It's warming up here in Ontario, and while COVID has kept us more or less shut in at home, I'm still alive and safe and half-vaccinated. I hope everyone who's reading this is doing well!

It's been a long time since I've posted on here, and that's because there is actually a lot going on - unfortunately leaving me very little time for writing. But I'm working on what I feel is a very important series of blog posts; I am also working on some changes to this website, and a new book on nudism. More on those things soon.

In the meantime, I'm also changing the look of my existing book, How to Take Your Clothes Off. The fantastic art that Cleo from ToplessTopics did for me is now featured on the cover, and I am hoping to get more great work from her to help fill out the site's look and feel. Keep an eye out for that! And check out the cover design, which is coming soon to fine bookstores everywhere:

How to Take Your Clothes Off cover

If you don't have a copy, here's your chance! Search for it at any e-bookstore you like, or check it out at Amazon here.

As I’ve been quite active on Twitter in the last couple of years, specifically within the naturist community there, a few patterns have emerged for me.

Twitter has become one of the best social media spaces where nudists can gather. The administrators or algorithms (or both) have overreacted to nudists on Twitter in some cases, but by and large we are allowed to be - and to be ourselves. The community is large and thriving. (Taylor Lorenz published an article on the subject in the Atlantic Online in 2017, and surprisingly, not much has changed since.)

Nudists on Twitter

The nudist Twitter community is also vibrant, and vocal. There are a number of nudists who have plenty to say about social justice, inclusion, and diversity in the nudist community. Some are locked accounts (which is a shame, but understandable) but you would do well to start with someone like @AlmostWildBlog to see the kinds of fruitful discussions that are emerging on the platform these days.

One of the primary interests of nudists on Twitter, though, is promoting nudism itself. Campaigns like #NormalizeNudity and #NakedInNature are designed to capture non-nudists’ attention (and bare skin always seems to grab people’s attention) and then hit them with positive messages about non-sexual social nudity.

Others try to promote nudism by putting themselves out there, unashamedly nude. The thinking is that showing real people enjoying themselves nude - not models, just regular people with regular bodies - will send the message that nudity truly is for everyone.

Another Kind of “Promotion”

But there is another kind of “promotion” for nudity, one that the nudist community has to reject fully and completely.

A number of accounts post a steady stream of photos of nude people, often with similar hashtags about promoting nudity and nudism. The photos are all pretty much the same: slim young people, almost always women, almost always white. No two photos show the same person: they come from a variety of sources, including porn sites, voyeur photo collections, and - infuriatingly - legitimate nudist Twitter accounts.

There are a couple more significant characteristics for these accounts as well.

That last point is really the problem. They’re not promoting nudism, they’re promoting a business. And they’re exploiting nudists to do it.

And nudists not only let them get away with it - they help them out.

Like and Follow with Care

The reason I know so many of these exploitative spam accounts exist is because other nudists - real, legitimate nudists, as far as I can tell - help them out. They follow these accounts, like their posts, and sometimes even retweet them.

Maybe these legitimate users think they’re helping to promote nudism when they help promote these accounts. Or maybe they notice that their retweets of nude women get them more likes and follows than they usually get.

In the long run, though, every like, retweet, and follow is damaging to the nudist movement.

These accounts play into the same narratives we know are barriers to our society’s acceptance of nudism: nudism is about seeing attractive nude people. Nudism is about sexualizing bodies (especially younger, slimmer, female ones). Nudism is about looking at naked people, not being naked oneself. Nudism is reserved for people who are young, slim, and conventionally good-looking.

And by following, liking, and retweeting their posts, nudists are complicit in spreading these damaging myths.

Every interaction with these accounts is a step backwards for naturism.

So please, nudists, be careful about your activities on Twitter. Avoid these transparently problematic accounts. Don’t give them any more attention than they deserve. And most of all, stop helping to exploit and commodify your fellow naturists.

Share your thoughts...

What do you think of these accounts - are they helping or hindering nudism? Are there any problematic accounts you’ve seen other nudists promoting? What can we do about it? Tell me in the comments!

I’ve been writing some nudist fiction lately, and the experience has given me reason to think about nudist fiction in general. I know of a number of nudist authors out there right now, actively self-publishing their fiction. Some are extremely prolific, publishing several or even dozens of short fiction works every year. Others are more in the traditional author mode, writing and publishing a full-length novel every year or two, and doing plenty of promotional work in between.

I’m impressed with how vibrant and industrious the nudist fiction world is. I read as much nudist fiction as I can, and I like and respect the authors. I even count some of them as friends, if only online friends.

But writing good naturist fiction is difficult.

