Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 1/25/20

  1. Forget ‘lewd behaviour’ – is being naked around your own kids good for them?
    The answer: “Probably it is!” To be more specific, according to the article, “Seeing a parent naked can help children learn what real bodies look like and better understand consent and boundaries.” An important part of every child’s education should be the “facts of life”.  And the best way to do that properly should assume that children will understand best if they’ve often seen others – of differing ages and sexes – in the family naked. That should ensure they know the names (and colloquial terms) for important body parts, and realize that there’s nothing “wrong” or “nasty” about a naked body – even though normal bodies can vary greatly in appearance. In particular, how a naked body looks shouldn’t be a source of shame or embarrassment for anyone.

    Of course, it’s also important to point out that “boundaries” should be respected, and that there are many people who are sensitive or even embarrassed about their bodies. In fact, in the presence of nudity, it’s straightforward to explain exactly what boundaries should be observed and when consent is necessary.

    This issue is now front and center because of a stupid decision by a local judge in Utah – one of the most backward, prudish states in the U. S. It was held that a mother could be prosecuted under an “indecency” law simply because, in their own home, her pre-teen sons happened to see her uncovered breasts. The mother, quite reasonably, believed it was good for her sons to see nonsexual partial female nudity. So, quite absurdly, naturism in a private home could be prosecuted as a crime, even if the only non-adult children present are family members – at least in Utah.

    One of the stupid things about the judge’s decision was agreeing with prosecutors that “lewdness is commonly understood to include women’s breasts in American society”. That’s possibly true in a theocratic state like Utah, which is an extreme case. Yet in states that are more representative of the country as a whole, like New York, simple exposure of female breasts – even in public, let alone in private – isn’t illegal. During the summer in NYC many women go topfree in Central Park, Times Square, and elsewhere. The case in Utah doesn’t even involve full nudity – which would apply equally to men and women. Was the fact that there were children involved relevant? According to this report, there were three kids – ages 9 through 13 at the time. How many boys of that age haven’t seen bare female breasts, at least in pictures, and have been hurt in any way if they have?

    To add to the absurdity of this judicial decision, last September a Federal Circuit Court of Appeals for the 10th district (which includes Utah), struck down a Colorado city’s ban on women exposing their breasts, even in public. And many states don’t consider even full nudity to be “lewd” if the behavior isn’t intended to offend others. So much for the Utah judge’s opinion about how commonly female toplessness is understood to be “lewd”.

    The biggest obstacle to the growth of naturism is the passing along from parents to children at a very early age the ridiculous idea that almost all nudity is inherently “wrong”, “indecent”, “lewd”, or “obscene”. And that nonsense is based on the false belief that seeing nonsexual adult nudity is “harmful” to children – the exact opposite of the truth. Naturists need to strongly oppose this nonsense. In order for naturism and nonsexual nudity to continue becoming socially acceptable, they need to be recognized as perfectly normal and harmless choices for individuals and families. Of course, children shouldn’t be forced to be naked if it’s uncomfortable for them. The best way for nudity to become normalized is for parents, from the beginning, to make clear that nonsexual nudity by family members in their home is always acceptable, at least as long as anyone who might be uncomfortable with nudity isn’t present.

    In this article there is more about the judge’s reasoning. It’s basically that the Utah law is about “lewdness” in front of children, which applies to both men and women. The law, however, also requires either “intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desires” or knowing that the behavior would cause “affront or alarm”. Neither of those conditions seems to apply in the current case, so the defendant should be acquitted at trial – especially considering the harshness of the possible penalties. However, this interpretation is still very threatening for naturists, as all the criteria are highly subjective – especially the idea that exposed female breasts are inherently “lewd”, even though male breasts aren’t. That latter point was key to the Colorado decision that such laws allowed unconstitutional discrimination against women.

    The state of Utah is highly dependent on tourism. But there’s hardly any reason to go there, except for the spectacular desert scenery. Everyone – not only naturists – ought to boycott Utah because of its laws that flout gender equality.

  2. Call for naked art classes to benefit children in UK schools


    This article goes into more detail why it should be considered healthy for children to observe naked bodies – both male and female. It should be clear that drawing classes using live naked models are a fine way to normalize nudity and foster acceptance of it, while also helping youngsters develop their artistic skills and aesthetic senses.

