- Late Summer Nights with Naturist Friends: My Humble Attempt at Writing a How-To Guide
If you like the idea of more frequently having impromptu clothing-optional get-togethers at your home for friends, Dan Carlson has some suggestions that may make such occasions more enjoyable for everyone. But they aren’t exactly things you may not have thought of yourself. Your friends needn’t necessarily be naturists themselves, but they should be comfortable socializing with others who prefer being naked. And, if you provided enough incentives around your home, some may even try out the pleasures of social nudity. I’ve written before on the felicity of, when possible, mixing together friends who are naturists with others who are merely tolerant of nudity.
So, what sorts of things will make such occasions better? Put a fair-sized hot tub or spa at the top of the list. Your family will thank you, even if you don’t have guests. Provide towels for everyone – for sitting on, of course, but also for drying off after the hot tub, and even wrapping up in loosely for those who’re a bit shy of full nudity. In gathering places open to the outdoors, such as on a screened porch, have a source of heat like a wood or propane stove for the colder evenings. A nice fire in an outdoor fire pit is also good (unless it’s pretty cold, raining, or snowing). If you want to be outdoors in the back yard, weather permitting (and if mosquitoes and the like aren’t a problem), you’ll want privacy from the neighbors (if you have some who aren’t naturist-friendly). The right shrubbery for your climate is the best way, but takes long-term planning if it’s not there already. However, good fences make good neighbors, and require much less time to put in place.
- Naked On The Run: A New Craze For Racing In The Nude
Naked running events aren’t anything “new”. A number of naturist resorts in the U. S. have held such events for years (example). That’s also true in many other countries, such as England. Naked running events that aren’t necessarily serious competitions are also frequent. Naked running has been touted as promoting body acceptance. In case you’re interested, there’s even advice on how to prepare. So naked running’s not a “craze” – even though some journalists (or headline writers) use that term to show their disdain for naked activities.
The naked race described in the article selected here was scheduled for a beach in France. The organizers expected only a small number of participants, but were “overwhelmed” by the actual interest, and they had to limit the event to 60 runners due to the small size of the beach. If anything, the response is an indication of current enthusiasm in France for naturism and naked activities. According to the writer, “Nudism in France has become increasingly popular.” A spokesperson for the Paris Association of Naturists even claimed that “At the end of the 19th century, France became the birthplace of naturism.” Although Germans might dispute that, the Association also claims “France is the top world destination for nudists.” The response to the race might be evidence of the claim.
- WTF?! Naked Mountain Biking Explained
An activity that is a little more unusual is naked mountain biking. “Perusing the local paper over a morning coffee, I nearly choked when I saw the first entry in the “weekend happenings” section: a naked mountain biking group ride.” That’s how Jason introduces his article. At first, he thought the idea “seemed so uncomfortable.” But a quick Internet search turned up the testimonial “This is awesome!” Consequently, “as a journalist, mountain biker, and father of a toddler who likes to do everything naked, I figured I needed to investigate.” After the experience he decided that “This is awesome,” and reports that “everyone seemed to have a great time.” The article concludes with a dozen “Lessons Learned From Riding Bikes Naked”. Some of these are things most naturists know (use sunscreen), while the rest are intended for serious mountain bikers.
- Reflections on a Naturist Life: La Jenny, France 2019
Dan Carlson’s a world traveler, in addition to his professional job. He has “often cited” La Jenny “as the best naturist place in the world,” and notes that he and some or all of his family have returned “to La Jenny at least a dozen times over the ensuing years.” Nevertheless, it’s been five years since his last visit. (Previous reports are here and here.) Dan considers his first visit in 1997 with his wife “as a pivotal event in our naked lives.” He has much more to say in this post, but the key insight may be this:
“as I read so many blog posts, tweets, and reddit musings from frustrated husbands and fathers who simply can’t find a way to sell naturism to their spouses and families, I can’t help but think, “That’s because you simply can’t find a place in close proximity to where you live to replicate the everyday normal naturist experience in France… or Croatia…or Spain.” Family naturism will never feel normal when you’re in an environment where it simply isn’t… NORMAL!”
In other words, the experience in just about all naturist camps and resorts in the U. S. is very different from what it is in non-naturist places of an otherwise similar sort. Especially for families (which are rather scarce in U. S. naturist places). In France (and Spain and Croatia), however, on a vacation there’s not much difference between the experience and the people inside and outside a naturist place, except for the nudity. In other respects, most details are just about the same in either case. That probably has a lot to do with how in France naturism, in general, and family naturism, in particular, is increasingly popular (see above article on naked running) – in sharp contrast with the U. S. situation.
