Do you have to be a naturist to visit a naturist resort?

We imagine that you’re shouting “YES, of course“, after you’ve just read the title question of this blog post. If you’re not a naturist, why would you want to visit a naturist resort in the first place? There’s nothing for you there, unless you have very un-naturist intentions which make you even less welcome.


Our answer is a bit more complicated, as you probably imagine since we’re about to spend a whole blog post on this topic. It all comes from the fact that we keep meeting people on nude beaches who don’t see themselves as naturists (or nudists for that matter). Going naked on a nude beach is just something they do, something that doesn’t need further explanation, something that doesn’t necessarily have to put them in a certain category.



Three women go to the naturist resort

In one of our previous videos, we interviewed a number of visitors at a naturist resort in Belgium. Among the interviewees was a group of three young women in their early twenties for whom it was the first time that they came to a naturist place. They had been visiting nude beaches together for years, but a holiday at a naturist resort had always seemed like quite a big step.


The reason for that was that they didn’t consider themselves naturists and that they thought that naturists are expected to be always naked. An idea that seemed rather daunting than pleasant. They appreciated the joys of swimming and sunbathing naked, but being naked all the time? Maybe that was a bridge too far. Interestingly, they actually were always naked whenever we saw them around the resort.


New Cambium intext 4
This makes us wonder. They had been brave enough to give the naturist resort a try. But how many others are out there who also visit nude beaches but might never go to naturist places because they don’t feel like naturists. Or better, because they don’t feel like what they think naturism is all about.



What is naturism all about?

Some time ago, we saw a tweet in which somebody explained why the woke movement is very much connected to naturism. We don’t remember the specific arguments, but it surprised us how easily people add aspects to or remove them from naturism, according to their own principles and philosophies.


This isn’t something new, by the way. Early naturism was very health-centred, and the consumption of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and meat was banned in the first naturist movements. How many naturist clubs or resorts still exist today where you can’t enjoy a beer or a steak?


Truth be said, this early naturism still exists today. There are people who say that we are not naturists or even call us hedonists because we regularly appear in our pictures with an alcoholic beverage and because we obviously take planes or other polluting ways of transportation to get to all the naturist places that we visit.


If back in the day when we set our first footsteps on a nude beach, one of those people had been our point of reference, we’d probably never considered visiting a naturist resort. We’d figured that we could never become naturists because even though we enjoyed being nude, we thought it was even better with a drink.



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Who defines naturism?

Today, given the popularity of our blog, we imagine that for some aspiring naturists, we are the first point of contact. Well, we hope so, because one of the main reasons why we started this blog was because we disagreed with how naturism was often pictured and we wanted to show the world our own perception. We wanted people to see naturism how we saw it, as something liberating and fun instead of a movement with strict rules and lots of dos and don’ts.


Maybe this makes us part of the problem. Naturism today, means so many different things. For some, it’s all about body freedom. For others, it’s all about being one with nature. Someone else will tell you that the empowering effect of putting yourself in a vulnerable situation is the most important. That person on Twitter said that being woke is important in naturism, and we keep saying how enjoyable and comfortable it all is.


If you listen to all of these people, the chance that you will identify as a naturist is very small. If you only listen to one of them, naturism might either sound very attractive to you or just not. It’s not surprising that some people are reluctant to visit a naturist resort just because they didn’t get all the right information.



Has naturism become obsolete?

We often feel that all these different perceptions of naturism obstruct its growth. On many late evenings, we have been musing about whether we couldn’t use another term, one that is more inclusive and doesn’t carry that heavy historical baggage. Nudism obviously comes to mind, but this term has a similar history of moving in many different directions.


Years ago, we tried to introduce the term “nudie” on this blog. A “nudie resort” does sound more welcoming than a “naturist resort”. Or maybe “nude resort”, which sounds a bit less childish. It was not a very successful idea, mostly because this confused people. So what are these nudie resorts about then? Is it just about being naked? Is it about sex? Can you swing there?


That’s when we realised that the advantage of using the term naturism is that everyone immediately knows that it’s about non-sexual nudity and about treating each other with respect. The main pillars, so to speak.




The resorts set the rules

This is how we see naturism. The main pillars are universally recognised and should be respected by every venue that calls itself naturist. The blanks are free to be filled in according to what you think is important. But naturism should never be promoted with the blanks already filled out as the one and only form. We think that naturism is fun. If you think that it’s dead serious, that is totally fine. We imagine that some will agree with us and others with you.


