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There are a lot of classics from the beaches of France, Spain, United States and other famous nudist-supporting countries. Though the times have changed, people still find things to laugh and cry about and express emotion that are captured here on film and still images. Drop the bathing suit and feel the sand, logs and everything else have a direct contact with your body .. it is the best feeling in the world. :)

"Some day people will grow up and realize that the only thing vile about human bodies is the small minds some people have developed within them."

- Dick Hein

In the Long View

For generations we have been seeking to cover up the so- called primitive peoples of the world with our Western styles of clothing, whether they were appropriate to the climate and conditions of those peoples or not. Today, we have this change in thinking on the part of some of us that perhaps those "primitive peoples" were wiser than we.

Let's be honest. The "movement" of nudism/Naturism involves a truly minuscule number of people in our society (albeit a growing number, across virtually all segments of the population). Worse, we are considered by some to be some sort of "cult." But in this regard it is highly revealing in many meaning of the term that whereas less than 30 years ago there were officially 25,000 nudists in the United States and 50,000 in Germany, the number of the officially and unofficially involved today, if we include the occasional skinny-dippers, runs well into the millions.

Mere nudity begins to cease to be either a matter of exaggerated concern or abnormal interest to the majority of the public. And while the number of "official" members of organized nudism remains small, the effect has been like the leaven in the loaf; for the workings are far greater and vastly more extensive than the small numbers would warrant.

Small as our numbers may be in relation to the entire population, each one of us has to reflect and develop some clear ideas about what nudism and Naturism means in our individual live and in our relationship with others. What are the values available to me from being nude, naked, bare of all clothing in the company of others of all ages and both sexes -- and what benefit might derive from these practices? Are there negative aspects, too?

I read with interest the various proposals for changing the name of the American Sunbathing Association --doing away with "sunbathing" and stating the nudist purpose directly. Sunbathing seems to me, as it clearly did to others, a bit of a misnomer; yes, we enjoy the sun on our total bodies, we enjoy the fluidity and motion of the human body in the light of the sun; yet we know nudism and Naturism are more than that.

Let's look for a moment at terminology. Naked, nude, nudism and Naturism. According to my dictionary, naked and nude are largely interchangeable. On the other hand, I believe a distinction can be made between the nudist -- one who joins with others on occasion in mixed company in a state of nakedness -- and the Naturist, who is seeking to live in a state of nudity at all appropriate times and as much as possible in a close relationship with the natural surroundings, alone or with others of all ages and both sexes. These descriptions are certainly subject to correction and revision.

It is Naturism that I seek to practice in my own life. In neither description have I said anything about "values", but I like to think that the Naturist is more positive-value oriented, whereas among nudists there is considerably greater latitude in the values tolerated. I shall use these terms interchangeably, though with the above definitions understood.

In virtually all the literature, in many of the letters one reads from new "converts" to nudism or from those who have been active in the lifestyle for a long time, one often finds the comment that practitioners enjoy being nude "because it feels good." Quite aside from all the other physical and psychological reactions, I suppose that this feeling of freedom from the confinement of restrictive clothing is one of the first things many of us experience.

At the same time, however, among the beneficial and enjoyable effects or feeling of freedom is the ability of our bodies to function as intended: These bodies can breathe, adjust to variations in temperature, cleanse themselves through the pores, lungs and the whole circulatory system.

One very negative commentator writes: "The alleged improvement in health, physical or mental, is founded on no evident fact but is simply a gratuitous supposition, or at most is based on far fetched analogies with life among certain primitive people." Fortunately there is ample evidence based not on suppositions but on valid empirical studies confirming that under proper conditions nudity is a desirable aid to good mental and physical health. In contrast, here in the U.S., body image confusion, sexual overstimulation and commercialization of nudity has reached an absolute height.

For years, the health insurance organization of Sweden has sent patients to Dalmatia, prescribing nude sunbathing and relaxation in the mild waters of the Adriatic for skin and other illnesses. We are often aware of the effort of practicing nudists to care for their bodily health. We know that we find every possible body type and form and we are no longer under the dangerous illusion that everyone can conform to the nude examples of 'Playboy' and 'Playgirl'. Seeing the great variety of bodily characteristics, we no longer worry so much about "positive" or "negative" attributes of our bodies, and we learn to accept both our own image and the images others present. We see those with scars of injuries and surgeries and other disabilities and "imperfections" who participate in nudist activities without any self-consciousness.

I might also add here what I profoundly believe to be one of the greatest benefits of Naturism: The positive effect it has on the mental and physical health of our children. For almost 20 years I took groups of children to a beautiful nudist center in Istria, Croatia, on the Adriatic. These children, even the so- called "difficult" ones, were a joy to be with. Despite an occasional sunburn, the general health of these children and, especially, their later attitudes toward the bodies of both men and women were markedly improved. Today many go to the camp with their own children.



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