This morning I received an email about the upcoming nude swim. Apparently, a lot of new people are expected to attend, among them some who have never been nude with others. This raised the question of whether or not to allow first timers to wear swimsuits. Although the club’s policy is to require nudity at such an event, they seem to be willing to allow for an adjustment period and make it clothing optional for the first hour or so then after that nudity would be required in the pool.
I’m not sure how I feel about this change in policy. Of course, I’m not a member of the club (yet) so it’s not my place to question their rules. It’s their club and their event. However, it got me thinking about the idea of “transition periods” for first time nudists. I know that many landed clubs allow first time visitors to ease into getting completely nude but nearly all of them require full nudity in their pools, hot tubs, and saunas. I’m also aware that they don’t own this facility and are simply renting it for the evening.
To my mind, if you’re going to a nude swim you should have an expectation that nudity will be a requirement. I understand that some might be a little shy or apprehensive about attending their first nude event but I feel that if you have already made the decision to attend a nude event, the best thing to do is to just get naked and experience it. If, after a reasonable amount of time, you’re not comfortable and it’s not for you, then get dressed and make a graceful exit.
Generally speaking, nudists are very friendly folks and won’t be judging you on how your body looks. Chances are, you’ll likely stand out if you’re the only one wearing a swimsuit. Join in the fun and after a few minutes, you’ll probably forget that you’re naked.
I can only speak from my own experience. I was nervous and apprehensive when I went to my first nudist outing and I almost turned around and went home. But once I arrived, I took my clothes off and my apprehension disappeared almost immediately. I discovered that, for me, being nude with others felt so liberating, so comfortable, and so natural that I did not want to get dressed again for the drive home.
I guess I’m a bit old school in my views of naturism. If you’re attending a nudist event or visiting a nudist location, you’ve already made a commitment to experience naturism (nudism). Should you decide it’s not for you after all, no harm done.
Today is December 30, 2016, the penultimate day of the year, a day I review and contemplate the events of the year and, hopefully, set goals and intentions for the coming year.
It was another year in which I didn’t actively participate in social nudity. While I would have liked to have visited nearby venues or traveled northeast to hike Chautauqua Gorge, other things came up or the effort and expense didn’t seem worthwhile. Essentially, other things in my life took priority over getting naked with strangers. Will that change in 2017? I won’t even try to make a prediction. I suspect that getting naked with others will likely remain a low priority.
This year my financial situation changed drastically and I began reevaluating my memberships and subscriptions. Among the memberships that fell under the magnifying glass were my AANR and TNS memberships. Although I appreciate the work they do for nudism and naturism in general, I had to evaluate them from a more personal level. Was continued membership worth $50 to $60 each on the off chance that I might find my way to Cedar Trails, Paradise Gardens, or Sunshower Country Club for a day of social nudity? This year, I decided they didn’t. Maybe next year, I might chose one or the other.
In October I learned of the existence of a non-landed club, Dayton Warm Breezes, that’s practically in my back yard. I’ve made contact with them but, thus far, I have not been able to attend one of their events. The October swim would have been an ideal opportunity but it was canceled due to problems with the pool. The November and December events at member homes conflicted with other engagements. Their next swim is scheduled for mid-January. Maybe I can make it to that. In the meantime, my interest in joining fluctuates from one day to another. Getting naked with others, as much as I miss it, isn’t really a high priority these days.
Over the year, my ideas and attitudes about nudism and naturism have evolved. Actually, they’ve been evolving for several years but this year I really began to give it more thought and write more about it as can be seen in several of this year’s posts. Rather than reiterate them here, you can go back through the posts and read them yourselves.
One change I made to my blog was to only allow comments for the first 30 days after an article has been posted. It resulted in a significant reduction of spam comments. I might miss some legitimate comments but I figured that if no one commented within the first 30 days, I wasn’t likely to get any.
What does it look like for getting naked in 2017? To tell the truth, I haven’t a clue. I’ll continue to be nude when I can and I’ll continue to promote nudity as our natural state and advocate the legalization and decriminalization of simple nudity.
I still see the need for less anonymity and secrecy among nudists within nudist groups and in social media. As nudists and naturists, we proclaim that the unclothed human body is natural and decent and that being naked is not shameful, yet we insist on anonymity and secrecy in pursuing our clothes-free lifestyle or activities. People are naturally suspicious of any activity surrounded by anonymity and secrecy.
I think it’s about time we learned to live with the ever-present technology that nearly all us possess, namely mobile phones. Personal privacy has become a very rare and precious commodity. That’s a reality and we have to learn to deal with it. Banning mobile phones or any other device that might have a camera at nudist events and venues seems short-sighted and, ultimately, not very practical. Pictorially documenting my naturist activities as I would equivalent activities in a clothed environment shouldn’t be difficult or even impossible. Shouldn’t we have more trust, respect, and accountability among ourselves?
Sorry for getting up on my soapbox but those are but a couple of my frustrations with the current nudist paradigms.
