What is a Naturist?
A naturist is a nudist. A nudist is a naturist. They are interchangeable terms. One part of the world prefers naturist, another part uses nudist. The bottom line is that either term refers to a person who prefers to recreate, work, relax, play games, swim, hike, visit with friends, or whatever without clothes. It creates a great feeling of comfort, relaxation, and freedom that simply cannot be achieved with the mental and physical encumbrances of clothing. Nudists will agree on this point, but will also point out that the acceptance of this truth can only be realized through participation, not through reading or thinking about it, or discussing it with others. It is an experiential reality.
Why do people become Naturists?
There are probably many answers to this question, almost as many as there are nudists. Some like to refer to the fact that they were born that way. Yes, some even try it for the wrong reasons, but it quickly becomes evident that sex is not what it is about. If someone attempts to participate for this reason they are soon disappointed and leave on their own. Respectful and courteous behavior toward others is expected. Disrespectful behavior is not tolerated. Naturism is about freedom, enjoyment, and getting in touch with yourself and the real personality in others. At first it can be an exciting or even fearful experience simply due to the mental attitude or baggage we bring with us. The negatives quickly melt away to be replaced with a wonderful feeling of acceptance of yourself and others.
Is it wrong?
Absolutely and unequivocally NO! This "wrong" judgment and image of the human body, i.e., of ourselves, is the result of misguided and erroneous, but non-the-less dominant cultural teachings. Dominant cultural precepts and attitudes have often been wrong in the past. Just consider such subjects as flat earth vs round earth, earth as the center of the universe, that people could be evil witches and thus should be burned at the stake or drowned, that Blacks were somehow subhuman and therefore slavery was ok, that Native Americans were also subhuman and should be exterminated. More recent errors of a dominant culture are the Vietnam War, which was thought to be right and necessary, that women do not have the same rights as men. Nudism/naturism is also being subjected to this kind of "thinking," i.e., seeing the human body or being nude socially as harmful, unacceptable, or somehow obscene or indecent. There is a self-righteousness, arrogance, and ignorance in this kind of thinking that should not be accepted no matter what the times or the subject matter. Nudism may not appeal to everyone as sports and opera do not appeal to everyone, but we all should have the right to choose and participate equally and fairly with others without prejudice.
What can I expect to get out of joining in social nudism?
The dominant attitude toward our bodies and thus ourselves is not only wrong, and disrespectful, but it is harmful to our self image, confidence, and healthy social interaction. Those three aspects are most often referred to as improvements and pluses in their lives by individuals after becoming involved in the nudist lifestyle. This is especially true among nudist children as witnessed by friends, parents, and even researchers. Children are in the early stages of developing attitudes that will follow them throughout their lives. It is far better for them to develop a healthy attitude while young than to try to change later in life when it is so difficult. It is really more harmful to instill the present dominant cultural fears, misinformation, inhibitions into children.
Social nudism is a sense of freedom, comfort and relaxation that cannot be achieved when confined physically and mentally in clothing. People, generally, are friendlier and interact more easily and quickly when nude. By meeting at clubs or beaches with people from all over the country and the world there is a kind of national and international camaraderie that develops. It is an active, take control way to shed oneself of fear and shame regarding our bodies. After being a nudist for a while the snickering, immature attitude of society toward our bodies and their parts, and that of regarding our bodies as a product to be kept secret and doled out in small profitable pieces takes on a kind unsophisticated foolishness.