These are my highlights and thoughts on excerpts from this book on Kindle: “The Freedom of Naturism: A Guide for the How and Why of Adopting a Naturist Lifestyle” by Augustine Rae
(My own thoughts will be in italics.)
Another word for “naturism” is “nudism,” which should be rather self-explanatory. Due to Judeo-Christian-Islamic influence, however, there are a lot of negative connotations associated with it. Despite the separation of church and state (at least in the West), religious sensibilities still play a very powerful influence over civil law, which is why you can be arrested for being naked in public. Even the irreligious, as well as those of an atheistic bent, have been conditioned to think of nudity as being something wrong. It is associated with vulnerability and shame at best, or with sexuality and arousal at worst.
This is what makes this innocent and even healing activity seem nefarious to so many. It is unfortunate that a state of mind (that comes from a state of undress) which has so many benefits is disregarded almost wholesale without a second thought. Those who are courageous enough to investigate the naked truth for themselves will likely reap the rewards their open minds have allowed them to see. Even those who ascribe to the Christian faith can not only reconcile the practice to their faith, but find it enhancing their relationship with their Creator God.
Adam and Eve ate of the apple of knowledge in disobedience of god’s law. And what did they learn? The first thing they learned was the difference between good and evil. The second thing they learned was that they were naked. And thus was born the fashion industry.
While this book is not a Christian or theological book, I like that line that “thus was born the fashion industry.” That could seem like an over-simplistic and not the point of the passage sort of treatment of the text, but it’s not far from the truth. Clothes really were man’s idea (or the serpent’s influence), not God’s. See Genesis 3:11 and God’s “Who told you…” question.
Naturism is antithetical to all of these [standards of dress]. It does not seek to conform to any societal definitions of modesty—quite the opposite, in fact. It believes that going about naked (sans penis gourds, sarongs, and waist strings) whenever possible, is the ideal condition because it’s natural, hence its name. It also feels incredibly good!
Modesty is a much bigger issue than what is worn by a person. Search this blog for the keyword “modesty” and discover what real modesty is. And yes, modest nudity does feel incredibly good!
Think about it. Clothes define people’s religious, cultural, and ethnic identities. Examples of this include the headscarves worn by some Muslim women, the turbans worn by Sikh men, or the Stetson hats worn by some in the American south. Clothes also reflect socio-economic status, separating the haves from the have-nots; think of Giorgio Armani versus cheap Chinese fake knock-offs. In the work force, they are sometimes used to denote hierarchy—especially the differences between blue collar and white collar workers, or between supervisors and underlings.
All this make me wonder— Jesus cursed the fig tree. The fig tree! We’ve been trying to use fig leaves since the beginning for problems that they cannot ever resolve. Why was it a fig tree that he cursed? Hmm…
Naturists also believe that nudity is the default human condition. They argue that clothes are a manmade invention and that our ancestors managed without them long before the discovery of fur, leather, and fabric. They also cite the health benefits of the sun (in moderation and with protective creams) and of exposure to the elements.
I suffer from some undiagnosed skin sensitivity conditions that dissipate when I’m fully nude for extended periods of time. I have linked these closely to my having to wear clothes and the sun focusing on exposed areas like my face when all else is covered. I’ve also noticed that I can be fully nude on a sunny cold day (46 degrees the first day we visited a naturist park), and we were fine, as the body acclimated and the sun could hit us all over. We would’ve been cold with clothes on, but were just fine without them. This is to say nothing of the therapeutic and psychological benefits of naturism as a natural antidepressant and stress reliever.
From an ecological perspective, clothes generate an industry of waste. What’s hip today won’t be so tomorrow, forcing people to buy new fashions in order to remain proper and up-to-date. One must also consider the expense involved in cleaning, as well as the amount of chemicals and water used.
Going by what is deemed popular at any given time is not usually the smartest approach to anything. It’s taken me some time (and age) to come to this realization!
Common Misconceptions about Naturism:
1) Nudist and naturist venues are places where people have sex
Most such places have strict policies in place which put a ban on public sex, photography, and outright exhibitionism—especially since many are open to families complete with grandparents and children. Outright voyeurism is therefore prohibited in many places, such as the banning of cameras. Violators are often expelled, blacklisted, and prosecuted.
Friends and family who we’ve told about us often wonder how such a practice could be family-friendly. Well, it is. You have to see it to believe it. And the judgments we often have are in our own minds and not based in reality. You have to have the right frame of mind, and unlink nudity to sex in your thinking.
2) Nudist and naturist venues are sexually stimulating places
Virtually everyone who’s gone to such a venue finds the truth to be disappointingly otherwise. When everyone around you: men, women, children, the young and the old, are naked, sex is often the last thing to come to mind. Within a day or two, most forget that they and everyone else around them are nude. It’s called conditioning, as well as social acclimatization. Wearing a Frankenstein outfit may make you stand out at any other time of the year, but when Halloween comes around, chances are that you’ll blend right in with everyone else. In a strictly nudist setting, it’s the clothed person who stands out and gets stared at.
I’ve heard Stephane Deschenes say something to the effect of “Many come in for the wrong reasons, but they stay for the right ones.” That was certainly the case for me!
Sexual arousal as a result of visual cues is a cultural construct, the product of social conditioning.
