Why do non-naturist resorts hide behind the name “naturist”?

The other day we asked in our Naturist Travel community on Twitter what people’s most important factor is when deciding on a new naturist destination. As expected, the answers were very varied, but a number of people answered that the most important thing is to check whether it’s a “true” naturist resort.


Of course, we can interpret this in different ways, because naturism means different things to different people. Maybe they mean a resort that is nude obligatory and not optional. Maybe one that encourages diversity, or one that doesn’t have quota. That could all be, but given the explanations, it seemed quite obvious that most of these respondents were referring to swingers resorts.

Desire resorts in Puerto Moreles, Mexico

The hidden swingers resorts

This may sound like an unrealistic concern, because why would a resort call itself “naturist” when it’s something different? Won’t this just create confusion and result in unhappy customers? It’s like calling your place a vegetarian restaurant and then putting steak and lamb chops on the menu. It’s just asking for trouble.


This was our first opinion as well, but from what we heard, read, and experienced, it’s actually more common than one would think. Now we don’t want you to get paranoid, the very large majority of naturist resorts around the world are exactly what their name suggests: Venues where people enjoy social nudity in a non-sexual way. But there are exceptions, where the non-sexual part is being ignored, or even discouraged. For a variety of reasons.


The legal aspect

Almost a decade ago, we had a booking for a naturist guesthouse at the Brazilian Coconut Coast in the Bahia state. When we arrived in the early afternoon, it seemed like we would pretty much be the only guests. We checked in and went to the beach. When we returned, many hours later, to our surprise the place was packed. There were people everywhere and there was music and dancing. But there were also condoms around the pool and most guests were engaged in activities that we prefer to keep for the bedroom. Quite shocked and surprised, we retreated to our room. When we woke up the next morning, the place seemed as empty as the afternoon before.


New Cambium intext 4
This was the first and only time when we ever encountered a swingers party at a naturist venue. Truth to be said, the day before the owner of the guesthouse had given us a long explanation and we had been nodding as if we fluently understand Portuguese while we couldn’t grasp a word of what she was saying. Maybe she had warned us about the evening event, or maybe not. We will never know.


When we talked about this with Brazilian naturist friends, they told us that swingers parties at naturist venues were not uncommon. For the simple reason that swinging was illegal. If the guesthouse had called itself a “swingers guesthouse”, it wouldn’t take long before the police would be on the doorstep to close the place down and probably arrest everyone there. So the owners chose to hide behind the term naturism, which is legal in the country.

Clothing Optional Resorts in Mexico's Riviera Maya

The monetary aspect

We often joke that if we want to become really rich with content creation, we should have started a swingers blog instead. Because apparently, there’s much more money in swinging than there is in naturism. If you look at the prices of swingers resorts and cruises, those are just outrageous. And new ones keep coming every year and always they seem to get fully booked. Sex sells, that much is certain.


Resort owners realise this as well. Quite some naturist resorts are not exactly very profitable businesses and the owners are sometimes reluctant to kick out guests just because they don’t behave according to the naturist etiquette. So they decide to turn a blind eye to what is going on in the interest of their business. Others actively start to cater to the swingers community because of the fresh money streaming in. But they keep the name naturist (or nudist) with the hope of being able to play both sides of the fence.


Cap d’Agde is a famous example of this. What once started as a revolutionary naturist destination, has now turned into something that became very hard to describe. Yes, you can still have a genuine naturist vacation, but don’t let your kids roam around freely because they might see things that you don’t want to explain before they turn 21.


The taboo factor

Naturism in itself is still often taboo. It’s something lots of people prefer not to talk about because they are afraid of the reactions of others. They are afraid that others won’t understand that it’s non-sexual. Now imagine that you’re a swinger and that what you do is actually all but non-sexual… Therefore, some swingers prefer to talk about themselves as naturists. Naturism is becoming much more accepted in many parts of the world than swinging.


