Why a double standard in naturism?

The article Musings about the Double Standard in Naturism appeared this June, but is certainly still worth a response.

It’s clear there is different treatment of men and women in naturism. The article cites many examples. But it’s no mystery. The fact is that large parts of the culture and customs of most societies around the world are based merely on historical, happenstance tradition, have scant useful purpose, and are too often irrational and silly. And once established, they’re perpetuated from generation to generation. That’s why they vary so much between different societies.
Continue reading “Why a double standard in naturism?”

Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 8/23/20

Well, it seems I’ve gotten somewhat behind in reporting on “recent” noteworthy articles on nudity and naturism. Personal reasons for that, but no excuses. I’ll try to cover the best articles from May here – but with less detail than usual. You’ll see there are some fairly interesting things. Hopefully, June, July, and August summaries won’t be too far behind.

  1. Utah, California, South Carolina Best Places for 2020 ‘Naked Gardening Day’ Saturday


    The World Naked Gardening Day for this year (in the northern hemisphere) was on May 2, and has already been discusssed here. But this article appeared a little later and has additional details. The LawnStarter website has covered WNGD before (last year), when it rated Bakersfield, California, as having “the most conducive climate for getting out and gardening in the buff”. This year it bestowed the honor on Ogden, Utah, based on weather forecasts. But the event is celebrated by naturists in many other countries besides the U. S. For instance, Donna Price (pictured above), from the UK, is quoted recommending everyone to “make it naked and enjoy the liberation”.

  2. The Great British Take Off



    WNGD wasn’t the only special naturist event in May. British Naturism designated Saturday, May 16 as the day for The Great British Take Off (GBTO). Here’s their announcement: The Great British Take Off – 16th May. The name chosen for the day may refer not only to taking off clothes but may also suggest the idea that naturism in the UK could be taking off to a new level. Here’s what BN said on the day of GBTO: The Great British Take Off – Today’s the Day! And here’s their summary of what happened: Didn’t we have a lovely time…!

    The announcement got widespread notice in the British press. Most of it was favorable to naturism and not condescending (as it would certainly be in most U. S. media). It’s no accident there were numerous media reports. BN obviously made a serious effort to get favorable coverage – even supplying images to accompany the stories. U. S. naturist organizations don’t seem to make such efforts, or if they do, they’re not nearly so successful.

    Some of the stories:

  3. The woman behind “Women-in-Naturism”


    Here’s Donna Price again, in her role with British Naturism as a promoter of naturism for women. She’s officially the Coordinator of the Women in Naturism Campaign. We all know about naturism’s gender imbalance problem. It’s to BN’s credit that they don’t just talk about the problem but also have someone who’s responsible for getting things done to address the problem. Simply having a point of contact from whom other women can learn more about naturism is important. Since Donna (and her husband) have only been naturists since 2016, they can explain from their own experience how to overcome the concerns that women have about participating in naturism. Donna has an active Twitter feed, which makes communication especially straightforward.

  4. Naturism goes on in spite of the pandemic


    There’s no question about the pandemic having an impact. But it seems to be less severe than in some other areas. Naturally, since most people are spending lots more time at home – especially if they can continue at their normal jobs remotely – they can be naked much more of the time. Since most traditional naturist activities are outdoors (beaches, campgrounds, resorts, etc.) transmission of the virus is somewhat less likely. Many other activities can go on using video – naked yoga and figure drawing/painting classes, for example. And many more people can participate – even from another continent, since travel isn’t necessary. The use of video also means that naturists can spend more time in conversation with each other, and find new friends.

    It should be noted that British Naturism hosts an extensive calendar of online events. Some are free for BN members (but it’s not necessary to live in the UK to join BN). These include things like chats, a book club, and life drawing. Other more intensive offerings – such as yoga, aerobics, and fitness workouts – can be booked for about 5$US per session (for BN members). The schedule is here. Neither of the U. S. national naturist organizations has anything like this, as far as I can tell from their websites.

    Here are some media reports:

  5. ‘Why we decided to do our podcast in the buff,’ say the women behind the Naked Podcast


    “When Kat Harbourne told her friends and fellow BBC Sheffield journalist Jenny Eells she wanted to make a podcast that explored issues around body image she jumped at the chance. Even when Kat said they, and their guests, would be naked, she didn’t change her mind.” Jenny explained, “For me being naked isn’t really an issue but I know that’s not the case for everyone and we wanted to try and find out why.” The podcast website is here.

  6. Petition to protest censorship of naturism on Google’s YouTube

    The petition, entitled Normalize the human body in its natural form, is at Change.org. I expect most naturists would agree with the notion. The text begins: “Depictions of non-minor persons of any sex either in public or in private in a non-sexual, nude state shall not be prohibited by social media sites or their providers if and when the depictions are intended by their disseminator to be of an artistic, educational, or documentary nature and/or facilitate the formation of an educated opinion…” There have been over 13,000 signers so far. Please take a moment to sign yourself, if you haven’t already. (It’s free, although you can make a donation to help publicize it.)

