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.
44 thoughts on “Facts that deter young people from participating in naturism”
If nutjobs can be mobilized from hundreds of miles away to attack the US Capitol for their own selfish purposes with no shame it should be possible to mobilize interested younger people to promote wholesome, beneficial naturist social activities in their own area with no shame. Hopefully this virus can be put down sooner rather than later to allow that to begin.
Agree completely. Such extreme events are totally uncalled-for. Participation in naturist activities, however, is not only peaceful, but very enjoyable as well. As soon as the virus is under better control, there’s every reason for people to give naturism a try – and keep at it.
I’m older and I agree with most of your comments. For example, “Naturist places don’t have enough appealing activities for young people.” My experiences taking my family to naturist places (40 years ago when my children were young) was that of BOREDOM. Sure, we could be naked, but there was nothing of interest to do at most places except perhaps Saturday afternoon.
Most important, “perhaps naturism itself needs to change its focus from traditional landed and non-landed clubs to a more “grassroots” approach to social nudity. ” BN in the UK has pushed hard for recognizing clothing optional as a fundamental human right and strongly supported the people’s right to be naked anywhere in the UK. In stark contrast, AANR is completely “Pay-for-Play” landed resort focused. There is little or NO support for young (and older) people living naked in daily life. THAT is their biggest problem in my opinion.
Well, there is always the swimming pool. But kids and teens get bored easily, so there needs to be lots more.
Yes, absolutely. BN seems to totally “get it”. “Anywhere” isn’t going to happen overnight, but that’s the right direction. Neither U. S. organization gets it. Living naked in daily life – for those who want it – needs to become increasingly possible. And it needs to be encouraged so it can be seen as “normal”.
It was BORING for the visiting adults too, except, perhaps, on Saturday night at some nudist places.
RE: Gender imbalance and lack of young people. Over the past couple of decades I’ve seen places like Reddit where every day hundreds or maybe thousands of young women post “porn” selfies. More women than men. The internet has always featured lots of younger women posing for “porn” videos and photos. I have concluded that a BIG part of not attracting a younger crowd is the pervasive anti-sex attitude of older “traditional” nudism. Let’s face it, young men and women are driven by hormones. Finding partners, getting laid, making babies, etc., is a huge part of life before 40. Most traditional nudist resorts make it difficult even for young men and women to socialize together. Not having music and drinking venues is part of that, but the “rules” and policies are another big part. They shoot themselves in the foot. We are a very social species and a very sexual species. The mantra “nude is not sex,” and the anti-sex attitude drives young people away. Just saying.
This is a tough issue that needs very careful handling. Naturism needs to be an activity that’s safe and comfortable for everyone. There are already many places that people looking for erotic activities and entertainment can go. Far more places than there are for nonsexual social nudity, where families are comfortable and welcome.
Many women, too, would be much more at ease with naturism if they were sure that unwelcome sexual attention isn’t a problem, so they’re not frequently being “hit on”. Most women, I think, save the nude selfies for just a few eyes. Do you really think that most are like those who post nudes on Reddit?
I mean, is it really an unreasonable “anti-sex attitude” to prefer enjoying (for example) a meal at a nice place with your family or girlfriend without couples making out nearby? Any young naturists care to comment on that?
Really? What nudist resort does that? I’ve never seen evidence of it. But maybe it depends on what’s meant by “socialize”.
“There are already many places that people looking for erotic activities and entertainment can go. Far more places than there are for nonsexual social nudity.”
So rather than attract the younger crowd to nudist venues you suggest that they go to “many other places.” That attitude has not worked to attract young people to nudist places for generations now. As for families, the parents are also young adults, many of them single, who go to places where meeting a new partner is part of the program.
“Many women, too, would be much more at ease with naturism if they were sure that unwelcome sexual attention isn’t a problem,”
Again, the attitude that sexual attention is a “problem” for young women and men has not worked to attract young people for generations. Rather than reconsider driving them away with the prohibitions on youthful socialization, you insist on not even reconsidering what has not worked in the past.
“Do you really think that most are like those who post nudes on Reddit?”
Yes, millions of women flock to Reddit, “you porn,” Twitter, and other sex/hookup/mating web sites when in the privacy of their own bedrooms. The pervasive anti-sex and antisocial attitudes of nudism has only succeeded in driving off young people for generations. Maybe its time to reconsider.
“I mean, is it really an unreasonable “anti-sex attitude” to prefer enjoying (for example) a meal at a nice place with your family or girlfriend without couples making out nearby?”
That depends on what you want at your nudist places. If you wan to continue driving off all the young men and women who want to socialize and find partners, then its not unreasonable. However the topic of this blog entry is about attracting those very young men and women. Obviously the anti-sex attitude hasn’t worked, and hasn’t worked for generations. You and many others continually bemoan the lack of young men and women at nudist venues, but then you recite the same “go somewhere else” attitude that continues to drive them away.
