The Right to be Clothed

Over the last few years I've observed the various arguments for and against clothes, and indeed clothing optional venues.

Nudists often argue that there is something very unsavoury going on when people don't choose to be naked, but visit somewhere that people are naked. They can't understand why, other than the desire to perv at naked people.

I haven't really had the opportunity to visit a "true" nudist venue. I'd have to choose my words extremely carefully to explain why, but in a nutshell it doesn't seem anywhere near as simple as driving to the closest CO venue, paying your money and enjoying the day naked. When I did investigate the local nudist club, it seemed to be very closed rank and secretive. You can't just turn up when it suits you to enjoy the outdoors. You have to be the right person, arrange a special visit etc. I just want to be naked, not take part in a secret society!

Within an environment where it's okay to be naked, it does strike me as kind of odd that people do wear clothes. I actually feel sorry for those wearing clothes because obviously their personal comfort and confidence levels aren't sufficient to feel ok naked.

I feel as though I have some pretty good insights as to why people don't feel comfortable being naked, and actually prefer clothes. The reasons are broad and varied, but most lead back to self consciousness.

The one thing I can't really make sense of are those who feel uncomfortable around clothed people when they themselves are naked.
In my mind clothes really make no difference when others see you naked. I get the sense that some naked people feel at a disadvantage when others are clothed. This seems like nonsense. If nakedness is acceptable within a given context, outdoors, at a beach etc. Why does nakedness suddenly become unacceptable when there are clothed observers? Why are people suddenly uncomfortable in this situation?

I think as a few have already commented on Nook, people should have as much right to wear clothes for EXACTLY the same reasons people should have the right not to wear clothes if they choose. I say that based on the following reasoning.

Society says nudity is unacceptable because if offends some people. They feel uncomfortable seeing others naked. It offends their personal sense of morality.

Nudists say clothed people within a nudist environment are unacceptable because they feel uncomfortable being naked when others aren't. They're suspicious of clothed people's motives for wanting to be clothed within a nude environment.

The thing is, if nakedness is okay, non-sexual and natural as nudists go to great lengths to tell us all, then why is it not ok within a clothed context?
Is it suddenly not natural and now entirely sexual? I think not.

I'd be interested in other people's views on this and whether anyone can provide a rational reason why people shouldn't have the right to wear clothes if they choose. Forget "normal". That's not a rational reason to do anything. Why shouldn't I or anyone else be allowed to wear clothes among nudists?

38 thoughts on “The Right to be Clothed”

  1. I've said it before on here but I prefer co rather than compulsory… Just seems so much more relaxed atmosphere and I so don't want to join anything which involves people coming to interview me at home to check my families motives!! There is a naked swim event that happens up here in the north east at a swimming pool in the winter months which has such extreme and probably illegal entry criteria I am surprised they have members….

  2. I think that we should live in a clothing optional world with no anti-nudity laws. Anti-obscenity laws should be upheld, but nude is not lewd or obscene. It is natural and normal.

    The transition to a CO world would be trying for some, but once it was established then people would be more relaxed about it and they would just get on with life. Things like exhibitionism would almost disappear because once it is widely accepted then it would not draw the reaction that they are hoping for. I would wager that sex crimes would drop as well.

    You could be gardening while nude in your front yard and people would comment on your garden not your attire or look away.

    People like me,who gardens nude anyway, would not push the boundaries because there would be none to push. The point would have been made and the issue dealt with. Nudity is not a threat to anyone. It just is part of who we are and why should it be hidden away as if it was abnormal?

    We live in a crazy enough world that we need to worry about something so basic and simple as this and in forcing everyone to live in a disguise.

  3. The problem I have with resorts/organisations that state nudity only is the fact that it chases people away. I would love to go to a social get together, however when I initially inquired the one organization stated after 3 visits it is nudity only., no clothing option. My wife did not gel with this and refused to get involved. I want to enjoy my nudity with her, so therefore I will not go to a social event without her. Hence because of nudity only rule, I won't/can't attend a social event.

