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That Old Nude vs. Sex Thing

By Steve Jacobson

Assuming that most people who read this blog are nudists, this may be preaching to the choir, but even within the nudist lifestyle there are a lot of people who cannot separate the idea of being nude with the sexual act. Going from club to club, it’s truly amazing the different attitudes concerning what is sexual and what is not.

There are clubs that will not allow anyone to hold hands while being nude. There are clubs that will not allow tattoos or piercings for fear of being too sexual. At some clubs you cannot repeat an “off color” joke, no matter how funny it is. Then there are clubs that require clothing to be worn while dancing.  And, of course, there are clubs that promote themselves as sexually open and have no problem with overt sexual activities. Yes, there is a third type of club that has found that balance between being overt sexually or scared to show any sexuality. The fact that you have these three different types of clubs makes it more confusing to separate the idea between being nude and having sex.

Talk to most anyone who is not a nudist and they will automatically assume that there are some sort of sexual implications associated with being a nudist.  Some nudists go overboard trying to deny any sexuality with nudism. Hey folks, we are human and in being so, we are sexual in nature. The fact we are nudist has nothing to do with our natural sexual drive and enjoyment. As nudists, we may be better at controlling any overt sexual advances being more aware of what is appropriate and what is not.

It is my belief that allowing people to naturally express themselves, whether it be a joke, uttering the occasional expletive, holding hands, or even a kiss or two, is a healthy thing. The key is, that with anything else, moderation is the main factor. We nudists tend to align ourselves with groups around us that make us comfortable. We soon learn what is appropriate and what is not in our group. Find the group, or lifestyle, that suits you and relax and enjoy living.

It’s not the sex that upsets people, it’s the implication that you are in a group that condones inappropriate sexual behavior. You can try to explain to non-nudists that being nude and having sex are not the same thing. Whether they listen and change their minds is their problem.

The point I’m trying to make is that it’s alright to be the sexual human being that we are. Have fun with your sexuality, tell that “dirty joke,” go ahead and show some affection with a loved one, and don’t be afraid to think “dirty” thoughts. As long as you’re mature enough to control your actions regarding what is appropriate and what is not.

Granted, there are people who don’t have that filter in their brain that keeps them for acting like an idiot, they will always be around.  But you don’t have to live down to their level. Being a nudist is lets us enjoy natural feelings of well-being.  Those feeling don’t stop when it comes to our natural sexuality.

It’s the feeling of a sense of freedom that is the hallmark of being a nudist. A certain amount of sexual freedom is included.

Steve Jacobson is a guest blogger who occasionally contributes articles to the AANR blog.

 

 

 

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24 Responses to That Old Nude vs. Sex Thing

  1. Chet Kresiak says:

    It’s long past due for AANR to initiate a simple ratings system. It’s refreshing to hear AANR finally admit that there are indeed “different kinds of clubs”. The survival of organized nude recreation depends upon openness and honesty.

    • Anna Liddell says:

      A ratings system would be good up to a point. But then again, it might encourage clubs to go “R” rated.

      I have to say I feel this article is indeed a cave in to the forces who want to inject sex into an atmosphere which is merely supposed to be where one can be comfortable with their body and not have to deal with all the pressures that comes from a sexually charged atmosphere. People who just want to have an “air bath” as Benjamin Franklin used to call it, or just want to go skinny dipping.

      I think it is also important for us to stress to the outside world that not all nude activity is “nudist” or “naturalist”. You can be nude without engaging in nudism/naturalism and that’s not necessarily to be condemned but the behavior needs to be defined separately.

      If someone wants to go to a sexually charged club, that’s their decision, but the club needs “truth in advertizing”. It’s not a nudist or a naturalist club. It’s a adult nude club (hopefully you aren’t suggesting we expose children to a sexually charged club). Why are they hiding behind the term “nudist” or “naturist” anyway? They are doing so to capture some of nudism’s claim of wholesomeness.

