In an age where people are extremely concerned with their image, being politically correct and concerning themselves with everything materialistic. There are a group of confident, free people who are literally stripping away this way of life.
Nudism is seen by many as a perverse act, or in some extreme opinions, seen as a sexual gathering, but like with everything in this life, once we obtain more information on a subject we get to truly understand the topic at hand. Christo Bothma, took the time to discuss his world and shed some light on this controversial topic.
“One of the biggest misconceptions about nudism is the over-sexualisation of it. If you think about it, what is there to actually look at?” says Christo Bothma, the national chairperson of the South African National Naturist Association (SANNA)
But don’t nudists get together to participate in sordid deeds?
Not at all. In fact, when it comes to embracing nudism, sex apparently has nothing to do with it. In fact, Christo says those who participate in nudism prefer to be called naturists, due to the negative connotations linked to nudism.
“People often get confused with naturism and nudism. While it is the same thing, the word naturist is smoother to the ear. We do everything people do at ‘normal’ social gatherings, such as braaing, socialising and hiking. We just do it in the buff,” he says.
Surely there must be something sexual about it?
As a prominent individual in the naturist movement, Christo says naturism is all about getting in touch with nature, one’s surroundings and own body. Considering we live in a world of body shaming, hypersensitive focus on weight, shape and everything in between, naturists just might be onto something here…
“We also have a strict code of conduct and ethics. You are not allowed to give anyone a once over and you need to maintain eye contact at all times.”
At social events, like with ‘normal’ social events, it is frowned upon to indulge in public displays of affection. “You wouldn’t participate in any hanky panky at a regular braai, neither do we. If you want to get personal with your partner, get a room.”
Furthermore, Christo says it is also frowned upon if singles sign up to become naturists. This is to ensure nothing sexual happens and to avoid issues.
Wait, what? Register to become a naturist? That’s right, you can’t just walk into a naturist gathering and expect to see naked people.
“There are 6000 registered naturists in South Africa, but there are thousands more who are closest naturists. These are people who walk around naked in their homes, but who are too ashamed to come out. This is usually due to the way they are brought up and the stigma linked to naturism.”
Christo and his wife became naturists 20 years ago after going to Sun Eden for their anniversary and finding freedom in the lifestyle.
“As naturists, we try and avoid wearing clothing. The nice thing about this is, when you are socialising with others, you know they are not looking at your clothing or shoes and judging you according to the brands.”
While some people are insecure about their bodies, Christo also says being a naturist boosts your confidence levels to new heights. Once you can accept your body and proudly walk around naked and socialise with others, little else can hold you back.
Despite the freedom it offers and a strict code of conduct, what happens if you develop an erection while at a social gathering with other naturists? After all, human nature will occasionally prevail?
“Because of our strict code of conduct, if you do get an erection, you need to cover it with a towel. Also, at events, it is important to always carry a towel with you for hygienic purposes. Before you sit down on a chair, you need to put a towel on the seat.”
Strict rules on conduct and hygiene, no sexual deviancy and offering people the opportunity to get in touch with themselves as people, what is the attraction? Why bother doing it at all?
Apparently, it is all about being comfortable with one’s self and escaping the shackles of everyday life where we as people are forced to cover our bodies, ashamed of what we were born with. Through embracing naturism as a lifestyle, Christo says one becomes more health conscious and learns the importance of eating right and respecting yourself and others.
If anyone wants to become a naturist, they can visit the South African National Naturist Association website.
The individual will then be visited by committee members. “If we feel a person is in it for the wrong reasons, we can blacklist them.”
Determined to connect with nature and embracing a natural lifestyle, it seems naturists are leading a lifestyle far away from the judgemental eyes of everyday society. Creating a community based on respect and care.
What are your thoughts? Would you become a naturist? Or do you lack the confidence to strip down in the pursuit of a life of freedom?