Maestra Banner
It’s similar for resort owners. You might already find it difficult to explain to your family and friends that you want to start a naturist resort, so how would you tell them that you’re going to create a space where people come to swap partners and have sex in public? And what about the neighbours, how will you ever get them to agree with this? So these resort owners choose the easier road. It’s understandable, but it’s completely wrong.

Desire resorts in Puerto Moreles, Mexico

Our shout out

It’s not our goal to picture swingers as bad people here. We don’t have anything against it. In fact, we believe that the world would be a much better place if everyone just did whatever they enjoy doing the most. Even if that means going to parties where the edge of the pool is covered with condoms. But just don’t do it at a naturist resort, because that only creates confusion and disturbs the other guests.


To give you another example of Cap d’Agde, we’ve heard from several people who visited this mythical place for their first naturist experience. But when they accidentally wander towards the infamous “bay of pigs”, they decide that naturism is nothing for them. Even though what they’ve seen could hardly have been more different from naturism. And this knife cuts on both sides because there must also be others, who loved the sexual scene and decided to become “naturists” just because of that. Imagine their confusion when they book their next vacation at a genuine naturist resort.


So if you are a swinger or you’re into sexual social nudity, here’s our shout-out to you: It’s time to get real about what you do. Get on the barricades and tell the world that this is your choice and that you should be respected for it. And tell the resort owners to drop the name “naturist” and to call their place something that is clear for everybody. Then there will be no more confusion and life will be easier for all of us.

Desire resorts in Puerto Moreles, Mexico

How to check if it’s the right place

Although we might dream of a world where everything is clear and obvious, we’re afraid that the swingers scene will partly remain in the dark for quite a while to come. Luckily, as with any hidden community, there are always signs that will give you an indication that you’ve stumbled upon the right (or wrong) place.


The best thing you can do when researching a new place is read the reviews. Sometimes it will be obvious, like when someone comments that there’s some “excellent swinging here”. Other times you may want to look at the terminology. In the Americas, the term “lifestyle” is often used. In Europe, on the other hand, it’s more common to talk about “liberal”. Unfortunately often in combination with naturism, so “liberal naturism” is quite the opposite of naturism as it’s described in the dictionary.


It’s said that there are also visual clues. We’ve heard about pink flamingoes, pineapples, certain types of jewellery, and so on. We’re not at all experts at this, and to avoid getting unnecessarily paranoid, we don’t really look for these.


Another great way to figure out the real purpose of a resort is to look at the events and facilities. Although once again, you need to be aware of the lingo. For quite a while, we thought that a “playroom” is something for the kids (kid you not). And when there are sexy lingerie parties or leather parties being organised, this should set off the necessary alarm bells.


PICTURE CREDIT: The pictures in this blog post are property of Desire Resorts, a chain of sexual nude hotels that do not hide behind the term “naturist”.

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17 thoughts on “Why do non-naturist resorts hide behind the name “naturist”?”

  1. One persons “nature” is not the same as the next person’s “nature.” Humans are a very sexual species. Somehow nudism needs to come to terms with the sexual side of human nature rather than being constantly at war with human sexuality. We are not asexual creatures, or at least most of us are not. That doesn’t mean we should have open fucking in broad daylight, but neither do we need to promote an asexual image of nudists. Of course nudity is not sexual, but humans are sexual.

    There are two common behaviors when someone steps away from a strong cultural taboo. In this case naturists are stepping away from the cultural taboo of mandatory clothing. The first common behavior when violating a cultural taboo is to hold even more tightly to other cultural taboos. Psychologically that makes it easier to see oneself as still being a “moral” person because we only violate this one taboo. This is the behavior of “nudity is not sex” naturism. We may be nude, but we don’t do any of that other taboo stuff.

    The second common behavior is to abandon all cultural taboos. They crossed the taboo line and nothing happened. Not only did they not suffer, but being naked outside the cultural taboo feels good. For many it becomes easy to see oneself as living outside of cultural taboos. Once someone self identifies as no longer controlled by cultural taboos, they can abandon other cultural taboos, like the taboo against sexual pleasure.

