Nudist Society

Prof. William E. Hartman 

Personal impressions & reactions

My feeling at the time was that whatever the great artists had failed to capture on canvas, I witnessed here in the flesh. Rather than arousal, I experienced aesthetic pleasure and appreciation. Rather than wishing to advance, caress, or fondle, my feelings were to step back and appreciate the total human being, and to observe and appreciate the beauty to be seen. (p 318)

My sense of experience is that far from being significantly sexual it tends toward being relatively non sexual, and in some instances significantly anti-sexual or at least anti-erotic. ... Exposure of the body appears to have an erotic character only if that exposure is defined as proscribed behaviour. In the climate that renders normative exposure of the body, the effect is in all likelihood one of de-eroticising the body. Much of what one knows of the nudist experience seems clearly to point to this. (p 324)

Nudism seems to me to promote openness, honesty and friendliness. (p 325)

As a result of the study of nudism over a period of several years, it appears to me that it has a special and unique dimension of honesty that our culture, generally speaking, does not allow. Presumably this has grown from the fallacious argument that nudity and overt sexuality are one and the same phenomenon. Results of this research definitely indicate that these are separate phenomena. (p 325)

Another impression is that our culture has done a magnificent job in creating much ado about nothing. This is to say that denying the individual his basic biological identity in social situations is possibly one of the major contributing factors to our mental-health problems of the day. The suggested cause is loss of identity. (p 328)

My final commentary concerns the relative ease with which the actual nudist research was conducted, the high degree of co-operation among nudists, the tremendous pressures resulting from publicity following a news conference about the research, and the great desire on the part of many individuals to repress and suppress this research so that it should not see the light of publication. (p 329)

My feelings were strong and clear, that not only are there therapeutic implications in nudism but there is a dimension to biological honesty and self revelation that has never been considered by any researches of my acquaintance. (p 333)

... it was obvious from my observations of the first few minutes that it was like any other resort with people relaxing around a pool; the only difference was that these people had no clothing on. I though that they really looked much more comfortable and not at all sexy as the partially clad female frequently does. (p 340)

The nudists have carried to the Supreme Court their convictions that there is nothing obscene about the human anatomy. More general circulation of this viewpoint in the future may contribute to the salubrious conditioning of individuals in our society to accept the nudity of all human beings as wholesome, normal and natural. Nudist publications, if judiciously presented, may be the most desirable type of material of this kind to be published. This may diminish the market for other more objectionable material for which there is so much current demand. The circulation of nudist materials in the future may have a positive effect as a deterrent of sex offences based on curiosity. Until our society takes a more realistic view of providing opportunities for individuals to be educated about the basic biological differences, the current unwholesome climate can be expected to generate curiosity that will, in turn, produce sex offenders in the future. Hopefully, quality nudist publications might make a contribution in a wholesome manner toward the elimination of curiosity engendered in Americans about human anatomy. (p 363)


One of the most remarkable findings came from this study [malcontents and dropouts]. It appears that the practising nudist virtually never gives up nudism, even though he may resign from the national organisation for reasons not directly related to nudism per se. (p 204)

Two words supply the primary reason why our respondents did not continue their nudist activities: "distance" and "time". It is remarkable that a genuine dropout from nudism is virtually impossible to find. (p 222)


We see again the greater emphasis on mental health and relaxation by our male respondents, a great emphasis on physical health and relaxation by our female respondents, the much greater significance of spouse's interest on the part of our female respondents, and the relatively small response on spouse's interest by our male respondents. Other than indicated the items follow in order of frequency almost identically for both sexes and in relation to the other tables. (p 172)

"Many people have discovered that they enjoy being naked without really knowing why, except they feel freer, more alive. Man has a deep-seated impulse to be naked. Most of up do not recognise this impulse because of our training and traditions. It is suppressed from early childhood and if we feel it, we consider it as evil. We all know the delight of children at being undressed, a perfectly natural delight." The Importance of Wearing Clothes, Lawrence Langner 1959). (p 172)

"Anthropologists studying primitive races have found that the real motive for clothing has nothing to do with decency, and that dress was originally designed rather as ornamentation than to cover shameful parts of the body. (Merril p 214) (p 172)

A widowed home-maker of fifty-three who had been a nudist for seven years stated, "Actually I get very little satisfaction out of sun-bathing per se. I get a very great deal of satisfaction out of being a nudist, living out of doors, and enjoying the sun in moderation." (p 173)