    The idea is that this will help “improve body image issues caused by social media”.
    Artists want models to disrobe for young people and display the unfiltered human form, counteracting distortions of shape, size, and normality young people receive online.

    Some of the points made in favor of the proposal include:

    • Sketching naked men and women should be part of a balanced curriculum, and primary school students are more open to nudity than adults made prudish by socially ingrained taboos or judgemental by presumptions about what a body should look like.
    • Life drawing can educate children in bodily realities before they are influenced by the “nonsense we see on social media”.
    • Children become more accepting of what they are looking at – especially when concentrating on accurately reproducing what they see – whether the bodies are old, overweight, or hairy.
    • When somebody appears naked before others they are just human beings. That counteracts prejudices as to how a body should look. It’s great for body positivity and acceptance.
    • The naked human form is not inherently sexual, and life drawing is mistakenly seen as lewd.
    • Children can handle drawing nudes without hang-ups – unless they’ve already been affected by cultural prejudices, and early introduction to nudity can offset acquired prejudices.


    These points are strikingly similar to arguments in favor of naturism itself. In opposition to the proposal, this article, contains many comments such as: “children will ‘sneer and giggle’ at naked bodies at a young age”; children 9 years old “have no contemplation yet on body image”; “Put a naked man and woman in front of a class they would be laughing their heads off. You only have to mention a body part and they’re off”. People who say such things should just ask themselves where those reactions come from. They might then realize it’s due to the corrupting influences children have already been exposed to from prejudiced older children and adults – who themselves acquired the attitudes in the same way. Positive experiences of nudity – like seeing nudity in a child’s own family or drawing nude models – are needed to better inform opinions of the human body.

    More: Life Drawing for Schools,
    Advocates have a suggestion on how to use art classes to promote body positivity

  3. 5 Naturist YouTube Channels You Really Want to Follow in 2020


    Yes, YouTube does actually allow some nudity now in uploaded material. But, of course, it’s also classified as “Age-restricted video (based on Community Guidelines)”. This is even though most of the material (at least what would be of interest to naturists) is non-sexual. And a lot of it is self-censored in various ways besides. The glaring problem here is that young people – at least of school age – are exactly the audience that should be able to view non-sexual nudity in order to form a much healthier attitude towards it. Which is the main point of the preceding articles here. The whole reason for such stupid guidelines is that parents insist on it, because they themselves are victims of our society’s egregious misunderstanding of nudity. The nonsense is passed from generation to generation like an inherited disease.

    Naturists certainly will want to check out the video channels recommended in this article. One problem for English speakers, however, is that three of the five channels are mainly or entirely in other languages (French, Spanish, and Portuguese). Even so, naturists who are able to travel far from home can glean much about opportunities in other countries in spite of the language barrier. And people who already enjoy social nudity might want to recommend the videos to their open-minded relatives and friends who’d be interested in learning more about naturism – in the privacy of their own homes. For better or worse, people don’t read much these days and are far more likely to absorb information from visual media.

    There are two other options to check out. Vimeo, which is a competitor of YouTube, is actually more welcoming of naturist material. And you can do searches in both YouTube and Vimeo for topics of naturist interest, such as “body painting”, “nude art”, and “naturist information”. In particular, many naturist/nudist resorts offer videos that can give you a good idea of what type of facilities and activities the resort has to offer. A number of national naturist organizations have similar information on what’s available in their country.

  4. 21 Nude Festivals and Nudist Events in 2020


    The same source that provides the recommended YouTube channels also offers information on 21 naturist-friendly events around the world. Anyone who’s fortunate enough to have sufficient time and financial wherewithal could spend most of the year attending one event after another. By my count only six of the events are exclusively in North America (including Mexico and Canada). Three more are in Great Britain – which is impressive, and fortunate for those who reside there. Five of the rest that occur in just one place are in Europe, and there’s one each from South America, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. There are also three that are celebrated in many places around the globe – such as World Naked Bike Rides, World Naked Gardening Day, and International Nude Day.

    However, the list is far from exhaustive. In the U. S., for example, both national organizations have several “gatherings” and meetings around the country. Large nudist resorts have events such as clothing-optional music festivals, 5K and 10K naked runs, other sporting events (e. g. volleyball), and so on. For naturists whose main experience is with home or beach nudity, it could be a very good idea to check out nearby naturist/nudist resorts for special events where non-members and first-timers are especially welcome.

