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naturism history


Naturism History – Where it all began.

“Anything from complete nakedness to casual body covering was a lifestyle component from prehistoric times through the Greco-Roman civilizations and into part of the Middle Ages.”1) Goodson Aileen, Therapy, Nudity & Joy: The Therapeutic Use of Nudity Through the Ages from Ancient Ritual to Modern Psychology, ch 6 pg 155

Pre history – The early beginnings.

Human nudity began when humans began. The earliest men and women were naked  they had no concept of clothes, no concept of nudity or shame.The first humans originated in Africa2)Recent African Origins of modern humans where the temperature didn’t require any clothing. Science has shown that the earliest humanoids lived in Africa3)Wikipedia, a warm place where protection from the elements wasn’t needed. 4)National Geographic

Humanity spread out and found that certain places on earth required body covering to stay warm. That covering was functional.

Nudism and nakedness through the ages.

Over the centuries nudity came and went. Despite many movements opposing the view of the naked human body, nudism has never disappeared.5)Nudism History Yaia.com In fact in throughout history, many cultures in geographic locations, all over the world gymnosophy in some form was and is a normal part of everyday life.6)what if nudity was the norm. So called “primitive” tribes like the Yanomamis of Brazil continue to live in society without much need for clothes. They decorate their body without any textile finery. Unfortunately modern civilization is encroaching on their environment and as in previous instances forcing compliance with western dress codes.

Wall painting from El-Amarna
Two daughters of Amenophis IV; Nofernoferuaton and Nofernoferure

Ancient Egypt

The first documented example of what is described as social nudism today was found in Ancient Egypt under Pharaoh Akhen-Aton (1385 – 1353 B.C.). Akhen-Aton and his queen Nefertiti, introduced sun worship to Egyptian society. They considered the sun, Aton, to be the source of life which justified the practice of nudism for both spiritual and physical advancement.7) Goodson Aileen, Therapy, Nudity & Joy: The Therapeutic Use of Nudity Through the Ages from Ancient Ritual to Modern Psychology, ch 6 pg 155

Ancient Greece

Gymnosophy: A philosophy and lifestyle based around the idea that nudity is a natural condition and should be widely acceptable in society, formed the basis for what is now called naturism or nudism. 8)Wiktionary Gymnosophy was originally the doctrine of a sect of philosophers who practiced nudity, asceticism and meditation. Alexander the Great learned of the practice during his conquest of India where he saw Sadhus religious figures who practiced their faith and philosophy of religion “sky clad”. Alexander describes them as naked philosophers gymnophists and brought the practice back to Europe.

Ancient Greeks inspired by their encounters with the India sages they called gymnophists brought the practice of social and spiritual nudity back to Greek society.9) Goodson Aileen, Therapy, Nudity & Joy: The Therapeutic Use of Nudity Through the Ages from Ancient Ritual to Modern Psychology, ch 6 pg 155 In ancient Greece, the Olympian participants wore no clothes. There was no shame about that, as the Olympic Games were a tribute to the human body as well as a celebration to Zeus, their main God. In ancient Greece the Olympian athletes participated in the nude as a tribute to the human body. 10)Olympia Greece

Europe in the Middle Ages

Through the Dark or Middle Ages, the very poor wouldn’t wear any clothes simply because they had none. They weren’t frowned upon for being naked. Also people would get together and be naked for communal bathing11)Myths about the middle ages, the very same way the ancient Romans did. Sleeping naked was also very common then.


Max Koch (1854-1925), ”Freilicht”, 1897. {{PD-Old}} Category:Male nude in photography Category:Max Koch de:Max Kochr

Naturism (Gymnosophy): A philosophy and lifestyle based around the idea that nudity is a natural condition and should be widely acceptable in society. Wiktionary

Gymnosophy was originally the doctrine of a sect of philosophers who practiced nudity, asceticism and meditation. In the early 20th century, the term was appropriated by several groups to denote a broad philosophy that included as a central thought that the nude human body is a natural condition and should be accepted widely for the betterment of society. Definitions.net

In the early 20th century, the term was appropriated by several groups to denote a broad philosophy that included as a central thought that the nude human body is a natural condition and should be accepted widely for the betterment of society. 12)Definitions.net The philosophy and practice of clothes free living. Modern naturism (gymnosophy) is  described as an opportunity for humankind to reconnect with nature and fellow human beings. 13)Parmalee, Maurice Nudism in Modern Life  According to Parmalee, modern gymnosophy is both philosophy and practice.

…the direct and personal enjoyment of nature can be attained to the highest possible degree only when unclothed, because then there is nothing artificial between man and nature… 14)Parmalee, Maurice Nudism in Modern Life 

Modern nudism and clothes-free living started in the 19th century in Germany when the “Frei Körper Kultur” (Free Body Culture) movement emerged.15)Wikipedia’s FKK page Organized naturism at this time was called Freikorperkultur (Free Body Culture) in Germany. German sociologist Heinrich Pudor, sometimes referred to as the “father of nudism”, wrote “The Cult of the Nude” promoting naturism.16)The History of Nudism Clothes Free International The FKK movement was based on an attitude towards life where the naked body is not a source of shame.

At the end of the 19th century, Pudor published a book that became a milestone in the history of human nakedness – Naked People and the Future of Mankind. Pudor views nudity not only as an expression of freedom, but also as something that has a lot to do with hygiene and modesty. He prescribes an austere lifestyle, giving up on everything that is not necessary – including clothes. This is similar to the practice of the naked Sadhus of India.

The first recorded nude club was open in Hamburg in 1903 and it immediately received positive attention from many Germans. People were interested in and fascinated by the new, free and independent way of thinking and its application in praxis. The number of the adherents kept on rising until the 1920’s when Adolf Hitler became an important political figure. With his meager body no wonder he was not particularly fond of clothesless life.

In addition to Germany France, Great Britain, the United States and Canada also developed naturist movements.

In 1951, the naturist-federation/'>International Naturist Federation was founded. This global association  connects naturists from 32 countries. 17)Nudism now and then

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