Naturists and naked folk often bemoan the fact that mainstream public opinion holds to the idea of naked = sex or, to put it more verbosely, that the only time one expects to see a naked person is when one is having sex. For many naturists this is simply not understandable, especially if they are 2nd or 3rd generation naturists, as their experience in their own family and perhaps circle of friends too, has been entirely to the contrary. It is said there are nudists who go so far as to say they never even think about sex, and especially never when they are naked, but let's leave picking over the finer details for another time, here we are concerned with the mainstream.
Mainstream opinion then will insist on linking the two concepts of nudity and sex, this is constantly reinforced via the media, commercial media even more so, as it is well known that "sex sells". Linking sex and nudity would seem to imply that "nudity sells", which as anyone can see in the declining naturist markets worldwide is quite simply not true. Nevertheless, naturists are constantly banging their head against society's constant obsession that nudity=sex. This leads to nudist beaches closing, cries of "perverts" whenever anyone goes skinny-dipping and a clothed family is anywhere in the vicinity, anyone browsing through published naturist material is assumed to be leering over pornography, and so forth. What can we do about this?
Well, it's clear that the first half of the 20th century was naturism's finest hour, with many clubs being founded and magazines and books being printed. Here we have a clue. In the early 21st century we see these same clubs expiring along with their aging membership, regular publications grinding to oblivion, the "softly-softly" stance of hiding behind private club fences being proved solidly wrong. At the same time we see the massive success of such protests as the WNBR and FEMEN, art installations via the like of Spencer Tunick, and more and more public nudity seen in natural contexts, such as the NEWT hikes and others, The trend is clear.
On a related and crucial note, we've also seen the success of the gay movement go from a position of shame and fear of imprisonment to one of pride and civil rights. 50 years ago the British government shamed a war hero into commiting suicide by threatening to expose his homosexuality. A couple of years ago that same government apologized for this barbarism and it is now illegal to shame somebody for being gay. What an extraordinary development in a comparatively short time and this demonstrates clearly how people can take control over their own lives. How far has the gay movement come, and what can the naturist movement learn from this?
It's fairly obvious that the gay movement has harnessed the forces of it's convictions and forced the issue. They came out! They admitted they were gay. Those that didn't want to come out were actually outed by others. Forcing their own people, hiding behind their walls of shame, to publicly admit to being gay, and forcibly taking the concept into public space. It's easy to see that it worked. It's not easy to see why the nudist movement appears to be incapable of learning from this experience. For the sake of everyone using this site, and everyone else out there too (please share this post far and wide), let's spell it out.
If naturists want to be accepted by mainstream public opinion, for our statement that nudity does not necessarily equate to sex to be taken seriously, then we have to stand up for our own principles and to shout these from the rooftops and on the streets. Together and publicly. This is not complicated, we simply need to do what we say, show the world that nudity is ok, public or private, public and private. We need to take our holiday snaps and post them on the internet, we need to be unashamed when we say "we are naturist" (or whatever variant). We need to come out from behind the private walls of shame and face the world as we are, demonstrate to the world that we are harmless, that we are naked.
What are you waiting for? It's time to come out naked!