Nudists and Naturists Debate the Definition of the Terms Nudist Naturist

| December 23, 2012 | 28 Comments

What Nudists and Naturists Think The Definition of a Nudist or Naturist Really Is

Nudist Naturist Defined – Below I have assembled comments from some of the most influential people from the nudist / naturist community. During the recent events in the Castro with the San Francisco nudity ban, the label “nudist” has been tossed around a lot. Many people voiced all kinds of opinions about what a “nudist” is or should be.

Some believe that any person who enjoys nude recreation should be considered a nudist, while others feel that the term implies more than just enjoying some naked time. So it got me thinking and as always, I like to rely on people who have been around awhile and understand the inner workings of nudism in the United States.

Nudist Morley Schloss

Morley Schloss Heads A Debate About Nudism

Is there more to being a nudist than hanging out naked?

This was the question that I posed:

“Is anyone who takes part in and / or enjoys nude recreation a nudist naturist ? Or is there more to it than that? ”

Below you will read how this all-star celebrity cast of influential people define the terms nudist naturist (I value these individuals opinions and thank them all for taking the time to weigh in on this somewhat ambiguous topic):

      1. All Nudist – Of the widely read and followed All-Nudist Blog
      2. Tom Mulhall – Owner of the Nudist Resort – Terra Cotta Inn in Palm Springs California
      3. Paul Rapoport – Of the Federation of Canadian Naturists
      4. Morley Schloss – Of Sun Sport Gardens Nudist Resort In Florida
      5. Stephane Deschenes – Owner Of The Bare Oaks Nudist Resort In Canada
      6. Chet Kresiak – Long time blogger and publisher of Nudism And Naturism Daily News
      7. Mr. Sandy – Of Rock Lodge Nudist Club In New Jersey And Long Time Nudist
      8. John Andersen – Nude Recreation Advocate
      9. Dan – The current president of the Long Island Travasuns

All Nudist Author Of All-Nudist Blog:

Is anyone who takes part in and / or enjoys nude recreation a nudist? Or is there more to it than that? Is a streaker a nudist? Is someone who frequents Hedonism a nudist?

Of course not. So yes, there’s much more to social nudism than just ‘having fun naked.’ If in doubt, try telling any nudist/naturist that they’re no different than a naked Textile! Those who agree have a lot to learn about nudism/naturism; the rest will provide an earful of differences.

Tom Mulhall of Terra Cotta Inn:

Churchill said when talking about Brits and Americans: “Americans and British are one people separated only by a common language.”

Brits say spanner. We say wrench. They say bloody for something shocking like “bloody hell.” We say bloody to mean someone or thing covered in blood.

They say boot for the trunk of a car and bonnet for the hood. They say canteen, we say cafeteria. They say caravan, we say travel trailer or towed trailer. The list goes on and on.

Brits say naturist, we say nudist. The word nudist comes from the Latin word nudus and has been in use since the 1500’s.

Now in America, some people try to make naturists seem to be superior to nudists. Me, I don’t care which word you use.

Some people get all hung up about who is a “true” nudist or naturist. Me, I really don’t care about labeling people. I remember about 10 years ago a Florida TV station was at Haulover beach asking nude sunbathers, “Are you a nudist?” Every single group of people asked said no, they just liked to sunbathe nude. Only 1 old guy by himself said he was a nudist.

Some people think nudists have to be this or that; I just say they need to be nice people.


Paul Rapoport from the Federation of Canadian Naturists

Historically, there’s still that divide too, between people who think nudism (or naturism) is having your clothes off, for just about any purpose or no purpose, and those who think more is involved. Officially, the old INF statement certifies that more is involved. It’s general enough not to require people to do much or not to do certain things. There’s nothing in it about smoking, alcohol, meat, exercise, etc. However, subjects like those have been discussed by various nudist groups over the past hundred years, all under the consideration of health.

That’s where I think many people would agree: that nudism is about better health, mental and physical, and emotional and spiritual if you wish, without going into specifics. That doesn’t mean that better health is automatic when you remove your clothes, but that doing so with some understanding is an important component of good health, deeply considered, in the right context, i.e. with the right attitudes, whatever those are.

Morley Schloss – The Owner Of Sunsport Gardens Naturist Resort:

I think that “nudist” applies to anyone who takes part in or enjoys nude recreation.

In general, the terms nudist and naturist are interchangeable synonyms. However, for me, a naturist is a nudist with more.

A naturist is a nudist who feels at one with nature, who is ecologically sensitive. For me naturism involves a values system, while nudism is enjoying being nude with others.

Stephane Deschenes – Owner Of Bare Oaks Nudist Resort:

The short answer is no. Nudism / naturism is a philosophy and you have to accept at least some of its core principles (non-sexual nudity, acceptance of self & others, etc…). For example, streaking could be defined as nude recreation. But in their actions, a streaker is not necessarily accepting any of the naturist/nudist values. (They could be doing it because they have exhibitionist tendencies.) Similarly, swingers may do their activities nude but the nudity there is clearly for sexual purposes. Naturism/nudism is a mindset which means that while a person’s actions are important, the biggest defining characteristic is their motivation. For a longer answer see:

Chet Kresiak Publisher Of The Nudism And Naturism Daily News:

Unfortunately, we are stuck with the terms “nudist” and “naturist”, as used by AANR and The Naturist Society respectively. Lee Baxandall adopted the more European term “naturist” when he founded TNS in 1980 specifically to divide his organization from what was then the American Sunbathing Association.

Since then cooperation between the two foremost American organizations has been rare, often being at odds with each other even though their purposes seem to be essentially the same. Other organizations have adopted terms like “clothes-free” or “FKK” which only serve to further divide people on the basis of terminology.