” ” Most traditional nudist resorts make it difficult even for young men and women to socialize together.” ”
“Really? What nudist resort does that? I’ve never seen evidence of it. But maybe it depends on what’s meant by “socialize”.”
Almost all nudist resorts, and nudist bloggers who tell young men and women to go to the “many other places” where socializing is permitted or encouraged. The Nudist place attitude is that normal flirting is “unwelcome sexual attention,” and “a problem.” THAT is the pervasive public attitude at nudist resorts, and it makes it difficult for young men and women to socialize. If nusists really want young men and women at nudist resorts they will have to change their “go away you creep” attitude.
Perhaps age difference is showing here. What a 60-something finds raucous a 20-something might find stultifying. IMO, this is pretty universal so why would this be different just because we’re in a naturist resort?
Different strokes for different folks. Why expect everyone to like the same things? What naturist places need is to have something for everyone (as long as it’s appropriately naturist). And people should respect others’ preferences.
A couple random thoughts on this:
– One naturist group I belong to is strictly social, but occasionally such events have a secluded area for other activities. However, it’s very discreet and if you weren’t aware it was there, you could easily miss it. The “other activities” area is always a side dish. If you go there just looking for sex you’ll likely be disappointed. Other events are strictly social until a particular time, after which other activities are allowed. However, this is a group for men and primarily gay so I’m not sure how one would frame this with a mixed, straight crowd.
– There a group in Florida called Young Naturists or something like that that reportedly is doing well both with attracting young people and managing the gender imbalance. I don;t know anything more than that, sorry.
– There’s also a nudist village in France called Cap d’Agde (sp?). From what little I’ve read they appear to do a fairly good job separating the strictly social from the more amorous so that people interested in one don not have to deal with the other.
Apparently the Florida Young Naturists group is active enough to bring in others. Because of the warm climate and the number of “real” naturist clubs and clothing-optional beaches there is a “critical mass” of young people interested in naturism. It seems that Cap d’Agde (the naturist part) is a real village, and people can choose the activities they prefer. Also, naturism is very popular in France, so there’s plenty of “critical mass”. Many other naturist parks and campgrounds in France are used by young families. Naturism just doesn’t have the stigma in France that it does in the U. S.
I belong to a nudist club that is for the most part strictly social. However, events that have enough space frequently have a designated area for more amorous activities. The key points are 1) they occupy a small fraction of the total event space. 2) They are discreet; I ‘ve often attended events that had such spaces but didn’t find out until afterward that they were there. Might something lie that work?
It might work. But could be tricky, depending on how it’s handled, and not too many come for just the “amorous” part.
Their shouldn’t be a problem, ever since we were all children, when are moms gave us are first baths when we were about 3 to 5 years of age. That we see each naked for the first time we both looked the same, boys and girls before nature takes place as we age and mature. Boys and girls have the same upper bodies while the lower part is different. We shouldn’t be afraid to be seen naked it is how we came into the world. We should appreciate the beauty and artistry of the nude human form.
Younger people would love to venture into social nudity if venues touting clothing optional or nudist environment weren’t seasonal or not so far away from where they live.
I live within 30 minutes of a nudist resort/camp but they are religious in nature. I live within 2 hours of a gay-owned camp but they hosted sex party once. They are sex-focused. I live within 3 hours of a clothing optional inn but they have discontinued food service.
I live in New Hampshire and travel has been primarily local for me. Travel to Florida, California, and other popular-nudist locales has not been possible.
I seek to go grassroots. At-home social nudity for a dinner party, or deck nude time…
This is precisely why naturism needs to go strongly in the direction of local, home-based groups. Even a single individual or couple could get the ball rolling. But that means being less secretive about having an interest in naturism, so that naturists are able to find each other. Even if your friends aren’t naturists, they might know others who are. The goal would be to have groups as small as four (or more) who could meet at each others’ homes. Tools like Meetup could be used to find other naturists in an area that’s populous enough.
Great read and very interesting thoughts!
But we don’t really agree with the economics part. If that was true, young people wouldn’t have any hobbies at all. The membership fee of a naturist club isn’t significantly higher than that of a tennis club. How many young people have a membership at the gym and rarely ever go? A day pass at a nudist resort is probably much cheaper than a night out.
If money was the issue, young people wouldn’t travel at all. But they do.
It seems to us that resorts and federations like to blame economics, but mostly because can’t/don’t want to see what’s real problems are. It becomes obvious when they start dropping their prices. “70% off the yearly petanque tournament if you’re under 30”. And yet, few young people show up… It’s not that young people can’t put the money on the table, it’s rather that what they get in return often isn’t attractive enough.
