In Defence of Social Nudism

Have I been wrong about social nudism?

I wrote a post last week on . In that post, I argued that the nudist environments (at least those I have been in) fall into two catigories: sexy naked and non-sexy naked.

In that post I said I didn’t really understand non-sexy nudity. I wasn’t trying to be critical or social nudism, but I have always considered public nudity to have a sexual connotation; in fact one of the things I like about clothing optional resorts is the subtle, flirty sexuality that permeates the environment. In my experience, these sexy/nudist gatherings are sexy and fun but also highly respectful and no more overtly sexual than you want.

My pre-conception of social, non-sexual, nudity has also been a little more negative. In my (very limited) experience with the social nudism community I found the overt effort to suppress sexuality to be a little too aggressive and the vibe to be a little sanctimonious. But, my experience is VERY limited.

So… I see I got a pretty strong response form the social nudism community that has made me think about that movement a bit more.

I now would say I better understand social nudism and why people would be into it. The idea of being free, natural and in touch with nature… I get that. I’m a very avid environmentalist and have worked professionally in that field for a decade. The idea of being natural and naked in our environment, with others who embrace the freedom and ‘nuturalness’ of nudism…. that makes sense. I can also understand how sexualizing that could run counter to the purpose.

So, if I offending anyone in the social nudism community, I apologize.

But I would ask question. Why did I feel an air of anger and aggression when I have been in that social nudism community (and I am 99% sure it is not a vibe I was giving off — I was very respectful and not, in any way, trying to sexualize or change the environment and I have also heard this form others)?

21 thoughts on “In Defence of Social Nudism

  1. You most likely get an angry vibe because the idea of social nudism being sexual in nature is a stereotype. It’s a stereotype that makes the general public take them less seriously or belittle them. Their cause becomes a “wink and a smile” instead of a choice to be taken seriously. Like all stereotypes it has some grains of truth in it, like you, I’ve been in some socially nude situations that should not have had any sexual connotations, but did. Still, it isn’t the whole truth or even the common truth to those who participate on a life committed basis. In short, yes they might get a bit angry but I think it’s not really anger directed at your story but more at the stereotype it inadvertently reinforces. Does that make any sense?

  2. It’s cold here, so forget it, no nudity is going to happen 😉

    There is a very non sexual thing about nudity and it’s a line people don’t like to see crossed. I think of kids playing in the sprinkler or people skinny dipping because they haven’t got suits. There’s a certain amount of trust and innocence in that, and sex, as awesome as it is, exists in another realm entirely.

    1. I mostly agree but I think what you say is a reflection of how we, as a society, have a really hard time accepting sexuality as something that can innocent and not necessarily lead to sex. For instance, my wife and I were very platonically skinny dipping with another couple this summer. It was fun and sexy but didn’t (and wouldn’t) go beyond mildly titilating. I have no problem acknowledging that skinny dipping with them was a little sexy, but it didn;t make me want to have sex with them – it was still innocent

      1. Hmm, well hopefully we can all arrive at that place where sex is innocent and playful, and certainly society is sexually confused about a lot of things.

        Sex however, even only the mildly titilating, still pulls us into another realm. If everyone is an adult and healthy and comfortable with their own boundaries, that is fine, but the majority of us actually perceive sex as something outside of boundaries like that, so it can be confusing to one’s brain to be having mixed signals like that.

      2. I’m not saying that sex can necessarily be innocent and playful, but I think it is realistic that mild nudity and a little sexual flirtation can be innocent and not seen to necessarily imply sex — this may be naive

  3. Society at large tends to see people who are socially clothes free as a bunch sex fiends and pervs. The clothes free community has worked hard to promote and communicate belief which is nudity does not have be about sex. So when the too get mingled by someone there is often a visceral reaction which may be what you experienced. After you have a few more social clothes free experiences and you may see what we are getting at and the separation may not seem so odd. After all you can be equally sexual in clothes as without them.

    1. That’s a very interesting point. I certainly agree that you can be equally sexy with and without clothes. In my experience at ‘sexy’ resorts, the sexy clothing is much sexier than the nudity.

      On your point seeing nudist as sex fiends, I believe you since you are far more knowledgeable on it than I, but it surprises me. I have always associated nudists with environmentalist, quasi-hippy culture. That said, I’m a long time environmentalist and lefty liberal. I can see some hard-core conservatives and such believing that.

      Thanks for commenting and reading.

      1. Hey no problem I thought it was a good question and post. Many people who have the view of nudity equals sex never take time to reflect on other perspectives. In all honesty there are a few people who might agree with you in clothes free community.

        The associations you have a re very much the conventional wisdom about nudists and clothes free folks. But those are considered fringe groups and most of us clothes free folks want clothes free life to be seen as another normal option not fringe. Thanks again for your post.

      2. Well… you have certainly convinced me and I will now be the first to say that I was wrong in my initial assumptions about nudism. Interestingly, I am going out for dinner with the couple who suggested the topic for my original post… I am anxious to share my new views on social nudism.

  4. Many of us have spent years or decades trying to convince the world that nudity doesn’t have to be sexy. So yes, we do get a little defensive sometimes. Forgive us. It’s not directed at you personally.

  5. I posted some thoughts on the origins of tension or aggressive opposition towards any implied or obvious signs of sexuality, sensuality or motivations based on less acceptable attitudes in clothing-optional or clothing free settings over at Naturism as a Way of Living in response to your article. While I am no expert on human nature, I think after having done social nudity in many settings for many years, I have learned a thing or two.
    Few things are probably worse than checking out a new visitor to a Nudist venue, welcoming them, giving them a tour of the amenities and then later finding out they have come for the wrong reasons (to numerous to spell out here; openly).

  6. To answer his final point. When sexuality is your perspective, you behave in a subtly different way than when social nudity is not about sex. For instance, your eyes can’t help but stray to the more attractive in the group, glances toward the sexy parts are reflexive and can not be stopped. With out trying you send off the message “sex”.

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