We like the sound of the words “clothing optional“. It has something gentle, something soft…
Since many years, we (the nudists) have been pushed behind fences and in designated areas to experience our true selves.
On the other hand, for first time nudists it was very intimidating. You were standing in front of a huge gate, not knowing who will be on the other side or what they are doing. The only thing you know is that you won’t be allowed to wear any clothes.
Therefore we like clothing optional… because it’s optional. You can choose if and when you undress.
Why clothing optional?
Every public place is by default clothing mandatory, except when stated differently. It has been like this for ages. If you walk down the street, go to the restaurant or the bowling alley you will not encounter naked people. Even not in the local swimming pool.
Except when there is a sign saying that you’re entering a nudist/naturist place. Then there are no clothes allowed at all.
A no clothing policy is easily maintainable in a resort or campground, but how do we manage that on public places? Nude beaches for example.
Well, we can’t.
First of all because clothed people can’t be forbidden in public places, and secondly, how are we going to control that? By putting policemen on every nude beach? Will they also have to be naked then?
So those places are made clothing optional. You have the option to leave your clothes on or to take them off. Everyone is welcome.
What if the clothing option is chosen?
There are different types of nudists. For some it’s a very personal thing, they want to be able to do whatever they want to do naked. No matter whether the others are also naked or clothed. But for others it’s more a social thing. They feel completely comfortable in a place where everyone is naked, but as soon as there are also clothed people around they start feeling uncomfortable. They feel too exposed.
Many nudists complain about voyeurs on nude beaches. Textiles who accidentally walk by… twice… three times. Others who sit at the end of the beach having a complete overview but keeping their bathing suits on. And then the ones with the sunglasses…
We heard stories about clothing optional beaches where the number of clothed people is much higher than the number of nudists.
We’re not sure if we would feel 100% comfortable in those places either.
So should we go back to our cages, to our camps, behind our high fences to be comfortable?
Or do we, once more, get out of our comfort zone and try to appreciate our textile visitors?
What will the future bring?
Some will disagree with us when we say that naturism/nudism as it has been known for many years, is dying. The nudist organisations with yearly fees and monthly activities are struggling to get new members.
Does that mean the end of what many had fought for? Because, take it or leave it, what we have now, nude resorts, nude beaches, a nude restaurant… It’s all thanks to the years long effort of the established organisations.
Of course this is not the end! Maybe it’s just the beginning…
We are evolving, and something that evolves, doesn’t go away.
Maybe it’s time to leave the fences behind us?
A world where everyone is naked is like a world where everyone is clothed. Not possible. But a clothing optional world should be doable.
If we start feeling comfortable naked among the clothed as well, we can make a first step. Currently the “naked” option is chosen by default at the clothing optional beach. If we would allow more textiles, more people will get used to nudity and will allow the nudies in more locations.
The clothing optional park in the centre of Paris was a huge step forward, and we hope that many steps will follow.
Let’s all get clothing optional!
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59 thoughts on “Is clothing optional the new nudism?”
The beach photo looks like it’s taken at Black’s Beach just north of San Diego. It was my first social nude experience, where I discovered, the moment I disrobed, I was a nudist. That was nearly 30 years ago and the makeup of those on the beach has changed dramatically. The photo shows mostly younger adults with many nude males, one topless female, and many clothed females.
I visited that beach about six or eight times. Back then almost everyone was nude, with lots of families and people of all ages. Don’t know what to make of the change.
I agree with the idea that naturism is changing, or as you put it, evolving. For anything to survive, it must adapt, change, and grow. If it remains static, it becomes rigid, eventually to the point that it fades. Naturism is no different.
While some commonalities endure, the reasons why people turn to naturism, how/where they practice it, how they view it, and how open they are about it gradually morphs over time. While “clothing optional” is a term of limited derision to some naturists since it can allow voyeurs in to naturist venues, I see it instead as a doorway to the naturist experience that many need. A nervous first timer, a reluctant spouse, a cautious family member or friend, and an enthusiastic naturist can all coexist in a clothing optional environment.
Are they ideal? Not always. Can you still have “nude only” areas? Of course. But although some bad apples may come along as unwanted baggage with “clothing optional”, the benefits of potentially growing the naturist community shouldn’t be overlooked.
I discussed an aspect of this in my blog entry entitled “Stand out in a Crowd” (https://naturistthoughts.wordpress.com/2016/09/21/79/). In it I try to encourage would be naturists to discover or create clothing optional areas in their lives by discussing naturism with their families and close friends. By doing so, they may discover many more naturist opportunities where they can be nude, even if others remain clothed.
