- The Joys of Living Naked
Dan, of The Meandering Naturist, found the recent New York Times article – which I discussed here – to be problematical in several ways, even though it presented a generally postive picture of naturism. Like Dan, I though the article was somewhat shallow and superficial. While having positive articles about naturism in prestigious mainstream media is a good thing, it’s obvious that non-naturist reporters generally don’t quite really grok what naturism is about. Naturism isn’t only about senior citizens who go about their daily lives naked in resorts that cater to them. That doesn’t quite get to why it is that people want to do such a strange thing.
Dan wonders “whether a media splash like this actually helps or hurts the naturist cause.” He wishes (as I do) that the article had broadened the topic to explain the Joys of Living Naked. He notes that it wasn’t necessary to go to Florida to learn about the naturist lifestyle, because there are naturists right in New York City “who embrace the clothing-optional lifestyle, but not just on vacation or in retirement, but on a typical Sunday morning when the apartment is warm enough to be naked at home, even in December, and clothing is simply an option that isn’t necessary.” It’s just not necessary to go to a Florida resort to enjoy living naked, because nudity is enjoyable even in one’s own home.
We can all, like Dan, welcome “the seemingly growing trend amidst the general public as related to the tolerance of social nudity” – as evidenced by the Times article. It’s encouraging that there’s even “a photo of a fully nude woman – from the backside – working in the kitchen” – which suggests “we’ve all finally agreed that the nation’s children will not be harmed by the incidental sighting of unadorned buttocks.” Well, maybe readers of the Times, at least, are enlightened enough to get that.
Dan argues that naturists themselves, and the resorts they frequent, aren’t helping naturism by being “at least inadvertently, self-deprecating if not outright ridiculing themselves,” because they “simply can’t seem to resist nomenclature, sign-posts, and newsletter headlines that actually perpetuate the idea that ‘You naked people are all a little crazy’.” Sure, being lighthearted about one’s enthusiasms, instead of overly earnest about them, is OK – but going too far with that can backfire and give the wrong impression. Naturism isn’t a weird eccentricity or crotchet, but it’s not a solemn religion either. There are aficionados of many things – sports, physical fitness, computer games, etc. – who may veer too far in either direction, and naturists can do the same. But avoiding either extreme is probably the best way to go. Living naked is an enjoyable lifestyle – no more, perhaps, but no less.
So much for the philosophy of naturism. Dan concludes with several very good points about how best to start living naked. Here’s the list (but go read the article for the details):
- Talk to your neighbors
- Be an advocate
- Understand your windows
- Landscaping and sight-lines
- The wood burning stove
- Pareo or sauna towel
- Display nude artwork
- Naked gourmet dining
- And what about the WNBR?
I’ll be posting another article soon with some similar suggestions for enjoying a naked lifestyle – and at the same time normalizing nudity.
- Constructive Ways to Celebrate and Promote Nudism
Here’s another voice supporting the idea of normalizing nudity: “Lately, we have been happy to see the hashtags #normalizenudism and #normalizenaturism going around social media.” Probably almost everyone who’s read this far will agree with the idea. But it will take more than that to make it actually happen. So this article adds six more suggestions about how to do that.
- Lobby your local government for nude beaches & other naked places
While the goal is certainly important, this may put the cart before the horse. To be successful in the effort, there needs to be plenty of support in your community for designating nude beaches and naked places. And that probably means first convincing many in the community that nudity should be considered normal. How? Other suggestions here would be good places to start.
- Come out to your family and friends
Absolutely. These are the first people who need to be persuaded that nudity is good. Watch here for much more about that.
- Take a stand against anti-nudity policies
This is another cart before the horse. Official policies won’t change unless there’s community support for that. However, individual naturists should be supported publicly if they’re unfairly treated because of, for example, unreasonable complaints from neighbors.
- Support nudist networks and businesses
If you’re fortunate enough to have naturist-friendly businesses in your area, you should certainly support them. If “networks” refers to regional or national organizations, they should be supported too – if they can, in return, support local naturists. Being active in online naturist groups will help individual naturists support each other and naturism in general.
- Stop shaming others
Be careful how you deal with naturists who may have personal values different from yours. Shaming should be reserved only for people who link non-naturist values to naturism or behave unlawfully in ways inconsistent with naturism.
- Share your first-time stories
Assuming you are “out” as a naturist, why stop with only the first-time stories? Don’t hesitate to let others know of all the enjoyable naturist things you do. Yes, most people feel a little awkward the first time they’re naked “in public”, so it’s good to let anyone who might be interested in naturism know that’s a very temporary problem. But also tell about how much can be enjoyed after becoming comfortable with nudity.
- Lobby your local government for nude beaches & other naked places
- British Naturism books out Hollywood Bowl in Ashford for naked session
The news is that “The British Naturism (BN) has organised a social event in Ashford for its naked members.” British naturists are very fortunate to have a national organization that actually arranges for many local naturist events around the country. Naturists in the U. S. and other countries should be so lucky.
