There have been quite a few interesting comments on a post of mine from about 3 months ago: Gender balance in naturism. I’ll discuss my responses to a couple of the comments on it. But first, it’s necessary to call attention to a post from Alexis, a female naturist blogger: Giving Up Nudism?.
This is a long post, so if you’re short on time you can find a summary of the main points at the end, but you’ll miss the reasoning behind those points. If you do have time, it would be a good idea to read (or re-read) Alexis’ post and the comments on it.
For simplicity, I’ll summarize some of her main points. Only the parts in quotation marks are Alexis’ own remarks.
- Alexis’ blog has currently been around for almost 3 years and is one of the most interesting and well-written naturist blogs out there.
- In the post of interest here, she is questioning whether she should “Stop Being a Nudist”
- She says that “the dramatic shift into a nudist lifestyle has been a godsend for me, and when my life was falling apart around me, it was the solace of my nakedness that brought me through that time.”
- However, she makes the dramatic assertion: “Nudism is tainted. Plain and simple. I feel that nudism is so tainted with bad connotations, horrible exposure, and endless marketing from porn sites and news media” Of course, naturism/nudism is not directly responsible for this state of affairs – as most of us will probably agree.
- But she goes on to suggest that “there will be almost zero chance the community will be able to overcome this type of view from those outside of our lifestyle.”
- Then, still not explicitly blaming our community for what she fears, she observes “Nudism has become the face of young naked women frolicking through the woods just begging for men to come searching for them. To me, it’s turned into a sexual fantasy that people search for because they want [to] be naked all the time for sexual purposes.”
- But she considers this situation to be “a major reason why you don’t see people claiming the nudist lifestyle, and beating down the doors at resorts and clubs. If you say you’re a nudist, people immediately have a weird reaction.” And the reason for the negative reaction to identifying as a nudist is “you’re immediately judged as having a weird kink, perversion, or some other abnormal sexual interest.” Those are very important observations.
- She notes that typical nudists “live a somewhat naked lifestyle, but they are more private in their expression and don’t tell anyone.” Most unfortunately, that’s quite true.
- And that being so, “This group of people is the greatest opportunity to prevent the lifestyle from dying out.” Stated differently, it’s critical that naturists/nudists stop being so secretive about their lifestyle and tell others what is so good about it. So the prevalent negative attitudes among non-nudists towards a naked lifestyle need to be challenged head-on.
In general, the negative public attitude towards naturism/nudism is significantly worse in the U. S. than in otherwise similar countries where our lifestyle is better accepted – such as France, Germany, Spain, the UK, etc. In countries like those, naturists are generally less secretive and more open about their lifestyle. In the UK, for example, public nudity is actually legal (as long as it’s not deliberately offensive to others). In that country there are numerous clothing-optional beaches (despite a less than ideal climate), local and regional naturist clubs, many landed naturist camps and resorts, and a strong national organization (British Naturism) that sponsors many events around the country every year. All this is known to the public in the UK, so a much larger percentage of people than in the U. S. understand that naturism is a non-sexual, non-threatening lifestyle whose participants aren’t afraid to let others know that they enjoy naturist activities.
Alexis’ answer to the question of whether to stop being a nudist is basically “no way!” She says “I will continue to live and breath a clothes free, naked lifestyle”. And most importantly, “I want to talk about my experiences and how my nakedness has played a role in my decisions, health, and almost every aspect of my life. … I’m just going to be naked, nude, and clothes free, and when asked about it I will say I see no need to be dressed all the time, especially when I am alone or in the company of others who are like minded.” Protecting one’s privacy is often important. But both naturists and naturism suffer if people who enjoy naturism don’t try to be as open and unsecretive about it as possible.
So let’s go back to the statement that “nudism is so tainted with bad connotations, horrible exposure, and an endless marketing from porn sites and news media.” That observation, at least regarding the U. S., is certainly true. As a result, nudism has “turned into a sexual fantasy that people search for because they want [to] be naked all the time for sexual purposes.”
