Self-Definition as Naturists in a Textile World

Keep Calm and Drink Tea

I have this friend on Twitter. Like myself, she occasionally posts a self portrait for her Twitter friends. Because of the nature of our universe, both of us are careful about what we expose to the world which is not always a safe place for full disclosure.

Besides Twitter and Facebook, I get to meet naturists and nudists online at the NOOK. Recently, there was a bit of discussion about photos and being a “true” naturist. According to a number of people, if you’re a true naturist you will show your whole body including your face. The site also advises that if genitals are showing without a recognisable head, the photo will be removed. Photos where genitals are cropped are taken as signs that one is not really a naturist, but perhaps a pervert who wants to hang out with real naturists to get their eye full of either male or female genitalia, the forbidden fruit.

Of course everyone is entitled to their opinions, but like most things in life, one’s self-definition is more valid than anyone else standing on the sidelines. From what I know about my friend above and myself, we are both self-declared naturists. That definition isn’t measured by how many hours of nudity we manage to fit into our busy lives, or by tan lines or their absence, or by the images we present to the world as we disclose to the world a small part of who we are as humans.

Then there is the issue of why post such photos at all? Well, for my part, it is a deliberate act of defining who I am to the world as a naturist. There is no need for you to see genitals as in this photo to the right. It’s obvious that I am fully nude. There is no need to see my friend’s face in the photo above either. The image is quite clear: she is telling the world the same message – I am a naturist.

Sunday morning sunflower.

A second reason exists for me, that of defiance in a manner that skirts around social media censorship such as Facebook where my posts get advertised. The defiance is not just in the world of social media either. People who know me in my face-to-face world get confronted with my images that often make them uncomfortable, especially given the location of many of the images that are tied to my home community. Basically everyone knows I am a naturist – I have published books which have had success in sales in my community, books that include images as well as text that disclose my preference, perhaps even need for nudity.

And then there is the issue of being exhibitionists – yes, when we as humans post images of ourselves, whether clothed or not, we are in some way, exhibitionists. We want to be seen. We want to have others see us and acknowledge us as both naturists, and as worthy human beings. As well, when there is resonance that is heard from others, our self-image grows. As self-image grows the images we put forward change. We dare being ordinary while naked rather than simply posed, an act that makes us more vulnerable.

All that being said, I am a naturist. My friend is a naturist. I am a male and she is a female. She is married with children, as am I. Our friendship is based on a shared philosophy of life as naturists, not on some distant hope for “more.” There is a trust that has grown over time. That is one of the most powerful things about naturism. With all exposed, the real person emerges making friendships authentic in spite of not having a face-to-face dimension.

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21 Responses to Self-Definition as Naturists in a Textile World

  1. sassycoupleok says:

    Nicely stated Robert, most of our best friendships are with other nudist. The trust and respect given and received insures that. Seeing each other nude or even sharing nude pics is only a small part of the equation.

    • skyclad says:

      Thank you, T. and K. I do realise that at times the psychology is “freaky” and “off-putting,” but that is also part of the package of who I am as a naturist, as a complicated human. πŸ™‚

  2. john boring says:

    thanks for your post i am also a nudists and am nude as much as possible and i am working on makeing a camp ground here at my home for my fellow nudists freinds to enjoy the freedom of being nude outside cause most are stuck in there homes cause they live in town and if they go out nude be arrested or ticketed for doing so !keep enjoying life !!

  3. Bob Dess says:

    The concept of “True Naturist” is so moot. As stated in the article, it’s in your brain. I know that some think hiding a face is a measure of your lack of honesty or adherence, but in this world it is also a good choice. Besides, why does showing or not showing a face make you more real? So many “fake pictures” are used that it’s absurd to have a standard like this.
    My general position is that full nude pictures are for close and trusted friends. I am happy to chat about family life, but sharing pictures is way too dangerous in the world of the iNet. This feeling does not make me or my now grown family less natural, just careful.

    • skyclad says:

      Being careful is very important. It is enough to risk vulnerability in our nude-phobic world, in safe spaces and places with trusted friends and family. That said, some of us just seem to push the limits to the very edges. Thanks, Bob, for your contribution to the discussion.

  4. Rick Romig says:

    I’ve been seeing the “true naturist” discussion for years on just about every online naturist forum that’s been out there. It’s usually the same arguments presented as ironclad rules. Of course, our identities as naturists are self-defined but many in these online communities tend to believe that their self-definition is the only valid definition and fail to see that other self-definitions are equally valid.

