LOST IN TRANSLATION:
EXPOSING THE BASIC NUDIST VOCABULARY
We have heard from many first-timers at our monthly Meetups that they are confused by the correct usage of some of the colloquial terminology used at nudist venues and events. Nudists’ vocabulary, like the language in all areas of culture, morphs over time, and clubs in different regions of the country or members of specific clubs use some terms of these differently than members of other groups. However, the terms below should shed a little light on general definitions and help you navigate your way around the lawn during your first visit to a naturist event:
- While this may seem pretty selfexplanatory, clothing optional resorts often require visitors who wish to use the swimming pool, Jacuzzi, or sauna to do so naked. People who remain dressed during their entire visit to a clothing-optional facility may be viewed as a voyeur and, appropriately, asked to leave. Check the club’s policies before assuming that the choice is yours throughout the place.
- Most nudists practice
dressing for comfort— putting on or taking off clothing according to weather conditions, for example. However, clothing-free resorts, cruises, etc. expect members and visitors to remain nude as much as possible.
- Naturist vs. Nudist
- Although many use these terms interchangeably, especially in the United States,
naturistis the preferred term in Europe. Naturist also implies a person with a greater appreciation for nature in general. Many naturist sites are campgrounds and beaches, focused less on the high-end amenities than other nudist resorts. Naturists are more active physically (volleyball, hiking, etc.) and practice healthy eating and a minimal impact on the environment. Many (but not all) also are non-smokers and drink very little (or no) alcohol.
- Nude vs. Naked
- Art historians have been debating the differences between the words
nakedfor centuries. Traditionally,
nudeis a term used to describe an unclothed person who has a degree of body acceptance and who is comfortable in his/her surroundings. Uninformed people like to use
nude, which is not the same. We define
She was buck naked on the beachimplies some jeopardy.
She was nude on the beachdoes not.
- A term invented by AANR (the American Association for Nude Recreation) a few years ago as a play on the over-used term
stay-cation(staying at home during one’s vacation). On a
Nakationthe participants are partially or totally nude during all or part of it, usually at some nudist resort or on a cruise with other nudists.
- Nude swimming
- Topless vs. Top-Free
Toplessbrings images of dancers on poles with dollar bills in their G-strings. The term preferred among nudists is
- This term refers to clubs or organizations that do not own property on which they gather. Members of non-landed (otherwise known as
travel) clubs often meet for special events, such as a camping trip, volleyball tournament, or beach outing, or may gather at members’ homes to enjoy each other’s company. SCNA is a
- A club or destination resort which owns land on which they may or may not have club houses, swimming pools, or other amenities which members and guests enjoy without clothes. An outdated term from the 1940’s to describe landed clubs was
nudist colony.These terms are no longer used and the preferred term is
- This word is often a
swinger clubsin which sexual behavior in front of others is condoned. While people often refer to a nudist’s
lifestylewhen discussing the general attitude of naturists or nudists, talking about a
lifestyle resorttypically refers to one patronized by swingers. Many nudists use the phrase
chosen way of lifeinstead.
- Those who wear bathing suits and otherwise do not participate in the nudism. This may be because of a lack of initiation or understanding. It may be due to willful rejection. Nudists may use this term a a perjorative to describe a non-nudist who believes on faith, without ever having been to a nudist place, that nudity equates to sex.
- A fun commentary on a newbie”s tan lines as opposed to the veteran nudist who has none. It is not meant to be insulting but be careful who you say it to!
- A person who shaves much of his/her body hair off. Hairless genitals has become a popular form of self-expression during the past decade, as is body jewelry (placed in various places besides ear lobes) and tattoos. Remember, it’s not polite to stare (or to make a comment).