Naturism : An Autistic Perspective
Naturism and the clothing free lifestyle is one of beauty, espousing a philosophy that everybody, regardless of age, nationality, disability or non-disability, short, tall, thin or fat is beautiful and is of self-worth.
As a young man diagnosed with high functioning autism, this lifestyle has blessed me immensely. But first I should tell a little bit about myself.
It’s no secret that those of us with autism, including high functioning autism, aka Aspergers, feel different than most of society, like we’re strangers from a different planet, like we don’t quite belong. This has certainly been the case with me.
Growing up, I was teased about the way I dressed, the way I talked, the way I acted. All of this helped lead to low self-esteem, despondent feelings of inadequacy. I couldn’t relate to others, and this added fuel to the fire of depression. It didn’t help matters either that for the longest time I had the severest case of gymnophobia, which took me a while to overcome.
But at age eighteen I stumbled upon a naturist site by accident. I couldn’t believe my eyes, wholesome, clean, pictures of people of all ages, shapes and sizes, enjoying nature and life the way God made them, in their birthday suits. I’m not sure how I found the site. I wasn’t looking for pornography or anything dirty, I always having found such smut to be degrading (which I still do). But this was nothing of the sort. It was beautiful, pure, and, I must say, spiritual. I felt a spiritual connection stirring within me, awakening in my heart. I longed to be comfortable in my own skin, to feel the breeze and the sun all over, to be naked in nature.
Still, I had some lingering doubts, thinking that nudity would be a sin to God. Having a great love for Him, it has never been my desire to hurt His feelings. I took the matter to prayer, and was given a warm feeling that not only was social nudity not a sin, but that He encouraged it.
And what a blessing it has been! Though nudism hasn’t cured my autism, (there be no cure for it) it has helped me in numerous ways.
It wasn’t fun being teased for the way I dressed when I was growing up. I hated the feel of jeans against my legs, so I wore sweat pants. I was also teased for wearing lace-less shoes. Naturism obliterates that problem in the bud. There is no room for judgment in the naturist lifestyle, as eliminating clothing eliminates many prejudices of social status and fashion. Naked we see more eye to eye, looking into each others hearts instead of our outward appearance. Also, as someone who is bothered by certain clothing textures, naturism eliminates that problem. This acts as a form of therapy for me.
Love for my body has also skyrocketed. It was tough having insecurities about my lack of muscles, and, of all things, my face. Many of us on the autism spectrum aren’t societies idea of handsome or beautiful. Naturist men in particular, including myself, are not the most defined in the muscle department, tending to lean more on being nerds rather than being athletic.
But in naturism it doesn’t matter. No body is perfect, yet every body is good. In the clothing optional lifestyle people are treated with respect. Even those of us with autism are good and beautiful.
Not only do I love my own body, but my feelings of gymnophobia have vanished. I now look back at my hung up attitudes about seeing skin and realize how illogical it all was.
I honestly believe that naturism / nudism is conducive for those who suffer on the autism spectrum as it can give them a friendly environment free of judgment. People with autism and Aspergers need to learn to feel comfortable with who they are, regardless of their quirks. An open atmosphere of love and acceptance offered in many nudist circles just may help them with their body image and their self esteem. Though I can’t speak for everyone, I know it has richly worked wonders for me.
Naturism An Autistic Perspective