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Love, Romance, Intimacy and Naturism


Love, Romance, Intimacy and Naturism

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Many naturists have for years been frustrated by the confusion that in many non-naturist eyes nudity equates to sex. An ironic idea because so often in the world sex does not equate to nudity.

Dress up clothes are sold for sexual situations. People dress to look sexual and attract attention. They were revealing clothes and seductive clothes. Sexual attackers can stereotypically and disgracefully claim that the clothes the victim was wearing were asking for trouble. Garments exist for use “in the bedroom,” sexual connections in public are seldom without clothes, sexually abusive situations seldom involve full nudity and in films the clothes and the partial mutual removal of them are usually an integral part of the sexualised scene. Quite often the characters will still have some items of clothing on during the scene and in the morning scene that follows.


So why do we find ourselves defending the idea that nudity does not equal sex? Partly because of those mutual undressing scenes in films. Partly because people who have not tried naturism can find it hard to get their heads around an experience they haven't sampled. So they look for a definition with what they already know. Nudity for the average person happens when getting dressed or undressed in the bedroom or bathroom, in a medical examination or for sexual reasons. Why is it so hard to imagine that there is another purpose to being naked? Partly because the idea of covering up and being clothed is such a huge part of the everyday experience that it is placed with almost as much importance as breathing, eating and drinking. Being dressed has become part of being human. Most importantly, ensuring that certain parts of you are always covered. Those parts that are linked to our sexuality. Parts that are jokingly and also damagingly called our “naughty bits.” Exposing them become connected to the embarrassment of medical examination, the purpose of washing and dressing and links to sex. The media uses nudity to sell films or products. We use it to attract shocking attention. Flashers, exhibitionists, even naked events for protests or awareness exist primarily to attract publicity. Naked bikes rides or naked runs to raise money for charity may help to encourage a more relaxed attitude towards nudity but if being naked wasn't shocking for many then these events would go unnoticed and that the point is they want to be noticed.


So for most people naturism is something they cannot imagine. We breathe air because we need to. We understand that, if some people suggested their was another reason for breathing people would be sceptical, just as they are with naturism. The truth is though that breathing is something that is worked on. We hold our breath in horrible situations, we control our breathing in sports and relaxation. We stand on mountains and take deep breaths. Just taste that air. Nudity is an every day occurrence. Naturism is more akin to washing and dressing. Than exhibitionism, medical examinations or sexual intimacy. That is what non-naturists don't understand. Imagine dressing or undressing and then freezing that moment. The moment of being comfortably naked and the body being free. Imagine that refreshing moment in the bath or shower. Your body is relaxed, you are comfortable in your nudity and at ease. Take that moment and feeling and convert that into everyday life, take it into the home, into the garden or onto the beach. That is naturism. Take your comfort in your own nudity and place it into a social setting. A hard thing to imagine maybe for some, but imagine how nice it would be to fine that comfort that you have by yourself with others. How rewarding an experience that could be. Naturism is taking the natural side of everyday nudity out onto the mountain top and breathing in and tasting the world. Not just in your lungs but throughout your whole body and mind. This is maybe not to hard for the average non -naturist to imagine. Most people remember the joy of running around naked as a child. In the house, the bedroom, the garden, the bathroom maybe even the beach. It was nothing more than just enjoying being alive, being natural, as simple as breathing.


The problem is that most people don't take the time to think, and just grab the easiest answer. Nudity equals sex. The media encourages them and their time on the internet confirms it. So naturists keep on repeating the denial, hoping that the message will sink in. The problem is that Shakespeare encouraged us to consider that people who protest too much are covering something up. Does making the announcement “No Porn” on social media encourage or discourage sexual sharers to your profile. Many people misuse the words “naturism” and “nudism” on the internet so that just encourages the sexual connections to our lifestyle. A minority of people misbehave on beaches and in dunes, they may not be naturists but they damage the reputation of naturism. Some self proclaimed naturists and nudists actually state that the want to distance naturism from sex is damaging to sexual liberation, freedom of expression, freedom of choice and as puritanical as covering up the dining table legs during Victorian times.


