If you’re interested in naturism/nudism and investigating it via the internet, you’ll probably find a few articles explaining what naturism is and how to get involved. But you’ll probably still have quite a lot of questions and confused thoughts which won’t really go away until you’ve actually got into nudism as a way of life and have some experiences of your own.
The following guide is intended to be a little different to the usual “Tips for the Newbie” articles you will find. But hopefully it will be helpful to you if you have made the decision that naturism is for you and you are now trying to find a place for that in your life.
So if that sounds like you, here are 14 tips you might benefit from reading:
1. Ignore a lot of the images you see on the internet.
The internet is a wonderful resource for information and, nowadays, most people’s response to learning about something new which interests them is to type it into Google to find out more. You can certainly do that if you are a new naturist looking to know more about the lifestyle you have chosen.
But it’s important to maintain a healthy scepticism and to remember – just because someone on the internet says something is depicting naturism, doesn’t mean it is depicting the reality of the experiences you are likely to have.
Take, for example, the plethora of naturist blogs on the blogging site Tumblr. If these blogs were your only source of information, you would be forgiven for assuming that naturism was entirely about slim, attractive young women doing various things with no clothes on and getting photographed while they do. It isn’t just Tumblr, either: a lot of naturist organisations and publications use photographs of young females to illustrate their descriptions of the lifestyle.
The truth is naturists come in all ages, shapes, sizes and genders. Slim young women are actually the minority. Males outnumber women and older couples are far more common than single young people.
It is important to remember that just because a naturist blog, site or publication uses a picture of a naked person, it doesn’t follow that person is a naturist. Even on this blog, I have no way of knowing the sources and contexts of many of the photos I post. A nude photo could be posed by a model, be a glamour or art photo, or even be taken from a pornographic source. It may be a personal snap of someone who would not normally be without their clothes but is on a dare or messing about while drunk or posing for sexual reasons. Even if it is a photo of people who are naturists, it may be taken in a country or location where naturism is practised differently to yours, or where different rules apply. You can’t know, so you make assumptions, but these assumptions may not be correct and it is not wise to assume that something is a fact of life for naturists just because you saw it on the internet.
2. Don’t assume everything you read is absolutely accurate, either.
You will find a lot of information written about naturism on the internet. But, as with the photos, you don’t necessarily know that what is being written is truthful, accurate or likely to reflect the experiences you will have.
Anyone can start a blog and it is often impossible to verify someone’s identity. What you read as “Sarah’s Nudist Blog” might actually be a male trucker from Colorado with a few issues. People do use the concept of naturism as a vehicle to explore sexual fantasies and while there are a great many genuine, believable accounts of the naturist lifestyle on the internet, there are some which simply do not depict reality. Unfortunately it is only through having the experience of social naturism yourself that you will learn which accounts are truthful and which belong in the realm of the imagination.
Even in mainstream publications and media, the view you will get of naturism is not always 100% accurate. Many articles about naturism are written by non-naturists “exploring”, “investigating” or trying naturism for the first time, purely so they can have something to write about. They may not depict the experience you are likely to have because they don’t have the understanding of naturism you will have: being nude is something you want to do, whereas they are only doing it to get their paycheck.
And even if the article is written by a genuine naturist who understands the lifestyle, they will have their own opinions and ideas which may inform their writing – you don’t have to share all of those opinions to be a naturist, and it is worth keeping an open mind about everything you read, rather than assuming that because you read it on a naturist site it must be always so for everyone.
3. Don’t be impatient…
If you have decided that naturism is what you want to do, you will probably be quite keen to do it more, and find yourself frustrated by the restrictions imposed on you by daily life. It might seem like the whole world expects you to wear clothes when all you want to do is hang out in the buff. It might seem like there is a whole world of naked fun times out there which you are missing out on because of family, friends, school, work, money or location.
But don’t stress yourself. You might not have the opportunities at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that you will never have them. As your life changes, so too do your options for living a nude lifestyle. You have decided you prefer not wearing clothes: that feeling will always be with you and will not go away, so there is no urgency to do more than you are ready, willing or able to do. Take all the time you need to explore naturism in your own way.