      If we allow sexually charged clubs to fall under the category of nudist/naturist we will be defined by such clubs not the wholesome ones no matter what ratings system we have. It’s an uphill battle anyway, and having sexually charged clubs under the “nudist umbrella’ will make it impossible.

      If one wants “that sort of thing” there’s venues you can go to in order to get such kind of thing. Some Pagan groups have festivals where there’s certain areas for more sexualized behavior (some even put up a sex tent). Network For a New Culture, another place where nudity and sexuality can be expressed in a very open way. And of course you have Burning Man. So there’s opportunities for those who desire such stuff.

      These are nude (or clothing optional) venues, but not nudist venues and the distinction needs to be maintained. Indeed, again why would such clubs want to remain titled “nudist” if that’s not what they provide. The only reason I can think is to hide the sexual nature of their club. So, I don’t ask for those clubs to be eliminated out of existence, but I do ask for truth in advertizing which means they should no longer be associated with AANR.

      • Jasen says:

        But is there a place for a night club at an AANR endorsed resort? A typical over 21 only bar & night club? Does every part of an AANR club need to be appropriate for 7 year-old children?

        I have to believe alcohol sales are a money maker for resorts. And alcohol gets sold at bars/night clubs. If one of AANR’s primary goals is to support profitability of its resorts then…

        Do profits trump principles?

        I think we need to hear from AANR’s Executive Director and recently elected officers on this.

  2. Al Mahany says:

    It should come down to whether an activity is appropriate at a clothed event, and what type of clothed event. For example close cheek to cheek dancing is appropriate at a clothed adult’s night club but not at a clothed kids’ birthday party. No reason for the rules to be any different if the events were naturist.

    I like family oriented events and do not like nightclubs. But that is my personal preference, and I will gravitate towards clubs that have that sort of atmosphere. But that does not make clubs that have a good night life wrong. It is just different. Just like in the clothed world, it is just a matter of what type of recreation do you like.

    • Jim Shedd says:

      I totally agree with your comment Al. Just like at a clothed event couples should be able to express their affection with simple touching, caresses and light kissing. And, just as at clothed venues they should depart the area for a more private and intimate setting should their desires lead to greater sexual tension.

      Adults should be respected and treated as adults. Inappropriate behavior should be curbed immediately. Gloria Waryas said it well with her comment “…nudists bring our sexuality out into the open so that the power of sexuality to intimidate is removed.”

      • Anna Liddell says:

        “…nudists bring our sexuality out into the open ”

        We bring our naked bodies out into the open including the parts that are used for sex. Is that the same as bringing out our sexuality.

        I thought nudists have said that just uncovering those body parts doesn’t make the environment sexual. Nude is not Lewd is the saying that nudists often use.

        This is saying Nude is Lewd but Lewd is okay.

  3. Gloria Waryas says:

    This is a perfect opportunity to rethink our strategic plan in order for social nudity to continue to persevere as an organization. Thank you AANR for opening an avenue for discussion.

    We, as nudists recognize that social nudity challenges inherited social norms about the human body, including erroneous myths, prejudices, and preconceptions that stand in the way of greater interpersonal understanding, self-acceptance, and acceptance of others. These are reinforced by restrictive laws, political barriers, conformist opinion, and massive textile advertising efforts. We are also aware of the sexual innuendos associated with social nudity and we need to challenge them because nudists bring our sexuality out into the open so that the power of sexuality to intimidate is removed. Nudists can control their own sexuality and so can others. Through this understanding, nudists lose the fears of their bodies that are associated with sexuality. We are also able to clearly explain this to non-nudist by the simple statement that “we bring our sexuality out into the open and are able to control it”

    • Anna Liddell says:

      “This is a perfect opportunity to rethink our strategic plan in order for social nudity to continue to persevere as an organization. Thank you AANR for opening an avenue for discussion.”

      If nudism isn’t going to survive, it isn’t going to survive. That said I believe it is maintaining itself well. It’s always going to be something that only a small number of people are going to participate in.

      But if you change what Nudism is supposed to be, that’s not preserving nudism. That is destroying nudism.

