the fault lies not in the stars but in ourselves part 2 us versus us

The more time I spend observing the discourse among the average nudists/naturists online the more I believe the quote from Shakespeare “The fault lies in ourselves” applies to much of the online naturist/nudist community as it did to the fictional characters. Simply put what I observe lessens the hope I have for the growth of the cause of normalizing simple nudity through the use of online resources for promotion and engagement. Why you ask? Reason two it’s us versus us.

Naturists/nudist online are highly opinionated but unwilling to engage that which doesn’t fit with their group or individual interests, opinions or worldview.

Naturist/nudist groups and individuals seem to be more preoccupied with this us versus us in-fighting than promoting issues and values that help mainstream acceptance of clothes free living. This seems particularly true in the online space. Hear are some observed conflicts. Nudists versus naturists; purists versus non purists; established versus newbies; young  vs old; young vs young, sex positive vs non sexual; open minded vs prudes; global vs national; individual freedoms vs common good.

All across the online space there are confusing and even conflicting expressions of what it means to be a nudist or naturist. Is it any wonder then that a celebrity mother who is comfortable with her home being clothes free should shun any notion that she is a nudist. Here are few examples of the us versus us in-fighting I have observed.

global versus national

A British naturist who was blocked by an American nudist venue where she had hoped to vacation expressed a concern for how the venue presented itself on social media. It was an earnest effort to express the global impact of how naturists present themselves on social media.

This concern devolved into another conflict stream that resulted in more blocking of nudists from one by nudists from another group. Seems to me that this pattern can only lead to a negative outcome for the promotion of simple non sexual nudity and clothes fee living.

young versus young

Recently we reposted the post below from the now defunct young naturist of America NY Instagram account.

A day after it was reposted we received this message from an individual supporter of Florida Young Naturists.

This is an image from Florida young naturiSt, i know multiple ppl in this image, and the person you tagged stole it and doesn’t have consent to use it, so niether do you, not your fault, but thought you should know. That group is created by a scam artist

Notice the vitriol in the language. There was no account for the value of the post creating the intersection between clothes free living and body acceptance. But what about the young naturists using the photo with out permission? Well I did a bit of research and found that the image is broadly available on the internet with no attribution to the Florida Young Naturists. My inquiry asking if other groups or individuals using the image were given the same warning that we were given has not received a response.

purists versus non purists

We posted a positive report of naked dining event in Bristol which was tweeted like most of our posts. It was an opportunity to celebrate some positive press and acknowledge the hard work of the event organizers.

A twitter follower responded

The moment for congratulations was lost by the knee jerk expectation to have restaurant workers be naked to validate the event. It was reminiscent of the clothing optional versu clothes free conflict observed on social media. Naturist purists raise concerns that true naturism does not include clothing optional possibilities.

individual freedom vs common good

One naturist tried to establish a common definition of nudism to confront the appropriation of the term by sexuality oriented segments of the online space.

That elicited a tweet storm response from another nudist claiming the original tweeter was imposing unnecessary rules and regulations.

naturist vs naturist

One final example which points to our final reason which we will elaborate at in part three in the series. This comes from one naturist’s response to all the gawkers present at WNBR he had organized.

Although the intent for the World Naked Bike Ride is for the right reasons by promoting a greener future by reducing the use of gas and oil dependencies. As well as promoting body acceptance and of others by getting noticed by drivers that we as a cyclists are very vulnerable to cars and trucks; by getting people to use their bikes more and cars less.

I co-organized the Montreal WNBR for 3 years and in that three years it was a complete success. However, I could not help notice the same pattern each year within myself when it came to the general public who were not taking part in the events. The media are one thing — but the amount of others with all the camera click click click… people focusing on bits alone with cameras not taking photos of us for the event, but rather for the body parts. I felt like I was no longer co-organizing a World Naked Bike Ride, but rather a voyeurism event where it was like, “Ohh hey, come gather around and snap photos of the genitals!” Which was not the idea behind the WNBR at all.

Source: Why I (as a Naturist) stopped hosting the WNBR | The Naturist Page/

To be frank this naturist and I have not always agreed on many subjects related to naturism and clothes free living. However I have always respected his opinion as a genuine and bona fide naturist. I was pleasantly surprised to see him writing about this subject and sharing the perspective that he did. I knew him to be an avid cyclist and someone with love for nature and the environment in addition to being a naturist. So I reblogged and tweeted post on

Another naturist on twitter responded this way to our retweet/reblog.

us versus us

At issue here is the simple truth, marginalized groups only hurt themselves when they succumb to in fighting and turf wars. This can be observed in marginalized political groups and ethnic groups. As a marginalized group, the naturist/nudist community and associated organizations and groups have little room to undermine all our efforts by perpetuating old and starting new conflicts. There is no room for growth for us versus us.

Being honest this site and I have subject to this kind of infighting as well. People who say they are naturists, regularly try to undermine this site and our efforts. Some copy our content down to layouts and descriptions (signing for updates or community to reproduce the content). All because they don’t they don’t like our editorial stance or feel slighted by the same. This all reflects an astounding unwillingness of some in the online space to support the work of others and collaborate. Rather there seems to be an intensive effort to guard turf, despite the detriment to the common good. It’s us versus us.

To be fair we live in a time where individual opinion reigns supreme. This individual freedom is elevated over institutional association and values. Marc Alain Descamps suggested as much many years ago, there are many ways that individuals can express their participation in nudism or naturism.

However, any movement if it is to be successful, needs two important elements. Common language (talking points if you will) to articulate shared meaning and solidarity of purpose. To be successful as a naturist movement us versus us should transition to us and us.  Every movement needs a common language to describe what it is all about. If the words naturist or nudist have no particular meaning then how do we invite people to explore examine and engage. Every movement needs a common purpose. There is that old maxim “if you don’t stand for anything you’ll fall for everything. We see that happening already online as people get hooked by fake “nudists” who are posing as something they are not.