And this is where economics does play a role but in terms of time rather than money. Most naturist clubs and organizations are volunteer-based. A beautiful philosophy, but not all that attractive anymore to younger generations who have jobs, families, hobbies, friends,… asking for their attention. This means that the club strategy is often set out by people who are in their sixties or seventies. They have lots of life experience and do great things, but often don’t have a clue about what young people want. This is basically the source of most of the other issues that you mention: ugly website, bad social media, unattractive activities & facilities,…
In California, we met several young naturist couples who prefered to go to a lifestyle club during the weekends instead of the local naturist club. But they were not swingers and had no interest at all in joining the sexual stuff. Yet they paid like 3 times more for a weekend. Just because the crowd at the lifestyle club was younger and the parties were better.
This is not a complaint against the elder generations, but it’s just how things are. We are in our mid-thirties, and we have no clue about what goes on in the heads of those in their early twenties. We don’t know which social media they prefer, which shows they watch on Netflix, what the popular slang words are, how they like to spend their time,… Then how could someone twice our age know?
There is one solid way to attract more young people: By having young people. That sounds like the chicken and the egg story, but there’s a workaround. You can hire them. Give them student jobs. Give students internships. And most importantly: Listen to them. Give them responsibilities and support their visions.
Here’s why I think economics is an important problem. There are acutally several different aspects. First, the cost of visiting a resort. One way that the U. S. is different from Europe is that things are really spread out here. For me in California, the closest naturist camp or resort (Laguna del Sol) is 100 miles away. So just in cost of gas alone it’s at least $20 to go and return on a weekend. There are hotel-quality rooms for about $110 per night, but tent camping is only $10/night. (There are taxes, besides.) Then there’s the day use fee of $33/day. So for a weekend, the lowest cost (including gas) is $96. There’s a nice restaurant, so if you don’t bring your own food, that’s maybe another $50 or so. Figure about $150 per weekend.
Maybe that’s a lot, or maybe it isn’t for a specific person. But the thing is, there are other ways to spend $150 that a young person might find more enjoyable. Maybe a new electronic gadget, a date at a fancy restaurant with a new Match.com friend, or perhaps just a couple of textbooks required for a class. Many young folks are lucky if they even have $150 extra to spend – they have to choose only one thing. This is why it’s incorrect to say “if economics were the issue, young people wouldn’t have any hobbies”. No – they’d just choose something else that’s more interesting to them. That’s what economics is all about: finding the “best” use of a limited resource. Is a young person going to spend $150 to visit a naturist resort – when he/she doesn’t even know whether there’s anything interesting to do there? But if there is, will the person be able to spend $150 each for 10 visits during the summer?
How about a clothing-optional beach instead? California and Florida actually have a few – but they might require driving 200 or 300 miles (each way) to reach. Most of the other states in between? Almost nothing.
Another economic factor: Time is money. A young person without a college degree probably has to take one – or more – jobs at minimum wages ($15/hour at most). Just in order to make ends meet, taking a second job – perhaps driving for Uber – may be necessary. Vacation time? Two weeks, if any at all. (This is the U. S., remember.) Maybe have to work on weekends? Forget about visiting the naturist resort. Certainly not 10 times per season. And if one has a college degree, there are probably student loans to repay, at a time when one’s income is lowest.
Third economic factor: Think about why there are as few naturist resorts here in the U. S. as there are. It’s because there aren’t enough potential customers. Why not? Because most resorts don’t have things young people are interested in. Add new facilities to a resort? That costs money, so fees have to go up. Build new resorts? That’s really expensive – need even higher fees to finance the business.
Net result: The non-economic factors that deter young people from visiting naturist resorts reduce the economic viability of a resort. Vicious circle.
My point, exactly. We don’t disagree.
Ah, so now we’re discussing how to break the vicious circle. That’s precisely what naturists need to focus on. You’ve visited hundreds of naturist places. Have you seen this approach tried? Has it worked? This suggestion sounds promising, but what’s the evidence for it?
Time is definitely an important factor, but we don’t think that all young people have such a lack of time. You make a great point though about the distances. Distance is also time. If you live in Los Angeles, it takes a 2-3 hour car ride to San Diego or Obispo (in decent traffic) to find a nude beach. While there are textile beaches within half an hour. It takes a lot of effort to go to a nude beach. Someone once told us that more than 60% of all Americans have a nudist venue or nude beach within a 100 miles range. But still, 100 miles is a long way…
In Germany and the Netherlands, you rarely need to drive further than 10-15 miles to find a place for nudists. It’s not a coincidence that those countries not only count a lot of nudists but also have a very relaxed attitude towards social nudity.
If you’d ask 100 random young people on the street why they’ve never tried nudism, we don’t think that the answer will be that they think that it’s too expensive. More common answers will be that they don’t know any nudist places or don’t know any nudists. If there would be a nude beach in every town, the answers would be completely different.
Does hiring young people work? Definitely! It’s very common in Europe to see students work at nudist resorts in the summer. Some of them never tried nudism before, but all of them have skinny-dipped in the pool by the end of the summer.
