Only 72,000 years ago, man didn’t even think about wearing any clothes, preferring to walk around naked. And today, we, the proud descendants of Neanderthals, do not allow ourselves to appear in our clothes in any more or less public place. The only exception is nudist beaches, where you can return to nature in the company of like-minded people.
It seems that the nude lifestyle, or recreation without clothes, was much more valued in earlier periods of American history than today. Ben Franklin, for example, loved to take a cold-air bath in his birthday suit and often did so outdoors.
Similarly, the famous poet Walt Whitman loved to sunbathe naked and poetically promoted the joy of bathing in yellow water. Whitman’s advice may have inspired President Theodore Roosevelt since he was known to go down to the Potomac River and jump in there naked. But running around naked in the street is no longer as popular as it once was and is strictly forbidden in most states.
Interestingly, the pandemic seems to have opened up opportunities for the nude life style for many people, either through the convenience of working from home or through a personal expression of freedom. It has also become a symbol of concern for the environment. Naturist organizations and clubs in the U.S. and Europe have announced a surge in membership beginning in 2020 and claim that the nude life style has many benefits. So, let’s get to the bare facts and explore these benefits…
Feeling comfortable in your own skin.
When people first visit a nudist beach, they don’t know what to expect other than cool water, hot sand, and no clothes to make them blush. But the first thing they are sure to notice when they arrive is that everyone will be smiling! The simple fact is that relaxing in the nude is good for a person’s mental health. The nude life style is a fun, happy lifestyle, and a rather progressive psychologist from the University of London is trying to prove it.
In 2018, Dr. Keon West of Goldsmiths College, University of London, published the results of three naturist studies he conducted to gauge the level of happiness that a nude life style can bring.
The first study was an online survey of 850 Britons of different backgrounds and nationalities. Not only did he conclude that people who regularly participated in group nudist activities were more satisfied with their lives and their bodies, but he also found that overall satisfaction was higher the more often such activities took place!
It seems that the more often people undressed together, the more comfortable they felt. Two other studies were conducted at large public nudist events, where participants were interviewed immediately before they undressed and immediately after the nude event.
The results showed that they felt much more comfortable with their bodies after the group nudity and were more satisfied with their lives than before. Researchers have found for decades that negative attitudes toward one’s body can be a serious psychological problem, exacerbated by the images of the ideal physique that flood us in magazines and social media.
Dr. West suggests that nude group exercise can be an affordable and convenient method of relieving personal body dissatisfaction. Nevertheless, he acknowledges that more research on the subject is needed.
A great way to stimulate your social life!
The nude life style is a great way to make new friends. There are naturist clubs, organizations, and hidden beaches throughout the country. Many have hiking groups, volleyball tournaments, and even cocktail parties – all in a mess! The American Nudist Recreation Association has existed in one form or another since 1931. It came about after a judge in New York State acquitted a group of people arrested at a nudist club in a series of police raids.
AANR has about 180 clubs and resorts across North America and serves more than 213,000 individual members. The Naturist Society, which has been established since 1980 and publishes a quarterly newspaper (informally known as N Magazine) with a mailing list of over 20,000 active members, is another organization that supports the nude life style.
You’re not trying hard enough if you can’t find an unclothed date through these two organizations. Or maybe you just want to show up naked.
You can always start at Blacks Beach in the La Joya area of San Diego, California when you’re in town. Follow the long, dangerous trail to a clean, pristine beach more than a mile long where nudity is allowed, and when you arrive, you’ll agree that the hike was worth it.
You’re allowed to frolic in holiday attire or under the sheer cliffs over 300 feet high, on top of which is a popular glider port. As you look around, you’ll notice that most people gather in groups. You’ll see volleyball teams and horseshoe tournaments, friendly barbecues, and guys playing frisbee.
