Have Naturist Federations Become Obsolete in the Internet Age?

Is there still a purpose for a naturist federation? This is a question that probably won’t surprise you on this blog, but in fact, this time it comes from someone else. It’s the first question Stéphane Deschenes (mostly known as the warm voice of the Naturist Living Show, the owner of Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park, former board member of several naturist federations, and all-round promotor of naturism) in the below interview with Karen and Paul, past board members of the Canadian Naturist Federation FCN.


To enjoy this blog post to the fullest, we recommend that you watch the interview before reading further because we’ll be talking about several things that are being said.



Naturist Federations vs the internet

We’ll be honest with you, after watching the first 2.5 minutes of the interview, we already wanted to send Karen and Paul an angry e-mail. Because the answer to the question of why a federation is still needed appeared to be because the internet is an “untamed environment”. That federations are “a true source of information”, while the internet is an “unreliable one” because federations have people on the other end.


We are people, we give information about naturism on a very regular basis. And we’re not alone, there are Hector and Andrea, Dan and Charlotte from The Meandering Naturists, Sam and Aleah from Our Natural Blog, Get Naked Australia and so many others who are real people, promotors of naturism, and who do respond to questions.


New Cambium intext 3
As Stéphane mentioned, naturist federations used to have a monopoly on information about naturism. If you wanted to know how naturism works or where to find a club, federations were the only ones who could tell you. And vice versa, if you owned a club and wanted more members or visitors, the federations were the only link to the naturists. But then came the internet.

Have Naturist Federations Become Obsolete in the Internet Age?

Leadership in naturism

Paul has a point that the internet can be unreliable. Everyone can start a website and say whatever they want about whatever they want. Aren’t you better off just paying a couple of tens of euros or dollars every year for a federation membership and be sure to have the right information?


The thing with naturism is that it’s not black and white. That there’s not just one right and one wrong. Instead, there are many different interpretations. To give you an example, during The Global Naturist Forum, organized by British Naturism in 2020, the president of the International Naturist Federation said that there is a clear distinction between “naturists” and everyone else who enjoys some kind of social nudity, so-called “nude swimmers”. She said that “both can live next to one another, but never together”. We strongly disagree with this statement, but if the INF would be the only source of information (as it has been for decades) this is exactly how naturism would be defined.


Karen mentions in the interview that “we look to leaders”. Because of the internet, these leaders aren’t forced upon you anymore, but you have the opportunity to choose them. The concept of The Meandering Naturist is very similar to Naked Wanderings. We both blog about naturism, mostly from the perspective of traveling. But some people like the ideas and visions of Dan and Charlotte more than ours, and vice versa. And that is what makes the internet so great, you can choose between all the different views. This is democracy.


Value instead of information

When asked about the decline of memberships, Paul replies that “the younger generations do not want to be part of clubs or anything”. Good point. We (we like to include ourselves in the younger generations) are the internet generation. We don’t pay for information. But we do pay for services. Why do travel agencies still exist while it’s never been easier to book flights, hotels, and rental cars online? Because they save us the time to figure it all out and provide one point of contact in case something goes wrong.


Does this mean that all naturist federations need to become travel agencies? Absolutely not, but they could focus more on specific services that are interesting for naturists, like events. Then there’s an even more important thing that we happily pay for: Value.


Naked Wanderings has two major income streams. One is advertising. Businesses (mostly naturist venues) pay us to reach many thousands of naturists around the world. We bring value to their business. The other one is support via Patreon. All the information that we provide is completely free, you can just read it on our website or watch it on our YouTube channel. But people who believe in what we do or who feel that we’ve brought value to their life or to their naturist experiences, support us. Some even support us because we make them forget the daily rat race for a couple of minutes every week when they’re reading our blogs or watching our videos. For us, feeling that people support what we do is the best encouragement to create more and better content. It’s a very sustainable concept.

Have Naturist Federations Become Obsolete in the Internet Age?

Maestra Banner

Why believe in a naturist federation?

When talking about the International Naturist Federation (INF) in the interview, Stéphane brings up that a lot of people are suggesting that the INF is just a waste of money and that all they do is provide a nice vacation every two years (the international congress). This is indeed the general perception of the institution. When we ask people what the INF really does, few have any idea.


