Heroes of Naturism

Nick Alimonos writes in a recently updated blog post (originally written in 2014)

To break the nudity taboo, something that perpetuates sexism, body hatred, and an unhealthy sex obsessed society, we need heroes. Every movement needs heroes when society’s mores are challenged. There was a time when racism was sanctioned by the Supreme Court, until people like Frederick Douglas, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King challenged those laws.

Full post: Heroes of Naturism

Naturism has no heroes of the stature of those named in that quote. But it certainly does have many heroes of its own. The blog post offers brief profiles of a few of them. A few are celebrities, whose names are known to almost everyone (e. g. Miley Cyrus). Many others are not at all household names, and some are all but unknown even by people who pay attention to news of interest to naturists.

But there are hundreds of others, in addition to those cited in the post, who are currently active (besides the hundreds more who helped get nudism/naturism established during the past century). Advancing public acceptance of naturism can be done in many ways. There are people who organize successful naturist clubs, start or run influential naturist organizations, write for popular blogs, take the initiative to open and protect clothing optional beaches, or work steadily but nearly anonymously where they live to spread the word about naturism and educate many of their neighbors on its many rewards.

Anyone who thinks naturism is a good thing and deserves far better acceptance in society can be a hero. All that’s required is to contribute generously of their time and energy by working in ways that make the best use of their talents to make the world a better place to enjoy social nudity.

Naturism has no future without sustained effort by many who believe in it. Contemporary societies are simply not going to spontaneously recognize the worth of naturism and that people should have the freedom to enjoy social nudity just because the recognition and the freedom are “rights” that are “deserved”. Naturism needs “heroes” who will work to ensure those desirable outcomes.

Why Do Teenagers Turn away from Nudism?

Nick & Lins ask the question:

Why Do Teenagers Turn away from Nudism and Is that Such a Big Deal?

Toddlers are born naturists and not only literally (although they’re obviously delivered naked). In fact, they might well be the most genuine kind of naturist there is, they don’t even question their nudity. Most of them will question clothes though and if they see an opportunity to get rid of them they’ll often take advantage of that. Our memory doesn’t go that far back, but we would like to remember the day when being nude was not an option anymore. Yesterday it was completely normal to run around the garden naked, jump through the sprinklers on a hot summer day while everyone smiled and agreed with your joy. The next day this was not possible anymore…

They make some good points that address the question. I won’t summarize. Just read their article.

However, I think there’s one important factor that I’ve written about: There is a general fear of nudity, even among adults. However, it’s especially salient for teenagers. Younger children in nudist homes – and very young children in general – simply aren’t keenly aware that letting other people see oneself naked is a big taboo in our society, and many others as well. Kids in middle school, if not earlier, somewhat suddenly become aware of this fact: Nudity (except perhaps in the family or with very close friends) isn’t customary and it certainly is not “normal”.

I discuss that at some length in Additional thoughts on the fear of nudity

Simply put, the problem, as I explain, is that behavior that’s unexpected and not considered “customary” or “normal” puts one in a fraught, risky position with respect to society in general – but especially so with respect to one’s peer group. And for typical teens, the peer group is all important. This situation leads to a serious fear of nudity itself – just as much as fear of, say, putting one’s hand on a hot stove. Don’t do it, or you’ll get burned!

There’s some prescient psychological theory that helps explain why the peer group matters so much to teens.

The noted psychologist Erik Erikson had a theory of the development of an individual’s personality. (See especially his book Identity, Youth and Crisis) The theory posited 8 stages of development. He called the 4th stage that of “Fidelity, Identity vs. Role Confusion”. Basically, this is when an individual tries to figure out and define his/her “identity” – that is, what kind of a person one is in terms of social categories (e. g. religious, atheist, artistic, nurturing, studious, rebellious, etc.). This stage happens typically when one is an adolescent. Failure to figure out one’s identity results in an “identity crisis”, and this may remain a problem for quite a long time. The onset of this stage is a result of “hormones”, but also cognitive development, when the brain achieves a mature ability to recognize different “categories”.

When a young person is raised in a nudist family, the category of “nudist” is still not well understood until adolescence. A few such young people may be content with this identity, but most recognize that it’s shared by very few other people he/she is aware of. This makes it difficult for the young person to identify as a “nudist” – because it is simply not a very socially acceptable identity among peers. (Even a “gang member” has less trouble finding peers to identify with.) This is especially true in a society, like most in the modern world, where the whole idea of nudity is considered scary and dangerous. The net result in most cases is the children raised in nudist families are pretty likely to reject “nudist” as an identity during (and after) their adolescence.

People, whether or not raised as nudists, may somewhat later in life accept “nudist” as an identity when they develop sufficient self-confidence and independence from social attitudes to be less concerned about others’ opinions of the identity. They may even feel confident enough (like Nick & Lins) to espouse and defend a “nudist” identity.

From an entirely different perspective, the dissatisfaction of teens with naturism is just part of the problem of the dissatisfaction of young people with adult society in general.

Before the teen years, children tend to follow their parents’ guidance on what to be interested in. They generally go along with whatever the family as a whole is doing – whether its taking trips to the beach, visiting grandma and grandpa, or going to nudist resorts. But in the teen years, they develop interests of their own and their interests no longer have so much in common with their elders.

Young people, from the teen years on like different types of activities, music, movies, games, hobbies, etc. and these interests diverge considerably from those of their parents’ age and older. So it’s not that young people don’t want to be around older people. It’s just that the two age groups just enjoy rather different sorts of things. Unfortunately, the activities available at most nudist places are much more what the older group prefers than what the younger group does. The perceptive nudist resort should have staff whose main responsibility is providing activities to young people in the ages from teens up to but not including people with their first children.

Letter of Recommendation: Naturism

It’s rather interesting, and unusual, to see a positive article on naturism in the New York Times or similar mainstream publications. Usually, whatever else the spin, a writer treats the topic with at least a little condescension. You know, something along the lines of “Well, it wasn’t as difficult to do as I’d imagined, and I sort of enjoyed it, but it’s tough to think that intelligent people (like me) take this very seriously.” Not in this case, however.

Good quote:

My friends and I hardly followed the naturists’ chaste, no-judge code to the letter, but the more we visited, the closer we approached a sense of ease. The discipline of public nakedness rewarded our efforts in proportion to our degree of exertion, the euphoria of being in the moment a direct byproduct of battling the innate and unignorable weirdness of our collective situation. … On the beach, consumed with the task of pretending this was normal, I was able to attain what I assume is something like Zen. Naturism required so much effort that, somehow, it worked.