Whether people are surfing, drinking, fishing, or bird watching, it’s safe to say they’re doing it in a group. And that’s what makes it all so special. Of course, everyone can hang out at home naked alone (yawning). Still, it’s much more fun to enjoy the company of like-minded people who help reinforce our desire to show off our nakedness.
And at beaches like Black’s, groups of regular visitors keep a close eye out for bad behavior, such as lewd behavior, photography, or sexual aggression. They also protect people (usually women) who may become victims of such harassment. For most naturists, the nude life style is not a solitary sport.
Take advantage of a better night’s sleep.
A true follower of the nude life style understands the benefits of sleeping without clothes. When you cool down at night, you sleep better and fall asleep faster, so it’s time to retire your fleece pajamas and flannel nightgown. For optimal outcomes, try to keep your bedroom at a temperature of 65 degrees. A good night’s sleep is good not only for mental health but also for physical health.
For one thing, having healthy skin requires sound sleep, and since naturists frequently display their skin, this is a win-win situation! Sleeping naked in a cool room also helps keep your waistline toned since you’re more likely to burn calories in bed. Women who sleep naked rather than in panties, which can collect sweat, are less likely to suffer from yeast infections.
Men also benefit, as cool testicles at night increase sperm count and concentration, which means higher fertility rates. All of this makes you wonder why a young couple would prefer NOT to sleep naked together… And at the same time, when a couple sleeps naked together, it stimulates their relationship in more than just purely sexual ways.
Skin-to-skin contact releases oxytocin, a hormone that seems to bond with couples. Scientific studies show that oxytocin not only stimulates eye contact between partners but is also a factor that holds them together. And that’s nothing short of encouraging.
Better skin and better bones.
The nude life style also has many benefits for your skin during your waking hours. Wearing clothes in hot weather can cause bacteria to build up in the form of sweaty patches right on your skin, which often leads to acne, rashes, and pimples. And harsh chemicals used to smooth fabrics and protect against stains can also cause skin irritation.
In addition, restrictive clothing, especially underwear, often has bands and straps that uncomfortably dig into our bodies, leaving irreversible creases over time. And some clothes can cause itching! Imagine having to wear a thick wool sweater to a summer pool party. More importantly, sunbathing in the nude is a good source of vitamin D, which is essential for maintaining strong bones, teeth, and immunity.
The human body processes the vitamin through sunlight much more efficiently than through diet or supplements, and without the risk of overdosing since our bodies also know when to stop producing the stuff. However, how much of it our bodies can produce depends on the time of day, individual skin tone, geographic location, and whether or not sunscreen is used. Sounds confusing?
But any experienced naturist knows the best way to “get” vitamin D while sunbathing. And the first and foremost rule is that the more exposed your skin is, the higher the yield (plus, it’s a lot more fun that way). Afternoons are best when the sun is directly overhead. This solar bounty is much more effectively embraced by our bodies the closer to the equator we can live.
Light-skinned sunbathers produce more vitamins more quickly than dark-skinned people whose melanin gets in the way. Some people may need to lie down a little longer than others. And while sunscreen is always recommended for prolonged exposure to better accumulate vitamin D, you can allow yourself to blush first before applying the stuff, which should take 15 to 20 minutes.
Everyone is on an equal footing when they are naked.
One of the most pleasurable feelings in the nude life style that comes from participating in naturist events with others is not physical at all. It’s an emotional sense of equality with everyone else because everything is brighter! The outfits we wear every morning are costumes or shells carefully chosen to present themselves to others.
There are businessmen in fancy suits bragging about their wealth and cooks in white aprons declaring their profession. Lifeguards in uniforms command respect and admiration, and workers in orange vests give away a life of physical labor.
The clothes we wear seem to signify the social stratum in which we live, and we often find it hard to look another person in the eye if their clothes are superior to ours socially. But throw a naked garden party, and the problem is solved! When people meet naked for the first time, they really see each other as people without pretending to be in costume.
