Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 10/31/19

While, sadly, it’s now autumn – and getting steadily colder in the northern hemisphere – spring has arrived in the south – together with good weather for outdoor nudity. So we now have naturist stories from Australia, and should see many more until spring comes again in the north.
Continue reading “Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 10/31/19”

Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 9/30/19

  • Late Summer Nights with Naturist Friends: My Humble Attempt at Writing a How-To Guide
    If you like the idea of more frequently having impromptu clothing-optional get-togethers at your home for friends, Dan Carlson has some suggestions that may make such occasions more enjoyable for everyone. But they aren’t exactly things you may not have thought of yourself. Your friends needn’t necessarily be naturists themselves, but they should be comfortable socializing with others who prefer being naked. And, if you provided enough incentives around your home, some may even try out the pleasures of social nudity. I’ve written before on the felicity of, when possible, mixing together friends who are naturists with others who are merely tolerant of nudity.

    So, what sorts of things will make such occasions better? Put a fair-sized hot tub or spa at the top of the list. Your family will thank you, even if you don’t have guests. Provide towels for everyone – for sitting on, of course, but also for drying off after the hot tub, and even wrapping up in loosely for those who’re a bit shy of full nudity. In gathering places open to the outdoors, such as on a screened porch, have a source of heat like a wood or propane stove for the colder evenings. A nice fire in an outdoor fire pit is also good (unless it’s pretty cold, raining, or snowing). If you want to be outdoors in the back yard, weather permitting (and if mosquitoes and the like aren’t a problem), you’ll want privacy from the neighbors (if you have some who aren’t naturist-friendly). The right shrubbery for your climate is the best way, but takes long-term planning if it’s not there already. However, good fences make good neighbors, and require much less time to put in place.

  • Naked On The Run: A New Craze For Racing In The Nude
    Naked running events aren’t anything “new”. A number of naturist resorts in the U. S. have held such events for years (example). That’s also true in many other countries, such as England. Naked running events that aren’t necessarily serious competitions are also frequent. Naked running has been touted as promoting body acceptance. In case you’re interested, there’s even advice on how to prepare. So naked running’s not a “craze” – even though some journalists (or headline writers) use that term to show their disdain for naked activities.

    The naked race described in the article selected here was scheduled for a beach in France. The organizers expected only a small number of participants, but were “overwhelmed” by the actual interest, and they had to limit the event to 60 runners due to the small size of the beach. If anything, the response is an indication of current enthusiasm in France for naturism and naked activities. According to the writer, “Nudism in France has become increasingly popular.” A spokesperson for the Paris Association of Naturists even claimed that “At the end of the 19th century, France became the birthplace of naturism.” Although Germans might dispute that, the Association also claims “France is the top world destination for nudists.” The response to the race might be evidence of the claim.

  • WTF?! Naked Mountain Biking Explained
    An activity that is a little more unusual is naked mountain biking. “Perusing the local paper over a morning coffee, I nearly choked when I saw the first entry in the “weekend happenings” section: a naked mountain biking group ride.” That’s how Jason introduces his article. At first, he thought the idea “seemed so uncomfortable.” But a quick Internet search turned up the testimonial “This is awesome!” Consequently, “as a journalist, mountain biker, and father of a toddler who likes to do everything naked, I figured I needed to investigate.” After the experience he decided that “This is awesome,” and reports that “everyone seemed to have a great time.” The article concludes with a dozen “Lessons Learned From Riding Bikes Naked”. Some of these are things most naturists know (use sunscreen), while the rest are intended for serious mountain bikers.

