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When we say, read or hear nudism, we immediately think nudity. Well, I do, and I’m sure you do too. Nudity is the essence of nudism and naturism. You can’t claim to be a nudist or a naturist if you don’t go naked alone or with others. That said, nudism and naturism are more than being nude for many nudists.
Many nudists will tell you that nudism is a lifestyle, a philosophy, an art-de-vivre. It’s something they’re waiting eagerly on weekends or holiday. It’s so liberating, invigorating, they feel they have a new life when they get naked. It’s almost mystical if not magical.
With some lyrical emotions, nudism is what you want it to be. I use to say there are as many nudisms as there are nudists. Every nudist has his or her perception and definition. You make nudism what it means to you. There are closet nudists, urban nudists, everyday nudists, holiday nudists, hiking nudists, like there are that many human beings. I truly believe richness comes from diversity and heterogeneity, not from uniformity and homogeneity.
We, human beings, are the sum of our experiences. The more diverse those experiences, the richer our lives. This is probably why we have a fascination for adventurers, actors or sailors. This is also why I have a deep respect for sharing, caring and growing nudism. Sharing, caring and growing help me to get perspective, to learn from others, and to be enriched by experiences.
In this chapter, I want to help you explore what nudism means to you. Starting from my journey into nudism, I provide views I experienced and gathered from others who are living and sharing nudism. Nudism is a personal experience. It grows and blossoms in four key dimensions: freedom, comfort, respect and discovery.
For some, one dimension will be stronger than the three others. For others, it will be two, three or the four. If we had to rank each dimension on scale from 1 to 10, this would provide more than a million combinations. I told you, there are as many nudisms as there are nudists, or almost. This is why it’s always so hard to classify nudism and nudists.
Is there a better combination than others? I don’t think so, although respect is very high on my view for an harmonious life among others. But for closet nudists or people who enjoy loneliness, it may not be that high on their views. Find your way into nudism and enjoy it as much as you possibly can!
It was a glorious day. The sun was bright, the sky was blue, and the sea was quiet. I had arrived early at the beach and was enjoying my book, lying naked on my towel. A couple with a child, around four years old, arrived and settled a few meters away from me. It was expected on this beautiful day, on this beach, frequented by family. Despite being on the nudist side of the beach, the woman and man undressed but kept their swimsuit. I generally don’t care, but there was somebody else who cared: it was their son.
Her mother undressed him. As soon as his underwear was gone and he was naked, he ran to the sea laughing. Her mother ran after him, handing a small swimsuit, calling his name to put his swimsuit. He stopped, his feet in the water, turned to her mother, pointed at me and said to her mother: “ I want to be like the man there, I don’t want the swimsuit.” Her mother turned to me, smiled when she realized I was naked and conceded.
She let her son go to the sea naked, turned around and walked to me.
“Sorry to interrupt you,” she said, “is this a nude beach?”
“Yes, it is madam. Your son got it right.” I said with a smile.
“Oh, he’s always like that. He doesn’t like clothes. He loves his freedom.”
“I won’t blame him,” I replied with the same smile.
She greeted me a good day and went back to her husband. A few minutes, both were naked.
Once you’ve understood that being nude is incredibly freeing, there’s no turning back. On a beach, this freedom is felt even deeper by the water, the sun and the fact that many, if not all, beachgoers enjoy nudity. I will come back on the social dimension of nudism in the following chapter, Sharing Nudism. However, it plays a pivotal role in the freedom that you can experience.
Having the freedom to get naked without raising eyebrows or turning heads adds to the enjoyment of nudism. It’s not only the freedom to be naked, it’s the freedom to be yourself without the mask of clothes. It’s the freedom to be who you are. For many, it’s an impossible thought. For nudists, it’s a fact that is internalized with grace. I’m naked like all people on that beach, I’m as all people on that beach, and I’m who I am, like all people on that beach.
