Nude beaches can have many different atmospheres. On some you’ll find plenty of families enjoying a sunny afternoon, on others you get the feeling that every other visitor has a hidden agenda. On some, it seems like nobody cares about your nudity, while on others there appear to be people who just came to look at you. There are nude beaches where literally every visitor is naked, and there are those where the clothed visitors by far outnumber those without clothes.
This is the reason why we rarely recommend visiting a nude beach as a first-time naturist experience. Not because we don’t like nude beaches, but because we don’t know which nude beach you’ll choose. Maybe you’ll pick an amazing one, but chances are that you’ll end up at a dodgy nude beach filled with creeps, which will totally ruin your experience.
One thing we did learn along the way is that many of the best nude beaches in the world have a local naturist association attached to them. These associations are most often uniquely run by volunteers and have few financial assets. Here’s why your support is important.
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They help keep the place safe
The most common problem at nude beaches is that they attract people with the wrong intentions. Meerkats in the dunes, exhibitionists who try to strategically position themselves in your line of sight, people who enjoy having sex with an audience, others who think that a nude beach is a perfect place for finding a one-night stand, and so on. They can be really disturbing if your personal goal is to soak up some sun in all quietness.
In most countries, all beaches are public and other than the authorities, nobody has the power to chase people away. And authorities in general tend to not care much about who visits a nude beach. Members of the naturist association can not tell you to stop doing whatever you’re doing on the nude beach, but their presence can be intimidating. And that is their power. If the meerkats (aka gawkers) see a group of naked people walk straight in their direction, you can be certain that they won’t enjoy looking at nude bodies that much anymore.
Association members take the responsibility to keep a beach enjoyable for others. They will spend their free time walking around with a sharp creep radar, so you don’t have to worry about that and can just enjoy your day at the nude beach to the fullest.
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They keep the nude beach nude
There are a lot of misunderstandings about nude beaches, and some of these already start with the signage. We have seen signs that say “nude use of the beach recommended”, but most signs just say something like “nude beach”. For us, naturists, it’s pretty obvious that this means that as a visitor you should at least be interested in dropping your clothes at some point. But the non-naturist visitor might interpret these signs differently.
We once were on a nude beach in Greece with an abundance of clothed people, so we decided to chat up with a textile couple and ask them if they knew that they were on a nude beach. They replied something like “Yes, we’ve seen the sign, and don’t worry, we absolutely don’t mind that you are naked“. To them, the “nude beach” sign meant something like “Beware, you can see naked people beyond this point”. They had absolutely no idea that they were more or less expected to be naked too.
On beaches where a naturist association is present, you will often find that the members go talk with the clothed visitors. Not like the “nudist police”, but in a kind and polite way they will explain that too much clothing might make the naturist visitors feel uncomfortable and that if they don’t intend to get naked, there are plenty of other textile beaches around.
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They introduce new people to naturism
An additional advantage of explaining naturism and the nude beach etiquette to textile visitors is that they might feel encouraged to give naturism a try. And that’s not the only way how naturist associations are introducing new people to naturism. Sometimes it’s as simple as just by being present.
We have visited many nude beaches around the world, and it happened quite some times that when we arrive, all the other visitors are wearing bathing suits. Throughout the years, we’ve learned not to care about this. If it’s a nude beach, there’s no way that we will wear clothes. Even if nobody else is naked. So we undress. And what happens then is quite funny. After a couple of minutes, we’ll notice more and more other people taking off their clothes. As if they had been waiting for us to get naked first. And in fact, they have.
Here’s the thing, few people like to be the only naked person on the beach. So when they arrive and notice that nobody else is naked, they are reluctant to take off their clothes. But when someone else takes the first step, they’re not alone anymore and follow the lead. When a naturist association is present, they will always be naked. So you never have to go through the discomfort of being the first naked person, or the discomfort of being clothed on a nude beach.
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They provide a social scene
Nude beaches have a tendency to be a bit asocial in the way that most visitors don’t come to make friends. They want to relax, have a swim, read a book, or work on their tan. If you pass by and say “hi”, you’ll probably get a friendly smile back, but don’t expect to be invited for a long conversation and a couple of beers.
We’ve heard from singles that they returned disappointed from the nude beach because they had read somewhere that naturism is a social thing. But when they took the step of going to the nude beach, with the hopes of making lots of amazing new friends, and hardly anyone talked to them, they figured that all those great things they had heard about naturism were just baloney.