There are many serious misconceptions that most non-naturists have about nudism/naturism, and many or most of them result from the mistaken idea that naturism is mainly a sexual interest. Such misconceptions are the chief reason that too many naturists are afraid to be open and unsecretive about their interest in social nudity. Consequently, most people who enjoy a naked lifestyle – or actually think of themselves as nudists or naturists – are quite secretive about the pleasures of being naked. So that’s one very negative result.
But there is a second very negative result. It’s that women themselves do not want to be associated with a naturist lifestyle – let alone actually talk about it with others. In fact, most women who have nothing against nudity per se and may enjoy it privately, have little or no desire to visit clothing-optional beaches or naturist places like clubs and resorts. And this quite likely explains the much-lamented “gender balance problem” at naturist places.
Why has this problem become increasingly worse over the past few decades? It seems probable this is because of how feminism has come to take a very legitimate and vocal stand against sexual abuse and sexual harassment in all its forms. So it’s hardly surprising that naturism/nudism is something that most women want no part of as long as it’s perceived as essentially sexual.
There’s a chicken/egg problem here. In order to dispel the mistaken idea that naturism is all about sex, naturists – especially female naturists – need to speak out to spread the word that naturism is wholesome, healthy, and not about sex. But both male and female naturists are afraid to do that precisely because of the erroneous connection in most people’s minds between naturism and sex.
So how do we deal with a problem like this? Do we first try to handle the misperception that naturism is about sex? Oe do we try to deal with the gender balance problem first? Or must we work on both at once?
It seems to me that we should address the gender balance problem first. If we can do something meaningful about that, then there will be more women participating in naturist activities. Consequently, they’ll be able to communicate to others a woman’s favorable view of naturism. That will then attract more men to naturism also. As a result, in a few years there could be many more people willing to be open about it and to tell others about their enjoyment of naturism. It’s helpful if they talk about “naturism” as a particular belief or lifestyle. But it’s enough just to talk about the non-sexual things they like to do clothesfree – even if that’s just hiking, gardening, or working around the house.
At the same time, the gender balance problem is clearly very worth solving. That is, first, because many naturists are quite unhappy about the problem itself. But also, second, because doing something about it will motivate many more women (and men) to tell others about why they enjoy being non-sexually naked, at least, and perhaps participating in non-sexual social nudity as well. If and when that happens, many more people are likely to think favorably about it – or even try it out for themselves.
Trying to change the opinions of the general public that associate naturism with sex is a very important goal. But that’s already been assumed not to be the place to start. So how do we induce more women to participate in naturist activities in order to attack the gender balance problem? I think the answer may be found in a couple of recent comments I added to the discussion of the aforementioned post on this blog about naturism’s gender-balance problem. So let’s take a look at that.
One of the comments on that post agreed that gender balance is important. But it insisted that promoting balance shouldn’t be achieved by placing limits on participation in naturism by single males. Even if not placing limits results in a very large imbalance. But I have a problem with that opinion, because achieving some reasonable gender balance is critical for naturism. That’s because, as already explained, it’s needed to refute the bad misconception that naturism is mainly about sex. I definitely agree that single male participation shouldn’t be limited. However, reducing gender imbalance as much as possible should be a top priority.
A major reason that gender balance is so important is that for naturism to flourish, people of any demographic category should participate as much as possible in proportion to their representation in the general population. So it’s not just a matter of gender, but also of age, ethnicity, education level, income level, occupation, etc. Ideally, people who participate in naturism should reasonably reflect the population at large. Why? Because the best way to attract the most people to naturism is to include everyone who enjoys being naked and also understands and respects naturist principles.
There are a number of ways that men and women already involved in naturist activities can interest women who might consider becoming involved. But that’s a large topic that deserves much more discussion than can be included here.
As far as gender balance is concerned, the basic problem is assuring women that participation in naturism can be just as safe and rewarding for them as it is for men. Therefore, we really need to fully understand why women are reluctant to participate. And then identify what can be done to eliminate or at least minimize the factors responsible for women’s reluctance to participate. This is why the present post began by discussing Alexis’ post on her blog. An important insight from her post is that a major reason why women are reluctant to participate in naturism is the prevalence of the mistaken idea that there’s a close connection between naturism and sex.
