We’ve talked about naturism and sex before on this blog, and it’s a topic that has been discussed more than enough in naturist circles. Or is it? The reason why we decided to tackle this once again is two comments on our content during the last week that show that there still is quite some misunderstanding.
By now, we believe that most people already understand that naturism is not a synonym for orgies and that naturist clubs aren’t secret sex venues. But the details seem to remain fragile. Or the practicalities, if you wish. What does non-sexual social nudity really mean? How does it work? And is there a gray zone?
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The confusion about naturism
One of the before mentioned comments was posted on our latest Live Q&A video, and says that “naturists are frowning upon and/or straight-up forbidding sex, and therefore perpetuating the false idea that sex is unnatural and shameful”. This one sentence really surprised us, because that is not how we experience naturism at all. We’ve never considered naturism to be sex-negative, but we do understand where this comment is coming from.
Ever since people started wearing clothes by default, not just for protection purposes, the nude body slowly but firmly became sexualized. It was not something for others to see, except for those with whom you share the bed. Nudity in the presence of others was completely linked to sex, with the only exception being communal showers, which had a very practical explanation.
For the early naturists, this posed a huge problem. Non-sexual nudity didn’t just not exist, to many, it seemed plainly impossible. Obviously, desexualizing the naked body became a main focus point for the early naturist organizations. And even today, we still seem to feel a need to tell everyone who wants to listen that what we do has nothing to do with sex. But is that a good thing?
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How do we desexualize nudity?
We’re not just saying that naturism is non-sexual, we’re actually applying this as a certain standard on our resorts and beaches. There are several reasons for this. First of all, we want to discourage people with the wrong intentions to visit our venues. But we also want to make sure that the non-naturist doesn’t get the slightest opportunity to question our way of living. It’s almost as if there is this anti-naturist big brother looking over our shoulders, waiting for us to make a mistake. Just so he could say “Aha! I knew it”.
This results in a set of spoken and unspoken rules, that basically need to make sure that nothing we do can be considered sexual. At some resorts, these are applied stronger than at others. We’ve been to places where putting sunscreen on your partner’s body is frowned upon. Ambiguous jokes are better to be avoided and so is talking about sex in general.
This is what we think that the commenter on our video wanted to say. By avoiding the topic of sex and making sure that everything we do can’t be considered sexual in any way, aren’t we making sex a taboo? We love to say that naturists do the same things as everyone else, except without clothes. Then why can we openly talk about sex in any bar except for the bar of a naturist resort?
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The truth about naturism and sex
It feels as if we, naturists, are overcomplicating things. Because the truth about the link between naturism and sex is actually super simple. There is no link. From this point of view, naturist places are exactly the same as textile places. And the exact same rules apply. If you’re wondering whether something is appropriate at a naturist resort or not, just imagine that you’re in the Hilton hotel, the local swimming pool, the city park, or any other public space. Nobody ever wonders if it’s fine to have sex in the lobby of a hotel, well it’s exactly the same at a naturist resort. It’s not fine. If you want to have sex, you go to your room.
The naturist resort Costa Natura has a sign in the hot tub that says “No sex in the hot tub”. We love this resort, but that sign bothered us tremendously. Why do we feel the need to point this out? Does the hot tub at the Hilton also have such a sign? And doesn’t such a sign work counterproductive? It actually hadn’t crossed our minds that we could have sex in the tub until we saw that sign. It could as well have said: “Wanna do something thrilling? Why not have sex in the hot tub?”. For the record, we did not, but you get what we’re saying, right?
Why don’t vegans feel the need to say that veganism is non-sexual? No need to answer that, it’s a rhetorical question. But imagine that someone invites you to a vegan restaurant and says “you’re very welcome to visit our restaurant, but you have to understand that it has nothing to do with sex”. Or that a sign at the door would say: “No sex on the tables”. How awkward would that be?
Aren’t we stuck in a chicken or egg situation here? Do we have to keep pointing out that naturism has nothing to do with sex until we think that really everyone understood it? Or is the next step in normalizing naturism just to stop mentioning that it’s not something sexual?
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The scope of social nudity
The other comment that got our attention was on Reddit on our post about the difference between naturism and nudism. In the poster’s opinion, naturism/nudism is one of 3 categories: naturist/nudism, exhibitionism, and swinging. Where naturism/nudism is non-sexual, swinging is sexual, and exhibitionism can be one or the other.
We get this point of view, but putting these 3 things on the same line does kinda bother us. Maybe it’s because we are naturists and because of this lifelong struggle to explain to people that those 3 things are unrelated. We think that by writing it like that, “3 categories: naturist/nudism, exhibitionism, and swinging”, it makes it seem like they are all very connected. While there is only one common denominator, and that is the social nudity factor.