As always, thanks for the thought provoking post!
One of the biggest fears about clothing optional places is indeed the “voyeur” aspect. And indeed, when you’re naked you don’t want to feel like you’re stared at.
But doesn’t this exist in clothing prohibited places as well? We imagine that there are also voyeurs who don’t mind taking off their clothes themselves…
And in the past you could easily spot someone taking photos, but these days with smartphones and tablets, who can tell if someone is reading an e-book or taking a photo?
Not much to do about it, we’re afraid.
Maybe we should stop caring so much about voyeurs…
Topless sunbathing is allowed on most of the beaches in the south of France. Will there be boob-watchers on those beaches too? Probably. Will someone take a photo? Could be. But the main question is: Should we care?
Suppose tomorrow they would legalize nude sunbathing on every beach. The first couple of years the nudies might get some stares, but after a while people would get used to seeing naked bodies… Wouldn’t that be beautiful?
That’s a great reply Nick&Lins. The article itself prompts many thoughts in my old head. I am approaching 66 and I’m truly a lifelong naturist. I absolutely agree with the ‘Clothes Optional’ idea. Can it be adopted worldwide, everywhere? I doubt it in my lifetime.
First of all, great article and certainly very topical and it is a massive problem in resorts such as Cap C’agde. What used to be a real naturist resort has now become, in effect, a clothing optional resort because so many people now wear something to the beach. It has ruined the naturist vibe of the resort (although still a good resort of course).
But it is not really naturist anymore and many times you can walk around in your birthday suit and feel out of place. That does not seem right to me?
Hi Paul, there are indeed 2 ways to look at this. The change at Cap D’agde from clothing prohibited to clothing optional may seem like a loss to many nudists.
But on the other hand, more people will become familiar with nudism/nudity.
And in exchange there might be more clothing optional places, which is a win for us.
We really have the idea that it’s a phase we have to go through. It could be compared a bit with being gay. Not so long ago, being gay was not something you talked about, and gays met each other in designated areas (bars, clubs, meeting places).
When the first openly gays appeared on the streets they got a lot of stares as well. But now people got used to it.
Wouldn’t it be possible that something similar happens with nudism?
Yes…but…although arguments comparing sexuality or disability or gender or any type of minority have parallels with naturism, they cannot be directly compared because all three examples above have the vital difference that they are not choices. Saying that though…here’s the parallel question when regarding people that are homosexual….”When we reach the stage where sexuality genuinely does not matter and gay people are the exact equal of straight people, will there still be gay bars?” Answer…probably yes. A minority will always feel more comfortable with their kith. So will a change in culture that makes naturism wholely accepted extinguish the need for specific places for naturism? I don’t think so, no.
Indeed, it won’t completely extinguish the need for specific nudist sites. But that’s totally fine. There are specific places for everyone, even if they’re not minorities, for example people who like hard rock music, nobody dislikes them and yet they have their own bars. For one because it’s the best way to meet like minded souls.
There’s nothing wrong with specific places, but that doesn’t mean that we couldn’t be accepted to “regular” places too…
Hi Nick and Lins – Fair point but unfortunately regards “But on the other hand, more people will become familiar with nudism/nudity.
And in exchange there might be more clothing optional places, which is a win for us.” = it is nice in theory but simply does not work that way based on what is seen in some resorts such as Cap d’agde. What in fact is happening is that those trying naturism get the impression that naturist is about wearing swimwear and so the whole purpose of trying to get people interested in naturism is defeated. It simply does not work to try the clothing optional route to get people interested in naturism. It’s a bad idea overall.
No I think it works the other way and I experienced it exactly the way Nick and Lins said.
I have been a nudist (not naturist) for many years and as a single guy for several years I took friends on holidays to france or to clothing optional beaches at local lakes as there are a lot in germany.
All of them were never before getting in touch with nudism before and the only way I could drop them into nudism were the ‘clothing optional’ way. As much as they were suspicious about naked people before, thinking they all are perverts, the much they feel confident and even comfortable being naked at meetings, at home or in summer at beaches now after trying it.
I think clothing optional has not the meaning of losing freedom but of winning it instead.
And on the other hand I don’t want to be locked i a special resort to get tge lifestyle I prefer, the meaning of freedom to me is being naked where I want not depending uf others are naked, too.