The author, Kelli María Korducki, concludes:

Nakedness doesn’t democratize social experience, as the naturists seem to suggest. Instead, it offers something better: a shared preoccupation. It’s so awkward to act blasé about being naked around other people — people who are also, themselves, naked — that there’s nothing left to do but submit en masse to the social and afferent novelty. Take in the warmth of the sun on your bare butt, skinny-dip unaccompanied by a sneaky sense of thrill, try not to stare at anyone’s penile jewelry. It’s easier said than done.

What does she mean by “It’s easier said than done”? I think it’s more than just admitting some discomfort with her own nakedness and that it’s not easy to resist staring at penises, areolas, and other body parts that are “normally” covered. At least, not easy before one learns how to enjoy sharing nudity with others without undue attention to the naked bits. Nudity, perhaps with some effort, can become normal, so just enjoy it. People new to naturism should realize there’s a “degree of exertion” required initially. The effort is required, to begin with, in order to overcome many years of social conditioning that shared nakedness is “abnormal”. And it’s worth the effort.

Here’s how the experienced naturist blogger (Fred) at This is my place comments on the article:

If one were not preoccupied with nudity to some extent, one would never take to the lifestyle. This is true of any special interest. …

If you felt a sneaky sense of thrill at skinny-dipping, then good for you. You are enjoying yourself. People who wear penile jewelry want to be looked at. Keep at the nudie lifestyle for a while and it becomes background noise. I’m still not blasé about it 40 years into social or even private nudity. Why would anyone ever want to become blasé about something they enjoyed? Novelty wears off but the satisfaction ought to remain.

The same as with penile jewelry can be said about nipple jewelry, which is perhaps more common. Many naturists used to find such things “shocking”. Some still do. Even though they don’t find full nudity at all shocking.

It’s not unfair to say that people who enjoy social nudity like being seen naked. That’s a prerequisite for the full enjoyment. Part of the pleasure is because they are proud of having overcome embarrassment from being naked. Do not assume this is the same as being an exhibitionist. It’s not. Exhibitionists want to attract attention to themselves. That doesn’t work when most others are naked too. Exhibitionists also aim to shock people. Naturists intend the exact opposite.

Grassroots naturism II

In the first article on Grassroots Naturism, I tried to explain how almost anyone – with sufficient time and motivation – could start their very own local naturist group in which to enjoy social nudity. At a minimum, it’s necessary to find 2 or 3 other individuals or families who share your enthusiasm for naturism and social nudity.

However, even if you’re not currently aware of people like that to discuss the idea with, you may still be able to develop an interest in naturism among your nearby friends and relatives. The first step must be to let such people who might be sympathetic to the idea know of your own interest in social nudity. Having identified people like that, then you might be able to “sell” the idea of naturism to them well enough that they’ll be willing to try it out.

If even that seems unrealistic, then you should probably find an existing group to join. That may be done by seeking information from one of the two U. S. national organizations, The Naturist Society (TNS) and the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR). (Or similar organizations in the country where you live.) Another possibility is to search for naturist groups using Meetup.com. Joining a local or regional group may eliminate any need to start a group of your own. If the only group of this sort you can find isn’t close to where you live, you might join anyhow, in order to ask members of the group to introduce you to social nudists who live closer to you. Yet another possibility is to visit or join a landed club. Even if that is also not close to where you live, by asking around you may get suggestions of people who aren’t quite so far away.

If even that approach isn’t successful, you’ll need to somehow expand your circle of friends to locate the kind of people who could become interested in social nudity. In this post I can’t attempt giving advice on how to do that, but perhaps the subject can be revisited later. How good are you at making new friends?

But let’s assume you can find 2 or 3 people near where you live who already have some potential interest in social nudity, or are at least can be persuaded to try it. What’s the next step? That’s what I’m going to discuss here. Once you have found these people, you should aim to help them become as enthusiastic about social nudity as you are, so that they’ll repeat the same process of finding additional members for the local group you’d like to build. The idea is to start a chain reaction. In the previous article I suggested a number of activities that should provide lots of opportunities for enjoying social nudity, and as a result stimulating enthusiasm for the idea.

Let’s suppose next that you’ve found at least half a dozen people (and/or families) who live close enough together to meet regularly – perhaps at least once a month or so. Then there will be some choices to consider about the future of the group. Here are some of them:

1. Is the purpose of the group just to enjoy social nudity by doing a variety “normal” things, but specifically when clothing is optional. For example, house parties, pot luck dinners, watching TV and movies. Or is it to engage (clothing optionally) in a small set of related activities, such as sports, hiking and camping, boating, beach trips, or whatever. Although having such shared interests can make a group more cohesive, the activities are often the sort done outdoors, and thus seasonal in nature. But some activities that aren’t like that and can be done in any season are things like chess clubs, book clubs, figure drawing and painting, etc.

2. Does a group need to have a formal organization of some sort, with officers, by-laws, newsletters, dues, etc. This is necessary if the goal is to affiliate with a national organization like AANR or TNS. (See next point.) Or do people want to keep things mostly informal, with only enough structure that makes it possible to do sufficient planning and preparation so that get-togethers and special events happen frequently enough to keep people interested.

3. Does the group want to be affiliated with a national or regional organization like AANR or TNS. Then it is necessary to have a sufficient amount of formal structure to meet the requirement of the larger organization. There are some advantages in that the larger organization may be helpful in finding new group members by advertising the group’s existence and allowing for communication with similar groups elsewhere to share ideas. The downside is the need for more formal group structure and (probably) dues. (See the previous point.)

I’m using the term Grassroots Naturism to focus on the kind of social nudity that’s done at the “lowest” level – individual people who share an enthusiasm for naturism, even if they don’t care to use that label for themselves. This is in contrast to the kind of top-down organization that, by definition, is exemplified by national or regional naturist organizations. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the top-down approach – except that it hasn’t been especially successful in recent years. At best, membership in the large organizations has been mostly stagnant for many years, or even declining.

Why is that? Perhaps for several reasons. First, large organizations take on a life of their own. Their top priority is to continue to exist, whether or not they are able to be of service to their individual members. Often the organization’s first priority is the success of landed clubs. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, except that the individual member is (at best) just a second priority. And the consequence is that individuals aren’t strongly motivated to put effort into spreading the word about the pleasures of social nudity and recruiting new enthusiasts to the fold.

With the “grassroots” (or should it be called “bottom-up”?) approach, on the other hand, the necessary effort is supplied by individuals themselves who enjoy social nudity enough that they’re willing to put their time and energy into “selling” the ideals of naturism to their friends and relatives.

