What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

A nudist, by any other name, would dress the same.

What’s the difference between a nudist and a naturist? Is there a difference? Ask 10 different nudists those questions, and you might get six different answers, and four people just shrugging. Many would say that nudists are simply people who don’t like to wear clothes, and naturists are people who enjoy being naked in a natural setting. To me, this raises more questions. If a person who just likes to be naked at home, tries going camping nude, are they now a naturist? Does an indoor pool at a naturist resort or gathering really count as a natural setting? Does the definition of either one imply the presence of other people?

The answers to these questions are highly subjective. I’m not going to try to provide definitive answers, but I’ll tell you my preferences, and attempt to explain why I feel that way.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you can see that I prefer using the term “nudist”. It’s a mostly self-explanatory word that almost everyone is familiar with. Even if you haven’t heard it before, it’s easy to figure out that it means someone who likes being naked. Some say that “nudist” has picked up some negative connotations in some people’s minds. But I don’t believe the word is the problem. The people who paint nudism as bad, will likely also object to “naturist” once they know it still refers to people being naked. I also feel that “nudist” is the more inclusive term. As in: All naturists are nudists, but not all nudists are naturists. A lot of us home nudists would love to go camping or hiking naked, but due to personal circumstances just can’t. Are we “naturists”? I don’t know, but we certainly are nudists. The other reason I prefer to avoid “naturist” is that I don’t feel like it’s as universally known…

Me: “I’m a naturist.”
Friend: “What’s that?”
Me: “It means I’m comfortable with nudity.”
Friend “Oh, you’re a nudist?”
Me: “Errr… well, yes.”

Too much effort to reach the same understanding lol. I also regularly see where people confuse “naturist” with “naturalist”. Very different things.

The bottom line for me, is that I like to communicate precisely and efficiently. To that end, I feel like describing myself as a nudist works better. This is, of course, just my opinion. The bottom line for everyone is to use the terms you are most comfortable using. In the end, I don’t think it makes a big difference.

One other pair of mostly interchangeable words are “naked” and “nude”. Again, people will use whichever is more comfortable for them. In reality, there’s no difference in meaning. When I was young, it seemed as if “nude” was mostly used in relation to art or sex. “Naked” always seemed like a more innocent and playful word, so it’s the one I prefer. Perhaps I should refer to myself as a “nakedist”?

Now that I’ve confused things even more, I’ll return you to your regularly scheduled entertainment.

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