    The other direction is also true. Someone who crosses the taboo against sex may also easily become a naturist. The high percentage of nudists among LGBT people comes from living outside of cultural taboos.

    There has to be a middle ground for naturists. Flagrant public sex will cause many to object, but demands to be asexual are difficult too. How about acceptance of everyone? I hear nudists say that a lot, but how accepting are they really?

    • It has always disturbed us how naturist organisations keep putting the focus on how naturism is not about sex. If it’s not, why do they need to stress it so much? Do you hear vegans say that veganism is not about sex? Do you hear cyclists say that riding a bycicle is not about sex?
      Of course, in naturism, this comes from the ongoing myth that naturists are just swingers. But we believe that it’s more important to focus on what naturism is, than on what it is not. This will also reduce the risk that naturists are pictured as asexual beings.

      • It’s projection. It IS all about sex to them. Why else would they be selling women by using gendered pricing? Why else would so-called naturist groups tolerate outright swinging and public sex from women and anyone who brings lots of young women with them while obsessing so much about the dreaded Single Male?

  2. I certainly think it is possible to blend naturism and swinging. I think there are some resorts here in the states that do it.

    Basically, during the day and in public areas, the resort operates as if it were nothing other than a naturist resort. There is no sexual activity in any public areas. In the evening in identified buildings and rooms, anything goes.

    A naturist could attend and never be confronted by anything sexual unless they intentionally wandered into the “anything goes” areas. A swinger could attend, enjoy the public areas like anyone else, but still indulge in the pleasures in the designated areas.

    It actually seems like a win-win for both sides since it attracts two separate revenue streams.

  3. The reason that swingers masquerade as naturists seems pretty clear to me. Although neither naturism nor swinging are highly regarded in society, naturism has a much better reputation than swinging does. The swingers want to be perceived as being less immoral than they actually are. They want to associate themselves with the legitimacy that naturism has established, while having none of their own. Many naturists are willing to ignore this, but I believe the swingers who pretend to be naturists, seriously damage our reputation. We should distance ourselves from them as much a possible.

  4. In many countries naturism is still struggling for general acceptance.
    Blending naturism with swinging will fuel the perception of many people that naturism is some kind of sexual behavior. This will greatly hamper the general acceptance of naturism. Many potential new naturists will also be deterred by the sexual connotation.
    The result will then be less naturists and less acceptance, which will eventually have an impact on the availability of nude recration possibilities for all naturists. Naturism as non-sexual nudity should be clearly separated from swinging.

    • Exactly! You can’t have a vegetarian restaurant that serves meat on Saturday evenings or throws regular barbecue parties either. Same thing. If it’s not clearly separated, it becomes very confusing.

  5. When we were running the Quinta da Horta a large resort in Portugal we were approached by a couple who wanted to hire the entire resort and organise ‘party weeks’.
    They thought we would jump for the considerable amount of money on offer, which was approximately double we would get for being fully booked for a full week.
    We turned them down …

    • Yeah, unfortunately, some resort owners do go for the money. Not realising the long-term damage such “party weeks” can do on their reputation.

  6. Hey guys how u doin? I havent been on here for well .. kinda ages lol.
    Anyway, i agree with the most, its done cause its a way to hide.. some are afraid that others will find out they are swingers, some time as in Brazil its illegal so they have to, some again do that cause they are both and in their mind its connected and in a way they have a point there, some do it cause maybe they kinda feel guilty that they are swingers maybe and thats now they confort them selfs, and yea also som cause being a nudie is more acceptable so its easier to say they are nudies, … and some also like to ..well to “suprice” others whilst on the beach or pool or such .. of course this applys for the places, resorts when these things are happening as well.
    So ya it can be understandable why they do it/why things are the way they are if u ask me.

  7. In the UK there are a number of saunas that call themselves naturist saunas, and yes you can have a “naturist” (nude) sauna, but you’ll also find you’ll be offered other things. Basically they are fronting-up brothels.

