The Great Divide: Why Naturists Love Being Nude While Non-Naturists Cringe


I recently had an argument with a textile about naturism. I wondered why seeing other people naked was creating so strong feelings in people. This post is the result of some thinking and reseach about why naturists so love being naked, while a majority of textiles would never think about getting naked and even just seeing others naked.

For naturists, stripping down and living life in the nude is “normal” and nothing to worry about. It’s a form of natural freedom. Yet non-naturists recoil at the idea of baring it all, even on a secluded beach or within the walls of a naturist space. This great divide between embracing or abhorring social nudity stems from deeply ingrained attitudes and values.

As a lifelong naturist, I’ve reveled for decades in the joy of nude recreation. Whether it’s hiking through forests or longing on a sunny beach with nothing between me and nature except the sun kiss on my bare skin, naturism feels natural, exhilarating and profoundly liberating.

Yet many I’ve invited to join me in my clothes-free adventures politely decline, unable to imagine transcending lifelong inhibitions about nudity, or even think I’m a perverted, sick person. A thick societal membrane separates naturists from non-naturists. But this divide is not impossible to bridge, with patience and understanding on both sides.

Why Naturists Drop Trou Without a Care

For naturists, wearing a constellation of freckles and curves over skin instead of clothes is our normal. But what enables us to feel so comfortable in our birthday suits? I’d point to these main factors:


We naturists make social nudity a regular part of life within our community. Whether unwinding at naturist resorts or attending clothes-free 5K races, we’ve normalized being nude. For us, bare bodies are neither sexual nor taboo. They’re joyful, ordinary, natural. Continued exposure has desensitized us to initial discomfort and erased inhibitions.

Body Acceptance

Naturists tend to have a healthy body image. We understand that real human bodies have imperfections and variations that require no hiding. We focus less on flaws and more on the wonder of our anatomy. With idealized media images everywhere, achieving true body acceptance is difficult, but the body-positive setting of naturism helps immensely.

Different Values

Naturists view clothing as physically and psychologically unnecessary in many situations. We value the sensual pleasures of being nude outdoors, the glow of sun and breeze on bare skin. For us, modesty means exhibiting respectful behavior, not covering one’s body. Nudity is natural, not indecent. Our values stem from naturism’s European origins in the early 1900s, when some doctors advocated the health benefits of nude sunbathing and being closer to nature without clothing (or with minimal clothing at the beginning of the naturist movement).


For me, naturist resorts and clubs fulfill a deep-seated longing for community, a place to unite with kindred spirits who share my values and love of social nudity. There’s an instant connection and vulnerability fostered by being nude together. With barriers removed, you relate to people in a pure, intimate way, appreciating personality and character over social status or physical appearance. It’s liberating to make friends who see me not as I appear on the outside to the clothed world, but who know and embrace my truest self.

Why Non-Naturists Recoil at Baring All

Most societies teach that our natural state must be hidden away. Humans evolved wearing clothes for necessary protection and warmth, yet we now imbue garments with layers of meaning about status, self-presentation and power over others. It’s no wonder many cringe at social nudity when shame about the natural body feels ingrained.

Here are some of the main obstacles preventing non-naturists from making the leap:

Internalized Taboos

Non-naturists equate nudity with sexuality and indecency. They may desire strict modesty for religious or cultural reasons. The thought of being nude even around like-minded others stirs up feelings of embarrassment and vulnerability programmed since childhood. Letting others see their naked bodies violates powerful taboos.

Body Shame

Non-naturists are more prone to critique their physical appearance and strive to meet unrealistic beauty standards. The prospect of putting imperfections on display triggers intense shame. Media reinforces the message that normal human flaws are repellent, fueling self-consciousness that makes social nudity unimaginable.

Fear of Judgment

Non-naturists worry deeply about others’ perceptions. The gaze of clothed people feels judgmental. Without garments sending signals about their social identity, non-naturists fear feeling exposed, powerless. Shedding clothes means facing the unknown: how will others see me if not through the lens of my carefully curated appearance?

Discomfort With Change

Stepping outside comfort zones provokes anxiety. For most non-naturists, that zone is firmly delineated by clothing. Habits embedded since toddlerhood won’t shift easily. Fear of the different paralyzes. Changing ingrained behaviors and mindsets requires confronting fears, unpredictability that’s overwhelming for many.

