When I first got into blogging about naturism/nudism on Tumblr, I saw a friend get asked by an anon how she could call herself a nudist when ‘all’ she does is go around naked at home all the time. The anon wasn’t deiberately being rude; they had the dictionary definition of nudist (“a person who goes naked wherever possible”) and also knew that lots of people go about naked at home without calling themselves nudists. So they wondered what made my friend a “nudist” rather than just a “person who walks round naked at home.”
It got me thinking, what is that difference between a ‘naked person’ and a nudist/naturist?
Plenty of people have a casual attitude to nudity at home or elsewhere without feeling the need to tag themselves as nudists. I remember an episode of Friends where Rachel and Phoebe discuss how if you live alone you can walk around naked, and nobody suggests that that makes them nudists. Casual nudity in private is no big deal for a lot of people in the Western world; we live in climate-controlled, artificially-heated boxes with blinds and curtains; clothing in private is not necessary in the 21st century and although not everyone takes it to the extreme of living without clothes, most people I know don’t find anything strange about not getting dressed straight away after a shower in high summer, for example.
Also, nudism as a way of life has very few rules (if any). Being a nudist isn’t the same as, for example being a vegan or following a religion. There’s no real list of things you have to do to be able to call yourself a nudist. I know a lot of nudists/naturists and they all have different approaches to nudity in their lives. There is no one interpretation of nudism which is right above all others.
There is an idea prevailing in some circles that to be a nudist requires you to visit nudist clubs, resorts or in some way socialise nude with other nudists. I guess this goes back to the old days of “nudist colonies” and black-and-white films of naked beauties playing volleyball.
But in the modern world, I don’t hold to this view. Just because you have never been to a nudist club, doesn’t mean you can’t call yourself a nudist. Some of the most dedicated, passionate nudists I know have been people who have never been naked anywhere outside their own homes.
To me (and this is my own interpretation only), nudism is in your attitude. For me, a nudist is someone who:
- Enjoys being naked.
- Feels some benefit to being naked (such as preferring it for comfort, or feeling that it is healthy and positive)
- Doesn’t think people should feel a sense of shame about being naked, or about seeing other people naked.
- Recognises that nudity and sex are not the same thing and that it is possible for men and women to be naked together in purely platonic, casual, social situations.
To me, you don’t have to go to nude beaches or nudist resorts to be able to call yourself a nudist (these are just fun things you can do if you are a nudist). And you don’t even have to spend every hour you can do naked. Being a nudist isn’t about what you do naked. It’s about how you think and feel about being naked. That’s what separates a nudist from a ‘naked person’.
This article originally appeared on my Tumblr before my account was terminated by Tumblr admins and is now being reproduced here.