Discover more from A Comfort of Naturists
The Naturist Philosophy is not just about being Naked.
In 1974 the fourteenth congress of the INF (International Naturist Federation) defined naturism as:
A way of life in harmony with nature characterised by the practice of communal nudity with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others and for the environment.
For me, the keyword there is RESPECT.
Naturism is a state of mind and attitude rather than a state of dress. I accept that there are many different flavours of naturism and that anyone can identify as a naturist or a nudist. Someone who simply enjoys being naked alone in their own room can be as much a naturist as someone who lives predominantly clothes-free in all areas of their life.
There has recently been a bit of online discussion around the difference between a nudist and a naturist, and I have always considered that nudists simply enjoy being naked anywhere or anytime they can, whereas naturists subscribe to a wider natural philosophy in all areas of their life, which includes, but is not limited to social nudity. While I tend to lean towards the term naturist to describe myself, I will happily use both terms.
There is some criticism that a handful of naturists treat the philosophy with an almost cult-like status and can be overly critical of anyone who doesn’t quite fit their definition of naturist behaviour. While I can sympathise with that idea, I also accept that there is no one correct way to enjoy social nudity.
Naturism, like society in general, is a broad church. We should try and remember that naturism is only a part of people's lives and that we all have different work, hobbies, relationships, politics, religion and situations unique to each of us. Getting naked is only a small part of our individual lives that we have in common.
The fact that I choose to not follow naturists on social media who display overtly sexual material doesn’t mean that those people are not naturists, it simply means that their particular take on naturism doesn’t fit with mine. I am not so arrogant that I will try and define how other people should behave or identify.
Some months ago, when the weather was much warmer, I was having my back waxed as part of my self-care routine. The person who administers the
torture treatment asked what I had been up to during the previous weekend so I mentioned that I had been to a naturist event. As someone who often writes that as naturists we need to be more open to people about enjoying social nudity, it is only right that I take those opportunities myself. Part of me was trying to provoke a reaction, and part of me was indifferent to the response. It was not someone I was likely to see outside the professional capacity of the treatment rooms and to be honest, it's not like there aren’t other treatment facilities if the reaction had been hostile.
The initial reaction was mild surprise, but not shock. Then after a few minutes of perhaps contemplation, I was asked if it was true that we all had sex at those places.
I delivered a brief outline of the naturist philosophy and the positives of non-sexual nudity and body acceptance.
Once I explained that it was just boring everyday people doing boring everyday stuff, but in the buff, the topic wasn’t discussed any further, and indeed hasn’t been raised in subsequent visits. I don’t know whether it had ever occurred to the person that it was possible to be naked in the company of others and not have sex, or indeed how pervasive the misconception is. Im not sure that they believed my account of what happens, or doesn’t happen, at a naturist venue. Some beliefs are held strongly despite evidence to the contrary.
Based upon my experiences at naturist venues, I would venture to say that there is no more sex at a naturist club than there is at the local book club. I am sure that there are sexual connections at book clubs, just as there are in many social situations, but they are private and not on public display. I am also sure that there are sexual connections between consenting adults at naturist venues, but like most other social groups, any sexual activity is private and not openly displayed.
Nobody assumes that members of other social clubs are overly intimate, or engaged in sexual activity during the group's regular meetings, and it amuses me that people think that naturists are. When someone tells us that they are a member of the local bridge club to the local Toastmasters group, we don’t immediately assume that there is a hive of sexual activity going on at these meetings.
We don’t jump to the conclusion that the local church group is a hotbed of debauchery, although churches do not have a blemish-free record when it comes to the sexual abuse of children. I could argue that children are more likely to be abused in a church community than in a naturist one, and yet mention that there are children at a naturist event and you can see the blood drain from your audience's faces.
I am assuming that most people confuse nudity with sexual activity and are unable to understand that people can be naked without needing to have sex. I would be interested if anyone else has another explanation for the common misconception.
I guess if there are still people out there who think that nudist or naturist clubs are simply fronts for swingers and other open-minded sexual activity, then the naturist organisations and the wider naturist community have failed in delivering their message to the general public.
We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.
- Christian Nestell Bovee
Thank you for reading, have a comfortable day.