Category Archives: Uncategorized

Be It Further Resolved

The leaders of the early Nudist movement in America were principled individuals.  They viewed the practice of Nudism not only as a healthful recreation but also as an embodiment of certain morals and human values.  To them, it was an exercise in and expression of a convivial and just life philosophy. 

Presented below is a resolution of the American Sunbathing Association (now known as AANR) published in the November 1948 edition of Sunshine & Health.  On one page, it proclaims on behalf of all Nudists, a rejection of discrimination, an opposition to war, an endorsement of the pursuit of physical vigor, a call for friendship and goodwill and support for the arts.  It is not a complete listing of Ethical Naturist values, but it is enough to pack a punch. 

It is marvelous that after more than 70 and several generations, Ethical Naturist principles of today are, with few exceptions, consistent with those of the Nudist Movement’s early founders.  We must be on to something.

 

Meditations for Ethical Naturists from the Gospel of Thomas

In prior posts, we have expressed a view that Ethical Naturism offers benefits not only to the mind and body but also to the spirit. (https://ethicalnaturist.com/?p=358)  By uncloaking in community with others or in Nature, we can shed the raiment, artifices, and social constructs of everyday life to reveal a truer version of ourselves.  It can effectively be a ritual with symbolic power that, at times, awakens our senses to meaningful truths about life and being.  For the secular, this can be helpful.  For the religious, it can connect to and augment one’s religious beliefs and understanding. 

In this regard, the Christian Gospel of Thomas may be a good example.  It is collection of remarks attributed to Jesus, and among them are a few that include references fitting to the Naturist idea (clothing, the body, self-revelation, self-knowledge).  Notably, Jesus used metaphor and parable to share his truth.  So, his remarks have a provocative quality that forces reflection and meditation.  You are not told the way it is or what to do directly but must engage your own consciousness to discern his message and meaning.  Consequently, the passages below are remarkable because Naturist experience and the Naturist idea can actually help you to better grasp what Jesus was trying to say.  Please read them and consider how Naturism may have instilled in you a measure of understanding that aligns or resonates with their message.

 

Saying 6: Public Ritual

His disciples said to him, “Do you want us to fast? And how should we pray? Should we make donations? And what food should we avoid?”

Jesus said, “Don’t lie, and don’t do what you hate, because everything is revealed in the sight of heaven; for there’s nothing hidden that won’t be revealed, and nothing covered up that will stay secret.”

Saying 37: Seeing Jesus

His disciples said, “When will you appear to us? When will we see you?”

Jesus said, “When you strip naked without being ashamed, and throw your clothes on the ground and stomp on them as little children would, then [you’ll] see the Son of the Living One and won’t be afraid.”

Saying 29: Spirit and Body

Jesus said, “If the flesh came into existence because of spirit, that’s amazing. If spirit came into existence because of the body, that’s really amazing! But I’m amazed at how [such] great wealth has been placed in this poverty.”

Saying 36: Anxiety

Jesus said, “Don’t be anxious from morning to evening or from evening to morning about what you’ll wear.”

Saying 27: Fasting and Sabbath

“If you don’t fast from the world, you won’t find the kingdom. If you don’t make the Sabbath into a Sabbath, you won’t see the Father.”

Saying 78: Into the Desert

Jesus said, “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed shaken by the wind? A [person] wearing fancy clothes, [like your] rulers and powerful people? They (wear) fancy [clothes] but can’t know the truth.”

Saying 3: Seeking Within

Jesus said, “If your leaders tell you, ‘Look, the kingdom is in heaven,’ then the birds of heaven will precede you. If they tell you, ‘It’s in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is within you and outside of you.

“When you know yourselves, then you’ll be known, and you’ll realize that you’re the children of the living Father. But if you don’t know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty.”

 

The Gospel of Thomas is not included in the canonical Christian Bible and was effectively unknown until it was discovered in 1945 at the Nag Hammadi archeological site in Egypt.  Thomas, you may recall, was the skeptical apostle (doubting Thomas) who needed to stick his finger in Jesus’ wound to believe the resurrection.  As a collection of sayings rather than a testament to Jesus’ life story, this gospel is unlike the bible gospels.  The passages above come from a translation by Mark M. Mattison, which is in sufficiently everyday English to be easily readable (https://www.gospels.net/thomas/).  We hope that, as a Naturist, you found reading them relevant and perhaps agreeable.