    The petition was initiated by Hector Martinez of the Mexican Nudist Federation. He had posted hundreds of videos on his channel, which had 1.3 million subscribers and a total of 200 million views. And then “someone” at YouTube deleted the entire channel, without warning or explanation. According to Hector, the videos had been posted since 2016 and observed YouTube’s guidelines for acceptable content. The whole text is worth reading. My own comment, after signing, was:
    There’s nothing whatsoever wrong with nudity. In particular, nonsexual nudity as practiced by naturists is entirely healthy and wholesome. Not everyone agrees with this, of course, but that does not in any way justify censoring the expressing and documenting of a completely valid point of view.

    Some other naturist blogs also reported on this:

  7. British Naturism: Sunfolk – an update

    This British Naturism project has already been mentioned here. The progress that’s already been made is noteworthy, in spite of the pandemic. The plans BN has for Sunfolk are impressive. This may be the first example, at least in the English-speaking world, of a major naturist organization taking over management of an existing naturist facility. It will be run much like a traditional naturist club, but primarily for the benefit of BN members. During the last few decades a dozen or so landed clubs in the U. S. have folded and converted to conventional textile-only use. Neither of the national U. S. organizations seems to have considered doing what BN has done with Sunfolk. That’s a lot of very unfortunate missed opportunities.

  8. I Think I Found the Missing Nudist Bloggers

    In this post I replied to an article on the Sensual Nudist blog: What Happened to the Nudist Bloggers? That led to some interesting dialog (in email and article comments) with Alexis (the article’s author) and other bloggers. Alexis posted an interesting response on her blog, giving a good explanation of her thinking. It’s a long post, so I won’t summarize here – just read it.

Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 5/10/20

  1. It’s ‘Work Naked Wednesday’!
    Yeah. Don’t we wish? Are there any enthusiastic naturists who haven’t at some time or other imagined being able to work naked at their regular job? Sadly, unless you work at a naturist resort or as a dancer at a strip club, or… well, there obviously are a few other jobs where clothes aren’t required. Back in the real world, however, working naked at your job requires being able to work from home – assuming others there are OK with that. Now, suddenly, many (if they’re fortunate to still be employed) are actually able to live that dream. Maybe you’re one of them!

    Apparently it was the British Naturism organization that decided – with tongue firmly in cheek – to officially designate every Wednesday as the appointed day for working naked. We may suppose that was, at minimum, a good idea for attracting attention to naturist ways of thinking. However, if you’re now working at home, at least for the present, why shouldn’t every day be good for working naked? One doesn’t need to be Albert Einstein or Winston Churchill (who, according to reports, actually did that) to figure this out.

    If you have friends you think might like the idea, feel free to invite them to join in. Even if few in fact take up the suggestion, it could lead to some “interesting” conversations. If nothing else, it gives you a way to let selected friends know how you feel about wearing clothes (or not). As a subsequent post at the British Naturism site observes, “At our events, we’re seeing a huge increase in friends booking together and people bringing members of their family. So, if you are in the workplace and want to embrace #WorkNakedWednesday, then go ahead and see who will join you.”

    More about this from the Irish Naturist Association

  2. Why I teach naked yoga


    Well, guess what? Here’s an actual, legal, real-world job that’s done wearing nothing – and gets paid for – with others watching! (Nude modeling for amateur and professional artists – and, of course, working at a naturist resort – are similar jobs.)

    Caroline, the yoga teacher who wrote the article explains,
    I get asked a lot why I teach naked yoga and why I enjoy being naked. Very often it’s asked with a slight tone of disdain or incredulity. My answer – because it feels fun and exciting to be naked, because I feel better about my body when I’m naked, because I feel more connected to and more compassion for others when I am naked. The deeper reasons for why this is the case, I’m not acutely aware of. The fact that it feels good is reason enough for me.

    It’s a perfectly adequate explanation for anyone who enjoys nudity – naturists especially. No further justification at all is needed. Nobody should feel embarrassed to admit this. But it’s also OK to mention other reasons, such as reduction of stress, improved body acceptance, and the pleasure of socializing naked with others.

  3. Strip Off For The Best Nude Beaches In The World

    Articles attempting to recommend the “best” examples of almost any category you might think of aren’t in short supply. This is especially true with regard to travel and vacation destinations. That makes sense, because people are always interested in experiencing something new (to them) and different. And few have the time and wherewithal to go out and make the comparisons themselves. Indeed, many of the articles of this sort you might come across are based mainly on the subjective experiences of the writers who may have sampled only a few of the alternatives – selected for who-knows-what reasons.

