How Long Should You Wait To Tell The World You're A Nudist?

First in a series

Have you ever thought about why you enjoy being a nudist or naturist so much? If so, you probably used terms like a "sense of freedom," "pleasure," "relaxation," and "self-acceptance." Or, you may have thought of naturism as a safe, natural and healthy environment for children. It could be the welcoming atmosphere no matter which club or beach you visit or the friendly, supportive, and caring friends you have met. You probably can think of many more reasons. Surely you have wished that everyone could feel the same as you and that you could say without reservation "Hey world, I'm a nudist!"

Acknowledging an alternative way of life (or "coming out") as a nudist or naturist may make you feel vulnerable because you are sharing personal information or feelings with others without truly knowing how they will react. Many naturists keep their nude activities secret from their parents, children, other relatives and even friends. They often worry that someone will accidentally find out, or that people will ask about the "camp" they go to on weekends, ask to be invited or say they want to come along on one of the next trips. Unfortunately, when you can't be totally honest, you find yourself lying, making excuses or being forced to tell the truth under very unfavorable circumstances. This is not only stressful but also harmful to relationships, especially if the other party finds out and recognizes your lack of trust in them. In addition, keeping your nudism a secret gives the appearance of an admission of guilt..."Why else wouldn't you have told me?" Most agree it would be far more beneficial if naturists could discuss their mode of living openly and without fear of repercussion.

There are many benefits to being "out." These are just a few examples:

  • Allows you to retain integrity knowing you are being genuine with family, friends and those you care about.
  • Being truthful and open can produce feelings of trust and confidence that build strong bonds.
  • Eliminates the anxiety about having your nudist activities divulged by an individual who accidentally discovers your involvement while browsing the Internet.
  • Allows you to feel comfortable with your way of life.
  • Eliminates the fear of meeting a friend or coworker at a nudist event.
  • You can freely speak of your activities with pride and enthusiasm.
  • Puts you in control of how and when you share your information.
  • You can be an advocate for nude recreation and recruit different populations such as families, friends, and young adults.
  • Facilitates full participation in all aspects of nudist activities and use of one's full name or a photo in nudist publications.
  • You won't feel guilty because you prefer to be with your nudist friends because you can invite your non-nudist friends to join you.
  • Lastly, once most of your friends know, you will have the pleasure of watching others' reactions when you casually mention something that suggests you are a nudist.

As each person publicly discloses his or her nudism, it begins to create a more positive opinion among non-nudists. Friends, relatives and colleagues will now realize they know someone who both practices naturism but is also the very same person they may have known for years and have come to admire, respect or love. Additionally, as nudism becomes a more understood and acceptable mode of living, it helps to alter the archaic restrictive rules that governments and societies have foisted upon the nudist community. In turn, it ultimately leads to a more safe, secure and nonjudgmental existence for all of us who enjoy the right to be clothes-free in appropriate places.

Barriers To Acknowledging Your Nudism

Of course, there are instances when not disclosing that you are a nudist seems to be the safest choice. Some naturists do not expect to ever reveal their nudist activities because they work for employers or belong to religious organizations that would never approve. Today, the Internet and social media such as Facebook and Twitter are rapidly eroding the expectation or guarantee of privacy, and the chance of someone's "cover being blown" increases almost daily. Sharing that you are a nudist is a serious decision, especially if you are part of the group who would suffer unacceptable consequences even if your admission were proper and sensitively framed. This population includes teachers in communities with moral turpitude laws, employees of religious groups or small privately owned businesses with strong dogmatic opposition to nudity, and individuals whose relatives have deep-seated religious or cultural views against nudity.

To better prepare for unexpected disclosure, people who might encounter punitive responses should analyze potential situations and plan their responses in advance, using some of the strategies that will be shared in future articles. For example, they may consider gaining experience and confidence by telling a few people with whom they feel safe. If they have friends with influence on an employer or organization, they should consider them allies and include them as well because in sensitive situations, it is often effective when a respected individual states, "I've known for years that he was a nudist. You've always considered him a valuable employee/member. Nothing has changed, so what is your concern?"

An important objective when discussing your naturism is to promote knowledge, a positive attitude and comfort with the fact that you enjoy nude recreation and believe it to be a normal, wholesome activity. It is tempting to try convincing people that they too should become nudists and perhaps at a later and more opportune time you might consider the challenge of inviting friends to experience nude recreation. However, your goal at this time is acceptance. Disclosure is not an all or nothing process. You can initially come out only to your "safest" friends and then, as you feel comfortable, progress to others. Before you know it, you will be sharing with numerous friends. And what if one of them tells someone else? No problem. They will probably do it in a casual conversation that implies they are totally cool with it—and they will have saved you the effort of telling the person yourself.

Although it may seem counter-intuitive, most of us are much safer out in the open than living with a secret. Often, individuals whose nudism has been disclosed without their permission recognize too late that being secretive has given their opponent total control of how their way of life was revealed. You can begin the sharing process by asking yourself, "Why am I a nudist?" It's amazing how many people can't answer that question! Just think about it, write it all down and then edit it into a 30-second "elevator speech" that you are prepared to give should the situation arise. This technique is just one of many that will appear in the next issue's Part II to help you inform people you are a nudist, feel less vulnerable when you are doing so, and produce a more positive outcome. As for how long you should wait to tell people—by the end of the series you should be able to answer that question for yourself!

