Why Does the Naturist Get Dressed for Dinner?

During one of our first naturist camping experiences, we were invited for a communal dinner. This is pretty common at naturist resorts. Sometimes it’s a kind of potluck where everyone brings something, other times one of the guests or the staff cooks the meal and you just pay for it. In any case, it’s always a great opportunity to meet the other visitors of the resort and often a very social experience.

 

We didn’t really know what to expect, but we figured that even though the evening was getting a bit chilly, we’d better show up undressed. This is a naturist resort after all, and being the only clothed person at the table would probably feel equally uncomfortable as being the only naked person in a group of clothed people. In fact, it was the latter that actually happened. We arrived with nothing but our towel to sit on, and everyone else was nicely dressed.

The clothing etiquette

As newbie naturists, we started doubting whether we were doing something wrong. We had heard about the unwritten rule that said: “naked when possible, clothed when necessary”. Maybe dinner time was one of those necessary cases? Even though the weather was still agreeable enough, maybe it was considered completely not done being with your genitals in such close proximity of your – and other people’s – food? Maybe this was another one of those hygiene rules, like sitting on a towel.

 

Eventually, the owners joined us at the table and they weren’t dressed up either. This was quite a relief for us, but also made things even more confusing. Clothing etiquette is something we’ve been struggling with quite a lot in our early naturist lives. Apparently, there were three types of situations: One in which clothing is completely not done, like the sauna or the swimming pool. Another one in which clothing is the obvious choice, like on cold winter mornings or when using heavy machinery. And then there are the situations in which everyone can decide for themselves whether they want to be naked or not.

The clothing obligatory restaurants

Restaurants and bars at a naturist resort are those typical places where the guests get the choice whether they want to be clothed or not. But that isn’t always true either. Several times before, we have walked into one of those restaurants naked and have been told to at least wrap around a sarong. In some cases, even the sarong wasn’t sufficient and actual clothing was required.

 

When we ask about the reason for this rule, hygiene is the most common response. We understand the idea, but we’re not sure whether there’s a lot of truth in it. Are clothes more hygienic than the naked body? Depends a lot on the person, we guess. If you haven’t showered in three days, but your clothes come fresh out of the washing machine, maybe it will be better for everyone if you cover up over dinner. But in general, our travel clothes have probably picked up more bacteria than our bodies did since the last shower.

Nudity is fine, but not while I’m eating

Another reason that we hear now and then is “because people don’t want to see your bits and pieces while they are eating”. Is that really? So it’s fine to see us naked on the beach, in the pool, on the hiking trails, and even on the volleyball court, where those bits tend to move in many different directions. But once you have a knife and fork in your hands, we should take them out of your line of sight?

 

Every resort is free to have its own rules, just like the guests are free to decide whether they enjoy a resort or not. But when this is the reason for the dress code, we do find it quite bothering. We are all naturists, we are always telling people that there’s nothing wrong with the naked body, that it’s all very natural. How can we then enforce clothing in the restaurant?

 

Even more annoyingly, if you do want to dine naked, you’ll have to do so next to your tent or at another spot at the resort. This kinda sends out the wrong message, doesn’t it? If the naturist wants to eat naked, she can’t be in the restaurant. Wouldn’t it be much better vice versa? That those who can’t stand the sight of nudity while they’re eating go eat somewhere else?

Why the naturist dresses up for dinner

We have been asking around why people decide to get dressed for dinner, even when the weather and the property allow them to dine nude. And we can tell you, not a single person answered that it was because they don’t want to see nudity or because they thought that their nudity would disturb the appetite of the other guests.

 

Instead, we heard mostly practical reasons. Some are afraid of spilling hot food, others know that the temperatures will drop eventually and feel nothing for having to walk back to their camper halfway a good conversation just to pick up some clothes. And then there are those who had been in a similar situation like ourselves, who know that many others will probably be dressed and who just don’t want to be the only naked person at the table.

