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.

Naturist theater

Many stage plays have been produced in which one or more actors are fully naked for large parts – or all – of the play. But most of these aren’t exactly “naturist”. They may have major themes like shame and embarrassment, sexuality, exhibitionism, prostitution, or something else entirely. Classic plays may also be performed with naked actors – such as Shakespeare plays. Some nudity may even be appropriate in a few Shakespeare plays, such as Romeo and Juliet, King Lear, and The Tempest. (There was a major film version of the latter, titled Prospero’s Books, with abundant nudity.) But for present purposes we don’t consider any of these to be “naturist”.

Nevertheless, there are a few plays which really are “naturist” – but just a few. Probably the great majority of these have been performed only in experimental theaters, on college and university campuses, and similar venues. Most of these, I think, have never been published so that they may be used by other theater companies. Perhaps the only example that has been published and is in any sense “well known” is Barely Proper, by Tom Cushing. Cushing was an American playwright who had a modestly successful career with several plays being performed on Broadway between 1910 and 1930.

Barely Proper was published in 1931, but subtitled “An Unplayable Play” – because Cushing couldn’t imagine it being performed at the time, as most of the characters are always naked. A film with the same title was released in 1975, but with a different plot. The play was eventually performed on Broadway, in 1970, but got poor reviews. It’s not a literary masterpiece, but it is a competently written play – although not one that would especially appeal to non-naturists, and it’s not fully satisfying to naturists either.

Cushing may have hoped the play actually would be performed within a few years, since nudism had just begun to gain some traction in the U. S. in the early 1930s. Perhaps the play’s lack of success motivated its author to turn to other pursuits when he was in his early 50s, since he had no other plays that made it to Broadway after then.

The play’s weakness is that the plot is rather formulaic. Frieda Schmidt and Derek Leet are engaged to be married. Frieda is German and is an avid nudist, having been raised in a thoroughly nudist family. The family is wealthy and quite serious about nudism – even their maid works naked. Derek, however, is a prudish, stolid British twit. The stereotypes are obvious. What Frieda may have seen in Derek isn’t clear, but the couple’s devotion to each other is apparent.

Unfortunately, Frieda hasn’t been honest with either Derek or her own family. She hasn’t told her fiancé that she and the rest of her family are avid nudists. Derek learns this only when he visits Frieda’s family for the first time. The family tries to be understanding and educate Derek on the nature and virtues of nudism, but he is unpersuaded. The resulting denouement is unconvincing, and may have been the real reason the play was never successful. It’s possible that if the play were acted by professionals who could lend more depth and credibility to the characters it could be enjoyable. That, however, hasn’t been the case. The play is occasionally performed in nudist/naturist groups, but that’s for a rather forgiving audience.

Barely Proper has been reprinted in a small collection of naturist plays. Sadly, the other plays in this collection are much shorter, more formulaic, and do even less to show nudism/naturism in a positive light than Barely Proper. Don’t bother trying to find a copy, since it’s out of print and virtually unobtainable.

The remaining five plays in the collection have a lot in common. All of them are short, performable in about 15 to 30 minutes. A nude beach is the setting for each of them, entirely or in part. The plot in each case centers on a conflict between individuals who are either romantic couples, siblings, or (nominally) friends. Most of the characters have dysfunctional personalities in some way or other. And, predictably, part of the conflict revolves around a reluctance to get naked. Seriously. Naturists will be quite familiar with the latter problem. Non-naturists might just take the conflict for granted, assuming that hardly anyone would want to be naked with strangers around.

One good thing about the collection is the Introduction by the collection’s editor, Mark Storey, a well-known naturist. It’s mainly about the initial and later history of Barely Proper, in particular how it has been performed and interpreted by various nudist/naturist groups.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have some plays in which the main characters are naturists, who are usually naked, but the plot centers on issues of more universal interest? Such plays would normalize nudity, while only intermittently alluding to the societal hang-ups that make a naked lifestyle difficult. The message of the plays might be, “See, you don’t need to wear clothes in order to experience – and overcome – the vicissitudes of human life.” Off the top of my head, I can think of a variety of plots. For instance, consider a middle-aged naturist couple who have adult and teenage children (who are also naturists). One of the parents is hospitalized with a serious illness. The spouse and children want to visit the ill parent daily, and must deal with the disapproval of their nudity by some members of the hospital staff.

