Clothing optional living has become more prevalent thanks to the pandemic, but at home. Naturism or nudism as a lifestyle is also gaining traction in South Africa as more people are dropping their clobber to frolic amongst nature. It’s nothing sexual, but rather a choice to be closer to nature and perhaps, get an all over tan.
Nudism has come a long way, from the controversy that surrounded outspoken Beau Valley nudist resort owner Beau Brummel in the 1980s.
Nudism is said to have its origins in Germany during the early 20th century and since then it has spread worldwide. Proponents of the lifestyle say that anything can be more fun when you do it naked. In Germany, there are even non-segregated locker rooms in some gyms with shared showers, pools and saunas and other coed facilities.
In South Africa several restaurants and conferencing venues have tested the waters with unisex restrooms, but we are far from getting publicly naked outside of nudist resorts and skinny-dipping beaches and venues.
South Africa ranks seventh in the world for quality skinny dipping spots and there are about six mainstream nudist resorts scattered across Gauteng and North West. There’s Sun Eden, which borders the Dinokeng Game Reserve, Birds of Paradise and the curiously named Voelkop, where you can shed your kit amongst others.
There are also other benefits associated with donning your birthday suit than becoming one with nature or getting a tan. Body acceptance is a big one for many people who, until getting naked, have covered up their insecurities with fashion.
Being naked in a nonsexual way is another, and of course, clothing adds to the metaphorical masks we wear. Shed it, and you expose a little more of yourself while dropping your defences. Fun in the sun also benefits your skin with full vitamin D exposure.
But, says dermatologist Dr Lushen Pillay, exposure to the sun should be in responsible measures and not for too long.
“The advantage of being nude is that you don’t have to spend a long time in the sun to get the vitamin D that your body needs. We know it is so important to your immune system, especially during the Covid-era. We’ve seen people who have low vitamin D levels are more prone to the complications of Covid. So being naked, getting more of the body involved, does help.”
“Nudism is actually very good for your skin and general well-being,” adds Dr. Pillay.
“For instance, they’ve shown that the production of semen is much better in slightly colder environments as well.” Temperatures in your groin area rise when encumbered with clothing. “So, when people with tight clothing increases the temperature of a man’s logistical area, and that decreases the production of sperm.”
Dr Pillay also says that nudity and its wellness benefits include mood improvement, fewer states of depression in some patients and reduced anxiety. “Nudity is a natural thing which humans have been doing all their lives, just don’t shed your kit in public as the law may not appreciate it,” he smiles.