Wait, what? Bowling??? Isn’t that something that went out of fashion, oh, 20 or 30 years ago? Well, yes, perhaps to some extent. But people – including naturists – still do it. Just stop to think about it for a moment. Bowling, despite its stodgy image, is an almost ideal activity for naturists. Bowling alleys (those still in business) are private (when reserved for naturists) and (usually) have comfortable temperatures regardless of the weather outdoors. The activity is generally very social, and individuals can concentrate on their own performance, instead of trying to defeat an opponent or win a competition (as in tennis and many other sports). Best of all, success in bowling depends more on skill than on strength, speed, or endurance – so people without exceptional physical gifts can do well. If naturists live somewhere there’s an alley nearby and they can get a sufficiently large group to rent the facility for a few hours, a bowling party could be a fun naturist activity at any time of the year.
More details: here
- Naked bathers want to ‘piggyback’ on Wild Atlantic Way’s success
Nudity on certain public beaches in Ireland has actually been legal only since 2017. Yet many beaches in Cork County have been used discreetly by naturist for years. According to a spokesperson for the Irish Naturist Association, “West Cork boasts several beaches that have been attracting naturists for decades.” As I noted here, Ireland is rapidly becoming a good place for naturism.
The “Wild Atlantic Way” (WAW) “is a tourism trail on the west coast, and on parts of the north and south coasts, of Ireland.” The spokesperson is calling for “providing signage and officially recognising many of the secluded ‘unofficial’ nudist beaches dotted along the region’s coast” – along the WAW route. The hope is that, given recognition, naturist usage of the beaches will become “very normal very quickly”, and consequently, naturists “will spend time and money in these areas.” Arguments like this should be effective in promoting naturist destinations elsewhere. This has definitely happened with Blind Creek Beach in St. Lucie County, Florida.
- I Went to a Nude Beach With a Friend, and We Loved It
This is a pretty good first-time story. James, whose story this is, certainly had the right attitude: “Beach days are hard to beat. You are lying in the warm sunshine, have sand between your toes, and can hear the sound of waves crashing. What could be better, right? Maybe . . . going naked?” He invited his friend, Nicole, to go with him to check out Black’s Beach while he was visiting San Diego. Neither of them had been to a nude beach before, but they “were excited to see what it was all about.” Not surprisingly, for first-timers, James says that once on the beach, “it was very awkward for the first 20 minutes or so.” But after that, he dropped his “shorts, and ran straight into the ocean. Nicole quickly followed, and within minutes, it just wasn’t weird anymore.” Most readers who’ve tried it know that’s usually how it goes – if they get naked at all. Unfortunately, most non-naturists find this truth hard to believe.
- Albemarle Co. yoga studio to host another nude class
Charlottesville, a smallish city located in Albemarle County, Virginia is a college town, home of the University of Virginia, and the county population is about 150,000, so it’s not especially surprising that there are more than a dozen yoga studios in the area. However, only one of them, apparently, offers nude yoga sessions – the Elements Yoga Studio. Unfortunately, the sessions aren’t coed. There was a session for women in February, which “turned into a sold out event earlier in the month,” according to the article. A session for men was held on February 29, according to the studio’s calendar, and another one for women is scheduled for March 13.
“The body-positive yoga allowed women to step into a safe, judgement-free [sic] space where they were free to take off as much clothing as they felt comfortable with,” the article says. So the class is actually just clothing-optional. There’s no information on how many opted to be naked. It’s a good thing, at least, that the option is available – even only once a month. Perhaps interest in nude activities will grow as more people have the opportunity to experience them.
- Dining unclad de rigeur at Zipolite’s annual nudist festival
Although there are some food-related stories below, this isn’t really one of them. Zipolite is a popular clothing-optional beach in Mexico on the Pacific Ocean coast south of Mexico City. This is the fifth year of an annual and very popular naturist festival on the beach. This year’s attendance was about 6000. The beach has had clothing-optional use since at least the 1950s, but has only recently become much better known outside the local area.
Since many attendees spend much of their time on the beach, they often eat there too – but that’s only in addition to a variety of other common beach activities. For instance, volleyball, body painting, musical performances, yoga, or simply sunbathing. Since the beach is only about 15° north of the Equator, temperatures in January-February are quite comfortable – in the 80s (F).
- Florida bill would make it legal to be naked at a nude beach
Under section 800.03 of Florida’s legal code “exposure of sexual organs” is illegal in public or if visible from someone else’s property if it’s done in a “vulgar or indecent manner”. It’s also illegal simply to be “naked” in public “except in any place provided or set apart for that purpose”. However, both of these provisions are somewhat vague, especially in case of simply being naked on a beach that’s traditionally “clothing-optional”. And what about exposure of female breasts?
In particular, there are several beaches in Florida that have long been popular with naturists, including Haulover Beach in Miami, and portions of Apollo and Playalinda beaches in the Canaveral National Seashore. And a new clothing-optional beach has just been approved near Fort Pierce (as noted here). It’s not entirely clear that those locations have officially been “set apart for that purpose”. This new legislation would take care of the ambiguities – if it becomes law, which isn’t a foregone conclusion. The bill would expressly allow being “naked in public … including, but not limited to, clothing-optional beaches.”
