Naturists – Why Are We Social (Naked) Animals?
By Andy, a young (28) male British naturist
I spent last weekend in the company of some very good friends visiting The Naturist Foundation Brockenhurst club/resort in Orpington, Kent. Weather was great and there was a volleyball tournament on, but even as a non-player I had a wonderful time sunbathing, swimming, eating and drinking with my naturist friends.
We talked about a lot of things but one thing I asked a few people about was this: why are we all hanging out naked? Why are we social naturists?
Almost everyone, when asked about why they are a naturist, will respond with the explanation of why they like to be naked. They feel free, they feel comfortable, they feel better about themselves, they feel more natural or connected to nature. That’s the usual line.
Those are all good reasons, great reasons, to take off your clothes and go naked. But you don’t need to be a social naturist to do that. If the only reason you are doing it is because you like to be naked, you don’t need to go to anywhere special. You don’t need to travel far and spend money going to a club or a swim or a beach. You can just leave your clothes off at home and live your life clothes-free and be as comfortable as you like.
But we naturists don’t just leave it at home. We go out into the world and find places and times when we can take off our clothes and be naked in the company of others. Why do we do that?
Well, of course, we want to socialise. We want to get together with our friends and meet others who share the same views as us. Who doesn’t?
But why should we need to do that naked? If this is a meeting of sympathetic souls, why can’t we just all go to the pub or something? Why do we choose to socialise together specifically in places where we can take off our clothes?
At the time when I was talking to my friends, none of us could come up with a quick, easy explanation. But having given it some thought over the past few days, I’ve come up with a few different things which might motivate social naturism.
The chance to do other, different stuff naked
Most people aren’t content just to stay home all the time. We need stimulation to mind and body in order to stay healthy and active. Naturists don’t see that need as a reason to not be naked. So we go to swims and naturist clubs so that we can do more naked than just watch TV on the sofa and do housework. At naturist clubs and events we can swim and play sport without clothes on, we can eat dinner out, we can drink in bars, we can play games and dance, our kids can play, we can do any number of activities. We could do these things elsewhere, but we’d have to wear clothes to do them. But these naturist places and events exist, and so to us it is worth travelling to them to do the activities naked rather than clothed.
The ‘Might As Well’ factor
This is something I have thought about especially in relation to going naked when visiting other naturists (or them visiting me). If you are in an appropriate location (be it a private home or a naturist venue) with other people who you know also enjoy being naked and are comfortable with nudity, then what really is the point of any of you having clothes on? Even if all you are doing is getting together to eat pizza and watch a movie, if you are people for whom nudity is socially acceptable and preferrable, you might as well take off your clothes. It isn’t necessary, it’s just something you do because it seems reasonable in that company.
To live for a while without concern
Many people who are naturists find some aspect or other of living in a non-naturist world restrictive. It might be that we live with family or friends or housemates who aren’t 100% comfortable with nudity. It might be that we don’t have a private garden. It might be that our front windows face onto the street and so we have to choose between nudity and opening the curtains to let in natural light. It might just be that we get a lot of visitors and so are forever shrugging in and out of dressing gowns.
Going to naturist venues and events is our chance, for however long we are there, to escape all that and just wander about naked. It’s a break from the ‘textile’ world; a place where we can swim and sit and walk and talk without clothes on, without making any sort of compromise in the way we are living. We don’t have to hide away this part of ourselves for a while.
We socialise ‘better’ naked
This is a particularly pertinent one for me, as it is one of the driving forces for me in becoming involved with naturism.
I get anxious about social situations. I’m shy, and rather quiet. I lack self-confidence and I doubt myself a lot. I keep a lot to myself and it means making friends and being casual and conversational with other people is sometimes difficult for me.
But being naked in social situations with other, friendly, like-minded people helps, for me, to break down some of the barriers and awkwardness that my emotional state leads me to often create for myself. So I seek the company of other naturists because they are people in whose company I feel relaxed.
Even if you aren’t quite like me, there is still something honest and truthful about being naked with your friends.
You can have those experiences without being naked, of course – it isn’t essential, good relationships with other people can come out of all sorts of situations. But for people who enjoy naturism, it might be that we feel a wish to make those sort of connections through social nudity.
We want to feel ‘normal’
Naturism breaks some social taboos. As people, we are raised in a world which tells us our naked bodies are private. We aren’t supposed to be naked except for reasons of hygiene and intimacy. Nakedness in front of others is supposed to be a sexual thing.
So when we decide that we disagree with that view, we can start to feel like we might be doing something wrong, or abnormal. We can develop a mindset of isolation from those who don’t share our views and maybe even start to feel we are somehow weird.
To meet other naturists, and to discover great, healthy, well-rounded and diverse individuals from all walks of life who all share our beliefs, attitudes and enjoyment of clothes-free living, is a great reassurance that we aren’t actually doing something wrong by breaking that particular social convention. It’s a reminder that we aren’t wrong, just different, and that there are plenty of other people out there with the same difference as us.
So those are some of the factors that I think inform that rather strange desire we naturists have to spend time and money travelling around the country and the world to find places to be naked and people to be naked with.