 

The Iceman on The Body’s Innate Ability to Protect and Heal Itself

The spring equinox is upon us, but in many parts of the country, it still feels like winter with serious cold and snow.  Many Naturists remain indoors or are flocking south for warmth.  However, if one listens to Wim Hoff, famously known as “the Iceman”, we should be getting outside and going for polar bear swims instead!  The video link below is an interview of Hoff by the actor/comedian Russell Brand.  It is not a Nudist video, but in our view, Hoff’s ideas are indeed “Naturist.”  

Hoff believes that the human body’s innate capacity to protect and heal itself has been impaired by the wearing of clothes.  We evolved with our skin exposed to the elements, and the challenges of volatile climate conditions shaped our nervous system, immune system and other body functions to be highly adaptable and responsive.   Unfortunately, the covering and insulating effects of clothes over many generations has caused these systems to get out of balance and out of shape.  Hoff has successfully developed a practice of cold baths and breathing techniques to reinvigorate these health promoting capabilities.

Hoff is a remarkable individual that has defied common understanding of what the human body can endure.   Through numerous athletic feats in hostile, cold environments as well as subjecting himself to scientific experimentation, he has demonstrated that the body is able to adapt to challenging climates and that these adaptations have positive effects on health.  He believes that all people can do this and has successfully trained others in his methods.

A core theme here is that Naturism promotes a healthy mind in a healthy body with a bright spirit.  We find this idea very much present in Hoff’s remarks.   In addition to sharing the health benefits of his work, he also notes the clarity of mind and spiritual aspects of his experience.  Naturists should be interested in what he has to say.  Perhaps after watching this, you will be inspired to head outside for a naked snow angel, a brisk free-hike or a skinny dip in the nearest body of cool water… or maybe not!

Enjoy!

The Rapture of Being Alive

The winter solstice has passed here in the North, and a tough year is over.  The holiday season is finishing up when many faith traditions reflect on matters of the spirit.  Given our belief that Ethical Naturism helps to promote a bright spirit together with a healthy mind in a healthy body, we would like to devote a few remarks to the ways in which Naturism can feed us spiritually.  By spirit we are not simply referring to one’s mood or sense of happiness but to the enigmatic, animating spark within that moves us and makes us feel alive. 

An abundance of testimony has been published over the years by people sharing experiences of Naturism that stirred their souls.  The authors have reported many things including: an awakening of their senses, an honest self-awareness and comfort from self-acceptance, a sense of belonging to a community, and a deep connection and harmony with Nature.  We have submitted a few of these testimonies in earlier posts: Initiation https://ethicalnaturist.com/?p=190 , Like One Reborn https://ethicalnaturist.com/?p=270  and Halcyon Memories https://ethicalnaturist.com/?p=282.  When you hear Naturists use words like joy, peace, and freedom to describe their experience, they are giving voice to spiritual aspects of Naturism. 

We believe these moments of animated Naturist experience are effectively what the late mythologist Joseph Campbell referred to as The Rapture of Being Alive.  He articulates this idea in the following (non-nudist) video:

Campbell’s comments focus on the power of myth, as symbolic narrative, to evoke the spirit.  There are other tools in addition to narrative that accomplish this, and we believe symbolic ritual also has this power.  Religious rituals such as prayer, communion, various ceremonies and even non-religious but spiritual practices such as meditation are ways in which people reach beyond their everyday life to try and tap into the transcendent.  Ethical Naturism is not a religion, of course, but the act of removing one’s clothing can serve as a ritualistic practice that has evocative symbolic power. 

Clothing is vested with various potent symbolic meanings (authority, social class, wealth, tribal affiliation, conformity, rebellion, masquerade and so on).  Uncloaking one’s physical self, particularly in a communal Naturist setting, is therefore a revelation.  It sheds socially constructed identity to the bare essence.  The authenticity and truth of this is deeply personal and yet liberating. It brings forth a core of one’s humanity and by doing so opens a window for spiritual discovery. 