The bill could well become law, since Florida is slowly waking up to the benefits to its tourist industry of people interested in clothing-optional recreation. Given the prevalence of many naturist resorts around the state, local tourist bureaus may want to attract naturists to their own clothing-optional places. (The article is also here.)
- Nude beach quietly routine at Volusia’s southern tip
The beach in question is the aforementioned Apollo Beach in the Canaveral National Seashore. (There’s an unincorporated place of the same name on the opposite side of the state, which should not be confused with the actual beach.) Clothing-optional use is traditional only in the southern portion, adjacent to parking lot #5. Unfortunately, the parking lot has only 35 parking places, and it fills up early on any day with decent weather. (There’s sometimes a similar problem with parking lot #13 at Playalinda Beach, adjacent to the clothing-optional section.)
The small parking lot is a problem, since it’s a 2-mile hike to the next parking lot to the north – especially if you need to carry much, like beach chairs or a cooler. Of course, if you’re not alone, you can drop companions and gear off, then go back to park. Still it’s a hassle, especially since the lagoon on the side of the road opposite the ocean is quaintly named Mosquito Lagoon, and appropriately so. Fortunately, the beach itself at lot #5 is not only clothing-optional but also less popular with the mosquitoes.
According to the article, regulars at the clothing-optional part of Apollo Beach are a fairly laid-back bunch. They’re not all naturists, but they have relaxed attitudes towards nudity, and are generally content to share the beach with others, whether or not they’re naked. One beach regular, who doesn’t get naked, was quoted remarking “Some people get naked, other people don’t, and everyone gets along.” If only the same level of tolerance prevailed in many other places…
- Top 10 U.S. Nude Beaches
Articles like this appear periodically in widespread sources (at least in the western half of the world). Usually these are found in media having a general readership. But this one is on a naturist resort’s website – DeAnza Springs in southern California. Even so, all places mentioned are actual beaches, not resorts, and are open for public use (with at most small charges for parking). Another list, which includes 5 U. S. beaches and 5 in other countries, was discussed here. (The 5 U. S. beaches are also in the present article.)
Some of the beaches mentioned, such as Haulover, are frequently included in lists of best clothing-optional beaches worldwide, but others probably wouldn’t qualify. The actual criteria for inclusion of beaches here aren’t stated. Perhaps it’s mainly popularity, which would be related to convenience of access (certainly one important criterion). However, Black’s Beach is notoriously difficult to reach, as it requires steep climbs down and up tall cliffs just behind the beach. The reviews would have been better if they’d included more information on the convenience factor – things like distance from population centers, physical ease of access, typical climate, etc. Instead, there’s often more about the history of the beach, which isn’t necessarily useful for potential visitors.
In one case (“San Gregorio Private Beach”) the information given is confusing. San Gregorio State Beach is part of the State Park system, and as such is not clothing-optional. But there’s an excellent large beach adjacent to the north that is clothing-optional. It’s “private” in the sense that the parking area is on private land and not always open. The beach description, however, clearly describes the State Park beach. What a shame the description here isn’t better. The history of San Gregorio is actually relevant, since it’s regarded as the oldest established clothing-optional beach in the U. S. The location of the beach isn’t fortuitous, because it was selected in 1966 by a few young people from San Francisco’s nascent hippie culture as the most suitable beach for skinnydipping after scouting many locations not too far from the city.
- Public speaker and The English Cream Tea Company boss Jane Malyon gives a talk at a Bournemouth hotel to 180 naturists
The article is an account by the speaker, Jane Malyon, about the talk she gave in January to a naturist group (which wasn’t named) that was spending the weekend at a hotel (also not named) in Bournemouth (UK). What’s interesting about this article is how it treats as something quite normal a talk given by a public speaker to a large group of naturists. Jane was fully informed beforehand to expect the audience to be completely naked, and evidently she wasn’t fazed at all by the prospect. Not even, according to her report, when “immediately upon entering the hotel, I was surrounded by lovely, smiling, friendly people, all of whom were totally stark naked.”
To some extent, her reaction wasn’t too surprising. Jane describes herself as “a professional speaker and author, and an expert on the history and etiquette of afternoon teas, appearing regularly on TV and radio.” She’s also a managing director of a company in the UK “afternoon tea” business. So she’s paid to do these talks promoting somewhat of a niche industry. Why, after all, pass up another good opportunity to talk about something she loves merely because the audience comprises “people who have no clothes on. Absolutely nothing.” She was even “advised that my own clothing would be optional.” Evidently she didn’t immediately dismiss the idea, but eventually declined based on advice from her agent, on the basis that there would be a photographer.
The balance of the article has only laudatory things to say about the naturist audience and the overall experience. She “didn’t find the nakedness in front of me particularly off-putting, though perhaps a little surreal.” However, she does observe that “the majority of attendees at this event were middle-aged or older.” Still, one has to wonder whether her invitation to speak might have perhaps been less likely if the group were mainly younger and less interested in the “afternoon tea” business.
