Where did Google hide family naturism?

This post was last Updated on October 14, 2020

The online naturist world is a weird one. That much is sure. For many, it has been a blessing. People living in countries where social nudity is forbidden by law, now have the chance to interconnect with each other. Naturists that have a partner who’s not into social nudity can find their peers online. Probably all of us have found a great new naturist vacation destination somewhere online. And also for ourselves, naturist bloggers, this very blog wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the worldwide web.

 

Earlier today, we were writing a blog post for our Dutch naturist blog on the Athena website. We were discussing the topic of online naturism and doing a bit of research on the dark side of the internet. You know, when you Google “naturism” or “nudism” and suddenly end up on a variety of porn sites. For our test, we googled “family nudism”. It’s a test that we’ve probably done a million times before when we wanted to make a point. It used to bring us to numerous malicious websites where you could buy packages of family naturist pictures. We believe that people should pay us to look at pictures of their children, but apparently, many others think differently.

Just like that, family nudism was gone

Although Google did tell us that they found about 152 million results for “family nudism”, they only showed us about 30. That’s 3 pages. How on earth did that happen? To give you a point of comparison, we also Googled “cheesecake”, which showed 250 pages (about Google’s maximum), and even when the cat ran over our keyboard and typed “qsdfghjklm”, Google still managed to show 115 results. This is something that intrigues us quite a lot. Apparently, if you’re interested in “qsdfghjklm”, you’ll find 4 times as much information on Google than if you’re interested in family nudism.

 

For us, the most shocking part was that Naked Wanderings was nowhere to be seen in the search results. We’ve written several blog posts about family naturism, we even gave tips for first-time family nudists. But they were not there. Instead, there were websites of several newspapers, mostly telling stories about how controversial nudity within the family can be. Telling the story about how a nude family swimming event in the UK had to become adults only. Telling about an illegal COVID-party on a nude beach in Australia.

Why we can’t blame Google

Google has been our best friend for a long time. Without Google, we may have never been able to pass highschool. Also today, Google brings people to our website. Naturists, who are looking for vacation destinations. But, since recently, no more naturists who want to learn about naturism within the family. It’s a hard nut to crack because we are absolutely sure that we have brought joy into families that are interested in naturism.

 

Ever since the very beginning of our naturist blogging life, we have been the first to complain about all the dirt that was available online. About how naturist pictures get stolen and used in the wrong way. Every single time that we googled “family naturism” and were directed to a variety of paysites before our own Naked Wanderings showed up, felt like a stab in the back. Today, we feel like collateral damage. If in order to remove all the online crap, Naked Wanderings has to be removed as well, we’re happy to take that hit. Because we are sure that people will keep finding us through other channels. And we can only hope that this isn’t the same for those other websites.

The difficulty of online naturism

Some of you may wonder, “how can you just be ok with this?”. Here’s the difficulty: Companies like Google rely on algorithms. Processes that can make decisions without human interference. In naturism, algorithms have always been against us. Naturism is such a human thing that you just can’t put it into computer processes. Think about it, what’s the difference between a genuine naturist image and an erotic image. We’ve all seen the pictures of the nude young girl on the beach, legs at a certain angle, eyes straight at the camera. They’re being shared as naturist pictures, but we all know better. Then there’s the other picture, similar pose but the woman is having a nap, reading a book, or chatting with another person. Suddenly, it’s genuine naturism.

 

There’s no algorithm that can make the difference. Eroticism is in the eyes, not in the body. It’s in the intention behind the picture. Something a human can see in the blink of an eye, but something a computer can never recognize. It’s the same with websites. For us, naturists, it only takes seconds to figure out whether a certain website genuinely promotes naturism or is just some fake portal to promote dating or to sell pictures of naked people. But how’s a computer to know?

 

It’s the struggle we currently also see on social media. Facebook and Instagram just don’t have a clue of how to build an algorithm that differentiates sexual nudity from non-sexual nudity. So they just ban nudity altogether. Apparently, Google is somewhat moving in the same direction. If we can’t separate the chaff from the wheat, we’ll just throw the wheat completely down the drain.

 

Is this a success or a disaster for naturism? Only time can tell.

 
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23 thoughts on “Where did Google hide family naturism?”

