- Student rides her horse completely naked in film to urge other riders to wear safety helmet
It’s an interesting development that clean nudity is being used to attract attention to worthy causes. In this case it’s a rather limited purpose: encouraging riders in (competitive?) horse-riding events to wear safety helmets. The general idea is a legitimate use of nudity. Of course, hardly anyone who notices this story is likely to be someone the precaution is intended for. World Naked Bike Rides are a far batter example of this sort of thing. Also many calendars featuring (very) limited nudity are produced in order to donate sales profits for worthy causes. Why should naturists pay attention to any of this? Perhaps because it isn’t necessarily a self-serving “exploitation” of nudity, but rather has the effect of normalizing nudity. (Granted, personal attention-seeking could also figure in this.)
- Get your kit off: this skinny-dipper is writing a NZ guidebook and is looking for models
It’s summer now in New Zealand, and naturist blogger Kate Uwins, currently residing in Kiwi-land, who has been exploring the country for three years, is putting together a guide book for skinny-dipping there. New Zealand is probably just behind England itself in being the most naturist-friendly, English-speaking place on the planet. Kate thinks NZ “is just the best place in the world to skinny dip. You’ve got about a million beautiful places to go swimming; beaches, rivers, lakes, waterfalls. They’re just around every corner”. And she points out that “There are no snakes, no crocodiles, nothing dangerous that’s going to get you.” (Not to mention horrendous wildfires.) Of course, visitors should be cautioned to be wary of the explosive volcanic islands. Several other naturist bloggers are currently attempting to support their blogging efforts by offering for sale things like guide books – and this should be considered a good thing, to the extent that it promotes healthy naturism.
- Midnight bath
Kate’s new blog itself is a fine example of assertive naturist advocacy. In this post she makes a number of good points. For starters: “It is astonishing me how easy it seems to be to get random strangers to get their kit off. Within minutes of meeting people, we are naked together! This is fantastic! … I’m talking about broad daylight, sober, non-sexual nudity that leads to joy, smiles, and great stories.” And: “What better way to escape the craziness of this modern world: the Trumps and brexits, the political madness and the consumerist chaos, than to disappear for a little while, strip off your clothes and reconnect with nature and yourself.” And: “Why is it that we are so scared of others seeing our naked bodies? Are we scared of being laughed at or scared of it turning into something sexual? Is it not possible to be naked and there to be no sexual connotations? Is it not possible to see our bodies as something other than a sexual object?”
Non-naturists and people still new to naturism may disbelieve such utopian ideas. “Can you, could I, really do that?” Sadly, naturism in the past century hasn’t really advanced much, if at all. Timidity isn’t a winning strategy. We need many more believers like Kate.
- Metrópolis – Intramurs I. Spencer Tunick
Have you ever been one of the lucky few to take part in a Spencer Tunick photoshoot? Probably not, but here’s a spectacular 25-minute documentary video of a Tunick photoshoot during the Intramurs art festival in Valencia, Spain. Tunick may not consider himself (personally) a naturist, but his work over several decades is certainly a wonderful testament to the beauty, allure, and expressiveness of nudity. The video’s narration is in Spanish, but there’s an accompanying transcription. (It’s also in Spanish, but can be translated using Google.)
An article (also in Spanish) of the making of the video: El making off de la multitudinaria foto de desnudos bajo las Torres de Serranos
- Bodypainting. It keeps fascinating me.
Bodypainting is a visual art form quite different from Tunick’s photography – but it’s even more appropriate for naturists. It allows for imagining the naked body in fascinatingly different ways. It must be far more enjoyable for the model than trying to stand motionless in a single pose for an extended period of time. And also, for the “model” (or rather the “canvas”), it provides the exhilarating experience of using one’s body to be a literal medium of artistic expression – like a dancer, but in a very different way.