  • Reflections on a Naturist Life: La Jenny, France 2019
    Dan Carlson’s a world traveler, in addition to his professional job. He has “often cited” La Jenny “as the best naturist place in the world,” and notes that he and some or all of his family have returned “to La Jenny at least a dozen times over the ensuing years.” Nevertheless, it’s been five years since his last visit. (Previous reports are here and here.) Dan considers his first visit in 1997 with his wife “as a pivotal event in our naked lives.” He has much more to say in this post, but the key insight may be this:
    as I read so many blog posts, tweets, and reddit musings from frustrated husbands and fathers who simply can’t find a way to sell naturism to their spouses and families, I can’t help but think, “That’s because you simply can’t find a place in close proximity to where you live to replicate the everyday normal naturist experience in France… or Croatia…or Spain.” Family naturism will never feel normal when you’re in an environment where it simply isn’t… NORMAL!

    In other words, the experience in just about all naturist camps and resorts in the U. S. is very different from what it is in non-naturist places of an otherwise similar sort. Especially for families (which are rather scarce in U. S. naturist places). In France (and Spain and Croatia), however, on a vacation there’s not much difference between the experience and the people inside and outside a naturist place, except for the nudity. In other respects, most details are just about the same in either case. That probably has a lot to do with how in France naturism, in general, and family naturism, in particular, is increasingly popular (see above article on naked running) – in sharp contrast with the U. S. situation.

  • Why French Families Go Massively for Naturism
    There’s more on French family naturism in this recent post from Nick and Lins. They’ve spent much of the past summer touring naturist French places, large and small. It’s arguably true that “Ever since the beginning of naturism, France has been the number one country in the world where people like to drop their clothes.” But although France “provided so many facilities for naturists, the large majority of the naturists enjoying those facilities were foreigners.” Now, however, “things have changed a lot. During our nude road trip through France we were not only surprised by the huge amount of French naturists, but also by who they are. Lots of the French visitors we met at naturist campings around France were young couples and young families.”

    What accounts for this change? The post argues that “Naturist resorts around the country understood that the blame falls partly on them. They’ve never really tried to change the image of naturism in the media. Until today. Around the country, naturist places are opening their doors for the press.” So, many more people in France itself are learning about the pleasures of real naturism. (Something similar is beginning to happen in the U. S., but significant positive effects have yet to be seen.) And why has this change in France been especially significant for young families? The post is somewhat vague on this question. But I’d submit that the answer can be found in the post above from Dan Carlson. Namely, there are so many more “normal” recreational activities at French naturist places than there are in the U. S. counterparts. Nick and Lins give a great example of this in another recent post here. They do discuss family naturism in this May post: Family Naturism: Let’s All Just Get Naked. (All pictures in that article are from a French source.)

  • No clothes? No problem for visitors at ‘naturist’ camp in Croatia
    Croatia is a country far less well known in the U. S. than France, but it once had a thriving naturist culture. According to the article, “As an early pioneer of nudism, Croatia’s idyllic Adriatic coast has a long and storied history of people stripping down to swim and commune with their surroundings in the naturist tradition.” Late in the past century there was a significant decline in naturist facilities: “By the mid-1980s, Croatia had 34 nudist camps, leading the market along with France and Germany. Today that number is down to nine.” Much of the decline can be attributed to the very unsettled political situation around 1990, followed by stiff competition from naturist opportunities in Spain. But Croatian naturism seems to be rebounding now, with the country building on its earlier naturist culture to actively attract naturist tourists to the country. One observer opines that “Boutique naturism with small camps or apartment settlements, privately-run, that could make a new offer, could be a renaissance and a market niche.” Also, one “nudist camp in Istria, Valalta, has recently invested in apartments, beaches, and attractions for children.” I surveyed the Croatian naturist scene earlier this year here.

Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 8/06/19

  • Best places to get an all-over tan in Britain
    Britain’s most daring regions revealed as London and Cornwall top list of nude sunbathers
    Britain is often starved for sunshine – so it’s not surprising that many people like to get out in the Sun when it’s possible. More surprising, according to the article, is that a poll of 2000 found that 31% said they sunbathed naked. In London 42% actually agreed with that. Apparently, many people really want an all-over tan. One wonders who they hope to impress. Just as surprisingly, the organization behind the research “said naturist beaches were “fast becoming go-to travel hotspots” – with 20 per cent of those polled saying they loved going to them and stripping off completely.” Maybe the country isn’t as prudish as sometimes thought.