Naturist associations are the opposite of the average nude beach visitor. They love talking to new visitors and providing information. Most often they will be in a group that you can immediately join. So just like that, you can make many new friends. When we visited Playa Cantarrijan in Spain, for example, we got in touch with the association and instead of visiting the beach on our own, we went with a group of at least 15 people. None of whom we had ever met before, but all seemed like long-time friends very quickly.
Other than spending time at the beach, naturist associations often also organise side activities. Like a nude hike or a barbecue. Which improves the social scene even more.
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They protect the nude beach
Other than protecting nude beaches from people who should not be there, they also protect them from the government. The random nude beach visitor often doesn’t realise that some nude beaches are endangered. Many governments don’t see the advantages of having a nude beach in their area or think that nude beaches will just create a lot of nuisance. So they would rather get rid of those beaches, or make sure that they are not created in the first place.
Naturist associations take the responsibility of lobbying and convincing government officials why a new nude beach should be created and why existing nude beaches should not disappear. Because they are an official organisation with members, governments will rather listen to them than to the individual naturist who arrives at the city hall with a petition and a handful of signatures.
We strongly believe that it is thanks to local naturist associations that nude beaches still exist, and are pleasant places to visit. So if you can support their work, you will encourage them to do even more, which will result in a better nude beach experience for everybody.
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16 thoughts on “Why You Should Support Naturist Beach Associations”
Where do you find out about your local naturist beach association? I don’t think they have them in the UK only the national naturist bodies such as BN.
Normally, by googling the beach or by looking for it on social media, you should end up at the association if there is one (and if they’re a bit tech savvy).
A very intresting article,as because of our very hot weather this year i have taken to being naked at home and would like to explore more ie beaches.
Muy acertado el artículo, si queréis ir a una playa naturista-naturista, limpia, bien cuidada y socialmente activa, no lo dudéis: ir a una playa vinculada a una asociación. Soy miembro de l’Associació Naturista de la Platja de l’Aiguadolç (https://naturismevng.wordpress.com/) en Catalunya y como esta playa, todas las que conozco donde hay un colectivo humano trabajando por el naturismo familiar son las mejores conservadas y donde se pueden hacer nuevos amigos naturistas, un modo de “eco-naturismo” similar a la custodia del territorio (land stewardship ) litoral.
I have to disagree at two points. I already hat this thoughts when I read your article “What´s the problem with naturism?”
Well, IMHO these are indeed two.
“To them, the “nude beach” sign meant something like “Beware, you can see naked people beyond this point”. They had absolutely no idea that they were more or less expected to be naked too.”
Well, if it´s clothing optional, then this should be expected. If nude people don´t mind the clothed and vice versa, then it´s perfectly fine, would be close to the harmony that everyone can be at the beach as he or she prefers without having to worry.
I know several couples where one partner is nude on the beach, the other not, because he/she really does not want to. Some people are really uncomfortable being nude in public, so this should also be respected.
Another couple I know(they are non-nudists) had a nearly violent encounter. They went to a public lake, with no entrance fee or dedicated areas and were surrounded by angry people which wanted to force them to take the clothing off. They had to call the police but of course their day was done.
“Nude beaches have a tendency to be a bit asocial in the way that most visitors don’t come to make friends. They want to relax, have a swim, read a book, or work on their tan. If you pass by and say “hi”, you’ll probably get a friendly smile back, but don’t expect to be invited for a long conversation and a couple of beers.”
Well, this should also be respected. On my part, I really just want to relax or swim, and prefer to be left alone. I´m not really into smalltalk or else.
Once I had a short talk with an older couple(the typical “white old guy” with his wife) that approached me on the shore when i came back from a swim. I don´t mind these people, but they didn´t have a feeling for when a conservation has reached it´s peak and started getting too nosey. So I politely told them I have to rest from the swim, bid farewell and went to my place for that. Later I rather gave them a wide berth.
Please keep in mind that some people might have a job where they have to deal with demanding people and if they go on a vacation, the last thing they want is somebody else talking to them. Thanks for understanding.
About nude/clothing-optional beaches: In our perfect world, clothing-optional is the way forward and there would be perfect harmony between naked and clothed people. But many think differently. Some nudists feel the need to (overly) protect their nude beaches and enforce nudity. This unfortunately sometimes leads to situations as you described above. We also understand that some nudists don’t feel comfortable among naked people. And we get their way of thinking: There are so many more textile beaches than nude beaches. If you don’t want to go naked, why take a spot at the nude beach? But, as you mention, this causes a problem for mixed nudist/textile groups.