- Why French Families Go Massively for Naturism
There’s more on French family naturism in this recent post from Nick and Lins. They’ve spent much of the past summer touring naturist French places, large and small. It’s arguably true that “Ever since the beginning of naturism, France has been the number one country in the world where people like to drop their clothes.” But although France “provided so many facilities for naturists, the large majority of the naturists enjoying those facilities were foreigners.” Now, however, “things have changed a lot. During our nude road trip through France we were not only surprised by the huge amount of French naturists, but also by who they are. Lots of the French visitors we met at naturist campings around France were young couples and young families.”
What accounts for this change? The post argues that “Naturist resorts around the country understood that the blame falls partly on them. They’ve never really tried to change the image of naturism in the media. Until today. Around the country, naturist places are opening their doors for the press.” So, many more people in France itself are learning about the pleasures of real naturism. (Something similar is beginning to happen in the U. S., but significant positive effects have yet to be seen.) And why has this change in France been especially significant for young families? The post is somewhat vague on this question. But I’d submit that the answer can be found in the post above from Dan Carlson. Namely, there are so many more “normal” recreational activities at French naturist places than there are in the U. S. counterparts. Nick and Lins give a great example of this in another recent post here. They do discuss family naturism in this May post: Family Naturism: Let’s All Just Get Naked. (All pictures in that article are from a French source.)
- No clothes? No problem for visitors at ‘naturist’ camp in Croatia
Croatia is a country far less well known in the U. S. than France, but it once had a thriving naturist culture. According to the article, “As an early pioneer of nudism, Croatia’s idyllic Adriatic coast has a long and storied history of people stripping down to swim and commune with their surroundings in the naturist tradition.” Late in the past century there was a significant decline in naturist facilities: “By the mid-1980s, Croatia had 34 nudist camps, leading the market along with France and Germany. Today that number is down to nine.” Much of the decline can be attributed to the very unsettled political situation around 1990, followed by stiff competition from naturist opportunities in Spain. But Croatian naturism seems to be rebounding now, with the country building on its earlier naturist culture to actively attract naturist tourists to the country. One observer opines that “Boutique naturism with small camps or apartment settlements, privately-run, that could make a new offer, could be a renaissance and a market niche.” Also, one “nudist camp in Istria, Valalta, has recently invested in apartments, beaches, and attractions for children.” I surveyed the Croatian naturist scene earlier this year here.
Credit: British Naturism
- The naked truth: At Conn. nudist resort, ‘You can’t hide behind fancy clothes. You have to be yourself here’
Reporter Ellen Albanese has a detailed and positive story about the Solair Recreation League, which has been continuously owned and run by its members since 1934 – one of the first nudist resorts in the U. S. 85 years is a good run for any small business, let alone one that caters to a very specialized clientele. It’s not an ordinary “business”, since it’s owned by its long-term members. However, non-member visitors are welcome. Located in northeastern Connecticut, a part of the state tourists often bypass, the setting is pleasantly rural, allowing the resort to provide a spacious 360 acres for recreational facilities, hiking trails, and privately-owned cottages. Ellen declined to remove her own clothes, but still provided a very favorable account of what “real” naturism is about – mostly by use of quotes from a number of naturists she spoke with. Since the story appeared in the Boston Globe, New England’s most widely read newspaper, it’s a great example of mainstream media providing an accurate picture of what naturism is really like.
- A Once-in-a-Lifetime Reporting Dilemma: Should I Take My Clothes Off?
Here’s another story on naturism from a reporter of a well-known mainstream newspaper (the New York Times). In this case, the reporter, Katrin Bennhold, does remove her clothes. (For some reason, most stories of this sort seem to be assigned to female reporters.) Nevertheless, and in spite of the fact that Katrin grew up in West Germany, she held off deciding whether to disrobe as long as possible – but at least she did. That’s always a good sign of a reporter’s professionalism when reporting on naturism. It was a big help, since Katrin, once naked, “found a new level of openness in the people I interviewed. Nudism, I discovered, was not just a quirky lifestyle choice.” The next article tells what she learned about naturism in Germany.
- A Very German Idea of Freedom: Nude Ping-Pong, Nude Sledding, Nude Just About Anything
Katrin Bennhold’s article on the current state of naturism in Germany covers a lot of territory in the space of only about 1450 words. There have been a number of reports that naturism in Germany is declining in popularity. According to one source quoted in the article, “Formal membership numbers in nudist clubs have halved since the end of Communism to about 32,000.” However, that’s comparable to membership numbers in the U. S. – a country with about 4 times the population. And another source says, “the numbers are rising again — especially as young families rediscover nudism.” Modern naturism originated in Germany about 120 years ago “when early naturists rebelled against the grime of industrialization and then the mass slaughter of World War I.” After World War II naturism was more popular in Communist East Germany than in the West, supposedly because it was one of the few forms of freedom allowed. Even today it remains more popular in the East than in the West. But in the country as a whole there are still many naturist opportunities – and public nudity is more acceptable than in almost any other country: “Entire stretches of German waterfronts are designated as nudist beaches. There is a nudist hiking trail. There are sporting events from nude yoga to nude sledding. German saunas are mixed and naked. People regularly take their clothes off on television, too.”
