12 Values You Should Already Accept if You Want to Get Naked With Us
Some common values in naturism and nudism.
Our project, Reform Naturism, is an attempt to develop a new understanding of naturism suitable for the challenges of growing the movement in the 21st Century.
Although we want to explore some new ideas in this blog, not all of our ideas break entirely from “mainstream” naturism and nudism. Before you can learn about the movement, you probably need to start by recognizing and accepting a number of basic philosophical tenets. We’re not going to delve into any particularly deep or convoluted formal philosophy here, but at some point in your life you should have come to see the world a certain way that aligns with us. We think this includes most people, but not all.
Naturism is likely not a good fit for headscarf-wearing Muslim women, and it is unlikely to embraced by large numbers of Catholic nuns or Mormons. Nor can it be practiced with integrity by sexists, racists or unrepentant polluters of the environment. Some habitual practitioners of public nudity may reject some of these values, such as respect for privacy, but in doing so they may be a threat to the movement, not an asset of it.
I’ll emphasize again, that some people will simply never be open to naturism. That’s OK.
We think nearly everyone can and should be a naturist, even if you rarely get to practice social nudity. A critical component of the Reform Naturist approach is that we’d like to see everyone learning about the philosophy and applying these ideas to their lives, even if they are a little too shy or restricted by life circumstances to go naked.
For those who are interested, the following ideas are, I believe, common to all or nearly all concepts of naturism or nudism as practiced everywhere in the last century.
Experienced naturists will note that we haven’t written much about body acceptance or the benefits of nudity. We’ll get to all that, but for now we want to address some of the least controversial values we assume all potential naturists already share with practicing naturists. Certainly some naturists or nudists will surely object to something or other or wish to add something, but I think most will agree with about 90% of what I’ve written here.
Without further ado, here are twelve basic concepts you should already agree with before you should start investigating whether or not naturism is right for you:
Nature is good: Naturism recognizes that nature, including animals and humans, is not inherently immoral or sinful. We regard nature as a thing of value, just as we regard our own existence as valuable. We have a general, or perhaps a very powerful, conviction that the access to nature is important and that the environment must be protected.
Evolution: Naturism recognizes that humans are animals inseparable from nature who evolved from primates and earlier lifeforms. We recognize that throughout the evolutionary process (and for all of the earliest years of our existence as a species), the genitals were fully exposed and uncontroversial.
Sex is healthy: Likewise, we recognize that we owe our existence to the process of sexual reproduction, and that our genitals and sexual pleasure are good and essential features of our bodies and our lives and are therefore nothing to be ashamed of.
Secularism: Naturism is secular. A naturist may subscribe to religious belief, but religious belief is not necessary for naturism. Some naturists identify as religious, but they tend to have generally liberal and tolerant views and a secular outlook to daily life.
Humanism: Naturism belongs to the humanist philosophical tradition. That is, it is based on the idea that the well-being of humans, both individually and collectively, should be the standard of value in ethics, and that reason should aid in discovering and implementing ethical principles. We reject dogmatic religious systems which demand repressive submission to arbitrary restrictions on the body, our clothing, our sexuality, or any form of nonviolent expression.
Equality: Naturism recognizes that morality must properly recognize an inherent equality of all people, including between the sexes and genders and among the various races, ethnicities, classes, or other statuses which may seem to divide us. Naturists recognize that the removal of clothing can stimulate a feeling of equality and goodwill among all participants.
Culture Evolves: Naturism recognizes that culture evolves and changes. Naturism rejects dogmatic arguments against nudity based on “culture” or “tradition” or “the public good”, knowing that these concepts are always in flux. We know that mankind once lived nude and that now it does not, but that some day it could once again. (This should not be interpreted to suggest that we should accept any form of “social Darwinism”.)
Progressivism: Naturists recognize that while all societies and individuals ought to be free to adopt cultural practices as they see fit, we believe that some cultural behaviors (including hostile attitudes towards the human body) are destructive to human well-being. We see communal nudity as one important contribution to the improvement of mankind’s condition.
Modesty is learned: Naturism recognizes that conceptions of modesty about the body are learned behaviors, passed on from generation to generation and reinforced through routine explicit and implicit conditioning, and are not in any way necessary for happiness. Naturists recognize that ideas about modesty vary across eras and cultures and and may be found in fully covered and fully nude societies. We are confident that whatever beneficial aspects of modesty there may be, can be obtained without reference to the covering of the body with clothing.
Clothing is a tool: Naturists recognize that clothing is a tool that can be used when appropriate, and set aside when not. As with all tools, the determination to use clothing should be based primarily on practical concerns, not moral ones. We wear clothing or do not as is appropriate or consistent with our level of comfort. With that in mind, naturists believe that clothing is never necessary while swimming or sunbathing, and may explicitly ban clothing around naturist pools as an affirmation of our community’s values.
Peaceful coexistence: Naturism recognizes that our embrace of nudity is deeply connected to a desire for harmonious relationships with others in a tranquil environment. Naturists recognize that nudity can be associated with vulnerability and wish to establish communities and safe spaces where that vulnerability will not be exploited or compromised.
Privacy: Naturists recognize that the textile world’s dysfunctional relationships with the human body can be used to inflict harm on practitioners of naturism. Until the culture is improved, we defend the privacy and dignity our of fellow naturists by restricting information, photography, and access to “outsiders” who may compromise the “safe space” we with to create.
Protection of the vulnerable: Naturists recognize that there are some members of the naturist community, especially children, whose protection from exploitation and predators must take precedence above all other considerations. To this end, naturist communities regularly restrict access or vigilantly observe unfamiliar or unusually behaving visitors. Recognizing that unaccompanied men have historically been a source of problems in some communities, many communities find it necessary to restrict them. Although controversial, most naturists recognize the validity of this practice in some circumstances.
If you’re a naturist and you object to something we’re written, feel free to speak up.
If you’re interested in the idea and have questions, please ask!