  5. Watch these naked skiers get waist deep in Canadian powder


    This isn’t a “real” event, but rather a segment of a promotional movie called “Vallhalla”, which was created for Dynafit (a sportswear company), Powder Magazine (for skiers), and Whitewater Ski Resort (in British Columbia, Canada). The skiers are all professional athletes – which should be obvious from the video. All of them – male and female – are naked in this clip. It’s not clear whether the nudity was integral to the storyline or was mainly to get attention. Perhaps it’s both. In any case, the visuals are very impressive. The clip is also available on YouTube and Vimeo.

    One has to admire the fortitude, as well as the skill, of those appearing in the nude scenes, given that the outdoor temperatures were in the 20s (°F). This item is not actually “recent”, having been out for over 5 years. However, somehow it showed up in a news feed, and it certainly illustrates how nudity can be effectively normalized, albeit not for naturist purposes. It might be described by the current buzzphrase “cultural appropriation” – meaning something appropriated by members of a dominant culture from a minority culture. But it’s difficult in this case to see how this couldn’t confer some acceptability on nonsexual nudity, even if unintentionally. Skiers, of course, love the sport for the thrills, so it’s not surprising that some actually do ski naked occasionally.

    More: These pro skiers took to the hills naked for their latest shoot


  6. St. Lucie County could be a step closer to having official nude beach


    St. Lucie County is on the southeast coast of Florida. Its largest city, Fort Pierce, is about 130 miles north of Miami. That’s more than a 2-hour drive to Miami’s well-known Haulover clothing-optional beach. The clothing-optional beaches in the Canaveral National Seashore are about the same distance to the north. So naturists near Fort Pierce understandably want a more convenient “official” clothing-optional beach of their own. (The numerous naturist resorts of Pasco County are mostly even farther away, and aren’t adjacent to saltwater beaches.) The chances now seem pretty good that Fort Pierce naturists will be getting their own official nude beach: Blind Creek Beach. According to a local naturist, there’s been nudity on it for at least 50 years. It seems that the local county commissioners consider having an official nude beach to be a desirable tourist attraction, so there’s general local support for the idea. The main hindrance in the past hasn’t been local opposition but simply funding for needed sanitation facilities.

Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 1/19/20

  1. Dating & Nudism
    Isn’t this something that most naturists who aren’t in a long-term relationship wonder about? The conventional wisdom is that the best way for a naturist to find a compatible date is not to search for someone who’s already a naturist. Why? Partly because of the well-known gender imbalance problem, if for no other reason. In particular, a naturist man would be doing naturism itself a favor by finding a dating partner who’s not already a naturist and persuading her of the many healthy and wholesome features of social nudity. (Just for this point, assume heterosexual dating.)

    The article cited is from the new Our Natural Blog of Sam and Aleah. (Previously referenced in this post.) The very first point made there is to focus on people outside the naturist community – because otherwise the task “is like looking for a needle in a haystack. It would severely limit your dating pool and probably end up working against your dating success.” A corollary of this point is that if you want to find a compatible date, you’ll have to be able to make an honest and persuasive argument for the benefits and reasonableness of naturism. So you’d best have a fair amount of naturist experience yourself in order to be considered a knowledgeable source of information.

    The next point is to focus strongly on compatibility. You need to find a person who’s not only open-minded enough to seriously consider naturism, but also shares a variety of interests with you that have little to do with naturism. For example: activities and hobbies, philosophy of life, previous experiences, and life goals. Even if your ultimate objective isn’t a long-term relationship, you want whatever you do together to be enjoyable for both of you. There’s a lot of additional great advice in the article – so just go read it if you’re seriously interested in naturist dating.

    Here’s another fine article about naturist dating on the Meandering Naturist blog from about a year ago

  2. Why is this artist photographing random naked people in random spots on the streets of Vienna?


    Martin Gabriel Pavel (MGP) is a Czech photographer who has been doing a series of photos, called “Daily Portraits”, since 2011. All portraits are of models who are naked or semi-naked volunteers, and who pose at a wide variety of urban locations in Austria and other nearby countries. (The headline is misleading, since MGP doesn’t work only in Vienna.) The portraits are eventually collected into books, which are sold to support MGP’s work. The images are quirky and sometimes surrealistic instead of straightforward personal portraits – in other words, “artistic”. Viewers are left to make their own interpretations, but in general the images raise questions like “What is the deeper meaning, if any, of this naked person in this particular place?” And “What is the subject feeling about the experience?”

