Why is the Nude Spa More Popular than the Naturist Resort?

The spa culture has been growing fast during the last decade or two in Europe. Especially countries like Germany, Belgium, and The Netherlands are seeing a growth in visitors of spa centers. We’re talking about “centers” and even that might be an understatement. A Western European wellness center is pretty much a water park for grown-ups. Often there are several swimming pools, jacuzzis, saunas, steam rooms, cold baths, warm baths, and the possibility to more different kinds of massages and treatments than you could ever imagine. An important factor here is that bathing suits are forbidden by default in these facilities.

Why is the Nude Spa More Popular than the Naturist Resort?

Being socially nude doesn’t make you a naturist

So western Europe sees a growing number of people who visit a spa now and then. A spa where they will be nude at a certain point together with other people. That does sound a lot like naturism or nudism, doesn’t it? One would think that this would have an immediate effect on the amount of memberships of the naturist federations. But it doesn’t. For example, research has shown that approximately 1.9 million Dutch enjoy nude recreation in one way or another. Yet the Dutch naturist federation NFN “only” counts about 60 000 members. Why are the other 1 840 000 Dutch not interested in becoming a member of the federation?


Although our first experience in social nudity also happened at a nude spa and although we’ve met several other European naturists who made the step from the spa to other naturist events or accommodations, apparently the spa isn’t a successful source of new naturists in the end. But of course we’re only looking at the federation memberships here. And of course there are many naturists who don’t feel the need to become member of a naturist federation. We needed something else to confirm our ideas. We needed to test this.

Why is the Nude Spa More Popular than the Naturist Resort?

Our big nude spa test

Camping Sérignan Plage in the south of France was the perfect setting for a test. This camping has both a textile and a naturist part (Sérignan Plage Nature) and right in between these two sections is a wellness center. Accessible from both sides. During the afternoons a bathing suit is required and during the mornings all clothing are prohibited. So one morning we put ourselves on a deck chair near both entrances. We were going to count how many visitors would enter from the textile part, even though they are required to get naked.


New Cambium intext 4
The numbers were overwhelming. After an hour, 40% of the visitors of the spa actually stayed at the textile section of the camping. That’s 40% who decided not to camp in a next door naturist camping but did go nude in the spa. Even though they could perfectly go in bathing suit just a couple of hours later. What does this mean?

Why is the Nude Spa More Popular than the Naturist Resort?

The naturist stigma

Our “big test” isn’t the first time we notice such a phenomena. We’ve met people at nude beaches who stay at textile campings even though there are also naturist campings nearby. We even met people staying at textile campings and visiting a nude camping with a day pass. Just to enjoy its facilities. For us that sounds a bit awkward. If you like social nudity and you have the option to stay at a naturist place, why don’t you grab that opportunity with both hands?


The answer can be found in some of the doubts that naturist resorts receive from first timers. Often they worry about when they will be expected to be naked.
Do I really have to walk around naked all day?
Do I really need to shop naked?
Do I really need to be nude in the restaurant?
Do I really need to do my morning run naked?
Do I… you get the point.


Naturism is often seen as a lifestyle where you have to be nude as much as possible. It’s all or nothing. Either you are a naturist and follow this philosophy or you are not a naturist. And that’s something that’s keeping people who do enjoy social nudity occasionally away from other naturist places.

Why is the Nude Spa More Popular than the Naturist Resort?

The rise of the sarong

A difference between the nude spa and the naturist resort is that at the spa clothing is only prohibited inside the facilities. Meaning that you have to be nude in the sauna or the pool but the walk between them can be done in a bath robe. Many naturist resorts have also seen this new market of “occasionally nude people” but didn’t of course want to start allowing clothing on their premises. The solution came in a piece of fabric called the “sarong”. Easy to sit on when nude and perfect as a cover when you’re not feeling comfortable.


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The sarong didn’t receive applause from all sides. Many naturists feared that there would come a time when everyone would be covered in sarongs at their favourite naturist club. So far social nudity. We don’t think that it will ever get that far. First of all because visitors of naturist resorts do have the intention to get nude, at least sometimes. Otherwise they would just not visit the place. And also because getting used to being naked happens in steps. The sarong, which is very easy to put on and off, just makes these steps a bit easier.

