Tuesday, October 22, 2013

FAQ - Part 2: Concerns about Naturism

In our second instalment of questions frequently asked about naturism, we look at concerns people might have or things they've heard about the lifestyle.

What about the dangers of the sun?

The naturist lifestyle is not just about lying around in the sun. Nonetheless, all people whether naturists or not, should take care in the sun and use common sense to avoid sunburn. Because naturists spend more time outdoors earlier in summer than the general population, they build up a tan more gradually. This avoids the danger faced by others of getting sunburnt in the rush to get a tan during limited summer holidays. Also naturists have been aware for a long time of the dangers of overexposure to the sun and they have adopted sensible preventive measures. Naturist venues tend to have lots of shade so people can get out of the sun.
No-one would disagree that sun BURN is dangerous, but recently, there has been a lot of literature about the benefits of sun EXPOSURE. This is due to the production of vitamin D which protects the body from many diseases including rickets, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes and cardiovascular disease amongst others.

Is naturism appropriate for families?

Absolutely! Naturism is about body acceptance and body awareness, which makes it appropriate for everyone. Therefore, families with children are welcome at naturist venues and events. Naturists do not deny the sexual nature of human beings, but they reject the all too prevalent view in our society that nudity and sex are synonymous and that children should be "protected" from nudity regardless of context. Nude is not lewd.

Is naturism good for children?

Children take to nudity like ducks to water. We all know how much children like to run around with no clothes on. Children are rarely self-conscious when nude. It is only as they get older that they adopt some of the social stigmas associated with nudity. When children reach puberty, they often are embarrassed about the changes in their body. But those brought up in a naturist environment develop a healthy attitude to their bodies and realise that this is nothing to be ashamed of. At most clubs, no pressure is ever put on children to undress if they don’t want to.

Is naturism safe for children?

Cases of children being upset by the sight of nude people are extremely rare. At a naturist club, children are completely safe. Members are screened before acceptance and will have their membership terminated if they behave inappropriately. Because they do not want this, it is never an issue. So it is a much safer environment for children than at (for example) a beach, where any member of the public can be present.

My body isn't perfect and I'm embarrassed about it

The concept of the perfect body is a myth and one which leads to a lack of self esteem and stress. At a naturist club, you will find all shapes, sizes, ages and colours but naturists will like you just as you are. Many people have scars, bumps, blemishes and the sign of surgical procedures. It isn't at all important what your body is like because people accept you in your entirety, as you are. Nudist clubs are a reflection of society at large - people come in all shapes and sizes.

Will I have to undress as soon as I arrive?

Most clubs allow newcomers several visits to get used to the joys of naturism. But the expectation is that when suitable weather conditions prevail and you feel comfortable, you will shed your clothes. Naturist clubs do not usually allow bathing suits to be worn in the pool, spa or sauna. But once you have experienced the joy of swimming naked you won’t want to wear them anyway. On naturist beaches, there is no expectation to undress, since they are clothing-optional. But if you go there and remain dressed, you may arouse suspicion and be approached as to your intentions.

How do we get over our inhibitions?

Nobody expects you to undress the minute you arrive on your initial visit, but in most cases you will quickly feel the relaxed atmosphere and see how comfortable nude people are with one another. Once you feel comfortable, which usually takes only a few minutes, you will probably feel like stripping off. But if you are still unsure, you will be given time to do it at your own pace. If you realise that naturism is not for you, your clothes will stay on and you will leave. In all honesty, few can resist the call of naturism once they have experienced it.

What if I’m ready to join but my spouse (partner, or friend) isn’t?

This is common. Typically, women are more wary than men of clothing-optional venues. But everyone, male and female, has "body issues." For some, the idea of being seen nude—and seeing others nude—is filled with psychological tension. A spouse, friend or partner can help reduce the tension, but only if caution and sensitivity are exercised. Remember, every naturist had a "first time." Many who were most reluctant initially are now avid naturists. And remember, too, that there is a fine line between encouragement and coercion. Don’t cross it if you want to introduce someone to naturism.

What if I meet my neighbour or boss at a naturist club?

They obviously have the same interests as you, so there will be no problem. There is no shame in being a naturist. You will find that you will enjoy new activities together that you didn’t do before. They would fully understand and would want to protect your enjoyment of naturism rather than jeopardise it.

I want to keep my lifestyle private - will my privacy be compromised?

Clubs affiliated to the NZNF understand that privacy is paramount to members and their families. There is never any requirement to be publicly identified. Most clubs do not allow photos to be taken around the grounds and have 'official photographers' for special events only. Photos at events are taken only with your permission and you should also be advised for what purpose or publication the image is being used. A lot of clubs adopt a "first name only" basis and professions are also not mentioned. 

What will my friends and families say if they find out I am a naturist?

They won't find out unless you choose to tell them. But if you try and hide the fact that you are a naturist, and they find out, they will wonder why you haven’t told them before. They may therefore think that it is something you are ashamed of or that it is something undesirable. But generally people are really interested in the subject. Just answer their questions honestly and openly and show them that being a naturist is a genuine lifestyle and something to be proud of.

My friends might think I am mixing with undesirables if I say I'm a naturist.

If your friends think that, they are speaking without knowledge and have assumed wrongly that nudity must mean amorality. Your friends couldn't be more wrong, so invite them along to the club to show them the truth. Naturists cover the complete range - singles, partners, married couples and most clubs are family orientated.

What if I get an erection?

Believe it or not, this almost never happens, especially if you are honestly worried about it, since anxiety and embarrassment are pretty much incompatible with erections. Most newcomers find it so natural at a naturist club that after a few minutes, they forget that they are naked. And in that same short time, you realise how non-sexual the situation is. The most important sex organ in the body is the brain, and if you aren't thinking sexually, your body will not respond sexually.
Of course, sometimes spontaneous erections do occur, but what is most important is what you do next. The best thing to do is ignore it and concentrate on whatever else you are doing, lie on your stomach or wrap your towel around you. If all else fails, a dip in a cold pool or ocean should fix it!

Doesn't communal nakedness cause sexual excitement?

Social conditioning has convinced a large part of the population that nakedness equates to sexuality. Consequently many people believe that men and women can not mix together naked without them becoming sexually stimulated. This is totally wrong. Being naked is a natural state and it is the experience of naturists worldwide that they can associate socially with other naked people without sexual arousal. Naturists believe that sex is a normal, healthy part of life, but one that should be enjoyed by consenting adults in private.

What do I do if I am menstruating?

This is a natural occurrence and it is one of the realities of life. If a woman is comfortable with a tampon, then this is the simplest method of dealing with the situation. If a sanitary pad is preferred, then she would wear a sarong, shorts or bikini bottoms. For the most part, a woman should use what she feels is less obtrusive for her personally. Others aren't going to notice or object.

What if we receive unwelcome advances?

This rarely happens. If it happens at a club or organisation simply report it to the person who met and showed you around or to a committee member and steps will be taken to ensure that it doesn't happen again. Everyone should feel comfortable. Behaviour that requires an apology is not tolerated.

For more information, go to our Benefits of Naturism page.

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