How Long Should You Wait To Tell The World You're A Nudist? (Part 2)

Second in a series

Negative Comments Positive/Assertive Responses
There’s nothing you can do nude that you couldn’t do with your clothes on. We find it more relaxing to be able to conduct normal activities like swimming or gardening without the need for clothing. And there is something almost therapeutic to being comfortable in one’s own skin.
I just don’t get it . . . it’s certainly nothing I would ever do. Sometimes trying to explain nudism is like trying to describe a flavor . . . it can be difficult if one hasn’t experienced it. Yet, thousands of families have discovered the positive and healthy benefits derived from nude recreation.
The thought of looking at old naked bodies seems kind of disgusting. OR I am not in such great shape to want to show it off to other people. Our philosophy is one of acceptance: that the natural body is beautiful despite size, shape, or condition. And it is about who you are as a person, not what you look like.
I have heard that these nudist colonies are filled with swingers. The family nudist resort that I am affiliated with is a member of AANR and TNS; this means we guarantee to uphold a stringent standard of behavior and family values. By the way, we refer to our clubs as nudist campgrounds, parks, clubs, or resorts.
I can’t believe that you would do that! Thousands of people have discovered the many positive, wholesome benefits of nude recreation. In fact, it is one of the fastest growing demographics in the travel industry.
I’d probably get sexually excited looking at some of those women. In my many years of experience, this rarely ever occurs because social nudity is not sexually stimulating. For example, there is nothing provocative about conducting normal activities such as sitting around talking, playing volleyball, or cleaning up the campground without clothing.
I was brought up to be modest. As I was. Modesty can be defined as appropriateness, and those of us who are nudists are only clothing-free where it is deemed acceptable and appropriate.
My religion doesn’t permit this. I accept that there are religions that forbid nudity. However, some folks believe this to be the case but discover that there actually are no sanctions against nude recreation.
Allowing kids to be nude around adults is pretty dangerous. We believe that removing body shame and allowing kids to be the natural nudists that they are is wholesome and healthy. Family nudist clubs typically protect our children with security plans that include things like photo ID’s, background checks, and close behavioral observations by staff and members.
Aren’t you afraid that your kids are going to tell their friends and then their parents won’t let them continue their friendship? We have thought about that. We have also taught our children that we have “inside” information and “outside” information and that our way of life is part of our inside information because some people don’t understand it. Frankly, our children don’t understand why!
You raised us kids to believe we should cover up and now you are telling us you are nudists? We were also raised that way and we followed that until we had the chance to experience naturism. It is really a healthy and wholesome way of life and we wish we had learned about it a lot sooner.

Part I of this series addressed the benefits of sharing with friends, family, and colleagues that you are a nudist or naturist, while recognizing situations where this information might cause repercussions. However, most people tend to accept the enjoyment of nude recreation with little difficulty when presented thoughtfully. Part II offers some scientific principles used in marketing, public relations, and health education that will help you prepare to tell the world you are a nudist or naturist.

Scientifically Based Approaches To Acknowledging You Are A Naturist Or Nudist

Assertiveness Training

Assertiveness training teaches people to express themselves effectively in a way that protects their personal rights and integrity while recognizing the rights and integrity of the other person. Assertive people communicate clearly, respectfully, and with confidence, or, in other words, they express their needs, beliefs, or concerns in a calm and controlled way. Assertiveness training also teaches people the difference between passive and aggressive communication. In the role play exercise that follows, assertive responses are paired with negative comments to demonstrate how to defend nudism without becoming defensive.

Inoculation Theory

Inoculation is the process of preparing in advance an appropriate counterargument to protect you from a future verbal attack. This is often taught using role play, a form of simulation where individuals act and speak as if they are portraying a character. An essential component of role play is practicing within a secure environment not only how to respond appropriately to challenging questions and comments but learning what not to say.

Inoculation helps you to rehearse and be prepared with a spontaneous response to challenging statements or questions rather than being caught off-guard. Since some people may assume nudists’ lives are somehow inferior to their own, all nudists should have their own “elevator speeches” prepared in advance about how nude recreation has improved their lives or the life of someone they know. TNS and AANR pamphlets and magazines such as “N,” “Naturally,” and “Going Naturally” demonstrate positive life experiences and are great resources to hand out. (Note: the AANR Bulletin may be less useful for this purpose as it tends to focus on news of interest to nudists rather than on nudist experiences).

Unfortunately, most nudists have encountered ill-informed and prejudiced people who are critical when learning about the individual’s enjoyment of naturism. The following role play exercise will prepare you in advance with a variety of assertive, non-defensive, factual, and calm responses when confronted with challenging comments. Readers should role play these situations with a small group of friends until everyone is comfortable and confident. You may also want to create and role play your own scenarios, and practice being relaxed, articulate, and spontaneous.

While these approaches are helpful in sharing your nudism, people may continue to have doubts about how acceptable your activities really are. Part III will address why people hesitate to reveal they are nudists and some strategies for telling this important information.

Editor’s Note: This article and the articles that follow in the series are based on the work of the Joint AANR/TNS Ad Hoc Committee on Sharing Your Naturism.