- Why Can’t Journalism about Nudism Be Better?
New naturist blogger Matthew McDermott makes some very perceptive criticisms of how mainstream journalism deals with naturism:
“The nudity taboo is so strong in our society that anything involving naked people is a reader magnet. Journalists play straight into this narrative with articles that are designed to tap into readers’ naughty thrills. The result: terrible writing about nudists and nudism. Articles treat nudists like an alien species, or like a gang of lunatics ostracized in “colonies”. They use childish jokes, unfunny references to body parts, and the most tired cliches imaginable. How often does an article promise the “bare facts” about nudism?”
The articles noted above are for the most part exempt from the criticism (or they probably wouldn’t have been included). But even there we have another egregious cliche in a headline (“The naked truth”). Matthew offers some good suggestions for what naturists can do to effectively express criticism of poor writing about naturism in the media. One important point that’s not made is that reporters writing about naturism should actually experience naturist nudity themselves by getting naked. It’s not necessary that they actually enjoy it, but they should at least try it. Why should a reader bother with a review of, say, a new restaurant if the reviewer had only visited and hadn’t eaten there?
- The Great British Skinny Dip – a round up
British Naturism, the official naturist organization of Great Britain, uses creative and effective techniques to entice people with little or no experience of naturism into giving it a try. Their Great British Skinny Dip is an excellent example. This year saw the fourth annual iteration of the event, whose purpose is “to encourage the general public to discover the joys of nude swimming (and socialising!) and feel the health and well-being benefits that come with the decision not to wear clothes.” Unlike the U. S. Naturist Society Foundation’s “Nude Recreation Week” – which seems to consist mainly of a few suggested activities, the GBSD featured a “variety of events we had going on around the country – both in terms of location and the experiences on offer. Dippers could brave everything from a chilly wild swim in the Lake District’s Beacon Tarn, via beaches, rivers, outdoor lidos, Naturist clubs, and campsites, to the more comfortable waters of their local swimming pool.” Anyone interested in experiencing naturism themselves for the first time had places they could actually go to do that with other first-timers – mostly at minimal expense to themselves except for travel costs.
- A heatwave is the perfect moment to rediscover the joys of being naked
Perhaps it’s a coincidence, or maybe not, but leading news media in both the U. S. (see initial articles here) and the UK (the Guardian) have quite recently featured well-written articles that take naturism seriously instead of treating it as a joke. This Guardian article, written by freelancer Alice O’Keeffe, starts off portending a sudden and unexpected embrace of social nudity:
“Until very recently, I would have gnawed off my own arm more readily than take off my clothes in public. Partly because I am pale, I’ve had two children and my tummy does not resemble a washboard, but primarily because I am British. Public nudity comes about as naturally to me as allowing somebody to skip a queue.”
Here are a few excerpts that capture the essence of Alice’s epiphany:
- At a festival a few months ago, I found myself in a crowded sauna, naked as the day I was born.
- Being naked with other people instantly gets rid of several levels of nonsense.
- When I took off my clothes that day at the festival, I experienced about five minutes of extreme awkwardness, an intense desire to cover myself up with my hands. But because that would have looked ridiculous, I had to take a deep breath and walk tall.
- The experience made me think about the degree of body shame that is ingrained in us from childhood.
- I’ve become a regular visitor to Brighton’s nudist beach…. I would love to see more people – especially women – making the most of these spaces.
These remarks pretty well encapsulate the experience of most people who have suddenly grasped the appeal of naturism. Perhaps Alice should try interesting British Naturism in some of her writing skills.
- What Is Stopping You From Trying and Enjoying Nudism?
Most readers of this blog probably are either experienced naturists, or else are seriously interested in trying it. In the first case, consider showing this article to anyone you might want to participate in naturism. In the second case, let it give you the courage to jump in yourself. The first sentence lays out the essence of the problem: “We were all born nude and then it started with a diaper and the textile indoctrination began.” In general, most of the excuses people have for dismissing the idea of naturism stem from how our society conditions children to fear and avoid nudity with others from an early age. That’s not to say there aren’t sometimes genuine causes for concern – such as possible negative reactions from friends and family or adverse effects on one’s employment. But the root of these concerns is the fact that most others have similarly been conditioned to shun social nudity. This article offers a number of approaches to overcoming the injustice of how you were probably socialized to fear nudity.