50-61. Naturism promotes physical health.
50. Clothing limits or defeats many of the natural purposes of skin: for example, repelling moisture, drying
quickly, breathing, protecting without impeding performance, and especially sensing one's environment.
C. W. Saleeby writes: "This admirable organ, the natural clothing of the body, which grows continually
throughout life, which has at least four absolutely distinct sets of sensory nerves distributed to it, which is essential
in the regulation of the temperature, which is waterproof from without inwards, but allows the excretory sweat to
escape freely, which, when unbroken, is microbe-proof, and which can readily absorb sunlight--this most beautiful,
versatile, and wonderful organ is, for the most part, smothered, blanched, and blinded in clothes and can only
gradually be restored to the air and light which are its natural surroundings. Then, and only then, we learn what it is
capable of." 72
51. Exposure to the sun, without going overboard, promotes general health.
Research suggests that solar exposure triggers the body's synthesis of Vitamin D, vital for (among other
things) calcium absorption and a strong immune system. 73 Exposure to the sun is especially essential for the growth
of strong bones in young children.
52. Recent research has suggested an inverse relationship between solar exposure and osteoporosis, colon
cancer, breast cancer, and even the most deadly form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma.74
53. An obsessive sense of modesty about the body often correlates with a reluctance to share healthy forms
of touch with others.
Research has increasingly linked touch-deprivation, especially during childhood and adolescence, to
depression, violence, sexual inhibition, and other antisocial behaviors. Research has also shown that people who are
physically cold toward adolescents produce hostile, aggressive, and often violent offspring. On the other hand,
children brought up in families where the members touch each other are healthier, better able to withstand pain and
infection, more sociable, and generally happier than families that don't share touch.75
54. Tight clothing may cause health problems by restricting the natural flow of blood and lymphatic fluid.
Recent research by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer demonstrated that women who wear bras
more than twelve hours per day, but not to bed, are 21 times more likely to get breast cancer than those who wear
bras less than twelve hours per day. Those who wear bras even to bed are 125 times more likely to get breast cancer
than those who don't wear bras at all. Testicular cancer, similarly, has been linked to tight briefs. The theory is that
tight clothing impedes the lymph system, which removes cancer-causing toxins from the body.76
55. Clothing can harbor disease-causing bacteria and yeast (especially underclothing and athletic clothing).
56. Medical research has linked clothing to an increased susceptibility to bites and stings by animals such
as ticks and sea lice, which hide in or get trapped in clothing.77
57. Clothing fashions throughout history, especially for women, have often been damaging to physical and
For instance, the wearing of corsets led to numerous physical ailments in women in the late 19th century.
Men and women both suffered through many ages of history under hot, burdensome layers of clothing in the name
of fashion. Footwear has been especially notorious for resisting reason and comfort in the name of fashion.
58. The idea that clothing is necessary for support of the genitals or breasts is often unwarranted.
For example, research shows that the choice of wearing a bra or not has no bearing on the tendency of a
woman's breasts to "droop" as she ages. Deborah Franklin writes: "Still, the myth that daily, lifelong bra wearing is
crucial to preserving curves persists, along with other misguided notions about that fetching bit of binding left over
from the days when a wasp waist defined the contours of a woman's power." Christine Haycock, of the New Jersey
Medical School, says that while exercising without a bra may be uncomfortable for large-breasted women, "it's not
doing any lasting damage to chest muscles or breast tissue." In fact, given the tendency of sports bras to squash
breasts against the rib cage, her research concluded that "those who wore an A cup were frequently most
comfortable with no bra at all." 79 Complete nudity presents no difficulties for conditioned male athletes, either; and
thus the athletes of ancient Athens had no trouble performing entirely in the nude.80
59. Clothing hides the natural beauty of the human body, as created by God.
In the words of Michelangelo: "What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot grasp the fact that the
human foot is more noble than the shoe and human skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?"
60. Clothing makes people look older, and emphasizes rather than hides unflattering body characteristics.
Paul Fussell writes: "Nude, older people look younger, especially when very tan, and younger people look
even younger. . . . In addition fat people look far less offensive naked than clothed. Clothes, you realize, have the
effect of sausage casings, severely defining and advertising the shape of what they contain, pulling it all into an
unnatural form which couldn't fool anyone. . . . The beginning Naturist doesn't take long to master the paradox that it
is stockings that make varicose veins noticeable, belts that call attention to forty-eight-inch waists, brassieres that
emphasize sagging breasts." 81
61. Clothing harbors and encourages the growth of odor-causing bacteria.
71. Ableman 102. See also pp. 102-04; research by Wilhelm Reich.
72. Quoted in Flügel, Psychology of Clothes 235-36.
73. M. Siegel 12; North American Guide 23. Numerous other benefits have also been attributed to sunlight,
including improved cardiovascular health, reduced blood pressure, strengthened muscular development, increased
tolerance to stress, relieved depression and arthritis, and reduced infertility in men. See Schrader 98; Mikat 37.
74. Ray 41-42. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are linked to excessive ultraviolet exposure, but
malignant melanoma shows no such correlation. In fact, studies have found melanoma to be considerably more
common in indoor workers than outdoor workers, and more common on parts of the body with relatively low
cumulative sun exposure. See "From Dermatology Research" 10.
75. See research by Dr. James Prescott and others, reported in Hooper 1-2; Maxwell-Hudson 6; et al.
76. Mead 137.
77. For details, see Feder 475; Reynolds 12; Freudenthal and Joseph 544.
78. For an excellent summary, see Liggett.
79. D. Franklin 24-27.
80. See McDonnell 184.
81. Fussell 210.