Readers of my blog will already be aware of my thoughts and attitudes about the philosophy of naturism and my efforts to try and demystify and promote it while neutralising some of the harmful stereotypes that many people have.
As a regular Twitter user (does that make me a twit?), I have conversations with several advocates for the naturist philosophy from all over the world.
Some of you will already be aware of Linda Weber and the tireless work that she does to promote naturism and non-sexual nudity. Linda has a strong voice dealing with issues women face in the naturist movement and works hard to promote and support women in naturism. As Director for the AANR-W region, Linda also has membership in British Naturism, The Naturist Society and the INF through the Irish Naturists Association. Under the Twitter name BlondeGiraffe, Linda has come up with a Tweet that eloquently summarises many of the ideas that I try and articulate in my writings.
Recognise not everyone is open or able to embrace naturism.
Not everyone lives in a safe space to partake in social nudity, and for some, the climate is particularly challenging. For cultural or religious reasons, many people are unable to put their feelings into practice. For some, they simply don’t want to consider the option, and we must respect their choice. We just want the right to be comfortable without clothing, and to have our choice respected rather than condemned.
Educate people on what the naturist philosophy is.
I recently had a discussion with a Twitter user about the use of the word educate, as it applies to naturism. She argued that “educate” carried negative connotations, as it implied that non-naturists needed to be shown the light, and have their minds changed. Linda has identified that educating people about the naturist philosophy, is not the same as asking them to subscribe to the philosophy, but helps to dispel many of the assumptions and myths that people hold about naturists and their activities.
Swinging is not a tenet of naturism.
This seems to be one of the bigger misconceptions that non-naturists hold about the naturist philosophy. Swinging is a sexual activity in which both singles and partners in a committed relationship sexually engage with others for recreational purposes. Swingers are from all walks of life, some naturists may well be swingers, but so are some doctors, teachers, nurses, and shop assistants. Being a naturist is no more an indication of being involved in the swinger lifestyle than being a consenting adult.
Porn has no place in naturism.
It could be argued that porn has no place anywhere, for all the harm it does, but it is pervasive and with us whether we like it or not. People look at porn for all sorts of reasons, and many people live their lives without looking at it at all. I am sure some naturists do look at porn, just as there are people from all walks of life who look at it. The key point is that the naturist philosophy of social nudity is non-sexual. Many people post images that are pornographic, claiming that they are simply enjoying naturism. Wrong.
Encourage people to try naturism.
The idea of “don’t knock it until you have tried it” is so applicable to the naturist philosophy. Many naturists have said that there was a fear the first time they tried social nudity, but have found it liberating and life-changing. Nudity and the naturist philosophy are not for everyone, and encouraging those who are vehemently opposed to it will do nothing to further the cause, but we should make the opportunity to give it a go as welcoming and inviting as we can.
Consider the many positive benefits of naturism.
Ask anyone who follows a naturist philosophy, and they will be able to rattle off numerous physical, mental and social benefits of naturism. From boosting your vitamin D without the need for supplements to an improved sense of self-confidence and a better state of mental health. Many will tell you that issues around body shame disappear, and you begin to see people for who they are rather than what they look like.
Tell your story. It may compel someone to try naturism.
There are hundreds of stories of how people came to embrace the freedom and reduced stress that comes from being comfortable in one's skin. From those who simply delay getting dressed in the privacy of their room or home to those who have fully embraced the philosophy and have become ambassadors for non-sexual nudity, (looking at you Helen).
Telling our stories might not result in people lining up to bare all and fully embrace the naturist philosophy, but even if one story inspires one person to be more understanding and less critical of social nudity, then it is worth it.
Tell my story? That is a whole new post.
Thank you for reading, have a comfortable day.
Helen Berriman on Twitter