We are writing this blog post during our last days in South Africa. This morning we left a resort called Kiepersolkloof and this afternoon we arrived at another resort, SunEden. Both resorts make an excellent example in this case. Kiepersolkloof is the kind of place where you go for rest and silence and for being indulged in endless nature. SunEden, on the other hand, is a much more social place, where people like to get together and with a bar with weekly parties.


Although these resorts are just a couple of hours’ drive away from each other, they filled out their blanks quite differently. Some people like the Kiepersolkloof naturism more than the SunEden naturism. And vice versa. Some people like both, depending on their mood. And we imagine that many people who don’t like to call themselves naturists could have a perfect time in one or the other.

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27 thoughts on “Do you have to be a naturist to visit a naturist resort?”

  1. A few years ago while my my wife and I were vacationing at the aptly named Club Fantastico in St. Martin (French side), I asked one of the other guests (the admittedly trite question) how long she and her husband had been nudists. To my surprise she informed me that she and her husband were not nudists because, as she explained, they didn’t belong to a nudist club. She said they have friends who do belong to a nudist club — which means their friends are nudists. But she and her husband didn’t consider themselves nudists since they had no such membership.

    This rather surprised me because (1) they chose to stay at Club Fantastico knowing that it expressly advertises itself as a naturist facility, (2) she and her husband were both nude every time we encountered them in or around the pool, spa and outdoor showers at Club F, and (3) they got their kits off at the nude section of Orient Beach, just the same as we did.

    I didn’t try to argue the point, which would have been rude, especially since we were all there to enjoy ourselves. But I did say something like, “Huh, I didn’t know one had to have a membership card to be a nudist.” She laughed, I laughed and we moved on to another subject.

    Now, after reading your post, I can’t help but wonder whether this woman and her husband ever got that illusive membership card.


    • This is a topic we deliberately left out of this blog post because it’s kinda old-fashioned, but thanks for bringing it up because we do realise that it’s still an issue. Before the internet, you HAD to be member of a naturist organisation. There was no way around it. The organisations were the only one who could give you info about resorts and nude beaches and if you wanted to visit a resort/club/… a proof of membership was required. There was huge monopoly that suddenly disappeared because of the internet (and websites like ours).

      You have no idea how much we dislike that some federations still call their membership card a “naturist passport”. It’s absolute nonsense and it doesn’t encourage people to try naturism at all. But on the other hand, we meet plenty of people at naturist places who say “really? Is there an international naturist federation?” 😁

      • Sorry but there is no need for internet or any kind of nudist membership to go to the nudist beach.

        You go to the beach and you see that some people are naked. Cool, that means I can be naked too, let’s have a try. And that was a nice day so let’s come back here next time. That’s how it works. No internet involved here.

        That’s as simple as that. I happen to live in a town with several nudist beach nearby and in my experience a lot people are not actively looking for a nudist beach. They just happen to be on a beach where it is common to be naked, so they say why not get naked too.

  2. There are frequent discussions on nudist Internet forums about exactly what a nudist or naturist actually is. If those who consider themselves to be nudists can’t agree on the identifying characteristics of a nudist, how can by anyone else understand what distinguishes a nudist from a textile. The average person knows little or nothing about nudism and cares even less, so they really aren’t adequately prepared to say whether or not they are nudists. Before my first visit to a nude club I didn’t know exactly what a nudist was, but I was pretty sure that I was not one. Then I discovered that I always had been one. Of course non-nudists should be welcome at nude venues, so they can discover the undiscovered nudist within.

    • The thing is, the people with the biggest mouth often have the narrowest vision. And (even if we don’t like to say this), we are not an exception. Our personal opinion that naturism can be widely accepted if we keep the “official rules” to a minimum is not different from the opinion of others who believe that naturism needs to be defined to the bone. We just hope that we can have the biggest mouth because we strongly believe in our vision 😁

      • And maybe, “the people who prefer to relax in the nude” should not be that much focused on naming at all ?

        “-ist” suffix creates a wall between “ist” person and the other people: “nudist”, “naturist”, “nationalist”, “terrorist”.

        In an ideal world nobody notices if you keep your pants on. Who would call a person wearing a t-shirt “t-shirtist” ? Why would “t-shirtists” need special rules at all ?

        • You’re right, but we feel that if you’re doing something that isn’t generally known or accepted, the terminology is often necessary and it comes in handy from time to time.
          For example, we could start telling people that “we have a blog about being naked in social non-sexual settings”, but we imagine that the most common reply will be “You mean naturist places?”.

