Organized nudity

Wait, this is just too weird. You say that people who like to run around with nothing on belong to organizations, just like Republicans?

Well, yes, but they're a little different.

But most organizations stand for something. What the heck do naked people believe in?

OK, since you asked, here's a philosophical statement from the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR), one of the two main nudist organizations in the US:

Social nudists find many reasons to enjoy and appreciate the lifestyle. Some seek a healthy body through sports and fitness programs in the nude while others search for relief from mental strain and stress caused by today's harsh business environment. Regardless of individual motivation for joining our organization there are common ideas and beliefs that we call the nudist philosophy.

We respect each other's individuality and our own self-esteem is enhanced by our ability to accept ourselves as we really are. One begins to realize that the "self" which is being shared and appreciated by friends is that of an integrated, whole person, and not the "image" conveyed by clothing. We find our friendships are enhanced and relaxation is easily achieved in this environment. A certain equalization comes from the disappearance of social class distinctions which might be stated by clothing. With confidence in oneself, it is easy to accept others regardless of physical size, shape or body condition. Consequently, the tendency to see others as "sex objects" is eliminated. Nudists distinguish between nudity and sex and keep the two in their proper perspective. Nudism expresses the joy of living and experiencing nature the most natural way possible.

Children grow in an environment that enhances the development of their self-image. Their curiosity about male and female differences is satisfied. They view their adult role models as real and caring human beings.

Nudism is a form of self-expression. It is a statement that this is "me" and I feel so good about it that I am willing to offer my friendship to others. The freedom to remove our clothing becomes a symbolic act. It helps us live in harmony with nature, and helps us feel good about ourselves and our own place in the natural environment.

For more information, visit the American Association for Nude Recreation Home Page.

You said there were two main organizations in the US...

The other is called The Naturist Society (TNS).

So what's the difference?

Mostly historical, like Republicans and Democrats. At one time or another, the two may have slightly different platforms, appeal to different sorts of people, and/or champion slightly different special interests. But as far as most folks can see from the ouside, it's pretty hard to tell much difference. People who like to be naked might just as well belong to TNS or AANR, or both. Or, much more probable in fact, neither.

One might say, however, that TNS tends to be preferred by naked people who like to enjoy public (if necessarily, often, somewhat remote or inaccessible) areas like beaches, waterways, or forests) while the AANR appeals to people who prefer private campgrounds, clubs, or resorts.

Best just go have a look at The Naturist Society Home Page to try to figure out the differences for yourself. Good luck.

Questions, questions...

Such as?

Why do some people who don't wear clothes call themselves "nudists" and others "naturists"? Isn't it all just a bunch of people overly interested in sex anyway? And is it really legal to go naked in public in the first place?

OK, it sounds like you just need to read the some of the FAQs. Here they are:

Rec.nude FAQs and Site Reports
Rec.nude is the newsgroup that serves people who like to be naked. It has an extensive FAQ list, covering general questions, clubs and publication, and electronic access. There are also site reports that have been posted over the years about places all over the world where one can be naked. The list includes North America, Europe, and Australasia, with special sections for California, Hawaii, and the Caribbean.

So what else is there?

Quite a bit. Here are some more Web sites that deal with nudism and naturism - i. e. the organized practice of living, relaxing, or whatever without wearing clothes.

Naturist Reference Pages
Richard Gerber has undertaken (with a little sponsorship) to create his own very complete guide to good places to get naked. The material is organized geographically. Within each area, there are listings for spas, public beaches, hot springs, clubs, and resorts. Other information like related Web pages, contact addresses, and even the local weather is included.
David Rossow has created a very extensive site with a different focus - on cultural and sociological aspects of being naked. It presents some of the standard philosophy of organized nudism/naturism, a mall where one can shop for nudist goods and services, information and links for other nudist/naturist resources, advice on what to do or not do while naked, and even news, comic strips, poetry, and quotations related to nudity.
San Francisco Bay Guardian Nude Beach Guide
Every year in June the San Francisco Bay Guardian (an "alternative" newspaper) prints a very comprehensive guide to places in the Bay area, mostly publicly accessible beaches, where one can be nude. There are roughly 80 such sites - probably the largest concentration of opportunities for being naked anywhere in North America. Even if you don't live in this area, the guide may be interesting as an indication of what is possible.
YouMagazine "Being Nude"
YouMagazine is one of many "ezines" springing up on the Web. This article appeared in their very first issue. It consists of only 5 Web pages, and each of these is basically an image with some very carefully chosen text. But in these few images and words it conveys a very good "executive summary" of what being nude is all about.

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Last updated: September 2, 2004