What is Naturism?
"Naturism is a way of life in harmony
with nature, characterized by the practice of communal nudity, with the
intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others, and for the
environment." — International Naturist
Naturist, Nudist, or Clothes-free Recreation?
an almost exclusively U.S. term, while
Naturist is the more common designation
latter emphasizes Naturism’s traditional advocacy of a natural
lifestyle: a healthy diet, physical exercise, and outdoor activity,
among which body freedom (nudity) is one important element. Some
Americans use Nudist
to refer to those who visit nudist resorts, and
designate those who prefer more open settings – beach, stream, field or
wood – but this distinction is not universal. Naturists,
comprise a diverse demographic group in education, occupation, political
views and religious affiliation, united in the belief that our human
bodies are a gift of nature or of nature’s God, not objects of shame.
Names aside, 25% of Americans have tried
– skinny-dipping or nude sunbathing (2006
Roper poll) – with surveys showing strong
interest in nude recreation opportunities among American vacationers. See
Is Naturism a moral practice?
“Sexual modesty cannot then in any
simple way be identified with the use of clothing, nor shamelessness
with the absence of clothing and total or partial nakedness. There are
circumstances in which nakedness is not immodest…nakedness as such is
not to be equated with physical shamelessness. Immodesty is present
only when nakedness plays a negative role with regard to the value of
the person, when its aim is to arouse concupiscence, as a result of
which the person is put in the position of an object of enjoyment. The
human body is not in itself shameful... Dress is always a social
question, a function of…social customs. In this matter there is no exact
similarity in the behavior of particular people, even if they live in
the same age and the same society. The principle of what is truly
immodest is simple and obvious...If someone takes advantage of such an
occasion to treat the person as an object of enjoyment (even if his
action is purely internal) it is only he who is guilty of shamelessness…
not the other.”
Wojtyla (later Pope John Paul II), Love
trans. H.T. Willetts
(New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1981), pp. 176-192.
to Jim Cunningham of
International for this excerpt.
Doesn’t the practice of Naturism offend some people?
This is true – just as current American public dress standards offend
some people. Among the 26% of Americans that do not approve of allowing
skinny-dipping or nude sunbathing at accepted sites
(2006 Roper Poll),
there must exist a wide divergence of subjective levels of offense,
including those offended by bare midriffs, bare legs, and even bare
(female) faces. No universal standard short of complete veiling will
satisfy everyone holding these varied minority positions. Naturists are
not exhibitionists, and therefore seek places where others will not be
offended. Designated clothing-optional areas, marked by signs,
allowing but not mandating nude use, solve this dilemma, since those
who think they might be offended need not visit these areas. This
pragmatic and equitable solution simultaneously minimizes the
opportunity for offense and enhances the freedom of choice of American
citizens. This model has a history of success at numerous beaches
worldwide, the most notable example in the U.S. being the
clothing-optional section at Haulover Park in South Florida, open to
naturist use since 1991.
Are there currently any
clothing-optional beaches in the Tampa Area?
At this time there are no legal clothing-optional beaches in the Tampa
Bay area. Tampa Area Naturists was founded just for this reason. If you
would like to become a member of Tampa Area Naturists and help our
cause, please visit our MEMBERSHIP PAGE.