  • The pleasure of naked sunbathing
    The Splendors of Lying Naked in the Sun
    And here’s a paean to naked sunbathing:
    When the sun is blazing and privacy allows, I sometimes take it all off and let the sun have at me. Lying naked on a rock, in a break of trees, where no one can find you, and under the sun, consciousness is moved to work on intuitions otherwise buried in time. Your unexceptional body, your only creature — formed like everyone else’s in dependence on the particular spectrum of radiation emitted by this star — is living its only life.
    This writer really needs to look into naturism.

  • Children and nudity
    Naked with Children
    Dan Carlson was wondering about this perennial topic, expecting to write about it. But Google turned up two interesting articles. The first, written by Aviva Rubin and published in April 2012 in the New York Times, began with this:
    I walk around my house naked. My partner often does, too. Not gratuitously, just often. We don’t bother covering up when walking from bathroom to bedroom. We leave the door open when we get dressed. So far, my 8- and 12-year-old sons remain unfazed. If I’m standing nude in the door of the bathroom telling my oldest to clean up the basement, the only thing he finds audacious is the request. And both boys still wander around naked; they get hot, they strip down. I don’t care about the visuals — naked television watching would be fine by me.
    Aviva was, of course, harshly taken to task for her opinion by many prudes, so she wrote a rebuttal to the criticism here, in which the key observation is “What disturbs me is the assumed link between nudity and sex, and the implication of sexual impropriety.” This is the exact same fallacy that is applied mindlessly to any form of nonsexual social nudity.

  • Learning to be naked
    6 Steps to Become Comfortable Naked
    The idea that one must “learn” to be naked is a bit strange. Isn’t it as simple as taking all your clothes off? Everyone – even toddlers – knows how to do that. However, the real issue is learning to be comfortable and unembarrassed when naked with others – or maybe even yourself. Probably most readers here have learned how to do that. A few, perhaps, have not. But in any case, helping non-naturists learn to be comfortable with nudity is a skill all naturists should master. Memorize the basic steps before recommending naturism to others. Nick & Lins spell it out in 6 steps. They can be summarised as:

    1. Take a good look at yourself naked in the mirror. You need to not hate what you see. But it may take time to learn “body acceptance”. Doing naturist things can help, but first you must be able to look at your naked self without flinching.
    2. Forget about trying to compare your body with the “ideal” bodies many models and celebrities seem to have. Such people are exceptional, not average. Be happy if you’re “average”.
    3. Practice being naked. Be naked at home, at least when you’re alone. Start sleeping naked, if you don’t already. Don’t be too quick to cover up after a shower or after getting out of bed (if you’ve slept naked). If you have a swimming pool, use it naked.
    4. Be naked with someone you trust. This could be a significant other (and not just when having sex). Or it could be a friend or family member, if you can tell they’re not bothered by nudity. Ask them not to tell others about your interest in nudity (if that concerns you).
    5. Practice being naked with strangers who’re used to nudity. They can be found at nude beaches, certain events like World Naked Bike Rides, naturist resorts, etc. This may be the hardest step, so don’t try until you’ve accomplished the previous steps. When you’re ready, just ignore your fears and do it.
    6. Start looking for naked activities you like. You may not care for many of the things naturists enjoy, but find some that you do. Examples: nude beaches, naked yoga, naturist resorts, naked hiking, naked sports, naked spas or saunas, etc.

Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 8/02/19

How is it that many of the most perceptive articles on nudity and naturism are written by women? That, in any case, seems to be true of this group.