    • My wife is okay with getting nude, but does not want people staring. She does not like to be the centre of attention. When clothed men go to stare it causes her to keep her clothes on. So, CO can be something that reduces participation, too. When it is an even playing field then it is easier participate for some. CO creates uneven participation and well as permits it.

      I am not affected either way, but my wife is and I am sensitive to her needs. The reverse is also true for men with non-nudist wives. They can participate in a CO venue while the partner can stay clothed. I do not see that as encouraging participation as the one who is nude would be nude anyway.

      • What seems quite obvious is what works for some doesn't work for others. What does work across the board are many different options.

        It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking, "well this works for me so it should work for everybody. Therefore everybody should do things this way or be damned" 🙂

        What's great about all the different points of view is realising this really isn't cut and dry. I actually think NBN has given the best rational answer to my original question.

        It's important to have completely naked only venues for those that find CO too confronting. An uneven playing field so to speak. That makes immense sense.

  4. On my property we are definitely CO, it is important to me that people are free to make choices and there are times when it is more appropriate to wear clothes for comfort or safety I.e. beekeeping!! Or when the horse flies are hungry!

    The key issue is attitude, you have to accept my nudity, and if you want, feel free to be nude too. The converse is I have to accept your choices. In time the nudity becomes a non-issue, people just accept each other the way they are. With social nudity, I have found people tend to be more modest and respectful, they do not flout their bits or even pay much attention to others not in their family group.

    I think the reason for having resorts, beaches and the like is it makes the "rules" and expectations clear. I have never had a problem with gawpers, either in resorts, clubs or beaches.True you have "meercats" in the dunes on occasion at, say, Studland but that is managed well by the National Trust, Police and locals, in any event, if I am sunbathing or walking or swimming why should I care if someone is watching me, so long as they dont get in my face or proposition me (which has only happened once, in France, and she was a prostitute touting for business who was arrested and taken away, in reality, she was so pathetic that no-one was freaked.)

  5. I have talked to many naturists about this. I see both sides of the C/O vs enforced nudity issue.

    C/O encourages participation and is more inclusive, but it allows gawkers in who discourage participation of people, particularly women whom we want to encourage due to under-representation. Enforced nudity reduces that and it makes a level playing field. It may sound harsh and exclusive, but it may be more fair in the end.

    I would participate either way. In fact I strip off at any campground or beach given the opportunity.

  6. Shane you are absolutely right. Freedom to dress or not is pretty basic. I will strip off as soon as I see even one other naked person on a beach I wouldn't want to even visit a club where nudity was obligatory.

    Having said that the social environment in a CO establishment can excert subtle pressures. I have greatly enjoyed visiting the Cortijo Romereo alternative holiday centre in Spain which, whilst basically clothed, has a CO pool. Right next to the pool is the entrance to one of the meeting rooms and also a place where guests make themselves hot drinks etc. on coming out of the pool I found myself wrapping a towel around myself before putting the kettle on. To swim and sunbathe naked seemed OK but not to stand around the tea bar, although nobody ever said anything and some people were less covered. Interesting?

    • Social obligation is a very odd thing Richard. Very odd indeed.
      On an empty beach I'm the first naked person you'll see there. It has at least once encouraged others to follow suit who happened along. Public beach, national park.

      Where nakedness is permitted I'm all in irrespective of what others are doing. I have little doubt I'd make my tea naked.

      Here's the curve ball.

      At home nakedness is pretty much accepted. My wife has some mild reservations about time and place, but compared to the utter unease she once had, she takes it very much in her stride these days.
      As such I intentionally adhere to a kind of happy medium. In the mornings and evenings, or heat of the day, I don't wear anything. At other times of the day if it's warm I wear a modest kind of loose fitting wrap and nothing else.

      It's a sort of mutual compromise that has been working amazingly well for the last 18 months.