We notice the same for national naturist federations. Fewer and fewer naturists have a clue of what these federations do, other than sending out a magazine that contains the same information as what you can find for free on the internet, but in a slightly nicer format (although that too is questionable).


At the end of the video, Karen and Paul get the chance to promote the federation, and they say “Commit yourself to naturism, show people that you really care”. But what does that mean? How will naturism improve when we give money to FCN? How will they make our experience better? What have they done in the past for naturism? Why should we believe in the FCN?


Paul is right when he says that federations are “resting on their laurels”. They’ve become so used to the idea that every naturist needs the federation and that everyone knows what the federation does and stands for, that they stopped focusing on this. They just assume that we all know. But we don’t. Why do people support UNICEF or Amnesty International? Not because they tell you about all the horrors in the world, but because they tell you what they want to do about it.


Have naturist federations become obsolete?

Without the federations, our whole naturist experience would definitely be completely different. There would be fewer nude beaches, fewer clubs and resorts, and naturism would probably be less socially acceptable than it is today. Who knows, maybe naturism wouldn’t even exist anymore. So, from a historical point of view, federations have definitely already proved their importance.


Even as a source of information, they are still doing a good job. You can still contact them with questions and many do still give you a complimentary magazine. But they are definitely not the only source of information anymore.


The strength of a federation is its experience. They have been around for a long time. They are organized. They have connections. They can make things happen. In fact, we see an interesting opportunity here for naturist federations and content creators (like ourselves and the others previously mentioned) to work together. We know how the internet works, we know how to reach a large number of people. And federations know how to build a solid backbone, how to get things organized. Could this be the future for naturist federations?


Important side note 1: Please don’t see this blog post as an attack towards Karen, Paul, or the FCN. Several times after an interview with Stéphane, we thought “Damn, we should have said this or that”. We had a lot of time to think about this blog post, while Karen and Paul just got seconds to reply. So we definitely understand our advantage and we hope that our readers will too.


Important side note 2: We hear Stéphane say in the interview about visitors to Bare Oaks that “As long as they are supporting somebody, I’m happy to give a $40 discount”. We’ll need to check if this also applies to those who support Naked Wanderings 🙂

Naked Wanderings Live Q&A

Support Naked Wanderings

Do you like what we do for naturism and naturists? Did we make you laugh or cry? Did we help you find the information you were looking for? Then definitely join our Patreon community!

Become a Patron!


29 thoughts on “Have Naturist Federations Become Obsolete in the Internet Age?”

  1. I take your point about the number of sources, like yourselves, for reliable naturist information and how many different voices are out there you can listen to. However, part of the problem with the internet is knowing who you can trust. After reading your blog for many years I know that your are reliable. I may not agree with everything you say, but I do believe your views are always consistent with what I believe is fundamental to naturism. I would have no concerns in directing someone who wanted to learn about naturism to you guys (and some of the others you mentioned), but if you google naturism you’ll find a lot that is thinly veiled porn. If you didn’t know any better you might get the impression that naturism was about sex/porn if you were confused about who to believe.

    I think the naturist federations provide a place against which you can judge other sources you might find on the internet. They may disagree on some matters, e.g. clothing optional vs nude mandatory, but they agree on the fundamentals.

    • Finding reliable sources can be tricky on the internet. But it’s something we’re learning to work with. We think that especially the younger generations are pretty critical about what they see online and don’t just take all information for real. Many people have grown up with the idea that all information they get (in media, books, magazines) is more or less true. Although that was definitely not always the case either. Young people learn from a very young age that there’s a lot of fake news on the web.

  2. RE: “Please don’t see this blog post as an attack towards Karen, Paul, or the FCN.”

    Don’t worry about calling out the FCN.
    Hanlon Point was designated a nude beach in 1999, and is still only the second official nude beach in the country, and Canada is a big place. This is the disclaimer on the newly revamped website for the list of Unofficial nude beaches: “the FCN makes NO GUARANTEES ABOUT THE ACCURACY OR TIMELINESS of the information contained below”
    They attended a top free protest in 2015. There has been no post to their Twitter feed for 2 years. They do have a shiny magazine, in both official languages.
    Except for asking for money they don’t appear to be doing much, and if they are they don’t do a good job of telling the members exactly what.