For a while, we’ve tried to incorporate the term “social nudity” into this website as an alternative for naturism or nudism. But we realized that this would be a mistake. Because social nudity is actually the perfect way to show the difference between the above-mentioned categories. The way we see it, social nudity is at the top level. It’s everything one does naked among others (that are not partners or close friends or relatives). Immediately below that, we need to make the distinction between sexual social nudity and non-sexual social nudity. The former contains swinging and the latter contains naturism and nudism.
Some of you may want to further define the pyramid and add several other layers, and that’s totally fine, but this has to be the basic structure. This does not mean that you have to pick one or the other. Some will identify with several segments, or maybe with all of them. And that’s totally fine too. But this structure will make it very easy for clubs, resorts, and individuals to explain what they are about.
Is there a gray zone?
Further in the Reddit comment, the commenter talks about exhibitionism for sexual and for non-sexual reasons. This kinda ruins the whole idea of our pyramid, because this would mean that one category (exhibitionism) can fall under two higher-level categories. How do we tackle this?
According to the Britannica dictionary, exhibitionism is: “derivation of sexual gratification through compulsive display of one’s genitals”. In other words, it’s always sexual. There is no such thing as non-sexual exhibitionism.
While we were at it, we also searched for a definition of voyeurism, and also this falls clearly under the sexual segment: “achievement of sexual arousal through viewing the sexual activities of others or through watching others disrobe”.
We understand the confusion though, these are some of those cases where we get stuck in terminology. We sometimes misuse the word exhibitionist to describe a poser or a show-off. And this doesn’t always include sexual gratification or “compulsive display of one’s genitals”. It’s just something else.
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What do we want to accomplish with all this?
Honestly, we find it a bit disturbing that we can write such a long blog post about something this simple. We could have reduced this 1500-word text to just one sentence: “Naturism is not about sex, Basta”. But this is what naturist organizations have been doing for decades and it still seems like there is a lot of confusion.
On one hand, we believe that it’s important to explain what naturism is not. But it is much more important to explain what naturism is. That is why we only write this kind of blog post once every so many years. We all know people who can’t be convinced. We could make them read this whole blog from front to back and back to front and they will still think that we are going to orgies. These are not the people that we should invest our time in.
Instead, there are many others that might be interested in naturism if they knew about it. That are open-minded enough to realize that social nudity doesn’t have to be sexual by default. They are the ones that deserve our efforts. So the next time you feel the need to explain the link between naturism and sex, just pass on this blog post. And you can spend your precious time telling fun stories about naturism. You’re welcome.
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28 thoughts on “Musings about Naturism and Sex”
Very nice article again. I understand your frustration with always having to repeat the “it’s non-sexual” speach, and I think the need for it stems from two reasons.
1. The are always people who are new to naturism and people are, to varying degrees, sexual by nature. So the rule need to be explained.
2. Naturism just isn’t as mainstream as we’d all like, so there is an air of mystery and, obviously, misunderstanding in the larger population.
I do agree that sometimes the messaging goes too far.
Indeed, rules do need to be explained and some rules maybe more than others. The question is: To which extent? When does overexplaining become harmful?
The air of mystery is definitely another problem and one that we’ve partially caused ourselves by hiding behind high fences and by making it hard for people to join. There was a time when an existing member of a club needed to for you if you wanted to become a member. As if it was some kind of sect. With the uprise of commercial resorts, this principle is largely going away, but it has left its marks.
Thank you for the interesting discussion.
Nudist organizations recite their mantra “nudism is not about sex,” or “It’s non-sexual,” so often that it reminds me of and old quote, “Methinks he doth protest too much.” The frequent word use of “sex” and “nudism” in the same sentences shows what is on the minds of those who recite the mantra.
The underlying fact is that humans are a very sexual species. We didn’t get to be 8 billion by avoiding sex. Some psychologist once opined that humans think about sex every 5 minutes for our entire adult lives. When human biological sexual desires are combined with a willingness to disregard cultural taboos, we end up with a lot of sexual activity among taboo breaking nudists.
There is another psychological tendency that enters into nudism. Breaking a strong cultural taboo is always scary on some level. There is a human coping mechanism among taboo breakers to hold on tight to all the other cultural conforming behaviors and taboos. Hence, the nudist arguments that nudists are “just like everyone else except naked.” Many nudists try hard to conform to all other cultural standards, to wrap themselves in “normalcy” while being “out there” on just one taboo violation. Sexuality limitations are among the cultural conformity standards that many nude taboo breakers are hesitant or fearful to break. It is too scary to throw away all the cultural taboos just because they disregard the taboo of nudity. “Nudists are just like everyone else.”