I’ll conclude with another important point that’s occasioned by another person’s comment on my gender balance post. This is the comment (and my response): “We simply must do better at getting our message to the world! Then and only then, the gender parity problem will solve itself.”
Again, I fully agree with the first part, that our messaging to the world must greatly improve. But I strongly disagree that doing that alone will be enough for the gender balance problem to “solve itself”. For the sake of completeness, I’ll incorporate it here (slightly amended and with omission of redundant material).
Yes, naturists definitely need to improve messaging – by an order of magnitude. Far too many naturists don’t “message” at all, because they think they need to be secretive about enjoying naturism. That’s the first thing that has to change. And the second thing is clarification and enhancement of the specific message.
But even much more and better messaging, although it will help, probably won’t be enough for the gender parity problem to “solve itself”. Our society is changing and evolving – as all societies do over time. So naturism itself must evolve as well. In what way, specifically, should it evolve? Here’s the thing: in the U. S. it’s quite clear that women in general, and young women in particular, have become much more sensitive to issues concerning harassment, objectification, and equal treatment. This is true in the workplace, in public and private organizations, and in public locations generally. If anything, women’s concerns about these issues are better addressed in naturist places than most other places in society.
The problem is, first, that naturist messaging now isn’t good or frequent enough. But, second, even if it improves greatly, it’s still up against other developments in our society. One of these is the aggravation many women today feel about mistreatment they experience from many men in our society. Related to that is how advertising and popular media in general favor using images of “attractive” bodies of both women and men – often showing as much skin as “acceptable”. The competition by our media to attract attention is intense.
Our society has come a long way from the oppressive religious prudery of the past. Sexuality is now much more openly discussed in both traditional and online media, in public school classrooms, and in private conversations. Exchanging “nude photos” has become almost a “normal” part of dating relationships. On the whole, the trend isn’t necessarily unhealthy. So naturists should feel more comfortable and willing to discuss nudity with others, even though its relationship with sex is far weaker than generally assumed.
Naturists know the pleasure of socializing naked with people who share naturist principles, camping or hiking naked, or just being naked at home. And none of that is inherently sexual. What’s so shocking to explain that to others? However, as Alexis has noted, society’s trend has also enabled pornography that women consider degrading to become much more easily available. More openness about sexuality is one way our society has evolved, for better or worse.
Naturism must evolve to deal with new realities. It’s complicated to figure out just how naturism should respond. But clearly, part of the message has to be that naturist nudity is healthy and has nothing to do with nudity that’s exploitative or degrading to women. That can happen only if naturists are much more open about promoting what they’ve found to be so good about naturism. Fact: naturism just won’t work if its participants don’t have a very good understanding and respect for “boundaries”. So the message that both men and women need to learn and trust is that naturists fully comprehend this fact – and always act accordingly.
It’s been argued here that solving the imbalance problem is probably the most effective way to deal with the problem of the misconception that naturist nudity and sex are closely related, rather than the other way around. And that correcting the imbalance problem is not only worthwhile in itself but also a good way to correct the misconception too. Furthermore, correcting the imbalance can and should be done without restricting single males from participating in naturism.
It’s also been asserted that the first step to dealing with the imbalance problem is for people who enjoy non-sexual nudity to be more open and non-secretive about why and how they experience this enjoyment. By doing that, they’re better able to persuade women (as well as men) to take an interest in enjoying nudity both in private and with others. However, very little has been said here about how to actually have this discussion in conversation with others.
Even less has been said about what to do next when others show an interest in learning more about naturist activities – and possibly even participating in some way or another. Finding women who show this interest can lead to their participation, and therefore chipping away at the imbalance problem. But presenting ideas for how to do this is a subject for further serious discussions.
Well, this post has covered a great deal of material. So let’s just conclude with very brief statements of the key points to take away.
- There’s a very widespread misconception in U. S. society (and elsewhere) that naturist nudity is closely related to sex, and therefore should be considered a cause of “immorality”.
- Something that causes “immorality” should be considered immoral itself and therefore avoided.
- A prominent female naturist blogger is very unhappy about the current state of naturism – because it’s confused with porn and exploitation of women – but she’s not going to give up.
