Relationships Between Nudists and Non-Nudists

When one is clothed and the other is naked . . .

When one is clothed and the other is naked . . .

Life sometimes gives us more that we seem to be able to handle. When that happens, we typically retreat into quietness and depression It’s that old “fight or flight” response that is hard-wired into our bodies, not something that we consciously think about. Yet, there are times when we have time to think when faced with something that is stressing us out. When we have the space and time and place to make conscious decisions about how we will respond, we have to consider that this space/time/place is a gift.

I am a naturist or nudist or whatever, that much I know as do a good number of people in my life. It isn’t exactly that I have chosen to be a naturist; it is more like I have opened up enough to the fact of the inner naked person that has lurked inside my head and body. My ego had denied this inner nude self for many years, too many years. But, rather than regret, I am simply relieved to have been able to emerge – come out of the closet? – into life as a more authentic me. I began to think that others were in the same place, that perhaps even most people would be unconsciously hiding their naked self behind a wide variety of belief systems, that if given the opportunity of experiencing the liberation from being clothed all the time, that they would naturally shed their clothing at the appropriate times and places that would present themselves.

However, this isn’t reality. Some people get to experience that liberation and find themselves stressed. Even after several deliberate attempts, they remain uncomfortable when unclothed. Their inner self is as clothed as their outer self. It just is what it is. Something we have to accept and not waste time trying to convert and change others. The last thing the world needs is another two sets of missionaries: missionaries preaching the ethic of being clothed, and missionaries preaching the ethic of being clothes-free with promises of heaven for all who convert. What we need to do is focus on being as authentically ourselves as is humanly possible.

So what about the situation where  both sides are committed to being together in a relationship. The person needing boundaries that are marked by clothing finds him or herself stressed when the other is naked in what is perceived as their space. That invasion of personal space within which a person thrives best creates all sorts of anxiety and stress. Unconsciously, there is then a need to do something to protect that personal space – fight or flight. Strangely, the person who is comfortable, even thriving with being clothing-free has no sense of a personal space being challenged by his or her unclothed partner. That is, unless there is a phobia about wearing clothing, a different issue entirely. So how does this problem get solved?

Does one create nude zones for the partner who finds a need for being clothes free? Such nude zones are only limiting one person in the relationship, the nudist. The give and take could include the creation of a time for nudity as well, a time when the non-nudist feels the least uncomfortable with their partner’s nudity. What emerges through these negotiations is a compromise in which the non-nudist accepts that he or she can’t deny the right of the nudist to clothing-free time; and the nudist accepts the fact that the non-nudist has acknowledged a right to nudity. So far so good. The relationship has made room for differences. Both feel a sense of accomplishment.

But time does strange things to a relationship. The nudist begins to feel more and more comfortable with nudity in the relationship to the point where the boundaries that were set begin to be compromised. Occasions of nudity begin to creep outside of designated times and places. There is an ache to have more time and space where the spirit, mind and body are able to be fully open. With this transgression, there is eventually a push-back by the clothed person who feels betrayed and disrespected. And so tolerance to the other’s nudity lessens. The differences become even more highlighted in the process. Yet, neither wants to have the relationship end, so there is a retreat back to the original position, or perhaps a renegotiation that allows the nudist a bit more time and space. This dynamic continues to reappear until either one or both are tired of the constant tension.

What then? It is hard for a couple, it is perhaps even harder for collectives sharing communities. I would like to have your ideas and experiences added here.

9 thoughts on “Relationships Between Nudists and Non-Nudists

  1. My wife and I are dealing with similar issues. I’m a nudist and not only stay naked at home, but go to nude beaches and hang out with my nudist friends regularly. My wife is much more prudish, not comfortable with her body. She also has hangups because she doesn’t want our children to see me nude. I try to convince them that the body is a beautiful thing and we all come in different shapes and sizes… all is wonderful.

    So to avoid discomfort and arguments, I stay nude at home early in the morning, before going to work, or when nobody is home. Or I’ll take a drive to the nude beach near my home and spend part of the day relaxing when I can.


  2. Pingback: A NUDIE DIGEST – August 19, 2014 | Nomadic Nudist

  3. My wife approves, has even said that my naturism is part of what she loves about me. Being undressed — except for sex — doesn’t move her. I exercise nude, and actually feel a little shy about it.