- The Joy of Cooking Naked
On one hand, it’s generally a positive thing when naturism gets attention from such a thoroughly mainstream organ as the New York Times. Articles like this can help by exploding prevalent misunderstandings about naturism, such as the notion that it’s all about sex or swinging. On the other hand, in the process of doing that articles haul out trite bromides such as “don’t cook bacon while you’re naked”. So while dissing some common clichés they fall back on promoting others. Give it up, eh? Naturism can really be understood only by trying it, not just reading about it. Sort of an acquired taste, you might say (if you want to play on the culinary metaphor). Keep that in mind when discussing naturism with your friends.
The subtext in this article is that naturism has some “special” relationship with cooking and eating. Actually, what’s probably going on is that the writer had to stress the food connection so the article could enliven the Times’s food section. The truth, of course, is that not only cooking and eating but almost anything that people take pleasure in can also be enjoyed naked. And besides, you might get naked to use a swimming pool or spa, and then get dressed afterward. If you’re not usually naked at home, there’d be little reason to get naked for cooking and eating. But if you are usually naked, you’d probably stay naked at mealtimes. Still, there is a connection, tenuous though it may be, between naturism and food, because some early forms of naturism also embraced vegetarianism. But that’s not much of a thread to hang a story on. Vegetarianism is certainly a valid choice, but these days the preferences of naturists with respect to food are as varied as among most other types of people.
The naturist element of the article focuses on life in Florida’s Lake Como Family Nudist Resort. Presenting the stories of various long-time habitué’s there – often in their own words – allows for highlighting some of the unique aspects of naturist lifestyles. In particular, sharing meals together informally or having more orchestrated dinner parties has always been especially popular with naturists – because it’s a natural justification for getting together naked with others. Just about everyone likes to eat, whereas not everyone cares a lot for board games, dancing, jigsaw puzzles, or what-have-you. Sharing food together is as old as humans and even their ancestral species. Those prehistoric folks were probably naked, too, as least in the warmer climes.
Having decent restaurants is a must for upscale naturist clubs and resorts. More recently there have been attempts to start clothing-optional restaurants as a business. One-off events of that type often sell out long in advance. Unfortunately, however, such things have had rather little commercial success. Even the mainstream restaurant business is very hard to break into. With a much smaller potential customer base, business is even harder for naturist restaurants. That’s not necessarily such a bad thing for naturists, though. Socializing in a familiar, comfortable space with others who share an unorthodox lifestyle – is bound to be more satisfying than what’s possible in restaurants full of strangers.
- Inside the World of Nudist Cooking
This is basically a concise summary of the New York Times article above. But it makes the most important points much more succinctly:
“There are millions of nudists in America, and because they are people, they do many of the same things other people do — they just do them naked. As revealed in a recent New York Times feature detailing the lives of the naked residents of the Lake Como Family Nudist Resort in Lutz, Florida, this roster of otherwise normal tasks and activities nudists happen to perform naked includes cooking, because why wouldn’t it?”
- Food in the nude: Switzerland to get its first naked restaurant
Despite the immense difficulties of making a restaurant for naturists into a sustainable business, hope (seemingly) springs eternal. According to reported plans, the establishment will be called “Edelweiss Basel – Nudisten Lounge” and will open at the end of February. Patrons will be able to leave their clothes in a cloakroom, although anyone not brave enough to be naked can keep their underwear on. (Ewwwww. Seriously?) And waiters will be naked. If this isn’t somebody’s idea of a joke, we can certainly hope this one does better than the O’Naturel in Paris. Switzerland isn’t exactly noted as a popular place for naturism – although naked performance art has been done publicly in the streets of Zurich.
- Look Ma! No Hands!
Fred is a southern California naturist who enjoys a wide spectrum of naturist activities – most of which aren’t confined to private naturists resorts. The annual “Bare to Breakers” run in San Francisco in May is one of his favorites. He has a whole post about it here. But that’s not all. Mainly he simply enjoys nudity, either alone or with others:
“I just enjoy being nude. Period. Don’t need an excuse for it. Have no interest in rationalizing it. I enjoy it alone. I enjoy it socially. I enjoy it if I’m the only one nude and I enjoy it just as much if everyone is nude. I enjoy it up on a stage doing improv in front of a hundred complete strangers or in a living room with a couple of friends or alone on the trail miles from anywhere.”
He notes that “nude public events have become much more common.” “Bare to Breakers” is just the informal name used by naturists who run or walk naked in the official Bay to Breakers event. But there are a number of similar examples where public nudity is allowed, some also in San Francisco. Additionally, there are also World Naked Bike Rides in many cities around the world, Seattle’s Fremont Solstice Parade, Spencer Tunick “installations”, political protests of many sorts, body painting events, public naked performance art events, and occasional naked museum tours (see below).
A more novel type of event with public nudity is do-it-yourself theatrical projects as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, which can involve nudity and which Fred is planning to do, as he describes here, here, and here. Another Fringe Festival event with plentiful nudity was a production of the play DISROBED, which was reported on here.
Fred also enjoys nude hiking, and his blog contains a number of reports of these treks. He summarizes his naturist interests thusly:
“As far as nudie activities go, I prefer to get off the reservation. Resorts can easily turn into expanded closets. They can become well-appointed ghettoes if you let them. Trips to hot springs, hiking in the wild, camping in remote places, parties, public events, that’s where I’ll find my space. I am not a big fan of highly regulated environments.”
