I posted the following in response to a forum discussion concerning how non-nudists perceive organized nudism as confining and shut off from mainstream society. Another idea discussed was how nudist publications seem to show nudists being nude for the sake of being nude, leading to other societal misconceptions. The original poster made a reply that he had gotten a response from an “open-minded textile” who was hesitant to see the value in being nude while doing everything and labeled nudism as a fetish.
I’d hardly call my practice of naturism a fetish. Sure, I derive pleasure from being nude but it’s no more a fetish than someone finding pleasure in wearing fine clothes or a comfortable pair of blue jeans. It’s a clothing choice, a preference. I’ve come to look at clothing from a utilitarian viewpoint. Does the clothing I wear serve a purpose? Do I need to wear it?
Naturism has certainly played a major role in my quest for “inner peace.” In naturism, I learned to accept myself for who I am, not what others expect or want me to be. It began at a physical level but, over time, it has gone deeper than that. You can’t find inner peace unless you’re relaxed and completely comfortable with yourself. Naturism has become more than a clothing or recreational choice, it’s part of how I live even if I happen to be clothed.
I honestly haven’t looked at the nudism for the sake of nudism focus in nudist publications but you may be right. I’m not sure what we can do to change that focus. Both AANR and TNS tend to focus on nude recreation rather than as a lifestyle, a way of everyday living with positive benefits for our psychological and physical health. Would that make it more appealing to people? Naturism appeals to me as way of life, of which nude recreation is just one part.
Nudism and naturism are difficult concepts to explain to people, especially those who are not quite ready to put aside societal and cultural perspectives, prohibitions and conditioning concerning nudity. For many non-nudists, there are very few valid reasons to be nude and they usually want to get it over with as quickly as possible.
Our lifestyle has to be experienced to really be understood and appreciated but it’s hard to convince them that it’s perfectly fine to do everyday activities without clothing and that doing so may be more comfortable, more relaxing, and have other benefits. It’s about changing attitudes and perspectives, hardly ever an easy task.
That nudism is practiced in isolation from society concerns me. We close the blinds in our homes and erect privacy fences in our back yards. Our resorts are often in rural areas and surrounded by thick woods or high fences. In natural settings, we often gravitate to remote, isolated areas. On one hand, it’s to protect our privacy and to ensure we’re left alone to enjoy our lifestyle in peace. Yet, at the same time, it’s perceived as a fortress mentality, a means of isolating ourselves from the society that we want to accept us. People tend to be suspicious of activities which are hidden. In a sense, we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place.
All I know to do is to belong to the national organizations and support them in their efforts to represent us. On an individual level, I try to be open and straightforward about my chosen lifestyle and my affiliations within it. I’m not ashamed of my body or of being a naturist. I have no spiritual or moral conflicts between naturism and anything else in my life. If anything, naturism forms part of the foundation of my spiritual and moral beliefs.