Are you a naturist or a nudist? Or something else?
This question is a very common topic in naturist communities, especially online ones. Until about five years ago, we would have told you that we are naturists. No doubt. Because where we come from, if you can come up with any other reason to enjoy being naked except for just the sake of it, you are a naturist.
In fact, to us, the term “nudist” has always had a bit of an undertone. Naturism was defined as more than just being naked. It was about respect and about enjoying your surroundings to the fullest. Whereas nudism leaned more toward exhibitionism. If you prefer to call yourself a nudist instead of a naturist, this must mean that you don’t agree with the principles of naturism. And if that is the case, we probably won’t agree with your reasons to get naked. Right? It wouldn’t take very long until we’ve learned that it’s not that simple.
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We were about 2 days into our big Naked Wanderings journey when we already stumbled upon a new term. We were searching for the naked part of a beach on the Croatian coastline, but there were no signs mentioning anything like “nudist”, “naturist”, or even “nude beach”. Instead, we found the cryptical term “FKK”. Honestly, we had no idea what that meant and used Google Maps instead to figure out the appropriate place to take off our clothes.
Only later, we would learn that FKK is short for Freikörperkultur, which is German for Free Body Culture. It’s the most commonly used term in German-speaking countries to describe a non-sexual nude lifestyle. We were a bit stuck with this. The “free body” part says nothing about respect or nature, but only about freeing your body. So it leans a bit towards nudism. But it’s a culture, so it’s more than just being naked for the sake of it, which then made us think of naturism again. Where do we put FKK on our (pretty limited) spectrum of social nudity? Is it a term that we would like to adopt, or rather not use?
We hadn’t much time to think about this. We figured out that Croatia uses the term FKK because of the many Germans that visit the Croatian nude beaches in the summer. Once we left the country, towards southern Europe and soon after to Thailand and Bali, naturism became the norm again. Until we crossed another ocean.
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Nudists in the USA
Once we arrived in the USA, everyone started calling us nudists. We didn’t really like that. We had our reasons for getting naked and the naturist philosophy was meanwhile flowing strongly through our veins. That is until someone explained the difference in that part of the world. In fact, the way she described “nudism”, was basically how we saw “naturism”, as a way of living based on respect. Naturism, on the other hand, was explained to us as something way deeper than how we experienced it. Basically leaning toward living in the woods and hugging trees.
We were confused. Not in the likes of an identity crisis, but mostly because over the last year our blog had been growing fastly and we had both a large American and European audience. Which term did we want to use? Do we keep using naturism and have the Americans think that we are barefoot treehuggers? Or do we switch to nudism and risk that the Europeans will think that we’re just naked for the sake of it?
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Nude recreation and lifestyle
The largest organization for nudists (or naturists?) in the USA is AANR, short for The American Association for Nude Recreation. Nude recreation, another term that we had never heard before, but one that we particularly started to like. When people ask us what naturists actually do, we often explained that we basically do the same things as everyone else, except that we like to do some of those things without clothes. “Nude recreation” kinda summarizes this. We recreate in the nude.
But the Americans also have their ways to make things complicated. We often talk about naturism as a way of living or a lifestyle. We say things like “our naturist lifestyle”. Or when it’s really obvious that we’re talking about naturism, we cut that down to just “our lifestyle”. We had noticed some frowns when we said this, but we just figured that it probably just wasn’t an American thing to talk about naturism/nudism as a lifestyle. For us it was, so we just kept doing this.
Until someone said to us “Dude” (this happened in California) “you got to stop talking about lifestyle, everyone will think that you’re swingers”. We were like “Dude” (we easily pick up words) “what’s that supposed to mean?”. Then they explained to us that the word “lifestyle” was a term the swingers used because they don’t want to talk about swinging. We thought about how many times we had ignorantly talked about “our lifestyle” and realized that we might have sent out many wrong messages.
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What about nothing at all?