- Progressive Social Nudity — A Year in Review
The New York City organization known as Just Naked describes its intention as “to create nude events that look and feel like any other popular clothed event, but with just naked participants.” The goal is specifically described as “normalizing naked everywhere” – something that most naturists also, probably, see as a desirable goal. The events are basically private parties, held in the NYC area, and organized by participants at their homes or other suitable places. The event must be nonsexual, and everyone’s expected to be naked. In other words, just the sort of ordinary parties any naturist might organize or attend. In order to attend an event, one must purchase a ticket, which presumably keeps the attendance at a manageable level and may compensate the organizer for expenses. According to the article “We held upwards of 70 events this year, sold over 700 tickets, and turned dozens of first-timers on to the benefits of social nudity. And we had a blast doing it!” According to the website, there are currently four events scheduled for the remainder of January.
However, there’s a problem – a severe gender imbalance problem. The article states “sometime around the middle of summer we noticed that most of our events were skewing 9-to-1 in favor of men. We had women leaving the events before they even started, and most never returned.” So events are now designated as “Open to All” or “Women Only”. That’s rather draconian, however, so another category has been defined as “Femme Fwd” (described at the link), which gives women more control over attendance by men. The details are a bit complicated: “These events will only be available to men who are vetted by a woman who has attended our events.” Some policy similar to this might help with the gender imbalance found at most naturist venues. But in the long term steps need to be taken to make naturist events and venues intrinsically more comfortable for women. One way to accomplish that is for clubs to put efforts directly into promoting naturism to women, so that many more will attend – as well as doing what’s necessary for everyone to have an enjoyable experience.
Here’s a news article on the club: There’s almost nothing you can’t do naked if you’re in this club
- Retired Miami Cop Now Performing Naked Ventriloquy Show
Whether or not you’re particularly talented in some sort of performance, doing it fully naked will probably attract more notice than otherwise. (And I’m not saying there isn’t talent in this particular example.) The type of performance doesn’t really matter – one that’s a serious art form such as making music, dancing, gymnastics, or acting. Or one perhaps a bit easier to master, such as comedy, reading poetry, or ventriloquism. There have been examples (sometimes many) of each sort of performance done in the nude before an audience. Naturists should welcome – and patronize, when possible – much, much more of this, because it’s another way to normalize nudity.
- How to visit a Milan museum totally naked
The event is scheduled for January 18, 2020. Unfortunately, it’s already sold out. So even if you reside in the Milan area, you’ve missed the boat. But this is yet another instance of an art museum providing an occasion where visitors may explore the galleries completely naked. Sometimes clothing is optional, but nudity is often required, as in this case. Considering how quickly such events usually sell out, it’s surprising they aren’t offered more often, and by many additional museums. In a metropolitan area of sufficient size, why not once a month – or even once a week? Could it be that naturists or others who’re open-minded about nudity just aren’t that interested in fine art? They should be, given how often nudity is the subject of much painting, sculpture, and performance art.
Here’s more information, if you happen to read Italian.
- I signed up for nude modelling to challenge myself
Modeling naked for an art drawing or painting class is scary – even if you’re used to going naked at home sometimes or even visiting a nude beach occasionally. It’s even scarier if you have no significant experience being naked in front of strangers who will be staring intently at your naked body for an hour or two. Why did Sonya do it? A friend who had done nude modeling for years had “always spoken about how much fun she had found it.” Sonya writes that she had “spent so long working to the point of getting to be ok with my body, instead of being at war with it” – and she now needed to challenge herself on her progress.
She writes about her very first experience modeling naked, her anxiety about it initially, and her feelings in the first few minutes. “Disrobing was difficult. All those eyes, staring at me.” But it turned out very well. “Seeing myself through other people’s eyes, laid bare on the paper was amazing for my body confidence…. The next time I am asked to life model, I’ll respond with an enthusiastic “Yes!”.” In light of the next article to be discussed, what this shows is that the discomfort from people staring at one’s naked body is a challenge – but it can be conquered by developing sufficient self-confidence. Most naturists aren’t exhibitionists or ecdysiasts, and they don’t expect to get sexual gratification from being seen naked by others. But neither do they need to be scared or concerned about being seen naked. The pleasure of nudity is just a result of accepting one’s body and not being encumbered by clothing.