Why is the Nude Spa More Popular than the Naturist Resort?

What does this mean for the future of naturism?

There is a huge gap between the occasional nude spa visitor and the die hard advocate of naturist clubs where all textile is renounced. Naturists could stick to the ancient idea of naturism and keep yelling that all the others are not “real naturists”. But where will that get us eventually? The main question is whether we can meet somewhere in the middle.


We’ve advocated for a more clothing optional approach before and we still think that his could be a way forward. When properly managed of course. This is not only our own idea by the way, we already see this happening in many naturist resorts in Europe. Lots of European naturists like to dress up for dinner and thus it’s not uncommon to see many clothed people in the resort’s restaurant. At the resorts where the clothing rules are looser for teenagers it’s much more common to see a younger crowd. But of course clothing is always prohibited when it’s completely absurd to be dressed. In the pool or the sauna for example. Do you see the link?


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22 thoughts on “Why is the Nude Spa More Popular than the Naturist Resort?”

  1. My own take is that the nude spa is more popular than the nude resort, because you have more privacy at the spa. For example, cellphones are banned at the nude spa, but are they also banned at the nude resort?

  2. We’re lucky enough to live in Germany where there are many great options for day trips to the Spas. We’re going to be so disappointed when we have to go back to the states. We’ve visited some in other countries too, Thermen Mineraal recommended by Nick and Lins (thanks! we loved it) and Therme Wien in Austria was our first mixed nude environment. For us, the day trip is much more realistic than a resort trip, but we can’t speak from experience yet.

  3. Well to me, the was the most easiest blog subject/question till now …
    Simply ,one has nothing to do with the other, i dont go to spas ,nor do i know any1 that does, and here, its not really a thing, maybe for the rich and mommas boys as they say here, but ya ..
    Its just something thats done naked, like ,showering after work? Or after workout? Or maybe when sexing? ..
    I often told that even those ppl that are not shy, still dont feel the need to be naked, to go to nude beaches n stuff ..
    Tho its still a mistery to me, about the teenagers thing.. why is it ok for them to be in suits at a nude resort but not naked? ..they been naked all their life, seen everything, yet again, they get shy? why? what is it that they have, or will happen to them that they havent already seen happen to others?
    Being a teen and shy or ashamed, is no way an excuse for someone that has been raised around nudity from day one, that just doesnt drink water as they say here.

    • Yet the sauna has been the first step into naturism for so many people (including ourselves). Why do others stop there and don’t try other social nude activities? That’s the main question.

      About teenagers there are a hundred and one reasons why they decide to cover up. Ranging from the insecurity that comes with puberty to not wanting to wear the same suit as their parents (also when we’re talking about birthday suits) to finding it annoying that when they’re in a communal shower with textile friends after sports or so that everyone will notice that they don’t have a white butt.

      • Well yea as i said, because one has nothing to do with the other … spa is something u just do naked, basicly literally like when ur taking a shower..or taking a shower with others in the army, or locker room…
        Dunno how u guys did/were, but here i can assure you that only time ppl might be naked with others ,is after a training at a sports club ,like a football club or whatever, or like it was with me, in the army.
        Lol white butt, hahaha , ok , thats a good one, tho that only counts if they take showers together, cause here as i said it not the case in schools .. after gym , u just dress back to ur reg clotes, put the gym clotes in ur bag , and ur off to the next class .. there is no showering here in schools.
        But ok the white butt showing off, does make sence, actually, to me thats the only reason that makes sence, as i said, it makes no sence to me that one will go with their parents to a resort, but wont get naked .. it totaly makes no sence,.. if they dont wanna go anymore? That does make some sence, cause they are at the age when they actually have preferences ,so if they dont wanna be nude no more or with nude ppl , that does make some sence.

