Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Nudism and Naturism at a Crossroads, Part Two

OK everyone, relax and take a deep breath. Although most people agree with my original post on this subject, some have either failed to read the entire essay, or they are deliberately distorting my words.

Let me make it perfectly clear - I am not advocating turning nudist resorts into sex clubs.

What I am suggesting is that nudists and naturists finally recognize that there is a difference between adult nudism and family nudism, just like there is a difference between adult and family activities in everyday life.

Let's take a look at Caliente clothing-optional resort in Tampa. Their stated policy is "Overt sexual behavior or the appearance of such behavior is unacceptable at Caliente Resorts. Behavior "never needing an apology" is the norm."

At the same time, they describe themselves as follows: "The most luxurious clothing optional experiences you can imagine. Whether you’re an avid naturist or just looking to discover your more daring side, we have the perfect adventure waiting for you."

Caliente is luxurious, sexy, fun, and adult-oriented. They are appealing directly to nudists and naturists looking for something more than petanque and pot-luck dinners on rustic campgrounds. Turning a blind eye to resorts like Caliente and Paradise Lakes is a mistake, causing AANR to look like a group of old prudes and fuddy-duddys. Imagine nudists appearing to be prudish - that's a new concept.

I am a strong advocate for the family-friendly philosophies of nudism and naturism as espoused by AANR and The Naturist Society. Body acceptance is the vital component of the lifestyle, and should be appropriate for all ages.

But it is hard for traditional nudists and naturists to ask for acceptance from society when the movement itself refuses to accept the lifestyles of others.

The time has come for the acceptance and realization that there are different types of nude recreation. Adult nudism already exists. It is flourishing in upscale resorts, cruises and tours. AANR accepts advertising from Castaways Travel which states on its website that most of its "resorts that offer a clothing optional area, are for adults only."

And AANR clearly states in its online FAQ that "most clubs welcome children and encourage families to join." MOST not ALL.

Lupin Lodge, affiliated with both AANR and TNS, has a "Naughty Nightie Night" dance coming up later this month. The TNS Midwinter Festival at Sunsport this month has workshops on polyamory, raunchy burlesque, and Roman sex.

Do all these activities really seem so different than Angye Fox marketing to swingers groups on behalf of Caliente, or hosting "Eyes Wide Shut" parties?

Adult nude recreation already exists, folks, like it or not. And it's growing.

My contention is that in order to save family nudism, adult nudism needs to be recognized as a viable alternative.

We're not talking public sex, or sex clubs, or orgies, we are talking about upscale, romantic and sexy venues which appeal to younger couples who are not attracted to run-down campgrounds where the average age of members is 50 years old.

The number one issue with most nudist venues is how to attract a younger crowd. Well, duh!

Kicking out clubs like Caliente and Paradise Lakes only further serves to isolate traditional nudism and naturism from a progressive society.

Nudism emerged from the sexual repression of the Victorian age as a means to bring acceptance, health and wholesomeness back to the human body. We are no longer sexually repressed, but we are sexualized, and traditional nudism / naturism can play an important role in helping a sick society obsessed with body image and plastic surgery to get back to the reality and beauty which is nudity.

But traditional nudism is fading. Clubs are closing forever, and few are opening. AANR and TNS are shrinking. In an age where over a million people a year visit Haulover clothing-optional beach in Miami, membership in nudist organizations should be booming. The total number of members of AANR wouldn't even fill up a college football stadium on an October Saturday.

AANR is fighting TNS over the San Onofre Beach situation, AANR is fighting with Caliente, AANR is fighting with Paradise Lakes...can't we all just get along?


Luvnaturism said...

What you're saying makes a lot of sense to me. Our favorite resort is Breezes Rio Bueno (formerly Grand Lido Braco) in Jamaica. This Spring we'll be back for our 8th visit. It's adults only, has entertainment and activities oriented to adults, yet never crosses the line from sexy to sexual. The au naturel side is nude only, and security enforces that rule; therefore gawkers are never a problem, as they may be sometimes at c/o facilities.