    I accept that how I define myself as a naturist may have common ground with others’ self-definitions and that’s great but many aspects of my definition will not apply to everyone, nor should they.

    • skyclad says:

      Great hearing your voice added to the discussion Rick. All that is important is what one tells oneself. All the other voices are chatter – supportive or antagonistic – one must dare to listen to the inner voice. We all have unique journeys with unique histories.

  5. Greenbare says:

    I post naked photos often. I also sometimes post photos that only show “parts.” Many who talk about “real nudists” often talk about “body acceptance.” I finally came to the conclusion that actual “body acceptance” must necessarily include acceptance of all your “parts” and even their natural functions. Otherwise you haven’t accepted your body or anyone’s body. “Nudism is about body acceptance.” So I post pictures of my body, including sometimes focused or cropped pictures of my parts.
    To escape “social media” censorship I even started posting my photos on my own photo web site.

    • skyclad says:

      Body acceptance – acceptance of one’s own body, and in doing so, accepting the reality and truth of the bodies of others. Why we post images are varied. The only measure we need to take is understanding “why” we post the particular images that we put out there. What was our motivation? For the most part we can’t honestly understand that. Whenever we think we understand, we aren’t listening to our inner psyche very well, the shadow aspect which is responsible for more than we care to admit as we want to believe we are in “control.” Thank, Greenbare.

  6. Pingback: Am I a true naturist? Yes I am. – MojoNude

  7. Nat Biss says:

    Do we really need a definition of what a “naturist” is? Is it important if it’s the same as a “nudist”? Why this obsession to tag and classify everything?
    I absolutely enjoy being naked in a quiet beach. Weather permitting, I spend most of the time at home clothesfree. Nude yoga is now part of my daily routine. I share my life and regularly post nude pics of me on social networks (I don’t usually show my genitals, but it’s not a problem when they are on view). I try to promote freedom and casual nudity online and I write a blog about the nude beaches I visit.
    But I don’t use my real name or show my face. Only my closest friends now about this part of my life.
    I don’t know if this makes me a “real naturist” or not. But I don’t care. I have my own view on naturism and it’s based on respect, not only to other people’s bodies, but also to their decisions and points of view.

    • skyclad says:

      Do we need the definition – not for others, just for ourselves so that we can have a better understanding on just who we are. How others define is is not relevant other than when they have power over us in any given moment. Self respect and respect of others is paramount. Thanks Nat.

  8. Fred Heiser says:

    I use my real name. I use my real face. Sometimes my genitalia are hanging out there in the photo, sometimes not. All depends on the purpose of the photo, the intended audience and the standards of the venue.

    I frankly don’t give a damn what someone else might do with my photos. I have no financial interest in my image (unlike a celebrity might) and I am much too old to be of any interest to a child predator. My kids have been out of high school for 6 years now so they can’t even be embarrassed by their friends with them. The place I retired from, everyone knew I was a nudist/naturist/nudie/freehiker/clothing optional/gymnophile. or what other terms you may want. If you were someone who was noticably bothered by it, you’d never get very close to me.

    When people try to tell me what a good nudist ought to do and be, I ignore them. My dream is of a day when being nude is just another fashion choice. My dream is my definition.

    • skyclad says:

      Thanks, Fred, for your participation here and telling it as you see it. Nude as just another fashion choice is a good dream. Will we see it in our life times? Somehow, I doubt it.

    • Greenbare says:

      I like your attitude Fred.

      In some real ways we have to act “as if” nude is just another fashion choice, and then get seriously offended if someone calls us “indecent” or some other misanthropic or misandrist slur. To be legitimate a law that punishes any citizen has to have a “Compelling Public Interest” such as preventing actual harm to other citizens.

      There is NO “Compelling public interest” to take away freedom and criminalize any citizen who chooses not to hide himself from view. Nobody is ever harmed by seeing another member of his or her own species. Someone’s butthurt is not a compelling public interest.

  9. Pingback: Self-Definition as Naturists in a Textile World – The Discerning Nudist

  10. Pip says:

    Where/how can I join the Nook to meet other naturists on line? I haven’t previously heard of this.

  11. Dan Carlson says:

    Thanks for this thoughtful piece that expresses, very well, what I’ve tried to articulate about “naturist identities” for a long time. I, like you, have a career that dovetails with education and publication. In additional to what you already mentioned, I’ve always been concerned about my professional publications becoming entangled with my personal naturist writings. Could muddy up the waters a good bit on somebody’s spring research project.

    I reposted a link to your post on my website. I hope that’s OK. πŸ™‚

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