How controversial is naturism?

I go nude at home. Doesn't everyone?

Nope. In fact, being a practicing naturist at home, or in other private settings, is rather controversial, especially in many or most areas of the U. S. Yes, no doubt millions of people, most of whom probably don’t even consider themselves naturists or nudists, do go naked around their homes. Often others in the families do also.

But, unfortunately, even several million people in the U. S. (with a population of around 320 million) make up a fairly small minority. Habitual nudity in families or even in private groups of naturists can be quite controversial.

First example. Here’s a recent article, Should You Get Naked Around Your Kids to Help Their Body Image? The author, a man, is fairly comfortable being naked at home. But he still has concerns:

As someone who is both male and grew up in a house where my parents wouldn’t put on robes until they felt like it (my mother would watch TV in her underwear; my dad would prance around the house in bikini briefs bought on sale at K-Mart), I can’t say it did much for my self-esteem. While I’m happy to wander around naked (too happy, some might say), I’m also self-conscious about my flaws. Not because I’m uncomfortable with nudity, but because, like in my household, I’m always worried that not having clothes on opens me up to criticism—and it does, often, no matter how much practice you’ve had at it. [Emphasis added]

Second example. A naturist group in Southern California – Huntington Beach, to be specific – had been using a municipal pool for members-only naturist swims for about 8 years, with tacit approval from facility and public officials. Clothing-optional swims for naturist groups in municipal pools are common in Europe, of course. Sometimes there are even regularly scheduled times when the general public can enjoy the pools naked.

But a few months ago a new city attorney was hired in Huntington Beach, and he quickly banned the naturist swims, based on an existing but ambiguous city ordinance against “public” nudity. Although the swims were private, being members-only, the facility was publicly owned – thus (according to the new attorney) justifying application of the existing ordinance, which had originally been adopted for entirely different reasons.

It seems that few people had objected to the swims for the past 8 years, including employees at the pool itself. For example:

Former HB lifeguard Keri Boyd emphasized on the city’s Facebook page that no one was ever forced to work the event. “They don’t schedule you to work these events,” she wrote. “It’s a private event, so it is posted in the office as an extra shift to pick up to earn more mula $$$ . . . It never bothered me when I was working. I never felt like it was a distraction from my job to have people swimming naked. ‘Oh, no, not a boob!’ ‘Oh, no, not a penis!’ ‘Oh, no, not a hairy muff!’ We’ve all seen genitalia before. Just a bunch of nudists doin’ their nudist thang and livin’ their life!”

But as soon as the banning of naturist swims became news, so that the general public learned about the swims, probably for the first time, a lot of negative reactions to the swims surfaced in the community:

On the same Facebook thread in which Boyd had urged people to get past their junior-high attitudes, her post was joined by those who were concerned that naked people in a pool were less hygienic than those wearing swimsuits, as if a $20 pair of trunks from Target were some kind of magical block between body and water. Then there were those who, upon learning of the event, said they were concerned that it took place just blocks from a public school; never mind that the events took place in the evening and on the weekend, when no kids are supposed to be at the school.

The objections, obviously, are ridiculous. But people will rationalize their prejudices in any way they can.

There’s an unfortunate tendency to “explain” the negative prejudices on the grounds that most people mistakenly equate nudity and sexuality. It is true that this blanket equation is as common as it is mistaken. But the problem is deeper than that. The Huntington Beach example shows there’s no evidence at all of overt sexual behavior at the naturist swims. (That’s a common excuse used for banning nudity at beaches that have been clothing-optional for decades.) It seems that nudity itself is still just too controversial.

This entry was posted in General naturism, Naked living, Political issues, Questions and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to How controversial is naturism?

  1. casuallybuff says:

    All so very true. Great article.

  2. Pingback: How controversial is naturism? | CasuallyBuff

  3. Bill Bowser says:

    If public nudity were more common it would probably not be so controversial. This is one of the few issues where those who are the most ignorant get to make the decisions.

  4. Pingback: How controversial is naturism? | Nudie News

  5. Naturist Fab says:

    As part of two Naturist groups in Nova Scotia Canada we often rent a local pool for Saturday evening swims and the management and staff (lifeguards) have no issue with it.

    I have told many of my friends and family and the only reactions I get is that they were confidant enough to do it themselves.

    It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when society can’t get past the “perverse” way of thinking nudity is lewd and associated with sex.

    Live and let live.


  6. nudeM says:

    Reblogged this on Nu et heureux – Naked and Happy and commented:
    When people reject something, it’s sometimes because of the fear of it. In the case of nudity, most people have been taught nudity was bad and a very personal affair limited to showering. Finally, the whole society has equaled nudity with sex, and still is in every day life. It’s not surprising that nudity is controversial. There’s not rational behind those attitude, it’s all emotional. driven by culture and education. Great article that shows that the world is driven by emotion and not rationality.

    • The evidence is overwhelming that the world is driven by emotion and not rationality. If only the emotions associated with nudity could be switched from fear (the prevalent emotion) to pleasure/happiness or plaisir/bonheur (what naturists feel) we’d be all set.

  7. Danee says:

    Thanks for this and reblogged onto with credit of course.

  8. Pingback: How controversial is naturism? | Nudie News

  9. I like being nude, but hard to do because of laws.

    • You live in an area with very good naturist opportunities, no? Also, laws don’t inhibit you being nude in your own home. The laws are what they are, unfortunately, because naturism is controversial to a lot of people. And it’s hard to change the minds of such people.

  10. Well, of course, there is a small segment of the population opposed to the very idea of social nudity and when one introduces the topic they become vocal. There are a few vocal opponents to hunting – does that make hunting controversial? Something is controversial only when there are significant numbers on both sides of an issue. What makes naturism seem controversial is that, while the few opponents are very willing to speak out, too few naturists are willing to speak up for it publicly. Many naturists even keep their naturism from friends and family and coworkers. Consequently, some “naturists”, isolated from the naturist community, may feel there mightt be something perhaps objectionable about social nudity, especially around children despite the evidence to the contrary (for example, Dennis Surgue, Phd,clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School,states in his book, “Sex Matters for Women”, that nudity in the home is natural and not harmful). Please read my article that discusses all this more thoroughly:

  11. Laws prohibit me from being nude in public.

  12. Bob says:

    People just don’t know enough about it to make an informed decision.

  13. Pingback: How controversial is naturism? — Naturist Philosopher – OUR NATURIST BLOG

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