The Misconceptions of Naturism

In our previous post So what about nudism, we have given you an introduction about naturism and its variations. By looking at the history of nudism we hope that we’ve been able to show you how it grew from a need to connect with nature and as a reaction to conformism.


Even though naturism as we know it exists for more than a century and is, especially in Europe, widely accepted, there are still some misunderstandings about the lifestyle.
What are nudists or naturists doing behind those large fences?
Are they singing Bob Dylan songs next to a bonfire?
Are they hiding something for the world other than their nudity?
And what’s with the sexual aspect?


Is naturism something sexual?

There, It’s on the table.
This is probably the biggest misconception of them all and also the reason why there’s still such a taboo around naturism.
For the majority of people (and especially those who have no clue about it but love to have an opinion), the naturist site is a place where men walk around all day with an erection and where women are without exception all willing and soaked in oil.
It’s a sex village where everyone jumps on everyone.


Oh boy, would we like to see the disappointment on their faces when they actually visit a naturist place…
But you cannot blame them.
To be fair, for years and years we thought the same thing.


Naked Truth: The Nudist Taboo ExplainedSociety does link nudity with sex all the time and has been doing this for many many years. If you read the words “naked man” and “naked woman” in one sentence you can be for 99% sure that it will be about sex.
But we shouldn’t blame society for everything, the human imagination has also something to do with it.
When you find yourself on a “normal” beach (or a “textile” beach as naturist like to call it) and a woman passes by whose bikini was in a previous life probably Jack Sparrow’s eye patch or there’s a guy with a cute butt in tight swimming shorts, your imagination takes over and you start dreaming… And then you think: “If this gets me excited, what must it be if this was a nude beach?”.


New Cambium intext 3
Many people don’t see that it’s not the nudity that excites them, but the small patch of textiles does. It’s hiding something and the human curious mind wants to know what’s beneath it. And if we can’t see it, we imagine it.


For naturists, nudity is the most normal thing in the world, so there is no direct link at all to sex. We are not saying that it’s impossible to get turned on at a naturist place, it won’t be more than on any other place. I would say even less.


Side Note: In some countries where naturism is tolerated and swinging (not the dance) is not, swingers tend to announce their activities as naturism. We found out the hard way when we ended up at a swingers party in Brazil, but that was an exception.


Is naturism only for beautiful people?

One reason why many are hesitant to visit a naturist resort is that they are insecure about their body.
Am I not too fat?
Am I not too skinny?
Are my boobs not too small?
Is my little friend not too little?


It’s totally normal that we ask ourselves these questions because most of the time we are very concerned about how we look. We have to look decent for work, we have to dress up for this and that party, the TV keeps telling me that I should lose that extra body fat.
It’s everywhere!
EXCEPT at naturist resorts.


In Belgium, we have a saying (we don’t know if I can translate it to English just like that but you’ll get what we mean): “The clothes make the man”. Well, take off those clothes and everyone’s equal. There’s no division anymore and nobody tries to pretend anymore that they’re perfect. Everybody is perfect when they are naked.
You learn to accept everyone’s flaws but most of all you learn to accept your own.
This is who you are, this is your naked body and everyone will accept that because they expect everyone else to accept their own imperfections too…
Wow… that was deep… but really, that’s how it works.


Is naturism for exhibitionists and voyeurs?

As we have already told you in our post about nudism, we do expect that a certain amount of the naturists are actually exhibitionists and voyeurs. You may notice someone who will always take the seat with the best overview at the swimming pool and who will spend her or his time looking at others.
Is that a voyeur?
Could be. Maybe when they’re spending time at a terrace of a bar or at a bench in the city they also like people watching.
On the other hand, there could be the person who keeps parading up and down the beach.
Is that an exhibitionist?
Who says they wouldn’t do the same on a “textile” beach?


In any case, as long as they don’t bother others by making them feel uncomfortable with their stares or exposures, it’s all fine for us. Naturism is about acceptance, also of people who have slightly different desires than ourselves. As long as they don’t cross the line.


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Naked Truth: The Nudist Taboo Explained


Is naturism for hippies?

