Why we think naturist federations should change their strategies

Why we think naturist federations should change their strategies

We like to see ourselves as revolutionary nudists.
We try to spread the idea that naturism is not just something for a bunch of grannies who stopped caring about their body image ages ago but that it can be fun for anyone, no matter age, colour, shape or religion. As long as you’re willing to look outside the old “naturist box”.
In several of our previous blog posts we’ve blamed the naturist federations for maintaining that box, for claiming that there can only be one type of naturist: the kind that’s member of a club, pays the fee, reads the quarterly magazine, spends some nice spring afternoons cutting the hedge of the club house and volunteers to prepare the carrots for the yearly barbecue.

 

Times have changed and so have the ways in which people like to enjoy their nude time. Some don’t care that much about the social aspect anymore, some don’t want to spend every Sunday afternoon at a club, at the same club. Many are willing to pay for the use of facilities instead of having to do chores. And most “modern” naturists don’t want to be stuck to one club, one country or one federation. They want to explore all possibilities.

Why we think naturist federations should change their strategies

The story about the hostel
Let us tell you something about our other passion, traveling, or more specifically: backpacking.
Yes, we’re backpackers, unshaved-unwashed-torn clothes-completely broke-marijuana smoking-garbage eating-smelly backpackers. Or at least that’s what used to be the general opinion about our type of travelers. And we sleep in youth hostels.
The principle of youth hostels started in Germany (just like naturism by the way), they were places where students could sleep for a ridiculously cheap price or even for free in exchange for doing some chores. Soon an organisation appeared, Hosteling International, which looked after the rights of the travelers, made sure that all hostels had the necessary facilities and rule sets and asked a yearly membership fee for being allowed in any of the affiliated hostels. Sounds a bit familiar, right?

 

Around the eighties more and more people engaged in independent and budget traveling, people with different requirements, different needs and often prepared to pay a little bit more for their accommodation so they wouldn’t have to clean the kitchen or the toilet before they were allowed to leave. Some even prefered the comfort of a private room instead of sleeping in a dorm with nineteen potheads.
But Hosteling International was strict. A hostel has only dorm rooms, men and women have to be separated and travelers need to do chores and pay for the membership. It didn’t take very long before someone noticed the hole in the market and started a hostel with its own rules, not linked to HI, where couples could be in the same room and where you were allowed to return after 10pm. Yes, the accommodation was more expensive than the HI hostels but people were willing to pay for their comfort.  HI could have anticipated from the beginning but subbornly stuck to its own principles.
At the moment HI has evolved, but way too late and thus less than five percent of all hostels are still affiliated with them.

 

Why are we telling you all this? Well, it’s hard not to see a similar evolution among naturist facilities. We’ve been to several naturist places which are not affiliated with the INF or any national naturist federation, they don’t want to apply rules to their visitors which are not their own and they feel that the benefits they get from not being affiliated are larger than the ones they would get if they were members. Typically, these are often places that attract a younger audience.

Why we think naturist federations should change their strategies

Why should we care about this?
It would be easy for us to say that if the federations are losing members it’s their own fault because they keep sticking to their ancient principles and ideas. If they don’t want to evolve then they’ll end up in a corner of the naturist society.
But then we would forget about a huge difference between Hosteling International and the naturist federations. HI only supervised the rights of the traveler INSIDE the hostels. They never lobbied for better VISA regulations, for better transportation options or for more security in a country.
Not only do the naturist organisations make sure that the naturist is comfortable inside the club, they also fight for more beaches, changes in laws and protection of the naturist’s rights both national and international.
Without them, our options would be much less.

 

We don’t want to throw any stones at the naturist federations because we know that some of them are doing the best they can although they often depend a lot on volunteers. And we’re not blaming you (or ourselves), the naturists either as we don’t think that you should invest in an organisation if you don’t believe in it.
We want to say to the naturist federations that it’s time to evolve, more than ever. It’s time to investigate the modern naturist’s needs and to change your strategies accordingly. It’s time to promote yourself, show people who you are and what you’re doing and don’t be afraid to think out of your own box if you want to gain new members. We need each other!

