What Nudism or Naturism Is…
Nudism has been in the United States for about a century, yet we seem to go around in circles explaining who we are and what we believe to greater society.
Nudism (or naturism), simply, is the practice of non-sexual nudity alone or with others indoors or outdoors. I consider nudism to be an all-encompassing term, whereas I’ve reserved naturism for the context of being outdoors in nature.
Personally, I believe we can be born nudist, as I was, or nurtured into it, as many have brought the practice into their own lives or were raised in a nudist environment. Since I was born this way, I don’t consider myself a nudist, I use the word “nudist” to describe my identity. In other words, I’m nudist.
Our community will debate which word we should call ourselves – nudist, naturist, clothing optionalist (no, really!), nudie, and who knows what else, but the overarching theme is that we function without clothes in non-sexual and non-sexualized situations. This adherence of our nudity not being for prurient purposes is what makes this a historically family-friendly way of being.
What Nudism or Naturism Is Not…
Sexual expression has a place in life, but not in the pursuit of nudism or naturism as the movement is constituted. Sometimes you’ll see on social media people or organizations combining the two. People who post sexual imagery and call it nudism or naturism have no interest in the movement or us as a community, for the harm us with their carelessness. In the same way we don’t bring sex into our jobs or stamp collecting, we don’t bring it into nudism. We save that for when the situation warrants, which is not in nudism.
Some folks will chide us for being prude. No one is saying we don’t believe in sexual expression. What we’re saying is that if you’re engaging in swinging, exhibitionism, or pornography do not conflate it with nudism or naturism. Find your own words with their proper definitions. Nudism and Naturism, as words, are defined to exclude those practices. To advance our rights in society, we need to safeguard our nudist and naturist expression as exclusive from sexual expression.