We’ve also seen this approach at Bare Oaks in Canada. Lots of the staff are in their twenties. Is it a coincidence that Bare Oaks is the most popular resort in Canada for young people, families, and women? We don’t think so 🙂
I want to interject here with a few of my thoughts.
I’m just about to leave my twenties and almost all of my nudity experiences have been within my twenties. I’ve never been to a resort, even though I’ve wanted to. I can only accurately describe my own inhibitions and those I’ve noticed in those around me.
I think you’re both right. Time is a huge factor as well as money. Convenience and social aspects play big roles as well. But my thoughts are that each young adult is affected more strongly by some of these reasons depending on where they live, more so the regional culture affecting any of these things as well as overall impressions of nudity.
I do not live by any coast. No beaches are that close to me. Add to that the fact that my area doesn’t have any resorts even inside my state, which I’m deep in the heart of, and that means that going to an established naturist venue has both time and money limitations. Traveling requires me to fly and then rent a car to get to one of these places or take a week off work to drive, which is in some ways better and others worse. The economics behind participating in any of these places is not feasible for me. This is in small part why many around me won’t participate, even in the local non-landed club when it takes a little over an hour to drive to a place that costs money to participate.
But then there’s another even higher barrier for myself and others like me: Perception. At the very least, where I live is a fairly prudish culture. Between what they’ve been taught as children (by their parents or their church of choice) and even aided by media and popular opinion, many believe only that being naked with anybody but your spouse or significant other is scandalous, comical in a bad way, or the like. The body is often an object for self-consciousness, and add to that the mental illness of anxiety or depression and you have a mixture of problems all stronger than any economic factor.
There may be many who are only naked at home because that costs nothing, not even mentally. Their families or friends can talk to them without seeing them, so they can relax how they like. But even then, they won’t want to be seen at all–that possibility might scare them enough to not be naked in case somebody comes to the door or it gets darker outside than in their house and can see them (or some peeping Tom is trying to catch them when they least expect it).
Then we get into the same conversations about how the media wants to hyper-sexualize the human body, religious zealots argue against exposure, bureaucrats pushing legislation to outlaw the body, and other factors. I’d say that if you make somebody not just believe that nudity can be good but to love it, no amount of cost (time or money) or potential of social ridicule will prevent them from raising a family as naturists or encouraging others to participate with them. It definitely starts with “grass roots” and grows from there.
But for now, I’m in the mostly participate alone at home group. My wife is extremely opposed to nudity, informed greatly by her own gymnophobia, the teachings of our church, and her upbringing. No amount of convenience would ever possess her to go to a naturist resort or nude beach. Thankfully, her love for me trumps her hatred of nudity or else she’d leave me, but that means any events the local, non-landed club offers are also off the table for me. I also refuse to go without her blessing because my love for nudity is not stronger than my love for her. I’ve heard tale of many others in my same shoes, it being the most common problem in my area.
In any case, I hope this also sheds a light on a much harder problem we face in spreading the word. I hope it doesn’t get worse, but things aren’t looking up too much yet. My hope and thoughts go toward making that a better place for us all.
Thanks for listening!
I have a great deal of sympathy for your situation. Given where you live and your wife’s current opinions, there may be little you can do at this point. Many people your age are in the same situation. A great many people of all ages are too. Yet many others aren’t, so they don’t have the same reasons you do for not giving naturism a try.
There are a couple of things that may offer hope for the future. One is that for reasons you can’t anticipate now, at some time in the future you may be able to move to somewhere else where naturism is more practical for you. Another thing is that even among the practitioners of certain religions there are active groups of naturists, even though they may have to be secretive about it. If religion seems to be one of the main obstacles, you might want to see whether you can get in touch with naturists of that religion who could offer advice. Good luck, and don’t give up hope.
” … young naturist couples who preferred to go to a lifestyle club during the weekends instead of the local naturist club. But they were not swingers and had no interest at all in joining the sexual stuff. Yet they paid like 3 times more for a weekend. Just because the crowd at the lifestyle club was younger and the parties were better.”
One can assume:
– they aren’t getting problematic sexual advances.
– there’re enough non-sexual (aka ‘strictly social’) activities that they keep going back.
– the club has enough t0 offer that they’re willing to pay more to go there.
Maybe it would be worthwhile to check out this lifestyle club to see how they have their venue set up and how their activities are run? They must be doing something right to attract people who aren’t there for the ‘lifestyle’.
Just the fact that there are young people there, for whatever purpose, is enough to attract other young people who aren’t themselves into the ‘lifestyle”. Why would they want to go where the majority are over 50?
I remember that Ca State Northridge had an official student group for young nudists. It was run by students and had a faculty advisor. There was no problem with gender balance. Head further up the coast and you come to UC Santa Barbara. More Mesa is a nearby beach where lots of university students would hang out and it was clothing optional. Further yet up the coast, Avila Beach was frequented by students from Cal State San Louis Obispo.