Note that there’s one particular benefit of this type of organization. Since members will generally come mostly from personal friends or relatives of existing members, no extra vetting methods need to be used to ensure that new members understand and subscribe to traditional naturist values (i. e. no mixing sexual activity with social nudity). Of course, that assumes the group doesn’t use some type of public (including online) advertising to recruit new members. Prospective members should at least meet in person with an existing member to discuss their interest in joining, and existing members should be willing to arrange such meetings. Another benefit is that when a new person joins the group, an existing member will be able to introduce the newbie to others. Alternatively, if this process is skipped, some other sort of vetting should be used, such as, for instance, membership in a national or regional naturist group.

I intend to write more on this subject. One possible topic might be ways to use online social media (Facebook, etc.) to help grassroots organizing. Another topic is to identify specific techniques and tactics that could be used to carry on grassroots naturist organizing. For instance, are there low key ways to advertise in local areas, without attracting people who don’t have good naturist values? Should groups participate in “craft fairs”, county fairs, farmers’ markets, etc. in order to advertise their existence? Are their opportunities to participate as a group (while clothed) in civic activities, such as beach clean-ups, trail maintenance, food drives, etc.?

I’d also like to receive feedback on these ideas: questions, comments, constructive criticism, suggestions, missing topics to cover, etc. Are efforts like this currently being done anywhere you know of? Let’s have discussions about this – either here, or in forums dedicated to naturist conversations.

Suggested readings:

The term “grassroots naturism” and the idea behind it aren’t original with me. Around 2010 TNS assembled this document:

Grassroots Naturism: A Guide for the TNS Volunteer

It’s a good resource – as far as it goes. But the concept of “grassroots naturism” that it deals with is somewhat narrower than what’s discussed here. Nevertheless, it’s certainly worth looking at, and there are some useful appendices at the end, such as information on TNS itself and (especially) a nice collection of naturist quotations.

Here are several ways that the scope of this document is too limited:

  1. To some extent, there’s an assumption that the principal purpose of many naturist groups is to protect the clothing optional status of an established nude beach. While that’s certainly important, it’s hardly the only purpose of a grassroots group. This happens to be the reason that TNS itself originated in the 1970s, and groups that are closely associated with a particular beach are important to help ensure that visitors to the beach do not engage in behavior that’s inconsistent with naturist values.
  2. TNS desires to see local groups established, because the organization itself has no significant local presence anywhere (except for the headquarters in Wisconsin). It’s strictly a national organization and it doesn’t (at this time) have much ability to help start new groups or support them. It appears, instead, that TNS views local groups (in part) as a way to promote TNS memberships.
  3. In order to meet the requirements that TNS has for local groups to become part of the TNS “Naturist Network”, the group must be formally organized with officers, by-laws, newsletters, dues, etc. While there are certain obvious advantages to that, if a group is large enough, it’s also possible for a reasonable “grassroots” group to be considerably less formally organized. In fact, that’s the easiest way for a group to get started.

TNS also assembled a more detailed document on starting an operating a local naturist group, perhaps about the same time as the above document. It assumes, of course, that the group will be one with a fair amount of structure, so that it can be part of the “Naturist Network”. Strangely, too, the document is not currently (as of this writing) available at the TNS website. Fortunately, however, it’s available from the B.E.A.C.H.E.S Foundation, an adjunct of the Sourh Florida Free Beaches organization, which is associated with Miami’s Haulover Beach. Here it is:

Some Advice on Starting a Naturist Group

[One has to wonder about the strength of the TNS commitment to actually fostering local naturist groups, given the absence of this material on their website. Although, to be fair, the website has recently had a much-needed rework.]

This document has a fairly detailed list of tasks that need to be done to establish an organized local naturist group. Anyone who already has a list of perhaps a dozen or so people with some naturist experience will be able to follow the advice – because there are enough people among which to divide the work.

[I can’t help noting that the very first point in the part of this document on “Obligations of Network Groups” is this: “Substantial effort to encourage the group’s members to also join TNS.” While TNS is a worthy organization that does good things for naturism in general, it’s clear what their priorities are as far as local groups are concerned.]

The whole problem with the advice in the document is this: How does such an initial group come together in the first place? It’s relatively easy if there’s a nearby nude beach where people can meet each other. Alternatively, some people who know each other as members of a landed club can get together to start their own group that can engage in naturist activities away from the landed club itself.

But what about people who’re learned about naturism online or who’ve been enjoying nudity at home and want to find others like themselves? How does a group of people like that come together in the first place? That is exactly the issue that this series of articles here is meant to address.

Part III of this series will look at the general topic of “organizing” a group of people for some social purpose, of which naturism is just a special case.

How nudity is like zero

0 is a very legitimate number. You can add it to, subtract it from, or multiply it by any other number. Only division by 0 is undefined. However, for a very long time after people understood “ordinary” numbers like 1, 2, or 3, the concept of 0 as a number didn’t exist. Even the Greeks and Romans (apparently) didn’t think of it. Here’s a reference: Earliest recorded use of zero is centuries older than first thought

These days the use of the number 0 is ubiquitous. Computers and cell phones would absolutely not work without it. Even so, some people are a bit suspicious of 0, because it can’t be the divisor of another number.

Nudity is to clothing as 0 is to numbers. It’s clearly a “real” thing – otherwise, how could there be meaningful laws against it?

Just as 0 represents a specific quantity, nudity represents a specific form of attire – just as, for instance, a military uniform does. There might be a little less mistrust of nudity if people could just see the analogy, and form their opinions of nudity in light of that.

And by the way, having 0 of something is not necessarily a bad thing – e. g. if “something” is a disease or a car accident. Likewise, there’s nothing inherently bad about wearing 0 articles of clothing.

Respected authors have recognized nudity as a form of attire. Herman Melville, for instance, in Typee, described the young Polynesian girl Fayaway as clothed in “summer garb of Eden. But how becoming the costume!”

Additional thoughts on the fear of nudity

In reading this post on the topic, which I originally wrote almost 19 years ago, I was astonished to have left out what may be the most significant type of fear of nudity based on abstract feelings. (See the original article for “abstract” vs. “concrete” fears.)

What I neglected to write about is this: Fear of nudity, social nudity in particular, is likely in large part due to the fact that social nudity violates a cluster of norms and customs of the society in which one lives. It’s a factor not just in North America and Western Europe, but also in most “advanced” societies whose lifestyles are far removed from those of people who value clothing mainly for warmth, instead of for a variety of unrelated social considerations, such as religion.

