Is there a difference? I know that in most of the US of A the words are used interchangeably.
I also know that in Europe, for instance, the two words are used differently. Naturism appeared after nudism. I’ve been thinking about those two words recently.
Thoughts on the difference.
Nudism. The word has ‘nude’ as its base. Being nude. Like the people in the image on the right, playing bowling, having a clothes free, good time. Great for them, and if you’d ask me I’d join them in an instant. For one it’s a great way to be socially nude, and for another it would be nice to practice bowling again. (I truly suck at it.)
Naturism. The word has ‘nature’ at its base. Being with/part of nature, like the people
on the left. Naked in nature, being part of it and experiencing it that way. Exposing themselves to the real, rough world in their own vulnerability. It’s a way to get things into perspective.
An average human, in clothing (be it protective or not), will consider himself or herself master of the world, maybe because we’ve conquered just about everything. How untrue such a statement is when you’re naked and perhaps even afraid!
We’ve not conquered things. We’re adjusting them – and often with disastrous results, like the acid rain the world faced and still faces, climate change, and earthquakes that happen because we empty the earth below us from fossil fuels.
Can you be a nudist and a naturist?
I think that’s perfectly possible. Being naked in and around your house, whenever that’s possible, makes you a nudist (in my view at least). Enjoying the outside in the nude, being close to and having respect for nature (one of the pillars of naturism according to the INF) makes you a naturist.
More and more I feel like dropping all those words and labels. Be who you really are. Be naked and nude and a nudist and a naturist and clothes-free. As long as you feel good about it and you don’t intend to shock others when you’re in your natural state.
It’s so odd if you think about it. Nude swimming. Who in their right mind would put on clothes to go swimming?
Oh. Right. People would do this.
On your left you see original Victorian bathing suits. Can you imagine the agony of having to haul all that around while you’re trying to swim?
I’ve researched this for my book ‘The Unsworth Manor Nudes‘ (available on Amazon) and not only did they have these amounts of cloth hanging around them, the ladies even utilized ‘bathing machines’. Wagons that rolled into the water so people couldn’t see any skin (what skin?).
My first time
The first time I swam au naturel was at a sauna-like place. They had heated pools inside and out, and I went there with a few friends in the middle of a serious winter. The sensation was incredible, especially when getting out of the water. I’m sure that most nude-swimmers will understand and recognise that. If ever you have the opportunity to do this, do it. Swimming outside when there’s snow all around is incredible.
Another expression I wonder about is ‘skinny dipping’. I call that swimming. Putting on clothes to swim is just odd. Nobody will wonder what you’re trying to conceal beneath those bits of fabric. The only proper way to swim is still naked, as far as I’m concerned. Getting out of the water with wet fabric hanging off you (and showing everything that’s beneath it very often!) feels bad and cold.
Anyone in favour of swimwear? Please let me know the big advantage of it!
Damned right they go together. Hiking is a good thing. It means you’re outside, walking, being active, being kind to your body.
Fresh air is good for a person and for one’s skin. Makes sense then that exposing as much skin as possible is the way to go for hikers. Most hikers don’t, which is sad and their loss.
Vitamin D is best taken in through the skin, soaking up sunlight. What nicer way can you think of?
For a decent hike it’s advisable, I think, to be safe. Wear something sensible unless you are one of the barefoot-forever people.
I’m not one of them. I like decent footwear. To each their own. I’ve seen people negotiate a gorge on Crete on flip-flops, so whatever wiggles your toes goes.
Easy does it.
Whatever you feel your goal is, it’s good. Is half a mile a hike for you? Great. Do you go for the big ones, 10 miles of more? Great. There’s no need to overdo things. Take what your body can handle. If your body likes it, it will motivate you to go a little further next time. This is general knowledge, not limited to nude hiking, by the by. It’s easy to go too far, get hurt and demotivated. Be smart about yourself; you’ll enjoy hiking for much longer.
Where can you hike freely? I know that people in big cities pull the short straw here. I pity you. Also I can’t offer advice to everyone around the globe as I haven’t been all around the globe to see what your situation is. Sorry, lack of money, time and knowledge of where you all are is to blame. 😉
I’ve taken long, naked hikes on several of the Canary Islands. It’s great to be there and be able to do that. I’ve also made long, nude hikes in England. I’ve found that when there is a place with lots of forests, there’s an opportunity to go naked.
Maybe not all the way but there’s more opportunity than many people assume there is. A big thing over here in Europe is NEWT, an event where a group of people hike through Austria in the nude for an entire week. Here’s a video report of one such events for you:
Maybe you get inspired by this. Look for places. Scout them out if you have to. And hike naked when you can. It’s so much better than in clothes.
The following experience was sent to my by Colin. Thanks, Colin, for offering this article!
Naturist Adventure Weekend
Despite it being August, the weather in our part of England decided to be very pleasant for a whole weekend. So LL and I planned a little adventure. We enjoy finding out-of-the-way places for swimming, sunning and generally hanging out – nude, of course. We have a guidebook to “wild swimming” places and decided to spend some time locating, and hopefully sampling, two or three of them. So we packed a couple of towels, some bottles of water and very little else and set off after an early lunch on Saturday.