But this was all decades ago. That group no longer exists. I don’t have a clue as to those beaches’ current status. But… I have noticed that backcountry nudity at locations like Deep Creek Hot Springs is usually a younger crowd. And Saline Hot Springs in Death Valley National Monument. And Wild Willy’s near Mammoth.
One of the keys to getting young people involved is to appeal to their sense of adventure. Another is having recreational activities they will find interesting. Nude college students will be interested in the same things as their textiled counterparts. We might target specific groups of young people – feminists, gays, nature lovers, maybe even Wiccans, as high propensity prospects. The best place to look for them is at colleges where they are in high concentrations and are trying out their “wings” on their own for the first time.
Late middle-aged and older folks are fundamentally incompatible with younger people. Nobody wants to party hardy with people like their parents. They value different experiences and don’t mix well. Many – if not most – resorts do not really want young people because the older folks are where the real money is at. If there is a conflict, we know who loses.
If you want to engage young people in the nudist idea, you’ll need to find local young people to sell it. It needs to be as cheap as possible – or even free. Young nudists are not going to be a money making project but rather a future building project. That means many clubs will NOT be a lot of help.
Next, make it an inexpensive experience, and preferably one where travel requirements aren’t onerous. Sell it as an act of social justice. Sell it as an adventure. Sell it as an act of rebellion. Sell it as a lot of fun. Have a band or a DJ and reserve local venues. Think more like a concert promoter and less like a camp manager. Be cautious about mandating nudity. Mixed nude and topless is a valid option. Otherwise, you lose much of the top-free movement.
Young adults (18-24) generally have a powerful need to find a mate. But… if there is gender imbalance but the excess is due to gays joining, that’s not a real imbalance. I may be wrong but from my personal experience, gay males are especially attracted to a nudist lifestyle and lesbians not as much.
If you can find a mechanism to start doing this at say, a dozen large colleges in communities where such is legally possible, it might just work. Otherwise, we’ll just have to wait for the slow process of social evolution to bring people around.
The question is: who is this “we” that’s going to do the targeting? AANR or TNS? I don’t think so. They’ve had every opportunity to do something… and haven’t. Is it the average naturist in the area? Not very likely, or it would happen. Some degree of leadership and organization is necessary to make things – just about anything – actually happen. So perhaps there needs to be a new organization that (somehow) just comes together to do the work. There are organizations all the time that target college students for some cause or other. But who is it that will put together such an organization for naturism?
Regarding college students in particular:
How did the group get started, and why did it eventually disappear? Starting special groups in college is easy. I started a political group in college during my first semester. It was almost too easy, because there were already plenty of people who’d be interested in the group. That does not seem to be the case with naturism. The idea has to be sold. Someone has to do the selling. There’s an obvious candidate: the naturist resort that’s closest to campus. Have a blanket invitation to students to visit the resort on a weekend – no charge. Let them see what naturism is really like. Have resort members welcome the students and explain what’s so great about naturism. Offer an unlimited pass to visit the resort for a minimal fee, like $5. Hire a bus to visit the campus every weekend to bring interested students to the resort and take ’em back on Sunday. Identify group leaders, and suggest how they could arrange events on or near campus. You know, things like parties, nude hiking trips, etc., etc.
This isn’t rocket science. What is needed is just naturists who’re willing to make the effort required. If that group at Northridge fizzled out, it was probably because the initial leaders graduated, and there was not enough done to being in new people.
Mostly agree. So there also needs to be outreach to young people recently out of college. But using pretty much the same approach as above. However, I’m in the older group myself, and I don’t feel much in common with others my age. It would be great if resorts had ways to help young and older interact.
It all depends on how the resort is run. It should be run as a business that wants to survive. The oldest customers of the business are not going to be around for very long. So it’s always necessary to bring in new customers. And here’s the thing: go for the youngest customers. They’re the ones most likely to be around the longest. (College students not so much, since they’ll be graduating. But their presence at the resort will attract young people already out of college.) However, if the owners of the resort consider it just a hobby rather than a business, the resort itself won’t be around for long.
Social evolution is going to stamp naturism out in the Americas. the Puritan totalitarianism and corporate conformism will keep stealing the youth, do you know any working teachers that are open about naturism? how about lawyers? politicians? corporate executives? Problem is nudity isn’t normal anywhere in America this is what gave rise to the failing camps/clubs in the first place. No one is going to give control of a million dollar project to that naked guy, no one trusts that naked girl with their children, they wont accept leadership from that naked freak… Young professionals have a lot to loose if they “get caught with their pants down” we have a long way to go to normalize the human body before we can attract todays Yuppies to open naturism. how is it that the freedom promised of the internet only tolerates nudity for porn, “community” based platforms all ban or censor /discriminate against nude content. Free the nipple is going to have to gain a lot more traction before naturism is going to be attractive to upperly mobile youth. Even an international forum on the topic of naturism “Simply Naked”, not a nipple in sight https://youtu.be/WKw8E-Wa-6Y
In a country as vast as Canada there are only 2 officially sanctioned nude beaches. The Federation of Canadian Naturists’ directory lists fewer than 30 clubs nation wide, none in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, PEI, Yukon, NWT, or Nunavut. Try and type FCN into Google…
Do you believe that “resistance is futile” and nothing can be done to save naturism? If not, then what would you recommend that naturists do?