Consider the word “norm”. Social behavior is considered to be within the “norm” if it’s behavior that is consistent with what “most” people in a given society consider “proper”. This is a numerical type of standard. Behavior by people in a minority that “deviates” from what most people in the majority find acceptable is “not normal”. It is “abnormal”, and that’s not considered a good thing. Such behavior is, at least, suspicious. (This applies to any sort of behavior, not just nudity. Another example is styles of dress that are regarded as “foreign” and not typical in a given society. Of course, nudity really is just another style of dress.)

But “norm” has a slightly different meaning too, roughly what is meant by “custom”. Customs in a particular society aren’t necessarily related to either numerical measures or morality-related issues. Examples of such customs include times of day that meals are eaten, types of food that’s served for specific occasions, activities engaged in on particular holidays, and types of clothing worn in specific places. Nevertheless, failure to observe the customs of a society is also “suspicious” and a cause for disapproval of the “uncustomary” behavior itself.

Regardless of the fine differences between “norm” and “custom”, nudity is almost always considered both “abnormal” and “uncustomary”, and is therefore a source of mistrust, disapproval – and even fear. (Except when nudity is “normal” for activities like bathing or (perhaps) sleeping.) A further sanction against uncustomary nudity is often to make it illegal.

So the question that must be asked is this: Exactly why is “abnormal” or “uncustomary” behavior – of which social nudity is just one example – a source of fear?

There are very good evolutionary psychological reasons that answer the “why” question. All human societies depend on cooperation among society members. Cooperation takes various forms. It may be working “cooperatively” with others in a group on activities that benefit the group. The activities could be as diverse as those of social clubs, businesses, and extended families. But there are often opportunities for individuals within a group to act in ways that benefit only themselves, while harming the group as a whole. For example, embezzlement of money or disclosure of information the group wants to keep secret. Lying or cheating in transactions between individuals in a society provide even more obvious examples.

If such harmful behavior is too common in a group, the group itself is at risk of failure. If cheating between individuals is too common, people cannot trust each other, and so they lose out on the benefits they might enjoy from honest trading and cooperation.

Societies and groups usually can function well enough if there are only a few cheaters. So there is always the possibility that any given member may be tempted to cheat. And consequently, honest people need to learn how to detect potential cheaters in order to avoid them.

How is that usually done? It’s done by monitoring whether other people observe group norms and customs. There are beneficial norms and customs, such as honestly cooperating with others and not cheating. Other norms and customs aren’t as consequential, but whether or not they’re respected may be used to judge how well the beneficial ones are respected.

The problem is that the “honesty”, or lack thereof, of other people is not easy to judge when the others are not well-known. Typically, judgments of honesty are done by considering a person’s “reputation”. If the person is known to have cheated previously in some way or other, the person is more likely to be distrusted. Unfortunately, the reputations of most people one has to deal with are often unknown, because little or nothing is known about the person himself or herself.

However, one type of information about an otherwise unknown person is behavior that can be observed directly. Most importantly, is anything known about the person’s behavior in violation of social norms or customs? If so, the person is more likely to be mistrusted and avoided.

Here’s a simple but very common example. People in management jobs at a company or in certain other kinds of jobs (e. g. salespeople) are expected to dress in a certain way: suit and tie for a man, “professional” clothing for a woman. Failure to dress in the “normal” or “customary” way is a source of immediate distrust. Why should a person be trusted who violates well-known social norms?

It’s a fact that people who are known to be “nudists” or to engage in social nudity are often distrusted or disrespected – precisely because nudity violates typical norms and customs. Such people are stigmatized as “nonconformists”.

Obviously, too, there are whole professions – such as teaching or any other kind of work with children – where being known to participate in social nudity can be used as an excuse for exclusion from the profession.

While it’s quite true that many people in a particular society do not have this negative attitude towards nudity, the negative attitude is still so widespread that anyone who has a favorable attitude towards nudity – and whose behavior is suspected of reflecting that attitude – must be cautious about letting that attitude be known. Or more to the point, people are more likely to think of nudity as something to be fearful of – because they know of the risk that others may disapprove. The existence of the risk is known – and the result is fear. We fear, rationally, what could cause us harm, especially if it’s difficult to estimate the risk – just as we fear spiders that could actually be harmless.

Here’s the reasoning in a nutshell: Social nudity violates a cultural norm. Therefore there’s a risk that others may see this violation as a reason for distrusting people who have positive attitudes towards nudity. Therefore it’s prudent to be fearful of holding positive attitudes towards nudity in order to reduce the risk.

The fear of nudity, part 2

From September 1997 to July 2000 (yes, that long ago) I published on the pages of this site a “Weekly Nudesletter” (which became increasingly sporadic). It contained mainly brief remarks on current news items. All that content is still online, if you care to see it. Occasionally, there were longer essays. In particular, there was a two-part essay on “the fear of nudity”. Most of this is still quite relevant, and I’ll refer to it in later posts. What follows here is the second part, which has been slightly edited. (Original page)

Some things we fear are concrete, while some are more abstract. In Part 1 we covered the concrete fears people often have when considering the possibility of trying social nudity. The list involves 16 concerns that people worry about as possible direct consequences of being naked with others. Some of these concerns are more likely to be actual problems than others, but at least they are fairly concrete. One can describe in specific terms what there is to be worried about, so it is possible to deal rationally with the concerns, to estimate their probability, and to formulate plans for dealing with them.

It’s obviously more difficult, and a different sort of problem, to deal with more abstract fears.

Before we get into that, let’s note that we didn’t deal at all with one category of fears of nudity — those which are felt by people who are not themselves interested in being naked with others, but merely in the position of confronting the idea of social nudity. Perhaps it’s because they have discovered that someone they know, a friend or relative, is interested in social nudity. Perhaps it’s because they have learned about some place such as a beach or club in their general area where social nudity occurs. Or perhaps it’s simply because the subject of social nudity has come to their attention somehow (in the news, in casual conversation, a flash of bare skin in a movie or on TV) — and they feel what seems like a sense of instinctive disgust at the idea.

However, the idea of nudity comes up, for some people it immediately arouses very distinct fears. Unfortunately, we all know people like that.

These fears, too, can be categorized as either concrete or abstract. Among the concrete fears are such things as the possibility of sexual assaults, other sorts of “deviant” behavior like drug use, or simply the imagined potency of nudity as a lure to attract an “undesirable” sort of person. In general, what we have here is a fear that people who violate one sort of social taboo — the sort involving nudity — may be more likely to violate other more important taboos as well.