Additionally, the practice of going naked in Nature can be experienced as symbolically purifying.  Modern life in today’s urban and technological settings is to an extant an un-natural construct and artifice.  Stripping it all away, if only for a while, to exist in a wholly natural state amongst the living, natural earth can be spiritually restorative.  It stirs a deeply primordial sense of one’s participation in and relationship to the web of life and puts one in tune with it. 

It is also appropriate here to mention the Ethical Naturist Triad (See image below and https://ethicalnaturist.com/?p=288 ).  Respect for self, respect for others and respect for Nature are all components of the Golden Rule to treat others as you would treat yourself.  The Golden Rule is a principal that is doctrinal and embraced across religious faith traditions and is also embodied in the values of secular humanism.  While Ethical Naturism is not a religion, its appropriate practice and lived experience can, perhaps surprisingly, resonate with and complement the teachings of many faiths and life philosophies.

                                                                                                      Image by Stéphane Deschênes

The bottom line is that Ethical Naturism has power as a spiritual tool.  The ritual uncloaking of the self in community with others or in Nature sheds the raiment, artifices, and social constructs of modern life and, like Campbell’s myths, can provide clues to the spiritual potentialities of one’s life.  Integrating positive, empathetic, and harmonious attitudes to oneself, to others and to Nature is not only healthy for the body and the mind but also the spirit.    This is, however, not simply a matter of taking off one’s clothes.  It is in doing so with a mindfulness that awakens one to the bigger and more profound meanings of the practice that is a source of positive change.

 

P.S.  For purely recreational nudists, this post may come across as passionate and preachy.  To be fair, nude time is often simply mundane or just plain fun with no spiritual component whatsoever.  We do not take ourselves too seriously here.  However, we have experienced the spiritual richness of Naturism and do feel moved to share its bigger possibilities.

Let the Lizard Sleep

The inner-most layer of the human brain is casually referred to as the Reptilian or Lizard Brain.  It is so called because its key functions are evolutionarily comparable to… well… a lizard.  It manages unconscious actions, such as breathing and hunger, as well as fight or flight survival instincts.  With some help from another layer, called the Limbic Brain, it also activates the sex drive. 

The Lizard Brain is quite powerful and essential to life, but it is also the source of challenging issues that entangle and limit the Nudist/Naturist Movement.  One such issue is that society associates nudity with sex and consequently views social nudism with discomfort and skepticism.  To be fair, a measure of doubt is justified.  Even amongst Nudists themselves, stories are commonplace concerning experiences with creeps, gawkers, voyeurs, social media trolls, indiscreet libertines and so forth.  It is hard to reconcile the joys and benefits Naturists experience, which can be the antithesis of prurience, to the obscene behaviors of some and society’s somewhat justifiable viewpoint.

The reality is that the powerful sex drive of the Lizard Brain is inherent to the human condition and serves a good and useful purpose.  However, it can also cause people to behave in ways that stray from the acceptable norms of civil society.  It is true that nudity does indeed activate the sex drive, but it is also true that mere nudity does not always and everywhere trigger it.  There are many excellent, working examples of social nudism that are wholesome, non-sexual, and family friendly.  The key is that there are other factors, besides the absence of clothing, that play a role in governing whether and when a person experiences nudity as sexual or not.

It so happens that the human brain evolved beyond that of the lizard and developed higher order capabilities.  Outer layers of the brain, such as the neo-cortex, handle processes such as problem solving, social behavior, language, and abstract thinking.  These layers are commonly referred to as the “Rational Brain” and they have allowed us to develop the moral, rules-based cultures that enable civilized society.

In general, our Rational Brains run the show and make different, usually superior decisions than our Lizard Brains would.  When Naturists use terms such as “acceptance” and “respect”, they are referencing higher order principles from the Rational Brain.  Our Lizard Brains, however, are still with us and are ready to engage our most basic instincts.  This means that for everyone there is a set of conditions that will activate their Lizard Brain and perhaps even over-ride their rational self.  For some, the mere thought of a nude human is enough to conjure up powerful erotic desires.  For others, it takes a more particular context, and mere nudity is simply associated with a variety of enjoyable but non-sexual pastimes. 

Nudity can heat things up…                                             or cool things off.  There is a difference!

