For those on the outside looking in there are a great many misconceptions about naturism and the part it has to play within our rigidly contained and often suppressed world.
For the hundreds of thousands if not millions of individuals, families and even groups and clubs within society that like to indulge in freedom from what they see as a rather stuffy tendency to cover up minute areas of the body, naturism is about the liberating experience of playing, socialising and even living as nature intended.
Ask any naturist and they will tell you that it has nothing to do with eroticism or sexuality and in fact eroticism is more about where and how certain areas of the body are covered rather than the liberation of going nude
There are two schools of thought within naturism. On the one hand there are those who think no further than the fact that they enjoy swimming, sunbathing and playing without the restriction of clothing whilst others take a deeper approach. For them naturism is part of a complete whole-life philosophy involving freedom of choice, morality, personal expression and the place the individual occupies within wider society.
For those who have visited or even walked past a
nudist beach will probably have noticed that along with shedding of clothes
comes a return to basics. A shedding of the roles and masks adopted within
society and the part that clothing plays in making us either who we are or who
we want others to believe that we are. You see, without clothes it is extremely
difficult to define the place occupied by an individual within sociological
hierarchy. The banker or the company executive is indistinguishable from manual
labourer or waitress. The trappings of wealth and power are no longer on display
and everyone has a level playing field..
Another healthy by-product of the naturist lifestyle is that the idea of what constitutes physical beauty falls by the wayside when the human body with all its imperfections is exposed for all to see. Those people that are involved in the lifestyle quickly become accustomed to the fact that there is no such thing as physical perfection and that bodies young and old come in all shapes and sizes. The idea that you are constantly being compared with everyone else soon dissipates and the media images of what constitutes beauty are no longer important.
Society has long frowned upon the idea that the human body should be displayed without inhibition but in the last decade or so naturism has begun to emerge from the shroud of secrecy and isolation in which it had previously been practiced. Nude beaches have expanded and proliferated and the naturist holiday centre concept where in bars, restaurants, shops and even on the streets, clothing is optional has become increasingly popular.
Interestingly, in recent years in some holiday
destinations particularly in Spain, facilities for the clothed as well as the
naked tourist have become increasingly mingled. Proving that what was thought
to be two irreconcilable lifestyles can comfortably co-exist alongside each
Some people reading this may still shudder at the thought of casting away those last inhibitions. But let's hope that for a few more a new door is about to open