Lack of Community

Finding social support shapes ability to try new experiences. Unlike naturists who have clubs and networks, non-naturists attempting nude recreation alone are understandably intimidated. Embarking on an unfamiliar path is daunting without guides who’ve walked it before. The opportunity to safely learn from experienced mentors facilitates change.

Nudging Non-Naturists Toward Body Acceptance

With empathy, naturists can thoughtfully share why baring all brought us joy and freedom. Here are suggestions for sensitively nurturing non-naturist friends and family toward more body positivity and interest in nude recreation:

Lead by Example

Actions speak louder than words. Calmly model self-acceptance and ease with your own nudity without flaunting it. Pique curiosity by describing wonderful naturist experiences or sharingsmart, body-positive naturist books and blogs.

Find Common Ground

Seek shared interests providing easier entry points, like naturists’ love of nature, concern for ecology, interest in travel. Highlight how naturism aligns with values like freedom, health and community. Help make naturism less intimidating by connecting it to causes they care about.

Go Slowly

Overcoming lifelong unease takes patience. Suggest nude beaches or unisex saunas where nudity is allowed but not required. The option to undress at their own pace helps build confidence. Prepare for fits and starts before shedding clothes in public feels natural.

Offer Reassurance

Emphasize the beauty of bodies of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities. Note that most naturists have imperfections, but joyfully accept themselves and each other as they are while enjoying life. Provide the safety and support needed to ease lingering reservations.

Provide An Entryway

Invite them along to a body-positive, clothing-optional venue that welcomes newcomers without pressure like some naturist resorts or clubs. Experiencing the welcoming atmosphere firsthand often transforms tentative curiosity into enthusiasm.

Focus On Feelings

Rather than debating nudity directly, share how amazing skinny dipping under the stars or hiking nude through the woods makes you feel. The emotional and sensory joys you experience are what matter most, beyond ideology. Lead with the profound pleasures of naturism.

Patience Is Key

Plant seeds of interest, but allow time for old beliefs to evolve. Those steeped in repressive attitudes about bodies won’t transform overnight. With nudges of information validating the beauty of their natural selves, their mindsets can gradually begin to shift.

Bridging the Great Divide

To naturists, embracing nakedness means embracing freedom in its purest form. But for non-naturists, stripping down incites too much shame and anxiety drilled in since childhood.

This great divide persists because human beings gravitate toward the familiar. Yet we all contain multitudes, curious about foreign ideas that feel uncomfortably exhilarating. With care and wisdom, naturists can illuminate a path toward liberation from the burdensome expectations woven into clothes. The journey requires patience, compassion and understanding from both sides.

However, you should remember some people will never accept to make the journey with you. They will never accept to see or be around naked people. It creates such an discomforting feeling inside them that they will prefer to leave than accept their own vulnerability. It’s sad in a sense, but a reminder that all people are different and finding compromises is sometimes difficult.

But humans yearn for spaces that honor our shared vulnerability and imperfections. Where we move beyond surface judgments into the exposed, tender heart of our humanity. For those ready to cross this divide, a naked world of connection and joy awaits.

Get Nude, Stay Nude, Live Nude and Share the Nude Love!

Photo Obakeneko, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


  1. a gap between naturists & non naturists can be closed by exerting great efforts, care & understanding. However this won’t be possible for every non naturist. As you have said rightly, there will be always different kind of people in the society..

  2. Thanks for this Marc. A thoughtful and comprehensive piece. And spot on.

    You wrote to me months ago about collaborating for the cause. I need to find that post and respond. At very least, it seems we could share a carafe of wine on our next visit to France. 🙂

  3. A non-naturist will never come to a nude resort or beach, even if clothing is optional, and the reason is the discomfort and embarrassment they would feel being around naked people. No “textile” wants to be in an uncomfortable situation. Of course there are exceptions but they are very rare. The only advice I would give is to try it in the safety of your own home, as the naturist advised me 5 years ago, and nudism is worked for me. Maybe trying to sleep naked. Or doing something naked.
    When I was textile I would never have gone to a clothing optional resort or beach either if nudists had invited me and that’s understandable.
    The only option is to convince them to try in their own home where undressing is less problematic and you are not exposed to the sight of strangers. You don’t need beaches or resorts to try nudism, then if nudity is liked and generates well-being (as happened to me when I have tried) textiles will come to the beaches and resorts on their own.