Another interesting thing happened when we were in the States, more particularly while taking a nude yoga class in Manhattan, New York. Our yogi was in her late twenties, early thirties and seemed super confident in her nude body. So we asked how long she had been a nudist, thinking that she was probably raised in a nudist family. Her reply was: “Oh no, I’m not a nudist. I teach naked yoga and go to nude beaches, but I’m definitely not a nudist”.
This blew our minds. From the first time we had visited a nude beach, we had considered ourselves naturists. And we figured that this is just how it goes. You try it, you like it, you become it. Apparently, that’s not always the case. Later in our travels, we would meet many more people who enjoyed certain forms of social nudity but didn’t identify with the term naturist or nudist. Or sometimes stronger, didn’t want to identify with those terms.
Once again, we were confused. How do we integrate this into our blog? Should we just stop talking about naturists and nudists? We tried to introduce the term “nudie” but quickly figured out that this wasn’t working. A lot of our blog visitors find us via Google, and nobody ever Googles the term nudie. So we decided to stick with “naturist” and “nudist”.
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Naturism has already been taken
More and more, we started questioning the purpose of terminology. Instead of bringing people together, we felt like this was actually separating people. The scope of social nudity wasn’t just divided anymore into naturists and nudists, but then there were also those who identify with nude recreation, with FKK, or with no terms at all. While we all believe in the same values, we also like to think that our term is better than the others.
We started to think that the terminology was kinda ridiculous, and proof of this came very soon, once we started traveling through Latin America. The Brazilians also use the term “naturism”, while all the other Latin American countries use the term “nudism”? At first, we figured that it must have something to do with influence from the USA. But the answer was much more obvious.
Naturism/nudism/social nudity is still quite a young movement in Latin America, and by the time it finally got a foot on the ground, the term “naturismo” was already taken by the health industry. In most Latin American cities, you can find naturist shops on every street corner. But don’t expect to find sarongs, nor to be allowed to shop naked. This only happened in Spanish-speaking countries, which explains why naturists in Brazil (where they speak Portuguese) could still claim the term “naturismo”.
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What’s in a name?
When we were in Vera Playa, a couple of months ago, a Dutch lady started telling us why she is a naturist and did not want to be called a nudist. We understood what she was trying to explain, we had been thinking the same only several years ago. But now we knew better. For a brief moment, we considered telling her about all our experiences in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. But we didn’t.
In the end, it’s your choice. If you want to call yourself a naturist, nudist, or something else, or nothing at all. For some people, sticking to a certain term gives them a sense of belonging. And that is perfectly fine. But because of our experiences, the different terms have mostly lost their meaning. We don’t want to call ourselves “nothing”, because that feels so empty. Most likely, we’re just a mix of everything.
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44 thoughts on “Naturism vs. Nudism: It’s a cultural thing”
An interesting discussion and I have often thought about what ‘ category ‘ I belong to. However I am just someone who believes it is normal not wearing clothing when it is more comfortable and practical. I guess if I was asked to choose a category the nearest would be FKK. Where I live, on the south west coast of Ireland, being naked around your home, garden and the coast is quite common. In conversation to do so is known as ‘ communing with nature ‘ . Victorian prudery did not make it this far west and people have been skinny dipping here for centuries! We have miles of deserted coastline and countryside . We have an indigenous population of germans, dutch living here also, and a few Belgians too ! Have you two visited Ireland on your travels? The weather is very variable,where we are , so allow plenty of time here to enjoy the warm and sunny days.
We think that the large majority of naturists/nudists/whatever falls into the category of “I am just someone who believes it is normal not wearing clothing when it is more comfortable and practical”. And many of them wonder what’s in a name. As long as it feels right, why put a label on it?
We’ve been to Ireland a long time ago but never tried naturism there. We have really good connections with the Irish Naturist Federation, so we definitely want to come back to get naked in Ireland!
“Up next: Are we naked or are we nude?”