I suspect there are some maybe many people who will regard this call for self examination as an impingement on their individual freedom and rights. They may be right. But consider this, no group, no association, no organization no society, no country has survived when it was driven only by individual right without a great regard for the common good and purpose. This American constitution may be one of the best examples of the instrinsic need for this balance. The individual bill of rights was built on the foundation of a common good, “in order to form a more perfect union”. What does a more perfect union of naturists and nudists look like? Is it more us versus us or something. I have shared my thoughts and would like to hear yours.

now comes the age of pay per view nudity

A new phenomenon has emerged in recent months something I call pay per view nudity. Recently many social media platforms have cracked down on nudity. While Facebook and Instagram have always had somewhat strict policies Twitter and other have increased their censorship in response to some public concerns. This increased scrutiny led some people online looking for places to .express” themselves fully without censorship concerns.

Twitter which has long been the most open of the platforms to nudity revised it terms of service to include new provisions related to nude images. For example have a nude image as your avatar or cover photo can get your account suspended or deleted. Twitter is also following the lead of other platforms like Tumblr and Flickr where nudity is permissible but account which have displays of nudity must be marked as such so as to be restricted from viewing in search results but the general public.   Into that gap has stepped web site like Patreon and the newer entrant into the nude for profit space OnlyFans.

The pay per view concept developed around the sport of boxing which once upon a time used to make money by selling rights to broadcast boxing matches to the broadcast and then cable networks. Some promoters decided to cut out the “middle man” and sell the right to view premier matches directly to the boxing fan. The fan paid a fee to be able to view the match. The pay per view model has been adopted by many other media entities who believe their fans are willing to pay to get early or unfettered access to their product.

Naked bodies or implied nakedness have been used for a long time to promote or sell products of all sorts.

However, the emergence of the nude for profit cottage industry has created a context there the nakedness itself is the product. No more implied nudity the app per view nude for profit promises its patrons the real deal full nudity with no censorship for a price. With their Patreon or OnlyFans accounts individuals can bypass the social media platforms that restrict or censor. I use these as examples because these are the sites creating the most buzz in regular and social media. As the IG post below illustrates the this emerging trend is a big deal.

Artists, photographers and  models have used Patreon or the pay per view mechanisms to monetize their work in the recent past. Now it seems that people who actively wear the label or naturist are join the nude for profit trend. A recent conversation with the newest nude photo darling of the online naturist crowd focused completely on how the site which has photos of the individual could be further monetized. This beyond the several hundreds of dollars already being collected from several individuals each month. This phenomenon is not restricted to women.

As a person who believes in and promotes nu gymnosophy as healthy non sexual clothes free living the trend among some who wear the naturist label (nudist has already been taken by the porn industry) is concerning. I fully support the right of any individual to do as they wish with their body and make a living by whatever means they choose. The concern comes when the term naturist is associated with something that looks a lot that the porn industry that has long made use of the pay per view model.

What does is say about the state of naturism when bona fide efforts to promote clothes free living get little or no support while naturist cleaners and pay per view nudity rake in the cash. As a follower on IG commented to the masses “it looks like straight up porn”. Consider the press coverage of “naturist” travel blogger couples. The mainstream media leads stories like that with sexual overtones not the travel.

The issue for me is not mere nakedness or nudity or making someone money off nudity. Artists and photographers have been doing that for centuries. Spencer Tunick starting with his Nude States project has given a wonderful example of artistic nudity and I suspect made some money in the process. That artistic expression nudity always seem to point to something more. Nudity was not the product or the project it was a vehicle. The pay per view nude for profit industry turns that on its head and takes the notion of nudity as art to a place of nudity is art.

If we are honest there are many entities associated with naturism that are primarily revenue generarating. The national organizations who sell memberships, the magazines with their photo travel logs, and other naturist affiliated businesses all make money from their association with naturism. But this is different. With the previous efforts there is something beyond a naked body that is offered. The nude for profit cottage industry has no such pretense. You pay to view nudity. The viewers pays to consume the naked body. It feels like something of a digital peep show.

I don’t know where this ends in a visually oriented culture driven to individual freedom and consumption. if this article I came across recently is any example,  it doesn’t feel like it will end well. At least not for the ordinary naturist and others living a non sexual clothes free life.

the fault lies not in the stars but in ourselves part 1 fixed on naked bodies

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” Julius Cesar – William Shakespeare

The more time I spend observing the discourse among the average nudist/naturist online the more I believe the quote above applies to much of the online naturist /nudist community as much as it did to the fictional characters. Simply put what I observe lessens the hope I have for the growth of the cause of normalizing simple nudity through the use of online resources for promotion and engagement. Why you ask? Here are three reasons I will explore in a three part series of posts.

  1. Some people who label themselves as naturists/nudists online seem fixated on naked bodies and body parts.  Rather than focusing on real lives of people the focus is on attaching the naturist/nudist label  to people who show their naked bodies online.
  2. Naturists/nudist online are highly opinionated but unwilling to engage that which doesn’t fit with their opinions or worldview.
  3. Many naturists/nudists online and in real life seem inclined to hijack social efforts with their opinions with out discourse and obsession with the naked body and not people.

Let me illustrate my first point with this conversation on twitter.

The blog post by a well regarded naturist person online was prompted by these tweets.


There is a pattern that I observe that starts with a person(usually an attractive woman) who posts images or expresses a love of nakedness on social media an online “nudists” (usually men) trip over themselves to find a point of association. It is a seemlingly innocent effort on the surface but usually lacks any exploration of the intentions or motivation of the individual. The mere association overrides deeper discussion of why those people feel the way they do and who they are in the online space. This is important because often these folks are drawn to use their nakedness for financial means. This often done as part of an artistic effort  or other means to monetize their nakedness. There  is absolutely nothing wrong with that and no one should face any judgement about how they use their body to make a living.  Similarly the conflation of that activity with being genital phobic or judging naturists seems out of place.   If a person says they are not naturist and their activities should not be judged as such should take them at their word.

To be fair we live in a time where individual opinion reigns supreme over institutional association and values. There are many ways that individuals can express their participation in nudism. Marc Alina Decamps suggested as much many years ago.

Is there an alternative response? I believe so.

  • Let’s start with losing the preoccupation with naked body parts.  This phenomenon seems to be a factor of the online space. In real life social nudity is about people not parts. It is much more than seeing or being seen. Social nudity as practiced in naturism is more about knowing people and being known by other people.
  • If we want respect give respect. If If someone doesn’t see themselves as a naturist why do some feel the need to convince them otherwise. Honor their identity and continue to promote a positive view of ours.  Trying to force fit someone into a social identification not of their choosing typically generates negativity. Not everyone who likes being naked will be a naturist or nudist respect that. We should accept their self identity and move on with our purpose.
  • In a post modern world where the extreme poles of tribalism and individualism seem eager to rip apart the emerging social fabric, the question comes to mind. If you stand for nothing will you fall for anything It is time for an honest examination of our role as naturist and nudist in struggle and decline of the practice. It seems to this writer that the  fault is not in the stars or prudes or anyone else. It is in us.

