Naturism: For the Whole Family
Naturism and families; these are two words that might seem incompatible for some. For those unfamiliar with the naturist lifestyle, the idea of an entire family sharing in this way of life may seem counter-intuitive, perhaps even alarming. Some people may view nudity only as something sexualized or offensive. In a family context, they may also associate it with parental neglect or even abuse.
Yet for those families who live a genuine naturist lifestyle, nudity means none of those things. On the contrary, time at a local naturist club or free beach is family time. Many of these families even maintain a naturist lifestyle in their own homes. For them, family nudity comes naturally, as something that fosters a unifying sense of openness and acceptance.
This may be difficult for non-naturists to understand, let alone appreciate. As with many aspects of naturism, family nudity may challenge our cultural assumptions. To begin with, the perceived sense of obligation to wear clothes is not a natural inclination. Just ask any parent who has had to convince a toddler to keep their clothes on during a summer heatwave. Understanding naturism often requires us to recognize the many social influences that have shaped our perceptions of what is socially acceptable and what is not.
In this regard, understanding and appreciating naturism typically requires as much “unlearning” as it does learning. At the very least, this way of life can make us question our own cultural biases and other assumptions prevalent in our society. For example, why are children taught that their bodies are shameful? Why do we feel obligated to wear clothes, even when it is not practical? Furthermore, how often do we rely on clothing to signify our wealth or social status?
Although naturism may make us question certain aspects of our culture, it is not an outright rejection of them. In fact, naturism helps people to be mindful of their social assumptions, allowing them to combine naturism with the most positive, authentic parts of their lifestyle and integrate them into their own household culture. In this way, families of different ethnic backgrounds and religious traditions can adopt the naturist lifestyle, often with no contradiction between the two. For many of these families, their naturist experience contributes to a deeper appreciation of their beliefs and family traditions.
In this regard, family naturism is more than just a fad or a social experiment. In many ways, the naturist way of life has its own cultural aspects and traditions. When viewed from a cultural perspective, naturist living could be regarded as a culture onto itself and appreciated as part of our shared collective heritage. Yet whether family naturism is viewed as an independent culture or an adaptable extension of other cultures and family traditions, this way of life can be part of a healthy family dynamic.
With its strong principles of acceptance and family values, (see Values & Principles) the naturist lifestyle is accessible to everyone, regardless of their family status. It offers general benefits to people at any stage of life. It can also provide some proven benefits for specific demographics, including children, young adults, and women.
For those who take the time to learn about the naturist lifestyle, their significant break-through often means realizing that the human body is not an object associated with sex or shame. Instead, it is a natural extension of themselves that is healthy and wholesome, precisely the same way that naturists raise their families.