Musings about the WHY in Social Nudity

Many of our blog posts are inspired by Twitter conversations, and this one isn’t any different. It all started when Hector Martinez asked the question “What are the biggest problems naturism faces in 2021?“, to which we responded that the current terminology of “naturism” and “nudism” (and in some regions “FKK”) doesn’t cover the whole scope of social nudity anymore.

 

It used to be pretty simple. If you believed in the ethical side of naturism, you called yourself a naturist. If you rather got naked for the comfort or an equal tan, you were a nudist. Yet, there must always have been an overlap. We can’t imagine that not a single naturist recognized the comfort of being clothes-free, or that all nudists couldn’t care less about respect for nature and other humans. But that was pretty much the consensus.

Naturism in the 21st century

Today, we see more and more subgroups appearing. There are vacation naturists, home naturists, online naturists, 24/7 naturists, beach naturists, event naturists, and so on. Feel free to replace the word “naturist” in the previous sentence with “nudist” if that makes you feel better. The point is that birds of a feather flock together.

 

On the other side of the spectrum are the long time naturists, also called traditional naturists or ethical naturists. These are seeing more and diversity in their way of living that used to be so nicely structured. Suddenly, naked people are arriving at their nude beaches in polluting cars, who smoke, drink beer, and have barbeques.

The different groups find their leaders and separate from each other.

The danger in division

Back in Belgium, we have seen something similar happen in amateur theatre. Maybe not the most obvious link, but it’s also a small community in which people don’t always agree with each other. Imagine a group of 20 amateur actors. Half of them want to do more comedy, the other half wants to do more serious plays. So the group splits up.

 

Now there are two groups that both are restricted to plays with 10 actors maximum. And also the audience gets divided. While the whole group used to play for 200 spectators a night, they now both get a 100 a night. So the budget needs to be reviewed. Half of one group thinks that a nice expensive venue is the most important, the other half thinks that the money should go to a professional director. The group splits up again.

 

It becomes a mess and nobody’s happy, while everyone thought that they were actually working towards something better. How did that happen? They had lost their “why”.

Find your why

In the bestseller “Find your WHY“, author Simon Sinek explains that the key to making the right decisions is to focus on why you do things instead of how you do them. All the amateur actors really wanted to do was create a great play and entertain an audience. But instead, they got lost in how everyone thought that this should be done.

 

We see the same in naturism, nudism, or whatever you want to call it. We all have the same dreams and visions of a better world. One in which everyone is treated as equals, where body-shaming doesn’t exist, and where nudity is considered normal and natural. Yet, we’re so much focused on how we think that this should be accomplished, that we are losing the bigger picture. Instead of treating each other as equals, we condemn them because they are not doing the things how we would do them. Instead of working together, we work against each other.
It’s time that we retrieve our why.

Why is this so important?

On a personal level, you may not experience immediate benefits. On the contrary, you’ll probably have to make concessions. You may have to share your beach with someone who drinks alcohol. You may have to share the dinner table with someone wrapped in a sarong. You may end up in a conversation with someone who only gets naked on vacation. Just like the actor may have to agree with hiring an expensive director instead of playing in that great venue.

 

But in the long run, we will all benefit from this. If a government wants to close down a nude beach, who’s going to stand up? Who will they listen to? A group of a handful of people that exactly thinks the same or a large group of people who may not completely agree on everything but does share the same “why”?

 

If we want to normalize nudity, we’ll need more people on our side. How are we going to convince the world that we’re not a bunch of weirdos? With 50 small groups who all say something different or as one front?

 

If we focus on the values that we share instead of those in which we differ, and if we agree on who we all are instead of pointing out what the others are not, we can get there. But we’ll have to act like one community, a community with a strong why.

 
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17 thoughts on “Musings about the WHY in Social Nudity”

  1. Personally I prefer to be called a nudist, because this aspect of my life concerns social activities that I enjoy while naked. It’s more straightforward, more authentic and dare I say, more truthful and liberating. Replacing nudism with naturism always sounded to me as if nudity needed a euphemism to become acceptable.

    Reply
  2. I tend to think live and let live and consideration for others are two really important phrases to live by, in life in general as well as in naturism/nudism/enjoying being nude.