    When asked by the interviewer to explain the “concept” of the series MGP is currently working on, he says “Each series has a different concept. In the last series in Berlin, 381 people were photographed naked, and those who were photographed, also took photos of other strangers. For example, I photographed Elle in her apartment, then I gave her my camera and she went and photographed another stranger in his apartment, and so on.” So, in part, the work is about random people who are willing to be photographed naked and possibly to then photograph others, also naked. Inevitably, too, the work is about nakedness itself. MGP says, further, “The aim of this series is to capture a feeling, the atmosphere of the city through pictures of the naked body.”

    All subjects, of course, gave consent, and often enjoyed the experience enough to tell friends about it and encourage them to volunteer also. MGP says that “Most of my models have never posed naked before. They feel empowered after the experience.” It seems unlikely that this sort of work could be done in the U. S. – or probably in most other countries besides where MGP works. Not only have many people without previous experience posing naked volunteered, but it seems that local police and the general public very seldom object to the project. Unlike the work of Spencer Tunick – most of whose subjects are simply anonymous “bodies” – MGP’s subjects are (mostly) distinct, identifiable people. One wonders whether nudity is already more “normalized” in the places where MGP works. Certainly, the books that are produced as a result are a great example of “normalizing nudity”.

    Some useful links for MGP: home page, Twitter account, Instagram account, Daily Portrait site, book sales.

  3. Alton Towers hotel is being taken over by nudists for a clothing-free weekend for families
    Unless you’re British, this is a bigger deal than it might seem. According to Wikipedia, “Alton Towers Resort is an amusement park in Staffordshire, England, near the village of Alton, which … incorporates a theme park, water park, spa, mini golf and hotel complex.” So it’s not just another water park, several of which in the UK occasionally host naturist groups for private swims. According to the resort itself, it’s “the UK’s biggest Theme Park”. In other words, much more like Disneyland, and in fact it offers more: a water park, spa, and mini-golf.

    Even though the event isn’t scheduled until the weekend of November 20-22, it’s received coverage from a number of UK news outlets (links below). Most importantly, it has been organized by British Naturism – the UK’s official naturist organization. Nudity’s allowed 24/7 in the waterpark and hotel areas. (Because of the season, most outdoor facilities won’t be open.) The place will be closed to the general public (although presumably anyone can attend if they pay the admission, aren’t bothered by nudity, and belong to or join BN or INF). Accommodations for two nights and use of facilities are priced at £325 (about US$423) for a family of four. And children of all ages are welcome. This will actually be the 14th year for the event. More than 400 naturists are expected to attend. (The limit’s probably dictated by the number of hotel rooms available.)

    Here’s the official announcement and reservation page. Can anyone among U. S. naturists imagine either (or both) of the U. S. naturist organizations taking over even part of a Disney property for a weekend?

    More: here, here, here, here, here, here

  4. BBC to screen two hours of ‘slow TV’ cameras panning around naked bodies of life drawing models… in the hope that viewers will sketch them at home
    If you’re like most people in the U. S., outside of major urban areas or far from large universities, it can be quite difficult or impossible to find places where you can sketch or paint naked life models. The same is true (possibly to a lesser extent) in other modern countries. But now in the UK the BBC has a solution. According to the article,
    Budding artists will be given a lesson in life drawing from the comfort of their own home in a two-hour special on BBC Four. Life Drawing Live, an interactive class where viewers can draw the nude models on their screen, will make television history on highbrow channel BBC Four. Billed as an art lesson for the whole country, the special could be the first of many interactive cultural programmes. The audience will be asked to draw along from their living rooms as the class is led by award-winning artists Daphne Todd and Lachlan Goudie.