So nudism gets a strange mix of cultural enforcement and cultural taboo breaking when it comes to sexuality. Especially among younger more hormonal humans their sexual desires often overcomes their fear of breaking cultural rules. Over on some Internet sites, Reddit for example, there are thousands of younger people who pose for or post naked sexual images every day. And women outnumber men posing for or posting their own sexual photos. It may be that the commonly discussed difficulty finding young nudists, and the difficulty finding female nudists is caused by older nudists constant objections to any sexual display at nudist venues. Young hormonal humans of both sexes spend much of their time finding partners for sex. An asexual nudist group or venue is a boring waste of their time.
Nudism really needs to find ways to accommodate the powerful biological sexuality of most younger humans. Nudism is about “body acceptance” and human bodies are about sex. Claiming that nudists are asexual doesn’t convince anyone.
As for sex in the hot tub, the weight of water makes sexual motions difficult. In days when I was younger I have spent very enjoyable evenings at a CO hot spring with a lovely lady sitting on my “lap” while we drank wine, listened to soft music, and chatted with other naked friends in the dark. Nudism may not be “about” sex, but nudists are human and all humans are a very sexual species.
You make an interesting point, albeit weaker by saying that human bodies are about sex.
I often see American nudist parks collecting people with multiple deviances: gay, weed, show-off. To them, exploring nudism includes a survey of human outcasts. The gays, for example, could have been gay elsewhere with better pick ups.
Nudists are norm breakers at the least. They see baseless norms for what they are: unimportant. Certainly they may want to explore what other norms they can drop, including wives on laps in the hot tub.
That’s where rules are up to owners. Child-friendly club or sexually friendly club? The important thing is that everyone know the ground rules and are comfortable with the situations therein.
It’s very true that nudists are norm breakers and that this is a reason why nudist places regularly attract other minorities. At a nudist place (ideologically, it’s not always the case), the only thing that counts is that everyone is a nudist. Your job, skin color, sexual preference, etc are of much less importance. This makes nudists more accepting than many other communities.
We dislike the term “sexually friendly club”, because, what does that mean? It’s one of those terms that feed the mystery and the confusion. We think that every nudist club is sexually friendly, in the sense that nobody will find it offensive if you like sex. As long as it happens in your own privacy. If you’re talking about clubs where public sex is welcomed, we’re not talking about nudism anymore but shift to the other side of the diagram towards lifestyle and swinging.
It’s very true that humans are sexual by nature. And one of the mistakes that have been made in the past is that by trying to explain what non-sexual social nudity is about, we’re actually picturing the naturists as asexual beings. Which they are not.
Another reason why we reached 8 billion is that we function very well in communities and because we have the power to anticipate situations, not purely relying on instinct. We know that if we’re sexually attracted to other people, it’s probably not a good idea to jump on them right here and now. Because our society will disapprove and we’re very likely to run into trouble. This is where naturism is nothing different than the textile world. If we want to be part of a community, we have to follow its rules. Even when our instincts say something differently.
We disagree that the body is sexual by nature. That’s where lots of people make a mistake. A body is just a body. It’s a thing, something tangible. Whereas sexuality is a state of mind, an idea, a feeling. You may feel more attracted to a naked person than a clothed one, but that’s because our community has taught us for so many years that nudity is/should be considered sexual. It’s similar to how some people find breastfeeding sexual. It’s not, it’s a totally different biological principle. But since we’ve been taught that breasts are sexual, some people just can’t help it to maintain this relationship even when it’s about feeding a baby.
I sometimes reply to people on the Reddit boards who come in and ask about some sexual topic or other, and who are very ready to say “Nudists are against sex” or “Naturists are prudes”. Sometimes I just say “Naturists are really just like anyone else, except they like to be naked. They’re no more and no less sexual than other people.” And sometimes I ask them, “You’ve come here to ask about sex, but let me ask you, did you visit the orchid growers or the antique car restorers or the regional Chinese cooking enthusiasts, and ask them your questions about sex? Of course you didn’t, you came straight here. And if you don’t get a friendly reception, you’ll tell us how we’re all prudes. Maybe the problem is that you’ve picked on a bunch of people who don’t share your particular interest in sex, and we’re responding just the way most people would.”
Of course this kind of response leads to an instant end to the conversation! But it’s the kind of situation that keeps happening. The idea that we’re just a bunch of normal people with fairly random attitudes about every aspect of life (except nudity) just isn’t welcome to people who want it to be sexual. Hey, I bet there are some nudist prudes out there, and why not, there are textile ones too. Frankly, it’s just not a very exciting topic.
You’ve hit the nail right on the head by saying “people who want it to be sexual”. This is especially true in the “online world” and we suspect that it has something to do with voyeurism and/or exhibitionism. They get excited about crossing boundaries. They hope that by calling us prudes, we might reply something like “well, you know, we do sometimes have sex in the dunes”. This is the reason why they seek out naturist communities. There are millions of online communities that are about sexual social nudity and where they could have endless discussions about sex. But those are not interesting to them.