  1. Great article ! Very true. Naturism and nudity are viewed as dirty instead of beautiful and natural. This is what I try to portray in my own small blog. when I first encountered real naturism in Croatia.

    Reply
  2. When I do the same search I get plenty of results which look as though they would lead to porn sites (not keen to check). Unforunately the British Naturism website doesn’t feature high in the list either.
    Is this a reflection of poor Search Rngine Optimisation on our parts?

    Reply
    • Hi Shan,
      What are your precise search terms and which browser are you using?

      We did the test for “family naturism” on Chrome from Belgium. At the top, Google says that it has found 143 million results. Yet they only show 4 pages (32 results). On an anonymous browser, we get a lot more results.

      In Chrome, Naked Wanderings also doesn’t appear in the results, although we have several blog posts about family naturism and we use lots of SEO tactics. It seems like Google is only showing certain results in certain countries.

      Reply
  3. Hello L&N

    Real interest in naturism is perfectly distinguishable by automated tools and Google does their job pretty well.

    Why would anyone sane search for “family naturism” /images ?

    More meaningful queries like “how to deal with naturist family in the neighborhood” “pros and cons of family naturism” or “family friendly naturist holiday Croatia” return meaningful resources: discussions, articles, resorts’ ads. You may always add “-porn” if necessary.

    I would not call this ban on ambiguous queries a “success for naturism”, but it is surely a step in right direction.

    Reply
    • It’s definitely a step in the right direction!
      Not too long ago, when we searched for “nude beach” on Google Images, it wouldn’t take much scrolling before we would find pictures of indecent behavior. All of those seem to be gone as well. That’s awesome!

      Reply
  4. Gotta disagree with your premise there, that algorithms can never distinguish between two nude photos, one of an erotically posed nude woman, and one of a genuine naturist. Machine learning simply gives us what we put into it, and I highly doubt anyone at Google is teaching their algorithms to distinguish between pornographic nudity and family-friendly nudity because they 1) probably don’t think there’s a difference, and 2) practically speaking, there’s not much of a reason for them to cater to naturists as their business model relies on advertising, and their advertisers don’t want their ad next to nudity.

    But there’s no theoretical reason why they couldn’t distinguish between the two with high accuracy. If humans can do it, computers will be able to eventually, if not now. What they would have to do is build up a library of thousands or tens of thousands of images of both categories, feed them into a machine learning algorithm, and tweak it until it could tell the difference. That algorithm would be programmed by humans who can distinguish between the two, and so the computer doesn’t even need to know what the difference is, as long as the images in each category are sufficiently different enough to see patterns across them.

    After all, how does Google photos sort through your photos to give you the ability to search for your cats, your friends by name, cars, etc? They just fed a bunch of cats, people, and cars into an algorithm until it could distinguish, with high accuracy, one face from another. To a computer, there’s no difference between that and telling the difference between eroticism and naturism. It’s all just pixels on a screen.

    Reply
    • You are absolutely right, John. It would probably be possible to differentiate genuine naturist content with erotic content, if someone wanted to put the money and or effort into it.

      But the problem doesn’t stop just there. Another big issue is the fake naturist websites, the ones that sell naturist videos and images (voyeur sites actually). They publish exactly the same graphical content that genuine naturist websites do.

      Earlier today we gave another example of this on Twitter: If we and an (imaginary) account named XXX18+PORN publish the same naturist image, the perception will be totally different.

      That’s a couple of extra layers on the algorithm.

      Reply
    • Actually, unless its explicit and involves toys, one blogger had an interesting point, showing a pic with a woman with her legs spread and stating, “Now.. tell me if this is her just being comfortable, though not ‘proper’, or if its part of a porn shoot.” The answer of course is, “Well, you can’t really.” I can remember a number of years back a female member of my own family getting out of the hot tub, which everyone went in nude, tossing the towel she had onto the seat, to watch TV, and staying legs spread apart because it a) was comfortable, b) helped her cool off from the hot water, and c) probably also helped dry her skin. She certainly wasn’t thinking, “Oh, time to show off!” So.. How the F, unless you adjusted the algorithm to also look at, “other images from the same page, with the same face”, or something like that, teach these things how to tell them apart?

