04 January, 2008

Naturism vs. Nudism (or A Tale of Two Terms)

This seems to be an important topic, and people tend to use these terms in all different kinds of contexts, so I think it would be fruitful for me to declare just where my feelings stand on the two terms, so that when I use them, you'll know what I mean.

Frankly, I think both of these terms have merit, and there are situations where one or the other will be more suitable. On the other hand, I will tend to use them interchangeably, as the major point with either of them (in the usage I've been exposed to) is the practice of being nude.

Some naturists dislike the term nudism because of the stigma attached to it. I can understand this; on the other hand, I feel like it's shying away from the truth of the issue. There's no point in hiding the fact that we like to be nude. So call it nudism. We shouldn't just give up and hand that term over to our detractors. Instead of saying (explicitly or implicitly) that, "yeah, nudists are sexual deviants, but naturists are interested in a more wholesome form of nudity", we should take that term back and say, "yeah, we like to be nude, so what's wrong with that, huh?"

On the other hand, I like the term naturism because, in addition to the nudity, it implies a certain wholistic, natural approach to life, which parallels my own spiritual leanings, and acts as a way to align my beliefs about nudity with my beliefs about spirituality - which is a great way to emphasize that nudity for me is something very important to my being and existence, and not just a cheap thrill.

However, I've struggled with the term naturist, because I think there's an ambiguity in its pronunciation. I don't think I've actually ever heard anyone pronounce it out loud, but I looked it up once and found that the pronunciation was supposedly supposed to be naturist with a long 'a', like nature + ist. But when I look at the term, I see an alternative form of the word 'nature', like 'natural', in which the long 'a' becomes short. So when I see naturism, i think it should be pronounced with a short 'a', like as if it was natural - al + ist. So it kind of bugs me that it could go either way in my mind and I can't decide how I actually want to pronounce it. And when in doubt, I default to nudism, since I have no problem pronouncing that!

But really, that's a trivial matter. The stuff above is ultimately more important.


  1. A rose is a rose by any other name.

    I've actually always said "nay-chur-ist", long a. Ironic.

  2. Naturally, me having the values that I do, I feel like the Naturists are more towards the square demographic. Although.... when you really get down to it perhaps I should disalign myself from nudism altogether. Perhaps what I'm into is more of a voyeurism/exhibitionism. Don't get me wrong, I understand the values and virtues of being nude for freedom's sake, I just wouldn't go out of my way to achieve that. Also don't get me wrong about what I'm saying. If "Nudism" has a stigma, surely "Exhibitionism" has worse, but I'm talking about a spiritual congregation here. It's a very LeVayan idea, you could say, but I think there's also something to be said for the libertaion of sexuality itself, and the spiritual experience of revealing yourself to others in a way that is not intended to be mild or overlooked. I don't know if anyone's on board with me, but throughout my entire life there's never been anything even 1/4th as spiritual as sexuality - afterall girls have fueled my lifeforce since 8th Grade. Furthermore, I have a very strong fixation on what it means to be close to someone, what it means to connect and to know. And sexuality, being perhaps the most intense, exciting, and offsetting emotion in our lexicon, seems to be the prime candidate in which to explore our connections to our fellows of the human race.