Seriously, I think you nailed it when you wrote “Instead of bringing people together, we felt like [terminology] was actually separating people.” This is because language (maybe particularly English) is complicated to begin with, often taking on additional meanings which change by place and by time. I’ll give you two examples. In the U.S. in say the 1920s “being gay” meant one was lighthearted or happy. Nothing at all to do with sexual orientation. A century later (time) “being gay” is exclusively about sexual orientation. Here’s one for place: in the northern U.S., order “tea” and it comes hot and steaming. If you wanted the cold drink on ice, you have to order “iced tea”; whereas in the southern U.S., if you order “tea” it comes over ice and is cold (I’ll spare you the further regional defaults regarding “sweet tea” versus “unsweet”). If you wanted hot and steaming, you have to specify “hot tea” for your order. Then, as you mention, depending on context, words, such as “lifestyle” can take on entirely different meaning. Here in the U.S., I can say that “I live a Jewish, cyclist, gourmand, healthy, musician lifestyle” and swinging would never enter into the listener’s mind. But add nudist or naturist to my list as part of my “lifestyle” and everything can change in how that is perceived. But only if the listener has been exposed to “lifestyle” being synonymous with “swinger”. I don’t know how prevalent that equation actually is outside of nude-living circles.
I’ll join you with “just a mix of everything” as between nudist, naturist, FKKer, nude (or is it naked?) recreationist . . . .
You’re absolutely right that next to culture, also language plays a big role. As non-native English speakers, we’ve definitely run into some very interesting conversations about this. We could write a “naked vs nude” blog post, but the conclusions will most likely be identical as the ones in this post. It’s all about what fits you personally the most. And one is not better than the other.
“Up next: Are we naked or are we nude?”
That’s a good one. When people have this discussion, I can see the different connotations these words can have. But let’s be honest. At the end of the day, it’s all semantics. You can’t say that everyone who ever uses the word “naked” means “vulnerable”, and everyone who ever uses the word “nude” means “dignified”, for example. Strictly adhering to that rule removes the context those words are found in, and can lead to some serious misunderstandings.
If, like other nudist bloggers, you talk repeatedly about people being devoid of clothing, it helps to have some synonyms, so you’re not always using the same word over and over again. Naked and nude mean the same thing – “sans clothing”. In some constructions I’ll pick one or the other simply because the cadence or combination of consonants sounds better.
Exactly. The terminology annoys the sh*t out of us. But we need it in order to be found and for people to understand what we’re talking about…
A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and all that.
However, I call myself a nudist because the main characteristic of this part of my being is non-sexual social/public nudity. However, I practice nudism exclusively in natural settings and find no appeal in something like a nude houseparty.
It’s complicated, I guess.
Sometimes, though, it feels to me that people use the term “naturist” because they want to tone down the nudity.
We personally believe that toning down the nudity factor in naturism/nudism helps with general acceptance. But in the end, it’s just a term.
But can you really tone down the nudity factor? If you do, then isn’t it just going to the beach or having a vacation? Social nudity is the cornerstone of all this, not just an incidental detail.
However, people that go on and on about how they dream of a world that had no clothes and how they are nude whenever they can, do sound odd and obsessive.
And so do people who pontificate that this is a very serious philosophy. Nudism/naturism should be above all fun.
Let’s rephrase that, we don’t want to tone down the nudity, we want to tone down the weight on the nudity factor.
To give you an example, we recently took a friend to the nude beach for her first time (video about this coming soon). When we were talking about this, if we would have given a lot of importance to the fact that she would have to go nude, we would probably have terrified her. Instead, we talked about how we would take her to a really magnificent beach, we talked about the views, the nature, the freedom. She knew that she was going to a nude beach, so there just wasn’t any need to accentuate that. Whether or not she got naked too, is something we’ll keep for the video… just kidding, she totally did, and we’re sure that she was so comfortable because we didn’t make a big deal of the nudity.
I’m afraid I have to disagree with you on this point..here in Spain, it is probably exactly the opposite. They consider a nudist as someone who just takes their clothes off when they go to the beach, whereas a naturist is considered someone who tries to live as much of their life as possible, naked.and tries to promote that “lifestyle” (aagghh) with others. All a bit of nonsense really and, as Nik & Lins rightly say, it divides more than it unites.
