Nudists are inadvertently very sex negative. But they shouldn’t be.
Nudism, simply defined, is the practice of nonsexual social and recreational nudity.
The phrase “nudism is not sexual”² is found on every legitimate source of information concerning the topic of nudism. It’s a fact stated in every article written about the lifestyle. It’s in the rules posted for every clothing optional venue. It’s practically the mantra of all nudist organizations, large and small. By far and away, it’s the most common rhetorical defense of nude recreation.
Before going any further, I’d like to take a moment to establish that this claim is one hundred percent true. I want to be totally clear about that: nudism is not a sexual activity. Absolutely nothing written here should be interpreted in any way as being in opposition to that premise.
Nudists typically enjoy things like skinny dipping, sunbathing, and potlucks. Nudist resorts host events like 5k runs, volleyball tournaments, and karaoke nights. None of these activities are even remotely sexual in nature. The reason that nudists do these and other activities in the nude is simply that they enjoy the comfort and sense of freedom that comes from being without clothes. They’re not participating in clothing optional activities in order to see or be seen. Nudists do nothing in public view that one normally would not with the exception of being nude. Normal, every day, non-sexual activities don’t become sexual just because they’re being done sans clothing.
Sex is a behavior, not a state of dress. It’s an intentional act with the purpose of arousing and pleasuring oneself or others. Nudists lack any such intent.
So why do nudists feel like they have to repeatedly state this simple axiom about our lifestyle?
The answer is because no matter the reality of what nudism is and what nudists do, it’s still very common misunderstanding among the general public. Most people only experience nudity around others in sexual contexts, such as between a couple in their bedroom, or in pornography, or at a strip club where it’s clearly meant to tease and entice. This leads many to the mistaken belief that social nudity always has a sexual purpose.
Consequently many people form an objection against social nude recreation which goes like this:
“Nudism is wrong because you’re all a bunch of sexual deviants!”
To which nudists answer:
“Actually, nudism isn’t sexual at all, so it’s not wrong.”
Hence why the phrase is so common across nudist media; it’s an attempt to address the most likely objection someone might have to nudism.
Original publication 26 July, 2017
Posted on NatCorn 15th January 2021
Reference to an article does not infer endorsement of any views expressed.