    As long as what you do doesn’t hurt me or others why should it matter to me. So what if you only like to be nude in the beach on holiday, and I like to spend as much of my time nude as possible. That doesn’t make you wrong and me right in any way, or vice versa.

    At the same time if I like to listen to music on the beach I should have consideration for those around me and not blast out loud music to disturb the relaxation of others.

    As long as we all remember these two things there’s no need for any conflict at all. No one has a monopoly on taking your clothes off. There’s not only one way to do it. Let everyone enjoy being nude where, when and how they like as long as it’s legal and they remember those two things.

    Reply
    • It all boils down to the most important pillar of naturism: Respect. As long as there is mutual respect, not much can go wrong.

      Reply
  3. I believe that a lot of this started perhaps in the 1980’s (in America, anyway) when teachers began telling students that -they- were supposed to have great self esteem and that the -individual- was more important than the whole class, etc.
    When the world was caught up in World War II, the men sent into battle were fighting for a common cause and the “needs of self” were set on the altar and were sacrificed to what was good for their entire country, not just the individual. Now, people are encouraged to “be yourself” and to fight for their own cause, no matter what public opinion is. Look at all of the sub-groups that now exist even in what you would think would be a simple matter like “gender” and “sexuality”.
    “Altruism” doesn’t seem to be a preferred trait any longer, and when a single person is generous or outgoing or wants to be a part of a bigger group, people become suspicious and automatically wonder what that individual wants to gain for themselves. People aren’t used to pure and genuinely altruistic people any more.

    Reply
    • That does make a lot of sense!
      On one hand, individual thinking is being promoted a lot, but on the other hand, biologically we’re still herd animals that look for a leader. Maybe the problem is in this contradiction.
      Especially with the uprise of new media, we can find groups and leaders for every single thought we may have. This is a great thing if you see how more people try social nudity these days because they get confirmation on the internet that it’s not something weird or pervert.
      But this is also the reason why extreme opinions also flourish, hence the uprise of QAnon for example.

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      • …and perhaps higher walls in between all of these different paths? People’s self-importance being fueled by social media, schools, etc. I worry about the future!

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      • I dont really agree with the middle part, on contrary , i think ppl are more stuck up now about public nudity in that sence ,like im not talking about nudie places, but the general attitude.
        I know how you and everyone i guess hate it when sex is mentioned in these subjects , but it still blows my mind that , and this is mostly seen in USA, that ppl get arrested for having sex in public , but not public as say downtown, put just in a public place where basicly 0 can really see you ( wich speaking of if makes no sence to me, its outside sex then not public lol ,hence the world PUBLIC, publica , ppl watching ) anyway, what i wanted to say is that they get arrested like that, while its perfectly normal for ppl to walk the streets with machine guns, or even kids ,or even going to a gov institution like that !That blows my mind.
        At the end of the day, just look at FB and stuff .. so stuck up about nude things by rules anyway,
        As for the last last part, extreme opinions are a relative thing , to some, being a nudist is extreme so .. u cant view things that way.

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        • I do agree with most of what you said, and I have been complaining about it for years – Here in the US we tolerate all sorts of violence / rape / torture / murder on our TV screens and in our movies and no one minds at all. However, a simple scene with a little bit of nudity or sex makes people behave so much differently. I have experienced this first hand when watching a movie with our friends at their home. They’ll talk about violent movies and enjoy discussing how graphic that it was, and how scared that they were, and then if a love scene, nude scene, or sex scene comes into a movie, they remark that “it’s gross” and they want to fast forward through it. I don’t understand!!!

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          • Yes, there’s something truly weird about that. Many people seem to have no shame talking to others about the stupid things they did when they were drunk or about how they put their family in financial problems just because they wanted to buy a new car that they didn’t really need. But when they go to a nudist resort, they don’t dare to tell anyone…

        • Technically, if nobody can see you, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be arrested. But we get your point.
          Here’s the thing: Carrying weapons in public places is considered a right in the USA, whereas being naked is not. Actually, this is a great proof of what we wanted to explain in this blog post. The weapon lobby sticks together. People who like handguns don’t separate themselves from those who like machine guns. Instead, they are one front which makes it impossible for the government to ignore them.