4. …but don’t hesitate too long.
On the flip side, don’t sit around waiting for your friends or family to suddenly and spontaneously embrace naturism alongside you. Make as much effort as you possibly can to get involved with the social side of naturism wherever you learn you might have the opportunity to do so. If you are young, you will find there are groups around specifically for young naturists; these groups usually have an upper age limit (typically 30-35). You want to give yourself as much time as possible to meet people and make friends before you are considered “too old” to participate in the social events these groups organise. So think of it like this: if you are now 20, you could potentially have 10 years of regular social nude activities being organised for you – so the sooner you start getting involved, the better. Sitting around naked in your bedroom bemoaning that none of your friends share your affinity for nakedness isn’t going to get you anywhere – be proactive and you will reap the benefits.
5. You don’t have to tell the world…
A lot of people who are naturists advocate being as open and upfront about the nude lifestyle as you possibly can. Their reasoning is that enjoying non-sexual nudity is nothing to be ashamed of, and the more people who are open about it, the more it can become normalised and no longer a social issue.
Which is great. But it isn’t your responsibility to promote naturism, and you aren’t harming the cause if you choose to keep your enjoyment of it private. Only you, personally, can make the decision about who you want to tell about your decision to embrace a naturist lifestyle and how much you want them to know. You may be quite happy for your friends to know but not want your parents to know, or your colleagues. You may only want to confide in close friends. You may want to tell everybody, or tell no-one. You only need to do what feels right for you.
6. … but don’t be afraid to act like it’s no big deal (and remember, there’s nothing wrong with you!)
On the other hand, you shouldn’t worry that, by attempting to pursue a naturist lifestyle, you are doing something which is shameful or which you are wrong for enjoying.
Being nude is healthy, positive and enjoyable and it is only the conventions of our society which tells you that you should not, and cannot, be nude non-sexually with other people. You might not feel ready to tell the world outright “I am a naturist” but you shouldn’t feel like you have to keep everything about your enjoyment of nudity sealed away and out of sight from the world. At the end of the day, you are the same person you have always been, you just prefer not wearing clothes when you have the chance. The more relaxed attitude you display about that information, the less stress you will have around the fact that this makes you different from others you know. Your parents may not be keen on the idea of you being naked round the house but in the privacy of your own bedroom, what concern is it of theirs what you wear? If your friends don’t like the idea of you going to nude beaches, well, you aren’t asking them to come. It’s something you are into that other people aren’t. That’s all. Relax about it; your life won’t fall apart if people find out you are a naturist.
7. Definitely tell your partner.
The worst thing you can do with any interest in naturism is to keep it a secret from your boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife. I speak from experience on this. I never fully opened up to my girlfriend about my naturism until we moved in together, a year into our relationship (in my defence, I had only recently begun to get back involved in the lifestyle after spending much of the last year doing other stuff), and so she found it initially harder to accept because I hadn’t been honest with her from the start.
If you keep it secret from your partner, no matter what their opinion on naturism for themselves is, you will risk it seeming like you are doing something shifty and underhand, you will make it seem seedy or wrong and you will make it harder for them to accept when they do find out. They might not be happy with the idea, they might be confused, or misunderstand, or make incorrect judgements. But if you don’t tell them at all, you are denying them the chance to form their own opinion and you are showing you don’t value their knowledge, and they might not forgive you for that.
8. Don’t become obsessed with nudity (or naturism)
The day you discovered naturism might seem like the greatest day of your life to you. The buzz you get from being naked might be the best you have ever felt. You might grow to hate your clothes and love nothing more than to finally get out of them and be naked at home. You might decide you don’t want to ever wear clothes again unless you are absolutely forced to.
Which is all great. But don’t let those feelings become a barrier between you and the rest of the world. If you find yourself avoiding social situations, work opportunities etc because you want to stay home naked, if you stop interacting with your family and stay stuck in your room all day because it’s the only place they don’t insist on you wearing clothes, well, that isn’t a healthy enjoyment of naturism. That’s an obsession with being naked and it isn’t a positive thing to have in your life.
