naturism (such as healthfulness, etc.) can be countered with: “The genitals do not have to be exposed for that to work.” Indeed, one gets nearly as much vitamin D at the beach whether or not one is wearing a (sufficiently small) swimsuit. Nick’s eventual response is that “the reason we choose to be nudists … can be summed up in three simple words: It feels good.”

I certainly agree with that, but I don’t think it fully counters his wife’s observation. If what you’re wearing at the beach (or at home) is just a string bikini or a (man’s) speedo why does the exposure of a few additional square inches of skin make any significant difference? Wouldn’t the difference need to be qualitative as well as quantitative? And if so, what is the difference in the quality of the feeling, between covering nothing at all and covering only the genital area? I do believe there is an important difference in the quality of the feeling – and it’s decisive for naturists – but it requires a bit of explanation.

In the recent post, the very next thing Nick writes is that his realization about why naturists love being naked is “tantamount to a religious experience, a form of Buddhist-like enlightenment.” I think that the realization is far more Buddhist than Nick suggests. I can’t claim to know a lot about Buddhism, but the sense I have is that the ultimate goal is freedom from “needs” and, ultimately, from “desires”. For naturists that means, in particular, not only freedom from wearing clothes but also from feeling any need or desire to wear clothes. In this sense, very few naturists are able to achieve this degree of freedom – because physical comfort and the demands of society usually get in the way. However, it is the amount of freedom from needing or desiring to wear clothes that naturists are able to achieve that is an important part of why they are naturists. Freedom from quotidian encumbrances “feels good” by itself.

From there Nick goes on to explain why it is that being naked “feels good”. He observes that the skin is the body’s largest sensory organ. Consequently, wearing any clothing at all interferes with that organ’s ability to perform its function – in proportion to how much of the skin is covered by something else. Of course, if the proportion is small, as with a minimal bathing suit, that isn’t necessarily important. But in “ordinary” society, covering one’s skin by clothing is much more extensive most of the time. So naturally, naturists will prefer a social environment where the required amount of clothing is none, or at least as little as “possible” – as long as the sensations conveyed from their skin are pleasurable. Obviously, most naturists will choose to wear enough to avoid unpleasant sensations, such as excessive cold – but the more avid naturists will do so only reluctantly.

If enjoying nudity is only about what “feels good”, why would a naturist be reluctant to put clothes on if the ambient temperature is low? Presumably, there’s some point at which nudity stops feeling good. Many naturists, however, are able to tolerate lower temperatures than people who habitually wear clothes. (It’s humanly possible to tolerate rather low temperatures with very little clothing. See here or here for examples.) But committed naturists may still prefer being naked even if they find the temperature somewhat uncomfortable. Some will even trek naked on chilly Scottish Munros. That suggests there’s more to the preference for nudity besides pleasant sensory feelings.

A quote from Walt Whitman indicates what’s involved: “Perhaps the inner never-lost rapport we hold with earth, light, air, trees, &c, is not to be realized through eyes and mind only, but through the whole corporeal body, which I will not have blinded or bandaged any more than the eyes.” Clothing that covers any part of the skin diminishes sensory information coming through the skin. Just as covering eyes, ears, or nose will interfere with their sensory function, covering the skin with clothing has the same effect. Such covering is an impediment to our contact with the external world. We wouldn’t generally want to interfere with our ability to see pleasant sights, hear pleasant sounds, or smell pleasant scents. Likewise, why interfere with the skin’s ability to sense moderate sunlight, the warmth of a campfire, the stimulation of gentle breezes, or the caress of flowing water?

Nevertheless, I don’t think that’s still the whole story. Nick goes into great detail to make the case that “Nudity is Practical, Clothing is Not”. Obviously, that all depends on circumstances. Nudity is especially practical for various activities, such as swimming, exercise, sunbathing, washing cars, doing household chores, and (as far as naturists are concerned) socializing with other naturists. Clothing is impractical for many of those things just listed, but also because it costs money, has to be washed periodically, takes up space to be stored, wears out, needs to be changed to be “appropriate” in differing social contexts, and so on. But clearly there are situations where the degree of practicality is reversed – such as going anywhere that’s cold, interacting with non-naturists, or creating an appearance of authority, wealth, status, sophistication, or hipness. Notice how many of those factors are related to social interactions.

Nick also has a lot to say about “shame”, and how that is in fact simply an “illusion”. Shame related to nudity is a social construct that in most societies is conditioned in most children at an early age – by parents, peers, authority figures, and society in general. He points out, quite correctly, that “shame, and body taboos, are social constructs, which quickly disintegrate once examined closely.”