Nudists in the USA are high fence people (AANR) who get naked only for “recreation” or at pay-for-play resorts. Nudists believe that nude is only acceptable “in appropriate places,” which means at their pay-for-play resorts. Naturists believe that human bodies are the default human state, and nudity is a fundamental human right everywhere. “Nudists” object to our freedom and admonish us to “respect” people who would be “offended” by our human bodies (that they don’t respect). Nudists (AANR) have a vested commercial interest in prohibiting naturists from being “Free Range” and escaping their resorts. They don’t want bodies to be acceptable in public places. Nude freedom would undercut their business model of pay-for-play.
AANR (and American “nudists”) are not like BN that promotes general nude acceptance. AANR teaches limiting nudity ONLY to “appropriate places.” That has long been #3 in their “Nudist bill of rights.”
On the other side is the Naturist Society that began by advocating nude freedom on public beaches, trails, and wherever we go. Naturists in the USA are for general freedom to be naked. AANR and their “nudists” promote body shame (don’t offend clothists), and advocates hiding behind high fences. That is the fundamental difference between “Nudist” and “Naturist” in the USA.
Respectfully, I believe what you wrote to have been true up to and through the ’90s and into the ’00s, but I have seen a lot of blending of the respective AANR and TNSF positions since then to the point where it seems to me that both promote nude recreation and body acceptance on both private and public lands. Personally, I’ve been a TNS member for over 20 years, but just joined AANR this year for the first time.
I have to disagree Bill. AANR has not changed. I looked at their web site today.
The FRONT PAGE of AANR.com says their purpose is, “Protecting nudists and naturists from policies at the local, state and federal levels that interfere with the right to enjoy clothing-free recreation in appropriate settings;”
Their words, “in appropriate settings” reflects their opposition to naturism or skyclad as a fundamental human right in our daily lives. It means AANR advocates being only being allowed to be naked behind high fences at a pay-for-play vacation from our daily lives. AANR continues their promotion of the concept that OUR BODIES are “OFFENSIVE” to members of the general public and should not be shown outside of their resorts. With “friends” like that we need no enemies. They are the opposition to choice of body covering or not as a fundamental human right, not the supporters.
I’m not a member of either group but I see the wording of “in appropriate settings” used in the US as a way of gaining more acceptance. People in the US can be prudes about nudity. I’ve never understood it. They can watch and let their children watch the most violent and bloody situations possible and even the most sexual situations allowed on television and in movies, but lord forbid it if you want to sunbath in the nude. It will never make since to me, but there is so much pressure on places in the US to close nudist or naturist places that in most cases “in appropriate settings” with fences is the only legal way to do it. I agree that it shouldn’t be that way and wish it wasn’t but it’s just how I see it as being in the US. I personally am nude at home all of the time (unless there are guest over that I know would be uncomfortable with my nudity) and wish I had the land to be able to be outside in the nude as well, but I live in an apartment complex so that’s not possible. I would love to visit Haulover Nude Beach in Miami, Florida since it is the only public beach in the US that allows nudism. There are probably more that I’m not aware of but I doubt that there are many public areas that allow it in the US. It is a shame since I believe we should be able to live clothed or unclothed as we choose without fear of being arrested and labeled a sex offender. The save the children from the monsters mentality forgets that nudity would actually let you see if someone had the wrong intentions, but the save the children speech works for so many people. They forget a quote from the past or maybe they remember it and use it to get what they want.
“The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”
Either way in the US people are just so uptight that you have to do what you can to be nude without going to jail or being labeled as a sex offender. It’s gotten so bad here that a kindergartener (5 year old) was suspended from school for hugging his teacher. Everyone is afraid of being labeled as a sex offender and are willing to hide like they are ashamed of being nude to avoid it.
“Haulover Nude Beach in Miami, Florida since it is the only public beach in the US that allows nudism.”
Nope. That’s not true, but you would never know it reading the AANR web site.
The Oregon State Parks operate two clothing optional beaches on the Columbia River near Portland, Oregon. Public nudity is legal in most of Oregon (except the city of Portland itself, Lane County, and a couple of other places).