The problem isn’t about the writing or the stories themselves. Instead, it’s the essential problem with nudism and fiction. As I have written more fiction, I’ve found that there are a number of traps that are far too easy to fall into.

The problem is that there is nothing amazing, nothing even remarkable, about nudity once you’re a nudist. You’re naked? Well, sure, whenever you can be. It’s nice to be naked? Yes, that’s true. Others around you are naked? Sure, nothing crazy there. It’s barely worth commenting on. You’ve seen it all before.

That means that, as an author, I find that my stories tend to go in one of two ways: the “nudism is great” direction, or the “nudism is unremarkable” direction. Neither results in good storytelling.

The “Nudism Is Great” Story

One of the easiest traps I fell into when I started writing nudist fiction, whether I imagined my audience to be nudists or not, was to have characters who tell each other how great nudism is. Any character who is even halfway curious about nudism - say, a protagonist who wants to be romantically involved with a nudist, but is reluctant to shed his or her own hangups about nudity - becomes a reason to talk about how wonderful nudism is. And by the end of a story, I find all my characters agree: nudism is great, and we should all be naturists.

Any story needs a good antagonist, and the obvious choice is a character in a position of legal or moral authority who is against nudism. They’ll want to make a nudist beach clothing-required, or arrest nudists, or make them lose their job - the typical fears that most nudists live with every day. This is one of the few sources of conflict for a group of nudists, and the story quickly becomes focused on neutralizing the antagonist’s threat. But when I head down this road, the antagonist starts to sound like a cliche. I think this is because I’m not thinking about the antagonist as a real person, but trying to fit one into the nudist world.

Yet another trap is to keep adding characters who are nudists, wannabe nudists, prior nudists, and free spirits who really think nudism is something they want to try. You need multiple nudists just to have a useful range of points of view to examine the nudist ideas in the story. The problem is that it’s highly unrealistic to find so many nudists in one place, unless you set the story in a well-populated nudist resort.

It’s also far too easy to find oneself, as an author, lecturing the reader. Of course, I want my fiction to represent my values as an ethical naturist. But that just leads to long-winded lectures, from one character to another, about the positives of naturism. The health benefits. The improvements to mind and soul. The philosophical reasons for shared nudity. Their own personal inspirational story.

Of course, because I do believe what the characters are saying, they deliver the lectures to an eagerly listening audience, without any substantive objection. Just for variety, I’ll throw in a comment - “Yes, I agree, and...” or “Well what about [easily countered protest]?” But what I’m really doing is creating a backdrop for the speaking character to expound on his or her personal philosophy. But I know that this is unrealistic, because in real life, people tend to avoid maniacs who talk like this. (People often think that nudism is a kind of cult, and it doesn’t help to write about it as if it is!)

I realize that what I’m really doing is telling nudists that nudism is great. It seems extremely unlikely that anyone would be more interested in trying nudism after reading this kind of writing.

When I step back from my work and discover it’s gone in this direction, I realize it’s unlikely that someone unsympathetic to nudism would even get through the story. I think I’m really writing these stories for myself, not for the reader. The plot is a thin veil that covers the real reason for the book: to talk about my own interest in nudism.

There’s nothing wrong with a happily-ever-after ending, or writing about the positive aspects of nudism. But fiction also needs to be interesting and engaging. If I don’t sincerely tackle difficult ideas, it won’t attract a reader - and that’s not a success for a writer.

The “Nothing Remarkable” Story

Then there’s the other end of the spectrum. Too often I’ve started out a story where the main character is a nudist, possibly with a spouse or family, who are also nudists. They live in a nudist-friendly area, like the south of France or a nudist community in Florida. They have some nudist friends, but for the most part they don’t find anything remarkable in being nudists - it’s just a normal part of their lives.

Usually I’ll find some kind of minor conflict to bring in - say, something with the board of their local nudist resort, maybe a project that they are undertaking, maybe someone unfriendly that they have to contend with. So they deal with whatever issues they have, at least mostly successfully. Often I’ll bring in other nudists, or include a nudist gathering along the way.

In writing this kind of story, I take pains not to even reference people’s bodies or nudity, because the characters are so used to nudity, it wouldn’t occur to them to mention it. They might note some nude activities, like practicing nude yoga. Instead of the characters talking about being nudists - which, again, once you’re a nudist, you rarely do - I might have them note, in passing, nudist magazines sitting around the house, maybe some nude art on the walls. And they will cover themselves when a non-nudist stops by. But for the most part, nudism is there, in the background, just a regular part of their reality.

