Nudity in the arts has a long history, and it’s not just paintings and sculptures. Writing about nudity has also been around for centuries. To get to what we can call writing about naturism or social nudism, we can subtract from the general body of writing those contexts in which nudity is sexualized or medicinal, just as we would do in order to separate out naturist paintings or sculptures from the rest. Now, from the set of writings about naturism, we can separate out non-fiction (and a few other genres) to arrive at naturist fiction.
Why does naturist fiction matter? The answer is an aggregate of [why naturism matters] + [why fiction matters]. Naturism matters, of course, because it is one of the most wholesome and delicious expressions of freedom we can possibly know. Participating in naturism is, frankly, a matter of good health, just like eating well and exercising. Social nudism, especially outdoors, is the path to body acceptance, self respect, respect for others and for the environment. Fiction matters because, as cognitive research has shown, reading fiction develops our empathy, increases our awareness and tolerance of differences (whether on the level of individuals or entire cultures), and engages our brains in longer-term attention spans – a nice nude 5K run through the forest, if you will, instead of the harried, cover-up-with-a-towel sprint from the shower that is the equivalent of so much of our fast and furious digital engagement nowadays. Particular works of fiction – richly developed novels such as Don Quixote, Beloved, Things Fall Apart, Pride and Prejudice, One Hundred Years of Solitude – enter the echelon of the greatest works achieved by humanity.
Naturist fiction brings these positive aspects together in ways that are beneficial for those who are already naturists (or nudists or skyclad, etc.) as well as, and perhaps more importantly, for those who are not yet naturists, those who have not yet experienced social nudism in a supportive environment. For naturists, it’s illuminating to read about contexts for naturism beyond the familiar – the kinds of new settings you can read in science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy. It’s interesting to read about the characters’ first-time experiences with naturism, and remember one’s own experiences, or those of friends and family. For people who are curious about naturism, or even perhaps less curious than skeptical, the contexts and stories presented through naturist fiction can be engaging to the point of helping convince readers to take the step to explore social nudism in their own lives. True-life narratives and histories of naturism (non-fiction) are also, of course, very important in making the case for naturism. The difference with fiction is often the empathy that readers can invest in well-developed characters, and the settings and contexts that, however surprising or outlandish, open the mind to the possibilities of naturism. For readers of any stripe, what’s important in any kind of fiction are a compelling plot and characters, creative locales and imagery, and stellar control of language and suspense.
It’s an honor to share this site with my fellow naturist writers Paul Walker and Robert Longpré. Here are my interviews with them (Robert, Paul) as part of my “Disrobing Suspense” series of profiles of naturist writers – more to come! I’ve also featured their works in other posts on my nudescribe.com site (Paul, Robert). Speaking for the group of us, we all strive to produce the best writing we can, fulfilling the goals of great fiction and of representing naturism in ways both entertaining and informative.