I read with interest Stéphane Deschênes’ following his resignation from the INF’s Central Committee. I’ve followed Mr. Deschênes since I took an active interest in naturism and have been greatly influenced by his ideas on naturism.
In his letter, he lists several reasons why the INF needs to exist and then makes several recommendations to them. Most of the recommendations are pertinent to what he believes the INF should be doing to support the national naturist federations and organizations. I’m in general agreement and won’t expound on most of them.
However, his first recommendation, I believe concerns all naturist organizations and their members, indeed, all naturists.
1. Naturism as an Ideology or Philosophy
The INF-FNI needs to remember that naturism is an ideology or philosophy, not an activity. While events, clubs and resorts where naturism happens should be supported, the INF-FNI should be more focused on promoting naturism itself.
Like Stéphane Deschênes, I view naturism as more than an activity for summer weekends. I see naturism as a philosophy and a lifestyle that I try to incorporate into my life as much as possible along with other interests and philosophies. For me, it’s an attitude and a perspective. I feel that nudism and naturism have gotten away from their roots as a healthy way of life and moved almost exclusively toward being primarily a recreational activity. Our largest national organization is the American Association for Nude Recreation and the motto of The Naturist Society is “Body acceptance is the goal, nude recreation is the way.”
In his letter’s introduction, he says, “The INF-FNI does many things simply because of tradition.” I think that may also be applied to AANR and TNS. Many of their members are older and set in their ways. While they enjoy lounging by the pool or playing shuffleboard and pétanque, it’s of little interest to younger nudists. Like anything else, only those who can adapt to change survive the change. Over the past few years I’ve noticed that nudist organizations and clubs have been slow to adapt to changes in technology (i.e., the Web and social media) and to changes that would attract new members.
I can hope that the INF and other naturist organizations can adapt to change so they can be of service to a new generation of nudists and naturists.
How marvelous it is to go commando in Ohio in February. When the temperature is in the mid-sixties I usually take advantage of the opportunity. When temperatures are warm enough to permit full nudity I’m frustrated that society is not enlightened enough to permit it as well.
Nudity is our natural state, our default state of being. We are born naked and, almost immediately, we are covered in fabric and from that moment on, most of us will be taught that we must be covered at all times with only certain, clearly defined exceptions. Most will never know the joy and freedom of being nude or, for that matter, even realize that it’s even an option.
Ever since man decided that civilization was a good idea, he was been in a constant state of warfare with nature and all that is natural. Man has separated himself from nature even though, despite his vehement denials, he is very much a part of nature. Through the process of becoming civilized we have convinced ourselves that we are separate from nature and somehow above it. Nature is something that must be tamed, controlled, and conquered. We have even extended our war on nature to ourselves, waging war against all that is natural about ourselves and the natural processes that affect us all. We repress our natural inclinations and our instincts. Those we can’t repress we attempt to modify or bend it to conform to our will or to society’s expectations. Our bodies, our minds, and our souls have become our mortal enemies in a fight to the death which we will eventually lose.
Can’t we have a harmonious mix of civilization and nature? Can’t we accept what is natural about us and recognize that we are all connected to one another and to nature? We will ultimately lose the war against nature. The Earth was around billions of years before Man walked upon it and will be around billions of years after there is no longer any trace that Mankind ever existed. The Earth continues evolve in spite of our efforts to conquer it. Extinction is the rule rather than the exception. All dominant species that came before are now extinct. We will eventually become extinct and some other species will become dominant. Perhaps we will have the distinction of being the first species to actively contribute to and be the cause of our own extinction.
I am lucky in comparison to so many who are trapped in their workspaces and living spaces by the weather. I remember looking out on sunny winter days when the temperature was harsh, longing for a bit of freedom to escape au naturel into the world.
At least I was clothing free in my home. The same can’t be said for so many who are trapped in their clothing, trapped by their minds that have embraced fear, or false norms of what it is to be a human. Some are so imprisoned that they even hide from themselves, denying themselves as though that would somehow grant them entry into some afterworld of pure light where everyone who makes it is swaddled in layers and layers of robes singing the praises of a god who has condemned most of humanity to eternal suffering. So, they practice being sexless, subservient denying the gift of their mind and their body and their gender and their instincts.
If one assumes there is a god, then that god created these human bodies, naked. He or she created bodies and minds and instincts. We have a story of that creation and in that story we are celebrated in our nudity. Our rejection of that nudity got us tossed out of that Garden, a paradise. So we created a different paradise based on our initial rejection of the Garden, a paradise where there is no way to differentiate gender, no temptation of body, no temptation by environment – we have a featureless paradise that is more cocoon that reward for living a good life. And then we redefine a good life to be one that is lived in fear and swallowed pride and anger where “self” is denied, where the “present” is denied.