I agree 100%. To play devils advocate, the arguments “But nude-only gives new people confidence to be nude” or “nude-only provides security to those wanting to be with more genuine like-minded” or “nude-only separates us from the world of everyday textilism”…..but…there is an undertone to the above arguments. The real point of “nude only” is that it gives naturists control. It gives naturists the ability to set their own protocols, guidance and rules…and suddenly the normal textile world is simply replaced by another world of control. I would call it something like “reality displacement” where you set up your own little world where your rules hold muster instead of the rules/etiquette of society. This is why I think ultimately “nude only” simply cannot work. The arguments around its benefits are moot and an excuse. The reality of naturism is that it is more than nudity. It’s also a respect for choice. That unfortunately is an aspect that has got lost amongst some conservative naturists. Choice means wear what you like…and that opens up avenues that make conservative naturists uncomfortable. How can clothing-optional be a success? By ceding control, and respecting others. The conservatives say “Clothing optional is killing naturism”. This is protectionist and doomed.
You make some interesting points here! Although we do understand that there has been a generation who had to fight to get designated nude-only areas and who are not willing to sacrifice any of that, they have to understand that people’s mindsets are changing.
We have met several people who feel perfectly comfortable being naked among others (e.g. in a spa) but who don’t want to be called nudists or naturists because of the undertone of those words…
The labels are a different conservation but I have blogged about them as constraining the simple act of being without clothes to the point where they lead to stereotypes that people who want to try clothes-freedom, espeially the young, are not happy with. These labels restrict clothes-freedom so severely that no wonder organisations are worrying about being so under-represented! However I do kinda empathise and agree with your point that if you were part of a generation that won the battle to achieve ghetto’d, accepted nudity then it’s very hard to admit to yourself that the legacy of winning that battle is progressively deminishing….but now replaced by something different and more wider ranging.
Good article, I stay in South Africa where there is still a legal fight taking place where local government declared a small secluded stretch of beach, which was unofficially a nudist beach, a legal nudist beach. What I agree with is to have more clothing optional spaces. As far as I know we have about 5 resorts but upon investigation none of them are clothing optional. Now as a newbie, I would love to try out social nudity but am very nervous my spouse refuses to even think about it. So technically there is nowhere for us to go as a couple where i can try and go clothes free whilst my wife does not.
It would be great to have the option …. however I’ve read the replies and also agree that at the same time there are groups of people who feel more comfortable in controlling the environment by declaring the area “clothing free only”.
so for me it would be great to have more optional places to go to.
We hear stories like yours quite often, where one person of a couple is a nudist and the other one isn’t. Then clothing optional is really the only solution.
Other than that, the first step into nudism can be a big leap, so for first timers a clothing optional place can also be a perfect solution
Es un buen punto. La ropa no debe ser obligatoria y el nudismo tampoco. La LIBERTAD de elegir es lo mejor.
I don’t believe in mandatory nudity. If we ask for respect, if we claim that being nude is just as normal as wearing clothes, why do we criticize someone who decides to use a swimsuit?
I don’t mind the presence of textiles in a clothing optional beach. Even if they don’t get naked, they are stating that they respect our right to be nude, and that’s exactly the kind of behaviour I would like to be the norm. And it’s really satisfying when at the end of the day you can see that someone is comfortable enough to join us in the nude.
Of course, this can invite perverts that only come to the beach to stare at nude people, but does it really makes any difference if those hiding behind the bushes are naked or not? We already have hundreds of fake nudists among us, compulsory nudity is not the solution for it.
Indeed, mandatory nudity may sound like a good solution but often isn’t, because (like you said) some voyeurs don’t mind taking off their clothes too. And also, this way the nudists will always be forced to stay behind fences and in designated areas.
It would be better to search for solutions to scare perverts away… Better social control and ways to report them to the authorities for example.
I used to believe in clothing-optional when I first became a naturist in my early 20’s. The idea of live-and-let-live seemed natural. But then I discovered that there was much more to naturism than just being nude. Plus I visited a lot of places where the option of wearing clothes was the source of problems.
So when, ten years ago, my wife and I bought what became Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park, it was because we wanted a place where naturism was, once again, a life philosophy and ideology. Where being clothes-free is not just about self but has meaning for others. Where being a naturist was more than just a recreational activity. Where the ownership and staff were also part of the movement.