The only people you see in naturist campings are long hared (and certainly not only on their head) people sitting by the river cleaning their biologically grown vegetables, the same river where others are doing their laundry and a little bit upstream someone is doing a number two.
Their evenings are spent dancing naked in a circle around the fire, laying tarot cards and doing some witchcraft here and there.


It is true that in the past, naturism was adopted by the hippies and that the first “modern” naturists were true nature lovers who probably did their laundry in the river and their business in the woods.
But saying that naturism is for hippies is the same as saying that indie music is for hippies. It’s true but certainly not exclusively.


Do you look ridiculous when you’re naked?

People who think this have totally no idea about what naturism is all about.
We’re not saying that nobody will look at you. That actually would be really weird. But people are not going to stare at you and they’re not going to point at you either. People will look at you, say “hello” and move on.
And they will certainly not think you look ridiculous. Because if you look ridiculous, everyone does. We’re all wearing the same type of suit.


Did you (or do you still) have any misconceptions about naturism?
Did you ever have to fight against misconceptions?


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Photo credit: “Ohio Summer” by AlissaBrunelli / CC BY 2.0
Photo credit: “Delicious orange cheeky bikini” by Silvia / CC BY 2.0
Photo credit: “Naked bike ride at the Burning Man” by Phondras / CC BY-SA 3.0

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15 thoughts on “The Misconceptions of Naturism”

  1. Hi
    An excellent description of a truly wonderful way of life, that I wish everyone could embrace at least once in their lifetime. Maybe then a few of the misconceptions you state could be buried forever.

    Best wishes

  2. What I’ve learned in all of the years that I have spend most of my waking hours and all of my sleeping hours nude is that living this way has contributed to my happiness, to my health and to my general well-being. I don’t pay attention to any negative stereotypes or uninformed connotations. I know what I know, that I am better for being a nudist.

  3. “The clothes make the man”: pretty much spot on the 15th Century English “Clothes maketh the man” which you will still hear now. However, the sentiment goes way back to (I think) the Ancient Greek.

      • “Clothes make the man.” Indeed, your social class and rank are displayed by clothing. Nudity is a neutralizer. We can all be nice to each other — not boss and slave, not dominance and forced submission.

        When my therapist asked me why I like to be naked, I surprised myself by quickly saying, “I want to be accepted.” Wow! I had discovered it. When nude, I am not judged. Yes, not at all. I may be short with a pot-belly but that’s just a description, not a judgment.

        It is so liberating to approach a naked stranger and exchange greetings without any concern about saying the right or wrong thing. We have nothing to hide — I can just be the kind of person I want to be.

        Now if my wife could only understand, we could reduce some of the tension between two people from thoughts like, “I’m too fat.” She’s my lady. She’s not my skinny or my fat. Clothes themselves are judges — too tight or loose, too long or short, and the “wrong” colors. Our skin makes a perfect fit.

  4. “Exhibitionism” has a necessarily sexual connotation, as does “voyeurism”. However, Naturists do put themselves on display, and therefore exhibit themselves. They do look at each other’s naked bodies.

    What Naturists are up to, I think, is casting off the disguises that clothing forces one to operate within most of the time. They are saying “this is the real me – and all of it”; they are being open and honest. They do not seek to hold secrets about supposedly “private” parts of their anatomy because those parts are just a small element of the whole thing – the human body, which is not in any respect inherently disgusting or unsightly, and of which no owner need feel in the slightest bit ashamed.

    They do not pretend that sex and sexual attraction does not exist, but assert that there is no causal relationship between communal nudity and either of those things. I think that the evidence supports this. Communal nudity is therefore not lewd or suggestive, still less provocative, and thus there should not be any laws or conventions against public nakedness other than where those things can be directly proved.

    There is therefore a distinctly political aspect to Naturism with a capital N which is allied to a series of core beliefs, other than it being fun to take your clothes off wherever possible and practicable. One of the misconceptions is that that is all it is.

