This post is indented as a resource for those who might have just discovered that a friend or family member is a Naturist. It is important to understand the principals and philosophy behind Naturism so that you do not jump to conclusions that are inaccurate. Many inaccurately associate Naturism with hedonistic behavior or wife swapping etc. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is actually quite wholesome and family oriented with expectations of high moral character. Here is an excerpt from an article that covers a large portion of our belief system. The original article was titled Our Humanity Uniform.
To begin with, we believe that the majority in America suffers from an irrational fear of nudity. We do not fear nudity, nor do we wish to accommodate such fear. We believe that to habitually hide ourselves (or parts of ourselves) is a pretense and is unnatural. Ultimately, it becomes less about nudity and more about NOT having to be clothed.
Many people have not experienced the sensation of our whole skin exposed to the elements without shame; replaced with the feeling that all of life’s problems just seem to slip away. It is a feeling of trust, honesty, mutual concern and acceptance, a feeling of confidence, well-being and freedom. It frees us to connect with each other, nature and the environment.
We believe that hiding (behind clothing, doors, curtains etc.) builds emotional walls, and distances us from humanity. Clothing is used as a mask and/or a status symbol that tends to disguise our character. Without clothes, we are alike while being extremely diverse with many different body types. With this understanding, we readily accept our own body and those of others. We learn to ignore the physical and material and focus on individual character. The masks and status symbols are discarded. This can be held in contrast against the media portrayal of an expectation of the ideal body type and the damage that expectation causes to our health and wellness.
That which begins as nudity evolves into much more. It becomes a principal; a philosophy. Self respect results in respect for others and respect for nature. Naturists seem more genuine. We find that we are comfortable with other Naturists (clothed or not). From this experience, we find we prefer the honesty, integrity, honor represented in the ideals of Naturism. While we are proud to be associated with this movement, it is difficult to be completely open because of general misconceptions. Due to the misconceptions, many would prefer to lose the label (Nudist/Naturist) if only the substance of the philosophy would stand on its own. We all would prefer that every Naturist could have the confidence to talk freely about this without judgment. To be overly careful, some of us become hyper-purist and become overly guarded about innocent touching (hugging etc.). While this attitude is well intentioned, it causes us to [again] be distanced from our humanity. We [humans] touch, we hug, and that should not change because we are unclothed.
We (as a group) tend not to adequately lobby for our own human rights because we are so eager to yield rights to others. The nature of the philosophy can make us somewhat meek. We would all love for nudity to be seen as something normal (as we do) rather than strange. We want people to understand that there is no [actual] harm for someone to see another of his/her own species in his/her natural state. The only harm is to belief systems that demand obedience over reasoned choice. They should understand that Naturism is an enjoyable activity suitable for all, including children.
If we all could freely wear our humanity uniform we would find we are all actually on the same team.
In general Naturists believe the majority of the population suffers from prurient (sex charged) behavior and many side effects of that behavior plague society such as pedophilia, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, bullying and generally poor body image and shame. Naturism is a solution to those issues. We do not associate nudity with sex. Instead, we celebrate the marvel of creation that is our natural human form. All of our “parts” are considered honorable and none are considered shameful. An article that delves into this concept can be found here Good parts vs bad parts.
Health care workers should already understand that nudity does not have to be sexual. Their jobs would be quite difficult if they could not make that distinction. Society in general could benefit from that understanding.
If you have any questions or concerns you should feel free to address them with your Naturist friend or family member. Openness and honesty is a large part of the philosophy.
What to expect
It is natural to look, especially when you are not accustomed to nudity. However, it is not considered polite to stare. He/she will not be embarrassed. Naturists conquer body image issues early (improved body image is a key goal). Your friend will not expect you to undress (although you would be welcome to) to accommodate his/her beliefs and he/she would surely appreciate if you did not obligate him/her to cover up for you. Your relationship will likely grow stronger and closer with the secret out in the open.
Naturism is NOT illegal in most of North America. One state has laws on the books that effectively make it illegal in that state. Naturism is relatively common in Europe. There are Naturist Christians, Naturists Jews, Naturists of all religious beliefs.
–< R JNatural >–