A retired gentleman of sixty-seven... "From sunbathing I derive the satisfaction of physical well-being. My health is definitely better, my colour (tan) is much more satisfactory, and my feeling of "nakedness" is practically eliminated with this more natural coat of not-starved-for-light complexion. I am less sensitive to the cold and chilling breezes, and can stand vastly more joy-giving sunshine than when clothed most of the time. In the air, sun and water, I feel more a part of nature, less isolated from normal elements of outdoor living. From social nudism: not only the above benefits are derived, but a sense of freedom from the arbitrary and unreasonable dress restrictions of our time. Much of our clothing has become constrictive to free movement; hampers the natural cooling and cleansing effects of the evaporation of perspiration; tends to accentuate certain areas of the body that it is supposed to hide; and creates false status measurements of the true worth of individuals. (p 173)

"Sunbathing itself and the acquisition of a tan are much less important than the healthy attitude toward the human body, clothed or not, that my children seem to be developing." (p 174)

"It is more relaxing to be doing things (carpentry work, painting, cutting, gardening, games, swimming) in the nude, more refreshing, freer movement, and just plain more natural. It seems that I am not concerned about sex unless the female is in just a negligee or bikini, or if there is something suggestive, which is sometimes disgusting." (p 175)

According to our respondents, complete relaxation is possible for them only in a nudist setting, and no other comparable social situations have provided the degree of relaxation they have found to exist in the nudist park. (p 176)

"This is natural living the way God intended all living creatures to live. Man (the human race) is the only species of living creatures, who by exploitation and false education, has been compelled to wear clothes by the powers that be. The liberties which the animal has, have deprived to man. Commercialism and exploitation for profit under the money system has been the main cause of selling man many unnecessary gadgets and clothing for the sole purpose of profit. Man is taught by our various religions to be ashamed of his gift of God, the body, and instead of taking care of it and to be proud of it, instead of ashamed of it. (p 177)

"In a nudist camp where everybody is naked I can at least achieve peace of mind. I see only the naked truth, real people unadorned as God made them, honest people who aren't trying to hide anything or make themselves appear to be something they aren't. No hypocrisy here, and my mind can rest because my imagination doesn't keep trying to figure out what's underneath the clothing, and that wonderful feeling of the warm air against my skin." (p 177)

"... I believe that the exposure of the nude body to persons of any sex has a tranquillising effect and has a tendency to keep sexual morbidity to an absolute minimum." (p 182)

"My consuming interest in sex is almost nonexistent; it used to be detrimental to my welfare." "Elimination of morbid curiosity and stabilisation of relationships, that is rapport in place of pure lust." (p 182)

"I am more comfortable in my skin. Once I couldn't take physical education classes because I wouldn't shower afterwards. I was miserable. I don't want my children to ever feel so inhibited and uncomfortable with themselves. I am not advocating exhibitionism, just learning to live with oneself." (p 187)

"I am not a sunbathing nudist. To me the practice of sunbathing is secondary to the freedom of body acceptance. My nudism is the result of my body acceptance and is religiously oriented." (p 187)

Clergyman "Nudism offers an indescribable relaxation, exhilaration, and sense of physical and mental well-being. It offers an environment free from false modesty, suggestiveness, prudery and indelicacy. Nudism offers an environment, as nothing else does, which is free from morbid physical curiosity, one in which children can grow and mature with a health attitude toward bodily differences and functions. Nudism offers an opportunity for that organ with the greatest surface area, the skin, to function as it is biologically intended function, to the general well-being and good health of the individual. It offers a wholesome perspective. It offers an opportunity to cultivate a realistic sense of values regarding social status, in as much as status symbols are for the most part absent from the nudist environment." (p 188)

Several statements of nudist respondents explain that they regard their nudist practices as moral behaviour of a type and quality above that found in the community at large. This is interesting from a stand-point that the community at large regards nudism per se, in many instances, as a form of immorality. Nudists report that they have found morality to be above reproach in nudist settings and that this is a way of removing false modesties found in the normal community. They also indicate that there is a new morality that doesn't depend on shame or guilt as its controlling force. (p 189)

"Sunbathing is only a very small part of what being a nudist means to me. I have worked with nudes all my life. The human body is a thing of beauty to me. In nudism I enjoy most the interpersonal relationships; I get an aesthetic joy at seeing people as a whole. I feel it is human values that count most." (p 193)

"My satisfaction has come from finding nature, people, and myself. Now I appreciate the dampness of the grass, the penetrating heat of the sun, and the flow of air into my lungs. I lived with nature before I ever noticed it. I've found that when people remove their clothing they reveal their personality. (p 193)

A girl aged fifteen says it's a "clean feeling. Also, that the people don't think dirty, especially the boys." (p 194)

Nudist Society - 1970