What they fail to consider is that their so called liberated attitude is actually just fuelling the sexualisation of the human body that made aspects of society shocked by table legs in the first place. It feeds the desire for porn, it sends people to the strip clubs, it encourages damaging attitudes towards our bodies – which at worse results in abuse. The internet would not fear nudity if it wasn't constantly sexualised.. Naturism would not exist as a movement or a lifestyle or even a word if society hadn't become fearful of its own shadow in the first place.


Naturism has never been able to be simply about being natural naked, because it only exists as a sensible reaction to societies growing fear of the human body and its concerns that the average person was becoming so immoral that we needed extreme censorship. It is the censorship itself that feeds perversion and encourages sexual sharing on the internet. It is the results of censorship that not only has us swimming in ridiculous costumes Each new year opens to new interpretations of words, ideas, attitudes that have been logged from previous events.


When Donna Reed calls up to her mother that Jimmy Stewart is making passionate love to her in the living room in It's a Wonderful Life, it was funny, her mother's only concern was that she wanted “Mary” to date a more successful man. In years to come a film would not choose such a description because the idea would be much more physically intimate. Naturism today is not what naturism would have been 400 years ago, because of the events of the past 400 years. The idea of naturism didn't exist as a term even though people would have been naked on beaches and in rivers, and washed in front of the fire and dressed in front of the family. Traditional attitude reflect in customs that today wouldn't be invented. Could anyone imagine creating symbolism for the breaking of the hymen in a wedding in today's society or the bride and groom's first night together being of such social interest as it was in centuries gone by. Although, today, it may be something the couple chose to record and show on Twitter.


So naturism today is not something that it was 100 years ago, let alone prior to that. As naturists we have to contend with the highly sensitive and much trended fear of child abuse. Child abuse isn't a new crime, but never has it been discussed so much. “Paedo” is a playground insult among today's young children. As naturists we have to tread a line between showing that naturism is a family friendly lifestyle, not showing that there is something wrong with children being naked (which there is certainly not) but also not encouraging people who get kicks from children being naked considering naturism as a source for their issues.


We have to consider that no matter how we see nudity, others will see it differently. A naked person standing on a beach, or promoting naturism on the internet, though completely non-sexual to a naturist may be a big thrill to a non-naturist. It is small wonder that women are careful about promoting naturism on line. Many non-naturist men think that it has to be an invitation for sexual sharing. The disrespectful attitude of others towards nudity, the human body, and in particularly women, is the biggest hurdle naturism has in front of it. While naturism isn't common place it will attract attention, but for it to become common place it has to stop attracting attention. A catch-22 situation.


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but so is sexualisation. In years gone by paintings and sculptures involving nudity. Like The Kiss have been controversial because of an idea that they show eroticism. That really depends on your own minds eye interpretation. That can be greatly distorted by society, but it is also a matter of your own personal feeling. Is there anything more sexual about Rodin's The Kiss just because they are naked? Naturists may not think so, non-naturists with their already tainted view of nudity probably will.


When it comes to love, romance and intimacy within naturism we have to stand our ground that naturism is basically normal life but choosing to not wear clothes, but we also have to bear in mind that non-naturists already consider nudity a shocking and sexual thing.


The simplest solution can be to simply deny that romance and attraction exists within naturism but that can lead to people either considering that naturism deadens the emotions or we are covering up. Naturism is actually about awakening the emotions and being uncovered.


The most realistic way is to remember that naturism is natural, normal and healthy and is suitable for all and behave accordingly. Basically what we would expect in normal social gatherings of mixed genders, ages and tastes is how we should be guided. Anti-social behaviour in dressed life is still anti-social behaviour in naturism. That can be behaviour on all levels – aggression, pollution, political – and of course, sexually. You would be told to get lost if you pestered someone in a dressed situation so why should a naked situation encourage unwanted attention. However, striking up conversations in polite and non-forceful ways can also work in both situations. The trick in all interactions is reading people's reaction and respecting them. If body language, or spoken language clearly asks you to back off then do it no matter what the clothing situation.


This attitude of behaving normally should work the other way. Photographs in naturist situations should be fine, as long as good behaviour towards strangers is followed. Similarly with relationships. As a couple we will hold hands, kiss and cuddle in any situation. At a family gathering, in a park, on a street. As a family we may all walk hand in hand and be attentive and caring. Why should that be different within naturism. If naturism is normal life without clothes then it shouldn't be. If you are behaving in a way that is not shocking to strangers, or family or your children in a dressed situation then why not in naturism?