This approach accurately reflects, for me, how many nudists live their lives. When you’ve been nude around the house a few times, you stop thinking about it. When you’re nude all the time with your spouse, you don’t notice their breasts or penis any more than you would notice their t-shirt or boxer shorts. It’s nothing crazy, nothing to get excited over. It just is.

But when I realize that this is where one of my stories is going, my reaction is… why?

It might be a realistic depiction of nudism, and that’s a good thing. It’s an approving and sympathetic view of nudism, which I definitely want to promote.

But it’s always so dull. So very, very dull. If I were the reader, I doubt I’d make it past the third or fourth page.

The Titillation Story

Although I haven’t set out specifically to write this kind of story, it’s a common nudist trope, and one that I’ve found some story outlines straying towards as I plan out my work. The setup usually involves one person discovering that another person is a nudist, then reluctantly trying it out. (For the sake of tension, it’s typical to make them of opposite sexes.)

These stories inevitably drive towards a scene where the non-nudist first undresses in front of the nudist. Maybe it’s because for those of us who became nudists later in life, the memory of this moment remains so vivid. As an author, I’m tempted to describe every sensation, physical and mental. This almost guarantees a sexual undertone at the very least. Even if I keep the story from becoming overtly sexual, its interest and drive is from the sexual tension that the nudity generates between the characters.

I’ve played with a variety of situations when I’ve attempted to outline a story like this. One character discovers that another is, unexpectedly, a nudist. One character convinces another that nudity isn’t so bad in one specific case (art, swimming, painting a house) and gradually convinces them to try it. But whatever the situation, the dynamic is the same, and the same well-worn tropes always seem to accompany it.

Despite having ideas for stories like this, in the end I am not comfortable with this kind of nudist fiction. This approach could exploit nudism, and reinforce the damaging narratives that we nudists are only too familiar with (You’re perverts! You just want to see nude women! It’s really about sex!). No matter how I approach it, I think I’d be writing erotica, not nudism, with stories like these - and probably not very good erotica, at that.

What’s Wrong with Naturist Fiction?

In the end, naturism is… pretty boring.

Narrative is driven by character and conflict. All three of these story types lack one or both of these. In the “Nudism is Great” story, there are no characters, there are only empty vessels that are used to spill forth nudist philosophizing. The “Nothing remarkable” story can have characters, but the conflict is absent. And titillation stories have characters and drive, but the conflict is inevitably cliche, and probably damaging to nudism.

So what should I do, as an author?

I have started to think more about the nudist fiction issue, and I have a few ideas about where to go.

First, much of the problem for naturist fiction goes back to the old writing advice of showing, not telling. If a character simply talks about nudism, its advantages, its philosophical grounding - that’s showing, and it does little to connect with a reader. Instead, as authors, we must find compelling situations in (fictionalized) real life where those theories are actually played out. That doesn’t mean a professor at the front of a room lecturing, nor does it mean a person among a circle of friends talking. It means nudists, living their lives, and experiencing the conflicts that inevitably arise with being nude in a clothed world.

Second, one of the problems is characters. People are complex. People have deep-seated conflicts and insecurities, they have values that are at odds with the ways they live their lives. Even the most committed naturist must run into situations where they confront a difficult decision or judgement, or an issue where they need to reexamine their preconceptions - and where they have to consider the consequences of one choice or another.

(This goes for antagonists as well. Yes, there are those people in the world whose view of nudism is simplistic; they don’t make for compelling fiction. Antagonists should have legitimate and interesting reasons to oppose the protagonists. Remember, the villain is actually the hero of his or her own story!)

Finally, there is a core issue at stake here, one that is not just a problem for naturist fiction, but for naturism in general: naturists are too often unwilling to grapple with deeper issues around naturism.

Too often, we naturists believe our own press - we don’t question the assumptions we make about their lifestyle and community. Naturism is inclusive - but what about black, LGBTQ+, and single male nudists, all of whom are often turned away from resorts? Naturism is non-sexual - but what about the resorts that purport to be nudist but cater to the swinger community? Naturism is accepting - but what about the many naturists who body-shame and sexualize other naturists, often in subtle and pervasive ways?

These are the problems that really need confronting in the nudist community. So our naturist fiction has to address them, rather than the more simple issues - moral scolds who want to shut down a nudist beach, or people’s nervousness or unwillingness to be naked with others.

Non-exploitative nudist fiction is a relatively new idea, and there is plenty of room to grow. It also seems to have a long and positive future ahead of it, and I want to be part of that future. As an author who wants to help advance the naturist cause, I’m trying to figure out how to bring out the issues that matter, with characters who live and deal with the issues associated with naturism, rather than talk about those issues.

But have high hopes for nudist fiction. Our community is full of smart, diverse individuals, including many writers. Together, we can work to build a body of work that can reach a wider, intelligent, thinking public - and above all, tell some darn good stories.