- Australian museum opens its doors to an exhibition aimed at nudists
This article appeared on the Brazilian Os Naturistas site (without a link to the original), so it’s in Portuguese. But translations into other languages are available by selecting the flag of the country whose language is closest to yours.
Although the linked article is recent, it apparently describes an event in January 2018 at the National Gallery of Australia. A better, contemporary account is here. 120 people who wished to be naked for the tour got tickets to attend. According to the article “The event was held around his hyper-realistic exhibition exploring the human figure through a series of sculptures and paintings.” So much of the artwork on display involved nudity. Some of it was so “hyper-realistic” – as in the picture – that it’s difficult to distinguish the attendees from the art. There’s a video at the link that conveys the best impression of the event, even though the nudity of the attendees (but not the art) was censored.
- Japan’s naked art of body positivity
For almost all practical purposes, naturism doesn’t exist in Asia (except for Thailand). In Japan, however, there is a bizarre kind of pseudo-naturism. That is, full nudity – but only (for the most part) in rigidly gender-segregated facilities. The Asian mind is, as usual, inscrutable to westerners.
Naturists may not be especially excited about Japan as a travel destination, but it’s at least worth noting a couple of things. First, there are two types of public bathing facilities where nudity is required. There are the well-known onsens, which are natural hot springs. Since these are located near volcanically active areas, they’re usually far from urban centers. There’s also another type of public bathing facility known as a sento. Since these heat water from the local water system, they may be found almost anywhere. Second, since onsens are mostly in unurbanized areas, they provide a much more “natural” experience and are a bit more likely not to require gender segregation. In either case, however, note that Japan, being what it is, has many unbreakable customs and rules which must be observed. In addition to many rules of proper etiquette for using any bathing facility, there are other “gotchas”, such as a strong Japanese prejudice against tattoos anywhere on the body.
- Naturists. Are we all protesters?
Nick and Hannah make so many excellent points in this post on their relatively new blog (already referenced here) I wish I could quote most of it. Many, perhaps most, naturists don’t think of themselves as protesters hopeful of spreading a message and changing society. They simply enjoy being naked, for a variety of good reasons. One thing that most naturists don’t do is publicly protest naked to promote naturism itself. If they do protest fully or partly naked, it’s for some other worthy cause, such as in favor of bicycle safety and against the use of fossil fuels, as in World Naked Bike Rides. Or, as mentioned in this article, Dr. Victoria Bateman‘s protest against Brexit.
Nudity has been used in a variety of other protests over the years, e. g. the Doukhobors, PETA, and Femen. I recently reported on other protests here. It’s no mystery why nudity is used in such protests: it definitely gets attention.
There have, actually, also been a few protests for the right to be publicly naked, particularly in San Francisco when a stricter law against public nudity was passed a few years ago. (But naked protests and certain other events with public nudity are still allowed there if permits are obtained.) Nevertheless, this is pretty rare. In fact, this kind of protest could be counter-productive in most cases, because a right to even limited public nudity isn’t considered a compelling issue for most people – unlike, say, animal rights or climate change. Yet Nick and Hannah correctly observe “There is no escaping, however, that for many naturists, whether they realise it or not, there is an element of protest to their desire to be naked in a social setting.”
A general right to public nudity is too much to expect at this time. But what about a right to private nudity? Apparently even that is too much to hope for in backward places like Utah, as discussed here. While more enlightened places don’t put legal restrictions on nonsexual nudity in private spaces, such restrictions are still prevalent, simply because of social attitudes that nudity in most cases may be “offensive”, probably “immoral”, and certainly not “normal”. As the article points out, “We are brought up in a world where social nudity is anything but normal. Our bodies are emphatically not our own, they belong to ‘moral’ society. It is ‘moral’ society which dictates what we should wear to which occasions.”
Of course, the idea that simple nudity in itself is “immoral” is ridiculous – except in a very twisted notion of “morality”. The source of this aberrant notion is not hard to understand: it is the imperative for social control. Quite simply, as the article points out, “Step over the line and the disapproval will try to bring you to heel. ‘Moral’ society fears those it cannot control.” It would be one thing if society had a rational view of the morality of social nudity. But a rational view doesn’t exist now – not of nudity, nor of many other things as well. Unfortunately, society isn’t great at controlling serious crime, gun violence, racial prejudice, etc. But controlling nudity is easier, so it gets controlled instead.
In their article, Nick and Hannah observe that simply by doing what isn’t “normal” and enjoying nudity when and where we can “we are protesting, albeit to varying degrees and sometimes more subconsciously than consciously.” Furthermore: “You may not previously have considered yourself a protester but you should not be embarrassed by the protest element of naturism, rather you should celebrate it.”
It may not be clear to most naturists what their nudity is protesting. However, aren’t we “quietly protesting against being unreasonably controlled? Protesting in favour of issues such as body positivity and confidence, tolerance, inclusiveness and respect? Protesting about the sexualisation of the naked body?” They conclude “Our ultimate goal should be to take the protest out of naturism and to make social nudity entirely normal and unremarkable.” In other words: normalize nudity.