There have recently been a few theatrical productions that have featured considerable nudity – including of the audience as well as the performers.

  • Parisians brave nippy temperatures to attend play – in the nude (1/23/19)
    Actors are known for baring their souls on stage. But the cast of a new French play went a step further — and so did their audience. The one-off performance of “Nu et Approuvé,” or “Naked and Approved,” which took place at the Palais des Glaces theater in Paris on Sunday, required all audience members, as well as the actors, to get naked.

  • Naked Comedy DISROBED Unveiled For Hollywood Fringe Festival (5/25/19)
    The producers of the immersive hit “Love the Body Positive” return to the Hollywood Fringe Theatre Festival this June with the full-length comedy “Disrobed: Why So Clothes-Minded?” The play has been adapted and updated by Steven Vlasak, the award-winning author of “Nights at the Algonquin Round Table” from the British naturist classic “Barely Proper” by Tom Cushing. It’s “Meet the Parents” with a twist: A bashful buttoned-up groom-to-be arrives to meet his fiancé’s family, only to discover that they’re all Naturists (Nudists), and for the festival performances so is the audience.
    Presumably, since this production is based on Barely Proper, the plot is quite similar. It would be more interesting, however, if it were altered in some important aspect. This could be done in various ways. The male and female roles could be reversed, with the former being the naturist and the latter the non-naturist. The final outcome of the plot could be reversed. Or, more dramatically, the setting could be a society in which nudity is normal, and wearing clothes (for instance, by a small religious sect) is outside the norm. Or any combination of these things. Many other variations are also possible.

It’s encouraging that naturists are still working at presenting their lifestyle on the stage. The problem, though, is that the performance is limited to an audience in which everyone is agreeable to being naked. It is, at this point in time, the general non-naturist public that needs to be “exposed” to the naturist world, in all its variety.

In order to appreciate the different sorts of plots that could be explored, I’d recommend checking out a couple of short videos, whose script could easily be adapted for a theater stage.

  • Nude Not
    The plot here is, refreshingly, quite different from that of Barely Proper. Even so, it plays with the tension between being naked and being clothed. It’s short and isn’t at all “realistic”. How different characters perceive “reality” is the crux. It would be interesting to develop this one into something longer, while retaining the same twist.

  • Guys 1st Naked Party
    (Note: This is on a porn site, but the video is very naturist and definitely not porn.)
    The plot here is actually quite similar to that of Barely Proper. There’s a romantic couple where the female is a naturist and the male is not. Everything comes to a head when the couple attends a naturist party hosted by the woman’s parents. One has to wonder why more dissimilar plots haven’t been tried, even simply making changes as suggested above. The problem is that we live in a society where everyday nudity is, unfortunately, very much not normal, so it’s difficult to come up with believable plots where nudity of the characters isn’t a major plot driver. However, the theater has a long tradition of playing fast and loose with “reality”. Just think of Waiting for Godot or many of Shakespeare’s plays.

Would anyone who actually has experience with theater and drama care to comment?

What individual naturists could do to promote naturism – and why

This is a continuation of my remarks on this article by LadyGod1va. 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.” I think it’s a problem that naturists rely too much on existing organizations to make the arrangements. Events organized by local, regional, or national naturist organizations are fine. However, first, they are far too few. Second, they are attended almost entirely by people who are already naturists (at least in spirit). And, third, after decades, they have had little success in promoting naturism to the general public.

Think about how much more could be accomplished if naturists in large numbers took it upon themselves to organize events. So I’m suggesting that many events should be organized as small, personal gatherings at an individual naturist’s home or convenient local facilities (such as a room at a cooperative restaurant). People invited to such events should be friends (or friends of friends) of the organizer who are either current naturists or else known to be open-minded about naturism – perhaps already interested in knowing more about it.

At such events, naturists and non-naturists could get to know each other. Everyone would wear as much or as little as they wish – but hopefully some choose to be naked. Events need not be strictly about naturism. They could be mainly for general socializing. But the key thing is that non-naturists get to meet actual naturists and learn, in casual conversation, what naturism is all about. Obviously, this assumes that the event organizer has “come out” as a naturist to many or most of his or her friends – and isn’t shy about endorsing social nudity as a good thing.