If you are behaving in a way that may go past that, and have someone call out “Go get a room!” Then it would cross the boundary within naturism too. The internet is full of arguments that naturism should be more open to sexual encounters in the dunes, men celebrating their arousal, photographs of people with their legs at obtuse angles, images concentrating on genitalia. But none of this is part of every day acceptable life, so how can it be part of naturism? Sometimes men can get aroused through the most natural of circumstances, and people should be able to lie in any comfortable way – but making a big deal about it isn't natural. If a man gets aroused while wearing clothes he will not strut about saying “Look at the bulge in my trousers.” No he will sit in a way that allows for minimal attention. It is all about attitude and intention. No one would sensibly create a Twitter profile with an image of their middle body in a pair of jeans, so to do so when naked is likewise not acting naturally so why do it. Naturism is not about saying look my genitals are uncovered or my breasts are out. It is about saying that it is alright to be naked and the genitals and breasts are just a small part of that.


The problem is that some people do like sexually sharing, do pester, do abuse, do have connections in the dunes. This is not naturism. This is people being inappropriate and it is disrespectful to most of society. Some of these people may be naturists many will not. These things happen in non-naturist places as well as naturist places. Naturism shouldn't be tarnished by the behaviour of a small minority, just as non-naturist are not tarnished by them. Some people argue that sexual connections are natural, this is true, and maybe if humanity had gone down different paths having sexual connections with people in front of others may have been the norm. But the world has gone down the path it has and sex is something that is commonly recognised as something that is a private affair and not something that society will accept as suitable. The people who do this do it for their own reasons and that is not to promote naturism. For naturism to ever become more widely accepted it has to be understood as being in tune with the commonly accepted behaviour of other but with the sole difference that clothes are not always needed and the body in itself isn't shameful. It is how we all behave whether naked or dressed that is either suitable or shameful. So it is understandable that we naturists tread carefully. While naked we can also appear to be a little more vulnerable. So a lone woman on a naturist beach may find a well meant bit of attention a little more of a threat than she may on a non-naturist beach. It shouldn't be that way, but as mentioned before we are carrying the lessons learnt in life over generations. While men still lust after women on the internet or in topless bars, women will continue to be a little wary in all situations, and the more vulnerable the situation the more wary. So we should bare that in mind. We should be able to act completely as we would while dressed, but bearing in mind the tastes of others, we should be tactful. Maybe just moving that line between public and private intimacy across by about 5%. Because maybe the mere fact that you are naked, encourages society to exaggerate everything you do a little anyway. As naturists we ask non-naturists to accept our nudity as suitable. To trust us. We should never betray that trust by then acting in a way that is unsuitable once those clothes are removed. But that doesn't mean we cannot act suitably normal. We see on social media “normalise naturism/nudism/nudity” the whole idea is rather crazy at it suggests nudity is not normal in the first place. Nudity is more normal and natural than being covered. The simplest way to show society this is to fit in with all the other aspects of acceptable behaviour that modern society expects from clothed people.


Do kiss, do cuddle, do lie in each others arms, do be romantic, do rub you partners neck or feet or rub sun lotion on each other, be like any caring loving couple. Love is about caring and respect. Romance is about adventure - what could be more romantic than sharing life's adventure together? If it is suitable behaviour in front of your parents, your children, strangers and friends – then how can it not be suitable for naturism? Intimacy is about sharing close connections. Naturism is about recognising that we can be innocently, positively and healthily naked without offending any sensible person. They may not chose naturism themselves but shouldn't find the idea offensive. Rodin's The Kiss would be pretty tame stuff if the couple were naked, it is just a kiss. If a couple kissed like that on a beach either naturist or non-naturist then there would be no big deal, but if they continued kissing for some time, they may cross a line of acceptability in people's eyes quicker while naked than while in a swimwear. Ideally, it should not make a difference but the world isn't ideal, if it was then being socially naked would just be a casual and normal part of everyone's lives.

Thanks for reading - Steve and Anna.

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Anna and Steve have shared over 150 articles and blog posts on and write regularly for naturist publications. If you would like to collaborate with them on any naturist / nudist promotional activity or quote from any of their work please contact them via email at [email protected]