32 thoughts on “Why we think naturist federations should change their strategies

  1. Great article. Now, the question beyond politics that exist in those organization, what shall we do? A nudist revolution? Are we all willing to run for office in our naturist federation to change things? Because at the end of the day, and again beyond existing politics, we need to learn the ropes of this politics and run for office. No?

    1. That is indeed a very important point. We can’t all just keep yelling that “they” have to make improvements without realising that “they” is actually “we”.
      For us it’s a bit difficult at the moment to engage in any naturist federation (as we’re switching countries every couple of months) but we do have the intention to volunteer at one when we settle down again.

  2. I agree, a great article Nick and Lins. Thank you for helping promote naturism/nudism beyond the walls/fences of the clubs. I’d like to see nudism become more widely accepted by society in general and more resources opened to nudist use, such as beaches, public parks, trails, etc.

  3. Frankly, in my opinion, another major reason why the nudist federations are declining in membership is that naturism has evolved away from the blue-nosed “naturism is not sexual” paradigm to the more realistic “sex is as natural as being naked” attitude. Sex has pretty well become accepted in the modern textile world as part of life, and the naturist federations are ‘way behind the curve. This does not mean we have to, or even should, promote sexuality as a part of naturism, but just relax and set new rules — like ‘be respectful of others,” “a sexual invitation is not an insult” (actually it is a compliment), and “‘No’ means ‘no,’ and the ball is now in the court of the one saying no forevermore.” Meanwhile I will point out that in reality, nothing has changed — sexual hormones have always driven naturism, all protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. The only difference today is that people are beginning to admit it and realize it is “natural.”

    1. Thank you very much for your opinion Lloyd and we completely agree with most of it. Some time ago we’ve also written a post promoting a more relaxed attitude when it comes to sex. Yes, we’re also having sex, yes, we sometimes feel sexually attracted to others and yes, it’s completely the same as in the textile world and the same “rules” should be applied.
      The only part we have some doubts about (but maybe we understood it wrongly) is when you say that sexual hormones drive naturism. People have many reasons to engage into naturism, but those who do driven on their hormones are mostly there for the wrong reasons.

      1. I totally agree with this, being part of the world that doesn’t see sexuality as the root of all evil but as a integral part of what makes us human, it’s hard to sympathize with that closed Victorian view and attitudes coming from one country with world domination pretentions, and please forgive me if you don’t think globalization should run both ways (or multiple ones for instance).

    2. Lloyd,
      I think its made that way so that nudism wouldnt be presented as being something sexy.
      It actually goes both ways tbh, in one hand its true, it shouldnt be sexy but then again , is it wrong if it is?
      Many say because kids are nudists too, its not sexual and it should not be ,but then again , ok.. im not talking about 2yo`s lol ,but young ppl that understand those things, and even if they are below the “magical” number of 18 ,its not like they dont know that stuff , so why pretend? Its kinda the same thing for this subject, its not like nudies dont have sex or dont like it, so why pretend? But again as i`ve said before, if you say ITS OK, then people will say . ahaaaaam!! i knew it! i knew they are all about sex ,and they are horrible cause they take their kids with them as well .. so its a mix of both, and you cant really win either way.
      But as everything in life ,if you are not being honest right from the start.. its gonna be hard to correct things for a loooong long time.
      Tho me as a non nudie, i still think that nudies are more sexual then non nudies , and i say that cause if your are openminded to be naked, naked with others , naked with family that DONT wanna be naked, have your kids be nudies , for sure you have to be more openminded about other things as well.
      Its just common sence to me.

  4. A lot of truth in what you say, but you’re not the first to do so. Naturists have been saying it for at least a couple of decades. They are leaving the Federations in their droves – but where are they going? I had an article saying more or less the same about 10 years ago. But what to do about it, that’s the question. It’s all very well wishing for things, but someone has to provide them, or it all remains a pipe dream

    1. Thanks for your insights Duncan.
      As bloggers, we try to bring issues to the surface and engage people to think about it. In this case we hope that the federations reconsider their way of work and that the naturists won’t give up on them too easily.
      We have a couple of ideas for improvement, but until now the federations have not contacted us for advice 🙂

      1. The Federations, and especially INF-FNI, are stuck in the past. They will never contact you, so don’t wait!
        What today’s generation want is easy, free access to naturism. What the Federations seem to want is to control access to naturism. Forget the Federations, they are slowly dying and no one listens to them anyway. Go to the people direct!
        Keep up the good work.
        Duncan

  5. Good article. What it lacks is some suggestions of the changes needed. Should the NF do more advocating for naked as a fundamental human right everywhere in all public and private places? Should NF engage in lobbying law making bodies and legal challenges in courts of law?