We believe that cultural conditioning is a key determinant of what activates one person’s Lizard Brain versus another. People who mostly experience nudity in a sexual way or receive messaging to that effect will have nude sensitive Lizard Brains.  Others who often experience a variety of non-sexual nude activities and receive nude normal messaging will have less nude sensitive Lizard Brains.  Importantly, at least as far as Naturism is concerned, this nude sensitivity does not appear to be static or permanent.  One can start out sexually sensitive to nudity, but with the right set of experiences and messaging become less so over time.

Unfortunately, society conditions people from early childhood with messaging that associates the nude body with sex.  These messages range from labeling genitals “private parts” to sexualizing ads for the latest fashions to outright pornography.  While this conditioning may be useful for commercial exploitation or to assert various power relationships, it is not particularly healthy.  A variety of social ills, including harassment, sexual abuse, eating disorders and porn addiction, can be connected in some degree with societal sexualization of the body.  It is therefore no surprise that there are people who act out their sexual impulses in disrespectful or socially dis-functional ways.  Nor is it surprising that descent, textile folks, particularly females, are cautious concerning social nudity.  Their Lizard Brains are tuned in an unfortunate way. 

Experienced Nudists and Naturists, on the other hand, have managed to overcome this conditioning and possess a broader set of normalized nude conditions than most textile people.  They have internalized an understanding that nudity is non-sexual at certain times in certain places.  Their Lizard Brains sleep quietly while they enjoy the company of their family and friends in nude recreation.  It is in this environment that many of the enriching benefits of Naturist life emerge.  Obviously, they still have sex like everyone else, but they rely on other, more precise cues than mere nudity to wake up their Lizard Brains when it is appropriate.

Given all this, a few points can be made concerning the Lizard Brain and its implications for the Nudist/Naturist Movement:

One, by letting the lizard sleep, it is possible for people to engage in social nudism with norms of behavior that are equivalent or superior to those of textile society.  Wholesome Naturist norms may in fact be essential to facilitating the proliferation of Nudist culture so it can reach a critical mass of social acceptance.   Establishing really good clarity on and broad awareness of the places and times where wholesome Naturist norms are present and enforced will be key in this regard.

Two, organizations that promote Naturist values and healthy body culture should be supported.  These include not only national entities (AANR, TNS) but also local clubs and resorts as well as free beach associations.  In this way, right messaging will be continuously disseminated to society at large and safe, controlled settings will be made available to serve both rookie and veteran Naturists in a positive way. 

Three, as individuals we can model sound Naturist values and even evangelize for the Movement.  Practice your Naturism in appropriate settings at appropriate times for the broadest, reasonable set of life activities.  To the degree possible, share your Naturist story and teach these ways to others.  Join a club, become a beach ambassador, or just embody a healthy body culture that models not only letting your lizard sleep but also an ethic of acceptance and respect that is much needed in the world.  If you happen to possess more liberal or unconventional sexual attitudes, that is fine; just contain your tastes behind closed doors while acting perfectly polite and normal in public socially nude settings.

Four, given the structure of the human brain and how it works, there will always be people whose behavior gets misguided by their Lizard Brains.  Naturists must be vigilant and responsive to situations where someone is acting inappropriately.  Every Naturist has a role to play in enforcing good social norms and responding if someone gets out of line.  With a little leadership and the collective will of a community, it is pretty straightforward to create an environment where Rational Brains prevail, and Lizard Brains are left to sleep. 

Five, this is not about opposing sexuality (we’re all for it!) but about helping people to apply better contextual cues than clothes to de-sexualize social interactions. Great sex, close bonding relationships and babies happen when we let our Lizard Brains roam freely.  This is a good thing.  The fulfilling experience of Naturism, on the other hand, happens when we let our lizards sleep.  This is also a good thing.  It is possible to know the difference and have both rather than either/or.

Obviously, there is a long way to go.  It may take generations to achieve a world where Ethical Naturist culture is commonplace.  However, by letting the lizard sleep, supporting Naturist organizations and modeling sound Naturist behavior, we can build a foundation for the future that allows this wonderful way of living to grow.

The Benefit of Community

An Ethical Naturist life offers many gifts, but the benefit of community may be among the most enriching.  Spending time in a collective group that shares the common bond of clothes-free culture is life affirming and can greatly aid in the pursuit of a healthy mind in a healthy body with a bright spirit.  We are social animals after all, and social nudity is a truly fundamental and authentic way to relate to others.