What do other naturists think about the outlook for social nudity on this continent?
While I agree with a lot of what Glenn says regarding the present state of affairs, everything I’ve read points to the puritan totalitarian crowd facing a major demographic problem. Their children and grandchildren aren’t following in their footsteps at anywhere near a high enough rate to replace those aging out. Whether it’s equal rights, religion, or the idea of what constitutes ‘American ‘ younger folks just aren’t buying into it.
It’s not just naturism. The problems are far more extensive. The whole world is facing a number of critical problems, like climate change. And the older demographic (which isn’t the same as the “puritan totalitarian crowd”) seems least inclined to allow changes to address any of the problems. The puritan-totalitarians are certainly a big part of the problems (see: Afghanistan), but our local P-Ts are quite bad enough, especially for naturism. As far as naturism is concerned, the younger demographic must make their mark by actually participating in naturism, not avoiding it. But as for the much larger problems, the younger people are the more they’ll bear the consequences of not addressing all the larger problems in the world. Obviously, and understandably, older people simply care a lot less. And that applies to everything, from naturism to climate change.
My experience is the same on the gay male angle. Strictly social nudist events/activities are not a tough sell for that demographic group. There’re even social nudist groups that run by/for gay men. Also, when I used to go to my ‘local’ (5 hr round trip) nude beach I noticed that about 20% of the people in the quiet part of the gay end were actually 20-something straight women. When asked why the answer was always the same: So I can hang out with my friends without getting hit on. I’ve no idea how to sell it, but I bet a lot of women would ignore any gender imbalances if they knew half the men there were gay.
Wiccans: Maybe expand that idea and target non-comforming/activist groups of any type?
People differ on so many separate dimensions that it’s a given not all dimensions will be evenly balanced. Probably the way naturists differ from the average is being open-minded and tolerant of diversity in many respects. Obviously in terms of attitudes about wearing clothes, but that’s only one dimension. Younger people tend to be more open-minded and tolerant in many ways. But even a lot of them aren’t. There’s an old paradox of whether to be tolerant of people who are not tolerant. Human nature is full of paradoxes. But in terms of relative open-mindedness, naturists and young people have something in common.
Some very good points well made on what is a complex issue. To my mind it’s about changing attitudes and much needs to be done in this respect from top to bottom. Many of us have been naturists or nudists, whichever you like to call it, for a while and look forward to what’s ahead but has a study ever been conducted to find out what attracted us to the naturists lifestyle and how we became part of it and why. From that we could then look at the age group of 18 – 35 which is where energies should be directed. Brad Kemp above has hinted at social media where most young people are involved in these days and contribute, WNBR’s attract young people, naturist beaches which are more accessible attract young people but what do we do to harness these interests after these events ? YBN are of that age group and it seems to me that they are kept as a separate entity away from mainline naturism and I ask myself why. What ideas do they have on increasing the numbers of younger naturists. Perhaps if greater communication existed with the younger generation, we could then understand better what they would like to happen and how naturism could grow on a more localised basis.
There have probably been studies, but I can’t recall any specifically. It would be a very difficult question for people to answer, because there probably are multiple factors occurring over time. My own experience is an example. When I was still in grade school (age uncertain) and happened to be alone at home, there were a couple of times I got naked and stayed that way for a little while, since it just “felt good”. When I was in high school and we had a large backyard behind the house, there was a tree I could climb, and I sometimes got naked while up there and probably wouldn’t be seen. That just “felt good” too. So the good feeling is probably one factor. Until I was in college I had no idea that such a thing as nudism/naturism even existed. I learned about it only when I noticed a few nudist magazines at a local newsstand. I was quite intrigued, but had no idea about how to actually get involved. Only later once I was living in California and learned that there were clothing-optional beaches near where I lived did I take any action – by visiting the beaches, getting naked, and enjoying the experience. Yet it still took longer to get very involved. I followed some online naturist discussion groups in the 1990s, and joined TNS to “officially” become a naturist, start visiting naturist resorts, etc.
So what was the actual “how” and “why” of becoming a naturist? There are a series of possible things. Certainly if I’d actually had an active naturist among my acquaintances, the process would have gone much faster. Perhaps a large part of the process is how a prosecutor evaluates a crime suspect. Namely, (1) the suspect should have a motive; (2) the suspect should have the means to take action (of course, anyone can get naked, at least in private); (3) the suspect must have the opportunity to do the deed. In short, to be a naturist one needs to find the idea appealing, and then have an opportunity to follow through without too much effort and with a reasonable sense of security.