There probably isn’t a lot we can say to calm such fears, because they are basically fears of the unknown. If a person does have such concerns, then usually no amount of talking will allay them. Direct experience that the imagined dangers are very exaggerated will help, but even failure to confirm the dangers doesn’t make fear of them go away completely. In any case, we aren’t going to get into this aspect now — because people who are afraid of being around others who like to be naked probably aren’t even reading this.

We’ll probably take up this topic at another time, because if you do like to be naked, the chances are you will have to deal with a variety of people who have such fears, and you naturally would like to be able to respond to them. Until we do get around to it, note that what we are going to say about fear of nudity in the abstract applies to everyone — those who are interested in social nudity as well as those who are opposed to it.

The reason is that abstract fears of nudity can be regarded as personality issues. Such fears engage our attention not only at a practical level, but at an emotional level as well. They influence how we act and how we think about ourselves and others. They are relevant to many aspects of our lives in addition to nudity — often much more relevant.

These abstract fears represent attitudes we hold about ourselves and about life in general. Since the effects of these attitudes are experienced in important parts of our lives quite unrelated to nudity, it is very much worth our while to examine them, even if we have no interest in going about without clothes. Understanding where these fearful attitudes come from and learning how to deal with them on a more mature, rational level than (say) a child’s fear of the dark or of spiders can present us with many opportunities for personal development and growth.

As you will quickly recognize, we can’t hope to offer advice in this small space on how to deal with these anxiety-producing issues. Libraries are full of books of philosophy and psychology and self-help which do that. The most we can do here is to name these issues and indicate (if it’s not immediately obvious) how they are related to the experience of nudity.

Sexuality

Obviously, what bothers more people than anything else about nudity is its connection with sexuality. This is understandable and can’t be ignored, since “nudity” in the legal sense is almost defined by lack of covering of the genitals. However, the connection is greatly reinforced by social conditioning, since in our society the main activity associated with nudity (apart from bathing or sleeping) is having (or fantasizing about having) sex. The association is a lot weaker for young children and people in cultures where nudity is more common in non-sexual contexts.

Young children usually have no problems with nudity, since they’ve been taught little or nothing about sex. Even after having some sex education that explains the genitals, they don’t grasp the full implications. Similarly, in cultures where nudity is more common so that genitals aren’t always hidden from others, the connection is weaker. However, we are profoundly shaped by our environment, so for teenagers and adults in our culture, the connection is strong. Nevertheless, learning to separate nudity from sexuality is quite possible. And then nudity can be enjoyed just for its own sake, entirely apart from its connection with sexuality.

Now, sexuality is the source of very powerful emotions. These emotions are both innate and (as a result of both positive and negative experiences throughout life) learned responses. It is the negative emotions, of course, that allows sexuality to give rise to fear. The specific details will vary somewhat from person to person. For some (especially women), there’s a legitimate concern over physical security, particularly if there have been instances of abuse as a child. For others the concern is due to emotional exploitation. There’s always the issue of performance anxiety and adequacy (see “Adequacy” below). And for many, the fear arises from doubts of our ability to control our urges in a situation that seems to invite temptation.

But whatever the sources of our sexual anxieties, it all comes back to the undeniable importance of sexuality as a part of life. It takes a good deal of experience and maturity to master sexuality, in both its positive and its negative guises. Being able to enjoy nudity as something separate from (though related to) sexuality is part of this mastery. It isn’t surprising that this is a source of fear before we gain this mastery.

Vulnerability and Adequacy

Clothing is armor. As armor, it’s more symbolic than practical, but it’s armor nevertheless. That is, we expect clothing to protect us against various threats originating in the external world. Some threats are simply physical — bugs, sunburn, excessive cold. But as many are psychological, and those are the kind that where lack of clothing engenders fear.

Clothing is armor because it is a shield against the judgment of others regarding parts of ourselves whose adequacy or acceptability we are uncertain of. Body parts that are too small or too large. Skin that is too pale or too wrinkled. Body shape that doesn’t fully conform to what we imagine is ideal by the standards of our society.

Obviously, clothing as armor actually works mostly for physical characteristics. (Though, by concealing some body language, it can protect some of our psyche as well.) Metaphorically, it is psychological armor as well. Our society puts too much emphasis on physical characteristics as indicators of our competency, worth, and value. But given that this connection is ingrained in us, lack of clothing connotes weakness and vulnerability. Fear is an obvious consequence.

What we need to learn is that physical characteristics matter only in limited realms – such as athletics, warfare, fashion modeling. Even for something like finding a mate, eventually we realize that there are far more important characteristics than the physical ones.

And so, whatever armor clothing can provide against threats to our feelings of competence and self-esteem, it has only a symbolic value as far as the majority of characteristics which really count are concerned. When we come to understand this, nudity ceases to leave us open to threats to our sense of worth. Hence fear of nudity becomes needless, and body acceptance becomes self-acceptance.

Self-disclosure

Surprising as it may seem, not everyone enjoys talking about themselves. There are various reasons. One may have scars or other physical disfigurations that aren’t apparent when clothed, and the underlying reasons may be unpleasant to discuss. Although nudity tends to promote a greater rapport between people, this can be threatening if it allows conversation to drift into areas one would prefer to avoid. Such areas exist for just about everyone, no matter how much self-confidence one has. Worries about our competency (or lack thereof — see above under “Adequacy”) probably have a lot to do with this. We don’t care to talk about our jobs, for instance, if we aren’t especially proud of our success. But it may have nothing to do with that. There may be parts of our lives we have no control over, such as death or illness in the family, that we simply don’t want to converse about.

In spite of the touted benefits of better rapport that nudity generally promotes, many people are simply not constituted to enjoy discussing personal and “private” details with near strangers, or even relatively good friends. That is partly what “shyness” is about. Nudity should not have to imply that unrestrained self-disclosure is required. It is enjoyable for itself, and doesn’t mean you have to tell everything about yourself to every naked person you meet. But it’s easy to understand how people can see physical nudity as a threat to their personal space and the buffers they think they need against the outside world. (See above under “Vulnerability”.)

Physical nakedness is a metaphor for psychological nakedness. It could well be the latter that we are more ill-prepared to handle. While this psychological nakedness, or “openness”, is often worth working for, it isn’t necessarily easy to achieve.

Mortality

Lurking behind all the fears we have regarding our physical bodies is the issue of mortality. The sags, bulges, and scars that accumulate through life remind us that it’s all going to end one of these days, and probably not painlessly. These physical tokens are not only considered unsightly — they easily cause us to think about something we want to ignore.

