If you’re like some of us your introduction to this strange idea of ‘nudism’ came from grainy black and white photos of bare people playing volleyball. Or perhaps from the internet with pics of beautiful models basking ‘naturally’ on a page full of ads for porno sites. Let’s explore a bit and see what we find.
The first thing to keep in mind is that, other than being naked, nudists are people just like everyone else with the same feelings and interests, differences and personalities. We do tend to be a bit more open-minded, probably because we know what it’s like to be judged unfairly based on stereotypes. That said, we also tend to be rather prudish in some ways. You will find little ‘improper’ behavior in a socially nude situation. As they say: Be nude, not rude.
Enough of all that, time to move on.
Q: What’s the difference between a nudist and a naturist?
A: Not much, though some would argue. A naturist is generally more into nudity in an outdoorsy setting while a nudist is happy to be nude just about anywhere. That’s simplified but good enough for now. The term ‘clothes free’ is gaining in popularity recently since some people don’t care to be labeled ‘nudist’, along with the perceived negative ideas related to the word.
Q: What does ‘Textile” mean?
A: ‘Textile’ is a term referring to the community of those who cover their bodies with clothing most of the time, as opposed to ‘nudists/naturists’ who prefer not to. It is convenient, descriptive, and non-derogatory.
Q: What’s the difference between ‘nudist’ and ‘clothing optional’?
A: Used in descriptions of campgrounds or resorts, ‘nudist’ usually means that full nudity is expected most of the time. ‘Clothing optional’ indicates that nudity is allowed but not required, and may be restricted as to times and places. When booking into a resort be very sure about what you’re getting. It would be a shame to travel a great distance only to find out that you can be nude only at the pool, after 11:00 PM.
Q: Why do people want to be naked?
A: Why not? It’s fun! The breeze, the water, the sand. Grass under your feet (or whatever), it simply feels good! Our skin is a sensory organ, capable of discerning subtle nuances of feeling ranging from temperature to texture. We cover ourselves with clothing and smother most of this ability to perceive and enjoy that which Nature offers for our pleasure. Everything is different nude. Our bodies move and wiggle and bounce differently, our whole world feels brand new. It has to be experienced to be understood.
Q: I was raised to keep my ‘privates’ covered, how could I possibly let someone see me?
A: Nudists don’t view the body as a thing of shame. We all learned body shame from somewhere, you know where you learned yours. Nudists are simply folks that have realized that we learned wrong. Our society equates skin with sex, sex with sin, and sin with evil. Nudists are better able to separate skin from sex. Isn’t it ironic that by covering only ‘private’ parts that those parts become the focus of attention, creating sexual (evil) thoughts? Even more ironic is that by uncovering those parts they lose their mystery and become just another part of a body.
Q: I’m easily aroused, what if I have a ‘physical’ reaction to all those naked bodies?
A: Don’t worry, you probably won’t. It’s an extremely rare sight but if it happens, just wrap in a towel or something. As long as you don’t deliberately create the situation or run around waving it in people’s faces (so to speak) it’s no big thing. Ah, bad choice of words; change that to ‘it just isn’t important’…
Q: It’s beginning to sound like naturists are a bunch of sexless zombies, it that true?
A: Hardly. It’s just that there is a time and a place for everything and a social gathering of nudists is not bar time at a meet-market. Picture it more like a community picnic and behave accordingly. Look around this site and you will find plenty of evidence of sexuality and diversity of lifestyles, just like in Textile society. And just as you wouldn’t engage in public sexual displays in the ‘real world’, nudist/naturists society does not tolerate it either. Again, time and place.
Q: My body is less than perfect, will I be embarrassed to be seen?
A: Maybe, for a few minutes. You may be conscious of every wiggle, jiggle, wart and wrinkle. Until you are comfortable enough to look around a bit and realize that (1) no one is paying any attention to you and (2) most of them are nothing special to look at either (from a Textile point of view) and (3) nobody cares. They’re just folks, out for some sun and a nice day. After a little while you may feel at ease enough to move around a bit, maybe even talk to people (Hmm, what do I do with my eyes? What do I look at while talking to them?) and have some perceptions shattered. Why, these are just people like you, who enjoy being naked and nobody cares a lick about appearances! This will cause serious damage to your Textile view of the world. Imagine that: basing your opinion of someone on who they are, not how they look…
Q: I’m gay, now what? A: So what? Just behave. (see Alternate Lifestyles).
Q: I am young and buff, will I feel out place?
A: Nah. All sorts of people are attracted to the nude lifestyle. Some groups or locations may cater more to a particular clientele, but generally speaking we’re a pretty mixed lot. Fat, skinny, old, young, kids, and, yes, Beautiful People. It’s fair to say that nudists pay less attention to bodies than to the person inside them, but that’s not to say that we’re totally unaware of the standard forms of beauty when we see them. So yeah, pretty’s still pretty, but it’s just not particularly important.
Q: What about kids how do they fit in?
A: Good question. Kids are natural nudists, it’s we parents who put clothes on them. That said, how a particular kid reacts to social nudity depends on their background, age and personality. Generally speaking, the younger they are the easier it is for them. Elementary school age through high school is tougher if they’ve not been raised with nudity. Ideas and attitudes become fixed; insecurities, hormones and sexuality, what a mess. Personal experience with our kids and friends’ kids, ages 12 through 18 at first exposure was just fine. A little bit of oh-my-god-everybody’s-naked at first, quickly becoming just fine to them. A lot of kids don’t mind being around nudity but prefer to remain clothed. No problem. Don’t push it.
Q: What about legal issues and kids?
A: It starts to get a little murky right around here and this is not to be taken as legal advice. Different states and localities have varied laws and ordinances relating to the subject and enforcement varies greatly. It’s almost impossible to get a straight answer from anyone and you certainly won’t find one here! Most laws include wording which requires more than simple nudity to be in violation, some refer to particular body parts (one state’s statute forbids exposure of the female breast below the nipple but not above it), or certain types of behavior.
We are unaware of any problems with kids and nudity at Mazo Beach or at any of the legitimate nudist campgrounds in Wisconsin (or in the USA for that matter, except for one in Indiana which no longer exists), and kids do frequent them, but it is always a good idea to ask someone ahead of time. And, as always, keep an eye on your kids. Creeps can be anywhere.
Q: Is public nudity legal anywhere?
A: Maybe, it depends on how it’s interpreted and enforced. According to most US state statutes it appears to be legal, more or less, but we know better, don’t we? Try walking down your street naked and see what happens. Or in your own yard or at a beach. Streakers are arrested nowadays instead of merely being ticketed. Our city of Madison has legalized toplessness for women but of course, a topless woman will be arrested for disorderly conduct. Go figure. In general, assume that nudity will be treated as illegal and be sure to check local laws before taking a stroll in the woods!
So, get out there and try it if you haven’t already. If you want to be nude, you can be. Look around this website for a club or beach near you. There’s nearly always somewhere that you can safely be socially nude if you make the effort to find it!
Hope to see you at the beach, or somewhere! – Angie & Steve