Family Skinnydippers

205 Arguments in Support of Social Nudity
as presented by The Naturist Society

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 Nudity is often more comfortable and practical than clothing
 Naturism promotes mental health
 Some observations on the nature of modesty
 Naturism promotes sexual health
 Naturism promotes physical health
 Naturism is socially constructive
 Naturism is healthy for the family
 Naturism is especially consistent with feminism and the struggle for women's freedom
 Naturism is more natural than clothes-compulsiveness
 Accepted clothing requirements are arbitrary and inconsistent
 Naturism is growing in acceptance
 Constitutional support for Naturism
 Additional legal support for Naturism
 Historical support for Naturism
 Historical origins of the repression of nudity
 Christianity supports Naturism
 Personal experience supports Naturism

90-101. Naturism is more natural than clothes-compulsiveness.

90. Naturism, as a celebration of the natural human body free of the artificiality of fashion, is highly compatible with the ideals of a natural, simple, and environmentally friendly lifestyle.121

91. As we work for the good of nature, we must also work for the good and the freedom of our bodies, especially as they may be integrated with the rest of nature.

As the Quebec Naturist Federation has observed, "Nature is not just the trees; it is also our bodies." 122

92. The goals of Naturism and environmentalism are often parallel. Like environmentalism, Naturism usually seeks to preserve the natural character of landscapes, and opposes development and commercial exploitation. The greatest risk to most beaches is not nudity, but development--the takeover of pristine public areas by private resorts or hotels.

93. One feels much more a part of a natural setting in the nude than clothed.123

94. The nudist is far more sensually aware, because nudity enhances responsiveness and sensory experience.

95. Clothing cuts us off from the natural world, by inhibiting the skin's ability to sense the environment. It in fact distracts from our ability to sense the natural environment, by artificially irritating the skin.

Paul Ableman writes, "if primitives lost their culture [through being clothed by missionaries], they also lost their environment. They lost the sun, the rain, the grass underfoot, the foliage which brushed their skin as they moved through forest or jungle, the water of lake, river or sea slipping past their bodies, above all the ceaseless communion with the wind. Anyone who has ever spent any time naked outdoors knows that the play of the elements over the body produces an ever-changing response that may reach almost erotic intensity. The skin becomes alive and responsive and a whole new spectrum of sensation is generated. Clothe the body and this rich communion is replaced by mere fortuitous, and often irritating, contact with inert fabric. It is a huge impoverishment and its measure can perhaps best be judged by the reluctance of the Indians of Tierra del Fuego, who live in a climate so harsh that Darwin observed snow melting on the naked breasts of women, to adopt protective clothing. They preferred dermal contact with the environment, hostile though it was, to the loss of sensation implied by wearing clothes." 124

96. Clothes-compulsiveness is incompatible with the natural patterns of nature, as expressed by every other member of the animal kingdom. Humans are the only species to clothe themselves.

97. Some psychologists theorize that humans developed clothing, in part, to set themselves apart from animals.

Fred Ilfeld and Roger Lauer write: "Man's major goal is superiority . . . and one way that he strives for it is through clothing. Not only do clothes protect and decorate, but they also give status to the wearer, not just with respect to peers but, more importantly, in relation to man's place in nature. Clothes make a human being appear less like an animal and more like a god by concealing his sexual organs." 125 Lawrence Langner adds: "Modern man is a puritan and not a pagan, and by his clothing has been able to overcome his feeling of shame in relation to his sex organs in public, in mixed company. He has done this by transforming his basic inferiority into a feeling of superiority, by relating himself to God in whose sexless image he claims to be made. But take all his clothes off, and it is plain to see that he is half-god, half-animal. He is playing two opposing roles which contradict one another, and the result is confusion." 126

98. The physical barrier of clothing reinforces psychological barriers separating us from the natural world.

In our clothing-obsessed society, we have distanced ourselves so much from nature that the sight of our own natural state is often startling. Allen Ginsberg writes: "Truth may always surprise a little, because we are creatures of habit, especially in our hypermechanized, hyperindustrialized, hypermilitarized society. Any presentation of nature tends to appear shocking." 127

99. Lifestyles which are incompatible with the natural patterns of nature (including clothes-obsessiveness) may be psychologically damaging.

Robert Bahr writes: "Nakedness is the natural state of humankind; clothing imposes a barrier between us and God, nature, the universe, which serves to dehumanize us all." 128 "Paradoxically," muses Jeremy Seabrook, "the very presence of the westerners [on nude beaches] in the south is an expression of some absence in their everyday lives. After all, whole industries are now devoted to enabling people 'to get away from it all.' What is it, precisely, they want to get away from, when the iconography of their culture is promoted globally as the provider of everything? Many will admit they are looking for something not available at home (apart from sunshine), something to do with authenticity, a state of being 'unspoilt'. . . . They have been stripped of their cultural heritage; and this is why they have to buy back what ought to be the birthright of all human beings: secure anchorage in celebrations and rituals that attend the significant moments of our human lives." 129

100. A Naturist lifestyle is more environmentally responsible. For example, the option of going nude during hot, humid weather greatly reduces the need for air conditioning. Most air conditioners use tremendous amounts of energy, and many use coolants which are damaging to the stratospheric ozone layer.

101. Clothing is produced by environmentally irresponsible processes from environmentally irresponsible sources.

For instance, synthetics are developed from oil; and cotton is grown with intensive pesticide-loaded agricultural techniques. Cotton constitutes half of the world's textile consumption, and is one of the most pesticide-sprayed crops in the world. Clothing manufacture may also include chlorine bleaching, chemical dyeing, sealing with metallic compounds, finishing with resins and formaldehyde, and electroplating to rust-proof zippers, creating toxic residues in waste water.130

Continue to arguments 102-106


121. See, for example, Fussell 214-16.

122. "Nature" 5.

123. See, for example, Southall.

124. Ableman 21.

125. Ilfeld and Lauer 181.

126. Langner 90.

127. Quoted in Kilmer, "Drawing People Whole" 108.

128. Bahr 44. See also Baxandall, World Guide to Nude Beaches and Resorts 12.

129. Seabrook 22-23.

130. Carey 78.

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