Share Your Thoughts...

Who are your favourite naturist authors and which books would you recommend? What were the positives and negatives about their work? What would you like to see in nudist fiction? Tell me in the comments!

I have been writing about the upcoming Disrobed virtual event for over a week now, and wow, it’s been quite a ride!

It all started when Tim Chizmar, of Naturist Living Show fame, offered me a sneak peek at the production. This was a review version - not the final cut, missing some small elements (like the opening theme and credits), and with some potential reshoots yet to be inserted. But it was essentially a finished version of the movie. I could have access if I’d consider writing a review.

I watched the show late on Christmas Day. I knew the source material already; I had listened to a full audio production of the original play on a Naturist Living Show podcast some years ago. But this was something new, and something exciting. Putting any work in a modern - which means distanced, online, webcam-enabled - setting is weird and difficult, but this director had pulled it off. Even if I hadn’t liked the play, I would have been impressed by the way it was brought to life for the COVID age.

But I had an idea: maybe a few of the cast members would be willing to do a brief interview. I could send them the questions and have them send back their answers at their convenience. The originator of the play would get a few extra questions, too. The cast has been busy promoting the event, with appearances on Clothes Free International ] and the Our Naked Story Podcast.

I hoped to get two or three responses at best - it was short notice, after all.

Instead, almost every cast member enthusiastically and generously gave of their time, and had some fascinating background and perspective to share. Karen Lasater and Dave McClain, who play Sierra and George, the parents, both gave me lots of background about themselves and their part in the play.

Eloise Gordon revealed an affinity for non-sexual social nudity that had long been a part of her life, even though she had never labelled herself a nudist. And Ian Hayes is known to some friends as “Nakie Boi” for his own preference for being nude - though he had never been in a nudist setting. Clearly, though, the entire cast was ideal for this production, not only because of their acting capabilities, but also because of their attitudes, backgrounds, and fresh, positive takes on nudity.

Troy Peterson, the driving force for the whole production, is himself a naturist and definitely sees the film as a way to promote the naturist philosophy. He and everyone involved, both cast and crew, deserve much credit for making this show a reality.

It’s been a highly rewarding and interesting couple of weeks for everyone involved with Disrobed - the Online Event, and for me as well, even though I’ve been on the sidelines. I’m really excited to see it in its final form myself. For anyone who is a naturist or nudist, or even who just agrees that non-sexual nudity is a positive and appropriate choice for everyone, this is essential viewing.

We need more naturist media, more naturist voices, more stories, more art. We don’t need any more works that exploit nudists for a cheap laugh or naughty thrill. We don’t need any more works that stridently declaring the benefits of naturism. We need works like this, that take on different sides to the naturist question, that show naturists as they really are, and - most of all - that reach out and try to make connections between people.

Whether naturist or not, that’s where art, and life, truly lie.

 

Disrobed: the Virtual Event will stream for three shows only, on January 15, 16, and 17. The performance will stream live, and disappear immediately thereafter. For information, and to purchase tickets, see https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/6996.

 

It's been a hard year. Social nudity is not possible now, and will not be for the foreseeable future. Nude parties, gatherings, swims, and bowling nights have all been cancelled. Attending movies and plays is right out as well. The pandemic put on hold a very successful revival of a nudist play - Disrobed: Why So Clothes Minded?, originally produced for the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

But adversity can inspire us to try new, better things. Many people have used the pandemic lockdowns to try home nudism for the first time, and nudist organizations (particularly BN, which has organized many online events) have reported a surge in new memberships. Nudism is certainly on the rise.

And the nudist play Disrobed has arisen again as well.

The story of this work stretches back to 1931 when playwright Tom Cushing published Barely Proper, subtitled "An Unplayable Play". In this work, a young man meets his German fiancée’s family, who are naturists, and who have been led to believe that he is a naturist as well. It was an experiment in theatre; no one would produce a play, surely, with every single cast member fully nude on stage.

Indeed, Barely Proper was not produced until a 1970 Broadway run - which found only witheringly negative reviews. It would lie dormant again for decades more, although nudist clubs would occasionally produce the play (including my local club Bare Oaks, which produced it in 2011.

The play finally hit the mainstream in 2019, when an adaptation written by Steven Vlasak and directed by Brian Knudson, Disrobed: Why So Clothes-Minded?, was performed at the Hollywood Fringe. The play received positive reviews and the Fringe festival’s Producers Encore Award, and established a monthly run for the rest of the year.

And then, 2020. With stages all over the world shuttered, it would be difficult for this play to see the curtain again.

