How many naturists are still using Twitter (now “X”) regularly?
How do I know about his naturist inclinations? It’s mentioned in an October 1989 issue of California magazine. (Which ceased publication in 1991, and the name was later taken by a different organization.)
Of course, the original article isn’t available online. I bought a newsstand copy, because Kip Thorne was featured on the cover. That was quite interesting to me, since I owned a copy of one of the standard textbooks on general relativity that Thorne co-authored with two other distinguished physicists, John Wheeler and Charles Misner.
The article is actually about Thorne’s work in physics, for which he was already well-known, almost 20 years before his Nobel Prize. Although the article is about his role in physics, it begins with anecdotes about his naturist tendencies. There it mentions a photograph of Thorne displayed on a wall at Caltech (where he worked). The photograph shows him along with other physicists – but he “is the only one not wearing clothes”. And he admits “That’s the way I typically did physics.”
Kip Thorne certainly was not the only Nobel Prize winner with a positive attitude towards nudity and naturism. In most cases, the winners’ attitudes regarding nakedness were probably held privately. But another important case is Bertrand Russell, who won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1950 and was hardly silent about the subject. In his 1929 book Marriage and Morals he wrote:
“The taboo against nakedness is an obstacle to a decent attitude on the subject of sex… It is good for children to see each other and their parents naked whenever it so happens naturally. There will be a short period, probably at about three years old, when the child is interested in the differences between his father and his mother, and compares them with the differences between himself and his sister, but this period is soon over, and after this he takes no more interest in nudity than in clothes. So long as parents are unwilling to be seen naked by their children, the children will necessarily have a sense that there is a mystery, and having that sense they will become prurient and indecent. There is only one way to avoid indecency, and that is to avoid mystery.”
“There are also many important grounds of health in favour of nudity in suitable circumstances, such as out-of-doors in sunny weather. Sunshine on the bare skin has an exceedingly health-giving effect. Moreover anyone who has watched children running about in the open-air without their clothes must have been struck by the fact that they hold themselves much better and move more freely and more gracefully than when they are dressed. The same thing is true of grown-up people. The proper place for nudity is out-of-doors in the sunshine and in the water.”
And then there was the 1938 Nobel Laureate in chemistry, Henry Taube. Although the extent of Taube’s participation in organized nudism/naturism isn’t clear, naked use of his backyard swimming pool was the norm. Among Taube’s friends were four other Nobelists: Paul Berg (Chemistry, 1980), Paul Flory (Chemistry, 1974), Burton Richter (Physics, 1976), and Arthur Schawlow (Physics, 1981). All, including Taube, were Stanford professors and (presumably) had no disapproval of swimming au naturel. (Reference: The Naked Nobel Laureates)
Another Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, the New Zealander Alan MacDiarmid, was also a naturist. See: The Nobel-prize winning naturist – Alan MacDiarmid remembered.
Although he never won a Nobel Prize (or even came close), a physicist who’s name is widely known was an avid naturist. That was Charles Richter, who devised the seismological scale named after him.
More than a few well-known authors of fiction were also avid naturists, though not winners of any Nobel prizes (as far as I know). The list includes Robert Heinlein, in many of whose novels, such as Stanger in a Strange Land, nudity was prominently featured. Late in life he had a home in a small California village, Bonny Doon, just a few miles from the popular Bonny Doon nude beach on the coast.
Then there was John Ball, author of popular detective stories featuring the character Virgil Tibbs, such as In the Heat of the Night. Under the pseudonym Donald Johnson, Ball had a leadership role in organized nudism from the 1950s on. That included editing the nudist magazine Sunshine and Health, being president of the Western Sunbathing Association, and authoring the 1959 book The Nudists. He also owned a very large library of nudist publications and was a co-author of the 1970 sociological study, Nudist Society. Perhaps intentionally, Ball’s strong connection to nudism isn’t mentioned in either his Wikipedia article or New York Times obituary.
Strangely, I haven’t learned of any Nobelists in Peace or Physiology/medicine who may have had naturist tendencies. Surely there must be some. If any readers are aware of other naturist Nobelists, please mention them in the comments.