    There is definitely a worth while benefit of the “card carrying naturist” feeling of belonging to a national organization, but they don’t even print the cards any more.

    • We’ve noticed that many federations don’t really do a good job informing their members about what they do/did exactly. They give people access to the minutes of their meetings and expect that everyone interested will just read them. Or come to the annual general assembly for more info. But nobody reads those things, they are way too boring. We also notice that successful federations do a very good job of making sure that whenever they accomplish something, not just the members but the whole naturist community hears about it. It’s all about good PR.

  3. There are two thoughts I like to share with you. Let’s start with the positive one.

    I think the Dutch federation (NFN) does a few good things.
    Every time Dutch municipality is making plans for a recreation area, they are active in contacting the municipality to emphasize the need of an area for naturists.
    When a Dutch municipality threatens to close down a nude recreation area, they take action.
    When people are fined for naked hiking, they support the fined naturists with legal support.
    And they communicate about it, in various ways.

    What I miss most is a more activist attitude. Running ahead of the troops to fight for the freedom to be clothing-free in all appropriate places. Not only in a legal sense, but especially in creating more social support among the general public.

    Second, about INF. They seem to be dead. They even don’t accept new followers in their Twitter account!
    One of the team members of NaturistSymbol.org received a message from Siglinde (chairperson of INF). It was to claim that “International Naturist” was protected. No problem, because it is the “Universal Naturist Symbol”. And I could not find anywhere a trademark registration for “International Naturist”.

    So to answer the question, I think there is still a right to exist for naturist federations. But they will have to work for it and become more activist.

    • Thanks for your comments, Erik!
      Here’s a thought: Although some federations really aren’t doing much at all, we believe that many others actually do make some things happen. But why is it always only from NFN and BN that you hear about those things? We think that it’s because they realized that they need to promote their accomplishments instead of hoping that people will read about them in they yearly report.

      Don’t give up on the INF just yet, we’ve seen some movement lately. Laurent Luft became the assessor for Europe, which is quite a high function. Laurent has done a lot of great things for the French federation and was the brain behind the naturist section in Bois de Vincennes park in Paris and the naked museum tour in the Palais de Tokyo.

      And (if all goes well) there will be board elections in October and Sieglinde’s position is up for election. So who knows, maybe there will be someone new on the throne. We think that more and more federations start to realize that change is urgently needed in the INF.

      About the term “international naturist”, we know that the INF has once tried to claim the word “naturist”, but that this didn’t work out. Maybe it did for “international naturist”, but we doubt it. Nevertheless, the INF does have quite some lawyers and money, so it might not be very smart to get into a legal fight with them.
      With these questions, it’s better to contact Laurent: [email protected]

      About the activist attitude… We could write a book about our opinions on that 🙂
      Many federations have been reluctant to fight for more public spaces because lots of their income comes from advertising private venues and they are afraid to bite the hand that feeds them. But it’s the public spaces that generate more awareness about naturism, so more public spaces would make for more naturists, who eventually will start visiting the private spaces as well. So, yes, we also believe that federations should focus on activism.

    • >”fight for the freedom to be clothing-free in all appropriate places.”

      It’s that support for limiting clothing-free to “appropriate places” where so many “nudist” organizations surrender to body shame. They say they don’t want to “offend” non-nudists, but that belief implies that the sight of a human body is offensive. Internet advocates see naked people all the time in all kinds of places. The whole meaning of “body acceptance” implies that bodies are not “offensive,” and if the “nudist” organizations really believed that bodies are not offensive they would not insist on limiting nudity to “appropriate” places.

      Human bodies, naked human bodies, our own species, are normal, acceptable, and decent in ALL places — like every other species. The constant advocacy to limit nudism to “appropriate” places is anti-body and anti-nude. They are our own worst enemies in many ways.

      • Of course I totally agree. Here in The Netherlands we are at a point that nudity is designated places is totally accepted. Some naturist beaches are very open. A good example is Engelemeer. The separation between textile and naturist beach is just a sign. And because the naturist part is often more crowded than the textile area, textiles don’t dare to go dressed on “our” beach.
        In The Netherlands the discussion is now starting about “appropriate places”. This also has to do with the law, that says we can be naked in any appropiate place. But the law makers leave it up to the people (and eventually judges) to decide if a place is appropriate.