- “Staring is a big no-no”: All the questions you have about nudism, answered
This article from an Australian source relays advice from the founder of Get Naked Australia. Most of it is aimed at people who know little about naturism or nudism, but are curious about it (in a positive or negative way). The article’s title singles out one specific issue – the concerns people have about being stared at while partially or fully naked.
This is a more complicated issue than is generally acknowledged. On one hand, people having little or no experience with social nudity believe that most of its devotees have great self-confidence and no embarrassment about being naked. That’s not true, although it should be. On the other hand, people who do have some experience with social nudity often think that others who stare at their bodies are simply being gauche and uncouth. That fails to understand the previous point.
It’s usually very good advice not to stare – whether intentionally or not – at the bodies of anyone who’s fully or partly naked. While the naked person might be fairly comfortable with nudity, if they’re relatively new to social nudity they may feel mildly to severely uncomfortable about being stared at. Of course, the same is true of anyone who’s stared at because of almost anything “unusual” in their physical appearance, manner of dress, awkward behavior due to disabilities, etc.
However, people who know little or nothing about social nudity probably assume that anyone who’s fully or partly naked has overcome any sense of shame associated with nudity and therefore must be insensitive to and unperturbed by the stares of others. That’s not a good assumption.
There are now a variety of “public” places where nudity is accepted and perhaps even common – such as clothing-optional beaches and resorts, fairly isolated places outdoors, or legally approved public demonstrations such as World Naked Bike Rides. Anyone who chooses full or partial nudity in such places – either for a particular occasion or as part of a consistent lifestyle – has probably decided that nudity is at least harmless or actually quite a good thing. Such people have to some degree or other overcome unhealthy body shame and society’s irrational aversion to nudity.
There’s a mismatch of assumptions on both sides of this issue. People who don’t know much about social nudity may assume, incorrectly, that most who participate in it are quite self-confident about their nudity and have no feelings about shame or embarrassment related to it, and no concerns about how others will react to it. However, someone who’s nude in “public” may be just experimenting with it. They may have gathered the courage to try it, but are still quite sensitive to negative reactions from others.
On the other side, people who stare at others who’re partially or fully naked may be doubtful about the legality of the nudity and probably still think that open nudity is improper and even “immoral”. So if they stare at others who’re not “properly” clothed it’s not necessarily right to assume that the staring is consciously disrespectful or simply uncouth. It’s more charitable to assume starers still suffer from irrational body shame and are simply behaving in accord with their social conditioning.
Just as with people who become comfortable as nude models, most people who have enough time and experience with social nudity are able to overcome uneasiness when less enlightened others stare at them. Once one becomes convinced there’s nothing “wrong” about choosing not to cover certain parts of their body it’s easy to enjoy nudity and feel no shame about it. By realizing that staring results from the typical unfamiliarity or disapproval regarding nudity present in most cultures, it’s easier to understand and ignore impolite staring. Unfortunately, it takes a little time for people who are relatively new to being naked in a clothing-optional situation to become self-confident about their nudity. Since it’s usually difficult to know whether staring will cause discomfort to someone, the best general policy is not to stare.
- Third Time’s the Charm?
If you think it’s scary to be stared at naked in a life drawing class of maybe 10 or 20 people, what would you think about being naked in New York’s Times Square in broad daylight – open to the stares of many hundreds of complete strangers? It’s actually possible to do that legally, with the proper permits. And it can be done without embarrassment, even if you’re not an exhibitionist (which, hopefully, you aren’t). The naturist activist who goes by the name Ton Dou has been organizing that very thing, in the name of “Bare Body Freedom”. Last year he performed (naked) an “Ultimate Freedom Concert” in the Square, accompanied by two dozen naked men, one naked woman. (Some others were partially naked.) This year he repeated the performance, but this time – as the blog of The Outdoor Co-ed Topless Pulp Fiction Appreciation Society notes – with about one dozen naked men and four or five women. So the better gender balance is, at least, a “step in the right direction”. Naturists can hope that the third time, next year, could be better still.