    Should the NF recognize and accept sexual behavior at naked resorts? Should rules say MYOB instead of encouraging “true” nudists to interfere with sex in a public nudist location?

    Should the NF do more to prevent so-called “sexual harassment”?

    Are there other changes that Nick & Lins think are needed? What is being advocated here?

    1. Thanks for your comment Bob and yes, we have some suggestions.
      But first of all we’d like to say that most naturist organisations already seem to do a decent job when it comes to protecting the naturist’s rights and lobbying for legal challenges. We also think that they should stick to the core values of naturism as being non-sexual and inviting to all races, ages and sizes.

      That said, here’s what we think that could be done better:
      1. More focus on the younger generation, not only the younger naturist but also promotion to /informing of non-naturists. Make naturism “trendy” again.
      2. Less focus on the “volunteer idea”, many naturists today are willing to pay for more comfort.
      3. More focus on normalising nudity, stop hiding behind the fences but show the world who we are. Try to get positive appearances in the media.
      4. Embrace clothing optional. This doesn’t mean that EVERY nudist place should become CO, but that it also has to be promoted and lobbied for.
      5. Modernize, get decent websites (how many of the naturist federation’s websites are mobile ready?), get active on social media, etc.

      We can probably think of some more points, but these are the most important ones.

  6. Hi Nick&Lins ~

    No offense but kindly remind that your currently using profile picture , is two Taiwanese naturist , and they don’t look Belgian at all.

    1. Yeah, we know 🙂
      We picked this picture for our logo when we started with the website and now we don’t want to change it anymore…

      1. Got it . how about a visit to Taiwan ? we could recommend some beautiful spots for you . And naturists here will surely welcome you.

        1. Hi,

          We’re seriously considering visiting Taiwan, but there is very little info about naturism over there to be found on the internet. So all tips are certainly welcome!
          Also, what’s a good period to visit the country?

          1. Naturism is not technically legal in Taiwan, so naturists there operate below the radar. There are no naturist resorts there, and people organise regular weekend gatherings at homestays in the countryside.

  7. I’ve come to this a bit late, so forgive me if the point I want to make has already been made!
    The idea of naturists being able to move freely from site to site is interesting one, but….
    At a national level, it would certainly work attracting freewheeling naturists from 18 to 80. What I’m not so sure about is the international scene; just can’t see it happening with the talking shop otherwise known as the International Naturist Federation (INF).

  8. I don’t totally agree with what you are promoting here. Naturism has always been not about sex. It is understood that we all are sexual beings, but in naturism we seek a way to connect with nature and one another Openly. There is an ethics side to naturism, if you loose that we just have naked people wondering around waiting for the other shoe to drop.
    For More than 70 years this philosophy, this way of living has survived and will continue to exist, because at heart we need to be humans. In naturism we find our humanity.

    1. Very nice words Joe! And we surely agree, for a certain segment of naturists. But today people become naturists for all kinds of reasons and some of them have little to do with nature. It helps to get out of the rat race, to get rid of stress, to gain more body confidence, etc. Naturism has helped people in many ways during the last decades.
      The discussion is often who’s the “real” naturist and who’s the nudist or whatever other term. We don’t think that matters. There are some values we all share like respect for each other and non sexual nudity. As long as those stand, we don’t think that there’s a degree in being a naturist.