    The BBC cameras will pan slowly around the room so that viewers have time to quickly sketch models. However, it’s unclear whether this will be repeated regularly instead of being a one-off event. And the article doesn’t say when the broadcast will occur, except “early” in 2020. Anyone outside of the UK, of course, is still SOL. In any case, people anywhere can go to YouTube or Vimeo, search on “life drawing” or “life modeling” and come up with videos that offer pretty much what BBC plans to do. Better still, you can watch the videos as many times as you need to improve your drawing skills. Perhaps the BBC thing is more of an attention-grabbing stunt. But at least the BBC will offer something that many people would otherwise not even think of trying.

  5. What is Naked Therapy?
    The article answers that question:
    Naked therapy is a form of mental health treatment that isn’t sexual in nature. It helps people become more comfortable with their bodies. It began in the 1930s when Howard Warren, who is a Princeton psychologist, and at the time was president of the American Psychological Association, spent a week’s time at a nudist camp in Germany. After that, he wrote a paper called “Social Nudism and the Body Taboo.” Warren discovered that being naked made people feel more comfortable with themselves; less self-conscious.

    The article’s about body acceptance. It’s actually targeted at men, and published on a men’s site, even though body acceptances is more often considered a women’s issue. Of course, most naturists have already realized that being naked socially is quite enjoyable, as well as providing emotional and psychological benefits. “Therapy” means participating in an organized group where people are naked and explicitly discuss body acceptance issues under the guidance of a trained professional. In other words, it’s a way for men (and women) who aren’t already used to social nudity to discover and experience some of its psychological benefits. A naturist might want to investigate naked therapy to recommend to friends and relatives who have body acceptance issues.

    Naked therapy was a popular thing back in the 1960s and 70s, although it was sometimes associated with open sexuality, drug/psychedelic use, and other counter-cultural fads of the time. As this earlier article explains, naked therapy is much less used now, although it can be experienced with some online sources. Truthfully, however, for people whose body issues aren’t too severe, visiting a good naturist club or resort a few times – or just being naked often at home – is simpler and cheaper. But for more serious issues, a professional counselor or therapist may be better.

  6. How to Cover Nudists the Wrong Way
    Here’s another plea on Matthew McDermott’s blog for mainstream journalists to write intelligently about naturism. I’ve already cited here an earlier article by Matthew about this. Any naturist who interacts with journalists needs to understand the biases and habits that journalists bring with them. At the end of the new article are four key suggestions that naturists and their clubs should keep firmly in mind.

    Consider some examples of the language some journalists use to slyly disparage naturists and naturism – from this article about the Alton Towers event described above. The headline reads “Alton Towers water park set to be overrun by nudists for a ‘weekend of fun'”. It says the park will be “overrun” – like a plague of locusts? – by naturists. And notice the use of scare quotes at the end. The first sentence uses “descend on” instead of “overrun” – but implies the same comparison to locusts. Most of the remainder of the article is straight from the British Naturism announcement. However, the last four sentences repeat the often alleged but never verified charges by a “paedophile hunter” of the supposed dangers tp children of such events. So the writers continue to gratuitously repeat a nonexistent link between naturism and pedophilia. Also questionable is continuing to write “nudists” instead of “naturists” – where the latter term is now more common in Europe, and in England itself.

Notable articles from the past #1 – Ask for Permission to Get Naked While at Friends’

Ask for Permission to Get Naked While at Friends’

The article – from the Nude and Happy blog in November, 2017 – makes this suggestion as a way to bring up the subject of naturism in conversation with friends – and reveal your interest in it.

Marc wrote:
If your friends are not naturists, your option to go naked is low. But, it’s not zero, it’s actually never zero, until you ask. Because this is ultimately what it is all about: asking for permission to get naked! This may sound strange or awkward at first, but it will become a second nature as soon as you realize it’s totally appropriate, natural and normal!

I’d generally agree this is definitely something to consider, but it requires some caution. It would probably work best in a situation where nudity is a natural thing to enjoy, as with friends around a private swimming pool, or in an isolated location with only friends nearby, such as picnicking, hiking, swimming in a river or lake, or while camping. If friends are visiting at your own home, you might leave things like naturist books or periodicals around – which could tempt others to ask you about them.

The idea may work well with some of your friends, but it’s probably best not to strip off without any warning. Instead, wait until you’ve first let the friends know that you’re curious about naturism or, perhaps, are already a naturist. If others are hostile or dismissive of the idea, you can just say that you understand, although you don’t agree with their attitude. But this could be a chance to explain why naturism appeals to you. Then, at a later time, raise the idea again.

