Its interesting that we often get involved in discussions about semantics. Asking what is a nudist is like asking what is a fish, except fish dont define themselves. Those of us who consider ourselves to be nudists surely have a variety of reasons for doing so. We all have our own idea of what the qualifications may be.Merriam-Webster defines nudism as the practice of going nude especially in sexually mixed groups and during periods of time spent at specially secluded places, which must have been written by someone who knew very little about the subject.There are some people who we would consider nudists who object to that term and dont think of themselves as nudists. In this mix you also have others like swingers, who may masquerade as nudists, but nudists generally dont approve of promiscuous sexual activity and prefer to avoid them.There are no strict definitions here. Its more a matter of personal opinion.
I want to ask you why you think fish (among the most colourful signal makers in the biosphere, and in the case of cephalopods, most lexically complex) builders of structures for mating with adornments and some which can change gender, others which mimic and others that communicate using bioluminescence don't define themselves. We have this idea that fish are not terribly bright and static things, largely fed by the way we keep them domestically, represent them in art and literature and how little time we spend in their environment. I would say that the evidence for self definition in the marine environment is actually very high.
I don't think this is a semantic treatment. The critique of a semantic argument or discussion is when a definition is being parsed into two or more variations of the same thing to try to induce different meanings into a concept that doesn't fact, have them in order to make a point that isn't actually there. The question of meaning and what a word defines as is not semantics, it's basic to how we understand language and ourselves and others. It is certainly with regard to this topic, something that most of us have exhausted or are uninterested in, but the very first thing a new member of an identity or group will do is seek to define how they fit in or do not with the accepted or expressed ideas and limits of what that group or identity is supposed to hold.
And while each person certainly does have a subjective perspective on their understanding (and when it is complete or complete enough), that is not something that is pre-loaded , must be learned through observation and interaction, and is taught by discussion and dissemination of group norms, values and ideologies. Subjectivity is also not a radically closed state, in most cases our differences are trivial or a product of specific experience or affiliation, and we share accross some of the larger lines drawn, many shared values and interests and reasons for practicing.
I've said this before, but the movement of a naturism that is radically bifurcated from sex or sexuality is not original, and it only emerges in the 1970's, out of what I think most people recognize as the cultural meltdown and ethical morass that opened up in nudism and swinging after the 1960's. It is still reactionary against those who swing (and I am not offering a for or an against) but if you look at who founded and where the first naturist clubs like this came from, well, former nudists and swingers, it wasn't a new group coming into being out of thin air. And while the roots of modern nudism go back to the 18th century, that historical timeline doesn't have the philosophical ideology associated with the post sexual revolution naturist scene. I don't personally understand the reactionism here (swingers posing as nudists is a weird concept, a fireman can be a nudist and a nun can be a nudist so...), it seems to me odd, so many years later that the insistance that swinging has nothing to do with naturism is a denial of history and retrograde focus on a schism that happened and is really over with.
Not saying naturists must like swinging, support it, or endorse it, not at all, but it exists, and as far as I am concerned what adults do that is with other adults is their own business. I especially think this is important when the assumption is made based on a name and not knowing the person, their practices, or how privately some people share intimacy. Lots of oeople who would classify as swingers are very discrete and private and that tenet of naturism (sex is private) should apply no matter how many or few partners you have. The term promiscuous is stigmatizing, and given that most people who explore swinging may have 3 or 4 more partners instead of 1 or 2 (divorce and death and remarriage) there isn't enough distance between those to suggest a moral deliquency is present and again, its a private aspect of their lives. We all know there is a very public swinging community as well but the high noon late July bacchanalia of the beaches in front of Cap D'Adge (US Spring Break just puts it inside with more fabric) is hardly representative.
Also, the foes of naturism and swinging alike are never going to respect naturism and will always lump it with the Cap Bacchanalia, no matter how many times you say otherwise, I have watched it happen over and over and over again, and the really short sighted rejection of the vast majority of what is considered by practioners and observers to be nudist culture and practices using a very strict morality code in which the topic of sex is approched with a veiw to the pathologization of anyone who expresses ideas about it is, well, very little different than the social conservatism stifling human liberty in a myriad of western countries.
The fact the the largest nudist resort in Europe, Cap D'Adge is still both swinging and naturist at the same time as it has been for the last 50 years says it all. It is the swinging that keeps the naturist village open, and that really tells a story to me. In the US and Canada, there is a much more defined separation and I am not against it, naturist family resorts have rules that to me, make sense for the members and in the places they exist, and I am not really welcome (nor should I be seeking that) in these places and that is fine with me too. The Webster (and this is a grade school dictionary, it is for basic definitions and this one is actually based on the nudist mystery cults of Ancient Greece, from which Olympic nudism and heroism is derived and all of the modern nudist movement is inspired (and you miss that it is a negative evaluation and that the editorialists would lump naturism in with this and would make no distinction and will not I don't think, this is a Puritan derived work and it expresses Puritan values, always has, always will. The OED is the standard academic and professional dictionary and you will find a much more nuanced treatment there. Naturism is also in M-W and you will see some important differences (although deeper communion with the natural world is exactly what those naked sexed up Greeks were after on the Mysteries, I alway ask at what point is the avoidance of the reproductive mania of the forest no longer ignorable?