Why would this work? Sociologists have long recognized that a person often chooses as a new friend someone who is a friend of a friend the person already has. That is, if A and C are both friends of B, A and C are more likely to become friends of each other. Why? Because both A and C like B and trust B’s judgment in selecting friends. A and C already have one thing in common, namely B. They may not have met before or even have (as far as they know) anything else in common. (Of course, they could have things in common, such as working at the same place.) If A and B are naturists, then if C (a non-naturist) decides to be friends with A, C automatically has another naturist as a friend – in addition to B. There are then two friends who may encourage C to try naturism.

If this needs to be clearer, let’s give them names. Assume that Alice and Bob are friends who are both naturists. Bob has another friend, Carol, who isn’t a naturist, but is open-minded and perhaps curious about naturism. So Bob arranges a party at his home, inviting both Alice and Carol, as well as other friends, including both naturists and non-naturists. During the evening Alice and Carol get to know each other, and they learn that they share some major interest, such as jogging. Quickly Alice and Carol become friends, jog together and share other activities frequently. Carol meets other naturists at the party too, and becomes more comfortable around naked people. She’s used to seeing Alice naked at home, and might, perhaps, visit a naturist resort or a nude beach with Alice. So there’s a real possibility Carol might try naturism herself.

Now imagine this scenario is repeated 1000s of time. Naturism could become “viral” and spread like a (benign) social epidemic. That is how real progress could be made. (A book, The Tipping Point, explains how that works.) It just requires that many more naturists are open with their friends about enjoying nudity and are willing to organize social events for both naturist and non-naturist friends together. This is the kind of event – in an ordinary, everyday setting – that can really normalize nudity in the eyes of non-naturists.

How many naturists our there have done something like this? Please comment if you have.

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.

Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 8/01/19

  • It’s time to push back against vilification of nudity by prudes
    Body Art Vs. Protestors: Art Exhibition Or Exhibitionism?
    The 6th Annual NYC Bodypainting Day event took place on July 20 at a park in Brooklyn. This is now recognized as a fully legal event – even though it involves public nudity in an essential way. It was a popular success despite the presence of half a dozen protestors pathetically objecting to art using human bodies as a canvas. The nudity involved here is wholesome and harmless. The handful of protestors should be pitied for their obsession that nonsexual nudity like this is “harmful” to children. In the words of one protestor, “It just isn’t right for the children to have to be exposed to that in a public park.” No. What isn’t right is for the few protestors to perpetuate the fallacy that children must be “protected” from seeing nonsexual nudity.

  • Perspectives of an enthusiastic young naturist
    The Joys of Sharing Naturism with Others
    Addie, a guest blogger on Dan Carlson’s popular Meandering Naturist blog, offers two vignettes from her experience of one specific noteworthy pleasure of being a naturist: introducing others to the enjoyment of social nudity. At the end of the post, Dan provides 7 prescient pieces of advice on “How to Prepare to Share Naturist Experiences with Others”.

  • An article on the World Naked Bike Rice… in Forbes?
    Naked Bike Ride 2019: Nudity With A Message
    As the article itself says, “This year for its 16th version, the event reached 70 cities in 20 countries from Argentina and Finland to South Africa and New Zealand”. So, the WNBR has been going on since 2004. It’s not exactly news, although it may be remarkable to have persisted this long – let alone having spread to 70 cities. The article notes that the purpose is “to expose the dangers of global warming and to protest against “car culture,” the world’s dependence on oil and other non-renewable energy sources, and in defense of cyclists’ rights and other environmental related issues.” And the tone of the article is actually positive. So why is a publication targeted at big business executives and other super-wealthy people promoting an event that highlights problems they are – to a large extent – responsible for? Perhaps it’s because such people, however selfish they may be, aren’t stupid. They probably enjoy nudity frequently on their private yachts.

  • A young woman confronts objectification by celebrating nude recreation
    The Dangerous Female Body?
    It seems to many people that female naturists who are unafraid of participation in social nudity are simply allowing their bodies to be objectified. Melissa, a member of Calgary Nude Recreation, compellingly refutes that idea. She writes that “a friend of mine invited me to join her and another friend at one of Calgary Nude Recreation’s wave pool events.” And the result? “Nothing bad happened! No one made me feel uncomfortable, commented on my body, or acted as if they couldn’t control themselves around my naked female form.” In fact, she “felt less self-conscious while nude then I did with clothes on!” Far from feeling objectified, “Social nudity allowed me to feel less like an object and more like a person.” So she resolved “not [to] let someone else define my body’s intent or alienate me from my bodily autonomy ever again.”

