Falling on Deaf ears.
Why do so many people new to naturism discover things we have been saying for decades? Weren’t they listening?
As part of the notifications that I get regarding news and posts on nudity and naturism, I was recently made aware of an article written in Cosmopolitan about the joys of holidaying naked.
The author found that while holidaying with friends in France at CHM Montalivet, simple non-sexual social nudity has a multitude of benefits.
The freedom to be who they are without worrying about their appearance or being judged.
The freedom from the male gaze and in conversation being spoken to face to face, rather than face to body.
The feeling of safety. Paradoxically feeling safe despite the vulnerability of not wearing any clothing.
The normalisation of the human body, after seeing so many naked people and starting to realise that there is no perfect. We are all different shapes, sizes and colours, and everything becomes normal rather than perfect.
The freedom found from discovering that you are enough.
Interestingly, rather than finding something, the group of friends realised that something was missing.
…a lack of threat, a lack of self-consciousness, a lack of fear: not feeling like you need to be on guard.
These are all things that nudists and naturists have been telling people for decades, and yet someone new to naturism discovers these things and seems surprised. Surprised enough to write an article telling others of their newfound freedom.
The day after the Cosmopolitan article appeared, a writer I admire, Jillian Page, commented on the same article in her blog. Normally my writing is not swift enough to be published the day after an article appears and a thought process is triggered in my brain. Perhaps my thought processes are not swift enough, and it is not so much the writing that takes time.
Jillian pointed out the same error in the article that I picked up on, which was a definition that naturism was non-sexual and that nudism had a more voyeuristic side catering more to the swinging community.
I believe that this is something that someone new to social nudity might confuse in an effort to make sense of the minefield that trying to define social nudity has become. Nevertheless, it needs to be challenged.
The Cosmopolitan article's confusion over the definition of nudism as more sexualised than naturism may be the experience of the author, but this is definitely not the case generally, and I would argue that the assertion may damage the reputation of many non-sexual nudist venues in the UK and Europe. In the U.S. the term nudist is often preferred to naturist, and many people work tirelessly to dispel the association between nudity and sexualised behaviour.
I am sure that sexual liaisons might occur in any social group such as book clubs or church groups, but no one assumes that these social groups are a hotbed of debauchery.
The naturists and nudists that I know from all over the world are just normal people doing ordinary things, but are people who prefer not to wear clothes. The absence of clothing does not flick a switch in us that turns us into rampant, sexually promiscuous beings unable to control our primal urges.
Naturists are people, and as such are sexual beings, but sex is something that is intimate and personal between consenting adults, and not displayed openly in our social groups, just like the rest of society. Even swingers mostly keep their sexual activities behind closed doors.
Swingers are a collective independent of nudists and naturists. While it is true that there are nudists and naturists who engage in swinging, the vast majority of nudist venues are non-sexual in nature.
I am not making any judgements about people who swing, each to their own, and as consenting adults, who am I to judge? I guess the point I am trying to make is that swingers are their own community, and are made up of people from all walks of life, not just nudists and naturists. Like naturists, swingers are doctors, lawyers, office workers, retired people, unemployed people or anyone in your community.
While the naturist community welcomes positive articles to help promote the simple joys that naturism can bring, persistent misconceptions can be barriers to many people who might consider dipping their toes into the warm waters of naturism.
The continued confusion from the public, and more importantly the media, around the sexual nature of nudist venues stops so many people from enjoying the simple pleasures and freedoms that are highlighted in the Cosmopolitan article.
If I had a magic wand, the one thing I would do would be to remove the misconception that so many have about nudity being sexual.
There might be nudity in my sexual activity but there is never sexual activity in my nudism.
Thank you for reading. Have a comfortable day.
We are not immune.
Despite our expectations, it can happen to us.
I approached the author of the Cosmopolitan article some 6 weeks ago, but I have yet to get a reply. In the absence of her permission to reference her, I have not mentioned her by name and have not included links to her sites.
As the original article is in the public domain, I have linked to it here.
Jillian Pages’ blog referencing the Cosmopolitan article.