        So the good thing is that the discussion is not anymore about the freedom to be clothesfree. By having the discussion about appropriate places, we are (still slowly) expanding the definition of what is concidered to be appropriate.

        • This is definitely going in the right direction. We believe in the right to be naked at any place where bathing suits are also appropriate.

          • I’ll go one step further. I believe we have a fundamental right to go naked or clothed according to our own preferences in every place where humans are appropriate.

            And personally, I really believe that bathing suits are just about the most useless and stupid things ever invented. Swimming suits are really not appropriate, comfortable, or useful anywhere.

          • Our idea is also based on the fact that swimsuits don’t have any use and are just meant to hide very specific body parts. To get nudity on an equal level of a bathing suit just needs one shift of mindset: normalizing nudity (we know that we make it sound much easier than it actually is).

            Allowing nudity in every place creates a whole range of complications because we live in a world with dress codes. Let’s say your office requires you to wear a suit, how do we mix in nudity? Is it then either a suit or naked? Or will all types of clothing be allowed too?

            Somehow, we’ll need to find a balance between social norms and our right to be naked.

  4. You guys are quick in your reply. Thanks!

    And thank you mentioning Laurent Luft. We (the NS team) will contact him.

    I look forward to your book!

  5. Honestly.. I think the video kind of proves there own point – many of them don’t have a clue how to save themselves. That said, lets be honest. Maybe this is different somehow, in other countries, but in the US at least the “law” doesn’t give a F about *individuals* as much as it does *groups*. You can’t sue another group/company, unless you are are part of some big group. Some person being interviewed on TV about what 90% of the people that don’t bother to even watch it think is a fetish, means jack all. A whole group of people, with a clear organization, catches more attention. Heck, even protests don’t work if its a thousand random people, all wandering out in random places, and all ranting about a problem. It takes those thousand people marching down main street for it to matter.

    Basically… I think there is a place for such federations, but only if they recognize themselves as, optically, legal and social “defense” against those that would attack naturism as a whole, if they didn’t think that there was a bunch of big, scary, guard cats, waiting to fight back, if they pushed for ending it. Just.. don’t tell any of them that these are almost all toothless, slow moving, slightly myopic, house cats. Well, that and they have to “promote themselves and the movement”.

    And, when some random dude is writing novels in which characters have a Naked Smash competition, which expands into a international event, at an actual convention location, but the best that the “promoters” of naturism can manage to come up with is, “If you give us money, you will be proving that you truly support naturism!” I mean, for the above mentioned reason, I don’t think this is entirely wrong, but… seriously.. its the low hanging fruit of “organized” naturism.

  6. What I’ve read about BN is that they have done a lot of good with police in UK, encouraging tolerance for nude people. Their involvement resulted in police directives not to become involved with someone wandering around the UK naked while minding his own business. BN has also held events promoting public nudity. This kind of public nudist advocacy is very useful on and off of Internet.

    On the other end of the spectrum is organizations such as AANR and INF that advocate for allowing nudity only in “appropriate” places, meaning their pay-for-play fenced compounds. AANR and INF is much of an opponent of nude freedom even as they promote infrequent nudist “recreation” at fenced resorts or compounds. They insist that being seen naked might “offend” textiles in public places, which is another way of saying that nude is not acceptable. The Internet is WAY AHEAD of the old tired early 20th century nudism that AANR and INF still advocate.

    So yes, AANR and INF, and their pay-to-play fenced compounds, have become Obsolete. Nudity is not just for an every other year “nakation” at a paid resort. Nudity is our daily lives. People are going around naked in our daily lives, and have left them long behind. Nudist organizations are irrelevant because they have chosen to become irrelevant.

    • This is similar to what Erik said earlier in the comments, that federations should focus more on activism.
      In the past, the working of a federation was pretty simple. Resorts needed them to be able to reach the naturists and the naturist needed them to find (and be allowed into) the resorts.

      Today, resorts and naturists find each other without the federations. So federations will need to find other ways to provide values to the resorts and individuals if they want to keep existing. It’s curious that of all the reactions that we received on this blog post in the comments and on social media, BN is mentioned the most. Even by non-British, even though it’s definitely not the largest naturist federation in the world.

