Being a nudist is easy. Just shed your clothes and voilà, you’re a nudist. Well, unfortunately it’s not that easy, at least for a lot of nudists and aspiring nudists. Inspired by the last episode of the New Nudist Podcast, I wanted to address the struggles of being a nudist in a clothed world. Reader, whether you’re a seasoned nudist, new to nudism or just curious about nudism, you are not alone. All nudists face some struggles in their practice of simple nudity. I sincerely hope it will also help people who are sitting on the fence and hesitate to become nudists, due to all the questions that go into their minds, and the struggles they are perceiving. Nothing unusual under the sun, being a nudist is fantastic, but not always easy. Read on!
A unshared view of nudity
Naked? No Way!
“Hey, I’m a nudist, do you mind if I get naked?” You dared to ask the question, received a weird look, and a “I don’t think this is acceptable to be naked here”. End of the story. Being naked alone or with others, inside or outside, is not “acceptable”. Therefore, you may, in most cases, not be granted the right to be simply naked. “But, but, there’s nothing wrong to it. It’s just a body and we all have the same!” May be, but being naked is just not acceptable.
Unfortunately, this is a reality in our modern world. The naked body is not accepted in its naked reality. It needs to be clothed to be accepted, hidden under layers of clothes. There are dozens of “sensible” reasons to wear clothes, and although we can object them and provide dozen of “sensible” reasons to be naked, the reasons to be clothed are more “sensible” than the ones to be naked. I know, I’m exaggerating a bit, but actually not that much. The fact is the naked body has become socially, culturally and religiously unacceptable. The tangible, non emotional fact, is that there are no sensible reasons at all at the exception of the protecting it against the cold or any danger that can hurt it.
This is a reality that nudists will face and may struggle with: you cannot decide to be naked where you want when you think it would be more comfortable. Some people got fined or even sent to jail because they wanted to simply be naked on a beach, but were considered a danger to the population.
The Fear and Reality of Rejection
“You, by being a nudist, are hurting our relationship” The fear and the reality of being rejected by friends and family is built by the legal, social, cultural and religious impossibility to be naked when it’s comfortable to be . The moment you do something that is not aligned with social, cultural and religious norms, you will get weird look and risk being ostracized and rejected. A lot of people puts label on others: he’s gay, she’s lazy, he’s a nudist, she’s fat… And by doing so, put them in a box, defining who they are and whether they are good company or not.
By being a nudist and open about it, we take the risk that some will reject us. Those who consider the naked body to be hidden. They will put a nudist label and this will tell them that they cannot entertain a relationship with you. Of course, this may hurt your feelings. You may lose friends. But the reality is that if your friends are really your friends, they will accept this side of your personality. They may look at you like a kind of weirdo (more on this below), but they may just smile and let it go.
The fear of rejection is common among people who embrace a herd mentality. They want to fit in, to avoid being noticed, to be seen as different. It’s true that voicing out that you are a nudist and enjoy being naked when and where possible may have negative consequences, particularly in conservative communities. That fear is real and overcoming it may have long term effects. Like all decisions in life, you may need to compromise. But my advice is not to compromise too much and live your passion as openly as possible.
Perceptions and Reality
The Body Image Illusion
“You can’t be a nudist, you have scars and cellulite. People will stare at you.” Those ideas are long lived but disappear the moment you go to a nudist beach or community. Perfect bodies are rare. This is true in the clothed world and in nudist communities. Most people have bodies with flaws. So what? It should not be an excuse not to eat well and get exercise, but it’s not a reason not to be a nudist.
Actually, being a nudist is the right antidote to the perfect body image illusion. Go to any nudist community and you will meet people with all sorts of body. At the same time, nobody will stare at you because you have scars or cellulite. This is probably why most nudist communities are welcoming and newbies are amazed at how relaxing it is not to be judged or stared at.
Do nudists struggle with their body image? Yes, but probably less than most people. For sure, we all have something we would like to change and we want to look better naked. This is what personal growth is about. However, by being exposed to naked bodies, we realize that the perfect body is mostly an illusion. Therefore, the struggle decreases and we become more mindful of who we are and what others have to bring to the party.
“She’s a nice woman, but there’s something wrong in her mind, she’s naked almost all day long.” Nudists are weirdos, they do not fit in, they are not normal, they have something that doesn’t work in their mind. Many people who are part of a minority are seen like this by the majority. If, on top of this, you are introvert, then, the final nail closes the coffin, as you cannot really be vocal about why you are not a weirdo or do not have the courage to stand strong in front of people who are bullying on their “normalcy”.
Psychologically, it’s not always be easy to be seen as the weirdo. Particularly when the naked body is seen as shocking. By being naked you can cause distress, and therefore “harm” other people – or at least they may claim being harmed. Then, you can start questioning your sanity. Your intention is of course not to cause distress or to harm other people by being naked. You are just comfortable as you are and are not responsible for how others behave and react to your nudity. But because you are told that you are a weirdo, you take a step back and hide who you really are deep inside.
Let’s face it though. There are millions of nudists around the world. You have dozens of naturist federations and associations that promote wholesome, simple and social nudity. You are NOT a weirdo. I actually believe that the textiles who find the naked body disgusting or harmful are the weirdos, but this is my point of view. So let people think who you they think you are, and just be yourself. Being a nudist is probably the most sane and logical behavior there is.