It’s worth noting that in 2016 the OCTPFAS put on performances of Shakespeare’s The Tempest in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park with the all-female cast mostly naked. There have, of course, been a number of amateur and professional theatrical productions in recent decades with significant amounts of full nudity – but hardly ever so openly in a public park. Just imagine how comfortable the casts of such productions needed to become with stares from the audience. And incidentally, the women of the OCTPFAS regularly sunbathe topfree during the summer – completely legally – in New York City parks. Stares? Who cares?
- Care home welcomes naked male model after residents request a nude drawing class
While on the subject of nude life modeling, it’s worth mentioning that people who take art classes offering this aren’t in it for sexual thrills either. Most people will never be acclaimed artists, but artistic skill in depicting the naked human body is something that most people can develop with sufficient effort and practice. Accomplishments in such endeavors are as satisfying as achievement in any other type of artistic pursuit – from making music to making furniture. This type of satisfaction is available to people of almost any age. And the nude models who enable learning how to reproduce the human form on canvas or in clay need not be embarrassed by their role, regardless of who the students are.
More: Old people’s home invites nude model for life drawing class
- Art Residency: International artists live in the nude for ten days
This type of Art Residency is a relatively brief organized program for people who are serious about developing their artistic skills. The immersive experience helps them focus on and improve different aspects of their craft. In this case, the artists themselves work as nude models. This helps artists in various ways. Probably the most important way is understanding the diverse meanings of full exposure of one’s naked body to the gaze of others. Nudity, of course, has a sexual meaning, but it’s only one among many. There’s the pleasure, which naturists know quite well, of directly experiencing the natural world instead of the artificial world of clothing. There’s the self-confidence manifest in lack of concern about others’ perception of one’s naked body. There’s the satisfaction of demonstrating the naked body’s aesthetic beauty. The better that artists appreciate these different meanings of nudity, the better they can express them in their art.
- Do’s and Don’ts: Making Nudist Friends
In a previous collection of recent articles we considered How to Find Other Nudists. Among the approaches mentioned was visiting nude or clothing-optional beaches. It was noted that this can be tricky, since visitors to such beaches have a wide range of experience with social nudity, and differing amounts of interest in acquiring new friends while enjoying the beach. The article here offers a number of good suggestions on how to navigate around these complicating factors. Since it was published by the official organization of Haulover Beach (Florida) users, the suggestions should be very pertinent and reliable.
- A Naturist Girl
Here’s a good statement on naturism by Aleah, who was raised in a naturist family – and has not seriously wavered from the enjoyment of nudity, in spite of the various trials and tribulations that afflict most people’s lives from time to time. It’s one of the first posts on a new blog: Our Natural Blog. The blog is actually the work of Aleah and her husband Sam. Both Aleah and Sam introduce themselves in earlier articles on their blog. There’s also a very good background article on Aleah and Sam on the Naked Wanderings blog.
One of the best comments in the article explains how the fear and shame usually associated with nudity is a noxious, harmful fact about our culture (as well as most others):
“We are taught to grow up,,, to wear shoes and stop climbing trees. We are taught the concept of modesty and shame. Taught what the “ideal perfect body” is supposed to look like.”
Naturist blogs from partnered couples are a relatively new thing. It will be great for naturism if the numbers keep growing, since such blogs should be especially encouraging for women to discover that naturism need not be primarily a male thing. Other good examples of this trend are Twonaturists Blog by Hannah and Nick, and Our Naked Story, by Blake and Elle.
- Three-course dinner where ‘clothes are optional’ is coming to Cambridgeshire this chilly winter season
The good news for people in the Cambridge area is that the event is not until January 25, so there’s still plenty of time to sign up. Naked dining events are still uncommon in the UK – but less uncommon than in most other countries where many naturists live. Events like this don’t usually just happen spontaneously. In this case, the event has been organized by the Eastern Region of British Naturism. (The folks who also organize other good things like skinny-dipping events and festivals for young naturists.) Sadly for naturists in the U. S., we do not have national (or regional) organizations that facilitate such things. One does have to wonder, though, why whoever wrote the article described the event as “risky”. Evidently a writer for the local news outlet – who isn’t a naturist.
