This is probably something people will never agree on. Should clothing optional be a thing?
I think that clothing optional is a nice idea but that it will never work to make naturism more accepted.
The social pressure, instilled onto almost everyone of us from a very young age, to wear clothes ‘or else’ is something that most people won’t ever shed of lose.
At best, clothing optional places are good for when people in and out of clothes are very happy and comfortable together, disregarding the fact that some are dressed and some are nude. It sounds very simple. But it isn’t.
Why is it that people in some prisons are stripped naked while their guards stay in uniform? To make a difference. You may say, “I’m a naturist, I couldn’t care less”, but that’s just the physical part. The psychological part is there, whether you want it or not. The naked person is the exposed one, the one who can’t hide anything (regardless if you want to or not – you have no option), while the clothed one is ‘in control’. Because of our textile conditioning that’s always there, no matter how you twist or turn it. (Again, excepting the lucky few, this is the last time I will add this, so remember that 😉
Folks in bathing suits will usually feel just a bit ‘better’ about themselves, because they are following the ‘civilised’ guidelines of wearing clothes. Even at the beach, no matter how ridiculous those things are, and no matter how open-minded they are towards nudity and naturism.
One of my sayings is “when everyone’s nude, no one is nude”. This creates equality. A nude banker is as nude as a nude construction worker or a nude astronaut. There is no equality in bathing suits vs nude people, and also – wait for it – no equality among bathing suit wearers. There will always be people with more expensive, fancier, more modern bathing suits than others, and so there is the social divide again that (my idea of) naturism aims to remove.
That’s why I think clothing optional will never really work.
13 thoughts on “Clothing optional?”
This is a difficult subject, I agree. Personally, I think that CO is generally OK. I almost never wear anything when I swim and enjoy having the company of other skinny dippers. However, sometimes I am the only nude person and, being aware that my clothed companions are fine with my nudity, I am quite relaxed.
It is good if others aren’t making a fuss. As long as no one makes trouble, good luck to you!
Yet most places one might want to be nude will NEVER be restricted to nudists. Clothing optional is the only way we can enjoy pubic beaches and long trails and hot springs.
Sometimes you have to play with the cards you get, indeed.
Clothing should be optional everywhere, ideally.
But I’ll settle for it being optional in places like swimming pools, beaches, and places like that until more people come to their senses.
I’m opposed to mandating nudity as much as I’m opposed to mandating clothing. Governments shouldn’t do either.
I do however see your point. It’s bloody hard to get people to understand that you’re not a “pervert” or “immoral” simply because of your mode of dress, or lack thereof.
Growing up in a very conservative household in the 1970s I know all too well how even hairstyle could condemn you to being considered a bad person if it didn’t fit in the prescribed pattern, and clothing was even worse (and often still is).
I think you touched an important thing.
The main vision is always from the clothed party, not from the nude one.
We’re the perverts. They’re not the idiots wearing stuff when it’s warm or unnecessary…
Clothing optional is sort of a damned if you do, damned if you do not kinda sitch and your points are perfectly valid but clothing optional sort of allows those either not quite ready or not willing to enjoy a naturist life the permission via social contract for nudity. We are social animals whether we want to admit it or not and having approval of our peers fills us with a sense of community.
This could, for a small few be a sort of experiment-phase, a toe dipping into the water for them which normalises the normalness of being nude and helps to break down the societal taboo barriers of it. I will say this though, the two peeps i have successfully introduced into the naturist life have not just dipped their toes in the water with C/O, but have embraced the challenge and dove right in and the results speak for themselves, but others experiences may vary ofc…
Perhaps different strokes for different folks maybe? Good discussion either way : )
Somehow missed this when it came out……
When an area has been designated Clothing Optional (c/o), it makes not wearing clothes a rule-abiding activity. I.e. being nude is now officially sanctioned. Yes, I’m aware this is ridiculous but it seems to me that’s how many people think. Labelling/framing is important. People who might like to criticize no longer have ‘right’ on their side. It might give American guys the courage to stop wearing bloomers and at least wear something with less fabric. It might give women the encouragement they need to go topless. I can see this as sticking their toe in.
People who stick their toe in can now tell any detractors, “Hey, I’m following the rules. I don’t even have to wear what little I’m wearing now.” Another benefit is that younger people will see for themselves that being nude is not an event at all, much less one worthy of pearl-clutching.
Honestly, I’m with Elise on this. Anything that normalizes nudity is a step in the right direction. And if baby steps under the imprimatur of “Clothing Optional” is what people need, why not make that opportunity available.
Ta @Anton, you said what i wanted to say but more succinctly and eloquently lol 🙂 In the end we must remember while we are sentient and have a consciousness which seperates us from other animals, we are animals ourselves following subtle instinctive subconscious actions quite a bit so leveraging that and giving “permission”
detractors will say we’re trying to “gateway-drug” or influence people to walk our path though they’d be wrong. You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him take his saddle off hehe 😀 The social contract is responsible for some of the best and worst things in society. Its not going anywhere, so why not use it for good? Its not manipulation, its freedom & in the end thats all everyone really wants when it comes down to it : )
My 2 cents on the sentence “The naked person is the exposed one, the one who can’t hide anything (regardless if you want to or not – you have no option), while the clothed one is ‘in control’.”:
I feel quite the opposite in clothing optional situations: the naked person is the confident one who doesn’t need to hide anything, while the clothed ones are keeping a lower profile in comparison.
An example: At a weeklong yoga event I frequent, there’s a beach next to our camp grounds. About half of us are naked at the beach and being so enhances my self esteem. That doesn’t mean that I think any less of others who stay dressed, of course, but if I would be dressed myself, I’d miss out on the self confidence boost brought by not hiding anything.
I’m very glad with your experience and contribution. Thank you.
It’s good to know/see that there are nude people who manage to have / hold / keep the upper hand.
I should add that I didn’t have the courage to go to a nude-only beach, so my first experience of public nudity was at a clothing optional beach. Since there was no pressure to get naked, I was comfortable going there. It was possible to take one step at a time. After some time getting used to the place, I was ready to tan naked but had shorts going to and from the sea. Soon, I went naked to/from the sea and by the end of the day, I had become so at ease with the situation that I took a long walk along the beach.
So, clothing optional was my gateway to beach nudity.
Which goes to show that nothing is all bad or all good. What works for one may not be the way for someone else.
I’m glad for you that you managed to get into nudity / nudism / naturism / clothes-free beach visits that way. 🙂