We also made a lot of changes to the facilities, the activities, the policies, and our marketing. Yes, naturism IS changing but that’s because society is changing. For example, unlike many other clubs, we welcome two men as a couple. We do not require membership. We do not expect members to do any work. (many still do) We market a movement (not facilities) extensively on social media. And so on…
But most importantly, we are NOT clothing-optional. Even the staff works clothes-free. (except when required for safety) While we were a bit concerned because so many people told us it would not work, the park has actually been a tremendous success. By all traditional measures of success and by some unexpected ones – such as attracting youth and many single women. Most commonly people tell us that it is BECAUSE we are NOT clothing-optional.
I could explain in detail why we think it is better this way but I’ll save space and provide a link for those who want to read more: http://www.BareOaks.ca/WhyNude
No doubt that “clothing prohibited” places are still very popular, especially because it comes with a certain sense of security, and that places like Bare Oaks will keep existing for a very long time to come.
But we shouldn’t forget that there are many different ideas about nudism. There are nudists who only feel comfortable when everyone else is nude and on the other hand there are textiles who will never feel comfortable with a naked person around. But there’s a huge range of people in between, going from nudists who like to be naked where and when they want (no matter who else is there) to textiles who want to decide for themselves whether they want to take off their clothes or not. And for this range we think it could be important to normalise nudity in a textile world.
It also depends on what we are talking about. It is unfortunate that “nudism” now means the same thing as “naturism”. It should not. The latter was about much more than nudity when it was first developed nearly a century ago. In the beginning they talked about nudism being a part of naturism. In fact it was not ABOUT nudity. Being clothes-free was simply a tool to achieve the objectives. Read more at: http://www.BareOaks.ca/ethic
About the only time I’ve ever stayed at an actual nudist camp, the teenagers often wore clothes, and had their own party one evening where everyone wore rather fancy clothes. I think that was a way of rebelling against their parents, because the same kids had no problem being nude at the pool.
We’re not sure if it’s all about rebellion, although it has to with it. But also, teenagers are constantly looking for a way to express themselves and clothing does help a lot with that. And they often feel uncertain, which is another reason to cover up.
By the way, this is certainly not only the case with kids. We’ve been to naturist resorts where also the adults dress up for the evening.
Clothing especially on beaches , saunas and other places of interest should remain optional not compulsory. I have read an old advert saying that in that particular sauna mixed groups are not accepted except married couples!
Amazing article we translate it to Portuguese and publish online in our website.
We have a beach, designated “clothing-optional” on the Toronto Islands at Hanlan’s Point. The whole beach is long with 1/3 at the south end CO. It is about 750m CO. At the beginning in 1999, there was no on the beach except nudists. Over time, 18 years, the population of the beach has grown from 200 to up to 1400 on a busy day. The issue is that 90% are clothed. That’s 1250 clothed and 150 totally nude. We have no option of using a nude section so we are being forced to be surrounded by clothed people. The effect is that unseen force called ‘group pressure’ which is causing people to be intimidated into keeping their clothes on, and they do. That’s why, despite a few nudists who don’t care how many are clothed, there are many others who come and go by 1pm when the tsunami of clothed people start coming.
Security is an issue with cameras but that is easy to control. If the camera is up, we ask them to talk keeping their phone horizontal. Very few pull out their phones. We also have a No Photography city sign at the entrances.
Trimming the back bushes up 4 feet will stop people from hiding.
I did a survey last August of 406 people. 98% checked a new option of having a smaller section, within the longer CO beach, for Nude Use, which we expect the rest of the people to respect, but this proposal has not been presented and approved yet. The interesting thing about the survey is not that half were nudists and they wanted this Nude Use area but the other half described themselves as non-nudists and nearly all of them felt there should be a Nude Use area to accommodate the nudists, but also surprisingly, they also would be nude if we had a Nude Use area. Apparently, they are ready to graduate to a Nude Use area, but the force of group pressure by the presence of so many clothed people is forcing them to stay clothed. The survey had about half men and half women.
It’s all well and dandy for those who don’t have the desire or courage to be nude to mix with nude people for their own convenience, but they are not being generous to the nudists to give them place to more protected and comfortable when surrounded by nude people.
Mixing two opposite philosophies does not make any more sense than seeing a group of soccer players and football players on the same field at the same time. Our game is nudism. The city provides places for minority groups to host their games. Why not extend that same courtesy to the nudist groups. The rest of the larger CO beach would remain CO.
If the Nude Use area became popular, it could be widened. Nothing wrong with separation depending on use. They do this by setting up various playing fields all over the city in all the parks.