  4. Sorry Iceman. You said you’ve never been to a spa, and that’s evident in your response. Nick and Lins have it right when they say it’s “Like a big water park for grownups!” It’s NOT about having your nails and hair done.

    And I’m 100% with N and L on spas as a gateway drug to naturism! The good ones attract a younger and more diverse crowd and make them feel comfortable with social nudity. It’s totally changing the game for the future of naturism, in a very good way!

    Spend a day at Therme Erding in Munich, then tell me how horrible it is with all the innuendo and misconception you wrote about. That’s just like textiles dismissing naturist places when they’ve never been to one.

    • Im sorry , i dont think we are talking about the same thing..
      Spa has been around in this or that form for a long long time, so i dont think it has anything to do with naturism.. many naturists became naturists while never been to spa, and many ppl that visit spa dont care about naturism/nudism.. N and L have said that them selfs.
      Its just like saying that ppl are having sex on the beach in Cap cause they are having sex at home too .. no they dont..they have it for a totaly different reason/s.

      • The nude spa is often a first step into naturism. We’re the living proof of that and we’ve met lots of others who also started with naturism this way. We’ve even been to a naturist B&B which advises first timers to first try a spa for a couple of times before visiting.

        But it’s definitely also true that for many visitors of the spa it stops there. They don’t explore any other options of social nudity. And that’s the question we want to raise in this blog post. Why does that happen? And how can we convince them to try other naturist things as well?

        • Well thats what i was saying .. because spa has nothing to do with naturism, its just doing something that is done being nude .. same as showering.. u dont think of nudism when u shower.
          And that it self gives u the answer why.. i think i made my view as well long ago to why im not a nudie.. cause i just dont feel the need for it , i dunno why there is a need to convince any1 for anything.. its almost like saying that dude why are u gay?.. why dont u just try once ,ONCE.. a girl and see what its like or something.. ..some ppl have the need to hug kiss and say i love u millions of times/day with basicly any1 .. they just do .. me, i dont, i just dont, its same with spa and nudism.

          • There are some differences though.
            People don’t take showers together because they like doing so. They do because they finished sporting or so and prefer to wash away the sweat before going home. It’s something practical. The spa isn’t.

            The difference with being gay is that for most people nudism is still a choice. And that all nudists are also textiles, often even most of the time. A better comparison would be with someone who likes to play basketball in the backyard. You could ask why he/she doesn’t join a team. It could be fun, you could be better at it and you’ll meet some likeminded people.

          • Exactly my point lol .. they dont take showers together after a game cause they want, but just cause thats the way it is .. and that wont make them all be naturists .. well its same with spa .. i mean if its a 1 person only then there would be 1 person only, but that wouldnt make too much $ for the owner would it .. so its for more then 1 person.. thats my whole point about it, they are nude cause thats the way that its done, they dont go there cause they wanna be nude, or cause of the other ppl that will be there, but cause of the thing it self, and all of the mentioned is something they dont have control over (being nude, and having tons of other ppl there as well).
            Or , to say it “my way” lol .. i dont go to work cause i love to work or spec cause i love the place where i work .. i go there/work, cause i need the money..ah..money.. like its some money..but thats a diff subject.

  5. I visited a spa in the Netherlands in Utrecht this year, and there is a nudist beach right beside it. The spa was completely packed with people naked and comfortable and enjoying the sun outside on deck chairs. Most people were naked on the deck chairs and were walking around in the nude with no robes from sauna to sauna (it was a very warm day). In contrast the adjoining nudist area was almost empty even though it is just as private. Some of the naturists there said that there had been a decline in nudism in The Netherlands, particularly among younger people. The success of naked spas suggests to me that more people will embrace naturism if there are good facilities at naturist venues that they can enjoy.