These people are a real problem because they kinda force us to keep explaining that naturism is not about sex and sometimes unwillingly picture ourselves as asexual beings.
Couldn’t the article be summed up, “Nudists/naturists are not against sex, but sex is not what nudism/naturism is about, and its also is not why they are naked”?
I feel the “problem” arises from the urge to find a catchy explanation when things are more complicated.
Indeed, that’s a great way to sum it up, but it’s also what so many people seem to find difficult to understand. So you’re all naked together but you’re not having orgies?
This is why we think that it’s so important to focus on the other aspects of naturism. People who believe that nudity is totally linked to sex are hard to convince by just saying that it’s not. Instead, we need to tell them what naturism is about and not what it’s not about.
I really like your pyramid drawing. You should make T-shirts out of it 🙂
That’s not a bad idea
Except that the places where there might be confusion are not the places where we wear t-shirts 😀
The fact that there is a widely practised ‘non-sexual’ brand of naturism whose standards of public sexual propriety are at least as high as in the textile world is, as you say, a fairly simple point, and it shouldn’t need signs on hot tubs to clarify it.
That said, for a lot of people, naturism is a pretty big psychological adjustment. It changes the way we think and feel about our bodies, ourselves and each other, and sexuality may well be part of that change of perspective.
A blanket statement that ‘naturism is nothing to do with sex’ seems overly defensive to me, as it shuts down lots of potentially interesting discussions about what naturism can teach us about ourselves and the human condition.
There is no non-sexual brand of naturism. Naturism has nothing to do with sex. If you see 2 naked people having sex at a nude beach, that doesn’t make them sexual naturists.
It’s like when we would smuggle a steak into a vegan restaurant and eat it, that doesn’t make us vegans who eat meat…
We definitely agree that naturism is a big psychological step and that for many people this does change the way they think about nudity and sex. So from that point of view, it’s certainly true that there is an interesting link that we didn’t explore in this blog post.
I think we’re on very much the same page regarding what ‘naturism’ is, but there certainly are instances out there of the term being used more broadly, which is unfortunate and confusing. I was trying to acknowledge this, but sorry if it sounded as though I was seeking to legitimise it. That was not my intention.
Anyway, I really enjoy your blogs and videos so thank you for all your great work!
No worries, after we posted the reply we were wondering if it didn’t sound a bit too harsh. That was not the purpose, it just is what it is. And it is indeed the problem that these terms tend to be used more broadly by some who are trying to justify something for themselves or for others. This creates this annoying grey zone that makes the whole thing confusing for everybody.
“This is what we think that the commenter on our video wanted to say.”
I can’t say any better than you whether this is actually what the commenter wanted to say, but I can say that I think this interpretation does a disservice to the argument in question.
Every time somebody complains that nudism is sex-negative, nudists interpret that argument as “we should allow sex on the beach”. But, as a nudist who doesn’t think we should allow sex on the beach (except in spaces specifically designated for that – non-nudist spaces), I still think nudists – particularly online advocates – express sex-negative opinions to a concerning degree.
Reducing it to the question of whether we should be allowed to have sex on the beach is a strawman argument that completely bypasses the actual issue. The issue is nudism’s association with anti-porn advocates, its criticism of the sexual connotations of clothing, and its discrimination against nudist allies – people who are naturally born to support nudism – because they have ties to fields and industries outside of nudism, that nevertheless put nudism’s public image in jeopardy.
These are the issues that need to be addressed, and every new sentence that gets written about how “nudists are JUSTIFIED in keeping sex off the beach” (with which I don’t disagree) is obscuring the issue further.
“Why don’t vegans feel the need to say that veganism is non-sexual?”
The reason naturism keeps getting mixed up with sex is because there IS more connection between naturism and sex than there is between veganism and sex. No, I’m not saying that there is any sex involved in naturism. But naturism is about nudity, and nudity is a thing that is sometimes about sex. That’s a connection. An indirect one, and NOT one that justifies including sex within naturism, but it is an explanation for why the subject of naturism and sex will NEVER be completely closed. So let’s not pretend to be surprised every time it pops up.
“According to the Britannica dictionary”
If you want to understand why your consideration of exhibitionism and voyeurism fails, crack open a DSM from fifty years ago, read out the definition for “transvestism”, and then try to reason trans rights from there. Or, just try talking to an actual voyeur/exhibitionist. (My inbox is open).