You can shake hands with an artist, lawyer, plumber, or preacher. And what an authentic handshake! Just two people, naked and defenseless, greeting each other as equals, without arrogance or duplicity! You may have just met a grocer or an airline pilot; either way, it’s a good thing.
The Japanese have a term, hadaka no tsukiai, which means “nude relationship” (sometimes called “skinship”), but it in no way implies sexual intimacy. It is the ancient practice of bathing together in public in onsens or bathhouses on equal terms, without wearing a stitch or an ounce of pretense.
In Japan and many other parts of the world, collective bathing has been going on for hundreds of years. However, hot springs in the United States have become increasingly intolerant of nudity, allowing it only after dark or banning it entirely. Americans may want to reconsider this trend since “skinning” seems like a pretty cool way to make a new friend.
That feeling of being one with nature
There is often a sense of alienation from Mother Nature these days, and there is no better way to reconnect with the natural world than the nude life style. It’s a beautiful feeling when the warm sun and light breezes accentuate your nakedness as you walk along a forest trail or an open stretch of beach.
Although people have been running around naked since the days of Adam and Eve, the modern naturist movement as we know it, with its emphasis on “nature,” originated in the German Empire in the mid-nineteenth century. Lebensreform is the German term for various social movements that deviated from urbanization and sought a more natural way of life.
One example was the Freikörperkultur, or FKK, which was and still is a nude life style that encourages mental and physical balance by enjoying nature in the nude. This lifestyle was quite widespread until the Nazi party tried to suppress the movement in the twentieth century.
Nevertheless, in various forms, it had already spread to other countries, and one such country was the United States. Looking at the complete list of nudist camps and resorts throughout the states, you will notice two common themes. The first is, of course, the nude life style; the second is the very notion of nature. While non-naturists can’t imagine going outside without clothes, true naturists will explore the world in yellow leather if allowed!
That’s why naturist gatherings are always held by the sea, a lake, in the woods, or even in the mountains. Bare Mountain Retreat is only a 30-minute drive from Boise, Idaho. In the summer, you can walk naked to the top of the mountain for a majestic alpine panorama you can’t forget. And in Colorado, just 20 miles from Denver, Mountain Air Ranch is at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.
Private hiking routes spanning ten miles can be found in a beautiful coniferous forest home to foxes, birds, and deer. None of those above need to wear stitches! So, whether hiking or bird watching, gardening or glamping, if you’re going to be a naturist, you must be outdoors. Just beware of poison ivy.
A great way to stay active!
Naturists definitely like to relax and sunbathe on their favorite comfortable beach towel. But they get up off that towel and sweat…
For example, a good way to start the summer is to go camping in the nude. June 21 has been declared Nude Hiking Day, a holiday that is almost becoming an official holiday in the naturist community. And while many participants prefer to celebrate the day on private land, others take the risk.
There is no federal law against nudity, so many tourists prefer to walk around naked in national parks, thinking they are invulnerable to law enforcement. In reality, they are at least facing a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. It’s a risky business either way, but the notion of safety in numbers also applies to naturists.
If you’re interested, you can hike the Pacific Ridge Trail or the Appalachian Trail, which seems pretty popular with naturists on the first day of summer. Nude volleyball seems like such a fun and carefree way to spend time at the beach. Still, the game is taken very seriously as summer comes to a close at White Thorn Lodge in western Pennsylvania.
The annual Naked Volleyball Super Bowl is always held the weekend after Labor Day, with more than 90 different teams participating. It’s a major event with more than 1,500 participants and spectators each year. And while non-nudist players can participate, everyone must be nude on the court itself, except for their shoes.
The contest became so popular that in 2009 ESPN adopted a team that included a senior writer who wrote an article about the festival for its magazine. And yes, like other players, ESPN teammates had to leave their clothes on when they took the court.
There is naked surfing, horseshoes, tennis, and even, if you look closely, naked skiing. And after participating in all that hard activity, you’d probably be very grateful for the opportunity to lie back on your favorite comfy beach towel…