And so we hide feeling empty, longing for freedom yet terrified that to engage fully in the world will damn us for eternity. We fear our god, we fear, we cower, we hide.
Robert G. Longpré
So many people are trapped and imprisoned in their clothes, their minds, their identities, their beliefs, their ideologies, and the other prisons we create for ourselves. Most have never really known freedom, true freedom – freedom from fear, freedom from the illusions we carry around in our heads.
It’s the penultimate day of 2015 and as good an opportunity to reflect on the past year as any. I was not spectacularly active in naturism during the past year. Indeed, I was probably conspicuously absent from it. I don’t think I’ve been to a naturist event or venue in at least four years. The only place I’ve been nude is at home and not often enough. If it means anything, I did renew my AANR and TNS memberships so I’m at least a card-carrying nudist. I’d like to be nude more often, in more places, with more people but it hasn’t been a big priority.
With my impending retirement form the active workforce, I might have more time to visit nearby venues (there’s nothing local) but with my income more limited, it’s not likely to be a regular or spontaneous thing,
I”m not sure I’m as interested in nudism/naturism as a cause or even a lifestyle as I am in the idea that displaying the human body should be free of sanctions and repercussions. Nudity is our default state and we should embrace it and celebrate it when possible. I know it’s a Utopian pipe dream but it’s a blissful one. I’m so sick and tired of the repression of everything that is natural.
What more needs to be said…
Nudity is a complete and normal state describes how being nude is a natural state but how being a naturist in a textile world is a journey. I certainly agree.
…nudity is a natural state. Shame of nudity is a learned behavior. Nudity equals sex is a taught equation, and for many religions, sex is bad, therefore nudity is bad. I believe sex is good, and nudity is good too, although nudity and sex are two different things. We need to deconstruct those beliefs, but it’s worth it, because nudism is just a wonderful natural state. When you start being nude at home, at the beach, or in nature, you do not think any more about it. You are just who you are, naked.
For me an important aspect of being nude in a social setting is what I refer to as the intimacy of nudism. I don’t mean sexual intimacy, nudism is not sexual, but rather a form of personal intimacy.
Being nude in the presence of another human being can be a very powerful experience. Letting go of embarrassment, and shame, and sexual thoughts, all of the things we are taught to associate with nudity, we connect with others in a more meaningful way. In our nude state we are reduced to our most basic essence. When we remove our clothing we remove our affectations of status, our costume of identity, the mask we present to the world.
When I am nude before you, it is more then just a body on display. More then just assorted parts. It is all that I am. All that the rest of the world does not get to see. All that I am told I must hide. All of my flaws. All of my perfection.
It’s a bond of trust, like a secret shared with a best friend. It is a beautiful moment, pure, and honest. And I am sharing this with you, as you share in turn with me.
The Intimacy of Nudism
I really can’t add much to The Imp’s sentiments. When I’m nude, especially with others, I feel more comfortable and more confident. I’m more myself and through shedding the facades, I feel more liberated. In the right setting, being nude can feel quite spiritual; there’s a sensation of feeling more connected with my surroundings and with others. As my friend Chet says, “Nude, we resemble one another.”
I am not in fact trying to create a nude society where everybody is nude all the time, but I am seeking the decriminalization of nudity and create a choice for people. Those that wish to be nude, can be nude, without being prosecuted or branded criminal, simply for their choice of clothing, or in this case, their choice not to have clothing. It is what we are. We were born this way.
I, too, advocate the legalization and decriminalization of the human body. There should not be criminal penalties for simply being without clothing. Even if all prohibitions against public nudity were done away with, I wouldn’t necessarily walk around town or do my shopping nude but it would be good to know I could if I wanted to. Imagine not having to get dressed to check the mail or take out the garbage. Or tending my garden? How nice it would be to be able to swim at any public pool without having to own a swimsuit or take a nude stroll in a public park.
Public nudity, what is the issue?
Does anyone have a “right” to be nude? At one time I would have said, “Absolutely!” Now I’m not quite so sure. Maybe I feel inundated by naturist evangelism and affirmations and it’s starting to sound like a lot of other presumed rights that are advocated by countless groups.
I enjoy nudity either alone or with others and I’m comfortable with it. Whenever possible, I prefer to be nude and I think of it as my natural physical state. I wish I could be nude more often, in more places, and in more social contexts. If nudists have a right to anything, it is the right to pursue our recreational and casual activities without criminal, civil, or social sanctions for simply being nude. Simple nudity causes no harm, endangers no one’s property, and does not infringe on anyone’s “rights.” Being offended is not being harmed since it’s the offended individual’s choice to be in that state and there is no “right” to not be offended.
I know acceptance isn’t going to happen any time soon, but I can hope that one day, we will evolve into a more tolerant and more enlightened society where nudity is just another clothing option.