The naturist who likes to dress up

There was one answer that we found particularly interesting: “Because I like to dress up for dinner”. This is something we rarely consider as naturists. We go to naturist resorts because we like to be naked, but that doesn’t automatically eliminate that occasionally we like to dress up as well. And when you think about it, an evening at the restaurant is something we very typically dress up for in the clothed world as well. It’s part of the experience of an evening out. Why should this suddenly be weird or not done when you’re on a naturist vacation.

 

Every naturist has his or her own likes and one of the reasons why some people are reluctant to visit a naturist resort is because they think that they will be forced to be naked all the time. For us, it’s very important to have a choice. As we are traveling full-time, the clothes we take around the world are mostly chosen because they are practical and not really because they look nice. So dressing up is never really an option for us and we will be dining naked if we have the choice. But we understand that this may be different for others.

 

How about you? What do you prefer to wear when you’re going to a restaurant at the naturist resort? Let us know in the comments!

 
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44 thoughts on “Why Does the Naturist Get Dressed for Dinner?”

  1. We are fortunate enough to go to a local camp where eating nude is not a problem, and is probably the majority. But they just have a small diner with outside seating and not a restaurant. We also go to Cypress Cove every October. The lack of nude diners in their main restaurant had gotten so bad that they began bribing customers to forgo clothes by offering a free glass of wine to anyone dining nude on Thursday evenings. Since we want to dine nude anyway, we always go to the restaurant on Thursdays.

    Reply
      • You will have to wait until the Lakeside Restaurant reopens. They closed for COVID and have yet to reopen. Hopefully it is only that they can’t find enough staff and not anything more serious.

        Reply
  2. Dinner schminner, let’s talk about breakfast. Our first experience at a nudist facility (not including clothing optional beaches) was in the late 1990s at a campground in southern Indiana (USA). We arrived with our trusty Coleman pop-up (may she Rest In Peace) on Friday evening after dinner, so we didn’t experience the dinner etiquette on our first night. We were told, however, that the restaurant would be open for breakfast. So we rolled out of the camper on Saturday morning naked as jaybirds with towels in hand only to discover that all of the regulars were dressed in track suits or pajamas. OK, it might not have been literally all. Maybe there were a few exceptions, but in my memory we — the newbies — were the only naked people in the dining hall. I believe it might have been a bit chilly that morning, but still it was the middle of the summer. One might have thought that Midwestern nudists would be a bit more resilient than that.

    Fast forward to our most recent stay at a naturist venue — the aptly named Club Fantastico in St. Martin. (Our visit was pre-pandemic. We haven’t been naked anywhere except our own back yard since COVID-19 struck.) We stayed at Club F for an entire week and, despite being expressly designated as a Naturist B&B (with the second B standing for breakfast), again the vast majority of guests came dressed to breakfast — including us this time. Lesson learned. (BTW, the breakfasts at Club F are amazing, clothed or unclothed.)

    Speaking of our back yard, I just had my breakfast poolside while typing this comment. I’m pleased to report that 100% of the breakfast diners on our patio were completely nude. But then I’m the only one out here this morning.

    RR

    Reply
    • ” I believe it might have been a bit chilly that morning, but still it was the middle of the summer. One might have thought that Midwestern nudists would be a bit more resilient than that.”

      Not specific to nudists, but.. not really. There was a common thing with my family, which we thought was funnier than heck – going from the high desert, where summer was 90 degrees almost all the time, sometimes going to 100, and the winters could get to be below freezing, into “Southern” California, and finding that we where all wearing shorts, and t-shirts, and even flip flops in some cases, during like 75-78 degree weather, while the “locals” where all bundling up in freaking long pants and warm coats.

