From Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Naturists posing on a Crimean beach, 2008
Florida Young Naturists at an AANR camp, 2014

The social movement known as naturism or nudism are people who believe that being nude with other people has many benefits.

Seeing members of the opposite sex allows people to learn that nudity is not just about sex. Seeing a variety of bodies of all types produces a more realistic and positive self-image.[1]

Some naturists want to be nude in places to which only other naturists have access to, such as campgrounds or resorts. Others want areas of public property such as swimming beaches to be designated "clothing optional" without limiting access to non-naturists. People who practice nudity at home or other places where only family or friends are present are not generally thought of as naturists.

Young children running around naked are also not naturists, as the sense of feeling uneasy while being naked with members of the opposite sex only develops at a certain age.

The movement developed in Europe. Many followers of naturism can be found in German-speaking countries, France, Scandinavia and former Yugoslavia.

Semi-private naturism[change | change source]

Naturism is not public when only other naturists are present. Access is limited to members of a naturist organization, invited guests, or paying customers at naturist resorts. Rules may allow clothing, but usually not in some areas such as swimming pools.

History of naturism[change | change source]

Naturism began in the late 19th century in Germany. The movement to return to nature was opposed to the changes as more people began living in cities.[2] In 1904, Paul Zimmermann opened perhaps the first camp or "nudist colony" near Hamburg, Germany. It was called Freilichtpark in German (in English, "Free Light Park").[3]

In the United States, German immigrant Kurt Barthel organized the first nudist event in the forest just outside of New York City. His club was called the "American League for Physical Culture" (ALPC) and started in the late 1920s. After Barthel, Ilsley Boone became president of ALPC. Boone had been a minister (religious leader) of a large church. He quit to become involved with naturism all the time. Also, he renamed the ALPC as the "American Sunbathing Association."

Current practices[change | change source]

Since 1995 the ALPC has been known as the "American Association for Nude Recreation" (AANR). "Nudist clubs" continue to attract those who want to be nude with others who think the same as they do, and avoid conflict with the general public that disapprove.

Public naturism[change | change source]

Germany has accepted naturism in everyday life. Many beaches have clothing optional areas, and nude sunbathing is allowed in the parks of major cities. Germans and other Northern Europeans have followed the Finnish tradition of the sauna, which is visited nude and may have no separation by gender.

In the United States, there are fewer clothing optional places and varying legal recognition. In some states nudity is no longer allowed at beaches that were nude in the 1960s and 70s.[4] Some beaches are so isolated that they continue attract naturism when it is not legal.

World Naked Bike Ride, London, 2014

Special events[change | change source]

People walking naked in the streets

Nudity is allowed in some places for events where it would not be otherwise. An example is the annual "World Naked Bike Ride", which is held in many cities around the world as a protest against cars and the use of fossil fuel.

The day before Lent is celebrated by Carnival, and some cities have street parades of performers in various states of undress.

Naturism and religion[change | change source]

Naturism is opposed by many based on religious beliefs. Islam and conservative Judaism have strict rules of modesty in clothing. In Christianity there are wide differences between groups. Conservative Christians also value modesty, but there are also Christian naturists. In India, Hinduism and Jainism include individuals who reject clothing along with all other worldly possessions.

First contact with naturism[change | change source]

Clothing has many functions. Clothing can provide a sense of status, and perhaps class. People who have a higher social status or are better off have nicer clothes. Clothing also protects: It protects against cold, but it also protects the body from being seen by others.

Removing clothing in a public place also means that people are unprotected. Anyone can watch them undress, and see them naked. In many cultures, people have developed a sense of shame. In that way, many people who first come in contact with naturism are feeling uneasy at first, especially, if they did not grow up in a settting where they came in contact with naturism in childhood.[5][6][7]

Usually, coming in contact with naturism, or turning to be a naturist, is a process that has many steps. At first, people feel exposed, and unprotected. They also think, that other poeple would stare at them undressing or being naked, or that they might sanction them for doing something that is forbidden, or frowned upon. Also there is a process of self-awareness: People become more aware that their body has small imperfections. They might feel that they aren't beautiful because of these imperfections. Soon they will see that they are in a setting where everyone is naked, where being naked is seen as normal. Other people also have bodies that perhaps are not seen as beautiful, and these people don't hide their bodies either. The fear of being criticized for not meeting some ideal of beauty fades away, and soon there's a feeling of being accepted, and valued. People get accepted as they are. At the same time, people stop judging others by what they look like.[8][9][10][11] People then start to experience being naked with others as freedom.

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Hile, Jennifer (2004). "The Skinny on Nudism in the U.S." National Geographic. Retrieved 11 November 2019.
  2. "Nudism". Grinnell University: Subcultures and Sociology. Retrieved 17 November 2019.
  3. "The Nude Culture of Germany". 5 September 2008. Retrieved March 16, 2022.
  4. Sisson, Paul (23 March 2010). "San Onofre: State begins citing nudists at beach". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  5. Smith, G., & King, M. (2009). Naturism and sexuality: Broadening our approach to sexual wellbeing. Health & place, 15(2), 439-446 doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2008.08.002
  6. Cherrier, H. (2016). Material presence and the detox delusion: Insights from social nudism. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 50(1), 100-123 doi:10.1111/joca.12085
  7. Górnicka, B. (2016). Nakedness, Shame, and Embarrassment: A Long-Term Sociological Perspective (Vol. 12). Springer doi:10.1007/978-3-658-15984-9 ISBN 978-3-658-15983-2
  8. Nackt – Die Zeit
  9. Unbekleidet durch die Welt – „Das Nacktsein ist ein großer Gleichmacher“ – N-TV
  10. Marc Engelhardt: Ich bin dann mal nackt: Eine Reise zu den unverhüllten Kulturen unserer Welt, 2021, Goldmann Verlag, ISBN 3-442-31605-7
  11. Body Positivity: Wieso uns Nacktsein glücklich machen kann – Der Spiegel