Stay tuned for the next part of this series. What do you think? Talk up

Human Rights, Gender Equality and Nudism

Human Rights, are the rights attached to a person since he was born. United Nations, in Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) affirms that every individual is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration with no exceptions whatsoever, including gender differences (UDHR article 2). Thus, every basic right of every human being is entitled to be obtained by any individual, without excluding the basic rights of another individual.

Once we know what human rights are, then we turn to gender equality. What is gender quality? Gender equality is achieved when women enjoy the same rights and opportunities across all sectors of society, including economic participation and decision-making, and when the different behaviors, aspirations and needs of women and men are equally valued and favored. In other words, human rights and gender equality are closely intertwined, because they concern human basic rights. What distinguishes it is, in gender equality, more pursed again concerning women and men.

As a nudist, I see that nudism, in fact, indirectly speaks of human rights and gender equality. In nudism, we believe that all human beings are equally created beings of God. Nudism also teaches that everyone is good, that is. The well-meaning is, the human body, where there is no bad human body. Everything is beautiful, because the human body is God’s gift. Whatever your body shape is, it is a gift that God gives you. Therefore, no human person can be excommunicated or insulted simply because of the differences that exist in his body.

Of the three things I have outlined above, we can take the equation that human rights, gender equality and nudism both speak about human equality. The equation in question is the equation of human degrees. Human rights regulate equality in general, gender equality is more pursed to women and men, and nudism is more to remove the exclusion and humiliation of human beings based on that person’s body. Therefore, actually nudism itself also plays a role in the enforcement of human rights. Nudism is no longer just a naked lifestyle, but nudism is more to the doctrine of mutual respect for human basic rights.

Bau Bau, Indonesia, 2 February 2018

society’s priorities and perceptions – guest post John Harding

I went on an eight mile walk today with my children; my new home is in a village surrounded by lush countryside, and we rambled down a closed railway branch line that had been converted into a public bridleway and walkway; Britain is full of these; this one starts off outside of a town, travels for ten miles to another town and we have only a disused station, a coffee shop and miles of spectacular countryside in between.

However, on our journey we came across four examples of fly-tipping; this is the illegal dumping of rubbish. Sometimes such materials come with a fee for legal waste disposal and recycling, and this encourages unscrupulous individuals to dump their, sometimes dangerous, waste in the countryside. It damages our natural landscape, creates a hazard to humans and animals, and costs local councils considerable sums of money to clean it up.

It is a serious issue. Last year councils in Britain had to address 900,000 incidents of illegal dumping, that each year costs the local authorities a staggering £50m ($80m) to clean up. It is a problem which councils and the National Flytipping Prevention Group are trying to tackle. They erect CCTV in areas known for illegal dumping of waste, encourage reporting and attempt to educate. There are sizeable fines open to courts for transgressors and, even, a prison sentence. Yet, it’s a growing problem; year-on-year increases in fly-tipping reports show this.

The other ungodly sight that we saw was dog mess; while I don’t doubt that the number of responsible dog owners is the vast majority, we saw over a dozen piles of dog excrement on our eight mile walk. Dog faeces is a danger to human health, laden with all kinds of nasty bacteria, some of which could cause blindness. We see dog poo bins everywhere, and yet, it’s still a big problem.
I digress slightly from the point of this article but it frames the content somewhat nicely. At the turn of the year, I asked every single police authority how many arrests they had made in recent years for “being naked in a public place,” how many arrests for “flytipping” and how many arrests for failing to clean up after a defecating canine.

In Britain, for each offence you can be arrested for has a unique “home office” code, and it is these codes which formed the basic premise of my requests.

Now, I know this is a little unfair. Councils often bring court actions for fly-tipping not the Police, but there are arrest codes for some environmental offences linked to fly-tipping and there has been Police-led prosecutions. But it really sets the tone of society’s priorities; naturism is being at one with nature and enjoying the beauty of our natural surroundings. Fly-tipping and dog-fouling is about poisoning that natural environment. Where’s the priority? After all, no-one lost an eye to naturism; no-one came across toxic material by shedding their clothes!

I had another ulterior motive. The actual request on the public nudity was for the authorities to reveal:
The number of people arrested for being naked in a public place

  • Please separate the figures to show which relevant piece of legislation that they were arrested for
    As I later learnt, there was no “home office” code for being naked in a public place, because it is not illegal. For example, the Police don’t necessarily detail what someone arrested under Sexual Offences Act was actually doing; does “exposure” mean flashing or was it a naked walk around the countryside? The SOA (s66) that criminalises exposure, was designed not to include naturists given that is worded as:
    A person commits an offence if—

(a) he intentionally exposes his genitals, and

(b) he intends that someone will see them and be caused alarm or distress.
But there has been stories of how naturists have been arrested, charged and prosecuted for “exposure.” The reports I saw did see them acquitted, but it was all about interpretation of “intends … to [cause] alarm or distress.”
So it was interesting how the Police forces interpreted my request (and many did it differently from each other). I need to spend a bit of time analysing each of the four dozen responses, which I will do over the next few weeks but I am going to focus on a couple here.
One, Suffolk, used the “free text” field of the arrest record to search for “naked” or “expose” and came up with the records for the following crimes:





Only the “cause harassment, alarm distress” (also known as the much-abused Public Order Act) and perhaps “Outraging Public Decency” are the offences often used against naturists. This represents 3 of the 33 arrests highlighted for that calendar year. As an aside, British Naturism, have been vocal about repealing the “Outraging Public Decency” laws as it is unreasonably vague.
Are naturists really being lumped in with the drunks and disorderlies of this world? Or those that engage in sexual activity in front of children? The request to the Police allowed them to interpret it as they saw fit, but specifically asked for all those arrested for public nudity. Some of that number would have included flashers; some of it was undoubtedly naturists.
Just in case you are wondering, there were 88 arrests in four years in Suffolk for nudity-related “crime”; the number arrested for dog-fouling and flytipping combined by the Police? Zero.
Another case is the Met Police; they police London – apart from the very centre (City of London Police), the parks (Royal Parks Police) or the transport infrastructure (British Transport Police). Again, in their response they indicated that the arrest code for dog fouling (111/21) was normally dealt with under a fixed ticket and flytipping (091/15) was also the preserve of the councils, but in four years they arrested 1,853 people for “exposure” and charged or cautioned around four in every nine.
They arrested just 35 people for fly-tipping, and charged just one in ten of those people. No-one was arrested for “dog fouling.”
So, what does this say? We know events like Spencer Tunick’s art, and the World Naked Bike Ride normally pass without incident and the Police are relaxed about the nudity on those occasions. But we know that when they do react outside of these planned events, it is often confusing naturism with nefarious activities and equating nudity with sexual activity. This is ludicrous. As NAG (Naturist Action Group states): “… we have also had a number of approaches from people who have suffered from inappropriate police attention …”
But personally, I find it somewhat ludicrous, that we as a society, are quick to engage with the Police as if the behaviour is automatically criminal when we see a naked body in public, but poisoning public land as well as endangering wildlife and people is often best left to the councils as a civil matter.
I should close with the comment that the British countryside is a lovely place to visit. The Lake District and Peak District are stunning national parks and I’ve gone walking through the latter au naturel without seeing another soul.
Although as my figures show, I was inviting all manner of arrests for enjoying the scenery as Gaia intended.
I also will try and get some questions out to our Police and Crime Commissioner candidates, and UK-based naturists may be interested in the return of the ZSL Streak for Tigers.




John Harding


Why the future of naturism depends on maintaining nonsexual approach

The future of naturism depends on maintaining a nonsexual approach. The recent cancellation of an all ages swim in Calgary for fear of pedophile activity proves as much. The events in Calgary brought the conversation into the mainstream. Opponents of the private booking of a a public facility for a naturist swim cited the potential danger to children from the possible attendance of pedophiles. The event was cancelled due to safety concerns for participants from the very people who wanted to “protect” the children.

These actions illustrate two important things which should not be ignored in any effort to bring the naturist practice to a broader audience. First, western media (television, movies and advertising) succeeded in planting the idea that nudity always leads to sexual activity. Sex and nudity sells and society has been sold on the association of sex and nudity. That brought us to a world where teachers get fired because their students catch a glimpse of nudity in art

All of us naturist or not are bombarded by a lifetime visual images that establish and reinforce the association. Some people are hypersensitive to nudity as a result. Others including some how wear the nudist/naturist label go in the opposite direction. They advocate for a more sex positive approach to naturism and nudist. These “open-minded” folks think that many of today’s nudists and naturists have become prudes, and need to relax.

View story at

History suggests this is not a new idea. In the past nudist organizations tried to attach their goals to those of 60’s sex revolution. It did not end well, at least in the American context. When attached to the sexual revolution nudism got caught up in all kinds of criminalization issues. At the same time while pursuing a non sexual expression of nudity the nudist movement experienced significant legal successes. 1)Naked A Cultural History of American Nudism

While some commentators suggest the Calgary organizers were inept in their promotion of the event I see a much bigger issue. The problem seems to stem from the over sexualization of the naked body by people inside and outside the nudist and naturism communities. Activists advocates for simple nudity like performer TonDou works to legitimize simple nudity and bare body freedom. Others attach the term nudist to the swinger lifestyle and use it as a descriptor for those who like to be naked in public as precursor to sexual activity. Still others strongly proclaim their genuine love of nudism and not pornography while tweeting retweeting and posting porn online. Over and over I witnessed people with a voice for promoting naturist and nudism drift in the world of sex and sexuality. Sometimes simply to get more views on their sites or social media accounts. These folks at once celebrate and sexualized the human body and simple nudity. Is it any wonder the anti event folks in Calgary didn’t need to do much to generate 20,000 signatures for a petition against holding an all ages event?

Why is a non sexual approach critical for the future? Everywhere one looks there are people who are dismayed that few young people are participating in naturism. Though research suggests that kids often leave naturist life behind when they reach puberty, if they are not able to take part in non sexual events when younger they may never be involved. Children are exposed to enough over sexualiaztion of the human body in general society. They don’t need to have that connection in naturist settings. A naturist setting can be a safe place for children to develop a nonsexual appreciation for their bodies.

What to do? Well, get beyond the idea that just because naturism is non sexual, naturists are asexual. Naturists are not asexual if they were they wouldn’t have children to participate in events in the first place. It is a false binary to suggest if one is not sex positive/open-minded in one’s approach to nudism then one is asexual. Genuine naturist tweeters, bloggers and social media folks should stop sharing pics of kids that aren’t their own. It just looks creepy and smacks of something seamy. What we need are real life parents sharing their stories. We should support parents who get chastised for allowing their children to experience the joy of simple no sexual nudity. Finally, we should set aside our personal opinions and predilections regarding sexuality to create safe (by that I mean non sexual because I hope we can agree children should not be involved in adult sexual activity under any circumstance.) spaces for every including children so we can teach society to distinguish nudity from sexual activity.

What do you think is the path forward a non sexual one?

References   [ + ]

Nu gymnosophy – toward a more connected naturism

I think is it time to move toward a more connected naturism.  Recently I had an enjoyable three day clothes free camping experience. It had been a while since I had done that this summer. I also had the pleasure of introducing  a first timer to a socially clothes free experience and the joys of clothes free camping. Much of the time was spent in deep conversation with the newbie nudie and another camper about the social realities that divide rather than connect us. One of the part of the conversation was the disconnection with every day life that is often evident in naturism as expressed in the online space. The thing that came up again and again as I shared the clothes free experience in a social setting with the newbie nudie was connectedness. Naturism at its fullest is about connectedness. Connecting to nature and connecting with each other. How does one find this connected naturism?

Psychologist Carl Jung and the human need to be connected

Psychologist Carl Jung, a contemporary of Sigmund Freud developed a  different approach to psychoanalysis than Freud. While Freud focused on the individual ego and the sex as the driver of the psyche Jung took a more connected approach seeing the psyche in a more holistic way. Jung believed the psyche need to be connected internal, communally and naturally. In Jung’s paradigm a healthy psyche needed a connected to nature, to ones inner being and socially. As I was reading some of Carl Jung’s thoughts about the connection between the psyche and nature I this was the disconnect I was feeling between the way naturism is most often presented online and what we  call clothes free life.  The former seems so focused on the external individual expression of the naked body. Clothes free life on the other hand is focused on connectedness.