While AANR tends to stress “nude recreation” and TNS promotes “body acceptance“, the idea of being without clothes in social situations remains at the heart of “nudist” philosophy. Whether or not people take off their clothes on beaches or hiking trails, in resorts or in their back yards, the benefits are essentially the same, that we become more comfortable and accepting of our own bodies, and the bodies of others.

Sometimes people take off their clothes in protest, such as at the World Naked Bike Ride, or for the sake of art, such as in the Spencer Tunick installations, or in the Fremont Solstice Parade, and sometimes they bare all just for fun, such as in the San Francisco Bare to Breakers event.

Ultimately it all comes down to body freedom, which is the single most unifying philosophy between all these seemingly divergent groups and events. I would like to see AANR, TNS, YNA and every other group adopt a central theme of “body freedom” as a symbol of unification and common purpose. You can achieve body freedom through nude recreation, artistic expression, social nudism, and political protest. Finding and expressing this common bond of “body freedom” can help to unite and heal the divisions we have between the organizations, and clarify the singular purpose we all have of liberating our minds and bodies.

So, when one is asked if they are a nudist or a naturist, they can simply respond that they are a body freedom advocate.

Mr. Sandy Of Rock Lodge Nudist Club:

First of all, I think being a nudist/naturist is a self-diagnosed condition. There is no precise check-list of attributes, and I can’t describe anyone else that way unless (s)he makes it obvious. Not too many years ago, any American who got naked for anything other than sex or showers would have been considered a nudist. (For simplicity, I’m sticking to Americans.) Now, college kids have naked parties, and some of them streak once a year wearing nothing but pumpkins on their heads; people go to Europe and undress appropriately at nude beaches; people go to all-over-body-painting parties; people do naked yoga; people are buck naked in the World Naked Bike Ride (OMG even in Philadelphia!); but neither they nor I would necessarily consider them nudists/naturists – they’re simply comfortable being naked with other naked people when that’s what the occasional situation calls for. (Most Europeans would consider that a totally normal and healthy attitude, not deserving of any label. I do too.)

I consider myself a nudist/naturist because the ability to be clothes-free, sky-clad, naked, is important to me. It doesn’t interfere with the textile segments of my life, but being a nudist/naturist is on the list of characteristics with which I would describe who I am. Will I drive extra miles to get to a nude beach rather than stop at a textile beach? Will I go to a good deal of trouble to get to a place or an event where I can feel the spiritual comfort of being naked with other naked people? Do I find myself thinking, in some textile circumstances, “Gee – it would be nice to be naked”? Will I support any nudist organization or event that helps make the point that social nudity is ok? Do I encourage people to give it a try? Am I conscious of being a healthier and happier person because of the inclusion of social nudity in my life? All these, and more, get “yes.” Is this obsession/compulsion? I don’t think so. Nudism/naturism doesn’t dominate my life – it’s simply one significant part of it.

So my own opinion (which I don’t lay on anyone else) is that there is, in fact, more to being a nudist/naturist than just taking part in, and/or enjoying, nude recreation. It’s a question of whether or not it’s important. How important? I don’t know. You decide.

Mr. Sandy

John Andersen Nude Recreation Advocate:

That’s a loaded question in part because the key words in the question can carry such a wide variety of meaning and connotation for different people. For many, even the choice of nudist vs naturist carries with it almost a religious fervor and like religion there are as many variants of belief but also many commonalities.

There’s also been a lot of discussion around the use of the word “recreation.” For some, sex is recreational so how does that impact the term “nude recreation”? Aside from the vagaries of the English language I see two parts to your question. One is, “What does nudism/naturism mean to me?” and the other is analogous to asking “If I visit a church/synagogue/temple does that make me an adherent to that particular religion?”.

In my opinion it’s perfectly alright to have a variety of opinions about what nudism/naturism means, and it’s perfectly alright to just visit without buying into whatever philosophy is being promoted as long as you aren’t a threat to the community.

I think the question we really have to grapple with is what defines a threat to the community aside from bad behavior in one’s presence and maybe that even varies with the local community. We can likely all agree that a pedophile represents a genuine threat, but other characteristics can vary significantly in terms of “threat factor” depending on the prevalent views of the community (as I know YNA is painfully aware of).

These issues aren’t unique to the nudist community, but are universal social issues which brings us full circle to the idea that nudists are just like everybody else, except they often prefer to be without clothes. Does that answer your question? Probably not, but hopefully it’s food for thought.

Dan, President of the Long Island Travasuns:

I go naked at Lighthouse Beach and at Travasuns events, but I do not think of myself as a nudist or a naturist. I got involved with the Travasuns because I liked the parties and the people and one thing led to another. Since becoming the president of the Travasuns, I joined AANR and TNS. That’s it.


We’d like to take a moment and once again thank everyone for their time and willingness to help us define the term “nudist.” All the above are, in my opinion, the most influential and vocal group of individuals. They are all supporters of YNA and most are participating affiliates of the YNA membership program. So PLEASE click on the links to their respective websites / blogs and do your best to visit their resorts and blogs often. They are all good people who have devoted much of their lives and time to promoting the ideals of nonsexual nude recreation, body acceptance, equal rights and social nudism. To that we owe them all a debt of gratitude and appreciation! Without your hard work and dedication we would not be able to keep doing what we are doing!

Lots of love to all of you from YNA!

So that wraps up our panel with these fine people, but now it’s you, the readers’, turn to weigh in! What do YOU think defines a nudist or naturist? Do you consider yourself a nudist / naturist and why or why not?

Nudist Naturist and Articles about Nudism And Naturism By – Young Naturists And Young Nudists America YNA

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Category: Nudism and Naturism, Social Nudity Blogs

About the Author ()

Jordan Blum is a lifelong nudie and co-founder of Young Naturists America.