Enter director Troy Peterson. Working with Vlasak, Peterson gave the play a very 2020 twist, changing it from a stage play to an online production. And the results are a remarkable success.

In this adaptation, Skye’s family is distributed about the globe - Skye in Iceland on a research project, brother Axel in southern California, sister Kat in New York, and parents George and Sierra in northern California. Unable to be together at Christmas, the family gathers together on Zoom, eager to meet Skye’s new boyfriend Eric, who is at home in Boston.

However, Skye has not found the nerve to tell her uptight boyfriend that her family are naturists, and they all participate in these group calls naked. Skye has also led her family to believe that Eric is also a naturist, forcing Eric to play along with a lie that is far, far outside his comfort zone.

In essence, it is a fish out of water comedy. Conventions are turned on their head, and the main character needs to work out whether they are insane, or he is; Eric and Skye are forced to choose whether their love can survive the confrontation of their very different ethics.

Each character brings a completely different energy to the production - these are not paper-thin nudist stereotypes. Eric (Peterson) is nervous and shrill as he works through the terror of being nude with this family. Skye (Eloise Gordon) has a difficult role, protecting both her family's naturist tendencies and her fiancé's extreme reaction. Axel (Ian Hayes) and Kat (Shayley Gunther) are utterly convincing as young, artistic-minded, completely comfortable naturists. And Sierra (Karen Lasater) and George (Dave McClain) are great as picture-perfect parents-of-the-girlfriend types, complete with dad jokes and hopes for grandchildren - except that they're nude. The comfort and chemistry that the cast have built comes through beautifully, even though they are in separate parts of the country, communicating only on-screen.

Successfully transplanting a stage play to Zoom seems like a daunting task, but Peterson delivers the play extremely effectively in the new medium. Instead of walking on and off stage, characters enter and leave the call. The framing of each character - sometimes to obscure nudity, and other times to present it in screen-filling detail - is used to great comedic effect. The entire narrative plays out convincingly and entertainingly throughout the play’s fifty-minute run time.

The work shows a deep understanding of the nudist perspective as well. Skye’s family is not only unconcerned about whether they are visibly nude on camera; they revel in it, knowing that they are among others who accept and appreciate being naked together.

And yes, there are nudity puns and some silly sight gags as well. The characters try to hang a lantern on some of these, but they provoke rolling eyes rather than sincere laughs.

At other times, characters - particularly Skye’s father - also fall into some tropes that always seem to choke up nudist narratives. Absurdly academic speeches don’t feel like authentic characters responding to the others around them. (Vestiges of the original play's context come out when he refers to naturism as "the movement".) Naturists don’t typically talk that way in real life.

But this is theatre, not real life, and these speeches could all be a calculated way to reach non-nudist audience members, to explain naturist ideas to them. For a naturist audience, though, this sometimes weakens the spell of the narrative.

These minor quibbles take nothing away from the marvellous effectiveness of the play, or the many very funny moments that resonate long after the virtual curtain falls. Disrobed is remarkably successful where it digs into real truths about personal integrity and expression, and modern attitudes towards nudity (which haven’t changed all that much since 1931).

The production clearly shows the influence of real naturist thinking. Some vignettes, like one’s first time undressing with a group of nudists, or the often contradictory thoughts and emotions we cling to about nude bodies, ring so true that they must surely come from some real nudist experience.

There is a distinct lack of naturist-inspired and naturist-friendly media in the world; for so many reasons, non-sexualized nudity remains a nearly impossible line to cross in our society. Disrobed should be celebrated by naturists everywhere, and supported as a positive naturist work that elevates all of our voices.

Disrobed: the Virtual Event will stream for three shows only, on January 15, 16, and 17. The performance will stream live, and disappears immediately thereafter. For information, and to purchase tickets, see https://www.hollywoodfringe.org/projects/6996.

One universal truth of nudism is that when you’ve been exposed to naked bodies in a non-sexual context enough, you stop noticing that people are naked.

Almost everyone who’s new to nudism has this epiphany, often during their first nude experience: you forget that you’re naked, and that everyone else is as well. It might be the first time most people in our modern society realize how useless and limiting clothing can be. It’s one of the most wonderful realizations you can have, as a new nudist.

Many people extend this idea to a very positive conclusion: that any human body, without adornment, without artificial coverings, and without the feelings of shame and fear that society has instilled us, is beautiful.

I disagree.

The mere fact of existence, of physical being, is not in itself beautiful - or if it is, then every living thing is also beautiful. And that is enough to render the concept almost meaningless.