Our idea is that there should be designated nude beaches where everyone is naked and designated textile beaches where everyone has to wear some kind of clothes. And that all other beaches are clothing-optional.
About the (a)social scene at nude beaches: We definitely agree. But some people lack the social skills to determine whether a person is up for a conversation or not. This leads to annoying situations where one person doesn’t stop talking while the other just wants to chill. This is not any different than in the textile world, by the way. We know lots of women who like to go to alone to a bar to have drink. But few actually do, because the moment they sit down, someone comes over to have a conversation.
If you don’t want to go naked, why take a spot at the nude beach you ask?
Because the nude beach is nicer than the other beaches around? Because it’s closer to their home? Or because they like it more for whatever reason?
I don’t think it’s a problem, as long as they are respectful with other nudists users of the beach. It’s a public beach, everybody should be allowed to use it and dress however they like. Just like anybody should be able to use the other beaches around naked too.
The real problem I think is when the number of nudists is reduced to the minimum and the possibility to be naked becomes non obvious. The problem is not the textiles invading the nudist beach, but the nudists stop invading the textil beaches. At least in countries like Spain where nudism is perfectly legal on all beaches in theory. Of course I agree that nudists associations are very useful in this case, making nudity more visible and respected.
To give an example, the Maresme region of Spain (north of Barcelona). You can take a regional train from Barcelona and stop in Sant Pol de Mar, Canet de Mar, Arenys de Mar, etc… There is no really nudist and non-nudist beach there, just a very long beach. There’s plenty clothed people, and probably as much naked people (hard to say if there’s more naked or clothed people). There is no designated nudist area but you get the feeling that getting naked anywhere on the beach is perfectly fine. You get this feeling because walking along the beach you see plenty naked people in all parts of the beach. You also see plenty of clothed people so you know it’s also fine. The textiles are not a problem, and neither are the nudists. I wish more parts of Spain were like this.
On the other hand there are regions where you have a nudist beach which is 90% nudist, and the nearby textil beaches are 100% textil. This is not great, as a nudist because you can only get to one beach, and as a textil because maybe the nudist beach is nicer or closer. Of course in this case the textils using the nudist beach feels like an invasion, but this is the wrong way to think of it in my opinion. Instead the nudists should feel free to visit all the beaches. Of course this is not something everybody can feel comfortable doing alone, which is where the nudist association is useful.
You make a lot of good points, but the thing is that in a clothing-optional world, the nudists will always be outnumbered. Unofficial statistics say that about 5% of the world’s population likes to engage in social nudity in one way or another. This means that if there are 100 people on a beach, statistically only 5 will be naked. There are a lot of nudists who don’t feel very comfortable among clothed people, the proof is this is why there are still many more nudists in Spain to be found on nudist beaches than on textile beaches, even though it’s legal everywhere.
So many replies in the meantime, interesting points.
IMHO the ideal situation would be indeed if all beaches would be free for everyone, regardless of the state of dress. But unfortunately it´s not the case everywhere.
There should be indeed room between the two extremes. I have the impression a lot of people are just like they are because they insist on some kind of regulation, be it nudists or clothed ones. Without these unnecessary regulations, there would be much less fuzz.
I mean, I know some people where e.g. the lady is ok with being topless, but not bottomless, and so on. It might be tolerated, but depends on the situation.
I have to say unpleasant situations happen not due to the state of dress, but because of unpleasant people.
As being nude among non-nudes, well, can such a person being considered a nudist? I mean, here in my country one of the core principles is body positivity, and not being ashamed of the naked body. TBH, if someone is feeling uncomfortable nude around clothed, well, then I don´t consider this person really as a nudist. Just my 2 cents.
We have to say, when we took our first steps into nudism, we definitely would not have been comfortable being naked among the clothed either. When everyone is naked, there’s a certain balance of vulnerability, which is broken as soon as there are clothed people too. So we disagree that a person who feels uncomfortable being naked among the clothed can’t be considered a nudist. We’d rather say that nudism is a process, and the longer you’re in it, the more comfortable you become.
“We have to say, when we took our first steps into nudism, we definitely would not have been comfortable being naked among the clothed either.”
For me it was the opposite. The Clothing Optional character of the first Spa I visited put me at ease. I had the freedom to cover up if it would turn out that I did not feel comfortable being nude among others.
