There has been a lot of debate in recent time over the definition of naturism, and the difference between naturism and nudism.
According to the international definition adopted by the XIV Congress of the International Naturist Federation (Cap d'Agde, 1974), naturism is:
"a lifestyle in harmony with nature, expressed through social nudity, and characterised by self-respect of people with different opinions and of the environment."
The International Naturist Federation explains:-
"Each country has its own kind of naturism, and even each club has its own special character, for we too, human beings, have each our own character which is reflected in our surroundings."
In many cases the terms Naturist and Nudist are considered mutually exclusive, however this is largely due to ignorance, and the ANF does not ascribe to this view. We take out lead from the fact that the word naturism was used for the first time in 1778 by a French-speaking Belgian, Jean Baptiste Luc Planchon (1734-1781), advocating it as a means of improving the 'l’hygiène de vie' (natural style of life) and health. The naturist philosophy can be traced back to the health and fitness philosophy in Germany in the early twentieth century, though the concept of returning to nature, and creating equality are also cited as inspiration.
We ascribe to the literal definition of the term, derived from nature, living naturally, respecting nature, being active and respectful, and accepting all other humans, in whatever way, shape or form, as equal to us. Naturism to the ANF is a way of stripping ourselves of all the constraints, phobias, prejudices, aggression and immorality that society has put upon us, and return to a more natural and tolerant way of being. The Nudist on the other hand simply engages in the practice of going nude, especially in places that allow sexually mixed groups, in the belief that such practice benefits personal health.
One unfamiliar with the lifestyle could ask the simple question, why? Most naturists will answer by saying "I was born nude, and I hope to be buried nude" - ELLE MACPHERSON. Personally I argue, "Why not?" What is it about society that we all need to fit into what they expect of us? We have a lifestyle that embraces harmony and acceptance, freedom from inhibition and judgment, total relaxation and release from the expectations of fashion, and the knowledge that our friends respect us for who we are, not how much we have, what we wear, or what class, religion, race or background we come from - literally warts and all. Isn't that the way it should be? Of course it is, but unfortunately it is not.
There have been many famous naturalists throughout history. Click here to learn about some of them.
The Benefits of Social Nudism
Social nudism is a healthy, life enhancing activity, enjoyed by people from all walks of life. Children, parents, grand-parents, singles and couples can all participate in the safe, family oriented environment fostered by the ANF. In the early days social nudism took place mostly in clubs specially set up for that purpose. Gaining membership tended to be quite difficult and there were very strict rules relating to activities and behaviour. However, as time has progressed, partial and total nudity has become quite prevalent in films, magazines and on television. This has led to social nudism moving much more out into the open, and besides the clubs it can now also be practised at a wide range of nude and clothing optional resorts, bed & breakfast services, plus a good number of legal and unofficial nude beaches.
Home swimming pools have also contributed, with families and friends taking advantage of their privacy to swim and sunbathe without costumes. In fact there are several well established nudist social groups in Australia which provide members with an ongoing circle of friends who have similar interests. Due to the onset on internet based nudist groups, nudists who were once isolated (and felt alone) are now finding that there are others in their town. This new networking is helping to strengthen the movement, and has already led to various nude activities in non-coastal regions.
If you are interested in joining a club or group contact them for an introductory visit so you can meet some of the people, see what facilities they have, and learn what membership has to offer you. We all need friends with similar interests and nudist clubs usually have a varied sporting and social program. A list of Affiliated Clubs, Groups, Resorts & B&Bs is include on this web site.