Seattle, Washington, actually allows nudity everywhere since they lost Seattle v. Johnson, and had to repeal their city ordnance prohibiting nudity to comply with state law. The same law applies to all of WA. A couple of public beaches in Seattle are popular with naturists. Even in the “conservative” side of WA there was a news story recently about police wanting to contact a naked runner in a Spokane, WA, park because he was offending some other walkers. Most of the on-line comments pointed out that naked is legal in WA. Naked is not illegal in California either, except a few cities (San Francisco for example, but not it’s suburbs). And Kansas, and Vermont, and several other US states.
Haulover beach just has really good marketing 🙂
This proves once again the cultural differences. In Paris, France, there are two important naturist/nudist groups:
– ANP: Naturist Association of Paris: This is similar to how you describe nudists: they look for designated places where social nudity can be practiced.
– APNEL: Association that Promotes Naturism in Freedom: Are how you describe naturists: They strive to make social nudity possible in public places.
But note the terminology they use: Both are using the term naturism, because that is the one that is mostly accepted in Europe.
“[terminology] was actually separating people”
Good point. Do we really need a term ?
Does “nudist” or “naturist” make more sense than a “suimsuiter” or a “t-shirter” ?
Yes zibi, clothes free is the default human condition. All those ugly uncomfortable fabrics and compulsory hiding of our bodies is an artificial affectation. All those clothists are the deviant and perhaps somewhat psychotic body phobia crowd.
The word “nude” or “naked” connotes an unusual vulnerability or deviant behavior, while “naturist” implies someone who is natural or as we ought to be. However have a word for unclothed people marks us as “the other,” or some deviant “lifestyle.” In order for body freedom to become normative and accepted WE need to stop setting ourselves apart and calling ourselves some kind of deviant people by calling ourselves “naked” or “nude.” We need to use language that recognizes body phobia and clothing compulsion as deviant psychologically harmful behavior, and body acceptance as our normal human condition. We don’t need a term. THEY need a term.
Very good point! In a perfect world, the terminology would not be necessary. But as long as we are a minority, it still seems to be rather important.
I prefer the term “gymnosophist” and I would like you to respect my choice by including that term whenever you say “nudist/naturist”. 😉😁
That was a favorite word for the late Jim Cunningham. He’d also talk about one’s own outlook on naturism as “a personal gymnosophy”–like a “personal philosophy”. But it seems a little intellectually weighty to bring into most conversations.
Other than the fact that if we would use it, we would constantly write it wrongly, we also think that the term gymnosophy (just copy-pasted it) won’t work well in the Google search results 😉
According to the Oxford dictionary, a gymnosophist is “a member of an ancient Hindu sect who wore very little clothing and were given to asceticism and contemplation.”.
We’re really sorry, but we think that you have come to the wrong website 😂😂😂
I’ve never known anyone to insist there’s a difference between a nudist and a naturist who didn’t identify as or or the other. The textiles and most dictionaries consider them synonyms. The thing is, the enthusiasts’ definitions are wildly inconsistent and contradictory. There is a wide disparity in usage among different locations and even within any one of them. Still, anything that gets people talking about our underlying values is a good thing.
Oops — second line should read “… as one or the other …”
We totally agree, except for your last sentence. Internal struggles are never a good thing.
For more than 40 years I practiced law in the US. My business card said I was an Attorney. But if someone asked me what I did for a living, I usually said, “I’m a lawyer.” As far as I’m aware, here in the US there is no difference between attorney and lawyer. They mean the same thing, but attorney sounds a bit more formal, so I usually identified myself as a lawyer.
With all due respect to those who perceive some difference between naturist and nudist, the terms seem pretty much interchangeable to my mind (at least here in the US). I usually say I’m a nudist because a lot of people in the general population aren’t familiar with the term naturist. In my experience about the only people in the US who know what a naturist is are other naturists.
You totally nailed it with your comparison between lawyer and attorney. If you had told us this earlier, we would have used it as an example for sure!