That is in fact one of the points we were trying to make in this blog post: By overly trying to protect the “non-sexual” thing in nudism, we often make it seem as if nudists are sex-negative. As in the examples you’ve given, and especially the anti-porn activism on social media. Personally, we don’t see why someone who enjoys porn can’t be a naturist or vice versa. But the problem is that it creates confusion. If we would start posting porn on Twitter next to our naturist blog posts, it will be very hard to explain that nudism has nothing to do with sex to people who are new to nudism. We think that in this case, it’s better to make a choice about how you want to profile yourself on social media. It’s kinda like an account that advocates against aggression against women that also posts content about female boxing. Female boxing has nothing to do with aggression against women but putting those 2 types of content next to each other would create confusion.
In a perfect world, people would know that those are two completely different topics. But we don’t live in a perfect world.
As mentioned in the blog post, the vegetarian thing was a rhetorical question, because we obviously know that it’s different from nudism. We just wanted to make a point about how absurd it really can be.
We are aware that the world of voyeurism and exhibitionism is probably much larger than we could ever imagine. That’s why we encourage people to add several layers/subcategories to our graph. But we think that it’s safe to say that this falls under the sexual side of social nudity, no?
“The naturist resort Costa Natura has a sign in the hot tub that says “No sex in the hot tub”. We love this resort, but that sign bothered us tremendously. Why do we feel the need to point this out?”
That could also suggest that sex there is fine outside of the hot tub!
I must pick up on your quoting of the Encyclopaedia (not dictionary) Britannica’s definition of Exhibitionism. While I agree that’s what they say, I disagree that it’s the correct definition of the word, and with your statement at the end of this: “According to the Britannica dictionary, exhibitionism is: “derivation of sexual gratification through compulsive display of one’s genitals”. In other words, it’s always sexual. **There is no such thing as non-sexual exhibitionism**.”
Also, “We sometimes misuse the word exhibitionist to describe a poser or a show-off.” No! That is not a misuse of the word, it’s the correct and original use and meaning of the word.
The following are the more respected English Dictionary’s definitions of the meaning of the word Exhibitionist:
Cambridge Dictionary: Someone who tries to attract attention to themselves by their behaviour: “I have an exhibitionist streak that comes out on the dance floor.”
Collins Dictionary: An exhibitionist is someone who tries to get people’s attention all the time by behaving in a way that most people think is silly. Synonyms: show-off [informal], boaster, poser, poseur.
Noun: A person who behaves in an extravagant way in order to attract attention. “I am something of an exhibitionist”
Adjective: Behaving extravagantly in order to attract attention. “In the past, I have chided Prof. Reynolds for his mildly exhibitionist postings.”
There is no “confusion” as you put it.
The best way is to not even mention sex.
The quote from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet comes to mind: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”. It is spoken by Queen Gertrude in response to the insincere overacting of a character in the play within a play created by Prince Hamlet to prove his uncle’s guilt in the murder of his father, the King of Denmark. The phrase is used in everyday speech to indicate doubt of someone’s sincerity, especially regarding the truth of a strong denial.
In other words, stop saying naturism (nudism, etc.) has nothing to do with sex. It sounds less believable the more it is said. And in fact, it’s not actually true for everyone.
Truth to be said, our knowledge of the exhibitionist world doesn’t go very far. So we won’t deny that there can be sexual and non-sexual exhibitionism. Which can then be classified under the corresponding sexual and non-sexual social nudity.
“stop saying naturism (nudism, etc.) has nothing to do with sex. It sounds less believable the more it is said.”
We very much agree.
“And in fact, it’s not actually true for everyone”
We very much disagree, but here lays a difficulty. Can a naturist be sexually aroused at a naturist place? Yes, that is definitely possible. That’s because we are humans and we tend to get sexually attracted to one another.
BUT… If you go to a naturist resort with sexual intentions, it’s not naturism.
We agree that the line is thin, but it’s there and it’s all about mentality. It’s about the reason why you enjoy social nudity. If it has a sexual connotation, but you can keep it very much for yourself and nobody notices it, you won’t run into trouble at a naturist resort. Nevertheless, we wouldn’t call it naturism.
This being said, we don’t want you to overthink it either. As far as we are concerned, as long as you’re not bothering anyone we couldn’t care less about what your intentions are.
“Truth to be said, our knowledge of the exhibitionist world doesn’t go very far. So we won’t deny that there can be sexual and non-sexual exhibitionism. Which can then be classified under the corresponding sexual and non-sexual social nudity.”
But you *did* deny it in your original post: “In other words, it’s always sexual. **There is no such thing as non-sexual exhibitionism**.”
“And in fact, it’s not actually true for everyone”
“We very much disagree, but here lays a difficulty. Can a naturist be sexually aroused at a naturist place? Yes, that is definitely possible. That’s because we are humans and we tend to get sexually attracted to one another.”