    These limitations certainly apply to recommendations for the “best” clothing-optional beaches around the world. It’s a difficult problem, especially, for nudity-friendly beaches. Many of them aren’t well-known outside of their local area – because regular users want to keep it that way. Too much popularity of any potential travel destination – let alone one where nudity is the norm – may well not be a great thing for the ambiance.

    And besides, who has been fortunate enough to sample most of the possibilities? But luckily, there’s a travel advisory organization named Globehunters that’s approached the task systematically. Their effort has already been noted here.

    This approach uses mostly objective factors such as average summer temperature, hours of sunshine, cost of accommodations, and a “safety” index. That’s instead of more subjective factors, such as friendliness of other beach users, scenic views, ease of access, and lack of gawkers. There are clearly both pros and cons of this approach, but at least it’s potentially able to cover a larger sample of beaches.

    Obviously, this year is not a good one for long-distance travel. But if you want to make travel plans for the future, the Globehunters’ list gives you a wide range of alternatives (45) to consider. Naturists will also want to investigate other clothing-optional opportunities in the general area of each alternative.


  4. Haulover Beach for the First Time: A Naturist Woman’s Perspective

    Linda W., a seasoned California naturist, writes about Haulover Beach in Miami, Florida, which she visited because it “came highly recommended by friends who ironically, were on an extended stay in Florida from the United Kingdom. They raved about what a nice beach it was.” The clothing-optional part of Haulover, of course, is one of the best and most well-known nude beaches in the U. S. It has many fine points, such as great climate, friendly naturist users, and an active support organization, on whose blog this article appeared. That blog and Linda’s article provide just about all the information anyone might want to learn about the beach.

    Although Linda writes from a “woman’s perspective” the message is basically that Haulover is a great, safe place for a woman (or anyone, really) to give naturism a good and carefree try. “It is a haven for people who want to enjoy a clothes-free relaxing day,” she writes, since “if there are unwarranted activities such as sex, drinking or drug use noted, people will say something.” In summary, “As a female naturist, I felt safe enough to walk the beach by myself without anyone hitting on me or making me feel uncomfortable.”

  5. The Nude Selfie Is Now High Art
    People who write for the New York Times tend not to be especially tuned in to naturist ways of thinking. And often not even to current social trends among people of the “Millennial” generation – let alone the “Gen Z” cohort. Thus the writer here begins:

    [N]ude selfies have become one symbol of resilience, a refusal to let social distancing render us sexless. Nude selfies are no longer foreplay, a whetting of a lover’s appetite, but the whole meal. Though the debate about art versus pornography has never been settled, a case can be made that quarantine nude selfies are art. Some of us finally have time to make art, and this is the art we are making: carefully posed, cast in shadows, expertly filtered. These aren’t garish below-the-belt shots under fluorescent lighting, a half-used roll of toilet paper in the background. They are solicited or spontaneous. They are gifts to partners in separate quarantines, friends who aren’t exactly friends, unmet Hinge matches and exes.

    We can’t know what’s actually on the mind of people nowadays who exchange naked pictures of themselves. Do they honestly think what they’re doing is art? (Although sometimes it is.) Or now, in this period of social distancing, are they just especially sex-starved and horny, regarding the exchange of naked selfies as simply an enhanced form of phone sex? (Not even considering the use of things like Zoom.)

    But why does this kind of activity need to be considered either “art” or sexual at all? In fact, ever since the advent of smartphones with cameras, it’s become much more common – among people of college-age or later (and many who are younger as well) – to exchange naked selfies as a way of saying “I like you and want to share some of myself with you in this way.” This is definitely not about dick pics and crotch shots – stuff like that is just plain rude and crude in most cases. For many people – how many is not knowable – it’s really much more like a naturist attitude: “There’s nothing wrong or embarrassing about nudity. It’s just fine to share nudity among friends.”

    To be perfectly clear, there certainly does need to be lots of caution associated with this activity – especially for young women or anyone who expects to go into a career such as politics or pre-college teaching. It shouldn’t be done without careful consideration of the circumstances. Especially in countries (and many U. S. states) that are backward and not really part of the modern world. People who exchange naked selfies need to ask themselves: “Would the consequences be devastating if my pictures went farther than I intended?”

    Already, after a couple of months of enforced isolation, younger people – at least those not in long-term, monogamous relationships – are becoming more relaxed about and accepting of the idea that sharing nudity with friends is a wholesome, salutary thing. Naturists should hope that this idea will persist long beyond the duration of the present unpleasantness.