After leaving TrueNudists a couple years ago (it may have been longer ago) I joined again about three months ago. I filled out my profile, added a profile picture, and joined a couple of groups but other than that, I haven’t been particularly active. I’ve browsed through the forums without finding much of interest, mostly the same discussions that were ongoing during my previous time with the site. Essentially, it hasn’t changed. I took a look at the chat and with so many people on and discussing so many topics, how is one supposed to engage anyone in a discussion?
They are still encouraging members to upgrade to a paid membership and to become “certified” nudists. I went through the certification process when I was previously a member but I don’t have any intent to go through it again. I know it would open up areas of the site for me but I’m not feeling any particular need to access them. It might also be an act of rebellion on my part. I don’t feel any need to certify or prove to anyone that I am a “genuine” nudist. It’s a primitive and ineffective vetting process and it means nothing. I know I’m a genuine nudist and I have been for the past decade.
Like most other nudist sites I’ve joined, I’ll probably just log in occasionally to keep my membership active, maybe post something now and then. Sometimes I just don’t see the point in it.
AANR mission statement:
Our Mission: Simply put, we exist “To advocate nudity and nude recreation in appropriate settings while educating and informing society of their value and enjoyment.”
TNS mission statement:
The mission of The Naturist Society is to promote body, acceptance through clothing-optional recreation using the tools of education and community outreach.
“Body acceptance is the idea…Nude recreation is the way.” – TNS founder Lee Baxandall
Nude recreation and social nudism haven’t been central to my practice of naturism in quite a while. In the last decade those aspects have substantially decreased in importance to me and I’ve found that my own ideas about naturism and clothes-free living have aligned less and less with the nudist paradigm of the national nudist organizations, AANR and TNS.
Both AANR and TNS emphasize nude (clothing-optional) recreation in their mission statements. This seems to imply that engaging in recreational activities is a primary reason for being nude. Personally, I would like see a change in the direction of our national nudist organizations and their member clubs to promoting nudism and naturism as healthy lifestyles as opposed to being merely a recreational activity.
Many of my basic ideas and philosophies concerning naturism stem from the nudist and naturist movements in Europe in the early 20th century, especially the Freikörperkultur (FKK) in Germany though I’ve been somewhat influenced by some of the French naturist movements as well. I appreciated their emphasis on fitness and health although I don’t necessarily advocate group calisthenics and the like. I”m more of a proponent of individual discipline. Stéphane Deschênes, owner of the Bare Oaks Naturist Park in Canada, has also been an influence.
I envision a clothes-free lifestyle as one the promotes health and fitness, not to achieve some abstract aesthetic standard, but to enhance one’s health and physical abilities, and to benefit one’s own well-being. I regard body acceptance as a starting point rather than an end in itself. We have to accept things as they are before we can work to change them through our own efforts.
In my naturist vision, full nudity, though not absolutely essential, should be encouraged whenever possible. I consider being nude and incorporating nudity into our daily activities as much as possible to be extremely beneficial to one’s physical, psychological, and spiritual health. It starts with accepting our bodies and being comfortable in our own skin, then moving forward,
AANR’s mission statement talks about advocating “nudity and nude recreation in appropriate settings”. Who determines which settings are appropriate and how do they make this determination? Settings I deem appropriate for nudity are usually quite different from what society and the law deem appropriate. Why shouldn’t I be able to tend my garden or sunbathe in my backyard in the nude? Or wash my car, check my mail, relax on my deck, or take my garbage can to the curb? Who is harmed? Whose rights are being infringed?
I believe that casual nudity should be decriminalized, that there should be no criminal, legal, or civil sanctions for simply being unclothed in view of the public. I won’t argue about whether being nude is or isn’t a right but why should an activity that harms no one, infringes no one’s rights or property, and is generally beneficial to one’s overall health, be illegal?
To close my rant, there are just a couple more things about organized nudism that get under my skin. One is the secrecy that surrounds American nudism. Trying to make nude recreation and clothes-free living more acceptable and mainstream while keeping it secret from friends, family, and coworkers seems counterintuitive. Maybe that’s just a personal issue I have. I spent 20 years in a “culture of secrecy” which negatively influenced my personal life. My lack of transparency in personal matters caused me a lot of grief. I endeavor to be as open and transparent as possible.
Lastly, I think it’s time we made peace with the camera. They are everywhere and nearly everyone has one built into their mobile phone. For better or for worse, we live in a society where virtually everything we do is subject to being photographed, recorded, and otherwise documented. By embracing our technology we have given up our expectations of privacy and once it gets on the Internet, there’s no getting it back or maintaining any control over what happens to it. This makes living with openness and transparency all the more important. It also becomes more important to be able to defend your lifestyle choices.
Earlier this month I learned of the existence of a local non-landed club, the Dayton Warm Breezes, which is AANR affiliated. They have monthly events such as swims, gatherings at members’ homes, and visits to nearby landed clubs. There are around 44 members, of which 15 are female. While they try to keep a gender balance, they don’t refuse single/unaccompanied males. Single males are encouraged to bring a female companion to events.
