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  • Andrew Welch
    Andrew Welch

    How to talk about Naturism

    It’s not always easy is it? People often have their own ideas about it before you open your mouth and you’re never sure how they are going to take the news that you’re a Naturist yourself. Then there are the awkward questions. You’d love to just tell them how it makes you feel but they interrupt with statements that throw you off balance...

    Perhaps this article will help. You can download a handy PDF version of it here. It includes a number of useful things to say to help you answer the awkward, misguided, irrelevant questions, and overcome objections and misunderstandings. The more we all say the same things, the stronger our collective voice becomes. It’s what we want to say in all situations with all kinds of people – friends, family, neighbours, work-colleagues, even the media and authorities.

    We’re often our own worst enemies, assuming others don’t want to talk about Naturism, but experience shows that’s not the case with many people reporting good reactions and genuine interest – and often being told about nude experiences in return! We hear Naturists all the time saying they don’t want to cause ‘offence’ - we must stop using that word. People might be surprised, a little shocked, confused, unsure what do to or say if they unexpectedly see a naked person, but not offended.

    Finally, it’s good to show how sensitive and socially-aware we are. The law makes it possible for us to be nude anywhere, anytime. We don’t generally exercise that right, as we understand the sensitivities and are nice, normal, trustworthy, considerate members of a wider society.

    Oh, and you don’t have to decide to be some sort of freedom-fighter or evangelist, it’s all about ordinary, everyday conversation.

    Go for it...and tell us how you got on

    Naturism is normal

    We’re ordinary people choosing not to wear clothes when the weather and circumstances are appropriate. Other than being nude, our activities are no different from what most people do in their leisure time. We’re not anti-clothes, we just know they are not always essential. It’s also a lot of fun!

    If we were supposed to be naked, we’d have been born that way...

    ...and yet now anyone wanting to be in that natural state is treated with at best, mild amusement and at worst, suspicion. Being naked isn’t obscene, provocative, ridiculous, eccentric, shameful, immodest, weird, rude, disgusting, perverted etc. In fact...

    Naturism is good for you

    Naturism promotes positive body image. There is no such thing as the perfect body and we’re all unique. Physical health is improved with the benefits of sunshine and fresh air, which we don’t get enough of; and mental health benefits from relaxation, de-stressing and a friendly, comfortable community spirit. Most sunbathers wear very little more than we do. Swimsuits are pointless – why get dressed to get wet? It has wider benefits too – teenage pregnancy rates appear to be lower in countries with a more relaxed attitude to nudity. Research published in 2017 confirms what we’ve all known for years - Naturism boosts self-esteem, happiness and life satisfaction.

    Naturism is not illegal

    There is no offence of nudity in English law but there are badly defined offences which may be used and abused for just about anything that somebody in authority dislikes. The Sexual Offences Act 2003 specifically excludes Naturism, though intending to upset or cause harm by being naked may well be a criminal offence. Fundamentally the law is a mess but the practice of Naturism is legal in a much wider range of circumstances than many people assume.

    Naturism is not about sex

    Naturist people have sex like anyone else but despite what people imagine, a gathering of naked people doesn’t make for a sexually charged environment. Think of a nude beach as closer to the checkout queue in Tesco than a page three photo shoot.

    Naturism is not embarrassing

    Once in a Naturist place, you soon get used to being surrounded by naked people and forget that nobody is wearing clothes. It’s clothed people that stand out. What you look like is irrelevant. No-one stares at you, or judges your appearance – it’s all about feeling good for yourself. It’s liberating not to have to conform. Nudity is usually only mandatory when swimming and people will put something on if the weather turns.

    Naturism is very popular

    Millions of people around the world have discovered this wonderful way of life. BN’s IPSOS- MORI survey discovered that there are 3.7 million Naturists in the UK. There are thousands of holiday resorts and other places to go to. Plenty of ‘non-Naturist’ people in the UK have skinny-dipped, go topless on beaches and spend time happily naked at home.

    Children in Naturism are happy, well-adjusted and safe

    Children don’t care if they are wearing clothes or not, it’s adults who make them get dressed. They grow up with a better understanding of what people really look like and enjoy a relaxed, outdoor life. Families can do something together that they all enjoy and children are always accompanied by a parent or guardian. Naturist places tend to have entry requirements and secure gates, making the inside a far safer environment than the outside. Many adult Naturists today grew up in Naturist families and now bring their own families up within it.

     

    Photo by Pierre BEST on Unsplash

    Edited by Andrew Welch

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