Nudism

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A nude woman on horseback.
Fall colors at the onsen bath.

Nudism, also called naturism, is the practice of going naked (i.e. without any clothes, also known as textile-free), in social, non-sexualized and frequently mixed-gender groups specifically in cultures where going nude in the social situation is not the norm.

The nudist subculture[edit]

Some people practice nudism as part of a philosophy (e.g. "closer to nature", "freedom", "equality", "self-awareness", "not being ashamed of one's body", "nothing to hide", "the bare necessities", "back to the basics"), while others simply enjoy nudity in the open air for its recreational value: it feels nice to be naked if the temperatures make clothing unnecessary in an environment where you don't have to be ashamed of yourself. Most popular is the combination of skinny dipping and nude sunbathing. Nudism can also be combined with sports such as beach sports, horseback riding or jogging.

Nudism typically takes place in designated resorts such as nudist beaches, lakesides, parks or campgrounds. Other nudist places (less common to find) include nudist ships and nudist hotels. In official nudist places, the wearing of clothing, especially swimwear, is often strictly banned to discourage voyeurism. Certain items of clothing such as hats or shoes do not count and a person is generally accepted as being sufficiently nude when those body parts are naked which would be covered by typical swimwear. In other places, nudism is inofficially accepted, or the place is officially designated clothing optional. Nudists and non-nudists will mix to a greater or lesser degree there.

In places where nudism is not accepted at all, nudists may face charges of "indecent exposure", "exhibitionism", or "sexual harrassment".

Nudist media[edit]

There are nudist websites, blogs and magazines with articles on nudism, specific nudist places, etc., typically illustrated with photos of nude people of both genders and all ages enjoying themselves in such environments. In the course of the 1980s and 1990s, people began to think negatively of photos of nude minors as potential "child pornography", and most nudist magazines changed their photo policies to ban pictures of minors and families with children and only permit pictures of adults. This way, outsiders may get a somewhat distorted image from contemporary nudist media of what nudism is. It is definitely not an "adult" thing, but instead, is a family lifestyle in which adults and their children of any age participate.

Nudist magazine photos from the 1960s and 1970s can be found on sites such as imgsrc.ru.

Recreational nudity[edit]

In many cultures there are specific recreational places open to the (paying) public where nudity is the norm, such as spas, saunas, and steam baths. People going there are normally not called nudists. In antiquity, it was similar in all public baths and in sports (see e.g. the Gymnopaedia, an annual summer festival of military activities in Sparta during which naked youths displayed their athletic and martial skills). Swimwear is a very recent (19th century) invention.

Today, in some countries (e.g. Germany) certain spas and public swimming pools have special "textile free" days or nights.

See also[edit]