      On the whole I think this serves as an example that a comfortable balance can exist that you negotiate out of mutual respect. That is, I respect my wife's cultural objection to not being naked herself. She respects my rational reasoning for not wearing clothes all the time. If society in general took this approach I think we could have something that suits everybody. At least perhaps the vast majority 🙂

  7. I stopped thinking too much about it. At a nude beach, I'm naked. I actually strip before going there and generally walk away from my car already naked. When going to a nudist resort, same, I am naked 24×7, weather permitting (meaning not too cold), and I am generally stripping before reaching the gate. I don't get why people would be clothed in a nudist environment but as long as they are not blatant voyeur, I do not really care. I would however have a chat if it's warm and they are still covered to understand their motives and potentially have them undressed. My 2 cents.

  8. Shane, you nailed it. The same goes for choices in clothing – some offends, some creates class division, and some is practical given weather and/or work conditions. Being clothed or naked has no "evil/badness" inherent in the conditions. The problem exists solely in peoples heads – texiles, nudists, naturists, fundamentalists, etc. Thanks. 🙂

  9. For one: why should "we" give people the right to wear clothes on "our" nudist places when that right is not reversed as a right to be nude in their textile places?
    Second: seeing other peoples keeping their clothes on is somehow contagious for the less self confident nudists, before you know it half the place is wearing some kind of sarong, large towel or something. I couldn't care less to be naked in a full church, but that attitude is not for everyone.
    Third: when in Rome, act as the Romans is good advice to make yourself accepted in any community.

    • I completely agree with Theo, they don't want naked people on a textile beach eather, so why would we allow clothed people at our nudist beaches ? Maybe because we are more tolerant than others… Mind I do not have much problems if a member of a family uses a bathing suit for some reason as long as the others are naked. But it is mostly single men or groups of teenage boys that are only there for watching the naked people.

    • On a purely subjective level I think your assertions are quite fair and reasonable Theo. I would offer the following to consider;

      “why should "we" give people the right to wear clothes on "our" nudist places when that right is not reversed as a right to be nude in their textile places?”

      I would suggest that if you wanted to promote wider understanding and acceptance of your ideals and lifestyle, then you might be a little more accommodating in meeting people halfway. For many people the prospect of being completely naked is quite intimidating, and compulsory nudity in an unfamiliar environment is probably nothing short of terrifying for some. I’m aware that many venues allow people to be clothed for the first hour or so of their visit. Maybe even a day. Although this is a concession of sorts, it doesn’t necessarily promote a sense that one can mix and mingle on a basis that allows people to feel completely comfortable and relaxed. There is that looming dread that at some point you must join in whether you’re ready or not.

      On my last trip to a CO venue I encountered a German/Asian couple. The German husband had no qualms about nakedness. The wife however couldn’t get past her self consciousness due to her cultural heritage. We had an interesting discussion where she talked about her issues, and I could completely relate being married to someone of the same culture, with similar reservations. The wife said the more they visited these CO venues, with her in a sarong, the more and more comfortable she felt. That is, it was helping her get past her cultural hurdles. I thought that was a great thing.

      “seeing other peoples keeping their clothes on is somehow contagious for the less self confident nudists, before you know it half the place is wearing some kind of sarong, large towel or something."

      I guess from a purely ascetic point of view this is probably considered somewhat bothersome? I tend to think if people are happy and comfortable the way they’re attired or not, where’s the harm? I’m happy and comfortable naked, don’t they have as much right to be happy and comfortable however they choose to be?
      I take your point that the same luxury isn’t offered in return. It seems to me CO venues and resorts offer the ideal meeting point. I tend to observe in these places nobody is getting their nose out of joint because somebody else isn’t following an ethical standard that individuals think others should be.

      “when in Rome, act as the Romans is good advice to make yourself accepted in any community.”

      Sometimes rogue elements aren’t such a bad thing, but I do take your point. Conformity is certainly the path of least resistance, but whether or not we should all be loyal Romans is an entirely different discussion 🙂

      • First point: more than once I've seen people covering up in naturist venues not because of a acclimating issue, but purely to somehow enhance their social standing. These people had the notion that even there, clothes added to their "class".
        Second point: yes, it really is bothersome when a covered person enters a nude group and suddenly other people in this group become self-conscious and cover up too. This happens especially with kids of course.
        Third point: "rogue" has no added value in a holiday setting I think, better keep that for a sporting setting where "rogue" might be fun.

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