Frequently Asked Questions
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NUDISM AND NATURISM?
In many places the terms are used interchangeably. In the USA the term Nudism is most commonly used. The general view, however is that Nudism is, in essence, the simple enjoyment of social nudity, whatever the reason. Whereas naturism is, in essence, the enjoyment of social nudity as a means to a philosophical goal as stated in the definition above.
Why do people choose naturism or nudism? Nude recreation embraces the pure joy of living - to relax and be nude is to let yourself be totally free. Nude recreation is a great way of getting back to basics - experiencing and appreciating nature in the most natural way possible - and totally unwinding. Relaxation, stress relief, positive body image, and increasing self-esteem are just a few of the reasons people choose the nudist or naturist lifestyle.
IS NATURISM OFFENSIVE?
It certainly shouldn’t be! Are you so offended by your own naked body that you refuse to look at it in a mirror? Of course you’re not. It’s difficult to understand how people find something as natural as a naked body offensive. Embarrassed? Maybe. But the philosophy of naturism is not to offend.
The human body certainly doesn’t offend the law,either. In 1990 New Zealand enacted the Bill of Rights Act to affirm recognition of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which both declare the human person to have inherent dignity and worth. That must mean the whole human person – not just certain chosen bits, otherwise the Act is meaningless! It follows, then, that no part of the being which has inherent dignity and worth, can deemed an attack on society. No mere part of a human form can rationally offend the average reasonable person.
AREN'T ALL NATURISTS / NUDISTS EXHIBITIONISTS?
Exhibitionists expose themselves simply to shock others. Naturists just want to be nude. We like to be with others because we are normal human beings who like to socialise – just as clothed people do.
IS IT LEGAL?
In New Zealand, it is legal to be naked in appropriate public places, such as beaches. But whether you are naked or fully clothed, it is illegal to indulge in lewd or sexual activity in view of the public. It is not the nudity that is the issue but offensive behaviour. Nakedness has absolutely nothing to do with sex.
When we say “appropriate places” that means places where naked activities such as sunbathing, swimming, hiking, etc are appropriate and show consideration to non-nudists. If you decide to go strolling through a city park naked on a Sunday afternoon, you will quite rightly be put in your place!
DOESN'T NUDITY VIOLATE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS?
Many naturists are religious people and find no contradiction between their beliefs and nudity. Some Christian naturists worship in the nude. Some naturists feel closer to God when they are nude in nature. Directives against nudity are generally not part of the basic philosophy of a religion – certainly not Christianity. Rather, they are added to the religion out of a misunderstanding of the Biblical account of “The Fall” and the loss of innocence, and also out of fear that nudity will lead to indiscriminate sexual activity. Naturism shows that this fear is groundless.
The Old Testament tells us that God created man and woman in His own image and they were naked. It's difficult to see how God's image is shameful or obscene. Indeed, the Bible does not condemn nudity itself. But some choose to interpret it that way. My advice to any Christian is that, if they have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, then give naturism a try – the Spirit living within you will certainly tell you if it’s not for you.
DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE TO BE NUDE?
Certainly not. Naturists aren’t stupid. If it’s cold or if the midday sun threatens to burn you to toast, then put some clothing on – even if it’s just a T-shirt or Jacket.
ISN'T NUDITY SEXUAL?
No. The public have a misconception that nakedness must be sexual as most people only undress to take a shower or have sex. But there are other situations where you can be naked and feel good without it being sexual. Naturists are not against sex, but – like all things – there’s a time and place. And, let’s face it – provocative clothing, such as a skimpy bikini or G-string can be far more sexually arousing than a fully naked body, as they are designed to entice a sense of mystery that is entirely sensual.
HOW DO I BECOME A NATURIST
Well, basically, start by taking your clothes off! But, seriously, first learn what you can about being a nudist or naturist. If you’ve read this far then you already know a lot. And of course you can always contact us for help and advice. We may be able to accompany you to a suitable location to get you started. Or you may have a Naturist club in your vicinity – but they come at some cost.
WHAT DO I TAKE?
Take whatever you’d normally take if you were doing the same thing clothed – sunscreen, warm clothes if the weather looks doubtful, insect repellent, food, drink, etc. And suitable footwear if the activity dictates it.
WHAT IF I RUN INTO MY BOSS OR NEIGHBOUR AT A NUDE VENUE?
Well ask yourself, what are they doing there? They obviously have the same interests as you. You will likely find a new naturist friend that you never knew you had!
WHAT ABOUT MY FRIENDS OR FAMILY FINDING OUT?
Why should they? They won't find out unless you tell them. But in any case, wouldn’t it be better for you to be open about it? There’s no shame in being a naturist and if you try and hide it they may think that it is something you are ashamed of. I would dare to suggest that your family will soon get over any initial surprise and then show interest in why you’ve chosen this lifestyle.
I’M A GUY. WHAT IF I GET AN ERECTION?
Trust me - this is highly unlikely. It just seldom seems to happen. Once you get to the beach, strip off and enjoy the surroundings, the last thing your brain will be thinking about is sex. You’ll soon realise just how non-sexual the situation is. But occasionally spontaneous erections can happen, especially once you relax under the warm sun. So what do you do then? The best thing to do is ignore it and concentrate on whatever else you are doing. Other naturists won’t give it a second thought, so long as you don’t do anything lewd or offensive. Or you can lie on your stomach or wrap your towel around you. Or go down to the water for a cool dip.
I DON'T LIKE HOW MY BODY LOOKS!
The concept of the perfect body is a lie! All it does is promote a sense of low self-worth and depression. Naturism teaches you about the real world - that people come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and bearing all the scars, bumps, and blemishes that life throws our way. It doesn’t matter at all what your body looks like because naturist people accept you just as you are. Naturists practice body acceptance.
WHAT ABOUT SUNBURN?
What about it? All people, whether naturists or not, should take care in the sun and use common sense to avoid sunburn. Take all the normal precautions – use plenty of sunscreen, find shade in the heat of the day, or throw on a T-shirt. You’ll most likely find that you make a head start on most other people with that tan, through spending more time outdoors earlier in the season. Don’t forget – it’s sunburn that is dangerous, not sun exposure. There’s a lot of literature about the benefits of exposure to the sun due to the production of vitamin D which is important for a healthy immune system.
WHAT IS NATURISM?
Perhaps the best definition of the Naturist Philosophy comes from John Kundert, Editor of FIG LEAF FORUM. “Naturism is a way of life characterised by the practice of nudity, both alone and in social settings, generally in mixed gender groups. It encourages self-respect, respect for others and for the environment, embodying freedom and a unique sense of communion with nature. It is purposely non-erotic and non-sexual. The Naturist philosophy asserts that the naked human body is inherently decent and that clothing should not be worn out of shame, but for practical reasons such as warmth, protection, and a thoughtful sensitivity to non-naturists.”
WHAT ABOUT THE KIDS?
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. And it’s quite normal for kids to be confused about the changes in their body as they enter puberty
But what about paedophilia? Well it's clear that being dressed has not kept children safe in our society! The best thing we can do is teach our children the confidence to speak up when people do things which make them uncomfortable. Naturism teaches kids that their bodies are nothing to be ashamed of, making them much more likely to tell their parents when someone does inappropriate things to them. Whether nude or clothed, children should know that being touched in certain ways is wrong. Although good parenting is by far the most important factor in raising children, naturism helps to promote their confidence and understanding about their bodies.