Wow! So true. It’s every guy’s reservation about even the thought of being around so many naked people, but it’s not an issue. Since embracing naturism and the truth of arousal being relational and not visual (as even the most popular Christian books promote this lie), I’ve easily ensured that only my wife is capable of making me aroused sexually. Naturism hasn’t negatively affected our love life in any way. Quite the opposite is true. Now we are drawn only to each other in sexual ways. Temptation for anyone else is gone. We base our love not on the exterior, but on our relationship (see www.mychainsaregone.org). I can’t claim this for every naturist, but Christian naturists see this dynamic very clearly.
Many find that it’s clothing that’s sexually stimulating, or at least, various states of undress. When nothing is left to the imagination, however, the fire surprisingly tends to die out.
There is clearly a disconnect in thinking that if certain body parts are covered, then it’s less “sexy” than if all was exposed. This comes from a pornographic mind and what’s needed is a renewed mind. Clothing and attitudes entice. A modest nude does not.
Naturist venues are open to everyone: men and women, young and old, the beautiful and the otherwise. Even those who want to go to these places often stay away because they feel insecure about their bodies. These insecurities are exactly what naturism seeks to address, among others. It teaches that textilists are inherently judgmental and shallow because of clothing. Clothing is an artificial construct, subject to fashion, culture, religion, and even politics. As such, people are taught to judge others by how they look and by how well they try to fit in or not.
One of the many things I love about ethical naturism and core beliefs behind it.
Since a number of these venues are family-oriented, many believe that children become sexualized at a young age. Registered nudist and naturist venues for families have strict rules that only allow children in if they are accompanied by their families.
It’s a misconception to say naturists are immoral people. They can be. So can non-naturists. The other common argument is against pedophilia. Naturists would agree pedophilia is terrible! That’s why background checks are done and everyone is protective of the little ones. Remember, a pedophile is often hiding and not out in the open exposing themselves. Clothing hasn’t stopped immoral people from their crimes in the outside world. The sad truth is that in many ways, kids are safer in family-friendly naturist venues than they are outside of them.
Children and Nudity This is perhaps the biggest problem textilists have with naturists. With all the pedophilic scandals out there, many believe that children who grow up in naturist communities or with naturist parents become sexualized at a young age. Some have even argued that children who grow up in such a setting are victims and that their parents’ rights over them should therefore be terminated. Such accusations have prompted official studies into the matter, both here in America, as well as in Europe. There are a number of these studies available, so feel free to look them up on your own. The studies found that there is no correlation between pedophilia and nudity in the home. In fact, the sexualization of children is higher in more conservative, textilist families than in nudist or naturist ones.
Studies of cultures where social nudity is the norm, or where social nudity is considered acceptable in certain situations, reinforces such claims.
it is not group nudity that causes pedophilia or the sexualization of minors. Most victims of sexual abuse grow up in textilist homes, after all.
Textilists who accuse naturists of pedophilia are not only hypocrites, they also reveal their own insecurities and repressed fantasies.
1) Nudity is natural. Nudity is the default human condition. Being naked, especially when outside, allows people to develop a greater rapport with nature. It also reawakens the human body to sensations that have become dulled through years of being covered up, making people more in tune to their body’s wisdom.
I’d say there’s even a spiritual component to the spiritually minded. I don’t worship creation, but being as created in creation does connect me closer to my Creator. I can’t explain it, but it’s a powerful experience.
2) Nudity is healthy. Many naturists claim that being naked, especially in nature, has healing benefits, and that it can strengthen the human body against disease.
Increased exposure to sunlight (in moderation) also increases the intake of Vitamin D which combats osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer.
…clothing provides fertile breeding grounds for fungi and bacteria, which can result in body odor, yeast infections, athlete’s foot, and even urinary tract infections.
I had a reaction under my arms recently from my shirts. I spent a week at a naturist park, and no issues at all. The day we left and I had to put clothes on again, I had discomfort in the same spot!
Tight belts, ties, and girdles can impede breathing. For men, tight pants increase testicular temperature, which lowers sperm count and reduces fertility. Surely there’s no need to get into the problems caused by tight shoes and high heels? On the topic of footwear, have you visited a pediatrician, lately? They’re now recommending going barefoot. It’s been found that going barefoot stimulates your brain into growing extra neural connections, which can prevent Alzheimer’s, boost memory, and improve cognitive ability.
It’s no wonder the clothes tend to come off at the first opportunity after a long day!
3) Nudity promotes sanity. Many social nudists claim that they have less hang ups about their bodies and are more accepting of their physical shortcomings. They also believe that their lifestyle encourages a sincere respect for the opposite gender, while others claim that it reduces porn addiction.
This is so true. In the case of porn and respect for others, the renewing of the mind through a robust understanding of Imago Dei (image of God) with naturism as a catalyst has not only reduced by porn temptation, it’s eradicated it completely. Nudity does also promote sanity. I tend to get stressed more if I have extended periods of time without being able to be naked in nature as God intended from the beginning.
4) Nudity promotes equality. This was discussed earlier. Without clothes, people have little else by which to connote social and economic status. Also, it becomes harder to denote religious, cultural, and political affiliations. As to one’s racial background, naturists argue that skin color and body hair aside, people tend to be pretty similar from the neck down.
In a naturist setting, you remember people physically by their hats or sunglasses or tattoos. You also get to the know the real them, and that’s more memorable in the long run.
5) Nudity encourages honesty. Naturists believe that clothing promotes dishonesty and encourages hypocrisy. They insist that one of the reasons people become superficial is because they can hide behind clothes which can be tailored to make them seem other than what they are.
That’s exactly what I was just thinking and saying. We should all just ditch the fig leaves and stop hiding!
This book is an easy, short read, and a great guide to freedom through naturism. Purchase your own copy here.