Thanks a lot for this information Dave! We can imagine that many nudists feel uncomfortable when only 10% of the visitors actually goes naked.
The question is why all those textiles chose to visit a clothing optional beach instead of (probably many) textile beaches…
But still we’re not fans of separated areas on the beach, because where will it end? Here in Europe there are votes going for separated areas for “burkinis” (looks like a diving suit, Muslim women wear this because it covers everything). So then there will be the nude beach, the textile beach and the burkini beach. And tomorrow there are others who also feel like they should have their own part…
Some time ago someone told me that he saw himself as the “ambassador” of his local nude beach. He talked to every textile visitor, explained them about nudism and asked them about the reason of their visit (in a friendly way of course). We think this is an excellent way to build the bridge between textile and nudism and meanwhile scare away those with bad intentions…
Maybe the nude beaches need more of those ambassadors?
Interesting comments. What I don’t understand (because I’ll happily be nude when I know its allowed), is that people who enjoy nudity are obviously very confident people, but somehow that confidence in some doesn’t translate to being nude around clothed people, even when the rules explicitly state very clearly that it is allowed. Fundamentally I think this is the key issue that brings together all the comments above about clubs, beaches and other ghetto’d areas. So what exactly is happening here? I’ve reasoned elsewhere that this could be the key difference between two distinct types of people who like to be nude, so if we were to apply nouns to put these people into distinct sets (like trying to discern the difference between naturist and nudist), then maybe this is the most helpful difference to apply.
We think it’s a misconception that nudists are very confident. We think that many are just confident enough to expose their “flaws” when everyone else is doing the same. As soon as there are others covering up, they may feel overly exposed and uncomfortable.
And on the other hand there’s the security aspect. Many think that when everybody else is also naked, they won’t have bad intentions (which is a misconception as well).
In any case, a change of mentality doesn’t go overnight and has to come from 2 sides. If clothing optional would be the future, many nudists will have to gain more confidence among textiles and many textiles will have to learn that nudists have to be treated with respect and are not monkeys you can come to watch and photograph.
Should the “ambassador” be naked?
What are the merits of either view on this?
Editors, Second line should read ‘no one on’ …the beach.
4th line. My error.
I totally concur with the clothing optional idea. Where there should be nude only places, most if not all others, like beaches, should be clothing optional. The naked body is heavily sexualized and the more it appears outside of the sexual sphere, the better for our humanity I think. Nudism and naturism still carry stigmas but overtime, this should disappear if more clothing optional areas exist. If people are more exposed to naked bodies, clothing optional will eventually become the norm.
Unfortunately, these days we tend to oversexualize the body and use body shame to create a dream reality where people fall into marketing traps.
I agree that the future of nudism/naturism lies with clothing optional. The more clothing optional places, the better!
Here at Laguna Del Sol where I have been a member for over 20 years. It changed its policy quite some time age. We have seen a large jump in swimsuits, surf shorts, sarongs wandering the resort. Nudists here are uncomfortable with these people. If they have to wear something while here there are plenty of KOA type resorts they can visit. I can’t help to feel like they are here to “look” around.
clothing optional is a terrible idea. my local nude beach (lady bay beach in sydney) is a nude beach but often gets flooded with chinese tourists holding cameras and not taking their clothes off, the majority dont even bring a towel or swim or sunbake.
Great article. Clothing optional is indeed the way to go and not only on beaches and in parks, but in society as well. Yes, I am pushing for complete clothing optional within society where Body Freedom is the norm and everyone can choose to be clothed or not clothed as they so choose. After all, it’s my body, my choice, right? Women have used that as the rallying cry for abortion rights for decades, so why can’t it also work for nudists to use as the basis that we have control over whether we are clothed or not? Current laws are a violation of our Constitutional and Civil Rights and need to change, but it’s going to take an army of us to do so, not just one person or even a few. It will take a large group in every state and every big city around the nation (speaking of America just to get started) to stage peaceful protests while nude in order to catch the attention of the lawmakers and make them see that a large number of their constituents that vote are being discriminated against and demand equality as a minority in being able to live freely amongst everyone else the way we have the right to live. It will take time, but it will take even longer if we don’t get started. We are many. We vote. We are NUDE. #NudePride
In most European countries, the law is quite biased towards the concept of clothing optional. You are quite unlikely to get arrested for just being nude – more likely to get a polite request to dress.