From the point of view of physical attractiveness, being clothed might hide aspects that society deems “flaws”, or might accentuate certain characteristics that are conventionally considered attractive. Being naked might reveal parts of the body that fail to conform to society’s standards of beauty, or might show heavily sexualized body parts in an alluring way. Neither clothing nor nakedness have a monopoly on attractiveness.

As a nudist, I think there is only one way to resolve this question of beauty, and that is to ignore it altogether. Because beauty, physical beauty, is irrelevant for those of us who share in the philosophy of social nudity. The very concept of beauty is completely irrelevant to the naturist ethos.

To truly accept the naturist philosophy, I would argue, one needs to reject the concept completely, and recognize that the physical reality of a person’s body is not relevant to the worth of that person. Instead, the naturist must strive to accept each person as they are, regardless of the characteristics they present to the world. It is the whole person, not just the person’s appearance, that is of interest and value.

So are nude bodies beautiful? Are any bodies beautiful?

The naturist answer is: the question is irrelevant. The beauty of a body - whatever that means - does not affect the worth or acceptability of that individual.

Of course, whether or not we judge our own or others’ bodies, society is going to judge, rate, and assign its assessments to bodies, both nude and clothed. It would be naïve to assert that beauty didn’t matter to society, or that some bodies will be judged as more or less beautiful.

Those messages have been sent, overtly and subtly, all our lives. Young girls are complimented on how pretty they look. Advertising all around us is filled with images of attractive people (with their natural features Photoshopped away to make their images conform even more closely with beauty standards). Good-looking people are given higher status in the world, in big and small ways. It’s nearly impossible not to internalize some of those messages after a time.

As naturists, though, we know that we don’t need to buy into that way of thinking. By stripping away the need for clothing, we gain an acceptance of people’s bodies that transcends society’s long outmoded ideas of beauty. This gives us an even more important role: to change the way people think, by being leaders of this new way of thinking.

Part of it is what we say. I’ve written before about not complimenting other nudists, but it goes beyond that. Never complimenting anyone on their appearance might be a bit extreme, but it’s worth expending a little more effort to find something to compliment about the person instead of their body or features. (Those compliments may or may not be welcome, but they are almost certainly less likely to seem creepy.)

But it’s much more than policing our words. It’s about changing the way we think altogether. Stopping ourselves from making judgements about other people - good or bad - is not easy. But neither is being a nudist in a nudity-averse world.

Cultivating this judgement-free way of thinking is perhaps one of our most important tasks as naturists, though. If naturism is to be the truly open, welcoming, and inclusive society that most of its proponents want it to be, then we must start by being truly accepting of every person.

To achieve this approach of radical acceptance, we need to start by committing ourselves to the idea that beauty is not a useful way to judge bodies. Once we stop associating value with the subjective attractiveness of people’s bodies - including our own bodies! - we will be ready to move towards the truly egalitarian, accepting, and positive world that naturism promises to give us.

Share Your Thoughts...

Have you found naturism has changed how you think of beauty standards? Do you think naturists have the potential to change our society’s thinking for the better?

Many people think that nudism is a risky business.

Trying anything for the first time always has an element of risk. That’s a fact. To many, nudism seems to carry a huge amount of risk with it, often because of society’s many negative messages about nudity, perpetuated through our media for decades. For first-time nudists, it often feels like you’re defying every moral and convention in our society when you think about taking your clothes off with others.

But in large part, the risk is in our heads, and far smaller than we think. Here are some of the biggest risks that nudists perceive, and the reality of the risk that is (or isn’t) there.

Professional Problems

The Risk

Some people work in fields where they handle sensitive information, or people at risk (including children). Others have public positions where any deviation from societal norms is considered problematic. These positions could include jobs where they work with children or other vulnerable people, or where they are in a position of public trust.

The risk is predicated on the association of nudity with sexuality, of course. If you are willingly nude with other people, you are probably a sexual deviant, or at least opening yourself up for blackmail or extortion. You are not, the reasoning seems to be, a trustworthy person if you are a nudist.

In addition, if you do not work in a positive work environment, the revelation that you are a nudist could prompt other workers to make unwelcome comments or insinuations. Because society is often unsympathetic to nudism, you might also feel that you cannot complain about those comments, even if they are egregious. That can seriously degrade the quality of your working life.

The Reality

This risk is one of the few perceived risks that is at least partially grounded in reality. People do have negative stereotypes about nudists, and they could make the association between nudism and sexuality. If you work with vulnerable persons, or indeed in any position where you have a “morality clause” or something similar in your employment contract, it would be worth considering whether social nudity is something you can partake in.