It's pricy and a long way from the west coast, but this Spring we'll be back for our 8th visit. Why, when there are so many resorts closer and cheaper? Because the entire resort is beautiful, and its oriented to adult interests. We love children, but ours a raised and gone; now we're not interested in spending precious vacation time with someone else's kids.

GGL777 said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I basically agree with your premise, but it's a very difficult and delicate issue. I've been to an "adults only" gender balanced nudist club which had some risque, though harmless party games. It was a lot of fun for sure.

The Tampa Bay area is actually a great case study. Caliente and Paradise Lakes are actually in Pasco County north of Tampa, not in Tampa itself. "Who cares?" you might say. Local nudists have been fighting for years to get a legal nude beach at Fort DeSoto Park near St. Petersburg Beach as a gulf coast alternative to Haulover. To date, all of these efforts have been unsuccessful. Notably, Tampa has been "cracking down" on "sexually oriented" businesses for years.

As part of the public relations campaign to convince intolerant non-nudists that we're not a threat to them if we get a nude beach at Fort DeSoto Park, I don't think well advertised nudist clubs in Pasco County that advertise risque activities help the cause of public acceptance of social nudism on even an isolated stretch of a Tampa Bay area beach such as Fort DeSoto Park.

Politically I'm a constitutional libertarian and strongly believe in private property rights and freedom of association. AANR and TNS can decide who they want affiliated with them, but Caliente, Paradise Lakes, and any other club have the right to set an atmosphere of their choice.

Nudiarist said...

GGL, that's precisely the problem. The public lumps all nudists together. That's why it's important to recognize that there is family nudism, and adult nudism. Separate the two which are now blurred together in the eyes of the public.

Nobody is suggesting that AANR embrace any "sexually-oriented" businesses. If Caliente or Paradise Lakes begin to adopt policies where open sex is acceptable, then we are talking about something completely different.

Anonymous said...

You wrote:
"My contention is that in order to save family nudism, adult nudism needs to be recognized as a viable alternative."

I don't know if I agree with this - being 32 yrs old. That's kind of like saying, in order for AANR and TNS to survive, there needs to be another organization that offers adult nudism. I'm a Lifetime Member of AANR and proud to be one because of their purpose - while they can not "patrol" every club (and should not be required to do so), they have adopted a set of rules for clubs to follow.

You also wrote:
"Kicking out clubs like Caliente and Paradise Lakes only further serves to isolate traditional nudism and naturism from a progressive society."

It sounds like you're saying adult nudism is "progressive" and we all need to come on board or be left behind. Not sure if I see eye-to-eye with you. For example: in California (where I live) voters recently shot down the gay marriage proposition - the advertisers were saying it's time to stop discriminating and be "progressive" - where, the majority of CA did not believe that was the issue. I don't think "progressive" is the right term for you or the gay supporters to use. Just call it what it is - "adult nudism" or "civil unions" - don't start mixing everything up into a melting pot.

Just my two cents.

Steve E. - Huntington Beach, CA

Nudiarist said...

Anonymous said, "That's kind of like saying, in order for AANR and TNS to survive, there needs to be another organization that offers adult nudism."

No, I'm saying that AANR should start formally recognizing adult nudism which it already supports "under the table".

"It sounds like you're saying adult nudism is "progressive" and we all need to come on board or be left behind."

What I'm saying is that SOCIETY is more progressive and less repressed sexually. I think most nudists and naturists would agree that a healthier, more open attitude towards human sexuality is a good thing. I'm not for one second suggesting that family-friendly traditional nudism change, but merely to recognize that adult nudism is a viable and legitimate form of nude recreation.

thomas said...

I have to disagree that society is less sexually repressed and more progressive. When you consider the national uproar over Janet Jackson's barely exposed tit. Consider liberal areas such as Calif banning nudity at State Parks and Beaches. Or Boulder CO considering a nudity and topless ban in their area. Consider the hoorah over bikini baristas in a formerly liberal state like Wash. Add in teens being taken to court over "sexting". Throw in the Walmart clerks becoming moral arbiters of nude photography. Put that all together and it sounds like sexual repression to me

Nudiarist said...