Clothing, of course, hides these stigmata (to an extent). Seemingly, a young person should not be too concerned with his/her nudity or that of age-mates in this regard. Yet, ironically, it is often the young who have the most anxiety about nudity. At least at present, it is people of middle age or older who gradually become more at ease with their bodies and therefore accepting of nudity. This isn’t so surprising. Young people are repelled by the age-related decline of human bodies which clothing covers. They don’t want to think about what’s in store for them.

Part of maturing gracefully is coming to terms with the inevitability of one’s eventual decline and demise. So, just as with other sorts of socially disparaged physical characteristics, those related to age gradually assume lesser importance. And in nudity there is increasingly less to fear.

The fear of nudity, part 1

From September 1997 to July 2000 (yes, that long ago) I published on the pages of this site a “Weekly Nudesletter” (which became increasingly sporadic). It contained mainly brief remarks on current news items. All that content is still online, if you care to see it. Occasionally, there were longer essays. In particular, there was a two-part essay on “the fear of nudity”. Most of this is still quite relevant, and I’ll refer to it in later posts. What follows here is the first part. (Original page)

There is no passion so contagious as that of fear.
Montaigne, Essays

We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.
Livy, Histories

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.
H. P. Lovecraft

In time we hate that which we often fear.
Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra

Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom, in the pursuit of truth as in the endeavour after a worthy manner of life.
Bertrand Russell, “An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish”

In our essay in the last issue on Nudity and Personal Growth, one of the key observations was that it is fear which very often holds us back from personal growth. Generally, this is fear of the unfamiliar and the unknown — because growing entails going someplace we haven’t been before. It might be our first date, our first time speaking in front of a large audience, our first time piloting an airplane alone. Or the first time we experience social nudity.

In the case of social nudity, we generally experience the fear as various of a number of particular concerns such as being laughed at or doing the wrong thing or being approached sexually. We’ll go into some of these concerns later, but ultimately what’s really involved is simply fear of the unknown.

Are all fears really just fear of the unknown? Probably not, except by a great stretch. Fear of pain or physical harm, for instance, probably isn’t in this category. However, often we anticipate pain or physical harm when facing unfamiliar circumstances. But let’s take a different example: fear of losing one’s job. (And this in general, not specifically because of involvement with social nudity.) Why does the prospect of losing a job cause us fear? Well, certainly there are a variety of unpleasant consequences: embarrassment, the effort required to find a new job, the thought of things we may have to do without if we can’t find a suitable new job quickly.

However, assuming we have normal skills and abilities, there are plenty of jobs available. So perhaps what really bothers us is that we may have to change in some way. We might have to move to another place in order to find a job we like. We will have to learn to deal with new people and new circumstances. We may even have to learn new skills or take up a new line of work from what we are accustomed to. All of these things are examples of the unfamiliar and the unknown.

To tackle these unknowns will require us to change — and to grow. That is certainly what contributes a lot to our fear. The situation in learning to deal with social nudity is much the same.

Men are even lazier than they are timorous, and what they fear most is the troubles with which any unconditional honesty and nudity would burden them.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Is not nakedness the indecent? No, not inherently. It is your thought, your sophistication, your fear, your respectability, that is indecent. There come moods when these clothes of ours are not only too irksome to wear, but are themselves indecent.
Walt Whitman, A Sun-bathed Nakedness

The best way to deal with fear is to stand up to it and confront it directly. We need to ask, regarding any of our fears, just how likely the “worst” possible outcome is, and in the event of such an outcome, how we can deal with it. The point is to look each fear in the eye, and to think about it calmly and rationally.

Usually what we will find is that the “worst” outcome is pretty unlikely, and the more likely outcomes are things we can deal with. And in case we are uncertain about our ability to deal with some outcomes, there is an opportunity for growth if we set about to acquire the skills needed to deal with the circumstances.

There are many things in life which could be pretty scary if one really thinks about them. Just consider all the things which could go wrong in something you do every day, such as commuting to work. The possibilities range from running out of gas, to getting a speeding ticket, to becoming involved in a bad accident. We’d never be able to function if we worried about all the possibilities every day. A much better approach is to learn to assess the risks realistically and to work at establishing the habits and skills which will reduce the risks whenever possible.

Let’s look at some of the commonest fears people have about trying social nudity. Many times the fears are exaggerated, in that the anticipated problems are much less likely than you might suppose. But this isn’t always the case, and we won’t insult your intelligence by saying that things will never go awry. After all, we’re dealing with some powerful social taboos here (at least in our culture), so some risks do exist. If you are completely averse to risk, social nudity probably isn’t for you.

However, when there are rewards to be had (as there certainly are with nudity), then an intelligent, growth-oriented approach to dealing with risks is to understand them better, and to become prepared to deal with them if necessary — before the problems arise.

As you read through the following list, try to put each item into one of three classes. The first class is for problems that are external to you (such as the possible reactions of your spouse or employer) and that also seem likely to arise. The second class is for problems that are mainly in your own mind (such as your opinion about the appearance of your naked body). The third class is for problems that – if you consider them carefully and maybe do some research – don’t really seem likely to arise. For example, the legal issues may not be as serious as your fear.

Unless something changes, you probably don’t need to worry much about problems in the third class. Problems in the first class will probably require you to think creatively and take some sort of action. For example, if you think your significant other will object to the idea of naturism, you might try to suggest a bargain where you offer something important you know he or she wants, in exchange for reconsidering his or her objections to naturism. Problems in the second class will require you to work on your own attitudes and fears. For example, if you’re concerned that naturism might conflict with your religious principles, search for information from naturists who share your religious beliefs and can explain how there’s no conflict.

Because there are so many nuances possible with most of these problems, this isn’t the place to pursue the details. Those may be good topics for further articles. However, if you’re impatient, there are many discussion on all of these topics already out there. You just need to search for them. Perhaps another good topic for another article here would be suggestions on where to search for pertinent information.

There is already a Part 2 on this topic, and it considers a few things aren’t dealt with here.

  1. My spouse or other members of my immediate family will object strongly.
    Unfortunately, this is one of the more likely problems, given how unhealthy our society’s attitudes are towards nudity. Most likely, you already know if this is going to be a problem. There is no single solution which works for everyone, since the things that cause others to object to nudity are so many and varied, though all are ultimately unfounded. If the problem can be solved at all, sincere and honest communication is the way to do it. Learn as much as you can about social nudity, at this Web site and many of the others around, so that you can explain exactly why social nudity is good and the fears of it are vastly exaggerated.