There are no Nobel Prizes in Mathematics. Albert Nobel, a chemist who invented dynamite, was known to have disdain for the subject of mathematics and didn’t consider it a practical science of benefit (like dynamite!) to humanity. Nobel never married but had at least three (female) romantic partners. Rumor has it that part of his attitude towards mathematics was due to one of his partners having an affair with Swedish mathematician Gösta Mittag-Leffler.
However, Bertrand Russell was not only an outstanding philosopher but also a noted mathematician, who made contributions to mathematical logic and co-authored Principia Mathematica with Alfred North Whitehead.
There were undoubtedly quite a few other outstanding mathematicians who were naturists. Many of the world’s best mathematicians lived in Germany before WW2. Given the popularity of Freikörperkultur (FKK, Free Body Culture) in that period, it’s very likely that quite a few of the best mathematicians were active participants.
Of the places listed in this article, only one is fully clothing-optional and welcomes all naturists: Valley View Hot Springs, which is owned and operated by the Orient Land Trust. However, because of its deserved popularity with naturists and limited facilities, reservations are required for a visit. There’s more information here.
Three other places welcome all naturists, but clothing-optional use is disallowed in some pools or during certain times or days. (As a concession to non-naturists, especially those with children.) Those places are Orvis Hot Springs (more here), Strawberry Park Hot Springs (more here), and Dakota Hot Springs (more here). Note that rules are subject to change.
Two other places may be problematic for naturists. Indian Hot Springs requires suits in its main indoor pool. Other pools are either hourly rentals or inside caves and separate for men and women. Naturists may want to avoid one other place, Desert Reef Hot Springs, because of its numerous finicky policies for clothing-optional use, where non-member single, unaccompanied males are disallowed.
One other place listed is a full-fledged naturist resort, Mountain Air Ranch, which is the state’s only actual naturist resort. It was established in 1935, making it one of the oldest naturist parks in the country that’s still in operation. But it doesn’t have any natural hot springs. Here’s another article about it: Mountain Air Ranch Lays Bare the Benefits, Challenges of a Nudism Club.
Hot springs that may be clothing-optional, in order of accessibility
Hot springs probably not clothing-optional, in order of accessibility
Mountain Air Ranch, which was mentioned above, is the only naturist resort in Colorado, but it’s a very good one, having been in operation since 1935. About it this article says: “the clubhouse and pool are where most of the recreational activities take place, but there’s also an exercise room, miles of trails, an ice cream parlor, as well as the Bikini Bar and Grill.”
The only problem with it, perhaps, is that it’s located on the southern outskirts of Denver. However, most of the developed and primitive hot springs discussed above are in the western part of the state, so a trek over the mountains will be required to visit them. The most accessible developed springs is Dakota Hot Springs in Penrose, “only” 100 miles south, but on mostly good roads on the east side of the mountains.
Steves describes his spa experience in some detail. It includes an initial “industrial-strength” shower, a very hot sauna. a very vigorous massage, a series of mixed-gender soaking pools, and concludes in a “quiet room” for deep relaxation. All while entirely naked. Even up-tight Americans present can realize that any kind of bathing attire would be entirely superfluous. After all, everyone is preoccupied with their own sensations rather than anyone else’s naked body. Wearing anything when bathing alone would make no sense. And that’s just the same in this context, despite the presence of others.
Anyone who hasn’t tried naturism, but isn’t “offended” by others’ nudity – such as at clothing-optional beaches – should consider visiting an actual naturist resort that welcomes RVs. That’s a great way to learn about naturism in a very safe environment. If you’re already a naturist, invite other RVers you know to go with you to a naturist RV resort. They might discover being pleasantly surprised to enjoy “the opportunity to exit [their] RV without any clothes on.” And why not? After all, people there usually aren’t wearing anything.