  4. A thoughtful post. I guess in reality any long-term, live-in relationship is full of many negotiated trade-offs. The issue of, how shall I call it, differentiated nudity(?) is but one. In our own house it was a non-issue (non-existent) until we became empty nesters, although my wife and I had been to a naturist resort for a one week vacation while our kids were still teenagers.

    Even after we had the house to ourselves it was extremely difficult to make nudity a real habit since it did not fit into our lives. I suppose if I had moved it way up the priority list I could have enjoyed more but in retrospect it would not have been worth the effort. Not with regard to relationship but more logistics and neighbours.

    I am still suspicious that there is a real physiological aspect to the degree to which one yearns for nudity. For me the physical feeling is like a delicious reward, particularly in the outdoors. For my wife it is an okay thing but not a real yearning.

    My wife although not partaking is perfectly comfortable with my own desires to be nude and has become quite indifferent to whether she finds me clothed or nude when she returns home from a short shopping outing.

    I am able to take advantage of opportunities much more frequently now, despite one of the worst summers on record! Rather than treat it as a default lifestyle I still treat it more as an opportunistic reward.

    I must stress that this is all quite solitary. We have never joined a landed club or done any social nudity, other than the one week many years ago. Our friends know of my “practice” and are quite supportive, but not to the point of wanting to join in.

    I marvel at the couples and families who have made naturism and social nudity a centrepiece of their lives. I don’t think it would have been feasible while we were raising our kids there was such an overwhelming amount of other stuff going on.

    Ironically our two kids now live in different European countries and nudity is so common they hardly notice. Having parents who took off to a naturist resort probably helped to pre-condition them to be more accepting of attitudes that are not nearly as conservative as North America.


  5. I was already a nudist when my wife and I got married. She, however, had never spent any time nude other than when necessary (showering, changing, etc). For a long time she thought it was awkward that I spent most of my time at home naked, but she never asked me not too. We agreed early on that I wouldn’t change my “lifestyle” once we had kids and that we wanted our kids to grow up knowing it was comfortable and safe to be nude, especially in your home. Now, after 15 years of marriage and with two kids, I’m more nude than ever. Our kids are equally comfortable nude or clothed, and my wife has even come out of her shell some and will walked nude after her showers on occasion. She’s far from a nudist, but she’s definitely more accepting of the idea than she was before.


  6. I stumbled upon this entry in my search for similar information, only I’m the non-nudist. What, then, is the right answer? I am uncomfortable with the nudity, especially now that we have a daughter, and I feel very resentful and hurt and angry when he’s ALWAYS naked. I go to bed, get up within a minute or two to get a drink or use the bathroom, and he’s already stripped and comfy for the evening. I feel so frustrated and turned off and I have no idea how we can overcome. Previous compromises have not been enough for him and there is a sexual addiction component, as well. I understand that has nothing to do with the nudist lifestyle in the TRUE sense but it has had some crossovers for him in the past, by his own definition. He swears it doesn’t now but how is a wife to know? I’m tired and resentful and ready to FLIGHT when I am usually the one to FIGHT. I wish someone had commented with the magic answer because I have always said I do not want to limit him being his authentic self (the exact words I used, too!). I want him to be happy and healthy, including mentally. Thanks for listening.


    • You ask what the right answer is and I have to tell you that I doubt that there is ever a right answer. Because we each change, constantly change, what is wrong in February potentially becomes somewhat acceptable in May, and then completely normal two years later. And then again, it can go from wrong to inducing heightened anxiety, to panic. And unfortunately, it really isn’t about the “other” person. What is activated comes from the self in response to what the other does. Nudity is not in and of itself something that is inherently wrong or evil. Our responses to nudity are based our our personal histories that go deep into childhood, responses that are activated by complexes created by the self in times of stress or trauma. If I can do anything in replying to you, that is helpful, it would be to have you understand that it isn’t about him when it comes to you. It isn’t about you when it comes to him. Both of you have triggers that set off land mines. Can I suggest a book called The Eden Project by James Hollis for you to read? It’s a short, but powerful book that might end up giving you some of the answers you are looking for. Robert.


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