This suggests that an effective naturist organization needs to (1) persuade people that social nudity is a good thing; (2) provide a simple road map for how to get involved in naturism; (3) make it easy for the potential naturist to actually take the first steps.
The first of these things is probably the hardest. In most cases there’s probably more required than just telling people that naturism is good. (Although I didn’t need that.) For the majority of people I’d guess that it’s necessary to have one (and generally more) close acquaintances do a lot of the persuasion. Because of widespread social prejudices against nudity, most people don’t seem to find the idea appealing on their own.
You wrote, “…perhaps naturism itself needs to change its focus from traditional landed and non-landed clubs to a more “grassroots” approach to social nudity.”
If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be? I like to think we’ve all got a superpower already, that we can all be superheroes if we just harness our natural abilities. The way I see it, your superpower is that one quality that is especially strong in you. That thing that everyone who knows you would think of when they think of you. It’s part of what makes you uniquely you. It could be that you’re an incredible listener, or a non-stop talker, you could have an imagination that can transport you anywhere, or be able to think of a song for any occasion, maybe you make the best sourdough, or you can crack a joke in any situation. Anyway, you get it, it’s that thing that you do that others remember you for. I think if we figure out what that is and use it for the good of others then we can all be superheros in our own right. My superpower is getting people naked! I’ve always been persuasive, been an instigator, but now I’ve honed in my persuasive nature to what I really want people to do-to get naked.
Excellent point, and well stated. Naturism could become even more interesting and enjoyable if enough naturists cultivated the power for persuading others to get naked.
My biggest problem is gender discrimination. I am a 34-year-old single man and am not allowed to attend a nudist club. One that I’ve even been to before as a single man. The nudist club (Avatan in Minnesota) said they don’t allow single men to attend because they “want to keep the gender ratio balanced.” But here’s the kicker: they told me they would allow two gay men to attend as a couple. So, one single man attending would upset the gender ratio balance. But two gay men attending together wouldn’t. I pointed this out to them, and they still wouldn’t let me attend.
I’m not the only one who has been discriminated against. I read about a man who regularly attended a nudist club or resort with his wife. After his wife died, the club/resort said he was no longer allowed to attend. Resorts and clubs (some, at least) claim it’s to keep the gender ratio balanced. But I suspect it’s really because they don’t want anyone to misbehave, which is mostly done by men. So they discriminate against men who want to attend alone. What if most of the people who misbehaved happened to be of a certain race. Would they ban everyone of that race? Why is gender discrimination allowed? This is why I haven’t joined AANR. Why join an organization that condones discrimination like this? Another nudist club in Minnesota simply hasn’t responded to my emails inquiring about attending.
Though it’s not the main problem, some nudist clubs/resorts are shooting themselves in the foot and kind of deserve their lack of attendance.
I’m very glad you brought this up. The gender balance issue (or gender discrimination issue, if you prefer) is one of the biggest problems facing U. S. naturism, and has been for a long time (like decades). But it’s a very difficult issue to deal with. I really should devote an entire post to discussing it. Perhaps this reply will be a start.
I certainly agree with you that it’s wrong and unfair for a club like Avatan to exclude men entirely for gender balance reasons. There definitely needs to be more flexibility. But the issue is a very tough one. Here’s the main problem: If there are “too many men” at a naturist club, event, or even a clothing-optional beach, then many other men, as well as women, will be considerably less likely to participate. That’s not mainly because of homophobia (although that could be a part of it). It’s because in most places there are about as many women and men in the population. So in many other social settings, it’s normal to have a fairly equal gender balance. And that’s a very good thing, because women and men may have somewhat different attitudes and approaches to life in general. Consequently, many people positively enjoy getting to know and socialize with people of a different gender than their own. (Of course, some social organizations are exclusively single-gender by design, and that’s OK. But some men and women simply don’t enjoy socializing with people different from themselves, and that’s unfortunate.)
When is some particular imbalance “too extreme”? That really depends on who you ask. A ratio of 10-to-1 or even 20-to-1 men over women may be acceptable to some men, and even a small number of women. But probably not in most cases. What about 5-to-1 or 3-to-1? That will be acceptable to more people, but still unacceptable to others. People who find that unacceptable will be much less likely to participate in naturism. And that hurts naturism, even for people who aren’t bothered by imbalance. Why? Because it makes naturism a lot weaker than it should be. Fewer people who participate means there will be fewer naturist clubs and fewer clothing-optional beaches. You can depend on that. For naturism to be as strong as it needs to be in order to survive and, hopefully, prosper it must attract as many people as possible. I’m sure there are many, even in a country like the U. S., who have no problems being naked around others. There have been surveys that show many people have either been naked at clothing-optional beaches, or would do so if it were convenient. But they still don’t choose to participate in naturism because of imbalances.