  2. Friends, relatives, or business associates will find out and react negatively.
    As far as people you don’t live with are concerned, it is not very likely they will find out you enjoy social nudity unless you tell them. Clubs, whether landed or not, are very respectful of members’ privacy. And beaches or other “public” places where nudity can be enjoyed are usually in distant and remote areas where you’re very unlikely to encounter anyone you know. There are people around who won’t change their minds if they are negative towards nudity. However, if you’re careful about it, you can generally figure out how others will react and whether they will at least be tolerant of your attitude towards nudity. This is called learning to tune into the points of view of others.

  3. Even if other people seem to accept or tolerate that I like to be naked, they will think I’m weird.
    The fundamental issue here is that it is not “weird” to enjoy nudity — atypical and not talked about in our society, but not “weird” or “deviant”, which are pejorative terms. It is quite possible, if you have this fear, that you yourself think there’s something a little deviant about enjoying nudity. You will then have this fear until you learn to think otherwise, that nudity is healthy and good. Really, what it comes back to is learning to be comfortable with yourself and your own preferences, to be able to march to your own drummer, despite all the peer pressure against it.

  4. People might think I’m hung-up on sex.
    The question is: are you or aren’t you? Remember, it’s OK to enjoy sex just as much as it is to enjoy nudity. (Our society is very ambivalent on this point, unfortunately.) But there is a time and a place for everything. You are “hung-up” on either one only if you feel an obsession about it at the wrong time or place. You need to be clear in your own mind that nudity and sex are only loosely related, and you need to be confident explaining to others that they are quite different experiences for you, though each is very worthwhile in its proper time and place.

  5. Enjoying social nudity could result in legal problems.
    Fortunately, this problem is non-existent with legitimate private clubs. The days when people got “busted” for social nudity on private property are, thankfully, long in the past. (Though there are ominous trends in some areas that might bring back past harassment.) It’s a different matter in “public” places, of course. But the risk depends drastically on where you are. As long as you stick to places which have a long-established tradition of nude use without official interference, you should be fine. Just be sure you know the current status before you strip off.

  6. Nudity in front of my children could raise legal problems.
    This is extremely unlikely in most locations, as long as you know the members of your immediate family are comfortable around nudity. There is no place in the country where nudity in front of your children is actually illegal, though there are many conservative communities where a lot of people think it is or should be. The best advice here is to know the attitudes in your community and keep a very low profile if necessary. Explain to your children that, though your family thinks nudity at home is no big deal, there are others who get upset over the idea, and that it isn’t something which should be discussed with others who might misunderstand. Unless you have previously conditioned your children to think there is anything improper about nudity, you shouldn’t have any concern that exposing them to your nudity should cause a problem. After all, millions of children have been raised in nudist/naturist/nude-friendly environments during the last 100 years (to say nothing of the rest of human history). If nudity really were harmful to kids, certainly this would be apparent in some nudist families. Yet there simply isn’t any evidence that this kind of upbringing has hurt them. Be prepared to point out this simple fact if you are challenged on the issue.

  7. I could lose my job if it became known I enjoyed social nudity.
    Again, this is quite unlikely, but it does depend on the attitudes of people who are in charge where you work. A few job categories, like teachers or daycare workers, may have special sensitivities. However, in most cases, your employer need never know, and almost certainly won’t do anything if he/she does. You’ll just have to judge the risk for your own circumstances. (But then, Paganism, with or without nudity, could also be hazardous to your teaching career in some places in the Bible Belt. See one of the stories in our News section, below.)

  8. As a man, I might have an erection when I’m around naked people, especially women.
    This is probably the most common fear men have about social nudity. For most men, it is a totally groundless fear, but for some guys, especially younger ones, it can happen. Nervousness over this issue is usually enough, by itself, to forestall it. The best advice is that as long as you aren’t thinking about sexual matters, you won’t get a sexual response. And even if you do, as long as you are careful not to be too obvious about the situation until it passes, other naturists will understand and neither laugh at nor think badly of you.

  9. It’s physically dangerous to frequent places where naked people gather.
    This one really is false. Of course, if you’re a woman, it’s not such a good idea to go anywhere alone that is remote and sparsely populated, unless you are confident of your means of self-defense. But other than that, private clubs and popular public areas where nude use is traditional are quite safe. Assaults, rapes, and similar crimes have been known to happen at such places, but the risk is no higher than comparable places where folks always wear clothes.

  10. As a woman, I’m afraid I’ll be bothered by men making sexual advances.
    We can’t say it never happens. It’s generally pretty rare at private clubs — and if it occurs, just ask for help from someone in club management. But at public beaches, well, certainly there are men who can be pests. There are many ways to deal with it. Always visit beaches with one or more friends of either gender — there’s safety in numbers (and it’s much more fun besides). Visit the beaches at busier times — most people there will not approve of anyone who gets too pushy and will take notice if someone steps out of line. Or best of all, develop your self-confidence to the point you have no trouble telling an inconsiderate male just where he should go. Some men, just as many women, may fear being exposed to or drawn into sexual activities they don’t want. The truth is, social nudity isn’t about groping and orgies. There’s nothing about it which will force you to endure that sort of thing against your will.

  11. Being naked around other people may violate, or tempt me to violate, my religious principles.
    There are a large number of religious people, even ministers and priests, who are active naturists. It is simply not the case that most religions are officially opposed to nudity, though there are certainly many religious leaders who misunderstand it. You’ll find thorough explanations at a number of Web sites dealing with religion and naturism. As to whether nudity might lead you into temptation… this is an area where you’ll need to examine your own conscience. If you think your motives aren’t compatible with your religious convictions, then you have something to work on.

  12. My body isn’t especially attractive. People will laugh at me or think I have the wrong size or shape in certain parts.
    Most people don’t have bodies which are especially attractive. You’ll learn this the first time you visit a nude beach or club. It may be that some folks make private judgments about the appearance of others, but it is considered very bad etiquette to let this show. Most people will not be judgmental, either openly or otherwise, and laughing at someone else’s appearance or making rude comments on it is considered extremely boorish. But the best advice, long-term, is for you to become comfortable with your own body and its appearance. You may choose to improve it, if feasible, or you may simply learn to be happy with yourself as you are.

  13. Since I’ve never been around naked people, I might unintentionally make some breach of nude social etiquette.
    This is quite possible. For instance, you do know you should always have a towel handy to sit on, don’t you? And it’s OK to look at parts of others’ bodies besides the face, as long as you don’t stare. Fortunately, there aren’t really that many rules of nude etiquette you need to know. Common sense is generally enough. Beyond that, a few minutes spent reading some of these etiquette links will tell you all you need to know.