Curiously, we never felt uncomfortable at the spa even though many visitors cover up between the facilities. We guess that there’s a big difference between a bathrobe or sarong and actual clothes or bathing suits.
“Why You Should Support Naturist Beach Associations”
Answer: You shouldn’t.
I’m afraid I disagree with the idea of “nude/naturist beach associations” being a good thing. They tend to be very cliquey, not intended for any of the positive things you discuss, in fact quite the opposite.
The way forward is for nudity or clothing to be optional at all beaches. That’s very much the way it has been going in the UK in recent years due to the law on public nudity.
Signs designating nude beaches are unnecessary and counterproductive. A sign that tells people they’re approaching a part of the beach where they may or will see nude people will only have one of two possible effects, 1. They will turn around and walk away, because, a) they don’t want to see nude people, or b) they assume they’re not welcome unless they get naked.
The best way forward is to educate the general public that public nudity is fine and not illegal (obviously with certain caveats. This is regularly happening here in the UK. It’s still a novel idea to the media, TV, radio and press, who still like to publish stories about people who have been seen naked in public, mainly because, as I say, it’s a novel idea still. However, the good thing is, they nearly always add to the end of their report a statement that public nudity is not illegal in the UK, or public nudity is legal in the UK. This is gradually having the effect of educating people so that if they do encounter nude people on a beach, they don’t have a panic attack and call the police. And as I stated elsewhere, which you seem to have ignored, call handlers in the UK (or at least in England and Wales) have been educated to explain the law to any callers reporting public nudity, that it is legal and in the absence of any lewd or sexual context, no laws are being broken.
My thoughts on this are being proved correct (again, mostly in the UK), including from personal experience, because more and more people are becoming accepting of nudity, and then even trying it for themselves. And that is the way forward.
I have said for many years, and I’ve pushed the boundaries myself at times too to help toward achieving this, the way to normalise public nudity/nudism/naturism/or call it what you will, is to get people used to it (excuse the pun) by exposing them to it), and they will start to accept it. Some will even try it and get to like it.
From the “nudie’s” point of view, if you are uncomfortable being nude around clothed people, there is something wrong. If you enjoy being nude, you should be comfortable with it and that means you shouldn’t be uncomfortable being nude.
I’m sorry, but I think some of your thoughts are very negative to the ultimate normality of nudity in public.
We get your thoughts, but it’s very case-dependent. One thing is certain, if associations didn’t fight for their beaches in the past, it would not be nude beaches today. But you’re right that some associations can be cliquey and act as if they own the beach
A note on naturist beach signs: I don’t know about the intended implication of signs in other parts of the world, but in the UK their intention is simply to make people aware that naturist (or nudist) swimming and sunbathing is permitted in the area they are entering. Google “morfa dyffryn naturist beach sign” to see an example. Morfa Dyffryn is one of the UK’s best official naturist beaches (if not the best, in fact). None of the official naturist beaches or the naturists on them expect everyone to be naked. They are all clothing optional. The signs in no way imply that nudity is required, and that is because it is not.
It’s still a little crazy that there are official naturist/nudist beaches in the UK, given that, as I have pointed out in comments on other threads in your blog, that public nudity is legal in the UK. My opinion is, if there are going to be signs at all, every single beach in the country should have signs at every access point, informing people of what the law is.
I’m saying that because, despite the law protecting naturists and allowing non-sexual public nudity, many people, including some police, are unaware of it.
In some local authorities, the existence of official naturist beaches is an attempt to segregate naturists, and sometimes they install signs that mark a barrier, saying on one side that naturism is permitted beyond that point, and on the other side saying that naturism/nudity is prohibited beyond that point. They do it, but in fact it is not legally backed. The law that makes public nudity and naturism legal is a national statute law, which cannot be overidden by local bylaws. The only problem is, that most people (meaning naturists) don’t want the publicity of a court case, even though they would win it hands down.
The purpose of nude beach signs differs a lot from country to country. In most cases, it’s just a confirmation for the visitor that it’s okay/legal to be naked on this (section of) the beach. In Spain, they use these signs to educate textile visitors about nude beaches and about the preferred dress code. Just like in the UK, nudity is legal on every beach in Spain, but there are dedicated beaches with a “nude tradition”, where visitors are expected to join the club.
What we don’t like are signs saying “beware! you may encounter naked people behind this point”. These are often to be seen in the USA and send out a message that it’s something wrong or something you should worry about.