  3. When the wife and I talk about our clothes-free activities to others, we tell them that we practice nudism. In that sense, we are nudists, in the context of enjoying nude recreation and public nudity.
    We don’t identify as nudists if the context of a creed or lifestyle. For us it’s no more a lifestyle than being into fine dining or listening to a particular genre of music. We don’t build our lives around it but that doesn’t mean we don’t love it.

    • We think that this accounts for the vast majority of naturists. It’s something you do and enjoy but not something that dictates your whole life. We are no different. On this blog, it may seem that we don’t do anything other than naturist things, but that’s because it’s a naturist blog. On our YouTube channel, we have a slightly different approach and you can see that we’re actually often wearing clothes.

  4. I refer to myself as a naturist but that is just a personal choice. Some people don’t like labels or think naturism or nudism has negative connotations. The question should be do you or your partner have to enjoy being naked to visit a naturist resort. Of course the answer is then yes, irrespective of what the person wishes to be called.

  5. I still find membership in a naturist organization very important. As a passport for access to certain facilities or as a discount card. But mainly because the national naturist organization here in the Netherlands also and mainly acts as an advocate in the regular media and as a discussion partner for (regional) governments. She even files lawsuits if those governments try to limit naturism.

    • Exactly! The NFN has a long history of protecting the rights of naturists and they are being very vocal about their accomplishments. It’s no coincidence that they are the largest naturist federation in the world!

  6. You say: “That’s when we realised that the advantage of using the term naturism is that everyone immediately knows that it’s about non-sexual nudity and about treating each other with respect.”

    Sorry, but no. I constantly see people mix up the terms “naturist” and “naturalist”. If I were to tell people around here that I’m a naturist, most would say “What’s that?”, and I end up explaining it’s another term for “nudist”. I’d rather just say “nudist” in the first place, there is no confusion over that one, except for the misconceptions about nudists. I think the one that bugs me the most is when people think nudists are naked 24/7. Anyway, that’s my $.02 on the subject.

    • It really depends on where you’re from. In Europe, the term naturist is the most known and when you say nudist, some people will think that you’re an exhibitionist. In the Americas, it’s much more nudist than naturist.
      The term naturalist is indeed used a lot in the wrong context. In fact, we don’t know if we’ve ever seen it being used in the right context. We can only imagine how annoying this must be for the naturalists…

      • That’s not really true. I believe every part of Europe is different. Talking about the place I know, Spain, here the most common term is nudist (nudista). And really, there is no confusion that it’s about people that get naked at the beach, anybody who regularly goes to the beach must have seen them, it’s pretty common. On the other hand naturist (naturista) is rarely used in Spain to refer to nudists, and this term is much more confusing: some people use the word “naturista” to indicate that they enjoy nature, without referring to their clothing preference at the beach.

        • Indeed, Spain is an exception. Interestingly, the Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America also use the term “nudist”, but mostly because “naturist” was already taken when naturism/nudism started to get a foot on the ground. Lots of Latin American cities have “tiendas naturistas” (naturist shops), this always puts a smile on our faces 🙂

  7. A Belgian master’s student conducted last year an interesting study on this subject. The research was based on interviews with people who enjoy nude recreation, and confirms the wide variety of views on what naturism is:
    “The clear definition of naturism in the literature turned out to be less applicable in reality. Thus, we could state that in practice it was difficult to formulate an unambiguous definition of naturism. Each respondent gave a personal interpretation of the term based on their own experience. Moreover, several respondents indicated that they did not think in boxes. Indeed, some respondents were affiliated with the Federation of Belgian Naturists, but did not consider themselves naturists. Others engaged in nude recreation but did not see themselves as nudists. Respondents did not want to catalog themselves or others under the term nude recreationist or naturist.”

    The full research paper (in Dutch) can be downloaded on this website

    • You’re absolutely right that our personal definition of naturism depends on our own experiences and values. If the connection with nature is your highest value, it’s probable that your definition will differ from those for whom body positivity is the most important.

      A good example are the 2 naturist clubs in Paris. ANP strives to create safe, often private naturist places in Paris. They rent out swimming pools, bars, restaurants, even the occasional museum for their events. APNEL, on the other hand, strives for more acceptance of nudity in public spaces and they organise for example naked hikes in forests. You can’t say that one is more naturist than the other, they’re just different. And it’s a good thing that both exist, because now people with different values have the choice of which one to join.

      And, of course, there are also those that don’t want to catogerise themselves. Some because they don’t like being put into boxes, others because they don’t feel like they identify with the/a definition of naturism. For quite a while, we were in this group. We went to the spa a couple of times a year and in summer we visited one or more naturist campsites, but naturists wasn’t something we were, naturism was just something we did.