While there are many ways to experience community (neighbors, church groups, book groups, sports, recreation and so on), Naturist communities, in our view, are special.  For the most part, Naturists are simply just a bunch of nice folks… who happen to have no clothes on.  However, the level of honesty and trust that emerges when nothing is hidden tends to promote a good-natured culture of openness and respect that is challenging to find in contemporary society.  Just about everybody in a Naturist setting lets down facades and shields they normally display in their textile lives.  A myriad of societal pressures dissipates, and people feel freer.  Consequently, there is a quality to the fellowship and friendship of a Naturist community that resonates with one’s sense of humanity in a positive way.   For many, this experience is extraordinary, and their first encounter with social nudism, particularly the naturalness and normality of it, is a revelation. 

There is also a camaraderie among Naturists in community.  This is still a minority practice that does not enjoy broad social acceptance.  Misconceptions and taboo remain, and there is enough stigma that people can suffer adverse consequences if “outed.”  So, those that do embrace this life know how great it is and enjoy being amongst brethren.  The affinity is pleasing and affirming.

As a community, Naturists are also pretty diverse.  Many clubs are made up of people from dramatically different economic classes, educational backgrounds, and political persuasions.  It is heartening to share a hot tub and laugh with an earthy liberal and an evangelical conservative getting a soak together.  The company of folks with handicaps or life scars is also present at times and enjoyed.  Stripping away the artifices of everyday society with Naturism may not overcome people’s differences but it does seem to enable a fair measure of tolerance and shared humanity. 

Consciousness of social justice issues is on the rise, and some point out that Naturist/Nudist clubs tend to be largely Caucasian and not LGBTQ oriented.  This is true.  In many cases though, this may just be a function of who shows up.  We have observed clubs and resorts as generally being welcoming to all.  It may seem radical to a radical, but it is possible to leave a lot of identity stuff in the car with one’s clothes and, for a while, to be simply naked and human with those around you.  In camp, one can be Naturist/Nudist first and other identity second.   That said, this is an evolving area, and we encourage more diverse folks to take the plunge and give community Naturism a try.

Of course, Naturist clubs and associations are by no means perfect.  Yes, there can be cliquey groups.  Yes, a few people can be jerks.  Yes, if you are shy or a single male, it can take a while to make friends or feel part of the scene.  However, time, familiarity and trustworthy behavior does pave the way into the fabric of a community.  The bottom line is that, all things considered, properly run Naturist communities can offer a functioning model of more convivial and harmonious society.  There are many problems in the world today, with issues of ethics, morality, sense of self and personal conduct.  Experiencing a positive Naturist community, even for a short while, can be uplifting and of great value.

So, find your way to a club and stay a while; become a regular if you can.  Put away the phone and computer.  Enjoy some sports, games or pleasant conversation in the pool or pond.  Walk in the woods.  Get back to Nature, and live easy in the company of a group of like-minded individuals.  It will make your life better. 

To give you a sense of what we are talking about, here are just a few links to media that in one way or other touches on community:

https://campnaturist.com/journal/difference

http://www.berkshirevista.com/spaghetto.shtml

https://www.rimonthly.com/dyer-woods-nudist-campgrounds/

https://omny.fm/shows/audacious-with-chion-wolf/it-s-a-brand-nude-day

Also, here are links to AANR and TNS listings of the more family-friendly clubs and resorts that we favor: 

https://www.aanr.com/places-to-go/aanr-clubs

https://naturistsociety.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/391_N_Mag_Network-2.pdf

Two Links Concerning History and Race

It has not been our practice to simply post links to the work of others as content for this blog.  However, two links recently appeared in the nudist group on Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/nudism/) that seem worthy of breaking this practice.  They are of high quality and are relevant to the values we espouse.  Without further comment, here they are:

https://www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/land-free

https://www.clothesfreelife.com/2018/02/the-negro-controversy-and-naturism/

We’ll be posting some fresh content of our own soon as some pieces are under edit now.

Wise Words by John Muir

Today is a good day to put some Nature into your Naturism.  It is Earth Day, and yesterday was John Muir’s birthday. 