What’s the difference between a nudist and a naturist? Well, a nudist likes to go around naked, whereas a naturist likes to go around naked, and give lectures.
😂😂😂 That’s not always right in our experience, but we can definitely appreciate it as a joke
I consider myself a nudist part who occasionally goes naked. The naturist, on the other hand, strives to be without clothes as much as possible.
That is very interesting because in our experience, it’s the other way around. We’ve noticed that those who call themselves naturists are often very comfortable talking about naturism while they are clothed. While those who call themselves nudists will only talk about nudism when they are naked. But once again, this is a very personal perspective.
Why oh why do you need a label?
As I have said several times now on your blogs, I have been going nude on beaches and at other places for 50 years, and I’ve only ever used “naturist” or “nudist” reluctantly, occasionally.
What is your reason for going nude?
For me it is simply that I like it. I like being nude. No other reason. Nothing to with nature or lifestyles, literally it’s just the way I prefer to be, whether at home, in my garden, at a beach, in the countryside, riding a bicycle, driving a car, or doing anything at all.
I don’t need an “ist”. If going to a beach comes up in conversation I don’t tell people I go to nudist beches or naturist beaches, if anything I say I go to beaches where I can be nude. If they ask why, I tell them i’s because I prefer to be nude, or I like to be nude.
To me, havist a title with “ist” on the end makes it all sound fanatical.
When the day comes that you all seem to want, when public nudity, especially at beaches, becomes normalised, what will happen to these labels then? Well it’s already happening in parts of the world.
Lot’s of people are going nude these days, but don’t call themselves nudists or naturists. They just do it.
What do you call someone who goes to a beach and wears the tiniest of costumes, a virtually non-existent bikini or g-string? You don’t call them anything do you? Except “textiles” in the nude comunity.
There is absolutely no need for a name for stripping off nude. In fact I’d say it’s negative to have names/labels for it.
For us, as bloggers, the terminology is important because we want our blog to be found on Google. Nobody ever searches for “naked people on the beach”. Well, let’s rephrase that, lots of people search for that, but only very few of those we want as our readers 😁
But we’ve also noticed that terminology creates a sense of belonging. Even today, a lot of people find their desire to be naked strange or awkward. The fact that there is an officially accepted term for this (well, more than one) helps them in their journey to accepting themselves as naturists, nudists, or even gymnosophists (as we’re apparently supposed to mention as well).
Your blog doesn’t show up in Google searches for “naturism” “nudism” or “naturism and / or nudism”. At least in my location in the UK. Prior to this post I tested it. If it does show up in the search results at all it certainly isn’t in the top ten pages of results, which is about as far as I trawled the pages, and most people only go five pages deep at most.
I found your blog several months ago because it was tagged by someone else in a Twitter post (tweet).
One of the oldest terms for nudity which has been used by some naturists/nudists in the past, derived from Wiccan Paganism, is “Skyclad”, so there’s another one for you. I have heard and read people saying, for example, “I like to go Skyclad at the beach”.
But I’ll come back to the question, what will happen to all these terms when, as is gradually happening, nudity becomes completely normalised?
Certainly here in the UK, it is becoming more normal as time goes on. I went to an ordinary beach and found a remote part in the dunes to sunbathe and walk around nude. When I was leaving the beach I put on a sarong to walk through the highly populated part where everyone was clothed, and right near to the entrance/exit to the beach there was a middle-aged couple laid out sunbathing in the nude in the middle of hundreds of clothed people, and no one seemed bothered. So I decided to remove the sarong and continued to walk amongst them nude. No one took any notice.
So, I believe before too long these terms will die out. I already know a lot of people who go nude but don’t identify by any term for it.
Indeed, our website is too small to score high on Google for the terms “naturism” or “nudism”. But it can score high on more specific terms like “naturist resorts in zipolite”. If we would change our terminology to skyclad, we could easily become number one in the Google search results for “skysclad resorts in zipolite”, but the problem is that nobody ever searches for that.