When seen through a Jungian Lens a body centric, externally focused naturism ultimately leaves us disconnected from ourselves, and others as well as nature. In particular, we are disconnected from ourselves when the physical emphasis eclipses the inner working of naturism that helps to bring body and soul together. We are disconnected from others when we define the practice only through our own lens and see anything that doesn’t fit in our lens as an existential threat.  We are disconnected from nature when we find ourselves in nature to use it to fit our lens met our individual desire, rather than just connect with it.

The extraverted tendency of the West and the introverted tendency of the East have one important purpose in common: both make desperate effort to conquer the mere naturalness of life. It is the assertion of mind over matter, the opus contra naturnam, a symptom of the youthfulness of man, still delighting in the use of the most powerful weapon ever devised by nature: the conscious mind. The afternoon of humanity, in a distant future, may yet evolve a different ideal. In time even conquest will cease to be the dream. – Carl Jung

My awareness of this disconnect came to me recently as I introduced someone to the social side of  clothes free life and naturism by way of clothes free camping. I found myself explaining  the difference between the often disconnected expression of naturism in the online space and social media and real life face to face connected naturism and clothes free life. But the experience illustrated the difference even more effectively. My newbie nudie friend saw people, all kinds of people interacting with me talking about things that were apart of their lives. There was no focus on bodies, though the bodies were clothes free and varied. Rather it was about the people in those bodies. Their interests, their livelihood, their dreams, their hopes.

Natural life is the nourishing soil of the soul. Anyone who fails to go along with life remains suspended, stiff and rigid in midair. That is why so many people get wooden in old age; they look back and cling to the past with a secret far of death in their hearts. They withdraw from the life-process, at least psychologically, and consequently remain fixed like nostalgic pillars of salt, with vivid recollections of youth but no living relation to the present. (Carl Jung – Collected Works,8, par 800)

Why does it matter if we move toward a more connected naturism?

Following Jung’s train of thought without the inner connectedness, connection with nature and connectedness with others we become stiff, rigid and individualistic beings. Something I have often observed on social media as it relates to naturism.

Let’s examine this example from one of our twitter followers who removed the word naturist from his bio despite the fact that he is living a clothes free life. Why?

Because the term naturist in the disconnected expression of naturism online attracts mainly folks who are focused on bodies and not the people inside the bodies.

Why? Because the connection to the life of the person who is an avid comic book collector and more than a body isn’t always validated by the naked body focus.

Why? Because people struggle to embrace clothes free life in that space because the connections made do not reflect the wholistic life giving connected naturism.

“We are beset by an all-too-human fear that consciousness – our Promethean conquest – may in the end not be able to serve us as well as nature.” (Carl Jung –  Collected Works,8, par 750)

Connected naturism past is future

In the recent past of the naturism practice, European naturist left the urban environs to escape to the country side and reconnect with nature. They traveled together and shared communal meals. They sought to take in the fresh air and sunlight available while clothes free in nature to strengthen body mind and spirit against the advent of a disconnecting industrialization. If the future is to include space for a connected naturism then we  should make an effort to reestablish that kind of connectedness. Social  media should have a place as a tool for connecting people but not as THE connection.

Those who claim the label naturist and practice clothes free life need to find an inner connectedness beyond the external display of the naked body. We need to have face to face connections in nature spaces and invite others into those connected spaces moving beyond a focus on photos of naked bodies that are not our own. We need to have experiences of connectedness in nature

Social media should have a place as a tool for connecting people but not as THE connection. Some of today’s Jungian psychologists suggest that while many of us join social media to find connectedness the resulting connection is one of comparison.

A powerful connection between using social media and comparing ourselves with other people. Brian Collison

The outcome is greater anxiety and a disconnect from deeper individual awareness and our true self which Jung suggests is a key to psychological health. To quote Jung “People get dirty through too much civilization” The technology of modern day civilization has made the practice of naturism and clothes free living dirty. Not in the literal sense but by replace real connectedness with the connectedness of social media and online interaction. We need to get clean group a connected naturism and clothes free life. As Jung says that starts when we touch nature. I like to call it nu gymnosophy

Is connected naturism even possible? What do you think?

If you would like to learn more about naturism from a Jungian perspective visit the web site skyclad therapist where the skyclad therapist examines and explores the connection. I can’t say I agree with everything written there but that’s not the point. The posts are always thoughtful and helpful to those exploring or examine the fullness of naturism and clothes free life beyond the naked body.

gender identity in naturism – are we ready?

Gender identity is a trending issue in the news. Statehouses are busy drafting laws to forcing people with non binary gender identities to use  public bathrooms, designated by their gender assigned at birth. Are those in the nudist and naturist communities keeping up with the changing social fabric? Do naturist and nudist organizations have policies and strategies to respond to these changes? What do each naturist and nudists think?

Gender identity emerges

Last summer while at a naturist venue I had my first direct experience with gender fluidity in naturism A person who I saw before  but only had limited contact with walked past the hot tub where I was sitting. I was there with three or four other people. Nothing unusual as clothing optional experiences go. However this person who was male in terms of genitals was wearing make up and jewelry usually worn by those who typically identity as women. Simply put, to external eyes he looked like a cross dresser. The conversation in the hot tub was revealing.

“If his wife is ok with it who am I to be bothered?” “I don’t think I have ever seen him dressed like that before” “I have a real problem with it, (glance toward me not sure why) I think it sends the wrong message to people who are checking this out.” “I think its fine, I remember when you couldn’t marry who you wanted (another glance toward me suspect because of my dark complexion) so if he is comfortable…”

Throughout the brief episode, which ended as the person said goodbye to a few people promising that he/she would see them later for dinner, I kept my thoughts to myself and did not stare. Still, my mind was racing with questions. I previously understood the meaning and intention behind the word queer in broader society as to related to sexual orientation. This gave me pause to ask myself if I needed to learn more. I personally know and interact with gay people who describe themselves as nudists. However, the issue of gender identity had never been the subject or discussion or thinking in the naturist/clothes free context. So I tatted to seek out people who identified as gender fluid to get better educated. This got me thinking. Are other naturists or nudists encountering this kind of situation? What do they think? Is the naturist/nudist community ready for this?