      People’s perception of what is actually “cold” can be bloody strange, and someone used to even colder weather, or even just used to being out in it, without wearing more… well… I still think people in mid 70s weather are flipping nuts for needing to put a coat on, and I now live in a “low desert”, where the temps get to be 120+. lol I just.. don’t get it. lol

      Reply
      • Whenever we’ve spent a long time in hot weather like South-East Asia or the Caribbean, and then arrive in Europe where the summer evenings can be a bit chilly, we notice that our perception of “cold” has changed a lot too…

        Reply
  3. This has always mystified me. I hear about the nude cruises, where the restaurant is mandatory dress. One reason I’m not inclined to take one. I enjoy nudist places for the lack of formality. Dress codes don’t belong. I am a fan of clothing optional though.
    ~Safebare

    Reply
    • On the large cruise ship nude cruises in the Caribbean there is always the option to eat any meals up at the buffet on the pool deck where you can remain nude. The tour company seems to have settled on Carnival cruise line lately, so there isn’t a big loss missing out on the main dining room. Mrs. J&C does miss the chocolate melting cake when we are at the buffet and forces me to dress for dinner at least once on each cruise!

      Reply
  4. I’ve heard that sometimes people get tired of being naked. Makes no sense at all.
    Full time nudity is a joy and clothes are a burden!

    Reply
    • That’s the interesting part. It makes no sense to some, while it makes complete sense to others. We’ve heard many naturists say something like “why would I want to be naked when I…”

      Reply
  5. Thanks for another excellent article.

    I always talk about the domino effect; two people turn up dressed for dinner, which makes other people uncomfortable, so they get dressed and before you know it, you’re the only one naked every night and people give you looks for it…in a naturist resort!

    Reply
    • Yep, that’s something we noticed a lot too.
      It’s wrong to expect that every naturist is comfortable being naked in every situation. Especially in situations when other people are clothed. This disturbed a certain balance. Many times before, we have seen a couple arrive clothed at the dinner table and then undress when they see that other people are naked. They just didn’t want to risk arriving naked and see that everyone else is clothed.

      Reply
  6. I’ve read all through this as I am of the same thinking and don’t understand why naturists should feel the need to get dressed for breakfast, dinner or go to a bar onsite in the evening. Reasons have been put forward but the only reason I can understand is if it is cold. Is it rules that have been put in place by owners ? If not then perhaps owners or management should indicate on or before arrival that eating and drinking should be clothes optional and naked eating is perfectly acceptable. That may then change the mindsets of people towards thinking that it is perfectly ok.

    Reply
    • Naturist resort owners seem to often wrongly believe that all their guests wish to dine clothed, just because they are all doing so. In many cases, this happens because of the before-mentioned (by Laurent) domino effect. Some people arrive clothed, then some more,…
      It’s indeed a great idea that resorts should indicate that the restaurant is clothing optional and that there’s nothing wrong with dining naked. We believe that Le Couderc in France already does this.

      Reply
  7. I’d have to say that I’d rather stay naked all the time, than get dressed for dinner. Seems just a little strange. We went to many BN events including the splash event at the Alton Towers splash resort, when there we upward of 200 naked people in the restaurants having dinner, going in and out while others ate. Maybe the odd person put on a dressing gown but most didn’t. At Spielplatz and the Naturist Foundation there were times where the residents or members dressed in the evening to drink in the bar, leaving just Jo and I clothes free, it didn’t phase us but seemed a little strange too 🤔

    Reply
  8. Completely agree all restaurants on or nearby naturist places should be “Clothing optional” and maybe have a sign at the entry so everybody understands he/she has the option to dress or not to dress.
    Indeed nothing to do with hygiëne, argument often used by restaurant owners.
    A great article, thanks for making this analyses. Hope it inspires some naturist magazines.

    Reply
    • We agree that it would be good if resorts clearly emphasize which facilities are clothing optional. Most just make sure to mention that the water facilities are nude obligatory, but don’t think much about encouraging people to be naked everywhere else as well.

      Reply
  9. Formal dinners are largely a thing of the past in my generation, so I suspect younger naturists probably don’t have as much of a tradition of getting dressed up for dinner. I’ve had that experience at Cap d’Agde where most people were clothed to various extents at the restaurants, but it didn’t bother me. As far as not wanting to be the only nude people there, that’s a self reinforcing fear. Someone’s gotta be the brave one(s) to start the trend. I say it should be up to the individual unless there is a genuine hygiene concern, otherwise, what does clothing optional even mean?