- Normalising Nudism
It’s not necessary to say much about this – the idea speaks for itself. “#NormalisingNaturism” is now a Twitter hashtag. I prefer to express the idea as “normalize nudity”, because many people aren’t interested in being labeled, yet they approve of nonsexual social nudity and probably enjoy it when they can. The article suggests that it’s not necessary to surprise your friends by going naked with them without any warning. (Exception: at your own home, if you have a swimming pool or a spa, you might suggest a skinny-dip.) But that shouldn’t stop you from mentioning to open-minded friends that you enjoy nonsexual nudity and explaining why. Perhaps some will even invite you to “get comfortable”. Wearing nothing needs to become just another acceptable choice of attire when practical.
By the way, notice how often the idea of normalizing nudity comes up in many of the articles here. Naturists need to emphasize to anyone who’ll listen that nonsexual social nudity really needs to be considered normal, not some crazy, deviant eccentricity.
- Nothing wrong – and lots right – with a bit of public nudity
The picture is of Munich’s Englischer Garten, where nudity has been normal and accepted in this part for at least 50 years. (This part happens to be only about 100 meters fron the back of a major art museum, in the center of the city.) But the story is from New Zealand. In fact, it appeared in the New Zealand Herald, which has the largest circulation of all newspapers in the country.
The writer, Vera Alves, a “Social Media and Trending Reporter” is responding to a couple of incidents – a nursing mother was asked to cover up while breastfeeding, and a family that was “shocked” to see naked bathers at a clothing-optional beach. Vera doesn’t mince words. “For such a progressive country – first to split the atom and all that – we’ve still got some pretty archaic views on things,” she says.
This really is an amazing article that naturists should share with as many people as possible. Vera goes on to make many very incisive points on public nudity, which I’ll quote or paraphrase. I don’t know whether she’s a confirmed naturist, but I don’t know how anyone could make all these points much better.
- The first point is in the headline: There really is nothing wrong with public nudity (assuming it’s in appropriate places and respectful of others).
- Too many people are “hung up on the unclothed human body.”
- There shouldn’t be any serious trauma from “seeing a stranger’s intimate body parts.”
- People who are bothered or offended by nudity should start asking themselves why.
- Given how many real problems there are to worry about, seeing “nipples and penises should be the least of” one’s worries now.
- “Children who are soon going to be adults” will “grow up with some really messed up views of what bodies look like, if we keep restricting them to the bodies they see on porn sites or in fashion magazines.”
- “This repressed and archaic view of the human body as something to be hidden and ashamed of is nothing if not a form of oppression – and there are far too many people going along with it without questioning it.”
- People can change their negative way of thinking about nudity to understand it the way naturists do, “and absolutely nothing bad at all will happen.”
- Children whose parents are more open-minded about nudity “will not grow up to be depraved – if anything, they might just grow up more confident and empowered.”
- The real problem “is not nudity. The problem is the over-sexualisation of the human body, which leads to all kinds of issues.”
- “‘Normalising’ the regular human body can be a really good thing. If our children are to grow up with healthy views of what a normal human body is, we need to shed these archaic taboos.”
- If your child has questions about seeing someone naked, you have “a golden opportunity to talk to them about things like boundaries, consent and respect for others.”
- The human body is not immoral – stop making it so.
- “The bottom line is: if you’re getting your knickers in a twist, maybe the knickers are the problem.”
Wow. Hits it out of the park with three on the bases.
- Is Naturism the solution to low body confidence?
It’s a rhetorical question to which naturists know the answer very well. A writer for a non-naturist site demonstrates how obvious the answer is. Here’s the nut graf:
“In a world dominated by social media, many of us are used to seeing men and women with perfect bodies on our screens every day of every week, and it’s no secret that this can have a negative effect on our own body image. However, people all around the world are using Naturism as their way to feel more comfortable in their own skin.”
Mark Walsh, a spokesperson for British Naturism, is quoted pointing out that naturism often “starts at home, just by shedding your clothes, existing and just being comfortable in your own skin. As soon as you’re comfortable in your own skin, it really doesn’t matter where you’re comfortable in your own skin.” Provided that others you live with aren’t bothered by your nudity, the more time you spend naked, the more it will seem normal to you. That’s why your home is usually the best place to start experimenting with nudity – the people you live with are probably more likely to accept your nudity than random people you know, let alone (non-naturist) strangers. (However, if people you live with aren’t comfortable with nudity, you’ll need a Plan B.)
Mark explains that the basic reason naturism is the solution to low body confidence is because “it reinforces that there is no normal standard – we are all made different, and that’s who you are.” That assumes you’re ready to be naked not just in your own home, but also with a variety of others you’ll see in naturist activities and events. Stephanie Silom, the writer of the article, summarizes that “our body confidence and the extent to which we base our self-worth on our bodies improves massively once we learn that almost no-one has a ‘perfect’ body.”