You contradict yourselves there! I stated that it (“sex has nothing to do with naturism”) is not actually true for everyone. Which you say you disagree with, but then go on to justify why it’s possible. The fact is, you don’t know, therefore you can’t disagree with it hands down. It’s fairly clear in years of experience, that some “naturists” do take part in sexual activities.
“BUT… If you go to a naturist resort with sexual intentions, it’s not naturism.”
You can’t say that as if you’re saying it from your high horse of authority, which is how some things you say come across! It’s not for you to lay down the laws and definitions on this. You could clarify it better by adding “… in our opinion” on the end, but not say it as if it’s a set in stone fact.
What is naturism? No, I’m not asking for an answer. Here’s what it is in my opinion after more than 50 years doing this – it’s a lie. It’s a term made up to convince the general public that those of us who enjoy being nude out in open spaces aren’t some kind of sexual perverts, it’s all to do with getting close to nature. Well, isn’t sex nature? Of course it is.
“We agree that the line is thin, but it’s there and it’s all about mentality. It’s about the reason why you enjoy social nudity. If it has a sexual connotation, but you can keep it very much for yourself and nobody notices it, you won’t run into trouble at a naturist resort. Nevertheless, we wouldn’t call it naturism.”
That’s another term which in reality doesn’t apply to many, “Social Nudity”. OK, so if you go to naturist/nudist clubs, etc., to meet people and do things that would be classed as socialising, the same as going to a social club or pub to meet people and socialise, that would be “social nudity”. But, as has been discussed in other parts of your blog before, there is a very large contingent who don’t go to clubs or resorts, and aren’t members of clubs or associations, but prefer to go to beaches and other outdoor areas to enjoy nudity.
You can go to a designated “naturist” beach that I know and be among hundreds of other naked people (and some not naked), but you don’t go there to “socialise” with those people. You might say hello if passing someone, and you might pass the time of day, but unless it’s a group of people you travelled with or specifically arranged to meet, you’re not “socialising” just as you aren’t at any other beach. I would say, in my opinion, having observed it over decades, that most people who go to a nude beach go there just to enjoy the freedom of being able to go around in the nude amongst other people without having to worry about your nudity, but not to fraternise with them. I would suggest that it’s “social naturists (or nudists)” that are more likely to be the ones to engage is sexual activities like swinging, etc.
“This being said, we don’t want you to overthink it either. As far as we are concerned, as long as you’re not bothering anyone we couldn’t care less about what your intentions are.”
Well, there you go!
About exhibitionism: We don’t know that much about it, so we relied on the definitions in the dictionary. Which all pointed to something sexual. You’ve given us different definitions which say that it might also be non-sexual, hence our correction in the comments. But we’re not going to change the blog post for that.
We definitely do not think that we are contradicting ourselves when it comes to naturism being about non-sexual nudity.
Let’s bring in our favorite example: If you go to a vegan restaurant, it might happen that you feel sexually attracted to someone. Does that make you a “sexual vegan”? No. It’s just human. BUT… If you go to a vegan restaurant because you have some fetish about having sex with vegans, it’s a whole other thing. And something that has nothing to do with veganism, but everything with how your mind works.
As we explained in the blog post, with “social nudity” we don’t mean that you have to socialize. It just means that you are nude in a social setting (around people that are not family, close friends,…).
Lastly, we’re sorry if we make it seem as if we are an authority. Everything we write on this blog is just our opinion. It would be quite annoying to read our posts if we started every sentence with “in our opinion”. Because that’s exactly how it is, this whole website is our opinion. We don’t claim to hold the one and only truth. And if you’d read this blog like a novel from front to back, you would notice that it will be quite contradictory. Just because over time, our opinions change. So please don’t see this as a way to convince the world that our ideas are the only truth. This is just how we see the world.
“About exhibitionism: We don’t know that much about it, so we relied on the definitions in the dictionary. Which all pointed to something sexual. You’ve given us different definitions which say that it might also be non-sexual, hence our correction in the comments. But we’re not going to change the blog post for that.”
All I can tell you about sexually motivated exhibitionism is from my experience of being in a relationship with a woman who was an exhibitionist. That in itself is probably considered unusual, because most sexually motivated exhibitionists (“flashers”) are men. This woman was 29 when I first began a relationship with her, and 35 when the relationship ended. She was something of an exhibitionist from a young age. She loved attention, liked to be looked at by men who were attracted to her, loved to be wolf-whistled at, and she liked to flirt. She attracted the attention she craved because she was very attractive and dressed to turn heads. She was reasonably tall (5’6”) and slim (not skinny), always wore high-heels (adding 4” to her height), always wore (very) short skirts to show off her legs, which were exceptionally nice (even women said so), she had long dark hair, a very striking “look”, always smiled, and was generally a very sexy looking girl.