  • Sexual objectification is something all naturists should push back against
    Stop the Sexual Objectification!!
    The controversy focuses on the problem that too many commenters on Get Naked Australia make sexually objectifying remarks on certain images of young women. As the site curator says,

    Just because there is a young, “attractive” body on this page, does not mean she’s putting herself out there to be objectified. She is not asking for it! Maybe, she, like most other good natured people on this site, just enjoyed her skinny dip and wanted to share it with others in the hope they do the same? Maybe she doesn’t want to see your “great sexy ass” comments and “eggplant” emoji’s. Maybe she just wants to join in on the freedom that is being naked in nature? Just because she’s “attractive” does that mean she’s not allowed?

    Since this topic seems to require a lot more attention, I’ve put further remarks here: Controversies over Get Naked Australia

Controversies over Get Naked Australia

Many naturists are aware of the Get Naked Australia Instagram account. Last year in April the site was temporarily suspended by Instagram due to “inappropriate content”. Instagram (like its owner, Facebook) censors “explicit” (but nonsexual) naturist nudity. However, as on Facebook, full nudity is allowed as long as genitals or female nipples aren’t shown. GNA, as far as I know, has always been careful to play by the rules.
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Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 7/31/19

  • Recollections of naturism in Europe
    Looking at naturists can be life threatening – as I found out to my cost
    A columnist for The Guardian recalls office workers taking their lunch hour nude in a Berlin park.

  • Unique New York City naturist club organizes many social nudity events
    There’s almost nothing you can’t do naked if you’re in this club
    The organizers of the club, Just Naked, “are encouraging nudity-loving New Yorkers to strip down for all manner of activities: playing Pictionary, listening to poetry and jazz, eating pizza, sketching live models — and, for their latest birthday-suit bash, gymnastics.”

  • Naked yoga as a way to build self-confidence
    Taking a naked yoga class gave me a new appreciation for my body
    Jen “made it a goal to purposely put myself in uncomfortable and emotionally terrifying situations to help my personality evolve and increase my tolerance level for nerve-wracking situations.” At a class put on by Naked in Motion she found that naked yoga was just the thing: “I was shocked that the class delivered on its promise to help quiet the negative self-talk that I so often hear running through my mind. ”

  • New Zealand woman tempted to be nudist… almost
    I think I might be a nudist
    Lucy and a male friend try a clothing-optional Japanese onsen. “Never in my life had I ever felt so at peace with my body. No one looked at us, no one said anything. Being nude at that moment just felt completely right.”

Additions to the blogroll, 6/24/19

Back in the early days of blogging – only a little more than 15 years ago – it was customary for blogs to have a “blogroll”. That is a list of other blogs – dealing with subjects similar to the blogger’s own site – that the blogger respects and follows. But now that custom seems to have waned. The most popular blogs on almost any topic are now elaborate, flashy, and crafted for their appearance as well as their content – but with no blogrolls. Even if there is a blogroll, it’s often not well maintained to delete inactive older blogs and add new ones.
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Quotations on nudity, nakedness, and body acceptance

Obviously, everything here was written in, or has been translated into, English. But for this, there surely would be much more good material.

One other thing you might notice about many or most of these quotes is that they are by painters, photographers, sculptors, dancers, actresses, actors, poets, writers, and philosophers. That is, they are by people who have either attempted (and succeeded in) appreciating the naked body as a work of nature’s artistry, or thinkers who have striven to apprehend and elucidate the subject using their minds. Often, both approaches to understanding naked human bodies have been taken by the same person. What they generally have in common is that they are known to large segments of the population on the basis of the quality of their work in their chosen field.
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Where is social naturism popular – and why?

Any naturist who’s at all aware of naturist opportunities in other countries besides their own has certainly noticed that there are large differences in social acceptance of naturism and nudity from one country to the next. This is true even when consideration is restricted to countries with modern economies, democratic political systems, and tolerance for social diversity. This is also true between different regions of such countries. For example, between states in the U. S.

There are a number of variables that could help understand the reasons for such divergences. These include such things as social attitudes that are favorable to tolerance and diversity, benign climates that allow for outdoor naturist activities, relative lack of religious strictures against body exposure, and sometimes just flukes of history that enabled naturists to achieve a critical mass of acceptance within the country.
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