Current state

To be honest there are still some nudist/naturist clubs and venues that discourage or outright prohibit gay men and lesbian women. They do so by defining a couple or family very narrowly.  It remains to be seen how this will evolve, as same-sex marriage is now the law.  Pride month recently ended and at least one North American naturist organization participated in a pride parade.

People (65 total) who responded to this twitter poll seem to approve.

Though not everyone agreed

Then this news burst onto the net

Read  the original post

So what is actually happening? Are we ready to include everyone? Does race, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion, or gender identity influence acceptance? Or are we confused by the complexity of emerging social identities and their non binary nature. Is the issue solved simply by taking off your clothes?

The challenge

A significant challenge for current established nudist and naturist groups is their understanding of gender identity. I have come to understand gender identity as separate from sexual orientation or physical genitalia. It is important for all of us to deepen our understanding of the meaning behind the letters in LGBTQI spectrum. I suspect while some naturist/nudist groups and individuals have begun to accept non heterosexual normative participation in naturism with regards to the first three letters in the LGBTQI spectrum. Those letters for the most part deal with sexual orientation. Many, if not most have yet to consider the last three letters that deal more with gender identity. Social identity is a a complex thing. It requires all of us to rethink our assumptions about ourselves and others. We would do well to listen to the voices of those who embrace differing perspectives and social identities than our own.

To that end, we have an up coming interview with a non binary person. It will share the perspective of a person who identifies as both a naturist and non binary gender fluid.

So what do you think? Are we, are you ready for a gender fluid, non binary naturist/nudist community?

Nudism and sexuality – An outlet for closet exhibitionists and swingers?

Over three years ago this was a draft post after seeing someone ask this question online. Is nudism just an excuse for closet exhibitionists and swingers to justify their lifestyle? Three years later the question of the connection between nudism and sexuality is even more relevant. Recent events have caused me to take another look at this subject. There are some today who suggest there is no inconsistency between the practice of nudism or naturism and sexually driven nudity practiced in the swinging lifestyle or exhibitionism.

Re-examining the question

The tipping point for the re-examination was the report of a tragic killing at a swinger resort which described as a nudist campground by the newspapers. But the same papers list activities at the facility that sound more sexual .

Upcoming events include a “festival” devoted to partner swapping, as well as a “festival country sexy,” a “festival fantasme” and a “festival érotique.”

We should not dismiss the fact that three lives were lost in this tragic act involving an alleged sexual relationship triangle.  However there is another tragedy here. It is the continuing tortured history of connecting nudism and sexual activity. Writer Brian Hoffman has chronicled this in his book Naked a Cultural History of American Nudism. This led me to the conclusion  that  looking at the history of nudism, the mix of sexual activity and nudist practice has not been good for the image of the practice. Here are some thoughts from Hoffman.

..many leaders feared that the original ideals and principles of nudism would be lost to an unregulated market of magazines and films that linked nudity and nudism to the commercialization of sex. For decades, nudist leaders and advocates had struggled to balance the movement’s therapeutic goals and its family-oriented recreational character with the erotic appeal of its magazines and camps. Naked a Cultural History of American Nudism

Although many nudists criticized Lange’s sensual photos and worried that they would lead nudism away from its familial character and respectability, Lange’s influence continued to grow in the nudist community.

Naked a Cultural History of American Nudism

However, some do not agree with my conclusion. Popular blogger,writer and self-described naturist Jill Page suggests purists  find the mix of sex and nudism disagreeable. She uses the phrase “libertine naturism” to describe as a totally compatible expression of sexual activity and nudism/naturism.

Some naturists are already saying that Adam et Ève is a place for “swingers” as opposed to “nudists,” as if one cannot be both a swinger and a naturist.

I respectfully disagree. There are people who combine the two — and why not, as long as it is between consenting adults? We talked about the “libertine” naturism issue here recently when such a camp — the Diamant Noir — opened in France. – Nudism/Naturism: Tragedy at a Quebec campground

I do not consider myself a purist by any stretch, and I  am a regular reader of Page’s posts. However, on this matter I must respectfully disagree. Though I understand the conclusion she comes to through her “libertine” views, I simply disagree. I don’t understand how the partner swapping event described by the papers as scheduled for the venue, reflects naturism or nudism. But that is my opinion, and it does depend on the definition of nudism used. If nudism is defined as being nude in social company regardless of the intent then there would seem to be no issue. But is nudism simply the act of getting naked without any consideration of intent? Yes, I know it is difficult if not impossible to tell the intent of an individual. But here we have group of people at a venue with a clearly stated intent. Still Page is right in one respect, we live in libertine times.

Libertine times

Libertine- a person who is morally or sexually unrestrained –

The reality is we live in a libertine age. A time not too different than the sexual revolution of the 60s. Which the nudism movement had to contend with in its effort to keep the practice family-oriented. But now everything is up for grabs. Even what constitutes a family. This is an an era when everyone defines things through the lens of their own experience. This is the singular characteristic of the postmodern age. Deconstruct everything, and if there is an undefined vacuüm be assured someone will put their definition on it. Nudism is subject to this postmodern deconstruction. Without a clear definition, anyone may define it as they see fit, and they have. It is hard to know what nudism and, to a lesser degree, naturism, is anymore.

The folks at the swinger resort in question seem to make use of the postmodern ethos as they define their brand of naturism through a libertine lens.

 naturist camping for liberated people –  Camping at Adam and Eve

Promotional images from the venue web site don’t seem to reflect something other than clothing optional/clothes free nudism or naturism.

What matters and why

Why does it matter? I would share a personal experience to explain. Two summers ago while at a clothing optional nudist venue I met a young woman, who had travelled solo to the venue for an event. She connected with me and a female  friend who was also at the event.  The woman shared that she wasn’t a newbie to nudist activities. However, the companion she had expected to be with her backed out at the last-minute. She was feeling a bit isolated and vulnerable. So when a “nice looking” couple invited her to join them for dinner, she gladly took them up on the offer. As she shared in conversation it came as a surprise to her,  the dinner invitation came with some unexpected after dinner desserts. Here was a person who was just enjoying being clothes free, with nothing else in mind. But she was confronted with the expectation that being naked was a precursor to sex. That’s why it matters. Conflating the two activities can create a confusing  and potentially dangerous environment for everyone.

