Naturism 205 Supports For Naturism Preface

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THE UNITED STATES LAGS FAR BEHIND most of the rest of Western Civilization in its negative attitude toward the human body. While most of Europe is comfortable with the concept of nude recreation on beaches and in vacation resorts, here in the U.S., conservative political action groups seek to criminalize even the most innocent exposure of the human body. Often these groups gain support by purporting to defend "family values" or "Christian morality."

Although these groups are growing in political power, they represent only a small portion of the American population. And participation in nude recreation is also growing. More and more Americans are discovering the pleasures of skinny-dipping with their families in the local reservoir, or sunbathing in the buff at the local beach. Membership in nudist organizations is growing by leaps and bounds.

More than ever, Naturists need powerful arguments to defend their chosen lifestyle against those who cannot see beyond their own misconceptions and preconceived notions. We need evidence and testimony to encourage others to give Naturism a try. For several years, I found myself making claims like these:

"Actually, Mom, taking the kids to a nudist park is good for them."

"The ideals of Naturism are consistent with the goals of women's rights."

"A lot of famous people don't think skinny dipping's such a bad thing."

"There's nothing in the Bible that says it's wrong to go nude."

"Naturism has some real psychological benefits."

"Not everyone in the world thinks nudity is so bad, you know."

I knew that these statements were true, but when pressed, I could not back them up with concrete references. And so, this project was born. Here are all the arguments in support of Naturism, backed up by up-todate scientific research and supported by the writings of leading thinkers in psychology, sociology, history, law, and philosophy. Here also you will find related musings on subjects including modesty, nudity in art, the history of fashion, women's rights, the benefits of breast-feeding, and the psychology of clothing.

This compilation draws on sources including nudist and mainstream publications, scholarly research, and my own thought. Some arguments are stronger than others. Taken as a whole, I think they make a compelling case in favor of Naturism. They support a perspective that sees the human body as complete and good in and of itself, regardless of how--or whether--it is adorned. They support an honest, open, and accepting attitude toward the human body, a perspective that is physically, mentally, and spiritually healing, socially constructive, and thoroughly freeing.

This compilation is by no means complete or comprehensive. All ideas, suggestions, comments, corrections, additions, references, and insights are welcome! Many of these quotes and ideas are taken from other sources or excerpted from larger works. An extensive bibliography and endnotes are included at the end of the document, and I strongly encourage anyone who is interested to refer to the original sources for more information.

These ideas should be shared freely. Every mother concerned about "family values" should know about the extensive scientific research demonstrating the positive benefits of nudism for children. Every woman concerned about pornography should know how strongly the philosophy and practice of Naturism repudiates the objectification of women's bodies. Every lawmaker concerned about honoring the original intent of our nation's founders should know that many of them were unabashed skinny dippers. Christians concerned about upholding sexual morality should know that the earliest Church leaders accepted nudity as a natural part of life, and not in the least inconsistent with the teachings of Christ. The world-weary businessman in his urban office and three-piece suit should know how relaxing and therapeutic a weekend at a nudist park can be. The mother on the beach with sand in her swimming suit should know that there are places in the world where she may enjoy the feeling of sun and water on her body without attracting unwanted attention.

It is my hope that this document may help you to share this good news, and to speak articulately about the native goodness of the human body in its natural state.

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