This is a pinned blog post about my OTHER blog…
You never know who’s reading your blog. Could be a seasoned naturist. Could be the clothing-optional curious. Could be a worried or confused spouse who’s trying to figure out why her husband refuses to get dressed on Sundays… or pretty much, ever.
Regardless, let’s say that a human goes to the computer and types the word “nudist” in the Google search bar. God help them if they click through to the associated image page which would make even the most open-minded people wince at what they will find there. Seems any terminology related to nudism/naturism/clothing-optional recreation has been co-opted by the sex for sale establishment. We live in America, the land of the free, and with that comes the freedom of expression, but that’s a good bit less than helpful when it comes to finding substantive information about social nudity.
There are certainly more resources out there than there used to be, but to say it’s hit and miss when searching for meaningful and thoughtful information about naturism would be a vast understatement. Nick and Lins’ ever-expanding blog, NAKED WANDERINGS, is an incredible resource with a vast collection of trip reports and extensive guides for newbie and veteran naturists alike. Always a good first stop.
And one can still find the remnants of a blog by Felicity Jones, previously a thought-leader for many years as the founder of YNA (Young Naturists of America). She has since given up that crusade, but her blog posts were numerous and compelling, and many of them can still be found on Felicity’s Blog.
For quite a long while, Clothesfree.com was my go-to source for up-to-the-minute information on naturist destinations with a vibrant forum that held a wealth of information. After falling back for some years, they are in the midst of reinventing themselves with a new website set to launch any day now. And most every confirmed naturist knows the good people at Clothes Free Life, where apparently the mission is to grab every news story they can find that has any association whatsoever with nudity. I have yet to conquer the navigation of their vast website, but their daily email blasts provide a perpetual update for anything you could possibly want to know about getting naked.
But here’s the rub. How much stuff will the average person be willing to wade through before simply deciding that the clothing-optional thing is just as weird as they feared? Or worse yet, will they dismiss the idea altogether since the writing is poor, loaded with clichés, with the typical default to goofy nudist puns and sophomoric double entendre?
It was for that reason that I decided to begin a second blog, THE DISCERNING NUDIST, with the intention of seeking out the best of the best when it came to writing about social nudity, or in many cases, simply matters of body acceptance, including current perceptions of being naked around your children at home.
In launching the new blog, I set a few criteria for inclusion.
ONE: The piece must be long enough to actually make a compelling argument about whatever the author is trying to convey, with a soft target of 1000 words or more. As a blogger myself, I find it difficult to drive any point home in less than 1000 words, realizing that when it gets to be much more than that, you start losing your readers.
TWO: If I can find an article that speaks thoughtfully about nudity in a mainstream publication, even if that’s only an online magazine with a significant following, I value that work over that published in naturist publications, by naturists, for naturists. We have plenty of resources out there that seek to convert the converted. But it occurs to me that you’re much more likely to win over the unsuspecting when they happen across the article by accident in a publication they trust and enjoy for other purposes. (Which is why the self-deprecating punny stories in major newspapers can be so damaging, simply reinforcing what people think they already know – nudists are nuts!) Exactly which mainstream media to cite is critical as well, as I’m not sure an article about “how to avoid getting a stiffy at a nude beach” in an edgy mens’ magazine is of much help to the greater cause either.
Another hurdle is that some of the best articles live behind paywalls where you need to subscribe in order to gain full access. (The New York Times and The Local – an excellent journal from France for English speaking expats – are two that I believe warrant the nominal subscription for the quality of the pieces that reside there.)
THREE: I have found a few excellent blogs in recent years that feature pieces worthy of reblogging. I’m particularly fond of Nude and Happy (Nu et heureux), The Free Range Naturist, Naturist Philosopher, A Canadian Naturist, and more recently, Naked Kate. As it turns out, blogging requires a significant investment of time, and many bloggers begin with great fervor, but drift off into cyber-space after a handful of posts. It’s particularly impressive to find a site that has continued to evolve over a number of years with a continuity of fresh thoughts and expanding resources. Of course, many of these bloggers have significant followings of their own, but it has taken this blog over five years to reach the current status of averaging over 4000 hits a day. (Impressive, but still a good bit short of being considered an “influencer” in the blogosphere, I think.) That said, I’m hoping the cross pollination between The Meandering Naturist and The Discerning Nudist will help some of the lesser known bloggers get their voices out there, particularly those featuring insights from women who have come to embrace naturism and body acceptance. In that regard, we are all one community lobbying amidst a collective web presence, but again, the common denominator must consist of prose in a thoughtful and intelligent voice.
FOUR: In the self-promotion department, I will also occasionally reblog a post from this, my own blog into the mix on THE DISCERNING NUDIST, choosing those that have been particularly successful in spurring dialogue and responses when they have appeared on other social media platforms such as Twitter and Reddit. I try to do that sparingly, but again, I’d like to think readers will move from post to post as they are creating a narrative of their own, all of which is intended to say “People who prefer to live without clothing are actually pretty normal, and in many cases, really interesting and grounded human beings.”
So, that’s why I started THE DISCERNING NUDIST. To date, it has only a fraction of the followers of my (this) original blog, due in part to my inability to keep it up to date. And of course, when your blog links to other sources, you never know when the original source is going to disappear without a trace, which is why I’ve recently begun a new practice of archiving the original article text, should that be useful to a reader sometime in the future. I guess that’s something akin to being a curator with one eye forward, as we know the internet is a transient platform, at best.
And finding a steady supply of material that consistently meets the “thoughtful and intelligent” criteria? That’s a tall order as well, which is why I’ve recently added a form at the bottom of each post (Still working my way back through older posts on that project.) asking readers to help identify broken links, hoping at the same time that might elicit a few suggestions for excellent blogs and articles floating around out there that I have stumbled into myself.
So, there it is. Another blog about Nudism! Having recently cleaned out a series of broken links, I’m hoping to get back to posting there more regularly as I’ve been collecting up source material along the way. Should you, one of my readers, know a source that would be especially interesting to a friend or relative who is social nudity curious, please complete to form below and I’ll give it a look. The more substantive information we can get out there to embolden the unsuspecting naturist, the better the future will look for us all who seek to normalize naturism.
Know a source that I should be following?
Leave me the web address of your favorite reads that I haven’t already referenced, and I’d be happy to check it out.