    Reply
  10. it definitely seems to be the domino effect, as we have noticed places that used to be all naturist at dinner are now (nearly) all clothed with no changes in rules, e.g. Euronat, but not so at lunch time meaning that most of the other reasons suggested cannot be true. the result for us is that we tend to just eat out at lunch, so they lose our business, as we don’t like to be made to feel uncomfortable being naked at a naturist resort and don’t want to waste effort (and money if flying) bringing unnecessary clothes.

    Reply
    • I totally agree. In Corsica, none of the resorts allow people to eat naked, so that meant home-cooked food for us. And the resorts’ supermarkets don’t like nudity “because there are fruit and vegetables”! We were recently at Bélézy (fabulous resort) and because we only saw clothed people going to the restaurant each night, I asked if nudity was not allowed there, which it was, so I booked. We were the only naked table. Most of these people don’t just throw some clothes on but go all out, dressed for a night at the opera, which completely defeats the purpose of being in a naturist resort, where we are nothing more than our bare selves, with no judgement.

      Reply
      • Bélézy is actually the only France4 resort where we did regularly see other naked people at the dinner table. Sérignan, Arna, and Riva Bella don’t allow it, and we remember most guests at Sablière and Euronat to dine clothed as well even though nudity is allowed.

        As mentioned earlier in the comments, it would be a good idea if resorts would actively notify the guests that dining naked is totally accepted. But we do get the feeling that some resorts don’t want to encourage naked dining…

        Reply
        • Perhaps all the die hard naturists like us should organise a massive trip to the same place at the same time, so we can all stay naked. Although, we’d probably end up with snow in July.

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  11. There were naturist days in Finland a week ago. There, the restaurant owner wanted a towel to be around, or a bathrobe to stick in, when fetching food. Otherwise you may be naked.

    Reply
  12. It’s bizarre and baffling. Our idea of a naturist vacation would be one that would allow us to be naked from the moment we arrive at the resort until we leave for home. I just don’t get having to put on clothes when the sun sets or to visit the resort shop or restaurant.

    Reply
    • That is the same for us, but we understand that some people prefer to be clothed at some occasions and we also respect that. Having the choice is really a good way forward.

      Reply
  13. In the Mexican Caribbean, you can tell the hotels that cater to swingers like Desire from the real nudist hotels like Hidden Beach Resort (HBR) in that the former demand that you dress for meals, while the latter has cupboards stocked with towels in the dining areas just in case you forgot to bring a towel with you from your room. You can actually check in at HBR, take your clothes off and not put them back on again until you leave at the end of your stay. My only complaint about HBR is the useless, rocky beach.

    Reply
    • Have you been to Playa Sonrisa? Murph and Cindy definitely don’t cater to swingers but also require you to wrap something around in the restaurant. If we remember correctly, that’s because of a complaint they once got from a guest who didn’t want to see genitals while eating.

      Reply
  14. Ah, ah, ah… I had a laugh reading at your article. Forcing patrons to dress in a nudist resort is mind-boggling. However, it seems clothing-optional is becoming a kind of norm in many resorts. So be it, as long as nudity remains the preferred option. At least it is for me. As far as the perception of cold is concerned, staying naked in the cold is a habit you can build over time. Of course, you need to apply some judgement because being cold can lead to being sick, but being used to feel cold on bare skin builds a healthier and more resistant body it seems.