    • You know, i`ve read many times how N&L were saying how nudism is on the rise or nudity whatever … i personally think totaly the oposite of that ,and this info of urs from Holland backs it up i guess.. (and we all know how open-minded the Dutch are, prolly the most well.. if not the world ,there are hidden places still we dunno much about, but for sure in Europe or ,the western world .. almost totaly open minded) and yet still looks like just pure nudity is backing down.
      Now, for some while i got this theory, that i noticed too how ppl get all “upset” ,even in Europe now, when they see someone naked … and i blame it all on the Americation of Europe.. since we all know how prudes they are, and thats also interesting considering how everything is sexualized in their society, hell.. just look at the stories of potus and flotus ..but for real , i noticed that sometime now, even how FB is baning stuff, Instagram, an American company took over the F1, and the first thing they did is to take off the grid girls.. like wtf..? i mean i even recently read a movie review ,dunno the name of it cause i read tons, but .. a part that stood out is that , alegadly theres a scene in the movie where theres a kid and u can see hes nude butt, and they edited out that part so it wouldnt be shown on TV?? like really?..
      I like many American stuff, Nascar, their houses, trailer parks, music movies, shows ,cities .. good stuff, but the level of their hipocrisy is beyond amazemant ,and i hate them for that, and sadly they are bringing all of those worst things to Europe, and before we know it, we gonna become like they are.

      • It depends on how you define naturism/nudism, but when we’re talking about social nudity we are willing to bet you that never before there have been so many naturists. We’re sure about that. Even if we would leave out the saunas/spas, we’re still sure.
        It’s not like the nude beaches were overcrowded at any other time in the past.
        The link with sex has always been there, so that hasn’t changed lately. What did change is that there’s much less religion today, a constraint which was huge in the past.

        Another reason why we think this is because never before have their been so many naturist accommodations. And so many different types. Don’t forget that not so long ago the only options for naturists were beaches or campings.
        And then there are the events, with the world naked bike ride people are riding nude through some of the world’s capitals. Also this was unthinkable in the past.

        Even in the USA we’re pretty sure that naturism as rather going forward than backward. Even with the limitations they have on the media.

        • Im still not sure that its the way u say it is.
          Sometimes ppl cant see the woods cause of the trees ..
          Me not being a nudie, i might have a more realistic view , not biast.
          We must not forget that today we have internet, soc media, so we can see alot of things we couldnt before, that dont mean there are more things now then b4, but only that they can be seen more now then b4,regardless of what we are talking about.
          Maybe what u see is that more ppl are being open about it, so it looks like more are into it.
          Its like saying there are more gays now then 30 years ago, totaly not true, only more are openly now cause its not “illegal” ,the same would go for anything else thats illegal today.
          And im not really talking about naturism, im talking about nudity in general , rather its in a TV movie, movie at all , or in public.
          We are still leading the way in Europe, there are movies made here or were made that is, that would prolly get u in trouble in the “free” USA , but what i can see is that we are becoming more and more like USA, and i dont like that at all.
          The worst part is the ever popular word i love to use ,and always for a good reason ,is the hypocrisy .. like Gipsy Taub needs to fight always 4 a pertmit from the San Fran PD to have her nude SF city walk, like a permit? that lasts like 2h .. while in the same city , u literally have a fetish fuck fest in the streets ,in broad daylight all day long..for every1 to see…

          • It could be that because of all the new media it might seem that there are more naturists than before. But we don’t find any reasons to think that there are less than before. So if you ask us there must be either more or the same. Which both are a good thing.

            About the acceptance of nudity, it’ll be a fight that will probably last for many years to come. Like the example in San Fran you just gave, whenever someone is fighting for certain rights, there are others trying to use those rights for different reasons. That’s how the sex industry took over the naturist village Cap d’Agde and that’s how child porn is sold online under the name “family naturism”. And then people get disgusted and the rules have to change again. It’s a circle and for us a very annoying one. Every step we take in the good direction seems to end up in someone misusing what we’ve just gained.

            This is where we believe very strong naturist federations need to be in place, who work together with governments and who can help dictate what’s right or wrong. At least in the eyes of naturists. Others will have other opinions, but then they’ll also have to organise to get things changed as well. Which will at least leave some of the bad stuff out (because how many men will join a movement for legalising masturbation on the beach, right?)