- Naked social protests in Australia
- A naturist event in an Australian bar
- Why to go to a nude beach
- Exercising rights to be naked
- British skinnydipping
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”
It’s quite striking how much better-accepted naturism is in the UK compared to the US, considering how many other things (including language, to some extent) the two countries have in common. Although UK naturists are still definitely a minority, the articles discussed here should make US naturists very envious of the Brits. (The previous collection of articles also had much evidence of this.)
- Hundreds strip off and brave North Sea in the nude in mass autumn skinny-dip
Since 2012 British naturists in Northumberland have participated in a skinnydip at the beach on Druridge Bay close to the time of the Autumn Equinox. Almost all participants this year waded in completely naked, even though the beach is in the north of England on the North Sea, near the Scottish border – and the event began at sunrise. Daytime high temperatures in the area during September average about 60°F (16°C). The organizer of the event, however, said the temperature was “the warmest it has ever been”. He also explained that “I think people are trying to understand what we are trying to do a little bit more. It’s not just about taking our clothes off[;] it’s about taking a risk, connecting with nature, celebrating life and embracing our own bodies.” For some participants it was their first experience with social nudity. And unlike many naturist events, there were about as many women as men. But it wasn’t just a naturist event, as it also had the purpose of raising money for a local charity. The official count of participants was 737, probably a new high, and each donated £15. More than £50,000 had been raised in the previous 7 years. The event was widely reported in British news media and elsewhere, such as
- Hundreds of people get naked for mass skinny dip in the freezing North Sea
- Hundreds strip off for North East skinny dip at Druridge Bay in Northumberland
- Hundreds brave ultra-low temperatures as they join in mass skinny dip to mark arrival of new Equinox
- The North-East skinny dip, 2019
- North East Skinny Dip: Bathers in the buff brave North Sea waves
- Hundreds of brave Brits strip off to mark the autumn equinox with mass skinny dip in North Sea
- Autumn equinox 2019: how is the start of fall season celebrated?
- Royal Academy visitors are invited to brush past naked man and woman in recreation of 1977 performance artwork
Performance artist Marina Abramović came up with the simple idea of having two entirely naked performers stand facing each other in a narrow passageway and inviting members of the public (fully dressed) to squeeze between them. Marina herself and her then-boyfriend put on the first performances at an Italian art gallery in 1977. The performance was called Imponderabilia. It’s now scheduled to be repeated at London’s Royal Academy of Arts main galleries from late September to early December in 2020 – where it will be available for the general public. Two young artists will recreate the performance under Marina’s supervision (and possibly with her own participation). Although members of the public are expected to remain clothed, the piece is intended to challenge their reactions to very close interaction with others who are naked, and to “confront themes of naked vulnerability”.
Britain’s The Sun tabloid persuaded their reporter Amy Nickell to do a reenactment of the performance together with a male model (Miguel) – both appropriately naked. Pictures of various people squeezing between Amy and Miguel give the impression (for the most part) that both handled the experience pretty well, although some of those who were required to navigate between the two did so with less equanimity – especially those of larger girth. Nevertheless, Amy reports “I was glad when I got dressed again.” Perhaps – but would she admit it if she actually enjoyed the experience? Here’s an earlier article from The Sun about the forthcoming Royal Academy of Arts performance.
- The Yorkshire naturist club and why we shouldn’t be embarrassed by our bodies
This is a reasonably positive article on Britain’s Yorkshire Sun Society, which was founded in 1932 and is the second oldest naturist club in the country. Patrick Galbraith, whose article this is, does remove his clothes at times. But he doesn’t seem entirely sold on the idea initially, as he begins with the admission that “It had been at least a decade since I’d seen another man in the buff and I was immediately overcome with the urge to apologise to him profusely before running away.” Although he doesn’t quite answer the implied question in the title of the article, by the end of his stay he does have this thought: “I had gone in search of the weird and discovered that it is perhaps people beyond the gates who are the weird ones – those like you and I who sweat like mad on a hot summer’s day because of some inherited belief that thighs and tummies are inherently sexual or offensive.”