- Fear of being wrongly perceived by others has caused most people in the U. S. who enjoy naturist activities to be too secretive and not open about their interest, due to the general confusion with sexuality.
- Because of fears due to the large misunderstanding of naturism in the U. S., the popularity and acceptance of social nudity in this country is considerably less than in similar countries in Western Europe (and elsewhere).
- Increasingly in recent years women have, justifiably, become more sensitive about sexual discrimination and harassment.
- The widespread misconception of naturism’s close relation to sexual immorality is a serious deterrent for the participation of women in naturist activities.
- The resulting non-participation of women in naturism is a direct result of the misconception, so it’s responsible for the gender imbalance in naturist activities.
- The imbalance itself is a major additional deterrent to women’s participation, so it makes the imbalance more extreme.
- There’s an ongoing difference of opinion within naturism about whether to prioritize refutation of the misconceptions about naturism or encouragement of gender balance and women’s participation in naturist activities.
- There are good reasons that encouragement of women’s participation in naturist activities should be prioritized in order to significantly improve gender balance.
- Achieving some reasonable gender balance is critical for naturism.
- Encouragement of women’s participation in naturism doesn’t and shouldn’t cause discrimination against participation by single males.
- As the imbalance problem is reduced, the misconception that naturism is mostly about sex will also be reduced, so even more women (and men too) will become involved in naturism.
- Women who’ve found that they enjoy naturist activities can be the most effective people in persuading others that naturism isn’t a sexual thing, increasing the chances others will learn about naturism and then participate themselves.
- The strength and prevalence of the misconception have occurred as one aspect of how our society has evolved.
- Naturism itself needs to evolve in order to deal with society’s evolution.
17 thoughts on “Here’s something naturists need to think hard about”
It may well be that there is nothing that can happen that will desexualize nudity for Americans except the slow process of cultural evolution. That’s because they want their nudity to be scandalous and sexual in nature. They enjoy it more that way.
But first, you have to ask yourself why it is different in Britain, France, or Germany. Why did the paths diverge?
Maybe attitudes towards sexuality, in general, have to change before nonsexual nudity becomes an imaginable option.
That sounds sort of like a defeatist attitude, although it could be correct. But change is possible if enough people act to effect change. In the U. S. our national organizations clearly haven’t done that recently. There are, however, ways to act without them. I’ve written about that before, and have more to write soon. Even just one person, like Lee Baxandall, can make a big difference (for a while at least). I’ll be writing more about that soon.
I’d guess a reason for the difference could be the power of old, worn-out religion in the U. S. The country’s still full of that. However, there’s hope, since church attendance has been steadily declining for some time, especially among young people.
Basic physics: things don’t move unless some force has acted on them. There are things individual naturists can do to change perceptions of people they know as far as the nudity/sex relation is concerned. But person-to-person action is necessary. Emailing newsletters to a handful of people doesn’t cut it.
“Maybe attitudes towards sexuality, in general, have to change before nonsexual nudity becomes an imaginable option.”
right; the naturalists have to acknowledge that sex , also is natural. It fits under the rubric of naturalism. One simply can’t pretend that being nude is not going to incite sexual interest
I agree that there is a misconception among many. The only way to fight misconception is to become much more public with normal nudism, clothing optional, basic freedom. Hiding behind high fences at hidden resorts has only succeeded in promoting the notion that nudism has “something to hide.” AANR’s “bill of nude rights” limits nudism to “in appropriate places” rather than promoting public exposure and knowledge. The response to ignorance and misconception can only be public promotion and demonstration.
As far as gender imbalance, there is an imbalance the other way on-line. Many more women pose for and post naked sexually explicit photos than men on-line. Go look at Reddit, for example. Humans are a very sexual species. Younger humans have a lot of sexual desires whether “nudists” want to admit it or not. Women are not asexual creatures either. Nudist organizations need to find ways to accommodate human desires and needs while promoting body freedom.