  9. I wish I had the chance to meet the two of you on your trip to Canada this summer. I clearly agree with most of your philosophy. Thank you for sharing your adventures with the world and know you are an inspiration to another (slightly older) naturist couple in Canada

  10. My partner and I have been working for years on a series of problems within naked groups/communities/organizations. In America we have AANR and TNS. Great as resources but struggling with internal squabbles and finding that naked culture had been evolving outside of their view. Now it’s them that is struggling to keep up. We have found that there are enormous divisions amongst those that identify as nudists and those that identify as naturists. Such ridiculousness. These are divisive terms with a bunch of holier than thou attitudes from both sides. We fully support individuals expressing their own ethical version of what being naked means for them – but pushing it on others and holding yourself above others won’t serve the greater movement. It takes an expansive heart and perspective to see how the younger generations find their own value in this life choice. We can still appreciate and be grateful for our forefathers and foremothers of the movement – at the same time the culture needs an upgrade and revitalization. This is not an old verse young battle. The movement has many progressive older people that have been on the cutting edge of changing the culture. Waiting for change won’t work – it’s up to us to step forward and be the change! It’s happening! Believe it! From Brian Ambassador of the Northeast Naturist Festival and Facebook’s “Naked Diversity”. Thanks for all you do!

    1. When we were in the USA we thought is was completely ridiculous to have two federations (AANR & TNS) who focus on a different “kind” of naturist/nudist. We believed that if they would merge they would be able to do greater work for all of them.
      Meanwhile we’ve been to the INF (international naturist federation) congress and there we saw one board with very specific (and old fashioned) ideas and a bunch of progressive federations. When one side said black, the other said white. And vice versa. As a conclusion we saw 3 days of discussion leading nowhere.
      Back in the early 19th century it was very easy to define naturism/nudism. Today it has gotten a lot wider so we think the whole federation idea should change. One top level federation that covers it all and on the second level federations for more specific ideas. In that case members can choose a federation with which they identify themselves the most. Basically like AANR & TNS but they are missing the top level.
      In the Netherlands this is currently happening. There’s the national federation NFN and they are building sub-divisions, one for the club-minded naturist and one for those who prefer beaches, parks, saunas or just home naturism. We see a lot of future in that idea.

  11. So many rules and regulations. Those groups combined do not compare to the the largest naked association in America and thats the swinging groups. There are millions online and they all need some naked space and mostly a playroom to add more fun. They spend thousands for a week vacation on a ship, takeover hotel or many nudist resorts with playrooms. They are marketed in daily papers, online swinger dating sites.

    1. True, the main difference is that they aren’t organised by non-profit organisations but by commercial businesses. Which is something we see more and more in naturism as well and which also doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Except, from what we hear, being a swinger must be damn expensive. We’ve seen the prices of those resorts and cruises…

      Anyway, if there’s such a big market for swingers, why don’t they have enough options and why do they often choose to go to naturist places that are against swinging and playrooms?

  12. We have never been to a nudist resort where there isn’t plenty of swingers but of course notin the open. The nicer the nudist resort, the more the swingers. You would never know unless you ask them. We have been going for 40+ years and our very first time we were asked to a specific trailer for “the party”, Who are you fooling? Nudist are the friendliest people

    1. We know that many swingers often go to nudist places and we don’t have the slightest problem with that. As long as they follow the rules of the resort. Whatever they do behind closed doors is nobody’s concern.

      There are people who like to play soccer and others who like to play baseball. And several like to play both. That’s perfectly possible. But if you start walking around on a soccer field with a bat (pun intended) you’re very likely to be expelled.

      And there lays the difference for us between swingers and exhibitionists. Swingers in general rarely cause problems except when they’re being too pushy or when they start to have sex in public. And that makes us wonder… Very few people will get naked at textile resorts, because the rules say they can’t. Why do some people think they can have public sex at nudist resorts?

  13. I agree with almost all the comments, but nobody focus on the concern of nudist mothers of teen aged boys including my son for their reluctance to come in nudist resorts due to their spontaneous unintentional erections, because of their age and mind. So my opinion is to give some exception to teen boys and should give their own freedom and not bothered about they being boners. Otherwise it is a gentle discrimination and violation of natural justice.

    1. isn’t allowing teenagers to have erections but not grownups also discrimination? We believe in the rules that many resorts maintain: an erection will not get you kicked out, nobody will even remark it. As long as you handle it in a discrete way.

  14. How can we treat grown up men and teen boys alike? Is there no consideration for their immature mind and body? Then why different laws are framed for minors and majors in textile world?

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