  14. Since I have no experience being naked around others, I will feel embarrassed and awkward. People who are comfortable with nudity will know I’m new at it. I think I’ll appear foolish.
    Everyone has to have a first time, right? The “first time” is something that people who enjoy nudity tend to remember very well. They are therefore sensitive to the feelings of people who are new at it. However, you will probably be a lot less obvious than you suppose. Quite likely you recall dreams in which you were naked even though everyone else was clothed, and you think how awkward you felt, since you were very conspicuous. However, when many others are naked too, you aren’t conspicuous. Chances are most people won’t even notice if you’re new at it. Read some first-time stories to get a feeling for how easily this usually goes.

  15. I’m shy and/or not as socially adept as I’d like to be. I think people who are into social nudity are cliquish and may not readily welcome me into their group.
    This, too, is quite possible. It’s not an unrealistic fear. Private clubs are made up largely of people who have known each other for some time, and even most popular nude beaches have “regulars” who are close friends. It can be as difficult to gain entry to such groups in the clothing optional world as in any other circumstance. However, clubs vary quite widely in their degree of friendliness to outsiders, and while beaches tend to be more open, they also vary. You will at least have to go through a period of “testing the waters” to find a group you are comfortable with. This may be even more difficult if you are a “single male”. You may need to do a bit of work on your social skills (conversation, body language, sensitivity, general affability), in order to get along well. But this is certainly worthwhile — a true opportunity for growth.

  16. I might run into someone I know.
    That ought to be considered a good thing! The other person should be there for the same reason you are — to enjoy being naked. Very likely such an encounter would alter your relationship to the other person — for the better, since you have something unexpected in common. Certainly this is true at most private clubs. At public beaches, it’s true there are those who visit to see what going on without actually participating. While other people who like to be naked are very discreet about whom they discuss this with, it is conceivable you could run into someone who would enjoy causing you trouble. Only you know how vulnerable you might be to this sort of thing, perhaps based on your job or position in the community. If you think there is some real danger, perhaps you need to save social nudity for trips and vacations far from home.

The ups and downs of nude restaurants

Chances are, if you follow news about naturism at all, you’ve seen stories about the closing of the O’Naturel naturist restaurant in Paris. The reports aren’t greatly exaggerated, unfortunately.

Reports of restaurant failures in year one are apparently exaggerated, however – most likely not close to 90%, as sometimes claimed. But there’s more agreement that over half fail within the first five years. Perhaps the longevity of a new restaurant depends a lot on the size of initial losses a restaurateur is willing to accept. But its pretty clear that starting a new restaurant in a very risky venture.

Studies show that the largest reason for failure is lack of capital (hence inability to sustain initial losses). And the second largest reason is poor choice of location.

The competition among restaurants in Paris is probably fierce. That’s where almost every restauranteur in France must dream of locating. I’ve never been to Paris, so I have no idea whether O’Naturel was poorly situated in the city. On top of that, the French are notorious for being perfectionists about food. An inability to employ (or afford) the best chefs must entail a poor prognosis.

Anyone who wants to open a clothing optional restaurant (anywhere, not just in France) would be well advised to locate it somewhere that has a lower than average abundance of eating places. And, additionally, somewhere close to where naturists are likely to gravitate – not far from the fabled naturist-friendly beaches on the Atlantic coast, for example. But not so close that the market is already saturated.

Most of the news reports shed crocodile tears for the O’Naturel, and they don’t look deeply into the various possible reasons for the restaurant’s failure – aside from the idea the there’s simply no market for a naturist restaurant. Nevertheless, it’s interesting that the situation received so much press coverage if it’s truly only a matter of marginal concern for most people.

Sadly, about the only “cause” that’s considered to be responsible for the restaurant’s demise is the lack of patronage. The analysis above shows there could be a variety of additional contributing factors.

A factor that seems important to me is that the two owners (who are twin brothers) are not naturists (according to this). That doesn’t mean they didn’t really intend to treat naturists respectfully. But one wonders whether they missed some details. Was the restaurant warm enough? Were the owners and staff sufficiently sensitive to naturist values? Was enough effort made to discourage voyeurs or other customers who weren’t sensitive to naturist values?

O’Naturel: The First Naked Restaurant in Paris (10/15/18)

The Naked Wanderers, Nick and Lins, paid a visit to the restaurant last October. Their report is very positive, and concludes:

O’Naturel provided us with an experience of high class dining in a naturist atmosphere and a very interesting thing to see was that just like in many other naturist settings people who had never met before just started talking to each other. This is something you’re very unlikely to encounter in any textile restaurant. The professionalism of the hosts in combination with the friendliness of the other guests created a genuine naturist atmosphere which was only slightly disturbed when one of the kitchen staff peaked one time too much into the dining room.

The only quibble they have is hardly likely to have been responsible for the restaurant’s demise.

The O’Naturel isn’t scheduled to close until February 15, so it will still be in operation on Valentines’s day. In case you are able to check it out before the end, their website is here.

Their Facebook page is here. (The picture there shows the very classy interior quite well.)

Some other links:

The large amount of news coverage on both the opening and closing of the restaurant is surprising. It suggests that this is a concept many people are interested in – seriously or just for laughs. In case you’re annoyed by Schadenfreude or grade-school-quality puns, however, you might not care for many of the reports.

Best summary ever of what social nudity is all about

Nudity and Friendship: Does it matter?

In part of this we read:

I found myself strangely intrigued with a blog post I reposted on my other blog a few days ago called I Socialize Naked. The young, female author made a rather compelling case for calling out social nudity for what it really is. “I would like to not be wearing clothes right now, and I would also like to be with my friends. No protest to mount. No fitness agenda. No underlying implication of inner healing or truth. I just like being naked, and it’s more fun to be naked with other people around.”

The inner quote here is from this: I Socialize Naked

I’d be hard-pressed to come up with as succinct an expression of what social nudity is all about. That is: It’s about having neither inclination nor need to wear any clothes when in the company of understanding friends, and without even having to negotiate permission. It’s friends totally accepting without question or comment concerning the degree of one’s nakedness. And this irrespective of the friends’ own preferences to wear or not wear clothes. With genuine friends, there is no issue whatsoever about one’s preference or choice to be naked.

And on top of that is the frank confession that, quite simply, “I just like being naked, and it’s more fun to be naked with other people around.” In other words: to be a naturist among friends is to have even more incentive to be naked.

As if to say, “If you’re really my friend, you’d better give me a damn good reason to persuade me to put on any clothes!”

How could there be a better summary of what social nudity is all about?