couple sitting on a nude beach

What is a Naturist?

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For some individuals, moving throughout the world without attire is regarded as more natural than wearing clothing. Others, however, are intimidated by public nudity.

There are many misconceptions about nudism, but the naturalist lifestyle is actually a very transparent one. If you are someone who finds this lifestyle a bit mysterious, the information below will help you make sense of it.

What is a Naturist?

Haulover Beach in Florida is a popular destination for the nudist crowd

Naturism simply refers to living a clothing-free lifestyle alone as well as within various social circles of like-minded individuals. In simple terms, nudism is nothing more than enjoying your own skin and being comfortable doing a variety of activities while naked. 

Naturism and nudism are essentially interchangeable terms. However, naturism often goes a bit further as a definition for some individuals. 

It may encompass a series of ideals as well, such as respect for the environment, a healthy lifestyle, and, in some cases, even following certain practices such as a vegan diet, or the shunning of cigarettes and alcohol. 

Of course, these things vary widely from one naturist to another, and there are no hard and fast rules that every individual who embraces this lifestyle must follow. It’s all about personal choices and freedom.

Want to get naked in Spain? Check out the best nude beaches we could find.

Is a Naturist the Same as a Swinger? 

Unlike the terms above, the terms “naturist” and “swinger” are not interchangeable. One has essentially nothing to do with the other. This doesn’t mean that a naturist cannot also be a swinger, but overall, the nudist lifestyle has absolutely nothing to do with “swinging.” 

Although there are other banal definitions for the term swinger, it primarily refers to people in a relationship who choose to be with others, either together or separately.  When explained this way, it’s easy to see it has nothing to do with being a naturist, which is simply freedom from clothing.

But Isn’t Naturism all About Sex?

Probably the most common misconception about naturism is that it’s all about sex. Nothing could be further from the truth. Naturists simply do the ordinary daily activities that everyone else does, except without the encumbrance of attire.

For example, nudists often state that it’s much more comfortable to lie on a beach in the buff than wearing a soggy, uncomfortable bathing suit.

Similarly, if one is in a sauna, covering up seems counterproductive when the whole idea of a sauna is to allow the skin to breathe. If it’s warm out, why get sticky and hot gardening when it’s far more comfortable to do this task in your birthday suit?

When put that way, it’s easy to see that nudism has nothing to do with sex. It is simply living a clothing-free lifestyle.

What Types of Activities do Naturists Do?

hiking trails are something a naturist likes to do naked
Hiking nude is popular at Olive Dell nude resort in California

The concise answer to this question is that naturists engage in the same activities engaged in by the rest of the world. Of course, there are also specialized events and venues where nudity is expected or at the very least optional. 

For example, June 21st is designated Naked Hiking Day. Also, at the end of summer, on the weekend following Labor Day, the annual Super Bowl of Naked Volleyball is held in western Pennsylvania. There is even the Nautical Nudists Diving and Boating Club, which any naturist can join.

In essence, there are unlimited activities that nudists can take part in, such as naked tennis, naked surfing, naked horseshoes, and if you’re diligent enough, even naked skiing.

Naturally, favorite activities among naturists include sunbathing, swimming, and other beach activities, but there is virtually nothing people can do with clothes on that can’t be done without clothes off if you find the right place.

Pros of Naturism

By this time, you might be wondering what the pros and cons of naturism are. In reality, there are not many disadvantages, but some of the advantages may surprise you. These range from health benefits to benefits that may be described as emotional or spiritual. Below are some of the top pros and cons of the nudist lifestyle:

Good for Your Bones

Although much has been said about overexposure to the sun, virtually all experts agree that the sun’s natural rays–as long as you don’t burn–are the best source of vitamin D, which is imperative for bone health.

While it’s true that you can take supplements, they are hard on the stomach and there’s a risk of taking too much. Vitamin D from the sun, on the other hand, is never over-measured.

Healthy for Your Skin

All naturists would agree that being naked feels good to the skin, but did you know it is also healthy for the skin? Wearing clothes in hot weather can sometimes lead to uncomfortable eventualities. 

These include sweaty patches against your skin, straps and bands that can cause premature wrinkles or rashes, and even the proliferation of bacteria if clothing is too tight or made from material that is not skin-friendly. 