By the same standard, don’t let your interest in naturism be the only interest you have and the only one you talk about with others. Of course, your naturism and your attitude to nudity is going to be a major part of your character and your personality. But don’t let it be the only thing to define you. Don’t fill your Facebook wall with posts about nudity, don’t constantly go on to your non-naturist friends about nude life. And don’t put pressure on people you know to join in with your lifestyle. Don’t let the fact you have a different belief to them alienate you from those others in your life who don’t share it.
Sometimes the best way to normalise something is to talk about it less, not more. The best ambassador for naturism you can be is someone who is a great friend and good company, with a variety of interests and personality facets – one of which happens to be that you are a naturist.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of others.
If you want to know about naturism, there are plenty of people you can ask. There are Tumblrs, Twitters, Facebook pages, blogs and websites run by naturists who you can put your questions to. You aren’t expected to know everything about naturism right away and nobody minds answering a newbie.
11. Don’t go thinking there are a whole bunch of rules to follow.
You’re a naturist. It doesn’t matter if you shave your pubic hair, or don’t shave anything. It doesn’t matter if you go to the gym or if you sit around eating pizza on your days off. It doesn’t matter if you’re a stripper or a social worker. You don’t have to smoke pot or vote Democrat or stop going to church. You are a naturist whether you do any of those things or not. There’s no rules other than an enjoyment of nudity and a recognition that mixed-gender non-sexual social nudity can be possible. Everything else is just people’s personal preferences and that’s all. Some particular naturist groups or venues have codes of conduct they expect members or guests to follow but those are just what they expect of the people they are inviting – they aren’t “rules of being a naturist”.
12. You don’t need to do a naked bike ride (and you might not want to).
The World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR), which takes place in various cities all over the world, has become a summer fixture and an institution in the past few years. A lot of naturist organisations promote the hell out of it as it shows the public that naked people are not an obscene threat to society, and a lot of places use images of the WNBR to show how men and women can socialise together nude and have fun. A lot of people take part because they are naturists (although many more participants are promoting other causes – officially it is a protest in favour of bikes and other non-petrol-based means of transport, although WNBR participants promote many causes including road safety, gay rights and body-positivity, as well as social acceptance of nakedness).
The ubiquity of the WNBR has given many new naturists the impression that it is something they should get involved with and while that is positive for WNBR, there is no compulsion for any naturist to take part if they don’t want to. I suppose many feel it is their best option because it is, for a day, an event where social nudity is acceptable, even normalised, as well as being open to all with no additional requirement beyond having a bike and being willing to strip.
But the WNBR is not a naturist event and it does not represent all that naturism is. If you are wanting to experience naturism, the WNBR may not be what you are looking for. Especially if you are new to social nudity. The WNBR takes place fully in public and any spectator can come along, which means the crowd is full of people who have come to see nudity and (in many cases) photograph it. Especially if you are a young woman. This doesn’t bother some, but to others it can make for an unpleasant experience (especially when pictures of you naked turn up on voyeur websites) and, to reiterate, going through that is not a requirement of being a naturist. Naturist events are private, secure and populated only by other naturists. Cameras are usually prohibited except for official photographers. If you are anxious about social nudity, there are a lot better places than the WNBR to experience it for the first time.
13. Don’t worry about getting aroused (it won’t happen).
This is probably more a problem for males than females but there is a lot of worry about what to do if you experience sexual arousal in a naturist environment. There is, definitely, more worry than there should be.
It won’t happen. You’ll be nervous at first and if there’s one thing that’s going to kill your chances of getting an erection, it’s nerves. By the time you get over your nerves, you will have relaxed and gotten used to the fact everyone is naked, and getting aroused won’t be a worry.
14. Whatever you do, enjoy yourself!
Originally published on the Get Naked Get Awesome Tumblr 28 Jan 2013