I was central for five or so years to a nude yoga class in Minneapolis. It was never gender-balanced, and toward the end it was entirely male. We were pretty good about policing gawkers and stalkers, and we could have done a better job of promotion, but I think what kept our class male is that people will make time for what we value. While there are rational and moral reasons for socializing nude, some of us are probably wired to enjoy being naked. Maybe there’s a “nudist’s high” analogous to a “runner’s high,” and some of us are more sensitive to that. In my mixed, nudist/non-nudist marriage, the sticking point is not that my wife is a prude, but that there are only so many hours in a life, and so much of other people’s craziness that a body can deal with. I’m sorry to go passive, but I think the answer lies in some kind of chaotic, social succession. All the economic, sexual, and gender forces are spinning around and bumping into one another, and one day, it’ll work out.
We as naturists need to “Get the word out” so to speak. Not to be afraid of telling everyone about our lifestyle.
The church really has little to do with the problems we face, moreover it’s our way of prudishly bringing up our children. We should tell our children our bodies are nothing to be ashamed of. Explain to others that we are “Naked when we can be and clothed when we have to be”!
I’ve asked this before and I’ll ask it again . . . if you believe that solving the gender balance problem is to be prioritised over dispelling the mistaken idea that naturism is all about sex, then how exactly do you propose to achieve this, given that it’s an age-old problem worldwide that nobody has yet been able to successfully address? What strategies are known to work effectively to attract women into naturism? To me, this approach seems like “flogging a dead horse”.
There are two reasons that seem obvious to me as to why the U.S. has a greater problem with public acceptance of nudity than other countries such as the U.K., New Zealand, Germany, France, etc. Firstly, your laws in most states criminalize public nudity – even placing offenders on a sex offenders register! That alone sends a clear message to American’s that public nudity is immoral, inherently sexual, and obscene. And secondly, the U.S. is the world’s greatest producer of pornography, sexually objectifying both genders, but mostly women. And it’s a multi-trillion dollar Goliath industry that will take a very smart naturist David to defeat!
Until the American Naturist community goes to war against the ridiculous legal position, your hands are bound tightly. You will continue to restrict naturism to within your homes with the curtains drawn, or to hidden away resorts that are perceived by most as sexual haunts.
In the U.S. you first need to lobby for law change, then get your naturist activities out into the public arena with events such as the WNBR, mid-winter Polar Plunge, and events such as charity fundraisers that get the general public daring to go naked for a cause. These are things that countries like the U.K and us here in New Zealand are doing to normalise naturism in our societies – and they work! It’s taking time, but attitudes are changing. And as they change, the mere sight of a naked person will become less of that “forbidden fruit” that arouses sexual curiosity.
I’ve already written up an answer to this, but it’s part of a post I haven’t finished. It should appear soon. But the basics of the answer are simple. (1) It is up to individual naturists to promote naturism. Large-scale naturist organizations have proven incapable of doing that. One thing individuals can do is organize local naturist groups in their general area (within a travel time of, say, 30 minutes or less). (2) Since most active naturists these days are MEN (80-90% or more), it is up to MALE naturists to do most of the work. (3) Every male naturist needs to focus on attracting women to naturism. Doesn’t matter whether it’s women who are relatives, ordinary friends, neighbors, romantic partners, or whatever. Sociological studies show that information and persuasion pass best through short-range relationships. People are naturally inclined to be most easily persuaded by people they know and trust the most.
You need to figure out what is cause and what is effect. My opinion is that prevalent beliefs (that public nudity is immoral, etc.) are generally the CAUSE of bad laws, not the EFFECT of them. The causes of bad beliefs generally lie in historical circumstances that were shaped by factors other than laws. For example, over many centuries religions have arrogantly asserted the right to determine what is or isn’t “moral”. Different countries have different religious and social traditions, and that mostly accounts for the difference in laws. (Consider Islamic countries as an extreme example.)
In general, something that happens later in time doesn’t affect what happens earlier. However, sometimes laws that are really bad can be so extreme as to shape opinions and beliefs. Naturists do need to contend with that, because one of the main objections to naturism in general (even in private) is that “it’s illegal!”. That is stupid reasoning. Laws are shaped as much or more by human misunderstanding as by actual facts. But once they exist, they can perpetuate misunderstanding. Basically, your argument is too simplistic.