    Reply
  15. If I live to be 200 years old, I will never understand why certain naturist resorts force patrons to dress – for no other reason apart from they are sitting down for their evening meal. There is absolutely no logic in it, as your article points out.
    I suppose those of us whose default is nude and we require a reason to get dressed will just have to put up with being prohibited to be nude, even in a naturist resort we have paid to be customers in.
    However, in ‘clothing optional’ restaurants, perhaps people like me only have ourselves to blame, because we sometimes just follow the crowd and dress, even if we are allowed to be nude, simply to avoid potentially being the odd one out.
    I had an interesting experience while staying at Costa Natura in Spain, where the bar/restaurant seemed to be exclusively nude at lunchtime, but exclusively textile for dinner, but there were no rules.
    One day we arrived there in the late afternoon and were still there when others started turning up, dressed up in their best clothes. As the balance flipped from nude to textile, my (essentially non-naturist) wife went back to our room to find something to wear (which is fair enough), and by the time she returned, I looked around and realised I was the only one still nude.
    If we had just been arriving, I’m not sure I would have chosen to enter nude and be the odd one out, but I think the way to reverse this state of affairs and make articles like yours unnecessary is for each of us to make a little stand, whenever we can, and be that odd one out if necessary.
    On this occasion I decided to remain nude, and it was wonderful. I felt really good about myself for doing the right thing, and you get a real buzz from bucking the trend. Now my policy is to stay nude unless there are specific rules against it.
    So please try it.

    Reply
  16. I once attended ” Mystery theatre ” theme show & dinner a few years ago at Bare Oaks Resort, had a GREAT time ( except the long drive )!!! We first had a wonderful dinner served to us and everyone was nude although no one had said one had to be if I remember correctly.

    I am hoping that COVID-19 ends soon ( although I don’t think sadly it is going to ) it would be lovely to attend another Dinner/show evening again…

    Reply
    • Bare Oaks really holds on to the idea “nude when possible, dressed when practical”. So the majority of the regulars will always be naked if it’s possible, which means that most people in the restaurant will be nude.

      Reply
  17. I don’t make it to nudist/clothing optional resorts very often, but when I go I want to remain naked the whole time, meals included, weather permitting. So if the resort has only one place to dine (restaurant, snack bar, etc.) it should be clothing optional any time it is open. Same for a bar or place serving drinks. If there is a second “fancy” restaurant then there could be a “dressed” code at that restaurant so people feel comfortable getting dressed up for dinner.
    I think there are some nudist resorts where the local jurisdiction might require all places serving food to have clothed employees and possibly even clothed diners.

    Reply
  18. I have just returned from Costa Natura and apart from three trips to the supermarket spent the entire ten days nude – dinner included.
    Wonderfully relaxed and to my mind the reason for going to a naturist resort.

    Reply
  19. I haven’t been to Europe since long before I discovered I was a naturist. Here in the US, none of the resorts I’ve been to had any clothing requirement for meals, stated or implied. I’ve even joked about getting UNdressed for dinner.

    Such a requirement seems like old clothes-minded thinking.

    Reply
  20. Bonjour,
    pour moi le restaurant c’est nu comme le reste du temps

    mais il est vrai que ces dernières années de plus en plus de personnes viennent habillés déjeuner

    celà nous est arrivé à moi et mon épouse cet été, à “la génèse”
    nous étions les seuls personnes entièrement nues du repas du soir (avec serviette sous nos fesses évidement) durant une bonne partie du services, sur la fin un autre couple est arrivée nue-( je me suis senti moins seul)
    et celà durant la semaine de forte chaleur

    je peux comprendre que l’on puisse avoir froid,
    mais on peut se rhabilles durant le repas ou en repartant du restaurant

    voila mon point du vue

    Reply
  21. When we were in Vera, Spain. At the naturist hotel we were told that clothing was required (sanitation) in the dining room but not in the bar. We also visited Costa Natura where again (we didn’t ask) everyone was casually dressed for dinner. We’ve been to Solaris (Croatia) a few times and everyone is casually dressed using the dining room or even in the outdoor dining in the evening. (I’m not one that feels or believes I need to be naked all of the time – there’s a time and place.

    Reply
    • We definitely agree that there’s a time and place. But that differs from person to person. We definitely don’t think that restaurants and bars on naturist resorts should become nude mandatory because that would catapult us back to the club (or dare we say “colony”) times. But we do believe that it’s important to give people the option.

      Reply

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