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Is everyone a nudist?
If, after my shower and in the privacy of my own home or room, I choose not to get dressed does that make me a nudist?
Technically yes, but no more than you are a trainspotter if you watch more than one train go past. The reality is that everyone is born a nudist. We enter this world without a stitch on, and being naked is our natural state. We are all naked beings. Clothing is an artificial construct that allows us to live in parts of the planet that would be inhospitable to humans otherwise. Clothing has evolved into more than just protection from the harsh elements, and now carries with it huge social messaging about identity, even status.
Most people will not identify as a nudist, even if they enjoy sitting naked after showering.
While compiling this issue, The Guardian released a report stating that nearly 7 million people in the UK identify as naturists or nudists. That is an incredible 14% of the population. British Naturism had recently advised that there are 9100 members of naturist clubs in the UK, which leaves a staggering number of people claiming to be naturists but not engaged with the national organisation. This raises a lot of questions, that I am not going to try and answer here, but if I were running a naturist group, I would be looking at ways to engage with the millions of people who identify as nudists. Strength in numbers.
Perhaps The Guardian’s report will make advertisers and marketers consider that 14% of the population is a big enough group to be treated seriously.
We are all on a continuum from those who spend all their time dressed and rush to put clothes on after bathing, to those who spend as much time as they can naked. There is no set point on the scale where you change into being a nudist or a naturist. Those are labels we give ourselves or are sometimes given to us by others judging our behaviour.
Some define a nudist as someone who is simply naked and a naturist as someone who lives according to a philosophy that is in harmony with nature, where nudity is only one small part of those values. Which term is used depends upon how someone chooses to identify but it could be argued that both labels are poorly understood by the general public at large.
Some people will sit happily naked, and not consider themselves nudists or naturists. While they might enjoy a naked moment, it may not occur to them that resisting the urge to cover up might be a reason that they are feeling better about themselves.
Some people will claim the label of nudist or naturist to engage in swinging or other sexual activities.
Some will claim that nudity is non-sexual and an expression of self-confidence.
Some will consider naturism as clothing-optional, where one is free to choose what or what not to wear.
Some will insist that nudism is absolute and that clothing-optional is weakening the brand.
Just as there are many different types of people in the world, there are many different ideas about nudity, nudism and naturism.
Whatever the reason, people will choose a label to try and identify as a person with the same interests as others who identify and use the same label. Humans are hard-wired to look for common connections.
Whatever our passion or our hobby, be it music, dance or sport, we seek out others with a shared interest which gives us a sense of belonging and common understanding.
Am I still a naturist while wearing clothes?
You don’t have to be naked all the time to consider yourself a naturist.
I recently read a post from writer Naturist J in which he posed a question about absolutism and naturism. In his Going Naturist blog, which I regret to say, I am now unable to find or link to,
There’s a natural tendency to think about nudism the same way we think about something like veganism — it’s either all or nothing. There are no 50% vegans out there. You are either a vegan, or you aren’t, right?
I don’t think there’s requirement for absolutism in naturism. Naturists can span a spectrum from “I enjoy a skinny dip and a day at the nude beach now and then” to “literally every moment of my life is spent naked” and everything in between.
Naturism is more a state of mind than a state of being. It is an attitude of acceptance and respect.
Even the most ardent critic of a nudist or naturist lifestyle may have savoured the comfort of being naked in their own space from time to time. That is the feeling naturists try to enjoy as often as they can.
Is everyone a nudist? No, but everyone has the right to be comfortable in their own skin, without criticism, judgement or shame.
Thank you for reading, have a comfortable day.