    The problem is, you wouldn’t know unless you go in. Many years ago, on my way home after a busy day I was passing a premises that had “Naturist Sauna” written across the front. I thought a nice hour relaxing before going home would be great. When I went in the only member of staff there at the time was a girl of about 18 years old who was wearing a black lacy basque, a black g-string and knee-high lace-up boots with high-heels. She asked me what I wanted and I said just a sauna. While I was in the sauna she came in and asked if I was sure I didn’t want a massage, and when I asked how much a massage was she blatantly told me that it depended on what extras I wanted and told me a range of prices for everything from “hand-relief” to full sex. There was also no intention on her part to get fully nude, the only two options being for her to remove her basque and go topless, or to remove her g-string and be bottomless.

    So, I would say, the misuse of word “Naturist” is only going to stop when it disappears altogether, as I’ve mentioned in other threads.

  8. My perspective on this issue is that as long as alternative sexual lifestyles are considered a “snake in the grass” by the wider community, they’re going to look for the greenest patches of grass to hide in. That’s why, nudism speaking out too strongly against them has a contradictory effect, which is to further marginalize these lifestyles, and give them even more incentive to hide behind other, more legitimate, labels like “naturism”.

    Only by taking a wider sex-positive stance, in the hope of influencing the rest of society, can nudism ever truly construct a framework in which alternative sexual lifestyle-centered resorts will feel safe openly advertising themselves as such.

    I know it feels personal, when nudists see this phenomenon eroding nudism, and with it opportunities to engage in genuine nudism. But it’s a case where a little kindness is the way forward, not vengeance – which only results, as it usually does, in shooting ourselves in the foot.

    Also, nudists don’t like to admit it, but there IS some overlap between these lifestyles – which is to say, people walking around naked and unashamed, and people doing the same thing but also being unashamed of their sexual activities (by the way, true “swinging” is a substantial step beyond simple exhibitionism).

    Yes, they are distinct. And yes, they should remain separate. Clearer communication should be the goal – people ought to know what to expect before they show up. But we shouldn’t get resentful because these confusions happen. We need to accept that we’re both social outliers, and that we gain more by working together (not as one, but as allies) than we do by working at cross-purposes from each other.

    And I understand that nudist organizations making any kind of supportive comment about “swinging” will likely be construed by the casual observer to be an admission that the two things are one and the same, but I could envision it in a different way. For example, nudist orgs announcing support for the acceptance of alternative sexual lifestyles – so that they can forge spaces of their own and thus stop infringing on nudist spaces.

    I know it’s not the nudists’ fight to fight, but in this day and age of intersectionality, there’s an important difference between offering support to an ally, and washing your hands clean of them and leaving them in the lurch. And as much as nudists don’t want to be allies, that path hurts us both. So we have a choice. Keep up this relationship of antagonism, and see nothing change. Or try a new strategy and hope for a different result.

    • Don’t turn the tables around. It’s not vengeance of naturists towards alternative sexual lifestyles, but by hiding behind naturism these lifestyles are holding back and dragging down naturism on its way to general acceptance.
      They provide adversaries of nudism the perfect excuse to forbid any public nudity, which will eventually have a negative impact on both lifestyles.

      • True! And this is where the promotion of naturism plays a very significant role. Although Cap d’Agde is still called a “naturist village”, anyone who has read our blog post about it will know that it’s a whole other story…

    • We totally agree. For the longest time, nudists have either ignored that there is such a thing as sexual social nudity, or they have been picturing swingers as the devil. That’s not a successful approach. Instead, they should have been clear about what naturism/nudism is and what all the other things are, so people know the difference and know which places to choose.

      On Naked Wanderings, we’ve taken a huge risk concerning our credibility when we visited a “sensual” resort (Desire resorts) when our blog was just a year old. Yet, we received many positive comments just because we explained things as they actually are, rather than ignoring them.


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