Ethical Naturism integrates three foundational principles into a holistic life philosophy:
Acceptance of self – No body is perfect; no self is without flaw. However, the way we acknowledge our imperfections and live as our true selves can be a source of great beauty and a pathway to self-actualization.
Respect for others – No body is perfect; no self is without flaw. However, the way we treat others and respect them as they are can be a source of great goodness and fellowship.
Harmony with Nature – We are all creatures of the earth and interconnected with the whole of creation. Opening ourselves to Nature can awaken us to the miracle that is our life and all life.
Stéphane Deschênes, proprietor of Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park, produced a nice illustration of these principles in a “Triad,” which is shown below1:
The Triad is also embodied in the International Naturist Federation’s definition of Naturism:
Naturism is a way of life in harmony with nature characterized by the practice of communal nudity with the intention of encouraging self‐respect, respect for others and for the environment.
The Ethical Naturism Triad is about relationships: to oneself, to others and to Nature. It is essentially an expanded version of the Golden Rule… to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. However, it expands this rule by applying it not just to others but also to yourself and to Nature. This seems like an obvious thing to do, but people have a way of neglecting or mistreating themselves, others, or Nature in some form or another. So, the Triad guides one to build healthy, balanced relationships with all three (yourself, others and Nature) and by doing so improve your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Obviously, these principles can be instructive regardless of whether one’s clothes are on or off. So, what does the Triad have to do with Naturism? Well, Naturism is a tool, a way to inculcate these values into one’s life. There is something about being socially nude with others in a well-managed Naturist setting that causes people to instinctively adopt respectful behaviors and manners. These are innate, but the authentic and pure experience of others and the natural world has a way of releasing one from the drives, insecurities and artificially imposed conditioning of textile society. The Naturist experience thus evokes a sense of connection and belonging that is distinctly convivial and that nurtures a beneficent culture that is not easily achieved in everyday society. In this way, the practice of Ethical Naturism helps people to internalize the attitudes, manners and habits that promote a healthy mind in a healthy body, and this guides their conduct regardless of how they are dressed.
People engage in nudism for a variety of reasons, and no one approach is necessarily superior or righter than another. However, the Ethical Naturist approach is attractive because, besides being just plain fun, it can inform the set of ethics one chooses to live by. More than a century of experience has shown that, when properly practiced, Naturism is effective at helping people lead healthier and happier lives. Who doesn’t want that? Moreover, it is fair to imagine, that if enough people embraced Ethical Naturism, our society might perhaps become just a little bit nicer.