This past summer I started a Meetup group for naturists in the general area. I didn’t exclude single males. Almost everyone who joined was male. Most did not have partners, naturist or otherwise. There were hardly any hetero couples, and even fewer single women. In spite of offering several events, there was very little interest. It’s my impression that most other naturist Meetup groups have had similar results. One of the problems here is that the nearby population density is low, so people are fairly spread out. So why would people be motivated to drive 50 or 100 miles to an event if a significant gender imbalance was likely?
I can think of a couple of ways to deal with the problem. Naturist clubs and resorts should never absolutely exclude single males. But they could schedule different times and events when any trustworthy naturist could attend, regardless of gender – and other times when some gender balancing is required. Another possibility is to require single males to be fully naked when it’s warm enough and there are shady areas to avoid excessive sun.
But individual naturists, too, should take some responsibility. For hetero couples where only one partner is a naturist, perhaps the best that can be done is for clubs to relax as much as possible any requirements to be fully naked, except perhaps in swimming pools and spas. Probably in most cases it will be female spouses who will want to remain at least partially clothed. Then more might be willing to participate. Non-hetero male couples should generally be allowed under the same conditions.
Individual single men who aren’t in a committed relationship but are dating should make it a top priority to find dating partners who’re at least willing to participate even if remaining partially or fully clothed. Or at least find a female friend (or relative) who’s not interested in a relationship but willing to come along, perhaps remaining clothed. Everyone who wants naturism in the U. S. to be successful, should make improving gender balance a priority.
I think a lot of reasons I was going to give have already been mentioned, but here are mine:
– Generation Gap differences. Not just in nudism but in the rest of the human race too. At one nudist place I used to attend, an organisers teenage daughters did the DJ-ing for a while at a dance party. The old fogies booed them off the stage and complained about their music. No wonder a lot of young people (especially teens) don’t like to go to nudist places if they get treated with disdain by older patrons.
– Gossip. I’ve had a number of younger nudists shun out my events because of lies, rumours and half-truths spread about me in the local nudist community.
– Repression of sexuality. Already covered. I am not saying that young people should be allowed to run around nude having free sex at clubs or on beaches. Rather, a lot of our cultural norms about sex do not make sense and that’s why young people break them and become hypocrites.
Also we all know what “those who protesteth too much” types like Senator Mark Foley are like anyway.
– Climate change and economics. Young people are more streetwise about skin cancer. Especially where I live, as Queensland has the biggest hole in the ozone layer. The economic slump in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic has made things even worse for young people to be able to travel.
Hey, how come I haven’t seen you around here before?
Generation gaps are certainly a problem. I think many naturists, both young and older, would like to have more age balance in naturism – just as with gender balance. Of course, there will always be some who want to socialize only with people like themselves, and that’s a shame. The behavior of “old fogies” in your example is inexcusable. But people of different generations do have very different preferences in music and dance styles, so naturist clubs and resorts should cater to both at different times and/or places.
The issue of “sexuality” in naturism is perennial. Open sexuality shouldn’t be part of naturism, but drawing lines is difficult. Is it too “sexual” to wear see-through or otherwise “provocative” clothing or party costumes? In appropriate circumstances, naturists should be able to enjoy emphasizing their comfort with all body parts – because it’s harmless fun to “show off” a little. Sexy dancing? Probably OK if it’s not too much like strip club stuff. Sexualized contact, except in private, is usually where the line needs to be drawn.
It’s not clear how climate change figures into things. Sensible people, especially with fair skin, have always had to be concerned with getting too much sun exposure. Especially after their first bad sunburn. Even aside from cancer, sunburn is simply painful and to be avoided. I’m not very sure there’s an age factor in this.
I think nudist miss the most obvious reason young people don’t frequent nudist parks… THEY DON’T NEED TO!
In the past nudist were shunned at every turn. Today, there’s the WNBR and fantasy fest and many other events. There are also more nude beaches. Not to mention young people tend to get naked in private social settings more than in the past.
It makes lots of sense that young people who want to get naked with others would do so in private social settings. Such settings would usually be free and could be almost anywhere. However, since they’re private, it’s pretty difficult to figure out how common they are. They’d generally be arranged by young people who enjoy nudity and have a few friends who feel the same way.
I’m not so sure about the other things you mention. WNBRs occur only in a few medium-size to large cities, and generally only once or twice a year. I think Fantasy Fest is just a once-a-year thing in Key West. Then there’s Burning Man, but only once a year, in Nevada. In the U. S. most clothing-optional beaches are on either the East or West coast, and there aren’t really that many. So I’d think most people who want to enjoy social nudity must do so in private settings. And that’s fine! But other than that, naturist clubs and parks would seem to be the most common alternative.
If you don’t mind, could you describe the social settings where you personally enjoy naturist nudity?