- 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.
Here’s a new blog post from UK bloggers Hannah and Nick: Encouraging women into naturism. Almost immediately they say “Our experience is that there are actually very few who are actively against people removing their clothes in appropriate public circumstances. However, there does seem to be a gender divide when it comes to people trying naturism for themselves. Men are often keen, women less so.”
Continue reading “The gender imbalance problem in naturism”
- 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”
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:
- Helping more women to discover the life-affirming, exhilarating feelings of social nudity – and great community and social life that accompanies them.
- 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.
- Helping the men in Naturism to show the benefits to the women in their life.
- Improving awareness of the negative effects of societal pressure on women to conform to a particular type of body shape and appearance.
- 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.
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.
- British Naturism campaign for women in naturism
Women in Naturism – the relaunch
BN, the national naturist organization of the UK, is not only concerned about the level of participation by women in naturism (only 30% of BN membership), but they appear to be making an effort to do something about it. BN member Donna Price has volunteered to help restart BN’s “Women in Naturism” campaign. The article mentions several possible approaches: “organising specific gatherings for women, speaking about Naturism in the media, encouraging Naturist women to bring friends to events or clubs, and participating in women’s groups on- and offline to spread the word”. Cited as a first step is: creating “a national network of Naturist women, with the aim of putting them in touch with others in their own areas or areas that they may be visiting.”
This ought to be extremely important. Why? The most likely reason is that women seem to be considerably more reluctant than men to attend a naturist activity, nude beach, resort, or local club by themselves. And that’s probably because of the existing preponderance of men at any of those things. (Example) If a woman happens to have a significant other or good friend who is an active naturist and can accompany her, the gender imbalance is less of a problem. Otherwise, the imbalance is probably a major deterrent. So the best solution could be to enable women to get in touch easily with one or more current women naturists to go with them when exploring naturist opportunities.
One assertion in the article is questionable: “It is a fact that Naturism appeals more intuitively to men than women.” Is there actual evidence for this “fact”? The gender imbalance isn’t good evidence, since there are a number of other possible reasons that the imbalance exists. One or more of these other reasons, such as negative body-image or fear of harassment, may explain the imbalance, even if naturism is equally appealing to women and men in the abstract.
- Women’s feelings about naturism
From a Woman’s Perspective: Nudism
This is actually a September 2012 article from the Southern California Naturist Association (SCNA) website. It’s been reposted in various places since then. I’m including it here for its relevance to the preceding article. A large number of women comment on their naturist experience in a variety of categories:
- My first time fears
- Accepting my body
- Single issues
- Nudist families and their children
- How to get started
The comments aren’t entirely about women’s initial fears and difficulties of getting into naturism. But there is one theme that appears in the background of many of the comments. The theme can be expressed as concerns women have about their bodies, in terms of safety and personal dignity. Women worry about their safety from unwanted attention, harassment, or even physical harm. But they also worry that, without the “protection” of clothes, their bodies may be regarded as mere objects for male attention without concern for a woman’s personal dignity, and that they will be judged based on specious cultural standards of “attractiveness”. The fact, of course, is that the concerns are usually unwarranted when only “genuine” naturists are involved.
The second of these worries, especially, is a lot more relevant for women than for men. Men also are often uncomfortable about their body’s appearance. However, in most existing societies women’s bodies are fetishized much more than men’s bodies. An example of this is the fact that there’s much less male nudity than female nudity in movies. In order for women to become comfortable with naturism it is, unfortunately, necessary to be able to immunize themselves against this cultural reality. This is easier to accomplish with organized assistance from women who’ve become at ease with naturism and their bodies. Naturist men should also help in this task, since doing it shouldn’t be solely by women. However, one suspects, naturist women have advantages in being able to handle it.
Women shouldn’t be too quick to assume that male naturists, for voyeuristic reasons, want more women to participate. The truth is that both women and men are more likely to participate in naturism if there is more equal gender balance. This is especially important for encouraging more young people to become naturists. As it is now, the most prominent demographic at many nude beaches and naturist resorts is older men. That’s just not likely to lead to increasing popularity of naturism among young people of either sex.