A pendulum swings first one way, then back the way it came, due to a force called “gravity”. That’s also relevant to the extreme male/female imbalance. Either the direction reverses, or the system is failing.
So, what people are the main consumers of pornography? Males, right? That means male desires are largely what account for the production of pornography. Certain women are willing to participate in the production of pornography simply because it’s one way they can accept to make a living. So, what does this situation imply about the desirability of the large predominance of male participation in naturism?
Fighting ridiculous laws means engaging in politics. Political action is difficult and expensive, because it is a battle against strong opposing political forces. The U. S. naturist community is very, very small, at least the active part is. So it is very, very weak. The ability to actually affect politics is very minimal. Do naturists really have any chance of succeeding in a political battle? It has only been done on a sufficiently small local scale, such as the (very few) times clothing-optional beaches have been established. Naturist organizations, at least in the U. S. are weak and ineffective. They can do almost nothing politically except on a very small scale. And even then only if individual naturists are willing to put in the effort.
If we’re going to use a war metaphor, naturists have no nuclear weapons, tanks, or even AR-15s. Naturists are armed with things more like squirt guns, at best. The only kind of “war” they can have any hope to expect success in has to be person-to-person interaction. That can be done with non-harmful tools of education and persuasion, by individuals and small groups. Refer to my initial remarks.
Although such rare, isolated efforts are laudable, they have had almost no positive effects, at least in the U. S. It’s a fantasy to suppose any significant part of the “general public” is going to support worthy causes by “going naked”. If that were otherwise, the same people would participate in actual naturist activities. In this country, protests for worthy objectives like “Black Lives Matter” tend mainly to generate lots of push-back and ridicule. Is there any cause where “going naked” is likely to be more effective? Perhaps you just don’t realize how toxic certain parts of U. S. society are.
Oh, and by the way, successful “lobbying” is an activity that requires vast amounts of money to fund advertising, advocacy organizations, and legislators (for financing their campaigns). Where’s that money going to come from to lobby for naturism? Wealthy individuals, corporations, and trade organizations? Fat chance. Vast numbers of individual naturists? Laughable. If individuals want to make a difference, they must do it on their own time and spare change.
Returning to the gender balance issue: Although I’m male myself, I have to say that participation in naturism where 90-100% of the participants are male is of no interest to me. I think this is true also for most other potential male naturists. Such disparity is simply NOT acceptable or capable of success. It’s certainly not acceptable to almost all potential female naturists. The worst people in this country tend overwhelmingly to be males. And that’s been true historically in most parts of the world most of the time.
“. . . prevalent beliefs (that public nudity is immoral, etc.) are generally the CAUSE of bad laws, not the EFFECT of them. The causes of bad beliefs generally lie in historical circumstances that were shaped by factors other than laws. For example, over many centuries religions have arrogantly asserted the right to determine what is or isn’t “moral”.
You are right – the infiltration of Gnostic teachings into the Early Christian Church has done untold damage. While public nakedness was commonplace in early Christianity, the false teachings they were warned about prevail even today. I don’t know a lot about American history, but I suspect the Christian forefathers of American society would have been responsible for establishing the law back in the day, based on the standards of the day they brought with them from Britain. Did our modern generation establish and CAUSE those laws, or are they now subject to their EFFECT?
“Perhaps you just don’t realize how toxic certain parts of U. S. society are. . . . successful “lobbying” is an activity that requires vast amounts of money to fund advertising, advocacy organizations, and legislators (for financing their campaigns). Where’s that money going to come from? Wealthy individuals, corporations, and trade organizations? Fat chance. Vast numbers of individual naturists? Laughable. If individuals want to make a difference, they must do it on their own time and spare change.”
You could well be right there. A country of 330 million is going to be a lot harder to influence that our 5 million. It’s a lot harder to steer a ship that a dinghy! I have no answers for America. I know that it’s difficult but quite possible to effect law changes here. The decriminalisation of gay relationships and legalisation of gay marriage was the result of a long but successful campaign for the LGBTQ community. It can be done, but takes concerted and coordinated, well-organised effort.
