Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Nudism vs. Naturism

Question: Is there a difference between nudism and naturism?

Short Answer: The terms carry slightly different connotations, but practically speaking, they may be used interchangeably.

Long Answer: There is no official consensus about how and why and in what contexts each of the two terms is used, or where their definitions overlap. In some cases, "naturism" can be understood to be the European analog of "nudism", and so the two terms are really interchangeable. When somebody says that they are a naturist, or are practicing naturism, then unless they go into more detail, you may infer that they are really just indicating that they are a nudist, or are practicing nudism.

That having been said, some people do differentiate between the two terms. Naturism seems to take on an added connotation above and beyond nudism - one that may, depending on who you ask, encompass associations with outdoor recreation and/or a "healthy living" perspective. By this logic, you could consider all naturists to be nudists, but not all nudists to necessarily be naturists.

Some people prefer the term "naturism" because of its connotation with nature - it is a more innocuous (and less conspicuous) word to use in mixed company, and avoids the stigma that many textiles associate with the word "nude". I, however, prefer the term "nudism" in part because I support transparency - if the lifestyle is about going nude, then why not just own up to it, instead of trying to beat around the bush with less suggestive, and thus more opaque, terms?

I also prefer "nudism" because it doesn't carry the added weight of "naturism"'s connotation with nature. Not that I don't like that connotation - as a nudist, I am very pro-nature. But I find that it can be a bit limiting in some respects, as if to suggest that if you practice at home, indoors, or if you live what some may deem an unhealthy lifestyle (e.g., one that involves drinking, smoking, lazing about instead of getting exercise and fresh air and eating healthy), or if you engage in arguably "un-natural" grooming practices (like shaving), or have any tattoos and/or piercings, then you're not really a part of the lifestyle.

As important as I believe nature is to the enjoyment of nudism, the bottom line is that it all boils down to the fact that what makes nudists and naturists different from the rest of the population is that they like to be nude! So why make it more complicated than that? The term "nudism" is pretty all-inclusive - you don't have to join a club and pay membership dues, or follow any kind of esoteric rules. If you like being nude for anything other than sexual reasons, then you are a nudist! (Not that there's anything wrong with liking to be nude for sexual reasons - it's just that that isn't nudism).

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