      This is because BN has been focusing on providing value to the naturists for quite a while. And with a very dedicated member base, they’ll also be able to provide value for the resorts again.

      • It seems to me that promoting resorts and once a year naked “recreation” while opposing general nudity (other than “appropriate places” which means their resorts) is counter to Internet nudism, and the majority of the new Internet nudists. On web sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, MeWe, and many others there are millions of new nudists posting and promoting nudism in daily live. One big promotion is Nude Gardening Day, Tomorrow. Others promote nude carpenters building houses. Nude while cooking, cleaning, and living at home. Nude in public changing rooms and nude yoga. Nude dining. And posting nude selfie photos for all the world to see on Social Media. Millions of Internet nudists rail against Facebook’s “community standards” that prohibit images of male or female genitals, and seek out MeWe, Twitter, Reddit, and other sites where full exposure is an everyday part of Internet surfing. All of It is the antithesis of “where appropriate” limits that the old guard “Nudist” organizations advocate.

        Some Internet pages were created specifically for finding “appropriate” nude locations, but few if any of those have survived. Most of Internet nudists I interact with don’t really care if they ever find resorts. They want to be naked, with “body acceptance,” who they are and WHERE they are.

        Most of these comments mention BN because BN gets it. The whole 20th century of failure of nudism to become publicly accepted is no longer appropriate for “Nudist” organizations. The net result of their actions of the whole previous century was to limit nudism to a few widely scattered resorts where people had to travel some distance, and then pay to be naked. Internet Nudism in the 21st century is about nude daily life, not occasional once a year “recreation.” AANR is soooooo 20th century, and even their office staff works clothed.

        And, thanks to Nick&Lins for promoting nudism on Internet. How about more promotion of nude living, nude travel, nude at work, rather than nude resorts?

  7. Both the video and your post raise some interesting points.
    However, in the UK, British Naturism provides a very useful and valued service to both individual naturists and naturism in general.
    During the lockdown BN have provided extensive online sessions both social (virtual pub and coffee morning) and naked fitness. Many people have stated that these have been very beneficial for their mental health, especially those who live alone. In addition the fitness sessions are open to all so could encourage people to try naked exercise in the comfort of their own home.
    A few years ago the government undertook a review of sexual offences which could , unintentionally, have made many naturists into criminals. A lot of good work by BN ensured that this did not happen and the rights of naturists were protected.
    Further lobbying led to the Police College issuing guidance to police forces that simple, non-sexual, nudity should not be treated as a crime. Not all police officers have got the message yet but, with BN’s help, things are improving.
    Could the Internet do all this?

  8. This Twitter post (today) is exactly how Oaklake Trails ( and other AANR member resorts) are opponents of nudism and body freedom. Of course an Internet nudist advocate would promote doing ALL of those things naked. WNGD is all about going out into YOUR garden naked, not about hiding your body. Climb your tree, garden in a community garden, plant your roses, get a sun tan, do it all naked. Oaklake Trails and AANR member clubs depend on continuing fear of public nudity to survive as a business model. Its the antithesis of WNGD.


  9. “How will naturism improve when we give money to FCN? How will they make our experience better? What have they done in the past for naturism? Why should we believe in the FCN?”
    Very good point from a disappointed long time FCN member and all this question are valid for most of the nudist/naturist federations and associations worldwide with a few exceptions.
    Me as a pretty much known nudist events host/organizer in Canada I was told by one of the FCN board member and moderator of the new Facebook group: “Until recently it has been difficult to determine which events merit free promotion and which do not”.
    Before this I sent my attempt to advertise my events I’m planning for 2021, but of course my attempt was rejected.
    This is why I’m questioning myself for how long this associations and federations will survive with some of their new rules and the social media age.
    After all this I decided to quit being a part of any federations or associations, I can and will self advertise myself … but I’m not going to quit promoting/educating nudism and also hosting even more events.

    Hugs from Attila

    • See… That’s what we mean by missed opportunities. We’re not saying that a federation just needs to support and/or promote every individual with an idea. They should look into the possibilities of a collaboration in which both you and the federation get better.
      For example, they could advertise your events towards their members, and you could advertise the federation towards the visitors of your events.

      • Exactly!
        Last year I had a meeting with the president of FCN at Bare Oaks (Greg) and I tried to tell him that they should take an example from British Naturism on why and how they become who and where they are nowadays … and now I’m getting such an answer from a board member.

