I have looked at this topic once before, in a very personal manner some time ago. I was reminded of the theme by a friend who operates Clothes Free Life. He has, with the help of a few others, launched a community site for those who aspire to live clothing free, or who are already well along the way to such a way of being in the world, a place called My Clothes Free Life. He was responding to a post by someone who goes by the name of Naturist Philosopher, a post called “Is there a human need for being a naturist?”
Philosophy aside, though I have to admit to being both a quasi-philosopher and quasi-psychologist, I can only respond to that question in ‘personal’ terms. Do I need nudity? I have actively been trying to come up with a serious answer for the past number of years. In the process, I have charted my well-being through periods of no nudity, periods of occasional nudity, and those rare times when I have enviable amounts of nude time. The result was unequivocal – I need nudity.
My wife is not a naturist and feels very comfortable in clothing. She has no need to be nude though she isn’t what others might call a prude about nudity. For her, too much nudity becomes problematic. At those times, she needs to be clothed.
Obviously for one or both of us, this isn’t about a need in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs that most learn about at some point in their studies. For others, it isn’t so formal. Basically we know that we need the basics – food, shelter, safety, water, sleep, and breathable air – the physiological needs. The Naturist Philosopher does a great job of plugging in the need for nudity into this hierarchy, so I won’t go into more detail to simply rehash the same stuff.
So in answer to the Naturist Philosopher, I would have to say that there isn’t a basic human need for nudity as far as evidence exists. However, perhaps there is such a need at differing levels on the Maslow scale for individuals, a need that grows out of the psychological makeup of individuals.
For these individuals amongst whom I find myself, that need has roots that are strangely collective as well as individual and without question motivated by the unconscious on both the personal and collective dimensions. And it is through this unconscious aspect that we feel almost compelled to be nude, aching for clothes freedom, so much so that we risk the wrath of the collective who would rather all humans remain clothed as much as humanly possible.