Previous part – Physical Nudity
Bodies and mind are not separated. Science has now proven time and time again that our minds have an effect on our bodies and vice versa. I’m sure that you may find one or some of your body parts not attractive, and would like to change them. I’m also sure that, if you’re not a nudist, you may be uncomfortable disrobing in front of others, even a doctor.
As per the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there was a 7.4% increase in cosmetic procedures from 2019 to 2020. The top five surgical procedures concern breast augmentation, liposuction, eyelid surgery, abdominoplasty, and rhinoplasty. In other words, millions of people (more than 6 million in 2019) are changing the way their breast, thighs, eyes, belly or nose look. Why so? To look better or to feel better? A bit of both, due to social pressure to look good, but most probably to feel good or better.
At the same time, many people suffer some form of mental disorder like body dysmorphic disorder, anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, eating disorders affect at least 9% of the population worldwide. Those disorders are serious and need medical advice. Although all patients are different, but most find their source in the way the body is seen and considered.
You may be in good mental health, but still consider your body is not nice enough or feel unwell with it. If nudism is not a medical treatment, a recent medical study showed that “naked communal activity increases body appreciation by reducing social physique anxiety”. Let’s see how nudism and communal nudity can benefit our psychological and emotional well-being.
The above-mentioned medical study has demonstrated the link between body image and happiness, well-being, and sexual functioning. Body image issue is a frequent mental disorder. I asked most of my friends, nudists and textiles, if they had an opportunity to change or improve a part of their body, what would it be? All of them answered with a specific part, whether the color of their eyes, getting rid of their love handle, or having a round bottom, to name a few. None of them answered they were satisfied with the body they had.
Does this mean everybody suffers a form of body shame? In a way, yes. Even myself as a nudist, I would love to improve some parts of my body, and I work out to stay fit and look good, naked or dressed. However, I passed the body shame line. I live well in my own body and nudity suits me very well. Most of my textiles friends do not even consider nudism for the exact reason they think they are unattractive. All my efforts are pointless for them. Only time may help and the decision they may, or not, make.
It seems body image issues are the number one reason for people not embracing nudism. The second being they don’t consider nudity as normal, which is something we will address. The fourth chapter, The end of shame, is entirely dedicated to shame, its origin and the way to get rid of it. At this stage, I just want to emphasize that if body shame is the most common reason for textiles not to embrace nudism, it’s the first benefit of embracing nudism: getting rid of body shame.
The moment you step on a nudist beach or at a nudist resort, you are confronted with other nudists and all sorts of bodies, very few being close to perfection. The one thing I really enjoy in a nudist setting is to encounter people from all ages, from kids to grandparents, and from all body shapes, from muscular to skinny to plump. For me, it expresses the beautiful diversity of the human beings. Most people have beautiful faces, but flat belly and six-packs are few. Media and real life are definitely on opposite sides and nudism is a revealer of this irony.
Have body image issues or questions? Becoming a nudist is a solution.
Let me start this piece on self-esteem straight: I’m shy. My shyness was a real issue when I was younger and I fought it over the years to become more assertive, but I remain an introvert. Being shy drives your self-esteem down. Not only you beat yourself up for not having done so-and-so because you were too shy to go and ask, but you create a self-fulfilling prophecy of not being able to do the things you love.
The day, as a young adult, I set a foot on a nudist beach and got naked, my life changed and my self-esteem went back on an upward path. I realized I was capable of doing something that few people are: getting naked in front and with many others. For a lot of textiles, it’s not even possible or imaginable. For me, it was a complete evidence.
Nudism has tremendously helped me by boosting my self-esteem. I met great people who were sharing the same love of being naked for the sheer pleasure and comfort it provided. I was not a shy guy anymore, I was a bold nudist. Many nudists I’ve talked to provided the same feedback.
The already cited medical study directly established the link between body image and self-esteem and adds, “Naturist activities, in which one is able to observe a wide variety of bodies that differ from idealized images, should also be able to counteract these negative effects and promote a more realistic standard of physical attractiveness.” The whole purpose of the study was to see if nudism can help boost body image, self-esteem and life satisfaction. Evidence shows that “Naturist activity predicted more positive body image, which in turn predicted higher self-esteem, and greater life satisfaction.”
I will come back to life satisfaction a little bit later in this chapter, but the self-esteem aspect is our focus here. It’s now clearly established that nudism can boost self-esteem and, as the author concludes, can provide, “a cheap, almost universally available means of promoting healthy body image, positive self-esteem and overall life satisfaction.”
