Sharing Your Naturism

Recognizing the difficulty in sharing the nudist experience with non-nudists, AANR and TNS (The Naturist Society) have assembled a team of human behavior experts who pooled their knowledge into a comprehensive reference on how to successfully share nudist experiences with others entitled "Sharing Your Naturism."

The resulting articles appear in the print versions of AANR's The Bulletin and TNS' N Magazine and will be published below each month.

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How Long Should You Wait To Tell The World You're A Nudist? (Part 5)

Fifth in a Series

Part IV explained how to tell people who are likely to respond positively to the information about your being a nudist. Part V offers some strategies for situations that may be more difficult.

More complex situations

A greater challenge exists when you tell a family member, relative or close friend who may have some initial doubts but who you expect will ultimately be OK with your choice.

If you have a close family relationship and expect their acceptance of your way of living, consider telling them first, especially if you plan to tell mutual friends who might reveal it to them. Family members might feel hurt if they learn from others you were withholding information out of distrust. If your family has strong cultural or religious beliefs against nudity, consider holding off telling them until you have confidently shared with others who do not know them and are unlikely to reveal the information.

"Steer the conversation so that your disclosure seems a natural part of the conversation."

Arrange some quality time where you can spend a few hours by yourselves without being interrupted, such as during a meal, a long drive, golf twosome, fishing in a boat or just relaxing in a quiet place.  Allow time to talk about other things before and after you tell them, and avoid any possible implication that you are meeting just to talk about your nudism. Steer the conversation so that your disclosure seems a natural part of the conversation.

Dropping some hints before the actual conversation can also be helpful. You can allude to your nudism by sharing something from your personal experience, for example: "My friend and I had a great vacation in Florida.  We went to a beach where we could go skinny-dipping and my friend found an incredible piece of sea glass that she will use for jewelry.  Are you familiar with sea glass?"  Here you can hint you are a nudist, but don’t really say it.

Giving little clues over a period of weeks or months should cause the person to begin to wonder, "Could 'Tom' or 'Stacey' actually be a nudist?” This technique is effective in many situations, particularly with someone who tends to react quickly without taking time to thoughtfully analyze unfamiliar information.

Difficult Situations

Difficult situations exist when you need to tell someone who is likely to disagree with your choice and whom you may not be able to convince that your activities are OK (that is, morally, legally, religiously or socially acceptable). Your goal is having them agree to disagree and continue to respect you as the same person and friend they knew previously.

Telling people who may disagree with you requires preparation and planning and possibly some role-playing with a friend. Re-read and practice the assertiveness and inoculation sections in Part II until you are comfortable using both.  If those you are telling tend to be opinionated or to react spontaneously without taking time to process new information, consider dropping hints over time about your interest in social nudity, naturism or skinny dipping. Since they may never have thought about nudism in positive terms, providing hints gives them time to reflect on it.  Then, as described for complex situations, arrange to meet and plan your conversation so it appears only as a casual chat.  Talk about what led up to your present activities and involve your listener in the discussion as much as possible. Read the section on cognitive dissonance and social norming in Part VI for additional useful techniques to support your position.

A particular challenge is telling authority figures who feel they have control over you or the obligation to correct you if they think you are making a poor decision that you may later regret. Here, it may be useful to enlist the help of someone whose judgment they respect and who can convey the information in your absence or be there with you as a support during your disclosure. In the case of a parent who is unlikely to be receptive, consider telling the more accepting parent and asking advice from him or her. The supportive parent may want to be the one to share the information, to decide on the appropriate time to do so or to be present during your conversation.

Part VI will address telling your employer and additional strategies to promote acceptance.

Editor’s Note: This article and other articles in this series are based on the work of the Joint AANR/TNS Ad Hoc Committee on Sharing your Naturism.