The International Naturist Federation adopted a definition of naturism at their 1974 world congress. Since I never can find that definition easily when I need to refer to it, I’ll put it here:
Naturism is a lifestyle in harmony with nature, expressed through social nudity, and characterized by self-respect of people with different opinions and of the environment. Social nudity constitutes an essential characteristic of naturism, fully exploiting the beneficial effects of the sun, the air, and water. Naturism restores the balance between physical and psychic dimensions, with leisure spent in a natural environment, through exercising the body, within the fundamental principles of hygiene and dietetics. Furthermore, Naturism fosters many activities by nurturing creativity. Complete nakedness is the “best-possible suit” to realise the return of humans to nature, and it surely is the most visible mark of naturism, even though it is not the only one. Nudity has a balancing effect on humans by reducing the tensions caused by the taboos and provocations of modern society, showing the way to a more simple, healthy, and humane way of living.
I think that’s pretty good, though one can quibble with it in various ways. It’s sort of long, making it a little tough for newcomers to take it all in at once. It makes “social” nudity a requisite, though many naturists feel they are practicing the lifestyle even when they are naked by themselves, especially in the outdoors. And so on. This isn’t the place to go into a detailed essay about it. (But if anyone wants to talk about it, feel free to comment.) I just wanted to put it up here.
Originally posted November 26, 2005