We don’t think that the terms will disappear once naturism/nudism/… becomes more socially accepted. Because people will always feel a need to describe their lifestyle or habits. Even if going to a naturist club becomes as easy to explain as going to the bar, people will still talk about a naturist club and not about a club. As a way of description. If every beach would become clothing optional, on the other hand, we do believe that the term nude beach will eventually go away.
The never-ending discussion, nudist, naturist, gymnosophist, FKKist, nakedist, barist, sans-clothingist… I think you nailed it with mostly culture. On the other hand, I think there’s a need to label people: Instagrammer, youtuber, blogger… You’re an instagrammer because you post pictures and stories on Insta (and derive some revenue may be)… Labels, labels, labels. It’s a way to recognize fellows of the same tribe (Seth Godin theorized this tribe belonging). I feel being a nudist and a naturist at the same time, a nudist because nude is my preferred way of being, and naturist because we are part of nature and need to think and live differently, more in an homeostasis way with our surrounding (but hey, nature is sometimes not really friendly – bears may not all be like Winnie, poison ivy is not a bunch of roses and hail when you’re nude hiking is not welcomed). In the end, what ties us all is social nudity and the fact that we see nudity as natural, normal and not inherently sexual.
It’s true that the word naturism “hides” nudity and is seen as less “aggressive” than nudism. I think it’s hypocrite though, like the notion of “clothing optional” in a sense. I truly believe in “clothing optional” as a personal choice, but “nudity preferred”. If the all world were “clothing optional”, the question of nudity would vanish, but I’m a dreamer. A nudist/naturist/gymnosophist/nakedist/FKKist/nude lover dreamer!
Whatever difference there once might have been between ‘naturist’ and ‘nudist’, I think they have now been lost, and the two terms have become interchangeable. The only difference, in my opinion, is ‘nudist’ is more old-fashioned.
Calling oneself one or the other has become little more than a personal preference or opinion.
As a native English speaker, I can understand that it is sometimes useful to look for subtle differences that often occur in two seemingly similar words in our language, but whenever this debate surfaces, I can’t help thinking it is an exercise in looking for subtleties that don’t exist.
Besides, two words/terms (or three if you include FKK) are never going to be enough – because the longer I spend with people practising our lifestyle/hobby/pastime/aspiration, the more I realise that no two nudists (or whatever) are the same.
I wrote a blog post on this same subject. In short, I prefer nudist over naturist, simply for clarity here in the US. However I prefer to say “naked” instead of “nude”. So perhaps I’m a “nakedist”?
We especially love the first line: “A nudist, by any other name, would dress the same.”. Wish we did come up with that 😁
A very interesting article, and comments. Firstly, I am an American, conservative and a Christian. The latter point a bit ticklish, so no one in my congregation knows about my ‘lifestyle’. (Actually, no one does—yet). There were good pro and con statements regarding labels. However, labels give one identity and belonging. I prefer naturist, as it is a more neutral term, and less likely to bring about a negative reaction from the textilers. To me, nudist and nude have been sullied and debased by the porn, movie and entertainment industries, as well as religious groups and government officials. And I wouldn’t like to be called a ‘nudie’.
I consider this to be my lifestyle, as I choose to live my life in the nude. Insofar as public nudity becoming universally accepted, the odds are better that you’ll travel to the moon. 7 billion textilers aren’t going to approve. If nude and clothed peoples had been co-mingling for millennia, there would be no problem. If I proclaimed to be a gay, cross-dressing Unicorn rider, (which I am none of), I would be held up in high esteem. But a ‘nudist’? Shock, horror, outrage! The odds are against us.
To my naturist/nudist comrades, keep doing what you love; it’s only natural!
that is a good point. “Nudist” has more sexual connotations than “naturist”. I too would prefer to be referred to as a naturist. It is sad that your lifestyle as a naturist isn’t acceptable to your life as a Christian. Christians should accept all lifestyles , whether they be naturist or LGBT+ but all religions suffer from being interpreted to suit peoples prejudices but that is another topic discussed on other blog on this site.