  • UK NudeFest
    Sun writer bares all as she goes uncovered at the UK’s biggest naturist festival NudeFest
    Amy, the writer, at first is rather nervous, but not resentful, about her assignment: “I am naked in front of a room of strangers. What must the person on the mat behind me be seeing of my nether regions?” As the day goes on, she begins to take the experience in stride: “At the rock-climbing, I slip into the harness. It serves as a sort of spreading vice and I almost certainly give an involuntary gynaecological showcase to those queuing at the bottom.” For some reason, Amy seems most concerned about her derriere: “I definitely hate my bum more as the day wobbles on, instead of feeling less self-conscious about it. (Pictures accompanying the article don’t suggest much reason for her concern.) At the end of the day, it doesn’t seem to have been an experience she couldn’t repeat: “I go home with no washing and no tan lines and wonder, could I get used to this?”

  • Hysteria over innocent child nudity
    When did my naked child become nude?
    This is another perfect example of how our society abhors nudity. People who object to innocent child nudity employ rationalizations such as that a child will be embarrassed when she’s older if there are pictures around of her naked as a toddler. Or that pedophiles will flock to the child’s home to do… something awful… to her. The first rationalization falls flat, because it’s based on the despicable idea many in our society have that nudity is just “wrong” and so must necessarily be embarrassing. The second rationalization fails, because no sensible parent would post a naked, but not sexualized, child’s picture to the Internet in a way that allows a predator to find her. As Katherine, the child’s mother and author of the article observes, “among the harsh rebukes, another thread emerged: nostalgia for simpler times when people didn’t “freak out” over naked children or worry about how much skin kids showed.” In other words, social attitudes towards nudity actually seem to be going backwards – much like attitudes in too many other areas as well.

  • Why can’t we all just get along?
    First time in mixed nudist & textile camp
    In the U. S. not long ago, most nudist camps and resorts generally required guests to be naked, at least when it wasn’t too cold. Now it is increasingly common for them to be clothing-optional, except around swimming pool and spa areas. But are there any textile camps that are at least tolerant of naturist campers? If any, they are rather few and far between. That’s not the case in naturist camps in various other countries. One example, provided by Naturism Girl, is the camp Kosirina in Croatia. It probably helps that in Croatia naturism has been considerably more successful than in the U. S. (See my post on Croatian naturism.) Consequently, guests are not under undue pressure to either wear, or not wear, any clothes. They can simply enjoy the camping experience either way. In the U. S. this is somewhat the case with clothing-optional beaches – except that many of those have separate areas for nudes and prudes. But how do things work when the areas aren’t separate, at either camps or beaches? Naturism Girl didn’t have any problems with the textiles at Kosirina: Textiles “all know before coming that the camp is mixed and therefore there will be naked people around. I have never heard someone commenting nudity. Or even notice someone staring improperly. Perhaps there was some more looking at the naked people, but I guess that was more from curiosity than anything else.”

  • LadyGod1va writes on where naturism should go from here
    Improving Naturism
    LadyGod1va is the nom de naturisme used by a long-time naturist blogger and WNBR organizer (who now, unfortunately, is too busy to do much of either). Here she reflects on how to make naturism more successful. Her key point is that there need “to be more activities that bring naturism and textile activities together as combined events, in other words, clothing optional, and held in public areas, not secluded or fenced or promoted as naturist/nude only event.” This is close to what Naturism Girl wrote about. LadyGod1va adds: “if we continue to organise nude events exclusively for those who are already naturists or will to go nude for the first time, we are not going to get to the point where nudity is acceptable as is in some parts of Europe, or a general acceptance.” Where I think it’s necessary to go further has to do with the “we” in “we organize” and the nature of the events themselves. I think the “we” must be “individual naturists” instead of established naturist organizations, and that the events are best organized as small, personal gatherings at an individual’s home or convenient local facilities (such as a room at a cooperating restaurant). See my article here for a fuller explanation.

Why Do Teenagers Turn away from Nudism?

Nick & Lins ask the question:

Why Do Teenagers Turn away from Nudism and Is that Such a Big Deal?

