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.
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.
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.
“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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!