Being nude is fun, healthy, and good for the soul. It promotes body acceptance and awareness, age acceptance, freedom, self-esteem, self-confidence, and celebrates one of nature’s greatest creations. Naturally, nudity keeps the body from the restrictions of clothing, which shift and compress our bodies, and exposes the body to the air and sun, which has numerous health benefits. The more aware we are of our bodies, the more likely we are to keep a healthy and active lifestyle. But we will also be less judgmental of others who don’t have the stereotypical and hyped “perfect” body.
Being nude will help a society built around shame that the naked body does not equate to the sexual body. While people are nude in sexual situations, the mere presence of the nude body does not presume a sexual situation. The two can be as mutually exclusive as an apple and an orange. The naturist movement intends to enforce this value and show that the nude human body does not exist solely for sex or bathing, and that wholesomeness can walk hand in hand with nudity.
The swimsuit is an example of needless clothing. When we take a shower or bath, do we put clothes on? Do we enjoy the feeling of the water around us or do we hope to come out of our daily ritual with a piece of cloth clinging to our bodies making us cold and keeping us damp? While the answer is obvious, society has been slow to catch up when the bathing comes in a public setting.
The world’s best swimsuit is your skin. Without a material swimsuit, you are freer to move around in the water and you won’t suffer the chafing that comes from sand or sea salt lodging itself in the lining of your trunks. Naturally occurring bacteria will not crowd your body since there will be nothing to trap it against your skin.
But going without a man-made swimsuit will send another message altogether about respect for the body. Unlike the swimsuits of the past, which covered men and women from head to tow with billowy garments intended to maintain one’s “modesty,” today’s swimsuits are aimed to enhance and promote the most sexualized of body parts. In other words, material swimsuits promote unhealthy attitudes about the human body. With nakedness, you actually remove the sexual context of the beach wear, and all can enjoy the sun together without worrying about how sexy they look in their new bikini or trunks. True modesty is found in chaste nudity.
There was a time in history where people swam, exercised, and relaxed while nude, sometimes quite publicly. John Quincy Adams is said to have skinnydipped in the Potomac River and Benjamin Franklin took daily air baths in the nude at his home with the doors and windows wide open. In 300 years, it seems society has taken a step backwards in regards to the human body.
Set a good example
Normalizing nudity will take time. Meanwhile, we should respect the laws that make sense and challenge those that are oppressive. On public lands that allow nudity, remember to stay in secluded areas. By being respectful of boundaries, no matter what we think of them, we might win over public favor. If you are in an area that technically doesn’t allow nudity, you should cover up or ask if you may continue on with your nude recreation should someone else arrive.
By setting a good example, you can help erase the media-fueled perception that nudity equals sex and can promote the idea that the naked body is actually wholesome.
Family naturist values
We’re often too young to remember the freedom we felt as a toddler running around the house or the backyard nude. We had yet to be told that our bodies must be hidden and we had no awareness that our bodies would one day be seen as something we should be ashamed of. In other words, children are natural nudists.
Nudist clubs provide controlled, open environments and are safe. Many raised within the body shame system, become obsessed with the naked body, fetishizing certain parts due to their intense curiosity and the equation of the unexposed parts with sex. Research conducted at the University of Northern Iowa found that nudist children had more positive self-concepts of the body than non-nudist children and that the “nudity classification” of a family was one of the most significant factors associated with a positive body self-concept.
People raised in a nudist environment grow up with healthy attitudes about the body and easily understand the changes in their bodies. Instead of preaching shame about body parts and functions, the naturist movement instills respect for the body. They will understand better the ramifications of jumping too soon into adult behaviors and will be less apt to turn the body of another into an object of desire. This respect for humanity will carry through a lifetime. As the body ages, one will more readily accept the natural changes the human form undergoes through adulthood and into old age.
That is good for our society.
Why Would Nude People Congregate?
It is nice to associate with like-minded people, and a group of nudists are like-minded. They enjoy recreation without clothing. The shame that one feels about ones body will be erased in a group of others who are nude. As with the clothes, the mental and emotional barriers are lifted when a supportive group gathers together and you are welcomed as you are for who you are, not for what you’re wearing or how you look. With the support of the group, you will then embrace the freedom you once thought to be shameful or forbidden and lose the feeling that the human body is somehow obscene. Your mental and emotional health will benefit from being nude in a social setting.
To protect yourself from the elements, clothing serves a purpose. But you shouldn’t wear clothes out of a sense of shame. We live in a society where a woman’s breasts or a man’s penis or even the rear end will be blurred out for public consumption, but the media shows little remorse for showing graphic violence unedited. The naked body is not disgusting, rude, or shameful. Being naked in public is about highlighting our collective humanity and should not result in persecution. As active members of society, nudists should be free to come together and celebrate the values of respect and wholesomeness brought upon by positive body awareness.
And besides, it’s fun!