Textiles will argue you may feel the same thing on a textile beach. I don’t. The piece of clothing called a swimsuit diminishes that feeling of freedom. Not only, swimsuits are ridiculous, they’re unhealthy, expensive and useless. Avoiding them is the best choice to find the freedom that was often lost after childhood.
Freedom of movement, freedom of breathing, freedom of being. Being a nudist is enjoying a level of freedom that textiles don’t imagine. With freedom, nudity comes with comfort.
“Why are you naked?”, asked my godson.
“Because it’s more comfortable,” I answered.
“OK. Can I be naked too?”
And off went the swimsuit. This afternoon spent with my godson while his mother and my wife went shopping was a special one. We swam, played pétanque and racket ball while being naked. When the women drove back, they found us playing a board game in the shade, sitting on our towels.
“But you’re naked?” asked her mother.
“Yes, like godfather. It’s more comfortable”
My sister-in-law wasn’t shocked as she knew I was a nudist. It opened an interesting discussion over dinner about nudism, nudity and body acceptation. Nudity became the de facto choice of my godson after this day when he’s home.
Comfort is an important aspect of nudity for nudists. Once you accept simple and plain nudity, you become comfortable in your skin. You also become comfortable sharing nudity, being seen naked and doing errands naked. As I use to say, when you reach that level of comfort, nudity becomes your new normal.
Being naked is incredibly comfortable. Physically, of course, but very quickly psychologically, emotionally and socially. It’s incredible to see how fast many nudists move from being slightly uncomfortable initially with others to totally comfortable. Many people say they aren’t comfortable being seen naked. Then, with other nudists, their discomfort subsides and leaves space for a complete comfort.
This is the moment I call the new normal. The moment you don’t care being seen, you just care being who you are in the most comfortable outfit that has been custom designed for you. This comfort comes with the respect that others will show.
It’s a known fact that nudists look at each other in the eyes. Of course, we may look at the whole body of somebody’s approaching or in the distance. However, when we speak to a nudist, we look at her or him in the eyes and show respect to whom he or she is.
Respect is probably at a higher level in the nudist community that in many textile ones. Nudity makes us vulnerable. Not only physically, but also psychologically and emotionally. I think this vulnerability, even if it’s not perceived by many nudists, is the fertile ground for a higher level of respect amount nudists.
I’ve never seen anybody commenting about scars, stretch marks, penis length or breast size. Nudists know body and body parts come in many sizes and variations, some we control, some we don’t. But all are the true reflection of who we are. No need to comment about those body parts, we all have the same and we live with them. Hence, the heightened respect, it seems.
Respect is an important aspect of nudism for many nudists. Being respected and respecting others are central to healthy nudist social interactions. Respect goes beyond nudism and nudity. It speaks to humanity and diversity, and goes both ways.
Respecting nudity in nudist settings is a topic of debate among nudists. Many nudist resorts have a tendency to become more clothing-optional than enforcing plain nudity. While many “hardcore” nudists think nudity should be respected, I believe the future of nudism lies in respecting choices, including the choice of wearing clothes, as long as one can be fully naked when he or she wants.
I consider myself a “hardcore” nudist as nudity is always my preferred choice temperature and security allowing. However, I fully respect other choices to be clothed, as long as they respect mine to be fully naked.
Some textiles disagree with this position as they see nudity as abnormal and shocking. However, after discussing with many textiles, I consider this position to be a minority, as many textiles don’t care as long as respectful behaviors are demonstrated. Respect my nudity, I’ll respect your cover. Simple and plain nudity doesn’t hurt, doesn’t kill, shouldn’t offense, should be considered normal and natural.
Respecting and being respected are also central to another aspect of nudism which is discovery. The discovery of the freedom, the comfort, and the natural of nudity.
The day you undress for the first time, particularly with others in a nudist setting, you enter a new world. You start a discovery process that doesn’t seem to have an end.
