I share this letter based on concerns expressed by some folks online. Perhaps you have a friend or a partner engaged in nudism, but what you see of it appears, well, sketchy at best.
Let’s get down to brass tacks. What is naturism?
“Naturism is a way of life in harmony with nature, characterized by the practice of communal nudity, with the intention of encouraging respect for oneself, respect for others and for the environment.” – International Naturist Federation
You might have some idea that naturism and nudism inevitably lead back to sex. Perhaps you have seen “nudists” post about how free they feel. Then, they follow p~rn. If not, something about the images they favorite and repost feels, well, off. You might have also noticed the “body positive / body posi” accounts headlined with young women strapped about in S&M wear? Swingers, etc. Yeah, I saw all that, too.
I felt just like how you feel. Actually, I still feel that way most of the time online. I don’t follow many nudists online anymore because of that. The types of pictures many choose to poach and retweet… to me it feels like sexuality drives a lot of it. Sometimes they talk about confidence but post boob or genitally-focused pictures. Everything else is blurry BUT the penis or boobs, right? Heck, maybe someone even direct messaged you a sexual image. Believe me, I get it.
Then, a lot of folks invest significant time in following anything with naked bodies without discernment. Some bully people into being naked. Many also fail to support cool projects going on in the community. Sometimes it feels like a meat locker.
Hear me when I say that there are real true naturists and nudists who hang out without things getting sexual. I have lived it. I am a young black woman who has been living clothes free for 2.5 years now. I’ve been to a few clothing optional parks, beaches and resorts. I’ve gone camping, attended events, and even hosted naked yoga in my own apartment. I can tell you for a fact that in the living world, social nonsexual nudity happen. And trust me, I was on high alert, because I have been raped before. There are also people online whose behavior depicts nonsexual nudity well.
I know a lot of this might seem like a hoax. I totally get it. There are people who make everything about sex. But, you probably know a few people in your environment like that anyway, right? One of your friends, maybe a family member, that one person at work, etc. You roll your eyes every time they walk in the room, right? There are people who really just can’t let go of sex. Unfortunately, that happens every now and then in naturist / nudist contexts as well. There will always be people who are stuck on sex. But trust me when I say that there are a lot of people who aren’t.
I live alone and my clothes free life is very simple: yoga, cooking, reading, cleaning, writing. Pretty much anything a person would do on a normal day is what I do, just without clothes whenever possible. When I visit my mom, she lets me be clothes free even though she wears clothes. It’s chill.
In social contexts, I have sat next to men talking normally. There was no awkward body language, none of them gave me hungry looks. No one disrespected me. People chatted, played volleyball, made food and that was it. I’ve been to a clothing optional beach. Yes, there was a creep there, but Beach Bouncers addressed him right away and he left. And yes, I’ve had to do a lot of work online to get away from thirst jerks. But, for now I seem to have a good balance where no one is bothering me.
Some people ask why we post online at all. Are we looking for attention? Why do we have to be naked and “out there?” Good question. Though, why does anyone post anything online, if you think about it? People post about their cats, what they ate, the clothes they bought, the game they went to, their trip, their wedding, etc. They post to share and connect. Same for us! We’re just wearing less. No biggie.
Your skepticism is warranted, because some people’s behavior is confusing. But know that social nonsexual nudity is possible and real. Naturism is bigger than naked bodies and is certainly not about sex. There are a lot of people who care about things other than sex. Authors, artists, writers, environmentalists, activists, awesome people. It’s hard to weed through all the confusing stuff. But I’m telling you, I have lived it. Check out some stories. Read and see for yourself.