I am all about freedom and that’s what clothing optional is. I love being nude, but don’t really want to go to a place where it is mandatory. I favour “live and let live”. There have been quite a few occasions when my wife and I have been the only nude people on a beach or where ever. I am quite comfortable if nobody else is bothered
Why is it so difficult for people and societies to realize the sacredness of the human person? No one, and I mean no one should have the right to tell any other person what to, or what not to put on his/her own body. This is the no-brainer of all no-brainers. Clothing Optional YES!!!
Nude Only Please. This is kind of inverse thinking, so please read a little carefully. We have to deal with pervs and freaks as part of the fringe in Nudism. We have the overly sexualized Pervs and the flat out Pedophile visitors to our places to hang out. Writing as much as I do about Nudism, I came to the conclusion long ago that we should be Nudist only with say a 20 minute break in rule for newbies and of course exceptions for ladies. Look, The Pervs and Peds arent going there to BE SEEN. They are going there to SEE. They are in no way interested in being nude themselves. In fact, nudity may uncover their bad intentions or plain old drive them away. So, for myself and mine, we want Nude Only.
Interesting points Nuudman. We are aware that nudist sites are often frequented by people with the wrong intentions and that many fear that this would only get worse with clothing optional places.
We could of course keep a strong barrier between nudist and textile places, but that will also mean that we will have to keep fighting for our own spots forever. Normalizing nudity would help us a lot and we think that in order to normalize nudity, it’s on us, nudists to take the first step.
We often make the comparison with the gay community. Several decades ago, they were hiding in underground places because they didn’t want the rest of the world to see who they really are (just like many nudists do) and because they were afraid to attract anti-gay people who would harm them (just like we’re afraid to attract perverts). But at a sudden point they decided to face them. Did they still get beaten up? Unfortunately yes. But they also grew much stronger, in many places nobody is shocked anymore to see two men kissing and they were able to learn about their enemies and thus were able to fight them better.
For many people, clothing optional places would be a big improvement. Think about those first timers who want to take it slow or couples where only one partner is a nudist.
But that doesn’t mean that all our nudist places should suddenly become clothing optional. We do think that, especially in the beginning, there have to be a certain kind of rule set. For example that visitors should have the intention to undress eventually, or textiles should be accompanied by a nudist. Something like that.
I believe we’ll be ready for CO to work well when nudism becomes widely acceptable. In the meantime, CO works for those who are on the fence – and expect/want/intend to stay there. For anyone truly open to experiencing social nudity, I believe only a nude location can really offer the chance. The more clothed people there are in a CO place, the less comfortable a newbie nudie will be, making it harder to cross the line and experience the liberation of full sensory openness in a community with like-minded people.
Indeed, it is less comfortable being a nudist in a CO place with lots of clothed people, not only for the newbie nudist. The question is, how can we make nudism widely accepted when we keep hiding in designated areas? One of the reasons why people have the wildest ideas about nudism is exactly because they can’t see what it is.
“If they keep hiding behind such big fences there must be something more going on than just relaxing without pants”…
You say that we should wait with CO until nudism becomes accepted, but we think that CO might just be the key to get accepted. Here in Belgium there’s a yearly “open day” in the nudist clubs, when textiles get the opportunity to have a look inside. So one day each year all nudist places become CO. And it’s a huge success.
Now that is a great idea. This is part of the bigger plan we need to have.
In retrospect I think what I failed to mention is that – as I understand the social impact of public nudity – CO can & does work when nudity is the driving force. That is, WNBR or nude festival participation or “open days,” which you rightly point out as having a very public pro-nudity energy, all work because the nudity is the default. When a location sets up as CO, isn’t there still the risk that, over time, textiles will overtake nudists? Aren’t I hearing anecdotes that European beaches have many fewer topless women now than 20-30 years ago?
My sense is that CO *events* will work hand-in-hand with nude *places* – and that more promotions of both are needed.
We completely agree on the fact that in CO places, especially at the beginning, nudity should be the default. The prove of that is Denmark, where every beach is clothing optional (they have no law against nudity on their beaches) and yet most nudists try to go to the same specific beaches just because they know that there will be other nudists.
Indeed, there are fewer topless women on the European beaches the last decade, but that has many reasons. Prudery is one of them, also fashion (during the 70s-80s it was considered fashionable to be bare breasted on the beach, this isn’t the case anymore) and of course the upcoming of smartphones/small cameras, without you knowing your breasts could be all over the internet tomorrow. That scares people.