However, if others seem to be open-minded and at least curious themselves to know more about naturism, they may simply invite you to feel free to be naked if you’ve already revealed you enjoy social nudity. Or, in case you have little experience with social nudity, they may encourage you to try it right then and there.

Ideally, if you’re encouraged to get naked, these friends will probably not be surprised should you choose to be naked in similar future circumstances – without even asking. And maybe one or more of your friends will try it too. Every time you do this you’ll be helping to normalize nudity.

Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 1/5/20

  • Student rides her horse completely naked in film to urge other riders to wear safety helmet
    It’s an interesting development that clean nudity is being used to attract attention to worthy causes. In this case it’s a rather limited purpose: encouraging riders in (competitive?) horse-riding events to wear safety helmets. The general idea is a legitimate use of nudity. Of course, hardly anyone who notices this story is likely to be someone the precaution is intended for. World Naked Bike Rides are a far batter example of this sort of thing. Also many calendars featuring (very) limited nudity are produced in order to donate sales profits for worthy causes. Why should naturists pay attention to any of this? Perhaps because it isn’t necessarily a self-serving “exploitation” of nudity, but rather has the effect of normalizing nudity. (Granted, personal attention-seeking could also figure in this.)

  • Get your kit off: this skinny-dipper is writing a NZ guidebook and is looking for models


    It’s summer now in New Zealand, and naturist blogger Kate Uwins, currently residing in Kiwi-land, who has been exploring the country for three years, is putting together a guide book for skinny-dipping there. New Zealand is probably just behind England itself in being the most naturist-friendly, English-speaking place on the planet. Kate thinks NZ “is just the best place in the world to skinny dip. You’ve got about a million beautiful places to go swimming; beaches, rivers, lakes, waterfalls. They’re just around every corner”.  And she points out that “There are no snakes, no crocodiles, nothing dangerous that’s going to get you.” (Not to mention horrendous wildfires.) Of course, visitors should be cautioned to be wary of the explosive volcanic islands. Several other naturist bloggers are currently attempting to support their blogging efforts by offering for sale things like guide books – and this should be considered a good thing, to the extent that it promotes healthy naturism.

  • Midnight bath


    Kate’s new blog itself is a fine example of assertive naturist advocacy. In this post she makes a number of good points. For starters: “It is astonishing me how easy it seems to be to get random strangers to get their kit off. Within minutes of meeting people, we are naked together! This is fantastic! … I’m talking about broad daylight, sober, non-sexual nudity that leads to joy, smiles, and great stories.” And: “What better way to escape the craziness of this modern world: the Trumps and brexits, the political madness and the consumerist chaos, than to disappear for a little while, strip off your clothes and reconnect with nature and yourself.” And: “Why is it that we are so scared of others seeing our naked bodies? Are we scared of being laughed at or scared of it turning into something sexual? Is it not possible to be naked and there to be no sexual connotations? Is it not possible to see our bodies as something other than a sexual object?”

    Non-naturists and people still new to naturism may disbelieve such utopian ideas. “Can you, could I, really do that?” Sadly, naturism in the past century hasn’t really advanced much, if at all. Timidity isn’t a winning strategy. We need many more believers like Kate.

  • Metrópolis – Intramurs I. Spencer Tunick


    Have you ever been one of the lucky few to take part in a Spencer Tunick photoshoot? Probably not, but here’s a spectacular 25-minute documentary video of a Tunick photoshoot during the Intramurs art festival in Valencia, Spain. Tunick may not consider himself (personally) a naturist, but his work over several decades is certainly a wonderful testament to the beauty, allure, and expressiveness of nudity. The video’s narration is in Spanish, but there’s an accompanying transcription. (It’s also in Spanish, but can be translated using Google.)
    An article (also in Spanish) of the making of the video: El making off de la multitudinaria foto de desnudos bajo las Torres de Serranos

  • Bodypainting. It keeps fascinating me.


    Bodypainting is a visual art form quite different from Tunick’s photography – but it’s even more appropriate for naturists. It allows for imagining the naked body in fascinatingly different ways. It must be far more enjoyable for the model than trying to stand motionless in a single pose for an extended period of time. And also, for the “model” (or rather the “canvas”), it provides the exhilarating experience of using one’s body to be a literal medium of artistic expression – like a dancer, but in a very different way.