Misconceptions and refusals
Nudity and sexuality
“Get dressed! You cannot be naked like that!” That was a mother yelling at her son on a beach, after he dropped his swimsuit and ran to the sea naked. He was around 6 or 7. And this is how it all started. You need to cover your “naughty bits”. Now, let’s stay on that non-nudist beach. What do you see? Men wearing shorts or speedos, and women wearing bikinis or monokinis, and now even burkinis. What is the implicit message going into the kids brains: thou shall hide those “naughty bits”!
Before adolescence, you hide the naughty bits because they are naughty. Then you discover that those naughty bits are naughty because they may cause the necessary excitement to have sexual relations. As sex is bad, you don’t want to excite people by showing your naughty bits. Therefore, nudity and sexuality are tightly linked. Add the discomfort felt at adolescence by changes happening to your body, you seal that link and consider the body as needing to be covered. End of the story, once again.
But No! We have proofs of the contrary. In some human tribes, still living in more primitive settings, people are naked without having sex all day long. In nudist resorts, people do not have sex all day long. Education ties the knot between nudity and sexuality. If, as a kid, you are exposed to simple nudity in nudist settings, you may weaken the knot and will undo it after adolescence. You may not become a nudist for other reasons (hey, even when you make a difference between nudity and sexuality, you may not be comfortable being naked), but at least you will accept nudists as normal people.
Note – The question of sexuality is very controversial among the nudist community, although it should not be. As a human being, I like sex and having sexual relationships. I believe consent should precede sex. This means that it’s not because I’m naked in a naturist setting that I can have sex while other nudists can see me. Do nudists have sex? Yes. In public? No. Very simple, isn’t it? Nudism I’m talking about in this blog is not asexual, it separates nudity from sexuality. Therefore naturist settings, as I describe them, does not allow public sex. They are safe family settings that do not allow sexual behaviors in public.
“You can stay naked if you want, but don’t expect me to follow you!” Many nudist spouses voices out this view. In a lot of couples, one is nudist and not the other. And beyond this difference, there seem no way to make the other change his or her mind. The worst that can happen, and it happens, is when the one spouse does not accept the nudist inclination of his or her significant other, forcing him or her to hide. Although, I’m not a psychologist, I don’t believe it’s a healthy relationship, based on mutual respect.
In other posts, I’ve addressed this struggle. Particularly in What to do if my significant other does not like to be naked? It can be a really difficult situation. However, I really encourage to climb that mountain and find a solution. As a nudist, I know I could not set my nudism aside. I need to be able to live naked when and where I want. I need to be able to go on nudist holidays. It’s part of my personal balance and this is a non-negotiable.
The Naked Obsession
“What? You are naked again! You are obsessed!” If you’re living with non-nudists, you may hear this observation or recrimination. As if being naked was an addiction that you needed to be cured from. Wikipedia defines an addiction as a biopsychosocial disorder characterized by repeated use of drugs, or repetitive engagement in a behavior such as gambling, despite harm to self and others. The Merriam-Webster dictionnary tells us that an obsession is a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling: compelling motivation, an obsession with profits, an obsession with gambling.
Both obsession and addiction have negative connotations. But society provides a negative connotation to nudity. Nudity is bad and being obsessed is bad. Wanting to be naked because it feels comfortable and natural may be seen as an obsession. Bad is doubled. Struggle and doubt increase. Are nudists obsessed by nudity? Not more that people loving fishing are being obsessed by fishing or golfers by playing golfs. Nudism is a great lifestyle and wanting to live more of it is a natural expression of our love of it. No need to see addiction or obsession.
Am I obsessed by nudism? Probably! Otherwise, I would not be having this blog and keep advocating for more nudism. Does it harm me and others? If so, tell me how, because I should be blind! I just love being naked and find any opportunities to be so, and to talk about the many benefits of nudism. Not all nudists are like that. However, I do not feel obsessed in a wrong way and I don’t struggle with the idea of being naked as much as I can. I feel nudity is perfectly normal. It’s so comfortable that I want to be naked as much as I can. No side effect but increased nude time and nudist friends.
“Welcome to the nudist park!” The lady greets you with a large smile. She’s entirely naked. You’ve reached heaven! The solution to all those struggles is to be part of one or many nudist communities. If you live in a country where nudism is legal, you will find dozens of those communities, from nudist resorts to nudist beaches, from nudist action groups to nudist hiking groups, from nudist associations to nudist yoga classes. Internet has made those communities easier to find and reach out.
From the get-go, all the struggles described above disappear. There’s no fear of being rejected by being a nudist, there’s the freedom to be naked as soon as the group meets. There’s no judgment on your body scars and flaws, there’s the respect and interest of who you are, below the surface of your skin. I’m not saying all nudist communities are benevolent and will accept you as you are. It may not be a perfect fit, but, to the least, they will not see your love of nudism as something that is wrong and that you have to struggle with.
By being a part of one or many nudist communities, you will also discover you are not alone in your struggles. We all struggle or have struggled with the challenges above. You will find stories, advice and courage to be who you really are and embrace the nudist lifestyle in a new way. One last piece of positivity around nudist communities: If your spouse is reluctant to nudism, have him or her join a nudist community may be the solution. it’s often the solution. If there’s a fit beyond being naked with nudists, he or she will discover that you can enjoy being naked, while carrying day-to-day activities, and that will open a new page in your nudist life.
To conclude, having struggles, questions and challenges are facts of life. Having struggles, questions and challenges about nudism are facts of being a nudist and loving being naked. Sharing those struggles, questions and challenges with other nudists help tremendously. Reach out to other nudists, meet them, and talk to them are the best ways to find answers to those struggles, questions and challenges. You’re not alone! Rest just assured that nudism is a wonderful, natural, and totally normal lifestyle!
Strip naked, stay naked, live naked and share the naked love!