Are they naked or are they nude?
My blogging buddy and fellow nudist Alex, author of the online diary, Happy Bare, recently offered a post that explored the different views on labels held by the culture of nudity. The article covered the various perceptions and stereotypes within the clothes-free community on the terms “naturist” and “nudist.” The title, Happy Bare Naked Naturist Nudists Or Not, (click to view), sums up the topic perfectly. It is a brief and humorous discussion of a war-of-identity that has plagued the nude world for decades. I urge all to read, no matter how few (if any) or how many clothes one wears, simply for the education and entertainment value.
On reading Alex’s words, I remembered a rough draft of a post I’d begun last year on the labels naked and nude and the difference between the two. I’d never edited my original as other ideas germinated in my mind. I decided that now is the time to revisit the subject and explain what and how I use those two words here on A Guy Without Boxers.
For most people, naked and nude, like naturist and nudist, are synonymous and are used interchangeably. Probably, the majority of the culture of nudity feel this same way. There does exist within our community a group of purists who advocate the difference between the two and take offense if and when they believe the terms are misused. Is this a splitting the proverbial pubic hairs? Perhaps. But everyone is entitled to their opinion and yours truly respects that right. Individuals are allowed to decide how they self-identify.
What follows below is my perspective on the distinguishing characteristics, however minor, between naked and nude. My buddy, Alex, has already covered the distinction between naturist and nudist. I’m leaving that one alone, at least, for now. Please understand that I am not an absolute authority on nudity. I consider myself a naturist/nudist but I’ve never been crowned king or elected as the undisputed leader. I’m not even an amazing wizard of nakedness. I’m merely a lay person who’s clothes-free whenever possible.
Naked and nude both imply the absence of clothing or any type of concealment or covering. The man pictured above is naked. He’s taking off his clothing because of his situation (shower). While in the shower, most people are naked. In locker rooms and physician’s offices, many are naked due to circumstance and not by choice. When changing clothes at work for an evening engagement, one is briefly naked. Of course, there are other reasons that people are naked but I think those examples are enough to deliver the concept.
Being naked is usually involuntary. Most people who find themselves naked would rather not be naked for whatever reason. More often than not, when naked, most attempt to cover-up or dress as quickly as possible at the first available opportunity. Being naked makes certain people uncomfortable. Some people do not like to be seen naked by others. When naked, they usually try to conceal their genitalia as best they can.
In the above image, the man is in the process of becoming nude. He’s ridding himself of his clothing because it’s his choice. He enjoys being nude as often as he can or for a specific purpose or activity. Skinny-dippers like to swim nude. Some people take a nude yoga class. Some plan to take a “nakation” (naked + vacation) at the nude beach this summer. Most people who are nude do so voluntarily. Persons who are nude are comfortable without clothes and choose to remain in that state for as long as possible.
When a person is nude they are generally comfortable, relaxed and stress-free. They aren’t bothered when they are in situations where they have to be naked, such as the shower, locker room or medical office. If an individual is nude often, occasionally or on a one-time basis, they are indifferent or oblivious if seen naked by others. Their being nude is a matter of no alarm or concern.
Confused? I hope not. A naked man is totally self-conscious and probably embarrassed over his uncovered body. A nude man is the exact opposite. He’s cool as the renown cucumber with his body available for all to see. This does not imply that the nude is an exhibitionist. That’s an entirely different matter that I’ll address in another posting here.
A naked individual is aware of his nudity. A nude man is nonplussed about the fact and isn’t always consciously aware of his state of being undressed.
A naked man will always be naked as long as he perceives himself that way. Only when he overcomes his discomfort can he move into the nude category. On the other hand, a nude man can be both, naked and nude, simultaneously. Others may view him as naked, but in his mind, he’s always nude.
This is my simplistic view on the eternal question of who’s naked and who’s nude. Some may agree with me, others may not. Most consider the entire subject ridiculous and think: who cares?
As a same gender loving practicing social nudist, I’ll be completely honest and admit that I don’t lose any sleep over the issue. Actually, personally, it’s a non-issue. When I’m clothes-free, that’s it: I’m natural and free-hanging and that’s what is important for me. I’m happy bare, just as my buddy Alex is with his blog, Happy Bare.
Here at A Guy Without Boxers, I make no distinction between naked and nude. I use both as meaning the state of being uncovered, undressed or clothes-free. It’s the social experience, not the label, that matters most. In my worldview, clothes don’t make the man. It’s the absence of clothing (concealment) that shows us all the quality of man he truly is. After all, at the end of the day, what counts most is not whether I’m a naked man or a nude man but rather, that I’m a good man.
Peace! Get naked. Enjoy!