In several places on their web site they emphasize that they are not a clothing-optional club and that nudity at their events is expected. Their prohibition of cameras at events is understandable and, for the most part, reasonable. Like many other nudist clubs, they’re quite concerned about their privacy.
There had been a swim scheduled for earlier this month but the event had to be canceled at the last minute when the hotel where the event was scheduled to take place, reported there was a problem with the pool. There was hope that it could be rescheduled for the following Saturday but that apparently fell through. The next swim is scheduled for mid-January. There are two events slated at member’s homes in November and December. One event is a house party which will include a hot tub and massages and the other will be a holiday house party. I don’t know if I will able to attend either event.
As time goes on without actually attending an event, I have increasing doubts about joining. Social nudism is not nearly as high a priority as it once was although having opportunities to participate with a local group is certainly attractive. As much as I would like to share this aspect of my life with my spouse, she is not a nudist and has no interest in it. However, to her credit, she has not objected to my participation which has always been with her full knowledge and consent. I’ve dealt with the “reluctant” spouse issue for at least a decade and I’ve found it best to nor pursue it. I’ve accepted it for what it is. I cannot change her mind and if she does, it will be her idea, not mine.
Dayton Warm Breezes
Will 2017 be the year of naturism acceptance? was interesting and hopeful but I think it was overly optimistic. Many of the examples of what he saw as positive signs of public acceptance of nudity were TV programs that censored the nudity through blurring and pixelation. Perhaps society (American society) is becoming more tolerant and accepting of the idea of nudity in entertainment media as long as certain lines are not crossed such as the explicit display of genitalia and female nipples, thus the need for blurring and pixelation. As long as no one actually sees those body parts, it’s acceptable.
We accept nudity as entertainment because it titillates viewers and television producers know that the implication of nudity brings in ratings. Generally, we are nowhere near ready to accept non-sexual nudity in real life. There are still too many people who can’t accept non-sexual nudity in places where one would reasonably expect nudity, places like locker rooms and changing rooms. Some point out that events such as the World Naked Bike Rides are accepted but I’d venture to say that many spectators at these events view them as entertainment.
This past weekend I ventured up to my old stomping grounds to attend a mini high school reunion. I stayed at my dad’s place. He has a guest room upstairs which is the only air conditioned room in the house with a small window unit.
When I retired to the guest room for the night, I stripped down and slept in the nude, as is my custom. Even with the AC on, it was still quite warm so I slept atop the covers. Upon awakening in the morning, I set up my laptop to do some journaling and, naturally remained nude. I soon noticed that this naked time experience felt different from my naked time at home. There was a relative quiet and stillness that I don’t have at home where my naked time is often in a room where I’m surrounded by my computers, my books, and much of my stuff. Here, at my Dad’s house, which is out in the country and nearly surrounded by a nature preserve, I had only my laptop and my phone, and no Internet access. It was pretty much just me, in my natural state with very few distractions. Feeling comfortable and at peace, I wrote in my journal and even took advantage of the quiet and solitude to meditate for about 10 minutes.
I need to try to recreate the experience at home. Unfortunately, I don’t have such an idyllic setting here in the suburbs but I think that perhaps I can reduce or eliminate many of the distractions in my surroundings and try to create, the base I can, the peace, the quiet, and the solitude I felt in that country guest room.
Will Americans ever “get out” of the Nudist Colony? ~ Naturist Dan, The Meandering Nudist
This article resonated with me as it expresses many of my own frustrations, disappointments, and disillusionments with nudism in America.
Some things have improved in the past 20 years. Many venues now have a Web and social media presence and with the Internet, Google maps, and GPS, nudist venues are not as hard to find although some are still hard to actually get to. Many are still out in the middle of nowhere or deep in the woods. There are still remarkably few venues in urban and suburban areas.
Judging from images of “classic” nudism of about 50 years ago and what I’ve seen at resorts I’ve visited, the recreational offerings don’t seem to have changed much. Not having ever been on a resort vacation, maybe I really don’t know what I should expect. Yet, somehow, I do expect a little more.
When I first became a naturist, the draw of the opportunity to be nude with others and to swim and lie in the sun nude was enough. Over the years that hasn’t been enough of a draw for me to put other things aside and make the effort to set aside the time, make arrangements to visit, and then make the effort to travel an hour or more for the sole purpose of being nude for a few hours.
Naturist Dan also comments on how some venues are more restrictive than they were in the past. I understand that with the prevalence of camera in cell phones, concerns about sexual predators, and other concerns that pervade our society. Since my significant other has no interest in nudism or naturism, I am considered a “single” male should I visit a venue. I understand concerns about gender imbalance or wayward husbands but it’s one more obstacle.
Nudity needs to be acceptable outside the “colonies”, outside the 8-foot walls of our nudist reservations. Events like the naked bike rides and Fantasy Fest aren’t signs of acceptance of the nudist or naturist lifestyle, but of acceptance of nudity as entertainment. In America, the most highly valued commodity is entertainment. Above all else, we want to be entertained and nudity is entertaining even if we privately condemn those who parade nude for us. Righteous condemnation is an added benefit.