Sunday, July 14 is National Nude Day, a day dedicated to celebrating the benefits of naturism and nudism. (While some use the terms interchangeably, other use naturism to refer to a philosophical approach to social nudity, and nudism to refer to a more casual approach to occasional social nudity.) If you enjoy the occasional skinny dip, this is a great time to embrace your naturist impulses and let it all hang out. On the other hand, if you’re only ever naked in the shower, this day is a chance to consider if you really want to live life as a never-nude.
“Naturism offers a unique combination of recreational activity, social engagement, healthy lifestyle, and environmental philosophy all rolled into one,” explains Liz Egger, author of The Complete Guide To Nudism, Naturism & Nudists. Naturists believe that going nude outdoors is beneficial to your health and decreases the risk of certain diseases. For some, there’s also a spiritual aspect — famous naturist Paris Jackson has said that naturism helps her connect with “Mama Gaia.”
Despite common misconceptions, nudism is not sexual, degrading, or dangerous to children, Egger says. “That’s what I call ‘lewdism,’ and it is practiced by those who are unable to separate nudity from sex. For them, nudity is just another sex aid,” she explains. “Real, genuine naturism, as it is practiced by millions of ordinary genuine naturists, is a natural, wholesome and refreshing remedy to the pressures of modern life.”
Egger adds that naturism encourages re-connecting with the environment, creates a sense of community with other naturists, and boosts feelings of liberation and self-esteem. Plus, as she says, “it’s FUN!”
If you really want to get into the spirit of National Nude Day, find a friend to join you. “Anyone can be naked on their own, but naturism is a social activity, and naturists are very sociable people,” Egger says. “You won’t have to ‘bare it’ alone!”
However, even spending a few hours chilling naked in your bedroom can help you get an introduction to nudism. “There are many ways into nudism, from jumping right in and joining a club to booking a naturist vacation somewhere,” Egger says.
Here are a few ways to get started.
Head to Google and look for nudist resorts in your area. These secluded areas are basically parks where everyone is nude. While they usually have an admission fee, sometimes they offer free days. “This is a controlled environment, where club rules ensure that standards of hygiene and behavior are observed,” Egger points out. The area will be screened from privacy, and members are generally welcoming to newbies.
Nude beaches are more common than nude resorts (plus, they’re often free). Plus, you’ll get the chance to go skinny-dipping. However, there’s less enforcement of rules than at an official resort, and other nude beach-goers may be less likely to chat with a newcomer (simply because they’re there to sunbathe or swim, not to make friends). “Make sure that it’s an ‘official’ (i.e sanctioned by the authorities) nude beach,” Egger adds.
3. Join a naturist sauna or swim group
Egger suggests checking out privately organized naturist groups in your area. These clubs organize naturist trips to local private pools and saunas (sometimes public, sometimes private) and are usually welcoming to first-timers.
4. Get naked at home
Want to start smaller? You can test out the benefits of naturism by spending some time nude in your own home — open all the windows and let some sunlight and fresh air in. If you have a private backyard, all the better.
5. Study up on naturism
Prefer to keep your clothes on? Naturism has a long and fascinating history stretching back thousands of years, and has intersected with many spiritual and political movements. Read a book like Naked: A Cultural History of American Nudism by Brian Hoffman, Naked At Lunch by Mark Haskell Smith, or Egger’s own The Complete Guide To Nudism, Naturism & Nudists. Online, check out the BBC’s online guide to the history of naturism and nudism or Refinery29’s interview with Naked Britain photographer Amelia Allen.