A naturist is not a body lacking something (clothing). Rather, a clothed person is a whole and complete naked body, plus clothes.
Many psychologists say that clothing is an extension of ourselves. The clothes we wear are an expression of who we are. The Naturist's comfort with casual nudity, therefore, represents an attitude which is comfortable with yourself as it is in its most basic state, without modification or deceit.
Clothes-Compulsiveness creates insecurity about one's body. It locks us into a constant battle between individuality and conformity of dress. Nudity frees us from this anxiety by fostering a climate of comfortable individuality without pretense.
Studies show that nudism promotes a positive body self-concept. These effects are especially significant for women. For proof you have to look no further than studies by Daniel DeGoede in 1984. DeGoede studied 4 different groups (nudist males, non-nudist males, nudist females, and non-nudist females). The nudist Females scored highest on body concept and non-nudist females scored the lowest.
The North American Guide to Nude Recreation notes that "one reason why a nude lifestyle is so refreshing is that it delivers us temporarily from the game of clothes. It's hard to imagine how much clothing contributes to the grip of daily tensions until we see what it's like to socialize without them. Clothing locks us into a collective unreality that prescribes complex responses to social status, roles and expected behaviors. In shedding our daily "uniforms" we also shed a weighty burden of anxieties. For a while, at least, we don't have to play the endless charade of projected images we call "daily life". For once in your life you are part of a situation where age, occupation, and social status don't really count for much. You'll find yourself relating more on the basis of who you really are instead of who your clothes say you are". This analysis is borne out by experience.
Clothing hides the natural diversity of human body shapes and sizes. When people are never exposed to nudity, they grow up with misunderstandings and unrealistic expectations about the body based on biased or misinformed sources - for instance, from advertising or mass media. Don't believe me? Why is breast augmentation by far the leading form of cosmetic surgery in the US? Clothing hides and therefore creates mystery and ignorance about natural body processes, such as pregnancy, adolescence, and aging. This mystery about other's bodies makes one assume that their own bodies are not normal or imperfect. Quickly in a nudist environment you will see that your body is much like everyone else’s. Understanding and acceptance of yourself and others soon follows. This increases one's self image and self esteem almost instantly.
So you’re reading this and realizing maybe naturism is something you want to try. Here’s some advice. Become a home nudist for a while. You can start by just walking around your house in the buff alone. At first it may feel almost voyeuristic but that’s ok. It’s a natural feeling because you are not used to it. After a short period of time you will notice that it’s actually quite comfortable and relaxing.
As your confidence grows maybe ask your spouse or a good friend to hang out naked with you. You could enjoy a bottle of wine and conversation or just watch a movie. Make sure to make the activity something you both would enjoy but refrain from making it sexual. Many naturists are home naturists only and that’s fine too but remember being comfortable with yourself around others is the ultimate in nude recreation. It’s at least worth trying. Just don’t rush in to it.
Naturists aren’t always nude. We are just nude when appropriate and comfortable. If you decide to try it, you don’t have to throw away your clothes but as time goes on you will likely find yourself wearing clothing less and less. Besides clothing and laundry soap are expensive, it makes for a fun way to save money.
Author: Chris, President Indiana Naturists
* inspired by “205 Arguments and Observations in Support of Nude Recreation” by K. Bacher.