    • Naturism and nudism are very broad terms and people have different reasons to be nudist/naturist. But saying that naturists put themselves on display goes a bit far, we think. First of all there are many private (home) naturists who don’t enjoy public nudity and there are others for whom the whole “being socially nude” thing is not the main purpose. They enjoy swimming without swimsuits, they want equal tanning and they just don’t mind that others see them naked.
      No doubt that there are nudists who enjoy the exposure and others who enjoy watching other nudists, but those are only select groups.
      You can see this in the “clothed world” as well. Some chose their clothes based on comfort, others because they make them feel good and others to impress.

      Your other statements we can only agree on. For many, naturism is indeed a way of saying “this is the real me” (often more to themselves than to others), this is me without the fancy clothes and expensive car and shiny jewellery. This is what you get when you leave away all that’s materialistic.

      Nudists are indeed no asexual people and nor are they sexual perverts. This is one thing we really try to explain to non-nudists. We have the same sexual desires as everyone else. But it’s not because we’re naked that we can’t take a hold of ourselves. When we are attracted to someone we will also start with buying them a drink, having a conversation and hoping for a date. The only difference, and this is something we truly believe in, is that our conversations are much more open and honest (it’s really hard to lie when you’re naked) and that we get attracted to the person and not to a combination of person, car, clothes, etc.

    • I may be over 50, but I am definitely not overweight and wrinkly. I am 130 or slightly, the weight I have been since age 29.
      Nudism/naturism is the great human equalizer. Those who dress in upscale clothes with well paying employment can not be differentiated from a person with low income if everyone is wearing their birthday suits. Some of the birthday suits may need a good pressing, but we are all human with similar or lacking parts that no one notices. An arm is an arm, the pubic arch is a pubic arch.

    • I am over 50 and not as wrinkly but I AM grossly over weight. But, I am trying to change that for ME. It’s not that I am a ravenous pig, it’s that my body is shaped like a pear because I was born with 47xxy/Klinefelter’s Syndrome which basically means I have a cell division problem from birth. My body never produced enough Testosterone, which in turn caused weight gain and the ability of my Pituitary gland to run in overdrive. Men who have “man boobs” are suffering from drastically reduced testosterone. I have to supplement with Testosterone so that my body can begin to be normal, like yours…and Testosterone will strengthen my bones so they don’t become brittle. There are many reasons you are not aware of the reasons for different bodies. What are we nudists going to judge you about YOUR body when you show up nude in front of us? ….when we see you with ALL of YOUR Flaws ? Well, we aren’t going to notice your flaws, because we have our own flaws too. We are going to look past your body into your heart and mind and love you for who you are… The reason that most people are over 50 is because we have lived long enough and lived through all of the manufactured lies about clothing and vanity, and some of us need to heal ourselves of the psychological damage of living in this World and the best way to do that is to remove our clothing and just be US.
      See you on the Beach… Greg

  5. I’d really like to comment to Chris about old and wrinkly nudists.
    First, we were young once just like you. Less weight, no wrinkles, no or few scars, we had all of our hair, and saw the older generation as just that. Then, unless we were lucky and raised as nudists, we discovered the lifestyle.

    Now, not knowing anything about you, I apologize if I offend you here and now.

    Young people are always complaining that it’s only old people that are nudists. However, it’s those same old people that introduce you young people to this lifestyle. Most young people today see and view nudity as a means to sex… PERIOD! Why don’t young people like yourself promote the nudist/naturist lifestyle and show it’s not about sex, but freedom, freedom of clothing and freedom of body shaming.

    As for grossly overweight, according to scientific research, the majority of young people today are grossly overweight because of their lifestyle. And, just because an older person is heavier than you doesn’t make him or her anymore overweight than you.

    Remember when I said we were young once too? Well, when you look at (your words), “Really old and wrinkly, but grossly overweight and average age of 50” people, remember this. First, with all they went through in their life, they made it to 50 and older. You have no idea how or why they may carry that weight. And the wrinkles, well, sit down and talk with these people, and find out the history behind all of those wrinkles and scares as well.

    Bottom line, we have lived in your world, introduced nudism to our generation, it’s time you and others like you take up the mantel and begin introducing nudism to the (younger) world we are no longer part of.

  6. I’m pretty sure about every language and culture has that saying. (“Clothes that make the man”)
    Hungarian and English for sure. 🙂

    Anyway, great article, thank for educating the clothed ones. 🙂


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