Additionally, certain formulas or chemicals that make fabrics stain-resistant and wrinkle-free often irritate the skin as well. No one is trying to turn you against clothing; merely pointing out the surprising benefits of not wearing it.

But beware that healthy sun exposure is only about 15-20 minutes per day. Other than that, you should be lying in the shade or enjoying the sun after the peak of the day, which is what we do.

Benefits of Sleeping in the Buff 

True naturists know the advantages of sleeping in the raw. Getting a good night’s sleep is easier when you cool down, so ditching those fleece pajamas or flannel nightgowns can only benefit when it comes to getting shuteye. Everyone knows a good night’s sleep is beneficial to both physical well-being and mental health.

Believe it or not, sleeping nude in a cool room can even help keep your weight down, since you’re more likely to burn passive calories at night if you are clothing free.

Men may even benefit from a higher sperm count when they sleep without the restriction of underwear elastic or the confines of pajamas.

Higher Self Esteem

One of the most pleasant and satisfying feelings of partaking in naturist activities is an emotional sense of equality with everyone else. The costumes we wear every day sometimes bring a bit of mental angst because we fear we don’t look as good as the next person. 

Attire can almost be like our badge of social strata and can, in an odd and annoying way, affect our self-esteem negatively. On the other hand, with everyone bare, and their imperfections there for all the world to see, it suddenly becomes a level playing field. This can only serve to improve self-esteem all the way around.

A Closer Connection to Nature

In today’s modern world, it’s easy to feel estranged from mother nature, and nudist recreation is one of the best ways to reestablish that connection in a strong way. Most naturists state that it’s a wonderful sensation to feel a light breeze or the warm sun on their bare skin as they lie on an open stretch of beach or walk along a backwoods trail. 

It’s almost impossible to feel alienated from nature when you eliminate the constraints of clothing. It is often one of the first things people remark about when they embrace a naturist lifestyle.

Cons of Naturism

As previously mentioned, just like anything in this life, there are some disadvantages associated with nudism. Many would say that the pros outnumber the cons, but below are some things that may make people a bit hesitant to embrace the lifestyle.


Although it may seem oversimplified, plain old embarrassment may make some people hesitant to bare everything. This is merely because most people are used to living their lives fully clothed.

Whether or not this can be overcome and the nudist lifestyle embraced, simply comes down to your comfort zone. The best way to determine if the lifestyle is right for you is to give it a try.


Naturally, as a nudist, you will be somewhat limited with regard to where you can practice the naturist lifestyle. Obviously, in most areas, you must wear clothes, and therefore, living as a nudist is not something you can just do anywhere and everywhere.

Fortunately, however, there are plenty of nudist resorts and nude beaches where you can indulge in the lifestyle.

Finding New Social Circles

So perhaps you have decided to live life as a nudist, but don’t want to go it alone. This may be a disadvantage, since your current circle of family and friends may not be as eager to jump into the lifestyle as you. 

Naturally, opinions vary greatly on something like nudism, so you may find yourself having to make new friends in order to enjoy the lifestyle with companions.

This may also be regarded as an advantage in some ways, though, because who can have too many friends? There’s nothing wrong with moving in several different social circles, after all.

How to Get Involved in Naturism

sign showing the way to a clothing optional beach, popular for naturists

There are many ways to get involved in naturism, and it really comes down to your personal taste and preferences. If you want to ease into it, try going to a topless resort like Temptation or a nude beach where you can leave some clothing on or stay fully clothed if you desire.

This way, you can observe what goes on and assure yourself that the beach or resort is not full of sex-crazed degenerates. 

You can search here for nude beaches near you, or get in touch with other naturists through the American Association for Nude Recreation.  The latter is a US naturist organization, and one of the largest organizations of its type in North America. It was founded in 1931, but went through several name changes. Nevertheless, it remains one of the top ways to learn about getting involved in naturism. 

The organization is affiliated with approximately 180 resorts and clubs in North America and has well over 200,000 members.

So, if you want to give nudism a try and see what it has to offer, the websites listed above are good places to start. Only you can decide what the best course of action is, but if you carefully consider the pros and cons, you may find you have nothing to lose by exploring a naturist lifestyle.

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