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

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

Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 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.

Thoughts on “Why I am a Nudist”


Photo credit: Mona Kuhn

Nick Alimonos is a prolific writer of fantasy fiction and also on naturism and philosophical topics. Why I am a Nudist is a recent post of his. I can’t disagree with any of the main points, but it does suggest a few additional thoughts. To be clear, I prefer to use the terms “naturist” and “naturism”, but I see little significant difference from “nudist” and “nudism”. Since Nick has written so much on naturism, I haven’t yet read all of it, so I apologize in advance if he has expressed the same ideas I’ll present here.

To begin with, Nick writes “The reasons I choose to be a nudist is something I feel I have failed to adequately express, but the simple answer is: naked feels good and naked feels natural.” Actually, Nick has written that before, for example, in “The Devil’s Advocate: Why Nudism is Wrong*” he tells about how he responded to his skeptical wife’s observation that many of the commonly cited justifications for naturism (such as healthfulness, etc.) can be countered with: “The genitals do not have to be exposed for that to work.” Indeed, one gets nearly as much vitamin D at the beach whether or not one is wearing a (sufficiently small) swimsuit. Nick’s eventual response is that “the reason we choose to be nudists … can be summed up in three simple words: It feels good.”

I certainly agree with that, but I don’t think it fully counters his wife’s observation. If what you’re wearing at the beach (or at home) is just a string bikini or a (man’s) speedo why does the exposure of a few additional square inches of skin make any significant difference? Wouldn’t the difference need to be qualitative as well as quantitative? And if so, what is the difference in the quality of the feeling, between covering nothing at all and covering only the genital area? I do believe there is an important difference in the quality of the feeling – and it’s decisive for naturists – but it requires a bit of explanation.

In the recent post, the very next thing Nick writes is that his realization about why naturists love being naked is “tantamount to a religious experience, a form of Buddhist-like enlightenment.” I think that the realization is far more Buddhist than Nick suggests. I can’t claim to know a lot about Buddhism, but the sense I have is that the ultimate goal is freedom from “needs” and, ultimately, from “desires”. For naturists that means, in particular, not only freedom from wearing clothes but also from feeling any need or desire to wear clothes. In this sense, very few naturists are able to achieve this degree of freedom – because physical comfort and the demands of society usually get in the way. However, it is the amount of freedom from needing or desiring to wear clothes that naturists are able to achieve that is an important part of why they are naturists. Freedom from quotidian encumbrances “feels good” by itself.

From there Nick goes on to explain why it is that being naked “feels good”. He observes that the skin is the body’s largest sensory organ. Consequently, wearing any clothing at all interferes with that organ’s ability to perform its function – in proportion to how much of the skin is covered by something else. Of course, if the proportion is small, as with a minimal bathing suit, that isn’t necessarily important. But in “ordinary” society, covering one’s skin by clothing is much more extensive most of the time. So naturally, naturists will prefer a social environment where the required amount of clothing is none, or at least as little as “possible” – as long as the sensations conveyed from their skin are pleasurable. Obviously, most naturists will choose to wear enough to avoid unpleasant sensations, such as excessive cold – but the more avid naturists will do so only reluctantly.

If enjoying nudity is only about what “feels good”, why would a naturist be reluctant to put clothes on if the ambient temperature is low? Presumably, there’s some point at which nudity stops feeling good. Many naturists, however, are able to tolerate lower temperatures than people who habitually wear clothes. (It’s humanly possible to tolerate rather low temperatures with very little clothing. See here or here for examples.) But committed naturists may still prefer being naked even if they find the temperature somewhat uncomfortable. Some will even trek naked on chilly Scottish Munros. That suggests there’s more to the preference for nudity besides pleasant sensory feelings.

A quote from Walt Whitman indicates what’s involved: “Perhaps the inner never-lost rapport we hold with earth, light, air, trees, &c, is not to be realized through eyes and mind only, but through the whole corporeal body, which I will not have blinded or bandaged any more than the eyes.” Clothing that covers any part of the skin diminishes sensory information coming through the skin. Just as covering eyes, ears, or nose will interfere with their sensory function, covering the skin with clothing has the same effect. Such covering is an impediment to our contact with the external world. We wouldn’t generally want to interfere with our ability to see pleasant sights, hear pleasant sounds, or smell pleasant scents. Likewise, why interfere with the skin’s ability to sense moderate sunlight, the warmth of a campfire, the stimulation of gentle breezes, or the caress of flowing water?

