Naturists – who tend to be mostly middle-aged or older – often wonder and ask (see the link, below) “Why aren’t there more young naturists?” Although there are a number of reasons, to be noted here, there’s one fundamental reason: economics.
It’s pretty simple. Many people in their 50s or older can afford things that facilitate naturist activities, such as travel, naturist resort fees, recreational vehicles, etc. They’re also more likely to live in private homes instead of apartment complexes, and so have more privacy for enjoying nudity.
Compared to younger people, these folks have children who’ve mostly left home and are on their own. Older people have had time to accumulate savings. They may have already inherited resources from their own parents. And they’re not burdened with paying off large student loans.
On top of all that, financial inequality has been steadily increasing in the past 40 years. Things were different when the older generation was the same age as people now in their 20s and 30s. They mostly didn’t have large student debts, housing costs and cars were much less expensive, and it wasn’t as necessary for both parents in a young family to work in order to support their family. So they had more discretionary income – and leisure time – in order to get involved in naturism at a younger age.
Keep all that in mind when you’re wondering why more young people today aren’t into naturism.
There are still many non-economic reasons why young people don’t get involved in naturism. They’re important, and sometimes easier to deal with. For example, as always, there are cultural prejudices against social nudity. (Although such prejudices are more impactful because of the economic factors – e. g. concerns about job security.) There are also various factors within naturism itself that make it harder for young people to participate. A number of these are listed below, but certainly there are others.
Most of these factors are difficult to eliminate completely, because they reflect characteristics (like economics) of the world we live in. Nevertheless, people who want naturism to become more popular – especially among young people – need to consider these factors. That’s the only way to deal with the problems that make it harder for young people to be naturists.
Young people who’ve been fortunate enough to be raised in a naturist family have a good chance of continuing to be involved in naturism. But such people are rather few, so it’s important for naturism to have people become involved in naturism as soon as possible once they’re on their own. People who become involved in their twenties may double the number of active naturists compared to what the number would be if most became involved in their mid-forties (or later). Why? Because they’ll spend perhaps twice as many years of their lives as naturists, compared to people who begin 25 years later.
More importantly, most people who’re naturists in their early 20s haven’t yet had children. So when (and if) they do have kids, they’re likely to raise them as naturists from the start. Their children will participate along with them. Those children will stand a good chance of remaining involved in naturism for the rest of their lives – and start naturist families of their own. Passing along the enjoyment of nudity from one generation to the next is the best way to keep naturism healthy and increasingly popular. Attitudes learned in childhood – or as young adults – are usually persistent.
Articles like this: Where are the Young Nudists? do recognize some reasons why young people don’t participate much in traditional naturist activities at clothing-optional beaches, clubs and resorts, and local non-landed naturist groups. Probably they don’t even socialize naked in their own homes.
The article suggests several reasons:
- The websites of many naturist parks and resorts “are in desperate need of a facelift for their websites.”
- Naturist clubs don’t have enough social media presence. “To go along with the need for updated websites, it would also be extremely beneficial if clubs had a larger social media presence.” I would add that even being on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter isn’t enough. What about Reddit, Meetup, Medium, and some popular chat apps? That would allow clubs to have much more 1-on-1 communication with young people – who spend many hours a week on social media.
- Naturist places don’t have enough appealing activities for young people. That’s also an item on my own list (below).
- There is at least a perception that single men aren’t welcome at many naturist places. Although there was some truth to that in the past, it’s less clear now. What is true, though, is that most naturist places have a gender balance problem. That’s well-known, and has been for some time. Older naturists, however, tend to accept it, albeit unhappily. But it’s a deal-breaker for most young people.
- Body image issues are “one of the reasons younger adults are not partaking in social nudism events.” Obviously, this is a serious problem for prospective naturists of all ages, but it’s more acute for young people who haven’t learned to discount, as older people tend to do, the importance of how one’s body looks.