- 7 Clothing-optional places to go naked in Colorado
Articles like this, which are targeted to a mainstream audience, indicate that public nudity is – however slowly – gradually becoming normalized even in the U. S. The fact that an article like this was published shows recognition that people exist who know little or nothing about naturism but are interested in places they can safely get naked outdoors. All locations described here are clothing-optional, at least most of the time. All but one of them have hot springs to soak in, and may be either rustic or somewhat developed. The exception, Mountain Air Ranch, is a full-featured naturist resort, the only one in Colorado. The article is also here
- Corsica – a rough hewn, sparkling gem
Looking a little farther afield – at least for folks in North America – there’s Corsica, a French island in the Mediterranean, known as Corse to the French, but which is nearer to Italy than France. Here’s a report from Olly Watts, a British Naturism member, on his stay on Corsica with a companion. Corsica is a smallish island of 8722 km2 (3368 mi2), about ⅔ of which is mountainous. Because of the size, distances between interesting spots are measured in just a few tens of kilometers at most. Olly spent the first part of his fortnight vacation in the vicinity of Porto Vecchio, near the southeast tip of the island. The area offers both beach and mountain places to be naked. Olly’s account makes the places he visited sound like a naturist paradise, where full-time nudity was often possible. The latter part of the trip was mostly on the eastern side of the island. That included a stay at Riva Bella, a four-star naturist campsite, where the stretch of sand “seemed to curve forever, north from the nature reserve.” Because Corsica is all part of France, there’s the additional attraction of French food and wine – with Italian influence as well.
The Meandering Naturist blog has much more information on Corsica.
- Camping in heaven
Looking further afield still, how about Thailand? Did you know that Thailand is about the only Asian country with attractive places for naturists? Well it is. There’s even a Thailand Naturist Association. This is article is about a visit to the Barefeet Heaven Naturist Resort.
Although Barefeet is a developed naturist resort, Chew, the author of the article, chose to stay in a tent she’d brought. So that allowed for a real camping experience, but also access to resort facilities. The location is ideal for camping, since it’s located in the Hat Chao Mai Marine National Park. On one side of Chew’s campsite “was a river with spectacular rock formations. The other was [a] stunning limestone cliff that was so close to me. In fact, the whole surrounding was a wide and open fabulous view with no block in any corners.” There’s an “unofficial” nude beach just a short walk away. In summary, “Barefeet is a wonderful place not only for naturists but also nature lovers, birding activity and meditation retreat for its nature preservation and tranquility as well as its laid-back and peaceful atmosphere in the surrounding areas.”
- What to Pack for a Nudist Resort
The convenience of needing to pack almost nothing in the way of clothing is one of the chief benefits of vacationing at a clothing-optional resort – as long as you plan to spend all your time there. But this article in fodors.com (a site that knows a bit about vacations) suggests a few things that would be nice to bring instead of clothes. Naturists shouldn’t be put off by the fact that the resort mentioned is somewhat outside the ambit of standard naturism, because the suggestions are still pertinent.
In addition to good sunscreen and a hat for protection from the sun, it would be wise to invest in really good sunglasses, since glare from any nearby water can be rather annoying as well as bad for your eyes. There’s other good advice in the article, but perhaps also a few more things to consider. Since you won’t have pockets, you might bring a small backpack or fanny pack to carry things like keys, money, sunscreen, reading material, and a cell phone (if allowed). In particular, another item to have with you is a water bottle – dehydration can be a serious problem if you’re in the sun a lot. If you tend to burn easily, you might also bring a small kitchen timer, so you can avoid dozing off for too long, especially if you don’t want to wear a watch.
Here’s an older article with some additional ideas. Insect repellant is certainly a good idea in most places, although it depends on knowing the types of insects you may encounter. You may also want to bring one or two sarongs (sometimes known as “pareos”) – in case your destination requires wearing a little something in certain locations, such as a restaurant, or if you want to leave the resort briefly. If nothing else, a sarong is a good substitute for a towel when sitting somewhere.
- The ‘dangerous’ consequence of Facebook’s stance on nudity
It certainly is complicated. Any naturist who uses Facebook (or its subsidiary, Instagram) is surely aware of the absurd intolerance of the platform for photos containing specific aspects of nudity (the pubic area and female nipples, especially). Naked political lies are entirely OK – but not naked people. It’s not mainly about the antagonism towards nudity in so many cultures. That’s easily handled with location-based restrictions, since the physical location of users at any time is usually known to Facebook. Just because nudity is especially verboten in terrible nudity-hating countries doesn’t mean the whole world needs to suffer because of the backwardness of such places. Many of these shithole countries are already moving to censor or disconnect from the global Internet anyhow – if they haven’t already.
Another excuse for the censorship is concern about exposure of minors to nudity. Simple age restrictions (as used by YouTube and other sites) could deal with that. But even in that case, as discussed previously, there are very good reasons why children need not be shielded from nonsexual nudity. The actual reason for Facebook’s censorship policies has little to do with any of that. What it’s really all about is the $$$s that might be lost because advertisers are so squeamish about nudity. The fact that Facebook has such a near-monopoly on worldwide social media is actually a stronger rather than weaker reason why its blanket censorship of nudity is so odious.