- Nudity in New Zealand
How a beach becomes nude, and why people like getting naked in public
So, why do people like getting naked in pubic – at least in New Zealand? In the opinion of the president of the Auckland Naturist Club, “I tend to think clothing-optional people are more friendly than the other people. There’s something about it, it’s hard to explain. When you have people around with no clothes on who are comfortable with it, they seem to be much more open and social – not in a provocative way – just in a friendly way.” This observation about naturists is pretty common, and it’s probably true. After all, people enjoy being naked because it’s relaxing, and who wants to be rude, argumentative, or confrontational when one is trying to relax – especially when naked?
The answer to the other question – how does a beach in New Zealand become nude? – is much vaguer. Often it “just happens”. There aren’t any “official” nude beaches near Auckland, and probably not elsewhere in New Zealand. And it can happen because “There is no specific offence for being naked in public” – in the words of one police spokesperson. Clear illegality is present only if there is “indecency” or “offensive behavior”. This is also true in many US states and Western European countries. The problem is that these terms are vague and subjective. But for now, that seems the best that naturists can expect.
- Body acceptance
Baring all: Could naturism be the answer to body confidence?
It’s encouraging to read positive stories about naturism in conventional print media, like newspaper and magazines. But they’re relatively rare and usually superficial, especially in the US. And they often seem to have a subtext like “Can you believe that sensible people really do this?” Or they contain neutral-sounding commentary, but the writer or reporter concludes, after having spent a few hours socially naked, with a sign-off such as “It was interesting, but I don’t think it’s for me.” The situation seems to be a little better in the UK. The article here, from a Scottish newspaper, is a good example. It’s based on interviews with two naturists and a photographer who makes nude portraits for women that are not in the “boudoir” style but instead are intended to demonstrate the subject’s body-confidence. The naturist interviewees don’t say anything that would surprise other experienced naturists. But their comments might be informative for people who have no idea what naturists actually believe.
- Ever-changing attitudes to simple nudity (sort of)
Naked Came the Strangers
This article is a good example of the kind of story about nudity that’s common in the US. It’s somewhat of a pseudo-intellectual rumination that appeared (unsurprisingly) in the NY Times. The writer focuses on the type of nudity that appeared in the late 1960s at events like Woodstock. In some ways, a little progress has been made. For instance, “The women who would have been violating decency statutes by going topless at Woodstock in 1969 would now, in a majority of American states, be free to bare their nipples in public.” (While that may be correct in legal terms, the supposed freedom, obviously, is almost never exercised.) It’s not clear how much lasting effect Woodstock-like nudity has actually had, although public nudity does occur in limited circumstances, such as WNBR and occasional special events in New York City. (None of this is mentioned in the article.) The writer concludes, of course, with the sign-off that seems de rigueur in the US:
“I could never have been one of those naked people at Woodstock or Altamont or anywhere, really. … I went swimming with a group of pals who first removed their bathing suits and slung them, as was then the custom, around their necks. It did feel thrilling and slightly illicit and pleasurable, as everyone promised, that unfettered freedom of bobbing around naked in the ocean. But if I am being honest, it felt much better afterward to get dressed.”
- Naked podcasting and body acceptance
What I’ve learned about body confidence from hosting almost 50 naked podcast recordings
Two professional journalist women who were concerned about how many other women were also concerned with body acceptance issues decided in 2017 to start a series of podcasts to address the issues. So far over 50 podcasts have been done, with interviews of about 40 women. Both hosts and guests are naked for all interviews. A blurb for the series reads: “The podcast features experiences of disability, life changing illness, relationships, health, fitness and mental health. They are all gripping stories; often emotional, sometimes hilarious and always empowering.” One of the presenters, Kat, initially found the nudity difficult. But now she states “I feel very comfortable with my body and with nudity, so much so that I recently took part in a life drawing class where I was the model.”