Nevertheless, I don’t think that’s still the whole story. Nick goes into great detail to make the case that “Nudity is Practical, Clothing is Not”. Obviously, that all depends on circumstances. Nudity is especially practical for various activities, such as swimming, exercise, sunbathing, washing cars, doing household chores, and (as far as naturists are concerned) socializing with other naturists. Clothing is impractical for many of those things just listed, but also because it costs money, has to be washed periodically, takes up space to be stored, wears out, needs to be changed to be “appropriate” in differing social contexts, and so on. But clearly there are situations where the degree of practicality is reversed – such as going anywhere that’s cold, interacting with non-naturists, or creating an appearance of authority, wealth, status, sophistication, or hipness. Notice how many of those factors are related to social interactions.

Nick also has a lot to say about “shame”, and how that is in fact simply an “illusion”. Shame related to nudity is a social construct that in most societies is conditioned in most children at an early age – by parents, peers, authority figures, and society in general. He points out, quite correctly, that “shame, and body taboos, are social constructs, which quickly disintegrate once examined closely.”

But there’s quite a lot more that can be said about this social aspect. In my opinion, the way nudity works in a naturist context may be the most compelling reason for being a naturist in the first place. Consider the simple social custom of shaking hands with a new acquaintance or a friend one hasn’t seen for a while. Supposedly the custom arose as a way for people to demonstrate to each other that they aren’t carrying a weapon and don’t pose any threat. I would suggest that – in any context where clothing is optional and nudity is allowed – choosing to be naked signifies that one neither poses a treat to others nor feels any threat from them. And therefore friendly interaction is possible, while naked, without fear of improper or unwanted behavior from others.

In most societies, there are various functions fulfilled by wearing clothes. As already mentioned, one function is that clothing can signify things like authority, wealth, status, sophistication, or hipness. However, clothes can be used to conceal or mislead about personal characteristics rather than to convey accurate information. Naturists rightly claim that when everyone’s naked, it’s not quite so easy to deduce accurate information about another person – or be deceived about the truth – by the clothes they (don’t) wear. At the same time, though, it’s incorrect to suppose that nudity prevents making judgments about things that clothing can signify. The truth is that people, even if naked, reveal a lot about themselves in a number of ways, such as their manner of speaking, their vocabulary, their body language, the things they talk about, and feature of their body’s appearance (hair styles, jewelry, tattoos, physique, etc.) Some of those features can be deceptive too – but not as readily as with clothing.

I think non-naturists probably regard clothing as a sort of armor protecting them against judgments others might make about them – or against possible overt unwanted behavior. People are naturally wary of how others they don’t know well might think about them or behave towards them. It’s just human nature for people to be concerned about their appearance to others, let alone about their physical safety. But, at least, when everyone’s naked, nobody uses clothing as armor – so there’s less reason to think clothing is necessary. This assumption is even better in an environment in which naturist behavioral norms are in effect – for instance, at popular clothing-optional beaches, naturist clubs and resorts, body-painting events, “World Naked Bike Rides”, and private homes of other naturists.

The problem in most societies today, including ours, is that most people don’t know what the naturist behavioral norms are – specifically that naturists don’t need clothing in order to behave well and respect others’ boundaries. All societies depend, to a large extent, on the existence of sensible behavioral norms. Societies can’t function if people can’t trust most others they interact with to behave “properly” and predictably. Educating society about naturist norms is a problem that must be solved, in order for naturism to become more “normal” and acceptable. Only then will people realize that the “armor” provided by clothing isn’t necessary. If others around me are comfortable being naked, why shouldn’t I be also? That’s a big reason why people who realize this can become naturists themselves and enjoy a naturist lifestyle. It’s simply more pleasant to interact with people who don’t need or desire to wear clothes, because there’s general agreement that whatever armor clothes provide isn’t necessary.

There’s another way of thinking about this. Among naturists, it’s easier for people to be more open with each other in their interactions when they’re naked. Nudity expresses (honestly, one hopes) that “I have nothing to hide” and nothing to be ashamed of. Think about the words “close” and “disclose”. “Close” is the opposite of “open”. So to “disclose” something is to become more open about it. “Disclothe” is an actual word, meaning “to remove clothes”, though it’s seldom used in modern English – but it is in the Oxford English Dictionary. It means the opposite of “clothe”, so is the same as “undress”. Now think about how similar “disclothe” sounds to “disclose”. That might be simply coincidental – but it accurately represents what’s going on. One discloses something of oneself by disclothing. Naturists consider that a good thing. Being “nude” or “naked” in both law and common parlance means that genital areas (and/or female breasts) are uncovered. Therefore, covering those parts is not compatible with what naturists seek to do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 9/22/19


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.

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.
Continue reading “Review of Naked Hiking (Richard Foley, ed.)”

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.