Most clothing-optional RV resorts aren’t strictly for RVers. Instead, they also welcome anyone who enjoys nonsexual social nudity – day visitors, tent campers, van campers, or vacationers staying at indoor accommodations. Many consider themselves naturists or nudists. But some just like being naked, and that’s fine, as long as traditional naturist norms are respected (i.e. no open sexuality).
The article here gives many more details about what naturist RV resorts are like, although there’s plenty of diversity. But if you’ve visited some or many RV resorts, the only thing different about the naturist ones is that you don’t need to wear anything unless you want to. A naturist couple now living at Laguna del Sol, near Sacramento, California, describes their own personal experiences with it. From my own experience, it’s a great place.
Note that many places that do own land don’t necessarily have facilities for RVs. They may lack hook-ups or parking spaces for large RVs. If you do need such facilities, the list here is useful. But you can check out places that may be closer to you in the AANR directory to determine whether they’d be suitable for your needs.
Strangely, most places listed in the article are in the western half of the country (including Texas). Not surprisingly, Florida has a large number of nudist/naturist resorts, though only 3 are listed here. But there are also many places in the mid-Atlantic states, from North Carolina up to Pennsylvania. If you happen to be relatively new to naturism, you should be aware that some places have special requirements for first-time visitors. Before visiting any place for the first time, calling in advance is a very good idea. Even if they welcome first-timers, they may have special events or few unreserved spots for large RVs, so making a reservation is also a good idea.
Sian, one of the 2000, says “there is a uniquely liberating high in group nudity”. Why would anybody who’s not stoned on some illegal substance do such a thing? She later explains “we’re free and doing something silly in the name of art and something primal none of us could name.” Naturists actually understand pretty well from personal experience. Most, however, would prefer having the experience under more temperate conditions.
People use various faulty excuses for balking at being fully naked unless they must be. One very common concern is the appearance of their naked body. Cultural “beauty” standards are at the root of this. Is one’s body too fat or too thin? Are some parts out of the “right” proportion with other parts? Are there too many wrinkles, scars, stretch marks, or other imperfections? Does one’s body simply not look as “good” as it seemed at an earlier age? These issues affect how people feel about their own bodies and how they think others will judge them.
The article here suggests how to alleviate such concerns by taking four specific steps.
However, at least a decade later, her boyfriend was talking about how he modeled naked for a college newspaper article. He and other friends had also bragged about adventures like skiing and mountain biking naked, and the writer admired them for being “less inhibited, so comfortable in their own skin.” So allowing irrational fears of nudity to be in control seemed wrong, and she resolved to become “one of those naked people”.
It needn’t happen overnight. For most people, becoming comfortable going naked openly may best be done gradually. “A lifetime of prudishness would not be undone overnight.” So, with her boyfriend, it was agreed that “I should design a training plan of sorts, progressing from a beginner-level warm-up (bathe in a nude hot spring?) to some intermediate challenge (wander around unclad at a clothing-optional resort?) and eventually to a graduation exercise (a naked ski or bike ride?). I would become one of those people I had always admired. I would become someone who does naked stuff outside.”
Bonus from earlier:
How To Feel Comfortable Naked Every Day (6/26/16)
A couple of the articles above address getting used to allowing other people, who may be complete strangers, to see you naked. There are many ways to enjoy naturism – camping, hiking, exploring hot springs, visiting naturist resorts, or simply being naked at home. But you won’t be able to enjoy any of that unless you overcome fears of being seen with nothing on.
If you’re naked around friends or relatives there’s not much to be concerned about – provided they’re willing to accept your nudity. Getting used to you wearing nothing may take time, but they’ll come around soon enough if they respect you and you explain your reasons for being naked. Being naked around strangers needn’t be any different, assuming they expect to see nudity, such as in an art class with nude model(s), in a naked yoga class, or at a nude beach. (Obviously, going naked is risky anywhere nudity isn’t expected, although nudity may be legal and possibly OK in little-used hiking and camping places.)
[Tip 1: If someone you know is uncomfortable with your nudity, try wearing just the minimum they can accept. Before long they may relent and decide you needn’t bother wearing anything.]