I hear everything you are saying and I fully get that we need to normalize nudity. It is my #1 goal. So I see your point and understand the thinking. My thoughts, I guess, are in a more defensive posture with regards to nudists and nudist families. We need to have a open discussion on a policy with AANR, TNS, and nudist beach advocates. Ultimately we all want nudism normalized and enjoyed more openly. We are only talking about a human body that we all have and undoing the damages of the Victorian Era. But we need to have a national discussion on an agrred upon pathway for us to follow and point to. For me, defending the nudist from voyeurs and pervs ranks very high. On the other hand CO makes a a very valid point for maximizing exposure to the rest of the world and especially America. I think we really need to have a long talk and implement a real two pronged strategy for this.
All the “nude” beaches and resorts I have been to are clothing optional. People undress to their level of comfort.
Are there gawkers? Sure but who cares, the human species only comes in two basic packages and everyone knows what they are.
I would rather more people be there (dressed or undress or partially undressed) for the social aspect than to just sit at home alone naked on my couch where no one can see my body. If someone derives pleasure from seeing my naked body, good for them. I could not care less.
if there are too many clothed people on an event or venue, then it’s not naturism.
I do understand that we need to encourage more people to be naturists but at the same time, we don’t need to be overrun by clothed people.
textiles should be allowed to attend on a couple of occasions and then they can decide if naturism is for them.
I appreciate that not all couples have a willing partner and maybe that could be allowed
Don’t get us wrong, we don’t want to get all nudist places become clothing optional. How about nudist places, clothed places and all the rest clothing optional?
That would be ideal in a perfect world. I do appreciate that it is a difficult line to walk along where we try to encourage new people to become naturists. It is more of the stigma and personal beliefs are the things that need changing. Getting people to open up their minds and being free of the restrictions we’ve all become accustomed to.
My wife will take part as a naturist but its normally after a couple of days being dressed in a clothing optional area.
I’ve never been to a mandatory-nude beach. The only nude beach near me is Gunnison Beach in New Jersey, which is actually clothing-optional. I find at least 75% of the people there are nude or, for women, topless. There are some voyeurs, but I haven’t noticed many. It’s part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, so there are federal rangers around to control sexual activity, drug use, etc., and I think that may discourage gawkers. If I were a nudist in a situation where hundreds of camera-pointing tourists showed up, I think I’d throw water on them or otherwise discourage them.
I like the approach of Stéphane at Bare Oaks mandating nudity, even of the staff at the resort. I’m a member there and it makes perfect sense. It means I don’t have to worry about gawkers. I’ve been to Hanlons Point and it was disconcerting to have the majority of people clothed. Having said that, I’ve been to the CO part of Orient Beach in St. Martin and my wife was able to take her first step transitioning to full nudity because of the CO policy. Because of that experience my wife was able to take the next step of coming to Bare Oaks with me. So, in short, there needs, as others have said, to be a combination of CO opportunities and mandated nude options. Just to close the loop here, I don’t think I’ll be going back to Hanlons Point in a hurry, especially since I can enjoy the serenity, beauty and freedom to be naked, at Bare Oaks.
We strongly believe in the system they apply in Denmark and which seems to be spreading towards Spain now. There are designated beaches where nudity is mandatory and there are designated beaches where clothes are mandatory. All the other beaches are clothing optional by default.
The Danish approach makes a lot of sense to me. Will it catch on in Canada, or will the human body, especially the female body, remain hyper-sexualized.
I hope we will end up with a society where every public place is clothing optional. At least in nature like in Denmark. And i also hope more people will go naked more often if its more socially acceptable.
All of the comments and this article keep saying “people” let’s be honest here: It’s not clothed “people”, it’s clothed men that everyone has a problem with. Go to any nudist resort and you’ll see plenty of fully clothed or topless-yet-covered women that nobody has any complaints about.
It’s clothed men people care about because of the deeply misguided idea that the penis is a divining rod guaranteed to show whether someone is “safe” or not, as if it were impossible for people with bad intentions to avoid getting an erection.
It’s definitely true that the nudity rules tend to be less strict for women than for men (although there are many exceptions). But we don’t think that this has anything to do with checking of someone has an erection. Most of all, it’s because the very large majority of harassment cases are caused by men. This creates a general opinion that if a man remains clothed at a nudist place, he must be there for the wrong reasons. Whereas if women remain clothed, people will rather think that it’s her first time or that she joins a nudist partner or friend.
