Nudism, or naturism, is the practice of going nude or unclothed in social and usually mixed gender groups. It sometimes occurs furtively in secluded places in countries where appearing naked in public is illegal, but enjoys widespread acceptance in other areas of the world. Those who practice nudism are called nudists or naturists. A minority opinion is that being naked with other people is necessarily always sexual, and that nudism is morally wrong or pornographic. Naturists universally reject this view.

Naturism should not be confused with naturalism, the study of nature.

Table of contents
1 General
2 Naturist terminology
3 History of nudism
4 Major nudist organizations
5 Public outdoor nudist areas
6 See also
7 External Links


Nudists believe that the human body is nothing to be ashamed of, being something that we all possess and ought to cherish.

Although the terms are used interchangeably in this article, some would draw a distinction between the terms nudism and naturism. In this view a nudist is one who sometimes chooses to go without clothes. A naturist is one who embraces a philosophy that includes more than occasional nudity, often environmentalism, vegetarianism or simply more of a closeness to nature. Others would argue that the term naturism implies snobbery, and there is no distinction. A visit to a nude beach may entitle someone to be called a nudist, but does not make one a naturist. Changing and showering in a locker room probably does not qualify for either. Doing housework in the nude might. Many nudists do so casually at home. A common thought of nudists is being "always naked under my clothes." The nudist or naturist label is really a state of mind of the practitioner, instead of a strictly defined classification imposed by others.

Most nudists and nudist organizations maintain and try to enforce a no sex in public policy, (nude, not lewd) and it is rare to see obvious signs of sexual behaviour at most sites. These are the stereotypical family-oriented clubs and beaches. Some fringe groups and gatherings (such as Swingstock) are more like sex clubs and not considered by most to be examples of true nudism.

Some nudist organizations do not allow people with body piercings on their premises (presumably this rule refers to the foreign objects in the piercings, not to the piercings themselves). Most however accept people of all sizes, shapes and types including those with surgical scars, tattoos or interestingly trimmed (or absence of) hair. Some nudist organizations do not allow unaccompanied men, see e.g. [1].

Nudism is not equivalent to exhibitionism. It is people who enjoy being nude and who are not primarily interested in seeing others naked or being seen naked by others. That being said, all kinds of people are attracted to the movement, for all kinds of reasons. Many naturists are convinced that increased exposure to the natural environment, made easier through nudity, can result in numerous health benefits. Sunlight has been shown to be beneficial in some skin conditions, and is required by the body to make vitamin D. Naturists often claim that they are more relaxed and in a better state of mind when they shed their clothes. Being around like-minded people can make interpersonal interactions, such as meeting new friends, easier and many nudist organizations are really just big social clubs. Indeed, some of these clubs have stricter entrance requirements then some traditional up-scale 'country clubs' - requiring references, a sponsoring member, a trial membership, committee approval etc. At the other end of the spectrum is 'unorganized' naturism in which there is nothing to join, no one to pay, and only civil, common and criminal law to serve as rules of etiquette. Many people get their first exposure to the naturist movement through this kind of informal nudism (eg. a clothing optional beach, a friend's place in the woods, a party on the shore).

Nudists often use sun protection lotions and will wear clothes if the weather demands it. For some reason, volleyball actually is played by some nudists.

Strong nudist movements exist in Germany (there called FKK or Freikörperkultur - Free Body Culture), France and the Netherlands, and smaller such organizations exist in many other nations. Social nudity is practiced in many cultures, especially in the context of social bathing, sometimes with mixed sexes.

Naturist terminology

Nudists sometimes refer to people who don't practice nudity as textiles. Clothing optional usually refers to a facility that allows and encourages nudity but tolerates the wearing of clothes, whereas a nudist facility insists on complete nudity where practicable (to ensure that no one feels inappropriately dressed). Topfree refers to an area that allows uncovered female breasts, also known as topless. A landed organization is one that owns the real estate it is situated on. Non-landed or travel clubs meet regularly at different locations such as public clothing optional beaches or swimming pools rented for the purpose. A smoothie is a person who shaves much of his/her body hair off.

History of nudism

Genetic studies of the human body louse, which requires clothes to survive, suggests that humans started wearing garments 72,000 years ago +/- 42,000 years. This estimate matches that of the first appearance of physical evidence of clothing-making tools. The species Homo sapiens itself has existed for 200,000 or more years, so the 'natural' condition of humans is nude.

Some peoples have started wearing clothes after propaganda from missionaries, who told them that that is more "civilized".

Informal nudism has always been practiced. Ancient cultures (the Greeks and the Romans for example) sometimes had quite different attitudes toward the unclothed human body then is common today. In fact, the word "gymnasium" comes from the Greek word "gymnos," meaning "nude," because athletics were universally done in the nude, at least in Greece.

The first known organized club for nudists, Freilichtpark (Free-Light Park), was opened near Hamburg in 1903. The nudist movement gained prominence in Germany in the 1920s, but was suppressed during the Nazi Gleichschaltung after Adolf Hitler came to power. Social nudism in the form of private clubs and campgrounds first appeared in the United States in the 1930s. In Canada it first appeared in British Columbia about 1939 and in Ontario nine years later.

Major nudist organizations

Worldwide: International Naturist Federation/Federation Naturiste Internationale (INF/FNI) with member regional organizations in 30 countries.

Canada: the Federation of Canadian Naturists (FCN) and La Fédération Québécoise de Naturisme (FQN) are the two national nudist organizations.

Netherlands: has the Naturisten Federatie Nederland (NFN)

Spain: has the Federación Española de Naturismo (FEN)

United Kingdom: the national organisation is British Naturism, formerly known as CCBN (Central Council for British Naturism).

United States: the American Association of Nude Recreation (AANR) and The Naturist Society (TNS) are the two major nudist organizations.

Public outdoor nudist areas


  • Vienna, Donauinsel [1] [1] (artificial island in the Danube quite close to the city centre)

  • Bredene, tram stop Bredene Renbaan (Hippodroom): sandy beach.

Brazil: Canada:
  • Ontario All areas of Ontario, unless otherwise specified by town or city by-laws, allow both males and females to be topless in public.
  • Hanlans Point, a sandy beach just a 15 minute ferry ride from downtown Toronto, Ontario.
  • Wreck Beach is the second largest clothing optional beach in North America with over 100,000 visitors each year. It is located in Vancouver, British Columbia on the north arm of the Fraser River.
  • Oka, Quebec, about 40km from Montreal.

  • All beaches in Denmark are clothing-optional unless marked otherwise.

  • Cap d'Agde, Quartier Naturiste (Nudist Quarter): sandy beach, several swimming pools, but also nude shopping, etc. [1]
  • Saint Martin

  • Munich, part of the Englischer Garten, near the city centre. Also, the western part of Feldmochinger See, in the northwestern suburbs.



United Kingdom: United States: There are three places in the US with nudist youth camps: at White Tail Park, Southampton County, Virginia, Lake Como, Florida and Shangri-La, Arizona.

Even though the camps are strictly non-sexual, for the state of Virginia a ban has been proposed for these nudist youth camps where no parents are present [1].

See also

Amersfoort, Gennep, Skyclad

External Links