Toddlers are born naturists and not only literally (although they’re obviously delivered naked). In fact, they might well be the most genuine kind of naturist there is, they don’t even question their nudity. Most of them will question clothes though and if they see an opportunity to get rid of them they’ll often take advantage of that. Our memory doesn’t go that far back, but we would like to remember the day when being nude was not an option anymore. Yesterday it was completely normal to run around the garden naked, jump through the sprinklers on a hot summer day while everyone smiled and agreed with your joy. The next day this was not possible anymore…

They make some good points that address the question. I won’t summarize. Just read their article.

However, I think there’s one important factor that I’ve written about: There is a general fear of nudity, even among adults. However, it’s especially salient for teenagers. Younger children in nudist homes – and very young children in general – simply aren’t keenly aware that letting other people see oneself naked is a big taboo in our society, and many others as well. Kids in middle school, if not earlier, somewhat suddenly become aware of this fact: Nudity (except perhaps in the family or with very close friends) isn’t customary and it certainly is not “normal”.

I discuss that at some length in Additional thoughts on the fear of nudity

Simply put, the problem, as I explain, is that behavior that’s unexpected and not considered “customary” or “normal” puts one in a fraught, risky position with respect to society in general – but especially so with respect to one’s peer group. And for typical teens, the peer group is all important. This situation leads to a serious fear of nudity itself – just as much as fear of, say, putting one’s hand on a hot stove. Don’t do it, or you’ll get burned!

There’s some prescient psychological theory that helps explain why the peer group matters so much to teens.

The noted psychologist Erik Erikson had a theory of the development of an individual’s personality. (See especially his book Identity, Youth and Crisis) The theory posited 8 stages of development. He called the 4th stage that of “Fidelity, Identity vs. Role Confusion”. Basically, this is when an individual tries to figure out and define his/her “identity” – that is, what kind of a person one is in terms of social categories (e. g. religious, atheist, artistic, nurturing, studious, rebellious, etc.). This stage happens typically when one is an adolescent. Failure to figure out one’s identity results in an “identity crisis”, and this may remain a problem for quite a long time. The onset of this stage is a result of “hormones”, but also cognitive development, when the brain achieves a mature ability to recognize different “categories”.

When a young person is raised in a nudist family, the category of “nudist” is still not well understood until adolescence. A few such young people may be content with this identity, but most recognize that it’s shared by very few other people he/she is aware of. This makes it difficult for the young person to identify as a “nudist” – because it is simply not a very socially acceptable identity among peers. (Even a “gang member” has less trouble finding peers to identify with.) This is especially true in a society, like most in the modern world, where the whole idea of nudity is considered scary and dangerous. The net result in most cases is the children raised in nudist families are pretty likely to reject “nudist” as an identity during (and after) their adolescence.

People, whether or not raised as nudists, may somewhat later in life accept “nudist” as an identity when they develop sufficient self-confidence and independence from social attitudes to be less concerned about others’ opinions of the identity. They may even feel confident enough (like Nick & Lins) to espouse and defend a “nudist” identity.

From an entirely different perspective, the dissatisfaction of teens with naturism is just part of the problem of the dissatisfaction of young people with adult society in general.

Before the teen years, children tend to follow their parents’ guidance on what to be interested in. They generally go along with whatever the family as a whole is doing – whether its taking trips to the beach, visiting grandma and grandpa, or going to nudist resorts. But in the teen years, they develop interests of their own and their interests no longer have so much in common with their elders.

Young people, from the teen years on like different types of activities, music, movies, games, hobbies, etc. and these interests diverge considerably from those of their parents’ age and older. So it’s not that young people don’t want to be around older people. It’s just that the two age groups just enjoy rather different sorts of things. Unfortunately, the activities available at most nudist places are much more what the older group prefers than what the younger group does. The perceptive nudist resort should have staff whose main responsibility is providing activities to young people in the ages from teens up to but not including people with their first children.