  • Progressive Social Nudity — A Year in Review
    The New York City organization known as Just Naked describes its intention as “to create nude events that look and feel like any other popular clothed event, but with just naked participants.” The goal is specifically described as “normalizing naked everywhere” – something that most naturists also, probably, see as a desirable goal. The events are basically private parties, held in the NYC area, and organized by participants at their homes or other suitable places. The event must be nonsexual, and everyone’s expected to be naked. In other words, just the sort of ordinary parties any naturist might organize or attend. In order to attend an event, one must purchase a ticket, which presumably keeps the attendance at a manageable level and may compensate the organizer for expenses. According to the article “We held upwards of 70 events this year, sold over 700 tickets, and turned dozens of first-timers on to the benefits of social nudity. And we had a blast doing it!” According to the website, there are currently four events scheduled for the remainder of January.

    However, there’s a problem – a severe gender imbalance problem. The article states “sometime around the middle of summer we noticed that most of our events were skewing 9-to-1 in favor of men. We had women leaving the events before they even started, and most never returned.” So events are now designated as “Open to All” or “Women Only”. That’s rather draconian, however, so another category has been defined as “Femme Fwd” (described at the link), which gives women more control over attendance by men. The details are a bit complicated: “These events will only be available to men who are vetted by a woman who has attended our events.” Some policy similar to this might help with the gender imbalance found at most naturist venues. But in the long term steps need to be taken to make naturist events and venues intrinsically more comfortable for women. One way to accomplish that is for clubs to put efforts directly into promoting naturism to women, so that many more will attend – as well as doing what’s necessary for everyone to have an enjoyable experience.
    Here’s a news article on the club: There’s almost nothing you can’t do naked if you’re in this club

  • Retired Miami Cop Now Performing Naked Ventriloquy Show
    Whether or not you’re particularly talented in some sort of performance, doing it fully naked will probably attract more notice than otherwise. (And I’m not saying there isn’t talent in this particular example.) The type of performance doesn’t really matter – one that’s a serious art form such as making music, dancing, gymnastics, or acting. Or one perhaps a bit easier to master, such as comedy, reading poetry, or ventriloquism. There have been examples (sometimes many) of each sort of performance done in the nude before an audience. Naturists should welcome – and patronize, when possible – much, much more of this, because it’s another way to normalize nudity.

  • How to visit a Milan museum totally naked
    The event is scheduled for January 18, 2020. Unfortunately, it’s already sold out. So even if you reside in the Milan area, you’ve missed the boat. But this is yet another instance of an art museum providing an occasion where visitors may explore the galleries completely naked. Sometimes clothing is optional, but nudity is often required, as in this case. Considering how quickly such events usually sell out, it’s surprising they aren’t offered more often, and by many additional museums. In a metropolitan area of sufficient size, why not once a month – or even once a week? Could it be that naturists or others who’re open-minded about nudity just aren’t that interested in fine art? They should be, given how often nudity is the subject of much painting, sculpture, and performance art.
    Here’s more information, if you happen to read Italian.

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

Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 11/29/19

  • How to Find Other Nudists
    All of the suggestions in this article can work. But there’s one that stands out from all the others: visit nudist parks and resorts that are relatively convenient to you. If you’re already reasonably comfortable being naked around others, and you’re at least a somewhat sociable sort of person, you’ll be able to meet others who have many more naturist friends already. The first one or two folks you meet may not be ideal friend material, if only because they don’t live near you. However, if you hit it off well with those you meet, make it a point to ask whether they could recommend naturists friends of theirs who you might get along well with. It’s hard to exaggerate the value of personal recommendations. If you are recommended to other naturists as a person they might like, you’ll probably stand a very good chance of acquiring new naturist friends. Even if the club or resort you visit isn’t especially close to where you live, the people you meet there may be able to recommend friends of theirs who do live closer to you.

