Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 10/8/19


Credit: British Naturism

  • Highland Wilderness Walking Weekend
    The Corrout Estate in the central Highlands of Scotland is a remote 57,000 acre estate on the edge of Rannoch Moor. In July this year a group of 18 members of British Naturism visited the Estate on a weekend to enjoy various recreational opportunities available there. Some of the group opted for less strenuous activities, such as walking around or swimming in Loch Ossian, on whose shores the hostel where the group stayed was located. Others ventured farther afield to visit remote bothies (small huts or cottages in the wilderness). The most adventuresome subgroup opted for “20-mile-plus epics taking in multiple mountain peaks”. Being naturists, the participants enjoyed their activities naked. However, the group had decided in advance to “cover up when we met members of the public only when we felt as individuals that this was the right thing to do”. The Estate does have day visitors despite its remoteness, because it’s easily reachable by train from both London and Glasgow. It was estimated that members of the group “probably interacted with more than a hundred non-Naturists”. They encountered a variety of reactions, but “received no complaints or hostile reactions”. That seems to be common for interactions between naturists and the general public in the UK, where naturist nudity is, in general, legally tolerated, at least when it’s not lewd or deliberately offensive. Most of the group were also naked for their Sunday evening meal at the train station restaurant (having obtained advance approval from the management). They even had a group picture (still naked) taken at the station after their meal.

  • Women in Naturism
    A page about British Naturism’s project to increase the participation of women in naturism was included in the 8/30/19 collection of recent articles. There’s now a brief follow-on with a few more details. The (reordered) list of what they hope to achieve is interesting:

    1. Helping more women to discover the life-affirming, exhilarating feelings of social nudity – and great community and social life that accompanies them.
    2. Creating a network of Naturist women who can keep the profile of Naturism high in the media, be advocates amongst women’s groups, organise and host events, be a contact point for newcomers, and more.
    3. Helping the men in Naturism to show the benefits to the women in their life.
    4. Improving awareness of the negative effects of societal pressure on women to conform to a particular type of body shape and appearance.
    5. Providing mutual support to help women be happier and more confident about their bodies.

    As noted previously, Item 2 may be the most actionable point. It’s crucial for women who become curious about naturism to find other women who already participate in naturist activities – to help a new person learn about the naturist opportunities that are most convenient and suitable for her. Item 3 is also important, because the naturist men that a woman knows and trusts can also provide information and encouragement. In particular, the article contains a list of suggestions for men that may help them facilitate a woman’s first experience of a naturist activity – with nudity the first time (or times) being optional.

  • Our Bodies Our Selves
    As it happens, all but two of the stories in this collection deal with naturism in Great Britain. This one is by British Naturism member Roger Coupe, who notes “In the hot summer of 2018, Naturism grew in Britain with many reports of skinny dipping, naked rambling and cycling. There has been much favourable media coverage.” He refers to experiences of another Brit, Alice O’Keeffe, who became an “evangelical” naturist that summer. (I summarized her article here.) Perhaps naturism really is experiencing a renaissance in Britain. Roger’s article describes an early morning naked walk in the countryside. The best paragraph may be this:
    I have been on this naked dawn walk many times and it has become very precious to me. I have encountered only a few humans, none of whom seemed particularly surprised by my nakedness. There was a young man in a suit, maybe on his way for a train to town and another hot day in the office. As we greeted, I thought he looked as though he rather envied my freedom. There were two workmen in red overalls, a cyclist in hi-viz with flashing lights, a few lightly-clad dog walkers. These were people very much engaged in a human world and separated from the natural world of animals with hair, wool, fur or feather that has welcomed me, the naked ape with a little body hair, boots and a hat.

  • Skinny-dipping in Cornwall’s historic miners’ pools
    It seems that the southwest coast of England is especially well-endowed with good beaches – Cornwell in particular. Some of them are even clothing-optional, at least de facto. Photojournalist Greg Martin provides impressive photographic evidence for a certain type of ocean bathing spots: tidal pools, some of which are natural, and others formed deliberately by tin miners in the area. The fact that many of the pools are in secluded locations not easily visible from a distance makes them ideal spots for au naturel bathing, especially for people who might otherwise be shy of that pleasure. One frequent visitor of the pools who Greg spoke with prefers to swim nude. She says “Getting naked outdoors might not be for everyone but swimming nude is one of those money can’t buy feelings. With tidal pools offering privacy it means you can strip off and enjoy the water in a truly immersive way. When appropriate it is the only way I choose to swim.”

  • A nudist camp near the Quad Cities has long been an open secret. Not anymore
    Here’s another good example of U. S. mainstream journalism that takes naturism seriously and treats it respectfully. (It is marred slightly by one cliche subheading: “the bare facts”.) And this is for a spot not in Florida or California, but in prairie lands near the border between Illinois and Iowa. What explains this positive treatment? It’s probably a result of new camp management that welcomes publicity. “Blue Lake recently transitioned to new management. Past owners discouraged publicity, but the new owners are intent on engaging with the public and encouraging outsiders to explore nudism.” Once again, rejecting secretiveness seems to have paid off.

  • The 3 Technologies Killing Nudism
    Rory Andrews observes that in (roughly) the past decade, U. S. society has made good progress in disposing of obsolete social prejudices and attitudes, as evidenced by such things as the expansion of LGBTQ rights, the legalization of marijuana, and the #MeToo movement. It’s true that reactionaries are still battling fiercely against these examples of social progress, but the reactionaries will eventually be defeated. Rory asks the obvious question (for naturists): “So why hasn’t this unyielding tide of revolutionary tolerance touched nudism?” His answer is that rapid advancements in three different technologies are (at least partially) to blame. The technologies are “Photoshop and Snapchat Filters”, “Cellphone Cameras”, and “Pornography”. It would take too much space to summarize the arguments – just read the article if you’re curious. Of course, you may wonder why “pornography” is considered a “technology”. It’s not at all new, but what is new is that the Internet and cell-phones have “made porn more ubiquitous and accessible than ever before.” It’s a stretch to blame naturism’s failure to become more widely accepted on technology alone. There are many other social factors at work, but entire books could be written to address them properly. However, as far as technology is concerned, Rory makes the optimistic suggestion that naturism, rather than being a victim of misuse of new technologies could be at least a partial remedy for the unfortunate side effects. “Nudism could be a radical form of exposure therapy that can teach us what real human bodies look like, strip away our social media and status facade, and step away from the oversexualized digital world that does little more than confuse us regarding what sex and bodies are actually for.” Perhaps before too long the technology of virtual reality may allow people to experiment easily with naturism in a non-threatening environment.

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.

Review of Naked Hiking (Richard Foley, ed.)

No mystery about the subject of the book. It’s a quick but interesting read – only about 155 pages of actual text, with good color photos on roughly half the pages, plus notes on the 25 authors/photographers and credits for the various photos. There are 22 essays, 1 poem, and a Foreword. The editor, Foley, himself contributed 4 of the essays and the Foreword. He’s well qualified for the task, as he has led week-long naked walking tours in the Alps every year since 2005 – with another planned for 2020. These treks are known as Naked European Walking Tours (NEWT). More information on the tours is available at the given link.
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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

Naked car camping

Car camping naked – it’s similar to hiking naked, in that you get to enjoy nature in a pure form, far away from “civilization”. But it appeals also to more sedentary types. It’s an option for almost anyone who enjoys being naked, though they may not have seriously considered it. (For simplicity, I include pickup trucks as equivalent to a “car”. If you have a lot of gear, and a truck suitable for rough dirt roads, that might be preferable.)
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