If simple nudity is simply nudity nothing else why does it have to be attached to something else?  All over the internet and in social media I see memes pronouncing “nudity is not sex” or something similar.  At the same time our social media accounts often get followers who list themselves as both nudist and exhibitionist. As editor of the web magazine I have personally interacted with people both male and female who claim the nudist label but seem to then gravitate towards exhibitionist behavior.

The deriving of sexual gratification from fantasies or acts that involve exposing one’s genitals Free Dictionary

Why does this matter? Consider this recent tweet from a world naked bike ride group (an event being adopted by many nudists world-wide).

So what if nudists are exhibitionists and riding with naked around kids? We live in a nudity paranoid society that now exists every time the connection is made. It creates an issue of concern for those who  say “we need to keep kids safe.” Then simple nudity becomes something unsafe. That is the battle being fought in Ocean City against bare-chested freedom to keep the beaches there family friendly”. Before anyone suggests I am just a nude prude let me say there is absolutely nothing wrong with sex. Everyone is entitled to their own sexual choices. It is the connection between sex and nudism that I have an issue with. It sends a mixed message that we can ill afford to mange even in these “libertine” days. Whether I like it or not western society tends to associate nudity and sexuality. That association already makes it difficult for people to express simple nudity without being considered a sexual deviant.   It is not enough to say parents need to watch out for their own kids. What actress Emily Browning said is true we need to acknowledge the reality  that people are weird about nudity.

The impact

Is naturism or nudism being used as an excuse? Excuse is probably not the right word. To be real sex sells. It sells more than simple nudity. That is why “nudist” venues hold sexually oriented events and nudist magazine accept ads from those advertising swinging.

It seems an association of convenience, one which I personally would prefer was eliminated. It seems I am not alone. Those of us who see nudism and naturism as the non sexual practice of social nudity want to have our practice unencumbered by the sexual association. It only serves to create confusion among the  public about nudism and naturism.

Surely once we have read the title of the topic to all nudists and naturists you will quickly come to the head several opinions or experiences about the confusion between nudism and swinger. The sexual connotation that is intended to give a wrong way to a lifestyle and a way of understanding the world. There is a fairly marked current where nudism is mixed with the sexual realm of the exchange of couples or exhibitionism when it really has nothing to do but rather in its real sense are totally opposed. – La confusión entre nudismo y mundo swinger


Given this situation “nudists” who continue to push for the acceptance of a connection between nudism and sexual activity are doing the practice of nudism or naturism no favors. For my part it seems cynical for swingers to hitch their lifestyle to nudism. It seems like an effort to lower the social stigma or gain some measure of credibility. If swingers are confident in their chosen lifestyle, a choice I acknowledge their right to choose, why not just own it outright? Why does it need to be attached to nudism? Nudity and sex yes I understand that it’s how most of the world thinks. But nudism and sex? Why?

It seems to me that the intent is different naked for the sake of being clothes free or naked as precursor to sexual activity. I personally will fight for those folks to live their lives and make choices that they feel are right for them. I just wish they would stand up for that on its own and not pull nudism into it. If you are a swinger be a swinger. If you are an exhibitionist be an exhibitionist! Let nonsexual clothes free living stand on its own without drawing the association. A call goes out to those practicing lifestyles outside the mainstream, swinger, nudist, exhibitionist, naturist. Stand up and define yourself. If you don’t, someone will do it for you. Let your choice, be YOUR choice not someone else’s interpretation of it.

A final note, sincere sympathies  to the family members of those whose lives were tragically ended. A sudden loss of life is always traumatic and even more so under the alleged circumstances.

decolonizing naturism beyond cultural appropriation

In this long overdue second part of the series decolonizing naturism I will explore the cultural appropriation of naturism and the resulting impact of defining of naturism as euro-dominant and something not for people of color. We begin with a definition of cultural appropriation.

Cultural appropriation is the adoption or use of the elements of one culture by members of another culture.[1] Cultural appropriation may be perceived[2] as controversial or harmful, notably when the cultural property of a minority group is used by members of the dominant culture without the consent of the members of the originating culture. Wikipedia

As stated in the first part of this series, I believe this issue arises from the history of modern naturism and which originated from European cities during western industrialization when people were disconnected from the natural environment. Non- western, non-industrialized nations and cultures which were more agrarian didn’t have that issue. In addition their geographic locations closer to the equator, made their cultures  less likely to be to wear much clothing. Therefore those cultures were naturall oriented towards a naturist life (see INF definition) than their European counterparts. Many people look to advent of gymnosophy and free body movement of the early twentieth century as the benchmark for the modern-day practice we now call,naturism or nudism. The idea that this may be cultural appropriation is an elusive concept for many because a Eurocentric world view tends to present Western European culture as normative culturally, superior historically and the originator of most things. So there is little if any effort to look beyond that history for the deeper roots of the contemporary practice. But o claim that Europeans originated naturism appropriates that which has been a part of African and other indigenous cultures long before twentieth century.

What cultural appropriation looks like

One characteristic of cultural appropriation is the separation of the cultural element from its cultural origins and supplanting its original intention and cultural meaning with the new Eurocentric one. Examples of this practice of cultural appropriation are present in the past and current society. During the colonial period the natural shape of the bodies of African women was considered profane and savage. But that same body shape was culturally appropriated and converted into a fashion  for European women to express their beauty.

Another expression is the use of cultural elements for the benefit of the dominant culture without acknowledging or benefit the culture of origin. Think Elvis the king of Rock and Roll. The Police and Reggae or Miley Cyrus and the twerk. The ceremonial dances of African women often considered primitive in its form yet is culturally appropriated to become Twerking. A sexualized dance adopted by some European women to express raw “primitive” sexuality.

Another way this characteristic is expression is the ignoring of the sacred meaning behind the appropriated cultural facet. Often the appropriation is claimed as a form of flattery. Ironically once the culturally appropriated facet has ceased to give any benefit to the dominant culture it is as readily discarded as it was used.

This cultural appropriation is not limited to African people any non-European culture that came under the control of European colonialists has been subject to this phenomenon. Indians, Indonesians and Native Americans and aboriginal people have all been the victims of cultural appropriation.

