So many people don’t know the difference between nudism and exhibitionism. Both display a naked body, or in the case of exhibitionism it could be parts of a body, usually genitals, but there is a vast gap between the underlying ideas of the two.
An exhibitionist will expose himself or herself amidst clothed people in order to provoke or shock them. The idea is that the exhibitionist is sexually aroused by that.
This what Wikipedia has to say about it: “Exhibitionism is the act of exposing in a public or semi-public context those parts of one’s body that are not normally exposed – for example, the breasts, genitals or buttocks. The practice may arise from a desire or compulsion to expose themselves in such a manner to groups of friends or acquaintances, or to strangers for their amusement or sexual satisfaction or to shock the bystander.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exhibitionist -December 2013-)
When we look at the online Encyclopedia Britannica: “exhibitionism, derivation of sexual gratification through compulsive display of one’s genitals. Like voyeurism, sexual display is almost universal as a prelude to sexual activity in animals, including humans; it is regarded as deviant behaviour when it takes place outside the context of intimate sexual relations. Exhibitionists are usually not dangerous, although the experience is frequently perceived by the victim as threatening; violence or sexual assault seldom follows the display.” (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/198064/exhibitionism -December 2013-)
When we compare that to Wikipedia‘s first words on nudism, we see quite a big difference:
“Naturism or nudism is a cultural and political movement practising, advocating and defending social nudity in private and in public. It may also refer to a lifestyle based on personal, family and/or social nudism.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nudism -December 2013-)
Or again, the Encyclopedia Britannica: “nudism, also called naturism, the practice of going without clothes, generally for reasons of health or comfort. Nudism is a social practice in which the sexes interact freely but commonly without engaging in sexual activities.” (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/422093/nudism -December 2013-)
There is no mention of compulsion or sexual satisfaction in either description of nudism, just as there is no mention of culture, a social activity, or lifestyle in exhibitionism.
Nudists and naturists don’t seek to shock people. Yes, they like to be naked, but that is for their personal good, not for others to stare at or be shocked by intentionally. They don’t want to ‘exhibit themselves’. That would be quite difficult considering that they would do that in a group that’s already naked. An exhibitionist wouldn’t stand much chance in a nudist setting. Any attempt to try something sexual in a nudist setting will usually be dealt with quickly.