      As for google cleaning things up, this is not about them doing so for the public, lets be honest, its for “advertisers”, who are often 10 times more prudish, or scared to death of losing business because of prudes, than the general public, who might be, lets be honest, annoyed at having porn show up in a search for naturism, but *should* be demanding a better set of criteria to filter that, not an end to the existence of other sites.

      The one that annoys me though is that it seems almost like Amazon has shadow banning going on with some books/authors. Having come across their work I can ask them to notify me of new books, which mostly works, but not always, but, even though some naturist stuff does come up in recommendations/searches, certain authors, even though like 98% of these stuff is fictional nudism/naturism stuff, *will never show up*. Can’t even get a clear list of what books exist, and which ones I might not have bought as a result. And.. its bloody weird, since, like I said, there is actual erotica which shows up with no problem as recommendations, often, annoyingly, even, in some cases, for each other (i.e., some naturist stuff with show recommendations in the erotic stuff, and some erotic stuff will pop up a few nudist/naturist things).

      Its very, very, odd… And, intentional or otherwise, this does nothing to undermine the erotic/sex sites, or in the above case books, but it does create a mess for positive examples of the opposite.

      Reply
      • We once received a complaint from Amazon because we were reselling a book about naturism from their platform. The reason: websites containing nudity are not allowed to resell from Amazon.
        So a website about naturism is not allowed to resell a book about naturism…

        Reply
        • Coming, this being the true irony, from a site that, while its not “front page”, sells porn, sex toys, nude picture books, harem romances, and numerous sorts of erotica… Wonder if they would freak if a book of naturist pictures had “links” in it to the other book? Sigh…

          Kind of reminds me of the insane placing of a watchdog that blocks sites, including some comics I read, which have some nudity and things in them some times, as well as other far more extreme content, so that people using their internet on tablets, phones, computers, etc., can’t get to them, and, because of the watchdog program, has to be “logged into” every time (basically agreeing to terms of service), when literally *anyone* can walk into the same place, sit down at the same tables, tether their device through their cell phone, and read/watch/look at **anything they want**. You just kind of have to ask, “What F was the point?”

          Mind, I can see them trying to cover themselves from someone suing them over someone using their free internet to do such, but its still, imho, utterly pointless, from the standpoint of preventing access. Amazon deciding to not sell something because some other site mentions it, and that site has things you can probably also buy *on* Amazon (more or less, sort of).. is just bloody nuts.

          Reply
  5. I made a small experiment. SafeSearch on and off.

    “naturist family destinations in Europe” /images
    off: naturist content, bare bottoms on few images, no porn
    on: naturist content, no nudity at all – different images from same sites, no porn

    “casual nudity” /images
    off: porn mixed with few casual scenes
    on: no results

    Looks like Google do filter images and, as John said, they do not care it is casual or not.
    I don’t expect any improvement in the future. “Nudity” + “family” = “high risk of legal disaster” as if they do not have enough anti-trust problems already.

    They are still kind to pass some valid results on “naturist family destinations in Europe”. This is what online activists should focus on – long tail, smart queries referencing sites with any images, displayed under the responsibility of site owner.

    Reply
  6. Your example between two similar images could also be considered posed versus voyeur. It’s almost as if it’s not possible to take posed nudist pictures. Not saying you meant that. Obviously your naturism pictures are posed. And they are obviously naturism photos.

    The “real” issue is how others view said pictures. You have to know some folks would find your often humorous naturist photos as porn, just because you’re nude. OMG!

    How many nudists/naturists work for Google? How many actually understand nudism/naturism? How can they program something they don’t themselves understand the difference between erotic and naturism? What actually is the difference? Most of “us” think we know it as soon as we see it. Maybe we’re correct, maybe not.

    Reply
    • Yeah, that’s also something we’ve mentioned a couple of times on our blog. In the end, nudity (just like art) is in the eye of the observer. One of the saddest examples of this are places where women are not allowed to breastfeed in public because the female breast is seen as erotic.

      But then again, it’s up to us to tackle this general idea. There are millions of people who think feet are erotic. Yet, this doesn’t stop anyone to wear flip flops or to put pictures of their feet on Facebook. Somehow, sometime, we need to get to this same level with female breasts and genitals.

      Reply
  7. To sum it up we humans have become so fake that we started thinking we were born with clothes unlike other beings, so we are special. In reality, we all were born without clothes, and we should be proud to live our lives the way we were born. At least in Europe, Russia and the American continent people still have liberal minds but the land of Kamasutra is so closed minded that people who think of living a liberal open life will be to rest. Thankfully we are safe in our countries.