- Naked cleaners wanted in Devon and Cornwall – and they earn £45 an hour!
What real naturist wouldn’t want to have other naturists handle tedious house cleaning chores (if the price were affordable)? It sounds almost too good to be true, so one might be a bit suspicious that a business of this sort is actually legitimate. Yet, apparently, it is. There have been a number of articles in the (British) news media about such businesses, and the article here is among the latest. The company is named Naked Cleaners (duh). According to the website, the company operates “throughout the UK”, but it is based in London. As you’d expect from a legitimate business, customers are expected to observe a number of rules, spelled out in their FAQ. For instance, touching, photographing, or videoing the cleaners isn’t allowed. Also, nobody except occupants of the home or apartment may be present – but they may be naked themselves. (They’re naturists, after all.)
The rate for naked cleaners is £45 per hour (about $58 US). But that’s what the company is paid – presumably the cleaners don’t get all of it. Although the cleaners work naked, they aren’t necessarily long-time naturists – let alone “adult entertainers”. They may be quite new to working naked. One cleaner, quoted in the article, said “I was new to naturism. I had never done it before – I hadn’t even been on a nudist beach or anything like that. I’d just done it in private. I wasn’t nervous because I’m quite comfortable being naked.” However, she explained, “I found the first time quite liberating if anything, because I like being naked. If I’m by myself or with my close friends or a boyfriend, I’ll walk around naked. I’m not sure exactly why I like it, I just feel more comfortable that way.”
- Student animal doctors strip off for naked calendar to raise money for drought-stricken farmers
We turn now to Australia, another English-speaking country where naturism is (probably) more successful than in the US. Since we’re nearing the end of 2019, ’tis the season for a new spate of calendars to make their appearance for 2020. Last January we asked the question Why are calendars featuring naked people such a fad in Britain? It was noted then that Australia also had such calendars – and the latest for 2020 is also from Down Under. According to the article
“Student vets have stripped off their scrubs for a cheeky naked calendar to mark the end of five gruelling years of study. The calendar has become a tradition for veterinary students at Australia’s James Cook University – and this year’s class are no exception. Striking nude poses with strategically placed hats, 40 classmates took part, with the proceeds going towards their graduation ball and a local charity.”
Although whoever decides such things (pusillanimously, as usual) didn’t allow any full-frontal nudity, the calendar pictures are generally entertaining and imaginative. The calendar can be purchased online for $20 AUD (about $14 US) plus S/H at Vets Uncovered. Quite a bargain. Another article on this is here.
- 10 Biggest Fears of a Beginning Nudist and How To Overcome Them
The hyperactive (and non-US) bloggers at Naked Wanderings list some of the most common fears that intimidate prospective naturists. The list will be very familiar to current naturists. And the truth is that if a prospective naturist will actually give social nudity a try in a suitable environment, all but one of the fears on the list will quickly be perceived as small problems, at most. The one remaining fear, unfortunately, is the biggie: “How will I explain this to friends and family?” This one needs a lot more thought and effort to overcome.
The advice given in the article for this fear is really too skimpy. For instance “The easy solution: Just don’t tell them. It’s none of anyone’s business if you prefer to spend your free time at a nudist resort.” That is, of course, quite unrealistic unless you’re a hermit living by yourself – in which case you may already be used to getting along with few or no clothes. Not only is the advice unrealistic, but the tendency of many or most naturists to be secretive about their enjoyment of nudity is most unfortunate. It’s probably the biggest reason that naturism has struggled so long and so unsuccessfully to really catch on. Simply put: people who become curious about naturism probably have at least some relatives or friends who share their interest – but aren’t aware of that since the others are also secretive. So people who are curious about naturism have much difficulty overcoming the other fears in the first place. A good approach would be to bring up the subject of naturism casually in conversation, perhaps by mentioning news stories like any of the above. If done often enough, others who don’t have a negative attitude towards nudity could be found. It’s also important to become convinced that enjoying nonsexual social nudity is not doing anything wrong. After that, it’s easier to figure out how to explain this fact to others.