  4. I understand these things very well because my new life as a nudist began only 5 years ago and I remember the old “textile” thought well. When I started talking to the naturist (who then convinced me), he had invited me to go on a hike in the mountains, but it is obvious that I would never have gone. I didn’t want to be around completely naked strangers. What made the difference was the kindness, understanding and the (non-binding) invitation to try it just once in my home. Kindness created a positive predisposition in me and this predisposition convinced me to try it in the safety of my home, without strangers and without anxiety. Then nudism did the rest. And now I’m happily nudist. 🙂

  5. First off I just want to say, I’ve glad I gave this a look. I only started Naturist Blogs a few months ago. And while gone back and forth on reading Nude and Happy, I’m glad I gave this article a look. I have a couple critiques but I want to just lay out that I do like this piece and that I have an underlying respect for anyone who willing to invest this time into writing and spreading the word about naturism. Just speaking personally, hearing people authentically speak of the joys of naturism have helped my come to accept myself and my love for nudism as a normal and healthy habit.

    Now a couple things. I just want to say I think a lot of the points here are spot on. There are countless social and environmental factors that form a rift between the worldviews and perspectives of Nudists and Naturists, and “textiles”, and many of important one’s are highlighted here. Still, I can’t help but feel like this conversation is incomplete without touching on one more chasm in the figurative divine.

    Now I’m opening up a can of worms in it’s own right her, and it in large part it’s own discussion. So I definitely don’t blame anyone for getting into this. Still the fact remains that a lot of people, some men, but mostly women have entirely understandable concerns about sexual harassment and unwanted attention. For people not all that familiar with social nudity, even if they’ve heard the tagline “non-sexual” there’s still an assumption any clothing optional or naturist locale will be full of exhibitions and voyeurs. Unfortunately, like most misunderstandings and misconceptions, there is sadly a grain of truth. I’ve heard deeply disheartening accounts of the unwanted attention and ogling that women and some men receive at clothing optional beaches. This to me, seems a significant reason why women are proportionately underrepresented in naturism and I believe anyone who believes themself to be a naturist must stand this inappropriate and reprehensible behavior. Thankfullu, many, most even, do. Nudist resorts and clubs affiliated with groups like the AANR and INF offer a safe environment with a consistent zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment. Still, I find it awful how many women will justifiably never take the opportunity to a try lifestyle they otherwise might have come to love. A cycle that’s sadly occurred in many hobbies and lifestyles, and one I think Naturists have a unique responsibility to rectify.

    • I don’t understand all this anxiety about incorporating more women into naturism. Those who do naturism don’t do it to look for women (or at least in theory they shouldn’t), I take off my clothes for my personal well-being which over time has become a necessity, at least for me, not to be seen naked by girls or men, obviously I like a beautiful girl too, but I don’t undress to show my genitals to others, naturism is one thing and looking for a partner is another thing. Of course, it can happen that you meet your nudist soul mate, but it shouldn’t be your priority. I believe all this talk about women does nothing but distance them from nudism. I’ve read other articles about why there are fewer women, what’s the problem? Let’s think about behaving correctly both when we are naked and dressed. The rest will come by itself….. That’s my personal opinion of course.

  6. Marc a spot on article. Nothing can be more truthful. I’m grateful for my experiences of my life. Some of nudity started in high school swim class. Never thought of being nude in front of others was shameful. Mom let us be nude at the beach and in the kiddy pool in the back yard with friends male and female. There moms were there also. Its so cute to see your child. nude…Many guys would swim in the river not far from the house. . Some of the girls would come after hearing what we were doing. Maybe six came. after a while they got nude and swam nude also. It was the time. After swimming we just hung out nude. We all learned what others looked like. In the military in Germany we meet some girls they invited us to go swimming one day. At a lake, many were nude or partially nude It was normal for us and them to swim nude. We hung out nude the rest of the day. . My very church going wife took to it very easily. My Kids took to it very easily .We were nude and seen often. Friends not so much. I was refused last year when I asked if I could skinny dip and be nude with friends at a cottage at the lake.. Maybe one day but I’m not holding my breath. People are missing so much. We all look the same. So what’s the harm ? At our 55 year class reunion we all recalled the fun we had at the river and sneaking into a spot at the lake. We all said how much fun we had not getting into trouble as some kids do. We just wanted to be without clothes and skinny dipping. I’m still looking for where I can be nude and skinny ,when we go some where . My nudist friends come from the nude beaches and resorts I go to except four friends from church. I wish this article could be posted for others to see. to understand what we are and believe. Thanks again.

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