Correct. Many of the earliest colonizers from England belonged to oddball Christian sects (“puritans”) who wanted to escape “persecution” by more mainline branches. And once they got here, they set about eradicating the indigenous people. Really loving folks they were…
I’d be interested to know whether and how early Europeans in N. Z. evidently didn’t have such malign effects.
LGBTQ people everywhere have had a difficult time at the hands of almost all traditional religions. (Except perhaps in ancient Greece and Rome) Being gay in England was a crime until the later 1950s at the earliest. (Example: Alan Turing) I’m not aware that being gay was widely criminalized in the U. S., if much at all. Gay marriage was “legalized” everywhere in the U. S. in 2015 by our Supreme Court, not by legislation. The same Court is now more far-right and could reverse that at any time. Apparently it wasn’t legalized anywhere in the world until 2001 (Netherlands).
It’s notorious that LGBTQ people have been much more active at securing their rights than naturists. That’s somewhat strange since naturism per se has generally been “legal” (though not in public) in most of the U. S. (except Arkansas) since after W. W. II – and without much activism by naturists themselves. But naturism in public (e. g. beaches, city parks) is generally not legal in the U. S. – but it actually is in England. While public nudity in France isn’t actually legal in spite of the popularity of naturism there.
Another thing is that trans people in the U. S. are under attack in conservative U. S. states, many of which are making gender-change therapies of non-adults illegal (even in spite of parental approval). Too many people everywhere seem to want to attack others purely out of meanness or to serve a political purpose.
The sad fact is that around the world lots of people (usually motivated by “religion”) want to persecute the private choices of individuals. In many cases that extends even to choices of minority religions. Naturists are hardly alone in that respect.
In most cultures throughout history, minority choices (or even heredity) are treated badly. It’s human nature itself that’s flawed, and activism alone often can’t do much about it. The science of evolutionary psychology has explanations for this tendency. (I. e. inter-tribal warfare)
This just appeared as a new post so sorry for being late to the party….
To add on to your points:
I think the US has the highest percentage of early settlers being religious dissenters who were deemed too extreme in one way or another in their home countries. Even later there were the Shakers, Christian Scientists, Mormons (from upstate NY), Jehovah’s Witnesses, Millerites and the resultant Adventist movement. The last is interesting. Miller claimed Jesus was coming and the world was ending at some point in 1843-44. Thousands of people sold their homes and good and converged in (Missouri?). As you might imagine, Jesus never arrived. Many/most of the people couldn’t go home because they’d sold them. My understanding is that they were largely ostracized and gradually dispersed out from that area. Many of today’s fundamentalist christian groups sprang up from this. They were duped, stranded, & ostracized. No wonder they’re angry. Do a search on The Great Disappointment(s). I wonder if its affect on US society is underestimated.
There’s been this pattern of acting besieged when there’s no evidence of any besiegers, directing aggression at people without provocation but doing so in a manner that suggests striking back, responding to something/anything as if it has or will have an enormous negative impact on their lives when in reality it has none.
Most perplexing to me is that I’ve yet to encounter a single conservative christian/fundamentalist who can tell you how the bible as we know it came to be, the history of THEIR OWN denomination, or anything at all about the history of christianity.
Very often we simply are not dealing with rational minds.
I agree, of course, with all your points. Christians of all types, but fundamentalists especially, have been especially troublesome for naturism. There are exceptions, to be sure, even among fundamentalists. I understand that there are even some Mormon naturists. But let’s be thankful this isn’t a Muslim country. In Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and similar countries, women are very much second-class citizens. They’re typically required to wear clothing that covers nearly all of their bodies – to say nothing of going topfree or naked on beaches. Any violations can get a woman killed by the “morality police”. (In Iran, for example.)
But what’s the common factor here that’s responsible for how women are treated? Answer: men! Especially in the Abrahamic religions, men have almost always been in control. (Don’t know about all the other 1000s of religions out there.) Women are allowed at most a secondary role in almost every case. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Look at it from the point of view of people who do not participate in naturism. Why would a woman or a man want to start with naturism and living nude from time to time?
The only way to find this out is to ask them. Organize a survey. Ask them their opinion about naturism, if they would or would not like to be sometimes naked, if so where (at home, in a garden, at a resort, on a beach, … ?), and ask them to elaborate on their motivation(s).