You might have to be careful about who you tell about your recreation activities, too. (That can be true for any unconventional hobbies too - video games, sports, and crafts can all seem strange to others sometimes.) Some co-workers can’t be entrusted with this level of personal revelation. And if you have to worry about the reactions of some co-workers, you really have to worry about all of them: sometimes word gets around in any organization, and it always seems to get to the wrong people.

However, the reality is that you’re far less likely to have to worry about this than you may think. While there are occupations that might be sensitive to nude recreation, most are not. Unless they explicitly state the limits on what you can do while you’re employed there, being a nudist outside of working hours should not be a problem.

And that leads to the best way to handle this risk: if you’re worried about professional ramifications of nude recreation, just don’t tell anyone. Your co-workers don’t have to know about what you do with your free time. If they ask what your weekend was like, you can just omit the part about being nude at the time. “I went swimming and read a fantastic book” is enough - you don’t need to include “with a bunch of other nude people” at all.

I’ll See Someone I Know

The Risk

“What if I run into someone I know?”

Here’s the nightmare scenario: someone you know in your clothed life - a friend, acquaintance, co-worker, even a family member - ends up at the same place as you. Now you’re without clothes in front of someone who’s never seen you nude before!

Imagining the embarrassment and awkwardness is almost too much. Now this person, who has only known you in the controlled environment where you’ve been able to cover up to your own comfort level, is suddenly able to see you - all of you. It’s a level of intimacy and exposure that you might never have wanted with this person. What’s more, they now have some knowledge about you that they can use against you - they know you’re a nudist!

The Reality

This is one of those problems that might seem huge, but in fact is a minor problem at worst - and a huge opportunity at best.

Running into a friend or family member while you’re both nude can in fact be a very positive experience. Now you have something in common you didn’t know about before! This could lead to having someone new to hang out nude with, or someone to go to nudist venues with in the future. There are so many new possibilities when you know other nudists!

I’ll Be Judged

The Risk

You might have been nude in front of only a very small number of people in the past, and they were probably close to you. It’s natural to think that, if you expose your body to a large number of people, especially people you don’t know, you’ll be judged for all the flaws you perceive about yourself - every part of you that you’ve looked at in the mirror and felt was wrong, inadequate, or unattractive.

The Reality

In a nudist context, whether at a beach, a resort, a gathering, or any other kind of social nudity venue… no one cares.

That’s right. You are alone in judging your body; no other nudist is going to notice all of these flaws and deficiencies. Because in a nudist space, everyone is exposed. We’ve all got ourselves fully on display, and that’s because we agree, collectively, that none of that matters.

In fact, being around other normal nude people can be quite uplifting. It’s one of the few antidotes to society’s ideas about what we should look like, or even what is acceptable to other people. Spend an hour or two among other nude people, and you’ll quickly see through the myth of how anyone is supposed to look, and what a body is supposed to be. It might be the most affirming and positive experience you’ll ever encounter.

I Won’t Like It

The Risk

You could agree with all this, and get past all the other fears and hangups that society puts on nudity, and still worry that when you get there… you won’t like being nude. Nudists are definitely a minority in our society, so there are many who don’t enjoy social nudity - maybe it just won’t be for you.

The Reality

It’s natural to feel some trepidation about something like social nudity, because you’ve been bombarded with negative messages about nude bodies all your life. But let me tell you from experience, all of those messages - without exception - are false.

But sure, there’s a possibility that you won’t actually enjoy it when you try it. Maybe the vibe isn’t right, or maybe you’re unable to really let go and get comfortable. Not everyone tries nudism and becomes a convert.

So you put on your clothes and go home.

Really, it’s that simple. If you don’t like it, you can back out at any time. No one is going to demand to know where you’re going. And if you decide later that you want to try it again, no one is going to hold it against you. This is about as un-risky as it can possibly be. And if it turns out that you just don’t like nudist environments, there’s nothing wrong with being nude at home, in private!

Risk and Reward

The real calculation that you must make is whether the risk is worth the potential reward. The risks, I hope I’ve been able to demonstrate, are actually minor - all are much easier to handle than they might seem before you try nudism for yourself.

But the rewards can be huge. It’s not simply naturist propaganda to say that many, many people have found their lives irrevocably changed for the better when they started going nude. That’s why there are nudist clubs, and resorts, and beaches - because thousands and thousands of others have tried nudism for themselves, and decided to adopt it as a recreation option - or even as a way of life.

It won’t solve all your problems, it’s not a cure-all, it might not even change the world. But it definitely isn’t the big, scary, risky thing you have probably led yourself to believe it was. And the rewards could stay with you for the rest of your new, nude life.

Share your thoughts…

If you’re a naturist already, what did you think the biggest risks were before you tried nudism for the first time, and how did they work out? If you haven’t tried it yet, what are the big risks that are preventing you from going nude for your first time? Let me know in the comments!