[Tip 2: Invite the uncomfortable person to accompany you somewhere nudity is acceptable, such as an art class or nude beach. If your nudity’s OK there, why not somewhere more private?]
Two points from this article are worth noting if you’re the one who wants to be comfortable naked. First, you should fully accept your body just as it is. While “improving” it sometimes is possible, or even worthwhile for health reasons, that’s usually difficult and takes time. But if you want to enjoy nudity, don’t put off accepting your body as it is right now.
Second, the best way to do that is to be naked as much of the time as is physically comfortable while you’re alone or with people who won’t mind. Be naked for an hour or more every day that’s possible. And don’t be afraid to look at your naked body in a mirror. Once you’ve been naked for an hour a few times, why stop without a good reason? As the article says, “You may feel uncomfortable at first (or you may love it!), either way step outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself to bare your body to the world.”
[If you’re already comfortable being naked, offer the advice above to others you know who might be interested. The world desperately needs more naked people.]
Arizona, of course, is a large state with many wide-open spaces and much natural beauty. (It also has a reputation for valuing individual freedom.) The Grand Canyon is certainly its best-known natural attraction. Price has “done 11 trips in the Grand Canyon – with as many as 35 other nudists each trip – since 1999.” The trips include rafting and camping at suitable beaches along the river – fully nude. Non-naturists who choose to camp close to a naturist group are “pragmatic” and Price’s policy is “I don’t ask them to take their clothes off if they don’t require that I put mine on.”
This sort of free-range naturism can also include “free hiking” on any of the numerous trails in the state, skinny-dipping in creeks and streams, or houseboating on Lake Powell. Price considers such possibilities to be impromptu nude “beaches”. Currently recognized actual nude beaches have begun when nude use becomes common enough. Unless there are specific local regulations, nudity is usually legal in most U.S. National Forests and Bureau of Land Management areas – such as the Magic Circle (also in Arizona). If you don’t live in Arizona, check out your closest National Forest to find a place for your own personal “nude beach”. (First read about naked car camping.)
If you’ve already enjoyed naked car camping, you might sometimes want to enjoy the outdoors nakedly, but not “roughing it” without homelike amenities (comfortable beds, electricity, wi-fi, etc). You may therefore be considering purchasing or renting an RV or trailer. If so this article will help you know what to expect.
An RV/trailer owner having little or no experience with naturist camps and resorts may want to know what they’re really like, both in terms of facilities and general ambiance. This article provides a better idea about such places, especially the more upscale ones. Some are probably even more luxurious than non-naturist places, with things like swimming pools, spas, tennis courts, gyms, and even decent restaurants.
There’s yet another possibility, variously known as “boondocking” or “dispersed camping”. This is where you park your RV or trailer in a location remote or secluded enough to allow for nudity. There are even online directories like Boondocking.org that provide advice on known sites. In this case, there are no amenities, so you have to rely on just what’s in your rig. A slight variation on that is private properties – especially farms – that allow parking for a modest fee. They may or may not have hookups for water or electricity. And, of course, you’d have to confirm that nudity is OK with the owner. The next article offers one example.
Here’s an excellent example of a naturist campground on a private farm. Such things may be more common in the UK and some other European countries than in the U.S. They tend to be fairly simple and unpretentious, since they’re usually run by people who own a relatively small farm and have typically been naturists for years. There will be, at least, places to park an RV or trailer. There may also be hookups for water and electricity, and possibly showers and toilets too. Of course, the more amenities the higher the price. But that’s going to be considerably less than at a more developed campground. Since the hosts are usually naturists, they and their families may welcome socializing with visitors. Many or most family members may be naturists too.
The Wood family – Colin, Carol, and their daughter Angie – have been naturists for over 40 years. When Angie was only two the family visited a nude beach for the first time. They found the naturists there quite welcoming and friendly. They checked out various naturist groups around the country and found the people equally amiable. So why not go all in, and start their own naturist camp? That dream was fulfilled in 2000 when they established Candy Farm Campsite at their farm near Blaxton in the UK. The camp was a quick success because of all the naturist friends they’d made over the years. It remains popular, and a number of special naturist gatherings and festivals have been held at Candy Farm.