If well organized these answers will provide more insight on how to improve participation than those speculations. If you also ask the participant’s gender they might even reveal the causes of gender imbalance.
The Naturist Action Committee (NAC) and Naturist Education Foundation (NEC) – which used to be part of The Naturist Society (Foundation) (TNSF) but broke away – have had surveys done in the past by professional polling organizations. NAC and NEF seem to be functioning only in a rudimentary way at present, so there doesn’t seem to be any information about such surveys currently available online. The results, reportedly, were reasonably positive, with 25% (maybe more) replying that they had at some time or other skinny-dipped with friends and 10% (maybe more) had visited a clothing-optional beach. There could be more information from those surveys, but it just doesn’t seem to be available.
Polls about naturism to gather the opinions of non-naturists could in principle be helpful. But good professional polling is expensive. Who’s going to fund it? The largest U. S. naturist organization, AANR, has done little if any polling, as far as I know. AANR represents mostly landed naturist clubs, which do little if any outreach or advertising of their own except (via AANR) to people who’re already naturists. As for NAC/NEF, who’s going to fund them to do polling?
My opinion is that promoting naturism is not very much like promoting consumer products, such as snack foods, electronic gizmos, etc. People already understand such things; they just want to know what’s the latest and greatest and most popular. Most don’t have a clue about what naturism is really like – even if they’re sometimes naked at home. And advertising is very expensive, especially for unfamiliar products.
Sadly, most people who are active naturists don’t, generally, talk directly with their friends about naturism to explain how and why they enjoy it and to learn personally about “the point of view of people who do not participate in naturism”.
Thanks for taking time to look at these issues in the US. I live in the UK and have until recently been mostly a ‘closet’ Naturist. I have visited naturist beaches in the UK and Europe and a spa in Germany but have only in the last year engaged in ‘social nudity’.
As a Christian I am part of the CNF (Christian Naturist Fellowship) and enjoy weekly Zoom calls and attending Christian Naturist events in the UK.
I agree that there are many Christians who consider nudity unacceptable, however there are those of us who do not.
It is more an aspect of ‘human nature’ that people are negative and/or anti-nudist rather than just religious. I have never encountered any organised or group action within the Christian community against Naturism. It really is not of concern to genuine Christians, who are more concerned with spreading the good news of God’s love and forgiveness than bothering with whether people enjoy baring their bodies.
The gender imbalance is sad, as the female form is beautiful to behold in the sight of most men, and the personalities of women add positively to most situations. Here in the UK gender profiling within Naturist clubs is common, and single males are often restricted or excluded. As a mature widower this is dissapointing because if I am to become closely associated with another partner, I want her to be a Naturist (and a Christian) like myself.
For sure, things change and rather than too much emphasis on ‘outreach’ to non-naturists, I reckon we should all be thankful and thoroughly delighted to enjoy every opportunity to be naked either in private or whenever possible, in the company of peers. Joy is a great magnet.
By the way. In the UK nudity has to be shown to ‘be intended’ to cause offence to be illegal, not just to be considered offensive.
The situation of naturism in your country is somewhat different from here in the U.S. British Naturism (of which I’m a member in spite of living in the U.S.) actively promotes naturist clubs and events. Our two national organizations are weak and ineffective. Also, single males are usually not discouraged from visiting naturist parks and resorts or being members of clubs. There would be almost no participants if single men weren’t welcome.
Now as regards religion, there are probably differences as well. In the U.S. large segments of the religious cohort are actively hostile to LGBTQ people and women’s rights (abortion, personal autonomy). They’re just too busy enacting increasingly punitive laws against large classes of people they don’t like. For instance, many states are passing laws that forbid teaching about gender and LGBTQ identity in schools and banning books that even mention such things.
I think the main reason they don’t attack naturism as strongly is that there are simply too few naturists to be very concerned about. Naturists here are still far too secretive to show up on religion’s attack radar. And in addition, almost no parts of the country have sensible laws like the UK’s on public nudity – so religion here doesn’t have much more to do to penalize naturists.