When she discovered naturism/nudism (whatever you prefer to call it), things took a step up. She looked great in the nude as well and loved seeing people (men and occasionally women) leching over her. She genuinely liked to be nude and began to wear as little clothing as possible even when it was necessary to be dressed. This included ditching all her underwear and never wearing knickers/panties (whatever you prefer to call them) whether wearing leggings, jeans of more often than not, skirts. She initially did this because it almost felt like being nude. But she admitted that wearing a skirt with no underwear was a thrill and sexually aroused her. Before long that developed to her flashing. She would engineer situations that exposed her genitals to people and again, admitted that she got a sexual thrill out of it.
At nude beaches she would lie with her legs spread far apart to ensure anyone nearby got a clear view of her genitals, and this would get her aroused.
But all the above aside, most of the time she genuinely enjoyed the simple basic pleasure of being naked out in the open air. And in that sense, she was also a genuine naturist (or whatever you prefer to call it).
I don’t know what the psychology and physiology of it is. In other words, I don’t know exactly why some people find it sexually arousing to expose their sexual organs to others. But clearly there are many who do. Is it a mental illness or is it even a natural thing from our animal instincts? In the animal world for example, peacocks attract peahens by showing off their colourful tail feathers. I’ve seen a funny cartoon (post card) where a peacock is displaying and one of the two peahens he’s off to exclaims “pervert!”.
Something I did observe once happened in the changing rooms of a swimming pool within a leisure centre. The men’s and women’s changing rooms were separate. Having changed into your swimwear you put your clothes into a large rectangular basket and handed the basket to an attendant in a storage area between the two changing rooms in exchange for a rubber wristband. When you left the pool, you handed in the numbered wristband and the attendant handed you the basket containing your clothes. One of the most regular attendants was an attractive young woman who had a habit of coming into the men’s changing room to collect empty baskets. One day I had been playing squash with a bunch of guys and we all went swimming afterwards. There were seven of us altogether. The other guys had never used to pool before whereas I had, and I had seen this girl come into the changing rooms many times. I was used to being nude around women and it never affected me. However, the other guys that day were stunned when this young attractive girl walked in, and they were all standing there naked. Every single one of them suddenly had erections. I could only assume that was an uncontrollable reaction to the girl seeing them naked, particularly seeing their penises. Which led me to wonder whether we (men) all have that as a built-in response to some degree.
I once stayed at a naturist club that offered overnight accommodation. I was working near to it for a day and decided to travel there the day before and spend the afternoon and evening before the workday and the evening after it chilling in the nude. There was a guy there walking around with an erection. He approached me for a chat, and I asked him about it. He admitted he took Viagra to maintain an erection for several hours and that he did it because he liked to show off his erect penis to the women there. What’s more, some of the women loved it, some were amused by it, none were offended by it. The owners of the club told me their club was very “relaxed”.
“We definitely do not think that we are contradicting ourselves when it comes to naturism being about non-sexual nudity.”
You’ve misunderstood. I was referring to the paragraph of yours in response to me saying, “And in fact, it’s not actually true for everyone” to which you reply “We very much disagree, but here lays a difficulty. Can a naturist be sexually aroused at a naturist place? Yes, that is definitely possible. That’s because we are humans and we tend to get sexually attracted to one another.” The contradiction is the second part of your paragraph contradicts what you say at the start of it.
“Let’s bring in our favorite example: If you go to a vegan restaurant, it might happen that you feel sexually attracted to someone. Does that make you a “sexual vegan”? No. It’s just human. BUT… If you go to a vegan restaurant because you have some fetish about having sex with vegans, it’s a whole other thing. And something that has nothing to do with veganism, but everything with how your mind works.”
I’m sorry, but you’re splitting hairs on semantics with that. That logic can apply to any number of things. But if you think that no one who is a naturist enjoys the nudity, at least partially, for sexual reasons, you’re sadly mistaken. Many do, it doesn’t mean they’re not naturists. This narrative of “naturism has nothing to do with sex” a lie, it’s not true of everyone that’s a naturist.
“As we explained in the blog post, with “social nudity” we don’t mean that you have to socialize. It just means that you are nude in a social setting (around people that are not family, close friends,…).”
This may apply to clubs behind high fences, and at a stretch, possibly resorts, but not to beaches etc. The more accurate term in the case of beaches and other outdoor locations would be “public nudity”.
“Lastly, we’re sorry if we make it seem as if we are an authority. Everything we write on this blog is just our opinion. It would be quite annoying to read our posts if we started every sentence with “in our opinion”. Because that’s exactly how it is, this whole website is our opinion. We don’t claim to hold the one and only truth. And if you’d read this blog like a novel from front to back, you would notice that it will be quite contradictory. Just because over time, our opinions change. So please don’t see this as a way to convince the world that our ideas are the only truth. This is just how we see the world.”