The deep woods is a sexual place, and this is nature, from the rutting of the ruminants in the mountains to the surging of the salmon in the streams, the vast clouds of conifer pollen and the waves of bird meat flying about, spores mycelium roots and membranes, explosions of flora and ropes of ampbian eggs in the chirping depth of a summer's eve, this is the essence of nature, reproduction, sex and the waveforms that drive it, lunar gravitation, the menstrual cycle is named for that grand wavelength. And while human beings are free to abstract themselves from the roots and essences of the natural eros and thanatos cycle, it is a big leap to wish to remove it from nature itself, to pretend or to claim it isn't there or to seek to find sexless being in a place where flowers like the Jack in the Pulpit have erections and the eyes daisy like blooms make wink on or off with the light leaving or arriving, ants take wing and mating balls of eels surge in the lakes and pods, and where the great dying of the mating salmon brings sulphur deep in the forest where it is needed...to make trees capable of reproduction.
What I really don't understand is the inability to accept different spaces for different things. No one is being forced to participate in sex parties, and whether one approves or not, if you're not going, then really, what business is it of yours (or mine)? I don't go so my only concerns are that it is safe, supported, private, discrete, and adults only. Approval of what may or may not being going on seems like a waste of time and energy, I would think the approval for the rules for naturist settings is the appropriate place for that concern. Indeed it seems to be properly upheld.
My DefinitionsNudisum- A Cloths Free lifestyleNudist - A person who is comfortable being nude around othersNaturist - A person who enjoys being one with nature including being nude outdoors.Naturalist - A person who is more organic being one with all living things in there natural course of life.I identify as a Nudist that enjoys Nudisum. Even though i have always been nude or semi nude when at home, I didnt discover social nudity until last year. Being socially nude allows me to be around others that also enjoy being cloths free. I didnt know it was so wide spread until I starting looking for other places to go.When you are nude, you dont know if you are talking to the Superintamdamt of a school district or a guy who was standing on the corner with a sign a few hours ago. Both true stories. Its just about connecting with the person and not what their clothing says about them.Sexuality is a state of mind. More hook-ups happen while clothed than nude. I was worried about being aroused my first time but found that I worried for nothing.I get affirmation that I am not a pervert from Nudisum. Knowing that I am not the only one who enjoys being nude and appreciating the nude human body.
Are you sure that more sex happens with clothes on (think it all ends up nude no)? I think you will find if you take a person who is sexually active at a frequency and who is not nude and determine rate frequency duration and so on and compare him to a naturist of the same profile you will find that the naturist was naked before the hook up, had the sex nude, and that the textile took his clothes off and had sex nude, and since we need to compare apples to apples, it seems to me that theres no inuctive method.
Not saying naturists must like swinging, support it, or endorse it, not at all, but it exists, and as far as I am concerned what adults do that is with other adults is their own business.
I agree totally with this statement, but I would like to add this
Not saying textiles must like swinging, support it, or endorse it, not at all, but it exists, and as far as I am concerned what adults do that is with other adults is their own business.
As long as we continue to describe and view human beings in animalistic terms there will be cover for those who would equate naturism and its American cousin with the base lowest common denominator of nudity ie sex.
Every time that this conflagration has occurred historically it led to the diminishment of the wholistic communal health oriented non sexual way of life that was naturism when it first reached American shores and the expansion of the individualistic hedonistic sexually libertine approach that has been exported back to Europe. IMO this is why nudism lost much of the support it garnered in mainstream during it golden age in America. Historians like Brian Hoffman and others and social anthropologists and psychologists have studied this phenomenon and written extensively about it. But as we are now ina world of alternative facts and individual points of view being paramount non of that really matters.
So we are at a point where there is no definition of nudism because we live in a world where everyone gets to define things not as they are but as they see fit.
Having had a look around the replies to date I could not help but laugh out loud reading some of the interpretations being given. Living in the UK weather wise it is not conducive to outdoor nudity as much as many would like I am certain as I include myself in that band, however, I count myself a Nudist as I like to be live naked if at all possible, I am comfortable in my own skin as is my partner and her children. When I have sex I like to be nude but it does not mean that nudity means sex. Yes as a couple we do enjoy sex and have partaken in sex parties but that is separate from our nudism although we have met and become friends with several others that are also nudists.
We do like to be able to be in nature when possible and to do so naked within the law of the land as it is so nice to be able to feel the breeze and sun on our bodies that though does not make us Naturalists as somebody suggested in their answer and I would reccomend they look up the definition as it has nothing whatsoever to do with nudism or naturism.
Nudism as well as naturism are not sexual. Check out the definitions on the INF (international naturist federation) page. "Respect for yourself and others, above all! Naturism advocates respect for everyone, their differences and their particularities. Common nudity makes it possible to accept the body with its qualities but also its faults. It's a real homecoming. Far from daily stress, the body is freed, the mind opens and seeks harmony with nature. Quite naturally, everyone contributes to preserving the calm and cleanliness of their environment. It's a shared conviviality! Family and friends are at the heart of naturist holidays." To my opinion it is stupid not to differentiate nudism and naturism, just my 2 cents. The term nudism is mostly used in US & UK (more liberal) than the term naturism mostly used in France & Germany.