Thomas, yes, our society still grapples with sexual issues, but it's nowhere like it was in the Victorian age, or even in the fifties. Kinsey, birth control, Playboy, the sexual revolution, feminism, pornography, etc., have all opened up sexual freedom. Today's generation is far more sexually open because of our culture.

BTW, if you claim that a crackdown on nudity on beaches is "sexual repression", then that is an admission that there is a link between nudism and sexuality.

thomas said...

Yes, I believe that a crackdown on nudity is sexual repression because I believe that is the mindset of the crackers (pun intended). I think THEY believe there is a connection between sex and nudity. They being the people in Calif, Wash and Colo. I believe our society is very solidly divided into two distinct parts: Those who are sexually liberated and those who are sexually repressed. Unfortunately the sexually repressed happen to be in power at this time (FCC, DPR etc).
I consider it a sad state of affairs (no pun intended) when Columbus Ohio is more liberated than Southern Calif.

thomas said...

And by the way schools are teaching abstinence in Sex-Ed? Does that sound liberated or repressed to you?

Nudiarist said...

Thomas, you make my argument.

The current state of affairs is that the general public believes that all nudism is sexual activity.

Do nothing, and this perception does not change. All the PR and court battles do little or nothing to further the cause of naturism/nudism.

BUT, if the lifestyle is DEFINED into two categories, adult and family, that could be easier for the public to understand.

Nudiarist said...

Thomas, as I said, society still has issues with sexuality, but anyone with any sense of history can tell that our society is far more liberal about sexual issues than it was 100 years ago.

thomas said...

I agree that society is more liberated than 100 years ago but I also believe it is less liberated than it was 30 or 40 years ago.
The average person makes no distinction between family nudism and so called adult nudism. When a citizen of Elkader Iowa reads about an "Adult" venue having blow job contests he says "See, I told those nudists were a bunch of perverts".
When I mentioned a nude cruise (Bare Necessity) to a friend (who has no idea I'm a card carrying nudist) she said she had no problem with nudity, "I just don't want to be around those kind of people". That's a woman who is 30 yrs old and lives in No Calif.
That is the attitude we're up against.

Nudiarist said...

Thomas, were you around 30-40 years ago? I was. The image of nudity at Woodstock was the exception, not the rule. It was shocking in its day. Movies didn't begin showing nudity until the late 60s. Yes, the seventies were pretty wild, but AIDS and STDs had a lot more to do with people "cooling it" more than anything else. There's no question that the Moral Majority played a part, too.

Today, events like the World Naked Bike Ride, the Freemont Solstice Parade, the Bare to Breakers event and other public nudity, could not have happened 30-40 years ago.

The Internet is playing a HUGE roll in helping people to tear down their sexual hangups.

There are always examples which seem to show that things are more repressed, but when examined as a whole, society is far more progressive on sexual matters today than perhaps ever before.

thomas said...

Yes I was around 30 or 40 years ago and more and living in the SF Bay Area. A bunch of nude people sitting around my living room or hot tub was fairly common even into the 80's.
I agree with most of what you say but I still believe our society is schizophrenic (you need spell check or at least I do) when it comes to sex and nudity. How else to explain the sudden backlash against nudity? Is it just the people in charge or are the right wing religionists getting more attention than they deserve? I find it interesting that in the face of topfreedom in NY, Ohio and most of Canada, there is a sudden rash of oppression against nudity from Janet Jackson to San Onofre to Indiana and PA (sexting) to Boulder CO. Where is all that coming from if we are liberated? Every day your own pages list another campaign against nudity in one form or another. We are free and liberated as long as we are fully clothed while we do what we do.

Nudiarist said...

Thomas, I attribute much of the push back against nude beaches and public nudity to the hysteria over protecting "the children", a frenzy which has been whipped up by the 24 hour news cycle covering isolated abductions and other child abuse. The truth is that most child abuse is not from strangers but from family, friends of other acquaintances.

I don't see that nudity bans are related to sexual repression per se, but more to the anomaly of keeping children "safe" even if it means putting them in jail for sending nude photos of themselves with cell phones.