          If only 1% of people in the USA enjoy social nudity, that’s still 3.5 million Americans. If these would form a front as well, social nudity might be much more accepted.

          Reply
          • Ur missing my point yet again , i know whats “legal or illegal” in most places , but thats not the point, im not talking about this being legal or illegal ,speaking of wich, ALL things are legal by default until they are made to be illegal, and only by human arbitrary things out of intrests, but back to the point tho, im talking about whats normal , whats not odd or maybe there isnt even a word yet invented to how id like to describe it, but honestly ,WHY the hell is it not acceptable for someone to be nude in public, or OMG even have sex, but , i got a pics s/s of it of a “dad” with like a 7yo dau in an gov institution with a machine gun on the girls back ! How the hell no1 minds about that ,but i saw a vid of a guy beating the shit out of prolly even drunk someone having sex in a park in UK, and speaking of UK , outside of USA, u can hardly find a more hypocrite nation when it comes to these subjects.
            Thats my point, not whats legal or not, thats totaly irrelevant, we are all born with things already made up on our behalf without even being questioned about them so by default we accept them as ok, and everything else isnt .. it just blows my mind how many ppl arent even willing or have an iq capacity to challenge all those things and “rules” and “laws” , thats why i hate that fraze ppl always use “for the future of our children we need/want blalbalbla” .. ffs.. let them build their own future , no1 has the right to decide in their name what they will want, it sounds even stupid to write this, “to decide what they want” lol …

          • We weren’t particularly talking about what’s legal/illegal either. It’s about what people consider rights. Which is based on the general perception of things. Since carrying weapons is considered a right in the USA, it’s normalized. Nudity, on the other hand, is not normalized just because too few people think that they should fight for their right to get naked.

  4. Well thats what kinda happens this age .. the 21th cent is deffo the cent of making things up, making problems out of things we werent even thinking of yesterday… or about things that dont even exist .. so this is no different to that really.

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  5. Respect is a key aspect and nudity is a common denominator to all nudists and naturists, but we all have different lives and personnality. Hence, we need to agree a the minimum commonalities between all of us, and it boils down to being naked and respected for being naked. For some, like me, it’s all about comfort and happiness, for others, it will be something else, good for them! Why nudism/naturism/naturalism ? Because nudity is OK.

    Reply
  6. There is a parallel with Christianity. The Church has fragmented into hundreds of denominations, each with their own emphasis, but all sharing a belief in some basic ideas or understandings.
    What are the fundamentals of nudism/naturism? I’ve read what distinguishes them, but what do they hold in common, expressed neatly and precisely?

    Labels are important for the group to use to self-identify. Without a single label everyone uses (even if there are modifiers used with it), the members won’t identify as being part of the group.

    Orthodox, pentecostal, baptist, lutheran, charismatic etc. are all distinct labels but they also all modify the overall label Christian. Where is the parallel among those who like not wearing clothes?

    To be lasting, what binds a group has to be internal to the group not only external. We have gone from gay to LBG to LGBTQQIP2SAA as more oppressed or fringe groups have said. “What about us?” Yet, if you listen to individuals in those groups, there is little that they have in common other than being oppressed or fringe. Remove the external factors and the group falls apart. Each likely left to its own devices.

    Where do those who enjoy being naked fit in?

    Reply
    • We didn’t want to use religion as an example in this post, because we don’t really like linking nudism to religion.
      But you’re absolutely right, the similarities are obvious. And you can even look much further than the different Christian groups. Christians, Jews, and Muslims have been fighting each other for many centuries over religion. And yet, if you look at the principle (one divine person called God, Jahwe,… with a representative on earth called Jesus, Mohammed,…) and the values, these religions are pretty much identical. Well, their WHY is identical, but they differ in the HOW. That’s because the “How’s” have been added afterward by popes, priests, writers, etc.

      With LGBTQ, it actually goes in the other direction. It started with just gays and now keeps including more and more minorities. Which is something we applaud. If the gay movement in the seventies had decided that the movement was for gay men only, it would nearly be as strong as it is today.

      Reply

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