Differentiating Naturism from Nudism

Although some people use these two terms interchangeably, there are some distinct differences between them that you should understand. The two have something in common too; they enjoy being naked, and to them, this is a lifestyle.

Although both of these kinds of people are allowed to visit a naturist village and interact with other people, they do not have the same beliefs. So, what sets them apart?


The term can be traced back to 1929 when the Time Magazine used it in their story about the Freikorperkultur movement. Although those who practice this lifestyle love being naked, they are not so spiritual and they do not have a phylosophy that binds them or their activities. They are also less in tune with nature as they just enjoy being naked. This means that they can visit beaches where nudity is either allowed or tolerated. They can also frequent places where social nudity is practised.

In nudism, the word nude means there is nudity. Sticking to the old point of view, you can define it as the act of enjoying staying naked and taking maximum advantage of the sun on your entire body while sunbathing. It is an act that relates to a personal undertaking with the aim of regaining well-being. Some detractors label this style as exhibitionism and as a practice of sexual nature.


Naturism, on the other hand, stretches further and involves a lifestyle of self-respect, yoga, vegetarianism, pacifism, non-smoking, teetotalism and respect for the environment. The term naturist is older than nudist as it was first used in India in 1891. The Indians opened a club for the British colonist who practised social nudity. It was named ‘The fellowship of the naked trust’, and they had a motto that stated, Let Nature Win.

According to the International Naturist Federation, this kind of lifestyle is defined as how you can live in harmony with nature. This is normally characterised by practising communal nudity with the sole intent of encouraging self-respect and that of the others together with the environment. Those who practice this lifestyle love spending time in nature like visiting a naturist campsite and mingling with others who have the same beliefs. These people are spiritual, are attracted to healthy lifestyles and treat their bodies as temples.

It is the phylosophy of nudity that has an additional layer of conscience and thought. It responds to the need to return to people’s original nakedness as a natural thing. They aspire to benefit from the different elements of their bodies and minds by adopting healthy behaviours and protecting and respecting others and the environment too. This is what is normally practised in a naturist center. Although the label of naturist may be used to describe a nudist, the latter can never measure up to the latter.