Whenever possible, if Ted Thompson doesn't have to wear clothes, then he doesn't wear clothes.

He's been a naturist for as long as he can remember.

He describes naturist (also known as nudist) gatherings this way: "It's a sense of freedom, lack of badges of your status in society, and everybody is the same. You can't tell right off the bat whether somebody is a lawyer, a member of parliament, or a teacher or a plumber or whatever."

Thompson is the president of the group Ottawa Naturists. Members hold family-friendly events and meetings in private spaces like camps.

While the gatherings are meant to be fun for like-minded people, Thompson says there are some stereotypes they regularly have to confront.

'Being a naturist isn't about sex or exhibitionism'

"People immediately, when you say naturist, they go into the nudge-nudge, wink-wink mode, and silly grins," he said, asserting that being a naturist "isn't about sex or exhibitionism."

If anything, he believes naturism helps promote body positivity.

"[New naturists] say 'I used to be terribly shy about my body. I never liked it. But now I'm happy. I've accepted myself for what I am.'"

Thompson will discuss being a naturist at this year's CBC Ottawa Human Library on Feb. 27 at Ottawa Public Library branches across the city.