In my experience, a realistic and healthy relationship with our own body and an increase in self-esteem leads to feeling better. Adding the physical comfort nudity provides, I believe nudism provides the right ingredients to feeling well and increase our well-being.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reminds us that “Well-being is a positive outcome that is meaningful for people and for many sectors of society, because it tells us that people perceive that their lives are going well.” Although well-being is very subjective and depends on multiple factors, many naturists I talked to feel better when they are naked than clothed.
I remember a conversation I had with one naturist who, like me, undresses completely when driving to his preferred naturist resort. He felt so well naked that he felt the urge to get naked before he reaches his destination. During the pandemic, as most people were locked down, many stayed naked and enjoyed working from home in the nude. So it’s not only a matter of being relaxed because of the weekend or the holidays. It seems being naked contributes to feeling well. It may, of course, be related to the transgression of being naked, as it’s not perceived by society as something “normal”.
The latter point is well explained in the previously cited study and it has now been proven that nudism has no negative psychological effect on children and adults. Hence, nudism and simple nudity are normal states of being. Once this truth accepted, nudity can unfold its many benefits and contributes to our own well-being, both physical and psychological.
Do nudists feel better when naked than clothed? Does nudism contribute to their well-being? I truly believe so, because I experience this and all nudists I have talked to experience it as well. This well-being contributes as well to our happiness.
Don’t worry, be happy, sang Bobby McFerrin. We could tweak the words and sing Get naked, be happy: Here’s a little truth I found, that is based on scientific ground, get naked, be happy! Getting naked makes you happy!
HappinessInternational.org says happiness is when your life fulfills your needs. Of course, our needs vary from one individual to the other. The same organization defines needs through nine categories grouped under the acronym WE PROMISE: Well-being, Environment, Pleasure, Relationships, Outlook, Meaning, Involvement, Success and Elasticity.
Nudism alone cannot make you happy, but contributes to happiness. As we have seen, nudism contributes to our well-being, which happens to be the first category above. Without well-being, happiness is difficult if not impossible. Two other categories where nudism plays a role is environment and relationships. A nudist environment allows you to meet and create relationships with like-minded people. I can even say that it allows you to create meaningful relationships without having to discuss nudism and nudity as this is something you share with other nudists. Now, if on top of those four, you get involved in the nudism movement in one way or another, like taking responsibilities in your club or advocating nudism through actions as I’m doing with this book and my blog Nude and Happy, then you had a fifth dimension.
I’m not claiming that you need to be a nudist to be happy. Many textiles are happy, but for me and many nudists I have met and discussed with, nudism is a key component of their well-being and contributes heavily to their happiness and ultimately to their life satisfaction.
As I write this post, the end of the COVID-19 pandemics seems to be coming. During that time, the world has gone through a rollercoaster of frustrations and emotions. Many discovered home nudism while staying or working from home. Many could not go to their favorite nudist resort or beach. Some naturist federations enjoyed an increased in membership. And we discovered nudist Zoom calls. For many, me included, nudism was one of the lifelines that helped me keep my sanity.
I think this happens because nudism increases overall life satisfaction. I don’t think there’s causation, but indeed correlation. Nudism increases well-being, helps tackle body image issues and weave into our self-esteem. While nudism sinks in our brain and under our skin, we start enjoying life better. Ask many nudists and they will confirm they feel so much better when naked, cannot really explain why but look for opportunities to get naked to find bliss.
Of course, you don’t need to become a nudist to enjoy life. But, let’s be honest, we all have ups and downs. Social networks tend to show the ups but not the downs. They, irrationally, make us think others have an incredible life while our suck. Of course, this is a total fallacy. Because nudism has a real physical, psychological and emotional power, it lifts my downs and energize my ups. This means that, on average, my life satisfaction increases. All the reasons and explanation of this elation find their roots in the previous scientific evidence discussed.
Will you increase life satisfaction by becoming a nudist? I’m positive about this. However, there’s a caveat. You need to embrace nudism fully and should not keep it secret, as something you’re ashamed. Sure, it’s not about posting pictures naked all over the internet or bragging about it at work, you can keep a low profile. But it’s about being proud and conveying the message of nudism normalcy.
Becoming a nudist and embracing plain and simple nudity is a wonderful life choice. Being open is another life choice that will bring balance. Joining openness and nudism will ultimately increase balance and life satisfaction. If you are still sitting on the fence, let’s add another dimension to simple nudity and nudism: spirituality.
Next part – Spiritual Nudity
Strip Nude, Stay Nude, Live Nude and Share the Nude Love!