The first destination was about 40 minutes drive away – a stretch of river, by a common, which was described as quiet and secluded. Following the instructions was challenging. We were on the correct road with the river to our left. It said to look out for a footpath sign. We counted five, all pointing in the correct kind of direction. We parked and chose the middle one. We needed to cross a couple of fields and followed the river upstream. Eventually, we could see that the river would be accessible ahead and figured that we had found the right place. Initially, we were dismayed as there was a man, sitting reading on a seat at the top of the bank.
We did not want an audience, so went closer to see what the actual riverside looked like. There was a little beach area, as we had hoped. At one end was a lady, who turned out to be the man’s wife, sunbathing nude. Of course, we then went down there and had a dip in the river. The lady and her husband also sampled the water. I got into conversation with them. It was their first visit to the spot, as they were exploring in exactly the way that we were. While we were standing around chatting, still nude obviously, some more people arrived – a woman and two young boys. LL spoke with the woman, who seemed quite unconcerned about us. The boys were more interested in investigating the water. In due course, we bid our farewells and headed off to find our next venue. On the way back, we found the better footpath, so our next visit will be easier.
The second place we looked for was some distance downstream on the same river and much closer to our home. The parking place being a 15 minute drive from our house. From this spot, it was a 20 minute walk along the river to reach the designated location. It was quite out of the way, some distance from the road, with just a small campsite nearby. We made our way down to the beach, which was idyllic in the late afternoon sun. The sole occupant of the beach was a middle-aged lady in a frumpy swimsuit. LL went to chat with her and learned that she worked at the nearby campsite. While they were talking, another bikini-clad woman appeared, accompanied by her two cute dogs and, I guessed, as I heard a voice just around the corner, her husband. LL came back to me and we discussed what to do. LL thought she might just go topless – leaving me to wonder what was “safe”. Yet another woman appeared and was talking to the first one. She changed into her swimsuit in a very practical way – just took off her clothes and put on her suit, with no messing with hiding behind a towel. We took this as a good sign – they were clearly not totally afraid of a little nudity. LL and I took off our clothes and waded into the water, by which time the two women had also got in.
Under these circumstances – going nude where nobody else is – there can be three possible outcomes. Most often, nobody seems to care and you are just ignored. Very occasionally someone will be upset – this is obviously what one fears and wishes to avoid. The third outcome is best of all: everyone else joins in. The two ladies came out of the water to remove their swimsuits and got back in. The bikini lady and her husband swam around the corner, both nude too. Another lady appeared, spoke briefly to the first two, took off her clothes and got into the water. Eventually there were 7 people [and two dogs] and not a swimsuit in sight. The #3 lady got out of the water at a similar time to us and she went off [back to the campsite] just wrapped in her towel. We dried and dressed and, as we were leaving, the #2 lady was sitting on the sand nude, just enjoying the sunshine. It is interesting how, sometimes, it is just a matter of someone being the first to get naked. I felt that it was LL’s “bravery” that enabled everyone else to be uninhibited and thoroughly enjoy the experience.
On Sunday, we headed for another place on a different river. It took 45 minutes or so to reach the parking spot, which we found easily. It was then about 400m to walk to a bridge over the river. We then walked for a while, following the meandering river. We saw a couple of possible bathing/sunning places, but the instructions promised us better if we kept going. After about 30 minutes, we found the place. It was a very sharp meander with lots of beach. The water was cold, but both shallow and deeper areas were to be found. We spent quite a while nude in and around the water. From the time we had left the car, we never saw another person – and this was beautiful accessible countryside on a lovely weekend afternoon. Where was everybody? I even hiked back most of the way nude quite confidently. Eventually we did see someone, quite close to the car, asleep by the river.
All in all it was a very successful and pleasant weekend. All three places were great and we will probably return to them all [as well as seek others]. In many ways, the one nearest to our home was the most enjoyable. Although solitude and isolation can be good, like-minded company is often better. The opportunity to introduce others to naturism or simply facilitate it in a relaxed way is a true pleasure.
Let’s be honest: in most parts of western Europe this winter’s a laugh if it wasn’t such a sad thing.
Many people think that naturism and winter doesn’t mix. I’ll grant you that many opportunities aren’t the best during winter, but with a proper winter when there’s snow and a day with sunshine, there are still things you can do. For instance you could go for a hike:
It may sound mad but if there’s no wind this is actually quite nice.
If there’s a proper winter and some lake around you could also do this:
I’m not entirely certain if I’d be into this, although I’ve once participated in a frosty New Year’s dive. These things are fun to do.
This year’s winter is a never-ending rain shower combined with too much wind. The combination makes it very unlikely that (m)any naturists go out for hikes, walks or so, as the temperatures aren’t up to level for that. Roll on, summer. I can live with you.
Since launching the Gaia Project in 2011 Orly Faya has painted people into landscapes all around the world.
Each ‘merging’ as she refers to the body paintings is a unique experience for both the subject and the artist.