Credit: British Naturism
- The naked truth: At Conn. nudist resort, ‘You can’t hide behind fancy clothes. You have to be yourself here’
Reporter Ellen Albanese has a detailed and positive story about the Solair Recreation League, which has been continuously owned and run by its members since 1934 – one of the first nudist resorts in the U. S. 85 years is a good run for any small business, let alone one that caters to a very specialized clientele. It’s not an ordinary “business”, since it’s owned by its long-term members. However, non-member visitors are welcome. Located in northeastern Connecticut, a part of the state tourists often bypass, the setting is pleasantly rural, allowing the resort to provide a spacious 360 acres for recreational facilities, hiking trails, and privately-owned cottages. Ellen declined to remove her own clothes, but still provided a very favorable account of what “real” naturism is about – mostly by use of quotes from a number of naturists she spoke with. Since the story appeared in the Boston Globe, New England’s most widely read newspaper, it’s a great example of mainstream media providing an accurate picture of what naturism is really like.
- A Once-in-a-Lifetime Reporting Dilemma: Should I Take My Clothes Off?
Here’s another story on naturism from a reporter of a well-known mainstream newspaper (the New York Times). In this case, the reporter, Katrin Bennhold, does remove her clothes. (For some reason, most stories of this sort seem to be assigned to female reporters.) Nevertheless, and in spite of the fact that Katrin grew up in West Germany, she held off deciding whether to disrobe as long as possible – but at least she did. That’s always a good sign of a reporter’s professionalism when reporting on naturism. It was a big help, since Katrin, once naked, “found a new level of openness in the people I interviewed. Nudism, I discovered, was not just a quirky lifestyle choice.” The next article tells what she learned about naturism in Germany.
- A Very German Idea of Freedom: Nude Ping-Pong, Nude Sledding, Nude Just About Anything
Katrin Bennhold’s article on the current state of naturism in Germany covers a lot of territory in the space of only about 1450 words. There have been a number of reports that naturism in Germany is declining in popularity. According to one source quoted in the article, “Formal membership numbers in nudist clubs have halved since the end of Communism to about 32,000.” However, that’s comparable to membership numbers in the U. S. – a country with about 4 times the population. And another source says, “the numbers are rising again — especially as young families rediscover nudism.” Modern naturism originated in Germany about 120 years ago “when early naturists rebelled against the grime of industrialization and then the mass slaughter of World War I.” After World War II naturism was more popular in Communist East Germany than in the West, supposedly because it was one of the few forms of freedom allowed. Even today it remains more popular in the East than in the West. But in the country as a whole there are still many naturist opportunities – and public nudity is more acceptable than in almost any other country: “Entire stretches of German waterfronts are designated as nudist beaches. There is a nudist hiking trail. There are sporting events from nude yoga to nude sledding. German saunas are mixed and naked. People regularly take their clothes off on television, too.”
- Why Can’t Journalism about Nudism Be Better?
New naturist blogger Matthew McDermott makes some very perceptive criticisms of how mainstream journalism deals with naturism:
“The nudity taboo is so strong in our society that anything involving naked people is a reader magnet. Journalists play straight into this narrative with articles that are designed to tap into readers’ naughty thrills. The result: terrible writing about nudists and nudism. Articles treat nudists like an alien species, or like a gang of lunatics ostracized in “colonies”. They use childish jokes, unfunny references to body parts, and the most tired cliches imaginable. How often does an article promise the “bare facts” about nudism?”
The articles noted above are for the most part exempt from the criticism (or they probably wouldn’t have been included). But even there we have another egregious cliche in a headline (“The naked truth”). Matthew offers some good suggestions for what naturists can do to effectively express criticism of poor writing about naturism in the media. One important point that’s not made is that reporters writing about naturism should actually experience naturist nudity themselves by getting naked. It’s not necessary that they actually enjoy it, but they should at least try it. Why should a reader bother with a review of, say, a new restaurant if the reviewer had only visited and hadn’t eaten there?
