Coming Out of the Closet as a Naturist
By R.M. Cook
Even though our society is becoming more relaxed and less puritanical about nudity it’s difficult for some people who enjoy a nude life style to let friends and relatives know about their choice of a clothes-free life. Nudity, nude sun bathing, and skinny dipping are widely accepted in Europe and Scandinavia. Communal nude bathing was widely practiced in the Roman Empire and is still accepted in Japan. Perhaps the introduction of hot tubs and saunas in American society will loosen up some of the stiffness regarding the naked body. Meanwhile, there is still a dilemma for those who want to practice nudity and don’t want to hide the fact from friends and family.
Some have suggested that letting people know you are a naturist is the same process as coming out of the closet and telling society you’re gay. There may be some truth to that but it is like comparing an acorn to an oak tree. Similarities, yes. Difference in magnitude, enormous. Too, living a naturist life style is a choice, being born gay is not. Here are some thoughts to consider before making your big announcement.
First, accept yourself! Being nude is not immoral, naughty, sinful or “bad”. The best evidence of this is that we are all born naked! Accept that being nude makes you happy, comfortable, and at ease. Keep in mind there are many other people who enjoy a nude style of living. You’re not alone.
Second, be prepared for consequences when you come out of the closet as a nudist. It’s possible some people will be unaccepting of your nudism no matter what! You may lose some friends after disclosing your secret naturist life. If friends cannot accept you as nudist, cannot accept what makes you happy, cannot accept you for who you are, they were probably not good friends to begin with. If you are not ready to deal with this judgmental estrangement, then you’re not ready to come out. Delay it until you are ready.
Next, it’s best if you first disclose your clothes-free life to a friend who will be accepting of your choice. This will give you reinforcement and experience with having a dialog with others about clothes-free living. When coming out to parents, spouse, or your children it may not be best to come out to everyone at once, say at Christmas dinner! Choose a family member you feel is open-minded or at least will not be judgmental. Ask them how they feel about naturists. Explain that Benjamin Franklin, John Quincy Adams, Mr. Rogers, and Walt Whitman, among many others, enjoyed skinny dipping and sunbathing in the nude. Once this person is on board and accepting use him or her as an ally when coming out to other family members. It may take time for some to accept your choice. Give them time and space to mull it over. Many people have preconceived ideas about nudism and sexuality. Be prepared to explain what naturists actually do and why you enjoy clothes-free activities. Explain you are the same person you have always been. Let them know you have not changed, it’s just they know more about you now. Assure them you wanted to tell them face to face instead of having them find out from someone else.
Finally, the words “nude” and “nudist” carry negative baggage for some people. To many people “nude” equals “sex”. Choosing the word “naturist” may imply “natural”, “tree hugging”, or the environment. Also, using the phrase “clothes-free” seems less loaded and easier for some people to accept.
Good luck… and use your sunscreen!