The bit about “daft things people say” simply refers to the misunderstandings and misconceptions most people who’ve never tried naturism have about it.
Owners of small farms who may be naturists themselves are happy for a source of additional income and the opportunity (if they’re naturists) to meet others who enjoy social nudity. The main problem is just finding one, since they’re generally not affiliated with a naturist organization or listed in a typical directory. Perhaps the best way to find such a place is to ask around at traditional naturist clubs and resorts. Another way is through websites such as Sekr that list a plethora of potential choices. But determining which of those welcome naturists may require a phone call.
Amanda, the writer of this article, was invited by a female friend to accompany her on a visit to a nude farm in Wisconsin the friend frequented. Although Amanda expected that being naked among strangers usually meant sex, her friend assured her that the Toadally Natural Garden was absolutely not such a place. In fact, the owners performed background checks as do most naturist places on new visitors. And the owners themselves that afternoon wore only T-shirts, while most other visitors wore less. So with respect to attire, this could have been any typical naturist place. Summarizing her experience, Amanda wrote: “I was surprised at how relaxed I was naked around so many strangers. Everyone had been so friendly, and I felt less self-conscious chatting with them without any clothes on than I often did when I was clothed.”
The article lists 8 German campgrounds to consider – just a small selection out of many, but presumably worthy of recommendation. Of course, you’ll have to rent a campervan over there, but a link for arranging the rental online is provided (and includes means for choosing and reserving a particular campground in Germany and other European countries). The same site also has pages for naturism camping in France and Croatia – where naturism is also popular. So you’re in luck if you enjoy traveling but are discouraged by the limited options in the U.S. for naked camping.
In the article, Barbara admits “All my life I’ve loved the feel of swirling water against bare skin.” Hot springs are the perfect place for that. The water’s never too cold, so if it’s not too hot (over 104°F) you can stay in it as long as you want. They’re often located in places of great natural beauty. And others at the clothing-optional places simply couldn’t care less if you’re naked.
Barbara does offer some good advice about hot springs etiquette. To paraphrase: (1) If others don’t share your preference to be naked, don’t hold it against them. (2) Look others in the eye when speaking to them. (3) Don’t feel too uneasy if others have body “enhancements” like unusual piercings or outre tattoos. (4) You might enjoy alternating between the hot springs and cold water plunges (if available).
Generally, in most remote places on U.S. National Forest or BLM property, there are no Federal rules against nudity. As the article says, “The law is vague. Agencies that oversee public hot springs — the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management — have no blanket prohibition of nudity, yet they often defer to state and county codes.” So do some research to determine the legal situation with local county or state laws that apply.
Even if the legal situation is unclear, the article notes that “in the backcountry, far from policemen with better things to do, such laws are rarely enforced.” Your best bet is to seek advice from naturists who know the general area and have ample experience with backcountry nudity. Others who venture into areas off the beaten path usually have little or no problem with nudity. But there can always be exceptions from unexpectedly irate prudes, so be prepared for abusive comments (or worse), and keep some sort of cover-up close by.
Here are four more stories about hot spring skinny-dipping: (1) How I Found the Courage to Skinny Dip with Two Friends…and a Stranger, (2) Naked with Friends (Part 1), (3) First Time Skinny Dippers, (4) How a Visit to Nude Hot Springs Helped Me Confront My Fear of Aging
Since Laura had no significant negative attitude towards simple nudity, it’s unsurprising she wasn’t that leery of giving it a try at British Naturism’s Sunfolk facility. Even so, she admits having “much pre-stripping nervousness” before arriving. This is very common and normal even for people who are comfortable being naked at home but haven’t yet visited an actual naturist camp or resort. The fear is that the management and frequent visitors will be less than fully welcoming to new visitors. At most contemporary naturist places, the fear is entirely unjustified – but who’s confident of that ahead of the first visit?