  6. Naturist Lock Down Idea #2 – Read and Share Naturist Magazines


    Marc at the Nude & Happy blog is a maker of lists of ideas related to naturism, and the lastest offers ideas for how naturists can continue to enjoy their lifestyle even when (mostly) confined to home because of the pandemic. (Idea #4 briefly covers video chatting with other naturists.) Idea #2 reminds us that information about naturism isn’t available only online, but is also still available in the venerable printed magazine format. Indeed, there are a surprising number of such publications still, which is remarkable in itself, as many printed publications are either going to digital-only form or actually into extinction.

    Marc names ten periodicals. The majority are in English. (Every major English-speaking nation seems to have at least one of its own.) Two, however, are in French, and one is German. (Among those mentioned – there must be others.) There are pros and cons to both print and digital format. Digital is fine if all you want is to scan the articles, and perhaps read a few, on your computer or smartphone. But the printed form has definite advantages. Printed copies are better for taking with you to read at your favorite camp or beach, sharing with others, or leaving out on your coffee table to stimulate discussions about naturism with guests.

    You might be surprised how effective naturist magazines can be with open-minded people. I first became aware of, and interested in, naturism from just seeing a naturist magazine at a newsstand while in college, eons ago. Sadly, there are many fewer such newsstands today, and almost none (at least in the U. S.) dare to carry naturist publications.

    Why bother reading about naturism at all? Isn’t the whole point just being able to enjoy life without clothes when that’s possible and comfortable? Mark responds with 3 good points:

    1. “Nudity is an integral part of naturism but naturism cannot be limited to nudity. This means there are tons on topic that naturism can relate too: psychology, family, nature, well-being, health, food, etc.”
    2. “[T]he naturist movement has federations, clubs, and resorts. A magazine is a great opportunity to talk about them, promote them and explain the positive economic impact of naturism on local economies.”
    3. “[M]agazines are a great way to reach out to curious people, to new naturists who have questions about the lifestyle. They provide a wonderful way to make people aware about naturism, [and] its various benefits and locations.”

  7. Preserving Nudist History: An Interview with NaturistVintage – Part Two


    This is the second half of an interview with a collector of vintage naturist magazines – typically from the early days of naturism in the middle of the previous century. (The first part is here.) The collector’s great great grandfather was a prominent naturist back then, and his interest clearly percolated to later generations. The collector now has a popular account on Twitter: Naturist Vintage, where many scans of images and pages from vintage magazines are offered.

    Naturism (or nudism, as it used to be called) has changed considerably in recent decades, although much is still the same – the way being non-sexually naked can enhance a person’s life. These glimpses of naturist history give us some idea of both what has changed and what hasn’t. Interestingly, naturists back then seem, if anything, less inhibited, circumspect, or embarrassed about their nudity than naturists today. But maybe that’s because nudity then was confined to private homes and campgrounds, where prudish, judgmental people never ventured. None of these vintage magazines is still published (AFAIK).

    Two remarks from this part of the interview seemed particularly interesting to me. First, “I think it’s all the more important for people to be exposed to non-sexual nudity (pun intended). Being nude around other people and seeing other people nude, with all their beautiful imperfections, can demystify the body, which so often gets objectified in our culture.”

    That observation, I believe, can’t be emphasized nearly as much as it needs to be. It’s extremely important for people to see and become accustomed to seeing (non-sexual) nudity. By continuing to treat images of explicit – and I include full-frontal – nudity to be considered so taboo and controversial, a vicious circle is established. Because such nudity is so seldom seen, the idea is perpetuated that it shouldn’t be seen. Everyday nudity can never be considered normal if it’s (almost) never seen in a positive light. Seeing only the backsides of naked people isn’t enough. The implied message that people are (or should be) ashamed to be seen naked from the front is toxic for naturism.

    Just ask yourself this: If non-naturists cannot become accustomed to seeing full nudity, then why is it that many people still are able to enjoy – without apparent distress – sketching and painting nudes in art classes, mingling with naked people at clothing-optional beaches, or watching naked cyclists at World Naked Bike Rides? And yet explicit pictures of naked people like that are a problem? WTF?

    The second prescient remark from the interview is this: “[O]ne thing that amazes me about reading magazines from the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s is how much of the debate around nudism has not changed in the years since. Some of the issues they dealt with, such as maintaining a gender balance, or managing the understanding of non-nudists, are still in many ways the same.”

    Yes, quite a lot is still the same. But change for the better is possible and does happen sometimes. We do have World Naked Bike Rides now, naked bodypainting in New York’s Times Square, well-attended performances by naked magicians and comedians, naked theatrical productions, and a (small but increasing) number of naked yoga classes here and there.

Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 1/5/20

  • 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.

Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 12/21/19

  • 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.
    More: here

The gender imbalance problem in naturism

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”

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.

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.

Recent articles on nudity and naturism, 8/30/19

  • 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.