        • Someone made a very interesting comment on this blog post on Reddit:

          “My wife & I are members of British Naturism (BN). For years it was a staid, boring, federation with a rapidly declining membership because, as you say in the article, in the 21st Century information is readily available online.

          BN, however, asked its remaining members what they wanted from their federation. As a result it has become far more active, organising events and, in these Covid times, especially online events, social meetings, exercise classes, cooking, and other events online.”

          The part to remember: “BN asked its members what they wanted from the federation”. This is how you generate engagement and how you learn what to focus on for the future.
          Of course, this only works if you actually listen to your members and consider their answers, otherwise the federation will grow even more distant and disrespected.

      • Is exactly what I did until now, I’ve got their magazines and give them out to members who weren’t already members or aware of FCN.
        As I told the president of FCN, advertising me, they self advertise themselves and also those advertising’s go further up by multiple shares on social media.
        There are many simple things for them to get more influential but … .

  10. The need for federations is especially clear on legal aspects – both on individual problems and on the collective right to be naked. FEN (the federation in Spain) is especially strong on the latter aspect and without it opponents of the right to be naked would have won many local battles – leading to probable loss of the right at national level. I am pleased to have well-founded confidence to be able to hold conversations with Guardia Civil officers who demur at my public nakedness. A similar context is now developing in England – following sterling work by British Naturism in securing the 2003 Act and the recent guidance from the College of
    Policing. Federations do make a difference!

    That said, criticism of some aspects of the work and attitudes of some federations
    has merit. The “appropriate” places issue is divisive. It is much simpler with the
    generic “public” places principle – leaving private proprietors to make the rules
    in “private” places. Then the argument can be on persuading such proprietors
    to allow nudity in their domains – including shops and all other places where the
    public are invited. It is frustrating to have to stop just outside a shop to don
    some clothing before entering and then again on exit to remove such for the
    continued walk in a public place. However a light-weight (roll-up) dressing gown
    is very useful for this exercise as it fits into a shopping bag.

    • Yes Alan, thanks for reminding us that the Spanish nudists have done wonderful things and been effective leaders of nude acceptance. So has BN in the UK. Nudist organizations and federations that promote public nudity are a boon to all nudists. Other federations that oppose general public body acceptance, and who promote limiting human bodies to “appropriate” places are worse than ineffective.

      Bottom line is that federations who promote public acceptance of nude human bodies are useful, effective, and should be supported. Federations that oppose public nude acceptance are part of the opposition. Those federations that are opponents of public nudity ought not be supported by nudists.

      • We definitely agree that public places are what the federations should focus on. Because lobbying and politics are what most of them are really good at. But it doesn’t generate direct revenue. When they promote a private space the owner will financially support the federation. But local governments aren’t going to support the federation for promoting the local nude beach.

        Yet, we believe that the long-term vision looks much better. Because if federations get things done and create more public spaces, they will eventually get more supporting members

        • Yes, money is always a problem. BN got lots more supporting member quite quickly by being their advocate, not “eventually.” FEN probably did too.

          We apparently still don’t agree that promoting a separate “nude beach” is the same as promoting public acceptance of nudity. The designation of a single beach as a “nude beach” concurrently prohibits nudity on all other beaches and public places.

          Its a similar problem to Universities declaring a “free speech zone” which only serves to prohibit free speech on the rest of their campus. (they lose lawsuits because prohibiting speech is the antithesis of a university’s public responsibility).

          Declaring a “nude beach” is an opposition to general public demand for clothing choice on ALL public beaches. Federations that advocate such limits to general body acceptance should not be supported.

          • The two need to go hand in hand. Making the right to be naked a human right, as FEN and BN did, is very important as a statement. But it won’t help that many naturists, nor will it encourage people to try naturism. We’ve been in Spain for several months now, but we haven’t seen a single naked person outside of the nude beaches. Even though it’s perfectly legal no be naked anywhere.

            It’s similar to the right for women to be topfree in cities like New York and Toronto. Other than a handful of activists you’re quite unlikely to see a topless woman in the streets.

  11. Thank you all so much for such enlightening information. For me this is a watershed of further understanding of the complexities of naturism, nudist federations, and associated relationships.



Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.