Once inside the facility, some uncertainties remained. Laura wondered “Why am I doing this?! What is my mum going to think of the pictures in the paper?! I’m sure this was never in the lifeplan she never actually created for me.” [Laura’s a newspaper reporter and expected to document her story with pictures.] But once those concerns dissipated and the clothes were off, she could “walk across the grass and I feel about as self-conscious as I would if I had a bikini on. Except I don’t.” And when the time came to get dressed before leaving, “it’s with a surprising degree of reluctance.”
If only more people who’ve enjoyed nudity only by themselves at home or in a secluded place outdoors could realize that naturist social nudity with others is just as easy – and even better.
Vermont has no landed or non-landed naturist clubs affiliated with AANR, and only one non-landed club affiliated with TNSF. Besides that, the outdoor naturist season there is short. Nevertheless, Vermont residents tend to be liberal and open-minded, and there are a number of skinny-dipping places on public and private land. An especially popular one is the Punch Bowl, located in a wide place on the east side of the Mad River, near the town of Waitsfield (pop. 1844). Details can be found at SwimmingHoles.org in the Mad River section.
The Punch Bowl is on private land, and its owners intend to keep it open as a day-use public swimming hole. They’ve provided a parking area beside the main road, and there’s even a small picnic area. Clothing is very much optional at the Punch Bowl. Although skinny dippers can be seen from nearby trails, most trail users are fully aware of the status. In fact, the SwimmingHoles.org write-up notes that “Swimsuits are considered to be in poor taste here.”
Sierra, presumably a teenager and regular visitor at Lupin Lodge, on the outskirts of Silicon Valley near Los Gatos, CA, writes about both teenage angst and the benefits of social nudity to teens. She observes: “Many teenagers can’t even imagine having to be naked in front of other people at this point in their lives. They are self-conscious, prone to inconveniently timed bodily responses, or newly introduced to their menstrual cycle with no interest in wandering around with a visible string between their legs in addition to their other self-image issues.”
On the plus side for going naked, there are details most naturists understand. The benefits are both emotional and physical – especially for teenagers. There are health benefits for the immune system due to increased exposure to sunlight (vitamin D) and strengthened immunity due to contact with allergens and bacteria. The emotional benefits are at least as important. Becoming comfortable around others while naked increases body acceptance and decreases socially-acquired shame associated with naked bodies and all their parts. Most people are unfortunate not to receive the emotional benefits of nudity until later in life – if at all.
Bonus from earlier:
Naked Camping: How and Where to Embrace Nature in the Nude (4/12/19)
Several articles above go into various aspects of naturist camping, or simply enjoying natural places without clothes. There are very good reasons why “naturist” is a very apt term for people who enjoy nudity outdoors. According to this article, “Naked camping, or ‘naturist’ camping, might just be the way you roll in the morning when you’re sleeping outside. But more and more people are catching on to “naked camping” as an intentional way to feel closer to the great outdoors.” Hiking or camping naked isn’t just simpler if you don’t have to bother with clothes. An equally important benefit is dispensing with barriers between individuals and the natural world – barriers that are usually unavoidable in “normal” everyday life. Outdoor activities can be uncomfortable on hot days, but going naked allows for natural air conditioning.
This article touches on various aspects of enjoying camping and other outdoor activities without the encumbrance of clothing. Although nudity in/on hot springs, skinny-dipping spots, clothing-optional beaches, and hiking trails makes, a great deal of sense, such natural attractions are often located far from where most people live. Naturist clubs, resorts, and campgrounds are good options that may be more conveniently located, yet can (if they have sufficient natural open space) allow for the same enjoyment of being naked outdoors.
The site as a whole contains lots of useful camping information. The present article briefly covers several important aspects of going naked in nature. The list includes: (1) Why going naked helps to get closer to nature; (2) An overview of naturist clubs and campgrounds; (3) How to visit a naturist campground or beach, with a short list of specific advice; (4) A list of 10 outdoor naturist campgrounds – one is actually a hot springs – Valley View Hot Springs, in Colorado.