Another positive development is that the vast majority of states now protect a woman's right to breastfeed in public, something which could have landed a mother in jail for indecent exposure just a few years ago. Topfree sunbathing is a logical next step.

We'll have to wait and see what happens in Boulder regarding their proposed ban on toplessness.

thomas said...

I suspect that "Protecting The Children" is a device the Right Wing Religionists are using against those they believe are having more fun than they are. But, as you say, we will see.

It's funny, but in the 60's, 70's and even early 80's no one said anything about a woman breastfeeding on a bus or in a bar. Now it's the end of the world

Anonymous said...

Nudiarist, thanks for the clarification.

You're saying AANR should "openly" accept adult nudism (as opposed to under the table) and adult nudism is a legitimate form of nude recreation.

I'm no AANR rep, but I became a Lifetime member because I liked their promotion of family values.

Maybe they're walking a fine line with accepting advertising revenue from Bare Necessities or other venues that accept adult activities, but like I said, they can not patrol all clubs, it would be expensive and time consuming. All AANR can do is request clubs to adhere to their standards.

Thanks for responding Nudiarist - your blog is awesome.

Steve E. - Huntington Beach, CA

Academic Naturist said...

I hear what you're saying... If you remove all references to my "X" rating, I believe my post still stands. Classifying resorts into two categories will muddle what public lands should be, and may have the side-effect of luring families off them. You can't just declare a beach to be a specific rating.

I think you need to clarify what "adult" would be. Where is the line drawn? There is "adult" meaning without kids, such as chilling out in a bar. There is also "adult" that aims to solicit a sexual response, like a strip club.

The events you list really border on that second form of "adult". Do erections happen at these events? Is there touching? How far can these adult clubs go? How many years until they offer lap dances, or a workshop on lap dancing?

I understand that adult events happen all the time at various resorts, but there needs to be a line drawn. It's not yet clear what that line is. If you have a suggestion -- say it!

Quite honestly, I'm nervous about the situation at Sunsport. The "out there" events at the Midwinter Gathering will likely attract more "out there" people to the event. More people means more "out there" events, and so on. It's a slippery slope, and I hope they keep it under control. It's a slippery slope for all resorts once they start having sexy adult events.

Nudiarist said...


Again, public lands and beaches that are designated clothing-optional must remain family-friendly. Haulover does split into two sections, gay and straight, but overt sexual behavior is forbidden.

As for behavior at "adult" resorts, I would say that it has to remain within local laws, so open sex, lap dancing (your example) and other overt sexual activity would be out of bounds, otherwise local ordinances governing strip clubs and other adult entertainment laws could apply.

As to how far each resort would go, that would be up to them. My thinking is that by designating resorts as either adults only or family-friendly would help people to find the type of nude recreation they are looking for.

Whatever is considered, if at all, would have to be thought out very carefully.

Anonymous said...

Your point is well taken, but as many of the responders show, the general public will not grasp the distinction. For example, I live in southeastern PA. It was big news when a "gentleman's club" opened in the area. It eventually closed due to lack of business, but all the publicity it got as it started up only made it last longer.

Second example. There was a swinger's club in a nearby community. Once that fact became known, the local government responded with the weapons it has (zoning, code enforcement, health inspections) and it was shut down. Even with everything occurring behind closed doors, the consensus was to not allow it.

Third example. Sunnyrest Lodge in Palmerton, PA is close by. I visited it 30+ years ago when it was very adult oriented. I was told that if I didn't have a partner I would not be comfortable there. It's now changed considerably and is a member of the area's Chamber of Commerce. It was big news about 2 years ago when Sunnyrest offered to host the monthly dinner meeting. No one had to disrobe but there were all those snide comments in the local paper (Allentown PA Morning Call).

Things may change, but I honestly believe that we're fighting a losing battle at the moment. I sincerely doubt that things will get better in my lifetime (I'm on the high side of 50).

Nudiarist said...

Anonymous, you also have to consider the fact that rating a club as being adult oriented might actually force it to pull back a little bit. In the film industry, a NC-17 rating is box office death, so directors go out of their way to keep their films within the R or PG-13 rating guidelines.