Muir (1838 – 1914) is considered one of the great naturalists of all time.  He was an environmental philosopher, a strong advocate for the preservation of wilderness and is considered one of the fathers of the U.S. national park system.  Presented below is a quote that beautifully expresses the potentially deep and integrated quality with which the body can experience Nature.  Enjoy.

https://www.azquotes.com/author/10523-John_Muir

Naturism Can Help

Naturism has a history of helping in troubled times.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, sunbathing was found to be useful for the treatment of Tuberculosis, a lethal infectious disease, as well as other ailments. To help the suffering, sanitoriums were set up in the mountains of Europe to provide patients sun and air baths, preferably in the nude. The combination of rest, fresh air, and sunshine (with its disinfecting and vitamin D producing qualities) helped bodies to heal. Ultimately, this practice was adopted by otherwise healthy people, and a Naturheilbewegung (Nature Healing Movement) emerged in Germany, which became the foundation for the early Nudist Movement.

After World War I, much of Europe and particularly Germany was impoverished and weak. The Nudist Movement grew substantially during this time not merely as a form of recreation, but as a way to regain health. A person from that era described it as follows:

“From early childhood, my sister, brother and I were brought up by our parents among the nudists of Germany, in times when the World War was at its ending and nudism was in everybody’s mind as a possible means of overcoming the misery and suffering of the young generation during those sad days.  It was to be a methodical introduction of a new movement, derived from the traditional institutions of athletics and sports and medical scientific centers already in existence.  So, nudism was related to the imperative necessity of restoring the youth of Germany to their normal strength, rebuilding them body and mind and soul by a thoroughly healthy and simple life, including calisthenics, fresh air, sun, games and rest.” 1

While things ultimately went awry in Germany, setting in motion another world war, for a time and for a portion of their populace, the embrace of nudism was restorative in the wake of disaster.

In the United States, the initiation of the Nudist Movement is considered by many to have occurred in 1929, just a few weeks before the great stock market crash and the start of the Great Depression. 2 Despite economic hard times, or perhaps in response to them, the movement grew in numbers and enthusiasm throughout that time. The early pioneers suffered arrest, persecution, and other challenges, but they found in this pastime a physically, mentally, and morally enriching way of life and a community that offered many benefits without requiring a great deal of money.

After World War II, Nudism flourished in several countries behind the iron curtain including East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Croatia, Russia, and others. Not much is documented as to why this was so, but one can imagine that the feeling of freedom Naturists experience when they shed their clothes is something that could have considerable appeal to people living under an authoritarian regime.

It is now the spring of 2020, and much of the world is beset by a harsh viral pandemic and in a state of severe economic distress. Practicing Naturism will not solve these problems. However, history shows that Naturism can be helpful in endowing its practitioners with physical health, mental comfort, and up-lifted spirits to help them endure and persevere. Judging by the chatter on social media, it does appear that many people, subject to various lock-down and work from home restrictions, are taking advantage of this opportunity to enjoy some clothesfree living. Interestingly, this seems to be the case not just with veteran Naturists but also some normally textiled folks as well. Perhaps history will repeat, and we will see a fresh pulse of interest in Naturism as Corona Lock-down Naturist Newbies rush for the sunshine when constraints get relaxed.   It would be a good thing if more enjoyed the benefits of this wholesome practice. 

1 Gertrude L. von Hausmann, “American Nudism as Seen by a German,” The Nudist, December 1933, Vol. II #10.

2  https://ethicalnaturist.com/?p=164

 

 

Naked Snacks for Thanksgiving

Your body is a blessing, flaws and all.  The gift of life is a wonder, in easy times and hard.  We are coming upon Thanksgiving, a time to be grateful, to rest and to eat, hopefully with ones we love. 

With thoughts of food and feast, here are some suggestions of things to put on the table.  We admit we are suckers for any product branded “Naked.”  These pictures are not an advertisement; we are not getting anything for this.  We are just Naturists; we like Naked.

We also endorse the messaging of these products.  They are being marketed as Naked to communicate that they are pure and natural and therefore wholesome, healthy and good.  These are core qualities of Ethical Naturism.  So, any enterprise that promotes Naked to the broader population as pure and natural, wholesome, healthy and good is on the right track as far as we are concerned. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all.