When you’re a nudist, it sometimes feels like 90% of the world is porn.

This isn’t about when you’re actually nude, or when you’re nude with other people. It’s one of life’s ironies that social nudity can be among the least sexualized situations imaginable. There’s no leering, no peeking, and (obviously) no mentally undressing each other. The shared vulnerability of nudity makes it innocent in a way that is surprising to most people.

That’s not what pornographers are after, though.

They know that to non-nudists, nudity is intrinsically sexual, so more nudity is more sexy. And situations where multiple people of mixed genders are nude together are very rare in general society, so they must be taboo. Finally, the idea of nudists being real, regular people is set aside, and mostly athletic young women (and a few slim, muscular men) are the focus.

We’re not going to eradicate pornography from the internet any time soon. But if you're looking for nudist information or communities and not images of young nude people, what do you do?

Don’t Search for Nudism

The word “nudism” has been forever corrupted by the online porn industry. Even sites that present as non-pornography sites are trading on exploitation of nudists - often minors, and usually female minors. The fact that they are engaging in (apparently) nudist activities is simply a cover for a business that sells titillating images of naked women.

And apparently it’s good business, because these sites tend to dominate the search results when you use a term like “nudist” or “nudism” on most search engines. You’ll find perhaps some ads for legitimate nudist resorts, and maybe a wikipedia link, but mostly it will be TABOO FAMILY NUDIST PHOTOS NUDE GIRLS sites, fake “nudist” dating sites(link to community post), and the like.

So you’ll have to refine your search terms significantly to get anything usable. If you’re searching for places you can go nude, you’ll want to be more detailed, like “nudist resorts near toronto”. If you’re looking for nudist online groups, try “naturist forums”.

The words you use are important too. The worst word to use is “nudism”, which is a keyword that is dominated by porn sites. Try “nudist” instead - the results are far more legitimate. Even better, use “naturist” or “naturism”, because these words are apparently less erotic, and thus not primary keywords for porn sites.

Use Directories, not Searches

Even better, unless you’re not looking for some particular site or topic, is to avoid search engines altogether. and go to more authoritative sources of nudist information.

Start with sites of naturist organizations that are already established. You can go to your national association and check their web page out - most national associations list their affiliated clubs and regional groups, and might also provide information on other locations where nudism is allowed or tolerated. (Many of their sites also have a robust privacy and ethics policy - definitely a good thing for nudist content!)

You can also find sites with naturist communities (though I’ve written about why online naturist communities seldom work, so be warned). If you find an active community that truly shares in naturist values - that is, one that isn’t just a trading post for nude photos - they might have some information you can use. Or if you are looking for something specific, you can search the forum’s history, or even just ask. (And you can read my book too, if you want some suggestions on getting started!)

Try Social Media

While social media is largely unfriendly to nudism - and nudity in general - there are still some vibrant communities growing on some platforms.

You can find a number of nudist groups on Facebook, often focused on geographical areas - if you’re looking for information or discussion, that would be a good place to start. And if you consider reddit a social media site, their nudist subreddit has won praise as a well-moderated and very active community, and they don’t allow photos either. It’s a great place to search for useful posts or ask your questions. (Full disclosure: I’m a moderator of r/nudism, though I receive no compensation of any kind for it. I’m just a strong proponent of the community, and love to help build quality spaces for naturists!)

Above all, there’s Twitter, which has a loose but surprisingly large community of nudists. While some hashtags might lead you only to porn, #normalizingnudity and #naturism appears to filter better results. Using these hashtags, you can find tweets or accounts that are run by real nudists. You can even get involved and connect with others in the naturist community by tweeting yourself.

As Always, it’s Better in Person

While I’ve provided some strategies for finding valid nudist content on the internet, consider how much time you’re spending searching, reading blogs (like this one!) and forums and articles… and how much time you’re spending just experiencing nudism. After all, you can browse all that content while practicing nudism in your own home.

The internet should be a means to an end, not an end in itself. Even in the midst of the COVID pandemic, it’s far better to spend your time finding real nudists to interact with. That doesn’t have to be in person - there are an unprecedented number of nudist gatherings these days, whether through informal Zoom chats or organized events (check out British Naturism’s events!). There are even some nudist resorts and informal meetups going on - respecting social distancing guidelines of course.

Searching for legitimate and valuable nudist content isn’t easy. But the best part is that you can close the search engine any time you want, drop your clothes, and join an incredibly freeing and supportive community.

Share your thoughts...

Are there any online resources for nudists that you prefer? Where do you go for real nudist content? Drop your recommendations in the comments below!