Apologies, but this is a long one…
First, I disagree that Naturism is dying. It most certainly is not. What’s happening is, it is changing, for the better. Younger people will just choose not to wear clothes at the beach or wherever, and therefore have no need for clubs or resorts
Having read all the comments on here and several other threads of your blogs, I still can’t understand how anyone who enjoys being nude and is comfortable being nude around other people, isn’t comfortable with it enough to be fine being nude around clothed people.
Negativity towards nudity is something that is taught, it’s not a natural thing. I can remember as a 5-year-old child, my mother getting me changed on a beach, had a towel wrapped around me while she removed my shorts and underpants and put my swimming trunks on, saying, “quick before anyone sees it!” And “don’t let any girls see it!” “It” was of course my penis. There was never any explanation why girls or anyone shouldn’t see it other than “it’s rude”. Even at that age and that time, I couldn’t understand what this was all about.
Fast-forward a few years and at about 11 or 12 I and a few other kids used to go down to the river a short walk from home – in the days when it was much safer to do so. It was a mix of about 4 boys and 3 girls. One day, we were all playing on a little sandy beach on a bend in the river, swinging out over the water on a rope swing. Two of the other boys went home, leaving just 2 of us boys with the 3 girls. Somebody suggested going in for a swim. One girl said she would like to swim but didn’t want to get her clothes or underwear wet. Somebody dared her to swim in the nude and she said she would only do it if the rest of us did. The others refused but I told her I’d do it if she would, and before you could blink, we were both naked. I think this was the first time I had been properly naked in front of others, apart from briefly in the boy’s changing rooms at school, but definitely in front of girls. We very quickly lost any inhibitions and weren’t embarrassed at all. We both seemed to very quickly find it thrilling and enjoyable. We swam and then got out of the water, but we couldn’t get dressed immediately because we were wet and didn’t have towels with us. So, we ended up running around the fields, naked, until we were dry.
Over the years I have been in many situations where I have been nude amongst clothed people. And in many of those situations, I have often been the only one nude. I’ve mentioned some of those in other posts. It didn’t take me a long time to get used to being nude around clothed people, it was basically from the first time onwards. I have always been comfortable with it. A few years ago, I stayed in a naturist hotel near somewhere I was working the next day. The owner had told me the rules and said that nudity was acceptable all the time, but the hotel was also clothing optional. In the evening I decided to go down to the bar for a drink. I was a little surprised when upon arriving at the bar, that every one of the approximately 40 people there was fully dressed, and I was the only one nude. I got a drink. It seemed perfectly acceptable to everyone that I was nude, so I stayed that way. I found myself feeling entirely comfortable and relaxed in the nude amongst all these clothed people, and I remained nude for the rest of the evening.
With one partner I was with for over 5 years, who became a nudist through me, we were nude around the house and garden most of the time. She had a daughter who also would be nude at the beach but not so much at home. We had neighbours that we spoke to who were of with us being nude in the garden, and even at the front of the house which was near the end of a cul-de-sac. Neighbours and friends called round fairly regularly, and I would remain nude. Everyone was fine with it.
I dropped on an article via Twitter, written by a young woman who “works” making money showing herself off on platforms like OnlyFans for the viewer’s sexual titillation. However, putting that aside, apart from it was what inspired her. She decided to set herself a task to live completely nude, 24/7, for a whole month. She moved in with a couple who were her friends and had a large house on a beach. And she remained nude for 30 days and nights while her hosts had regular visitors at their house. What was interesting and backs up my views, was several realisations she had on the way, and how she felt when it was over…
She said, that after only a few days, any sexual thrill from being nude in front of other people had gone, and she very quickly reached a point where she almost forgot she was nude when she was around other people. She also said that as other people saw her more, they also seemed to forget that she was nude. She said that when the month was over and she had to put clothes on to go somewhere, she found it very uncomfortable to wear clothes.
It’s very simple for me: I love being nude, how it feels and I am entirely comfortable being nude around others nude or clothed.
I can understand newbies to nudity being nervous and maybe self-conscious at first in those situations, but I think, when you’ve done it for a while, there’s something not quite right with you if you cannot be comfortable being nude when there are clothed people around.
Being naked among clothed people is something you need to learn. For us, spending some time working at a clothing-optional resort definitely helped a lot. The first couple of times when we were the only naked people were quite awkward. But we quickly learned not to care about this anymore.
But we also understand that some people say that this disturbs the balance. Nudity is still very much linked to vulnerability. When everyone is naked, everyone is in the same vulnerable state. When there are clothed people around, they are perceived as less vulnerable.