It’s just that some of your replies to comments are worded in a way that it sounds like you’re taking the high ground and saying, “no, it’s like this”.
Bear in mind I have been doing this for most of my 64 years and have seen and experienced many different attitudes and behaviours in this lifestyle, so when I state something, I know to be true, it is pretty annoying when someone says it isn’t.
“In other words, stop saying naturism (nudism, etc.) has nothing to do with sex. It sounds less believable the more it is said. And in fact, it’s not actually true for everyone.”
Exactly. Psychologically the word “not” is rapidly forgotten and what is remembered is “nudity” and “sex” associated by being used in the same sentence. The more nudists recite their mantra, “nudism is not about sex,” the more their readers associate “nudism” and “sex” together.
You are also right, Tim, to point out that the writer or speaker has to be thinking about sex to recite the mantra “nudism is not about sex.” The more they say it the more it conveys the opposite message.
Nick&Lins are also right that they convey a message of opposition to normal human sexuality. That drives away most of the younger generation, including many young women. Nudist organization often talk about not being able to recruit young people, and not being able to recruit women. Both of those recognized problems are linked to the perception or reality of an anti-sexuality attitude by organized nudism. They badly need to come to terms with normal human emotions and needs rather than going into denial, and trying to pretend that it doesn’t exist. It doesn’t need to be a “swinger” park, but neither should nudist venues turn away or oppose normal human relations. They badly need to come to terms with, and accept normal people.
We’ve noticed as well that a lot of the nudist “propaganda” talks about what nudism is not. Which doesn’t really work, for example because like you mentioned that people tend to forget the “not” and get a whole different message, but also because negativity is not a good way to attract people. Imagine a car manufacturer promoting their beautiful fast car as a “car that not slow nor ugly”…
Instead, they should be focusing on the positive sides of nudism.
The golden rule is: Don’t behave in a naturist environment in a way that you wouldn’t behave if clothed.
You will try to look good and sexy in a nude beach, e.g. by being nicely trimmed, just like you would in any other beach by putting on a swimsuit that flatters your figure. But nobody likes it if you are lewd.
It’s absolutely normal to check out a hot body in a nude beach, much like you would do in any other beach. Ogling, on the other hand, will be frowned upon, just as it would in any other beach.
And you wouldn’t have sex in public in a textile beach. Why would it be okay to have sex in a nude beach just because you don’t have to remove your swimsuit first?
very thoughtful article & the equally studied comments. The topic itself is complex for the overall people who can mix up the ideas. After reading the article & the comments, i have now no doubts whatsoever.. very well explained.. sincere thanks.
I see that I’ve already replied to this post, so I think I’m caught up on reading now. But since I already wrote up another reply, I want to include it here. (Apologies in advance if I end up repeating myself).
I think there’s a fundamental problem with using the term “desexualize”. Nudists want to separate nudity from an automatic assumption of sexuality, in effect countering the OVER-sexualization of nudity. But when you say “desexualize”, it sounds like you’re saying there’s nothing sexual about the human body – and that’s ridiculous! Moreover, it makes anyone who believes differently feel guilty, especially if they want to be accepted by their nudist peers.
Add to that the considerable effort that nudists go to to not only assure the world that nudism is nonsexual, but to actively demonstrate that nudity doesn’t automatically make them think about sex by denouncing practically every instance of nudity in the media (e.g., movies and TV shows) that isn’t perfectly asexual, and you can’t help getting the feeling that nudists are being very judgmental about people who DO, sometimes, have sexual feelings about the human body (and this is pretty much all of us).
As a result, yeah, I do get the impression that nudism leans toward sex-negativity, and I think that’s unfortunate, because it’s not healthy. But whenever I argue that nudism ought to be more sex-positive, nudists think it’s code for “we should allow sex on nude beaches” (which, it’s not), as if they don’t have the same level of ability they criticize textiles for lacking in terms of distinguishing that “we’re naked” doesn’t mean “we’re having sex.”
There’s a meaningful difference between a nonsexual lifestyle judging and shaming humans for being sexual organisms, and a lifestyle accepting the natural human sexual impulse, while still maintaining its nonsexuality. Currently, in my experience – and especially online – nudism leans toward the former, when I think it needs to shift closer to the latter.
“According to the Britannica dictionary, exhibitionism is…”
Remember what happened when you looked up a definition for naturism? As an exhibitionist I lament that the majority of the population’s understanding of exhibitionism is critically limited by very narrow-minded perspectives that do not take into account the true diversity of human nature, nor actual exhibitionists’ feelings and experiences. Just as homosexuality and transvestism are more than a DSM diagnosis, exhibitionism is a whole lot more than a criminal compulsion that always results in sexual gratification. Once again, this is an opportunity to do more homework.