            And about the Americans, we also had the impression that they’re less open to nudity while we were at the states but we should not end up in pure prejudices.
            In our blog post about nude hiking recently we used statistics from a survey where 1500 American adults were asked about nude hiking in public places. More than 50% said to have no issues with encountering nude hikers and another 25% said that they would be ok with designated places for nude hikers. Only 25% said to be completely against it. So that’s not so bad we think.

          • Um i dont believe goverments should ever decide about anything whats wrong and whats right .. ppl arent owned by anyone.
            As for the Americans, ill still stick to what i said, they are major hypocrites on many levels of stuff, for heavens sake,just look at instagram and fb ,isnt that enough??…
            Imma tell u a “secret” lol shh dont tell anyone..
            Once i had a convo with a .. well shes not a porn actor now but a cam girl .. amongst other things she has 2 kids like a 14yo dude and dunno … 8 9 10yo girl .. so when i asked like how come u do such stuff under the same roof as ur kids are bkjfoirwjhe4o.. she said, so what, they know what i do blalba .. but at same time she was pissed off on some other “girl” cause she loves flashing in public, and when it came down to that subject, she said (can u get any more american then her in this case) they will “file a lawsuit” against any1 that ever gets remotly close naked or flashes while her kids are around … wtf .. now can one get any more hypocrite then this?
            I could name so many other examples but theres no use it wont change anything, and im lazy to type ,its too hot.

  6. Here at Phuan Naturist Village in Thailand, we have a simple rule….no street clothes.
    Wear a towel or sarong, OK!
    It has been working well for 3 years now, and of course no swimming suits in the pool. It lets people casually get used to the concept of social nudity, which is still new here even after 12+ years of naturism in Thailand.

    • Hi Bruce, we think that’s an excellent strategy.
      It gives people the chance to climatize at their own pace but also keeps those out who have no intention to get naked or who prefer to wear sexy lingerie/bathing suits.

  7. Really excellent observations. I really enjoy the social nudity of the great spas in Berlin for example when I can visit from CA, couple times a year (before travel shut down). In CA I think Del Sol near Sacramento has the prefect mix of pool area rules and then rest of the private property where you can. At a spa say in Berlin I often feel I have to put a robe on even though I would be happy to wander the pvt grounds naked. It gets a bit confusing. I wish I had more opportunities near where I live in CA. Once you get rid of the suite it feels odd putting on again (eg at a friends pool). As you just mentioned on twitter Spa offer more than resort and I think are often in large cities, can be easily visit for a few hours. I still remember my first spa visit in Austria many years ago sitting with 3 women one the local pastor in the YMCA spa and being in wonder at the experience. I was changed by the experience and wanted more.

  8. I just wanted to comment on the nudity rules in USA at the State level. I have traveled a lot for work the last 5 years. Many south eastern States have laws on the books that will be hard to change. These laws cover nudity at a adult strip club to a nudist club. Hopefully over time the laws will be struck down. A Federal Court struck down a local law in 2019 but there is still much opposition to public nudity. I think a lot of it due to ignorance. At the ame time
    a Utah woman was in trouble for being nude at home in front of step kids.

  9. This reminds me of when I lived in near Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. There was a spa called “10,000 Waves” which featured private hot tubs and a large public outdoor hot tub and adjoining sauna. They gave everyone a robe to wear, but the public outdoor tub and sauna were almost always naked all the time. Even when our MENSA group rented a “private” hot tub for an evening the MENSA members all got naked in the tub. But very few of the naked tubers were “nudists.”

    In the nearby Santa Fe National Forest there were several popular hot springs where nudity was almost universal. Even a Boy Scout Troop hiked into one of the forest hot springs every year and joined the other naked bathers in the spring. But very few of the naked hot spring bathers considered themselves to be nudist.

    But here is the other side. I belonged to a “Nudist” club that didn’t own land but was affiliated with AANR and TNS. They also did an annual hike to the forest hot spring and we spent the day soaking naked. But, NONE of the other “nudist” club members would hike or drive naked to or from the springs. Even the “nudists” club members would only be naked at an actual “nudist” event or while in the hot spring.

    People are weird about nudity and often obey the culture.


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