- The Great British Skinny Dip – a round up
British Naturism, the official naturist organization of Great Britain, uses creative and effective techniques to entice people with little or no experience of naturism into giving it a try. Their Great British Skinny Dip is an excellent example. This year saw the fourth annual iteration of the event, whose purpose is “to encourage the general public to discover the joys of nude swimming (and socialising!) and feel the health and well-being benefits that come with the decision not to wear clothes.” Unlike the U. S. Naturist Society Foundation’s “Nude Recreation Week” – which seems to consist mainly of a few suggested activities, the GBSD featured a “variety of events we had going on around the country – both in terms of location and the experiences on offer. Dippers could brave everything from a chilly wild swim in the Lake District’s Beacon Tarn, via beaches, rivers, outdoor lidos, Naturist clubs, and campsites, to the more comfortable waters of their local swimming pool.” Anyone interested in experiencing naturism themselves for the first time had places they could actually go to do that with other first-timers – mostly at minimal expense to themselves except for travel costs.
- A heatwave is the perfect moment to rediscover the joys of being naked
Perhaps it’s a coincidence, or maybe not, but leading news media in both the U. S. (see initial articles here) and the UK (the Guardian) have quite recently featured well-written articles that take naturism seriously instead of treating it as a joke. This Guardian article, written by freelancer Alice O’Keeffe, starts off portending a sudden and unexpected embrace of social nudity:
“Until very recently, I would have gnawed off my own arm more readily than take off my clothes in public. Partly because I am pale, I’ve had two children and my tummy does not resemble a washboard, but primarily because I am British. Public nudity comes about as naturally to me as allowing somebody to skip a queue.”
Here are a few excerpts that capture the essence of Alice’s epiphany:
- At a festival a few months ago, I found myself in a crowded sauna, naked as the day I was born.
- Being naked with other people instantly gets rid of several levels of nonsense.
- When I took off my clothes that day at the festival, I experienced about five minutes of extreme awkwardness, an intense desire to cover myself up with my hands. But because that would have looked ridiculous, I had to take a deep breath and walk tall.
- The experience made me think about the degree of body shame that is ingrained in us from childhood.
- I’ve become a regular visitor to Brighton’s nudist beach…. I would love to see more people – especially women – making the most of these spaces.
These remarks pretty well encapsulate the experience of most people who have suddenly grasped the appeal of naturism. Perhaps Alice should try interesting British Naturism in some of her writing skills.
- What Is Stopping You From Trying and Enjoying Nudism?
Most readers of this blog probably are either experienced naturists, or else are seriously interested in trying it. In the first case, consider showing this article to anyone you might want to participate in naturism. In the second case, let it give you the courage to jump in yourself. The first sentence lays out the essence of the problem: “We were all born nude and then it started with a diaper and the textile indoctrination began.” In general, most of the excuses people have for dismissing the idea of naturism stem from how our society conditions children to fear and avoid nudity with others from an early age. That’s not to say there aren’t sometimes genuine causes for concern – such as possible negative reactions from friends and family or adverse effects on one’s employment. But the root of these concerns is the fact that most others have similarly been conditioned to shun social nudity. This article offers a number of approaches to overcoming the injustice of how you were probably socialized to fear nudity.
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.
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
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.
- 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
Excellent information from Naked Wanderings:
“More and more we’re starting to think that nude events might be the key to a bright future for nudism. Especially the younger generation nudists want to get from behind the fences of the naturist clubs and resorts and do something fun, something spectacular. Luckily the options for amazing nude events seem to be larger than ever before. There are naked bike rides, nudist games, nude contests, nude cruises, nude festivals, nude tournaments, you named it. Everything is there for some amazing nude experiences in 2019. If you don’t have any inspiration about where to spend your naked time this year, here are 12 + 1 tips!”