- Can nudity be an obsession?
So, What’s the Deal with My Obsession with Nudity? It’s a Thing!
Yes, it can. And that’s not necessarily bad. People are often obsessed – and possibly with good reason – with a number of things, such as their family, their job, their hobbies, the novel they’re trying to write, planning the “ultimate” vacation – and so on. Of course, there are ways that obsessions can be problematical – if they cause a person to neglect things that shouldn’t be neglected, if they are detrimental to anyone’s health or well being, if they are in pursuit of unachievable ends. So where does an obsession with nudity fit in? You shouldn’t ignore the possible problems, which exist because of our society’s irrational aversion to nudity. So you need to get a good understanding of what’s involved if you are seriously interested in social nudity. And in order to do that, you have to learn as much as you can about it first – which may mean an “obsessive” effort on your part, if only for a short time.
- Naturism 101
Tear Down the Walls
There are many ways to get involved with social nudity. This article lists quite a few of them. You don’t need to take nearly all of these steps, however. Think of what the article offers is a menu of ways to experiment with naturism. Chances are that after you’ve tried two or three of these ideas you’ll be well on your way to being a real naturist. The actual problem is working up the courage to try any of the ideas. That’s why you may need to “obsessively” study what naturism is about, to begin with. Where do you find the information to study? It’s out there, and not very hard to find. But don’t expect to find it in your local library. Printed books and periodicals on naturism hardly exist, and if they did, most libraries wouldn’t have them. Don’t waste your time using a search engine for “naturism” or “nudism”. Most of the results will be porn-related, and not at all relevant. Don’t bother looking on Amazon, either. Most of what you can find there is shallow and unreliable – and not free, either. I should put together a post on some of the best online sources. But before getting around to that, perhaps the best suggestion I have is to check out some of the top naturist blogs you’ll find listed in the “Blogroll” in the right-hand column of this page. That alone should easily give you most of what you should know.
- Think about it
Why you should think about getting naked
Simple answers to simple questions: “Just like you accept the look of a strangers face when you first meet, you accept the naked body of another human being. Competition and any need to fake something disappears. When you’re naked you are open and honest, confident, friendly and close to the fundamentals of life. Being more in-tune with reality brings you closer to your community and environment. Getting naked in the right environment simply feels good and does you good.”
- Millenials and naturism
That Day I Got My Millennial Friends into Naturism!
This is a renamed article on Dan Carlson’s blog – already described here. It was originally titled “The Joys of Sharing Naturism.”. Some of the earlier articles by the same guest author (Addie) may also be of interest, because they represent the perspective of a young person who’s just discovered naturism:
- 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
- Recollections of naturism in Europe
Looking at naturists can be life threatening – as I found out to my cost
A columnist for The Guardian recalls office workers taking their lunch hour nude in a Berlin park.
- Unique New York City naturist club organizes many social nudity events
There’s almost nothing you can’t do naked if you’re in this club
The organizers of the club, Just Naked, “are encouraging nudity-loving New Yorkers to strip down for all manner of activities: playing Pictionary, listening to poetry and jazz, eating pizza, sketching live models — and, for their latest birthday-suit bash, gymnastics.”
- Naked yoga as a way to build self-confidence
Taking a naked yoga class gave me a new appreciation for my body
Jen “made it a goal to purposely put myself in uncomfortable and emotionally terrifying situations to help my personality evolve and increase my tolerance level for nerve-wracking situations.” At a class put on by Naked in Motion she found that naked yoga was just the thing: “I was shocked that the class delivered on its promise to help quiet the negative self-talk that I so often hear running through my mind. ”
- New Zealand woman tempted to be nudist… almost
I think I might be a nudist
Lucy and a male friend try a clothing-optional Japanese onsen. “Never in my life had I ever felt so at peace with my body. No one looked at us, no one said anything. Being nude at that moment just felt completely right.”