    It’s true that visiting a landed club or resort requires a little expense, and may be inconvenient or not a good option in colder times of the year. But the other suggestions also have drawbacks. You can, of course, have naturist conversations with people you “meet” online in discussion forums or networking sites. But the problem is that without actually meeting any of these in person, it will be more difficult for these online acquaintances to decide who among their friends are most likely to welcome you as a friend as well. Visting naturist beaches is also not a good option during colder times. Besides that, the beaches aren’t always good places to do this kind of friend-finding anyhow. That’s because many people at beaches are there only for the beach experience, and aren’t necessarily interested in socializing with strangers. Also, they may have little experience with social nudity outside of the beach environment and have few actual naturist friends. Although there may be others at the beach who are open to making new acquaintances, it’s hard to identify them among the larger crowd.

    One suggestion that the article failed to include is Meetup.com. This option allows for meeting other naturists in person, perhaps much closer to where one lives, and without the expense of landed club fees. The sole purpose of Meetup.com is for people within a particular geographic area who share almost any kind of interest (including naturism) to get together at certain times to become acquainted and talk about their shared interests, or even engage in activities related to the interest – hiking or beach-going, for example. There are Meetup groups almost everywhere in the world. Group meetings could be almost anyplace – restaurants or other public gathering places, private homes, or outdoor areas. For naturists, nudity may or may not be possible, depending on the location, yet the opportunity for finding new friends is definitely there as one of the main purposes. Established non-landed naturist clubs may also use Meetup to arrange meetings.

  • The ‘generational clash’ between young and old nudists
    It’s springtime in Australia, so naturism is, unsurprisingly, getting much more attention in Australian media, just as media in the northern hemisphere have gone mostly silent on the subject. This account focuses on the tension between different generations on their approach to naturism. “New” generations tend to be recognized starting roughly every 20 years. As young folks become adults they naturally identify more with each other than with their elders – but only until they become the “elders” themselves.

    This understandably leads to tensions between generations in naturism, as in many other aspects of society. It’s manifest in the sorts of sports and activities people enjoy, the music they prefer, and even the kinds of food they like. These intergenerational differences make it somewhat difficult for younger people to engage with naturism, where the older generations have mostly set the tone. What needs to happen is for people on both sides of the divide to understand this situation, and be willing to make reasonable allowances so that naturism can be enjoyed together by people regardless of age.

    An interesting – and possibly very positive development – has been noted by the general manager of the Asia Pacific region of the Eventbrite event management and ticketing company. He observes that “the number of nude events on the platform had grown 265 per cent across Australia over four years.” Much of this growth may be due to young naturists, who would be looking for ways to enjoy naturism with their peers in ways that are different from what older naturists are used to.

  • ‘I hate clothes’: What life is like as a practising nudist
    If you’ve been a “practising nudist” for more than a month or three, you’ll find little surprising in this article – your experience has probably been much like that of those quoted. However, the quotes have been selected to show naturism in a positive light – as something innocent that certain people (like yourself) find life-enhancing. So you might want to show this article to friends and relatives who have a hard time understanding what you like about nudity – just to show you’re not the only one who feels this way. Since it’s from an Australian source, everyone quoted is an Aussie, but their observations are typical of naturists everywhere. The editor/publisher of an Australian naturist magazine speculates about how much of the population in his country might be partial to naturism, though it’s impossible to know exactly. “We take some guesses,” he says. “We reckon there’s probably about four, four and half per cent, that treat naturism as part of a lifestyle. They do their nine-to-fives, they come home and the first thing they do is get their gear off and relax.”


  • Labour Weekend Hotting up for Stripping Off
    If you’re a New Zealand naturist and just reading about this, I’m afraid you’ve missed the event – the local “National Nude Gardening Day”. It was October 26. Sorry about that. But since gardening is usually done at home, it’s not too late. It may or may not be the best time for new planting, but in the southern hemisphere the days will be getting warmer for a while. So being naked in your garden probably won’t be any less easy now than on the “official” day – depending on how much your neighbors might see, or care about what they see.
    More: Naturist explains why she gets her kit off to garden,
    Get Some Sun on Your Bum this Nude Gardening Day


  • The 10 Best Nude Beaches in the U.S. AND Internationally
    Articles like this appear regularly. A few beaches often show up repeatedly, but there’s no real consensus as to what beaches are “the best”. Different beach characteristics appeal to different people. This selection, however, seems pretty good. But unfortunately, if you don’t live fairly close to the sea, you’re options will be fairly limited.

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.