- 10 Questions You Always Wanted To Ask a Nude Art Model
Nude life modeling has already been discussed here several times (e. g. here, here). It’s a prefect topic for naturists, since it is one of the few instances when live nudity in front of many observers has long been considered not only acceptable but actually valuable – much before nudity on a theater stage, for instance. Many people, however, including some naturists, naturally wonder what the experience is like for the model. But questioning him or her about that might be embarrassing for either or both the questioner or the model. So this article is very helpful.
In this case, the model is actually from a country that’s rather conservative about nudity – India. Indeed, she “was extremely hesitant at first”, as most people might suppose – even though she was drawn to the idea because her mother, grandmother, and sister also did nude modeling. “In fact, even when I modelled for the very first time, I cried for hours before,” she admits. Nevertheless, “after that, I got comfortable with it. I forgot all my inhibitions, and now it doesn’t bother me at all.” Naturists are quite familiar with that. It’s really too bad that most people can’t understand how that works. Nudity can be quite normal! Interestingly, though, she avoids nudity in other parts of her life. “My family,” she says “has no idea I do this. The day my husband finds out, he will divorce me.” So she lies to him about it. After all, India is where she lives. But most naturists anywhere probably understand.
- The Naked Magicians to strip away stereotypes in Lakeland show
Speaking of being naked in front of many observers, here’s another example. This time it’s a performance by naked magicians. Well, why not? A few comedians, singers, monologists – as well as dramatic actors – have also performed naked on stage. But this is just another way to normalize nudity. Your maiden aunt or evangelical preacher might not go for it, but who knows? Maybe they would. Sure, audiences probably tend to include more open-minded sorts of people. (And Lakeland, Florida is near many naturist resorts.) However, the two naked magicians described have performed in more than 250 cities around the world since 2013. And to prove they don’t need sleeves (or any other distracting clothes) “their attire disappears until the men are literally performing in their proverbial birthday suits.”
- Naked artists in Serbia breathing life into damaged art scene
It’s called “performance art”, and it’s a little different from what the naked magicians do, because the performance is conceptual instead of the more traditional sort of performance by a comedian or magician. Serbia is a country that was devastated by war just two decades ago, and it’s taken some time for the country’s art world to recover. Now a number of performance artists are participating in a retrospective in honor of Marina Abramović, a pioneer of performance art and a native of Serbia.
In the picture above, Aleks Zain is performing his interpretation of Abramović’s piece called “Freeing The Body” – something naturists especially should appreciate. Aleks, a transgender man, “is naked apart from a tightly wrapped scarf covering the head… The performance continues until the dancer falls to the ground, exhausted.”
Another Abramović piece called “Imponderabilia” is performed by Andreja Kargacin, who is a 20-year-old published novelist, theater student, visual artist, and dancer, whose “real passion is performance art”. In the piece, Andreja and another performer stand facing each other, completely naked in a narrow corridor. To reach the rest of the museum, attendees (clothed) must squeeze between the two. If that idea sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because Imponderabilia has been performed a number of times. I recently wrote about it here.
Performance art doesn’t necessarily involve nudity. However, because it is intended to make viewers think deeply about what they see, nudity is certainly one way to make that happen. I really should write more about these artists sometime. But here are a couple more examples. Unfortunately, a still picture doesn’t convey much of the meaning of an actual performance – not anymore than a still picture of a dance performance.
Carolee Schneemann: “Interior Scroll”
- Naturists: Cork could be Ireland’s ‘nude capital’
Many people are probably surprised that there are now lessened restrictions on public nudity in Ireland – similar to those in the UK. It’s now generally legal unless it causes “distress” to someone. That makes it possible for the existence of a number of de facto legal clothing-optional beaches in the country. How could this happen, given Ireland’s reputation for being under the thumb of a domineering Catholic Church? That’s a good question. However, the country has made same-sex marriage legal since 2015, and abortion since 2018. Clearly, somehow Ireland has managed recently to emerge from the dark ages. Naturists in most of the U. S. should be envious.
The article is based mostly on information from an Irish Naturist Association spokesperson. He talks about the general virtues of naturism, and especially about the popularity of private naturist swims in leisure centers and naturist beaches in County Cork. (It probably helps that Cork is at the southern tip of the country.) Cork now has at least five such beaches. Although none are officially designated as clothing-optional, there are few problems, and the beaches could be even more popular and a benefit for the tourist industry if signage were provided to warn people who’re “offended” by nudity.
More: Naturists calling for politicians to make Cork the ‘nude capital’ of Ireland
- Naked cleaners wanted by Irish company
Although Ireland (except for Northern Ireland) has been independent of the UK since 1919, it seems to have many similarities to the UK in social matters. The two countries are alike not only in the legal status of public nudity, but also in the popularity (limited though it may be) of businesses offering to provide professional naked house cleaners. The company getting into that business is Naked Cleaners Ireland. Apparently the business isn’t quite up and running yet. They’re now advertising for male or female job applicants, offering (albeit somewhat coyly) pay rates from €30 to €50 per hour (about US$33 to US$55). Is Naked Cleaners Ireland a legitimate naturist business? Hard to say at this point. One does wonder why all the female models in their ads wear cheesy outfits and high heels. It would be nice if their website specified the guidelines for the behavior of workers and customers alike.