    Reply
  8. My recent experience is that the Google algorithm just wants money. A few months ago, ago, I lauched an educational site, slightly related to the naturists word (about how piemels work). For months now, when I Google on the page, it is deep down in ranking. But when I look on bing.com or duckduckgo.com, my page pops up on page one of the search results. Even on the Chinese Baidu.com, I come out on page 1, 4th line.
    On Google, I only show up on page 7 or so. Where very few people look. Plus the ranking in Google varies all the time, and also varies by whom is searching. My partner just Googled right next to me (so in the same IP, but on MacBook) and had different search results.
    I am sure the Google algorithm does this to make me feel like a loser, unless I pay them for Google Ads. Even crazier, the algorithm does this with all sites, but later Google Ads could reject ads because of the ridiculous US moral pudeness culture.
    My tip for you: Search in some different search engines. I am pretty sure you can see how -only- Google not only plays with my balls, but also yours.

    Reply
    • It’s probably a mix of different things. In the end, what makes Google so great is that they help you to easily find what you’re looking for. It happens very rarely that we have to go to page 2 to find an answer to our question. Of course, they need to make money too, that’s where advertising comes in.

      Google started a fight against porn quite some time ago. And unfortunately, this puts naturism and nudity in a kind of gray zone.
      Of all the Google searches for the word “penis” or “vagina”, how many of those will be in a sexual context? Probably more than half. So it’s obvious that the Google algorithm is careful and puts highly qualified websites first.

      Reply
      • No, it is “definitely”, partly at least, that google wants money. Its a running theme recently with them, “Enhancing how often pages come up based on if someone paid to put them there.” Odds are, they are getting “some sort” of revenue from the ones that show at the top, somehow, compared to others, and more than a few people are real unhappy with the clear evidence that this happens.

        Reply
  9. I searched Family nudism on my phone and it pulled 68 results. It omitted results which it allowed me to view but most of them were TripAdvisor reviews. I didn’t see any of your postings either.

    Reply
  10. I typed at home nudist and Google returned zero results. It had omitted results but it was mostly for resort or campground sites.

    Reply
  11. For decades I’ve asked about the stupidity of the following rationale. Children can be naked on the beach, but you can’t have pictures of them; adults can’t be naked on the beach, but you can have pictures of them.

    Reply
    • Yeah, was going to reply to the above comment on the picture types I mentioned being “posed”, but, honestly, the particular “pose” from that family member was a) underage, and b) something that only ever appears *normally* in “adult” content, to show off, so… had a picture of it existed….

      And, like you said, an adult in the same situation, would have just been labeled, as stated above, as “posed”, or “porn”. There is a lot of madness involved in this whole bloody mess, and, sadly, as much as nudists/naturists like to think they are above some of it, once in a while something crops up, kind of like an atheist who was once something like a full blown creationist, or the like, where “wham” the old thinking creeps back in. Its “milder” when, say, you don’t believe, but you live in a culture that does, so.. its like a strange film of ideas and assumptions, that float, like soap, on the surface of reality, and you get bubbles popping up when that surface is disturbed, but.. that film is “always” there, and sometimes people can be downright defensive of it, even when it makes no real sense for it to exist in the reality they claim to adhere to, and want, but from “out there” in the world they think they left behind.

      Its the single hardest things to recognize, combat, or, sometimes, even have a clue how to fight back against, since its deep, deep, in one’s own personal thought processes, and almost seems to cling to remnants of the ideal, to stay alive. “I agree that this was a bad thing for X, Y, Z, etc. but.. oh, no.. case Q, well, that is different, we have to still think the same way about that.” I think the mention above, about how, “parts of women’s bodies need to stop being seen as sex objects”, but.. there is the implicit idea then that you can’t, or shouldn’t, also stop making parts of male anatomy always be sexual? Uhm.. I don’t think, or at least would hope, that wasn’t “intended”, but.. it does imply that a bit of that “clothed world” assumptions about sex just.. bubbled to the surface for a moment, and went “pop”. Because, I am fairly sure that, just like women’s breasts, and genitalia, men’s is *even more* assumed to be “bad” in the clothed world.

      Reply

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