Many people have found naturism (or nudism) a great resource for freedom and relaxation. However, it is also one of the most misunderstood lifestyles among the general population. David Hopkins from the website Listverse takes some time to explore the subject and break through some of the misconceptions many have formulated.
Misconception 1: Nudist resorts and events are places of sexual activity
This is the most untrue misconception about nudism. In fact, in any place where true nudism is practiced, sexual activity, exhibitionism and voyeurism are strictly prohibited, and such conduct results in the offending participant being expelled from the grounds immediately, never to be allowed to re-enter. Sexual activity is not allowed any more in a nudist resort or event than any typical public setting, and the other members are even encouraged to report such conduct, if they see it, to the organiser or owner of the facility.
Misconception 2: Nudism is sexually stimulating
Many people, when they try nudism, find themselves surprised at the lack of sexual arousal they experience. Many men are even afraid of trying the lifestyle for fear of being visibly aroused. However, nudist facilities usually make it quite clear to men that this hardly ever happens, and to roll over or take a dip in the pool in the small chance that it does. At naturist resorts and events, participants find so many other activities to do and sights to see that arousal is the last thought to come to mind. Many nudists even forget that they, and the other people, are nude. People in a naturist setting actually find that they are less likely to be aroused there than at a beach or pool where people wear skimpy bathing suits, which actually draw attention to the body parts they are supposed to hide.
Misconception 3: All nudists have attractive bodies
Nudists have all kinds of bodies; any kind, size or shape of body you see in day-to-day life. People who practice nudism come in all sorts of sizes, all sorts of ages and come from every imaginable walk of life. Many people worry about trying nudism because they are worried they are too fat, have a scar, or just don’t look like a supermodel. Anyone is allowed in, and no one ever makes fun of anyone or comments about anyone’s body. Nudism is not a beauty contest.
Misconception 4: Nudism is for adults only
Nudism welcomes children and actually encourages families with young children to bring their kids. Children are the most enthusiastic nudists because they have not yet learned to feel ‘shame’ about their own or others’ bodies, or to equate nudity with sex. Most venues even have play areas and activities set up for children. However, children are only allowed to enter if they are accompanied by their parents or legal guardians, and their parents, organisers and the other nudists are always on the lookout for anyone who would take advantage of children.
Misconception 5: Nudists remain unclothed all the time
This misconception is the only one with some truth to it. Nudists remain unclothed any time when practical, but tend to dress when the weather becomes too cool or rainy, or if they are operating a barbecue or stove. Nudist children who are not toilet-trained are required to wear swim shorts or a diaper in the pool. Likewise, in the winter, nudist resorts often close, or the resort owner arranges for events in an indoor setting, such as a swimming pool, gymnasium or sports facility. Nonetheless, anyone visiting a nudist venue is strongly encouraged to disrobe immediately, or soon after arriving, as a deterrent against voyeurs.
Misconception 6: Nudists are perverts, weirdos and sexually deviant
Not true at all. In general, most nudists are open, understanding and extremely friendly. The fact is, you probably don’t remember it, but there were days when you could scamper around the house in your birthday suit. Naturists are simply older or adult versions of those kids. They are open-minded and willing to listen to others’ thoughts, views and opinions. They are friendly and open to newcomers, and are typically repulsed at even the thought of pornography or sexual immorality.
Misconception 7: Nudists are therefore asexual
Some people think that by treating nudity as not so much a sexual thing, nudists deny human sexuality altogether. In fact, strangely enough, nudists do marry and reproduce, just like nature intended. They just don’t include their sexual activities in their lifestyle, as it wouldn’t be conducive to an innocent, family atmosphere, and would perpetuate the common misconception that all nudity is sexual. Nudists are sexual beings just like you and I, and just like the majority of non-nudists, they conduct their activities in private, in their bedrooms, between consenting partners only.
Misconception 8: Nudists have no sense of privacy
Although nudists feel comfortable in the nude, they tend to be particularly shy of cameras and have aspects of their life they do not need the world to know. Just because someone is nude, one should not take that as a signal to treat their life like an open diary or take pictures as they please. In most naturist settings, photography is restricted or even prohibited, and taking pictures of children (even innocent ones) is strictly forbidden, in order to deter voyeurs and molesters. Likewise, when a person becomes a nudist, the club keeps their information private, just like a person’s information is held confidential in any typical public place.
Misconception 9: Nudism is illegal
Some people think that nudist venues are a branch of some kind of black market, that they keep their lifestyles secret and unknown to law enforcement for fear of being arrested and prosecuted. In most countries, it is simply illegal to be nude in a public place, or if it is allowed, then lewd behaviour whilst naked is prohibited. Law enforcement generally treats nudist venues as being exempt from public nudity laws, as everyone who visits agrees to be nude, and the venue is kept out of public view. Many nudists advertise and communicate their lifestyle through the media, and law enforcement treats their lifestyle as a legitimate cause. Some nudists are even police officers, judges or lawyers themselves. There are of course places where nudism is officially illegal (eg Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia) and occasionally in other countries, police may make frivolous arrests, such as a crackdown on a nude beach, or arresting typical parents who take innocent nude photos of their young children, but in these cases, the court usually sees reason and dismisses the charges as unlawful and unsubstantiated.
Misconception 10: Nudism is new and alien in the history of humankind
Humans began naked, both historically and biblically. Many believe that humans originally began to wear clothes as a means to keep warm. Then, over many millennia, clothes evolved to denote status and class. Clothes slowly evolved to the point where a body without clothes was taboo. However, if you visit the ancient cathedrals of Europe for instance, you will see many innocent statues of undressed humans, and over the centuries, many great artists, such as Renoir, Donatello and Michelangelo have depicted nude subjects. Nudist clubs and resorts are relatively new in North America, a movement about a century old, but the swimsuit is also a new invention, prior to which people swam and used saunas in the nude. When the swimsuit was created about a century ago, it covered most of the body but has been gradually covering less of the body with time. If you put on your swimsuit today and went back in time a hundred years to a beach, you would probably get arrested, but go back two hundred years and people would wonder why you’re dressed at all.