Whereas naturists encourage self-respect and respect for others, they are often the targets of sniggering mockery, quick judgment and degrading insults.
Naturism is often confused with nudism. Nudism is simply the fact of being unclothed, generally at the beach. Nudists do not necessarily convey values linked to their nudity, they are nude for comfort or to gain a perfect summer tan. However, naturists promote open-mindedness, solidarity, mutual support, respect of nature and the world around us.
This type of confusion is not an insult for naturists, who do not expect the non-initiated to understand the subtleties that distinguish the two relatively similar practices.
However, naturists are often put into the same catery as exhibitionists, voyeurs and libertines. In these cases, naturists can feel offended.
Exhibitionists differ from naturists in that the latter do not gain any pleasure from exhibiting their genitalia… contrary to exhibitionists. The experiences sought out by naturists and libertines are completely different. Libertines are looking for a form of sexual excitement while naturists are seeking a sense of freedom. In practice, naturists on holiday with the family to a dedicated centre while libertines and exhibitionists indulge in their activities in secret, generally outdoors.
The ‘clothing-optional’ mindset of naturist areas is increasingly worrying for the naturist community. First of all, what is clothing-optional? It is not an invasion of ‘textiles’ (contrary to naturists, these are people who always live clothed) in naturist areas, but rather naturists who no longer get undressed for reasons that are more or less valid. The reasons given are often a lack of information for new-comers and long-time naturists becoming lax. In concrete terms, new arrivals are not given information (about the naturist philosophy and the relevance of being nude, for example). In addition, not everyone is nude systematically: event organisers, teenagers, those who want to protect themselves from the sun, etc. They each have a od reason for not subscribing to the rules of the naturist area, but in this way, they are playing a part in eroding the fundamental principles of naturism.
Naturist campsites, for example, attract a great many followers as these present the ideal location for relaxing in the nude. With great landscapes, environments and facilities, these establishments are often the result of years of hard work and investment to turn them into a naturist paradise… as well as a perfect target for ambitious promoters.
This is how the former naturist campsite of La Grande Cosse (Hérault) became textile, to the great disappointment of those who prefer to remain nude.
Naturists are not welcome everywhere… This rejection can be explained by their reasons for wanting to be nude being misunderstood. However, naturist values are commendable and available to everyone.