National Geographic nudity

Perhaps the most telling example of this phenomenon comes the pages of the venerable magazine of pictorial anthropology National Geographic. For many years the magazine was one of the few places where the naked body could be seen. The bodies were exclusively non-European.

What is generally called “ethnographic” nudity has appeared both in serious research works on ethnography and anthropology, as well as in commercial documentaries and in the National Geographic magazine in the United States. In some cases, media outlets may show nudity that occurs in a “natural” or spontaneous setting in news programs or documentaries, while blurring out or censoring the nudity in a dramatic work The ethnographic focus provided an exceptional framework for photographers to depict people whose nudity was, or still is, acceptable within the mores, or within certain specific settings, of their traditional culture.  – Depictions of nudity

Historians suggest however that images these ethnic bodies were being appropriated for European consumption.

Detractors of ethnographic nudity often dismiss it as merely the colonial gaze preserved in the guise of scientific documentation. However, the works of some ethnographic painters and photographers including Herb Ritts, David LaChappelle, Bruce Weber, Irving Penn, Casimir Zagourski, Hugo Bernatzik and Leni Riefenstahl, have received worldwide acclaim for preserving a record of the mores of what are perceived as “paradises” threatened by the onslaught of average modernity. National Geographic Explorer sometimes shows naked people–usually undeveloped cultures who find no need for clothes. No problem! Of course National Geographic started publishing shortly after the establishment of Imperialism and Colonial Rule in Africa. For those who don’t know, this is when white European leaders divided up Africa. It was a time when most Europeans viewed Africans as inferior child-like creatures. So for almost a hundred years now we have been seeing pictures from different cultures around the world and there has never been a problem wish publishing photos of naked African cultures. But what would occur if pictures of naked white people were published in National Geographic? Has there ever been any? – Depictions of nudity

All this led one poster to a discussion forum to suggest

Could it be that western culture has some unspoken quirky racist morality that says it’s OK to see black people naked because, perhaps “they don’t know any better?” However, a naked white person in the same context many would likely lead to book banning and be called “softcore-porn,” or whatever. – Crazy Bob

Cultural appropriation in naturism and nudist context

Another definition of cultural appropriation may help an understanding of how it is expressed in the naturist and nudist context.

Cultural appropriation occurs when elements of a marginalized culture are taken and used by another culture with a huge sense of entitlement attached. That unhealthy sense of entitlement is obvious when an individual cannot even accept criticism from members of the culture they’re appropriating. Jessica Deer – CBC News

It is the sense of entitlement connected with naturism and nudism as expressed by many of Europeans descent is an significant element in the cultural appropriation of naturism. The fact that it was colonial Europeans who forced clothing on African and most other indigenous cultures is more often than not ignored. Maybe there is just a lack of awareness of the historical record (which was discussed in part one) and it’s post colonial impact.

Images SL Naturist

Despite photographic and documentary evidence to the contrary many contemporary nudists and naturists of. European background continue to suggest that naturism did and does not exist non-European cultures.

The fact remains that many pre-colonial African tribes did not have to choose to not wear clothes they simply did not need. Furthermore it was not a part of their theirtribal culture. The same is true today among many African tribes and other indigenous people who have resisted western and European cultural mores about clothing. When this is denial in the face of irrefutable evidence I t leads me to wonder is this another way to attach a euro-dominant narrative in order culturally appropriate the practice.

Having forced clothing upon indigenous people during the colonial period Europeans now often assert their dominant culture entitlement by getting naked in places sacred to indigenous people. This sense of entitlement allows members of the dominant culture to remain oblivious to cultural appropriation and its impact on indegenous cultures while retaining the benefits from the activity. This is something not afforded the indigenous people in the colonial period.

“It’s like someone went into St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican and took a nude photo,” Dennis Ngawhare, a spokesperson for the local Maori community, told the BBC. “It’s a sacred place and something like this is just very inappropriate

Playboy Model Under Fire for Posing Naked on a Sacred New Zealand Mountain

Another expression of the cultural appropriation is Eurocentric naturists often equate the natural state of the African body and the natural clothes free way of life to. Perhaps the most egregious example of among naturists and nudists is the  appropriation of racial prejudice as equivalent to the stigma of public nudity. This practice diminishes and demeans what is the most significant social issue for people of African descent today. Let me explain why this is so problematic. No one is ever going to be shot and killed by law enforcement officer simply because they are naked if they are from European background. The same cannot be said about a person of African decent. Not in contemporary America.

This lack of awareness and sensitivity to the lived experience of people of color may be one potential reason why more people of color, do not take part in the practice of social naturism or nudism. While many African-American people I have spoken to regularly spend time clothes free at home, they are usually reluctant to take part in social gathering where the dominant culture is, well dominant. This is often attributed to a perceived lack of sensitivity and cultural awareness. Before it is suggested that I talking about racism here let me be clear I am not. To be sure there are racists among those who call themselves naturists and nudists, however racism is neither prerequisite or to cultural appropriation or insensitivity.

When ever I have raised this issue in naturist and nudist circle the usual response is clichés like “everyone is equal in Naturism.” Or “Naturism…where everyone is beautiful”. The problem with these responses is they continue to disregard the loved experience of a African-Americans and other indigenous people of color to preserve euro-dominant world view.   Many modern nudists and naturists of European descent are not conscious of the significance of how their appropriation of the racial equivalency affects people from non-European heritage.  Recently artist and creative people have begun to bring attention to  the lack of post colonial cultural awareness.. A recent art exhibition by artist Alex Nguyen-Vo speaks to this.

 Alex Nguyen-Vo’s paintings imagine a resort where nude Westerners frolic care-free, oblivious to the power dynamics of their tropical paradise.  A Fictional Nudist Colony Where Postcolonial Tensions Are Laid Bare

Aglow the second novel of author Will Forest also explores the connections between cultural awareness and naturism. I believe we need more of this if we want to decolonize nudism and naturism and reduce the cultural appropriation that exists within those communities. Everyone in the community whatever they cultural or racial background should educate themselves on the cultural history, believers and practices of others. Only then we people of African descent throw off the colonial shackles of clothing and reclaim their clothes free heritage. Only then will those of European heritage come to understand the deep roots of the practice of clothes free life before the early nineteenth century and see it connection to the path forward for today.