Naturism and nudism have a PR problem and if it isn’t resolved the consequences could be disastrous. The problem originates from the advent of new technology social media and cultural shifts.
Often while browsing the web looking for news stories I come across ordinary people who share their clothes free experience who start by saying I am no nudist. The word nudist has become so associated with sexual nudity that ordinary people who genuinely want to explore naturist and clothes free living avoid it. Porn mongers, pervs and sex trolls have coopted the term nudist to describe their sexual activities and promote their sexual proclivities. Google the word nudist or search on Twitter and the majority of items returned will be porn related.
I can also tell you that the cultures between swinger nudism and family-oriented nudism really aren’t all that different.
All over the internet people sport the nudist and increasingly naturist label while blogging, posting and retweeting, sexually explicit (images etc.) material. While everyone has the right to blog, publish what they want to within the law the inadequate and sometimes complicit response of the clothes free community has allowed the online porn industry to capture the word nudist and apply it to their interest. Meanwhile internet savvy so called “nudists” have been slowing intentionally reinforcing the notion that all kinds of sexual activity are perfectly compatible the non sexual practice of naturism and clothes free living.
This simply reinforces the conventional wisdom that nudity automatically equals sex. it undermines the important idea at the core of naturism and clothes free living that the practice is non sexual.
According to the XIV Congress of the International Naturist Federation (Agde, France, 1974), naturism is: a way of life in harmony with nature characterised by the practice of communal nudity with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others and for the environment
The result is that people who do not want to see nudity normalized and believe the clothes free body is a sexual body gain a platform to perpetuate that view.
Early in my involvement in the upper echelons of the naturist movement it became apparent I was running into a large number of pedophiles, child molesters, child pornographers and their apologists; disturbingly disproportionate for such a small, fringe group. I had never run into such a consortium of men, in various ways, abusing children; and never have since, either. Unfortunately too many of these men I’ve met or come in contact with at naturist or nudist/naturist gatherings and events all over the U.S. move quite freely because too many, if not most, nudists and naturists, have their heads in the sand about the problem, for one reason or another. There are many who are swingers, who go by aliases or first name only so criminals move freely in the midst. Many have no problems with nude photographs of children, therefor they have a hard time distinguishing when the children become objectified commodities. This is a very dangerous dynamic that I found with the nudist/naturists. Many just want to have a nice day at the beach and frankly they don’t give a damn about much else. Overall I found them utterly naive and pathetically apathetic about what to do with the men stalking and photographing children in their midst. These pages document some, but not all, of the cases that alarm me. The Nudist/Naturist Hall of Shame more than documents the reasons why I disaffiliated myself. –Nikki
So what can be done, first let me say that I am not suggesting that anyone’s freedom be restricted or that the idea that individuals who practice naturism or clothes free living are asexual. These are two of the go to responses that folks who want to pursue sexual activity under the guise of naturism usually use. What needed is a clear vocal response from the clothes free and naturist community. one that says it is possible to separate non sexual nudity and porn and explicit sexual behavior and not be a prude. A desire to maintain the nonsexual aspect of naturism and clothes free living does not make one sex negative, it simply means that public sexual activity has not place in those context. That includes cruising for sexual partners using nudism as a premise.
So here are some steps that can be taken by ordinary individuals:
- Bona fide nudists and naturists should learn to effectively use the new technology. The porn and sex industry has long been innovative in their use of technology, if we don’t do likewise we in effect hand the new media space over to them.
- Genuine naturists should eschew posting and re-posting genitally focused photos or photos that come from porn sites in an effort to “promote” naturism or clothes free living in social media or on blogs. There is no plus side to that practice for the clothes free community. The association between nudity and porn/sex is too great to allow for that, though individuals may benefit from more views and follows.
- Genuine naturists should call out the pretenders in our midst (regardless of race, ethnicity, creed or sexual orientation), those who continue to try to mix non sexual nudity and clothes free living for their own self interested purposes. Block them in social media. Don’t frequent their blogs, don’t settle for padding follower counts or page vies with that kind of person. They should be free to pursue their interests but not under the naturist label.
- If you are a member of the clothes free community who blogs, tweets or posts in social media under stand the power that you have. Instead of posting images of others or any images at all just share your journey, your experience living clothes free. Posting an image of yourself online does not make you a better naturist, real nudist or true to clothes free life. Images are just snapshots in time if nothing else accompanies them. They don’t tell us about the person, the human being behind the photo. Naturism and clothes free living is about embracing the whole person in my opinion.
So this is the challenge as i see it at the moment. It is not an insurmountable one. All is not lost as some long time naturists and naturist organizations have taken up the call
— British Naturism (@BritishNaturism) February 8, 2016
But we need all hands on deck if this is to succeed because the stakes are high. In my opinion if these changes don’t happen the naturist and clothes free community runs the risk of being perceived as just bunch of sexual deviants and horny perverted old men.