When I started to hike and run naked, I felt very good on one side, but a part of me was questioning my sanity. Was it OK to hike and run naked? Was I the only one to feel this happiness of being naked in nature? My mind was bouncing back and forth between those two antagonist feelings. One day, I discovered Naked Hiking, the book by Richard Foley. A whole new world was unfolding in front of my eyes. Not only I wasn’t alone to hike naked, I wasn’t alone to enjoy it so much it felt awkward to hike clothed.
This step in my nudist journey was a part of the discovery process about nudism. As I became more and more fascinated by nudism, my discovery of its many facets accelerated. This book is also a part of that discovery process. While I write it, I look for more information, for more nudists, for more places, for more experiences, and I discover many, many more.
I push the limits of nudism further than I thought they could be pushed. I discover new fantastic human beings embracing nudism in a way I couldn’t have thought of. I discover nudism through art, photography, podcast, theater, sport, yoga, painting, writing, and so on.
At first, we can think nudism is about being naked. Many people think this way. It’s true that it can feel strange that the simple act of getting undressed opens a world of so many discoveries. This fascinates me. I’m often told that I’m obsessed by nudism. Nudism isn’t an obsession, it’s a fascination. It feeds my curiosity and my need to discover new facets of that simple and plain nudity.
I hope I piqued your curiosity so far. You may have a form of the following question in mind: what makes nudism different from many other lifestyles when it comes to discovery? My views are that it’s different because it speaks to our body, soul and mind. The moment you untie the link between nudity and sexuality, you enter the world of nudism, untainted by sexual desire. You become aware that you can do many things entirely naked. The discovery process can become.
I feel the discovery goes into three main directions: activities, others and sensations. I wrote the book 101 Ideas to Increase Nude Time and Nudist Friends to help people in putting nudism at the center of their daily activities: running and hiking, of course, but also reading, cooking, partying or swimming. I ask myself daily questions about new activities I could do naked, although I do most of them entirely naked. There are so many others I still haven’t thought about.
Others are an important part of the discovery process. Being naked with others who are also naked can occupy many months, years, even a whole life. Meeting new nudists, sharing their thoughts about nudism, open new areas of your nudist practice. This is why a full chapter is dedicated to being a nudist. Being naked with textiles is another aspect to the discovery of mixed social nudity. There are many opportunities to be the only naked guy. It’s just a matter of asking most of the time.
Finally, the discovery of sensations is fascinating. I’m often asked what difference it makes to be naked versus wearing shorts for instance. My answer is always the same: it’s the same feeling as breathing after holding your breath for as long as you can. You feel liberated, joyful and grateful. Being naked, I feel liberated, joyful and grateful. I feel the sun and the wind on my skin. In simple words, I feel alive.
Ask you where you are on your path to discovery. What are the activities you want to add to your nudist list? Are you seeking to meet other nudists to exchange about nudism? Are you explaining to textiles what nudism is about and what benefits it carries? Are you aware of all the sensations that simple nudity brings to you? Start today! Write in your journal your new discoveries! Be grateful about them and embrace nudism to the fullest.
The four dimensions of nudism, freedom, comfort, respect and discovery, can be applied to many other lifestyles and to life generally. In the case of nudism, it helps to understand it better, to put it in the context of your life and the way you want to live it.
However, as there are millions of combinations or freedom, comfort, respect and discovery, there are as many nudists, there are forms of nudism. In the next part, we will look at nudism and nudists. We will discover that nudism and nudists are intertwined and can’t be separated. Nudism requires nudists as nudists require nudism.
Next part – Nudists and Nudism
Strip Nude, Stay Nude, Live Nude and Share the Nude Love!
Photo Peter Lloyd / Studland Bay Naturist Beach, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0
This is so incredibly true: “It’s something they’re waiting eagerly on weekends or holiday. It’s so liberating, invigorating, they feel they have a new life when they get naked. It’s almost mystical if not magical.” Quality writing, Marc.
Thank you Steve. Much appreciated