  8. The concept of “Naturism” was defined by the international federation of naturists in 1974… :
    “A way of life in harmony with the nature, characterized by the practice of joint nudity, having for goal to support the self-respect, the respect of the others and the environment”

    The last few years, for obvious reasons, the environmental issues have been taking the spotlight… but the social aspect of the definition is as important.

    Two concepts are essential: nudity needs to be joint and is there to promote self-respect as well as that of the others.

    Older (in the practice, not in age) naturists tend to forget what one has to overcome the first time one goes nude in a social environment. This is especially difficult for teenagers and other more uncertain parts of society.

    So, essentially, one needs to be nude in a naturist environment, not only for one’s personal wellbeing and pleasure, but also in a responsible attitude towards others. Some other might be a little shy, because they feel exposed in a mixed clothing/nude company.

    I do not believe in a really mixed/clothing optional. There will be a certain ratio, where a textile spiral starts, and the shy people start to dress up ….

    It’s a paradox: newbees tend to be scared by the obligation of being nude in a naturist environment, but I am sure that if they knew beforehand that they’re is a risk that they will be the only one nude at 5PM, on the market place of one of the big french naturists resorts, they won’t believe it.
    So, in the end, for starters, it might be easier to undress in a 100% nude company, than not…

    • We agree with several of your points, but we don’t think that a mixed approach would eventually hurt naturism. You’re absolutely right that joint nudity creates balance and when this balance is disturbed, people will start feeling uncomfortable. But everyone has their own limits. We know naturists who are uncomfortable when there’s one clothed person in the group. Most naturists will probably agree that as long as the nude people are a majority, it’s fine. And we also know some who absolutely couldn’t care less what others are wearing or not, even if everyone is clothed.

      What we also notice, is that naturists who feel uncomfortable among clothed people often come from resorts or clubs where nudity is obligatory. So we’re not sure whether this feeling of discomfort actually comes from the fact that there are textiles, or because the situation is different from what they’re used to.

      • Feeling comfortable nude in an increasingly dressed crowd is something that comes with practice…

        My main point was to make clear that nowadays people get more and more selfcentric and that it’s mainly about their own feelings without caring about the others.

        The word “etiquette” as in “beachetiquette”, is well chosen….
        There is the law, on one side, but on the other, to live well in a social environment you need to take the next person into account and so, there are also social conventions…. Not always written ones…

        And the next person, in a naturist resort might feel better if you’re nude also …
        Being naked is essentially showing respect to the others.

        Farfetched comparison: you could go to a fancy Operashow or a three star restaurant in jeans and t-shirts….there’s a chance that you are allowed to get in, but by doing so, you spoil a little the experience of the other guests that night….
        If there are two people out of a thousand, no probs, but what if it becomes more and more ….?

        • You’re absolutely right, balance is everything and we notice that clothing-optional works pretty well as long as let’s say 70% or more are nude. If more than 30% is clothed, it becomes awkward.

          • It is not about balance but about the attitude of the other people on the beach.

            I know for a fact, that some beaches have a very small minority of nudists. At some point during the day there can even be just a single person being nude. And this is fine. Nothing awkward. When nudity is common and fairly well accepted, nobody cares about whether other people wear clothes or not, they might not even notice that some nudists are there.

            Just to give an example: the island of Formentera. Nudity is fairly common on the island. Not on a specific beach, but really, any beach. Locals will just go to any beach and get their clothes off. In the summer months, some beaches get less nudist use (in proportion), and it is then fairly common that just a few people get nude on a mostly clothed beach, without this being any issue. Sometimes just one or two people arrive and get naked among a fully clothed beach. What usually happens in this case is that a few more people get naked, and it’s easy to understand why: when you see at least one other person naked without anybody even noticing, you know for sure that it is perfectly fine to be naked.

          • The attitude of the people on the beach definitely plays a role, but we know few naturists who are comfortable getting naked on a beach when everyone else is clothed. Even if it’s a known nude beach. Additionally, for non-locals this is also confusing. Spain has lots of nude beaches that don’t have signs. When we get there as tourists, and everyone is clothed, we don’t know if we’re at the right beach, if there’s maybe a designated nude section, etc.

          • This happened to me: spent part of the day at the beach wearing a swimsuit, up to the moment I noticed that someone was naked. Wait, we can be naked here, and nobody cares at all? Ok, let’s do it too. And yes, as I confirmed, nobody cares, and I could enjoy the rest of the day as a nudist.

          • Exactly! But you did wait for someone else to get naked first. If that person had not been there, you’d probably have spent a day in a bathing suit.

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