This blog post is also very relevant: Searching for the Threads of a Family Naturist Network
My own list of reasons why few young people participate in naturism includes some of these points – but adds quite a few more. And unfortunately they involve economic and sociological issues that are well outside the ability of naturist clubs and organizations to tackle on their own.
- Apart from enjoying nudity, there’s often little overlap between the interests of young and considerably older naturists – in terms of music, politics, sporting activities, entertainment choices, etc.
- Most naturist camps and resorts in the U. S. usually have limited facilities for the kinds of activities young naturists prefer. For example: extensive hiking trails, diversity of gym equipment, places to use portable computers, equipment for computer gaming.
- Most people who are active in naturist organizations or own naturist facilities are middle-aged or older, so they are less in tune with what younger people think and want.
- Older naturists have become used to significant gender imbalances in naturist activities. Gender balance is much more important to young naturists, for several good – and obvious -reasons.
- Young people interested in naturism today have considerably less available time and/or money to use for naturist resorts and travel.
- Many young people who live in large cities do not own a car or equivalent transportation, so it’s difficult or expensive to visit naturist places distant from where they live
- Existing naturist campgrounds and resorts have usually been around for many years, and haven’t been maintained and upgraded as well as they could be. So they generally lack a modern look and feel, which makes them less interesting to younger naturists.
- The policies of some naturist places require a large annual “membership fee” for more than a small number of visits per year. Although this may be necessary to cover expenses of maintaining the property, many young people can’t afford the fee, so they can’t visit as often as they’d like.
- Established naturist resorts often have permanent housing for members that can be leased or purchased. Mostly such housing is occupied by people who are retired – so a large proportion of people present at any one time are older.
- Existing naturist places may be located on land that’s relatively close to urban areas, where young people generally live – but land that may be too expensive for expansion. And cheaper land for new facilities is further from urban areas.
- Many if not most naturist camps and resorts do not have adequate playground equipment, which is important for young people who already have small children.
- Young families with small children usually don’t find needed services and amenities such as meals for small children, daycare/babysitting, diaper laundry, sandy beaches, etc. at many if not most naturist places.
- Many if not most naturist places do not have small retail stores carrying the kinds of snacks and beverages that young people prefer, or child-related items that families with young children need.
- Even if young people own a car, there may not be enough room to bring along everything they might reasonably want, especially if they have children or want to bring things like sporting equipment and camping gear. Older people with spacious RVs can bring nearly all their needs with them.
- Young people who are interested in social nudity usually have living parents and other older relatives who know little or nothing about naturism – and may well be skeptical or outright disapproving of the idea. So members of the younger generation are worried about dealing with possible (or likely) disapproval.
What is to be done? There are ways for naturist places to deal with many of these issues. But they often involve investments of time and money – even as many places are struggling due to lack of visitors. It’s a chicken and egg problem. If existing naturist organizations would make the effort, how to handle the problems could be discussed – with the objective of identifying solutions that can feasibly be implemented.
But alternatively, perhaps naturism itself needs to change its focus from traditional landed and non-landed clubs to a more “grassroots” approach to social nudity. That is – mobilizing individual naturists on a large scale to promote the ideas and ideals of naturism to open-minded people in their existing social networks. That relies on time and effort contributed by individual naturists – so it avoids expending money for starting new naturist facilities and upgrading older ones. Also, people who contribute their own efforts become more invested in achieving results.
Instead of having to travel long distances to visit widely-spread clubs, naturists should look to enjoying social nudity in their own homes and communities. And organizing naturist events locally, such as hiking and camping trips, requesting local museums to have hours set aside for clothing-optional tours, arranging for weekend clothing-optional flea markets, farmer’s markets, and craft fairs on suitable private land.
Wouldn’t things like that be a lot more fun and interesting – especially for younger people – than driving 100 or 200 miles to the nearest traditional naturist facility, which doesn’t have much to offer specifically for young people anyhow?
Just a thought.