It’s a very difficult thing to figure out what a naturist is, but not so difficult to know what a nudist is. I am not a nudist; I am a naturist. A nudist is simply defined as someone who takes the opportunities that present themselves to spend time without clothing. Sometimes one only finds these opportunities to appear when one is alone: sometimes one only takes the opportunities that present themselves when they are in a social setting.
I would define the difference between naturism and nudism as existing in the motivation and the results to the individual’s psyche. A naturist accepts the fact of living in a community and a society that has a basically negative response to the naked human body. By negative response I include legal sanctions, shunning, shaming and the reducing of all nudity as sin, as pornography. A naturist also accepts the realities of nature, for example, wearing clothing as a necessity for warmth and body protection.
What is the intention for removing clothing? For many, it all comes down to comfort – it simply feels good. That intention is about valuing self in contrast to valuing the opinions of others. Where the intention is internal validation that embraces nature rather than external validation through participation in social events at beaches, clubs, resorts, nude bike rides, etc., one would be a naturist. That said, one can be a naturist in a nature setting that is shared with others.
The lines between naturist and nudist are blurred for the most part as it is hard to see motivation. In the end, perhaps it doesn’t matter. After all, beneath all the fashions, costumes, uniforms – we are all naked.
PS – in case anyone is interested, the photos were found somewhere on the web. If the owner(s) of the photos wants me to remove them, I will. On another note, perhaps you would be willing to take the credit, publicly, here.