Is Nudism a Fetish?

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.

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7 thoughts on “Is Nudism a Fetish?

  1. The problem is that in America it’s very prudish and that American society wants you to hide your sexuality and nudism.

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  2. This is a tough one, Rick, and frustrating. I don’t think of being naked as a fetish — at least, for me, I know it’s not. It’s comfortable; shoot, it saves on an electric bill for air conditioning! There are places that I would not go naked; although as the dress code in more and more venues becomes more and more casual, I suppose it’s conceivable that one would go naked to more and more events if one could. But I can’t even go naked on my balcony without first arranging for adequate privacy: or I’m liable to be arrested or evicted or both. So there may be those for whom it is a fetish — but I think that’s those who understand their being naked as part of their sexual expression. That’s not the majority of those of us who are nudists/naturists, and understand being naked as a matter of comfort, not sex. But, as the previous poster pointed out, we live in a prudish country; and as long as we risk “telling our story to the judge” we’re not going to be as public about getting naked as we might want to be.

    I think it’s a matter of patience and tolerance — and maintaining a sense of humour! But in the meaintime, I’ll confess to grating a bit, confined either by my walls inside the apartment, our outside those walls, confined by a pair of shorts.

    Maybe it’s clothes that are the fetish …

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  3. fetish (noun)
    1. an object regarded with awe as being the embodiment or habitation of a potent spirit or as having magical potency.
    2. any object, idea, etc., eliciting unquestioning reverence, respect, or devotion: to make a fetish of high grades.
    3. Psychology – any object or nongenital part of the body that causes a habitual erotic response or fixation.

    From Wikipedia: Fetish may refer to social conditioning to create attraction towards a person, place, or an object.
    "Maybe it’s clothes that are the fetish …"
    Considering our culture’s unquestioning devotion to clothing and the social conditioning which brings about this unquestioning devotion, you may be on to something, Allen. As for a habitual erotic response or fixation, it often comes as a result of social conditioning regarding the removal of clothing. Yeah, I’d say that wearing clothing is more of a fetish than being nude.

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  4. I use a more generic term for people who do not fit with of those formal definitions. I call them “nudies”. There are MANY people who don’t mind a bit of social nudity but they don’t make a lifestyle out of it. Free hikers, hot tubbers, social skinny-dippers, figure models, nude beach visitors, hot springs enthusiasts. They would never describe themselves as being nudists or naturists of any stripe. They are our friends, however they look at organized nudism as being silly, nudist resorts as being odd and nude mandatory as being alienating.

    Coexisting with those people are those I call “nude accepting”. A nudie throws a hot tub party. The result is a mixture of nude, topfree and clothed. Nudie’s lives are anchored in the textiled world, so nude mandatory would eliminate many of their friends. That eliminates most clubs. Their nudity is casual, sometimes spur of the moment, so that eliminates long commutes, advance scheduling, and membership fees.

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    1. That post was quite a while ago and some of my views have changed since then.I still identify as a ‘naturist’ but I don’t believe it defines me. It’s just one piece of the jigsaw puzzle.

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