The History and Practice of Naturism
The temperature’s rising and summer 2020 is getting into full swing. As it gets hotter, you may want to take all your clothes off (cue Nelly’s “Hot In Herre”).
Of course, If you like to sleep in the buff, you may already know the joys of spending time in the nude. There are many! While getting down to your birthday suit can undoubtedly be sexy, it’s important to note that being naked around others isn’t always sexual.
In fact, for people that practice naturism, being naked around other naked people is an everyday thing. It’s just like eating or driving a car. But, you know, naked.
What is Naturism?
If you’ve never heard the term “naturism” you’re definitely not alone. To put it simply, naturism IS nudism. Specifically, the term comes from the French word naturisme, first coined by a Belgian doctor named Jean Baptiste Luc Planchon in 1778, who suggested that naturism, or living in the nude, was a way to live a more natural and healthy lifestyle. (He literally wrote a book about it.)
In 1974, the International Naturist Federation or Fédération Naturiste Internationale (INF-FNI), oh yes, it’s a thing, gathered together to formally define naturism, after seeing it so misrepresented in the media and misunderstood by society at large.
INF-FNI defines naturism as
“A way of life in harmony with nature characterized by the practice of communal nudity with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others and for the environment.”
Further, naturism means living a life that is not fueled by money and material items. In being naked, individuals are encouraged and supported to love and honor their own bodies and beings. They believe in creating space for all others to feel equally as respected and loved in their own skin.
While there are many different groups of naturists, the INF-FNI is the largest and most prominent one in the world, with representation from 37 countries and over 450,000 practicing naturists around the world.
Have you ever gotten changed in a gym locker room or gone skinny dipping with friends? If so, you may have practiced a form of social nudity without even realizing it. Nudity can help ground you with your natural state of being. It removes a layer of obstruction between you and the outside world. It actively works against shame, fear and judgement.
There are many specific nude beaches, villages, hotels, camp sites, etc. to explore. But there are also ways to consensually practice nudism without going anywhere.
Here are some ways to try out naturism without leaping into a full on nudist lifestyle.
Being Naked At Home
If you’re thinking about dipping a toe into the pool of nudity, try by sleeping naked at night. In the comfort of your own bed, you may start to get more comfortable being in your bare skin. Perhaps you take it slow and start by sleeping without a shirt on or just in your underwear. If you’re feeling comfortable sleeping in the nude, try walking to the bathroom or getting a glass of water without putting your robe on. Get more comfortable walking around naked in your home.
Nude Beaches and Spas
Before planning a trip to a nude hotel or camp site, you can find ways to practice nudism just for a day. There are tons of nude beaches all over the world. While they’re more popular in Europe, they do exist in the US.
If you’re not comfy going all the way nude, try sunbathing without a top on or taking a dip. Additionally, going to a Korean spa or Russian bath house may be an interesting way to engage with social nudity in a relaxing setting. These places are largely separated by gender, which may make you feel more comfortable, and lessen any potential feelings of being sexualized or looked at in a certain way.
A popular way to practice nudism is by taking a vacation to a specified nudist colony or hotel. Here people can spend a weekend or longer, naked among others, in a safe and consensual environment.
Some of these places encourage families to come, and have amenities for kids as well as adults. Often nude villages will have an array of activities that people can do together naked. These trips allow like minded people to meet each other and live their chosen lifestyle together in a safe and encouraging way.
Griffin Wynne is a non-binary writer, artist, and plain seltzer drinker. When they’re not discussing sex in the ~digital era~ or crying to the Dixie Chicks, Griffin enjoys camping, reading, used clothes, and documentaries about cults. They’re a Capricorn King, a genderless cowgirl, and a ’70s mama who is always down for dollar oysters and road trips. Griffin uses they/them pronouns and has the same birthday as Kyle Richards.