But there’s quite a lot more that can be said about this social aspect. In my opinion, the way nudity works in a naturist context may be the most compelling reason for being a naturist in the first place. Consider the simple social custom of shaking hands with a new acquaintance or a friend one hasn’t seen for a while. Supposedly the custom arose as a way for people to demonstrate to each other that they aren’t carrying a weapon and don’t pose any threat. I would suggest that – in any context where clothing is optional and nudity is allowed – choosing to be naked signifies that one neither poses a treat to others nor feels any threat from them. And therefore friendly interaction is possible, while naked, without fear of improper or unwanted behavior from others.

In most societies, there are various functions fulfilled by wearing clothes. As already mentioned, one function is that clothing can signify things like authority, wealth, status, sophistication, or hipness. However, clothes can be used to conceal or mislead about personal characteristics rather than to convey accurate information. Naturists rightly claim that when everyone’s naked, it’s not quite so easy to deduce accurate information about another person – or be deceived about the truth – by the clothes they (don’t) wear. At the same time, though, it’s incorrect to suppose that nudity prevents making judgments about things that clothing can signify. The truth is that people, even if naked, reveal a lot about themselves in a number of ways, such as their manner of speaking, their vocabulary, their body language, the things they talk about, and feature of their body’s appearance (hair styles, jewelry, tattoos, physique, etc.) Some of those features can be deceptive too – but not as readily as with clothing.

I think non-naturists probably regard clothing as a sort of armor protecting them against judgments others might make about them – or against possible overt unwanted behavior. People are naturally wary of how others they don’t know well might think about them or behave towards them. It’s just human nature for people to be concerned about their appearance to others, let alone about their physical safety. But, at least, when everyone’s naked, nobody uses clothing as armor – so there’s less reason to think clothing is necessary. This assumption is even better in an environment in which naturist behavioral norms are in effect – for instance, at popular clothing-optional beaches, naturist clubs and resorts, body-painting events, “World Naked Bike Rides”, and private homes of other naturists.

The problem in most societies today, including ours, is that most people don’t know what the naturist behavioral norms are – specifically that naturists don’t need clothing in order to behave well and respect others’ boundaries. All societies depend, to a large extent, on the existence of sensible behavioral norms. Societies can’t function if people can’t trust most others they interact with to behave “properly” and predictably. Educating society about naturist norms is a problem that must be solved, in order for naturism to become more “normal” and acceptable. Only then will people realize that the “armor” provided by clothing isn’t necessary. If others around me are comfortable being naked, why shouldn’t I be also? That’s a big reason why people who realize this can become naturists themselves and enjoy a naturist lifestyle. It’s simply more pleasant to interact with people who don’t need or desire to wear clothes, because there’s general agreement that whatever armor clothes provide isn’t necessary.

There’s another way of thinking about this. Among naturists, it’s easier for people to be more open with each other in their interactions when they’re naked. Nudity expresses (honestly, one hopes) that “I have nothing to hide” and nothing to be ashamed of. Think about the words “close” and “disclose”. “Close” is the opposite of “open”. So to “disclose” something is to become more open about it. “Disclothe” is an actual word, meaning “to remove clothes”, though it’s seldom used in modern English – but it is in the Oxford English Dictionary. It means the opposite of “clothe”, so is the same as “undress”. Now think about how similar “disclothe” sounds to “disclose”. That might be simply coincidental – but it accurately represents what’s going on. One discloses something of oneself by disclothing. Naturists consider that a good thing. Being “nude” or “naked” in both law and common parlance means that genital areas (and/or female breasts) are uncovered. Therefore, covering those parts is not compatible with what naturists seek to do.

Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 8/25/19

  • 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:

Quotations on nudity, nakedness, and body acceptance

Obviously, everything here was written in, or has been translated into, English. But for this, there surely would be much more good material.

One other thing you might notice about many or most of these quotes is that they are by painters, photographers, sculptors, dancers, actresses, actors, poets, writers, and philosophers. That is, they are by people who have either attempted (and succeeded in) appreciating the naked body as a work of nature’s artistry, or thinkers who have striven to apprehend and elucidate the subject using their minds. Often, both approaches to understanding naked human bodies have been taken by the same person. What they generally have in common is that they are known to large segments of the population on the basis of the quality of their work in their chosen field.
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The augmented N-scale

This is a somewhat revised version of a March 1999 article I wrote to suggest improvements to the N-scale, which measures the degree of one’s enthusiasm for naturism. The original article is here.

In the previous post here we considered the N-Scale, a tool for rating yourself and others on fondness for nudity. It’s a good start, but if you’re reading this, the chances are that you fall at the high end of the original scale. According to that scale, everyone’s bunched up together from a score of 5 to 7 (the highest).

It’s sort of hard to measure your “progress” when the range of scores is that narrow. In order to remedy that, I’ve come up with an augmented scale that renumbers the high end of the scale to include a few more milestones on the road to perfect nudity. The descriptions of higher levels have been reworded from the original. There’s no claim this is a definitive list. Every naturist is a little different from any other one. There can be differences at every level, and the steps towards more complete naturism may be taken in a slightly different order.
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