      Either we believe nude isn’t lewd or we surrender and decide that nudism is a myth. Because a key aspect of nudism is that it’s “family friendly”.

  4. Andrew says:

    Don’t forget all the young people who don’t mind being nude among friends from time to time, but who do not consider themselves nudists. There is tremendous support for nude vacations and beaches from a segment of the population that feels AANR is only for hard core nudists who live naked any chance they can get. If we want to give government administrators and politicians freedom to act in favor of nudist issues, we need to be more inclusive and bring all types of nudists out more into the open. I think more people will be open about their views if they aren’t afraid of being stereotyped into a singular mold. We should work closer with top-freedom movements, breast feeding advocates, world naked bike ride participants, body acceptance advocates (nude or not) and other factions. They are all potential visitors to AANR clubs. And why is the Naturist Society so separate from AANR. There are even stereotypes of each group (AANR and Naturist Society) among the members of these organizations. I went to one AANR club where many people thought naturists don’t like organized clubs and resorts, they only like to be nude in natural public lands. Some Naturist Society people think AANR is only a trade association of resort owners. I know AANR does some things to accommodate these groups, but it should be much more of our focussed goals. We can start by educating ourselves (meaning all people who occasionally go nude somewhere) about what we all have in common. Then we can start educating the rest of the population.

    • JP says:

      If the young generation have a take or leave it approach to nudism, what is the future of Nudist Resorts that require nudity rather than being clothing optional.

      The resort I go to the last three newsletters have re-emphasized the need to be nude during good weather. Apparently folks are dressing up more often than they used to. Are true nudist resorts on borrowed time?

      I’m not sure what the history/reasons behind requiring a resort to be nudist only. I can guess it reduces lurkers, but if it turns the youth away then its of limited benefit and may do long term harm. I am quite comfortable talking with fully clothed members at the resort, maybe they just arrived and haven’t disrobed yet. It’s of no concern to me. How important is it to preserve nudist vs clothing optional?

  5. Dave Jeffries says:

    As both a TNS and an AANR member I’ve seen both sides of the views of both. A lot of TNS members believe they simply cannot afford membership in a nudist club. A certain number of AANR members seem to view the TNS crowd as a bunch of unruly ruffians. In most cases both views are both accurate and inaccurate. Certainly a nudist resort will have far greater expenses than a TNS club operating in a basically free environment. That said, the TNS club to which we belong sets up each season for the entire winter on essentially free BLM land in sunny Arizona and not few of our members are living in expensive motor coaches. Most of these members are RVing “Full Timers”. Far from the “ruffians” envisioned by some others. I’m also reminded of when we first entered the ASA nudist fraternity. We were camping at AVATAN in a small tent and transported by an old VW beetle. Far from the “rich guys” some TNS members see AANR folks as all being. In my humble opinion we all need to talk more together, support each other’s goals (which is by and large to enjoy, and encourage others to accept nudism, in today society) and travel to and join in each other’s events.
    So much for MY soapbox stand. Stay safe, enjoy the freedom of nudism, and above all, don’t forget to turn over once in a while………….. :-)

  6. brucenineteen63 says:

    Very good article, and as indicated by others here, it seems the AANR is contemplating internally, a change of attitude in this matter. I and many others would welcome a comprehensive rating scale for clubs, resorts, beaches, and natural areas that the author seems to be approaching; it would strengthen the AANR’s position on the matter in the eyes of ‘non-nudists’ or wannabe’s in that they would be better guided in finding a club of their choice. It would reduce those who try it once and have a bad experience, and it would expand the AANR participation rate as well by welcoming some of the clubs that have been shunned in the past. It seems to be a maturing of the position to fit the realities of our world while protecting wholesome nudity by clearly acknowledging the other varieties.

    I encourage the association to let the rest of the body follow the toe that was just dipped.

    • Andrew says:

      Perhaps AANR could create a list of examples or descriptors for a three or four categories. Not every resort in each category would meet every thing on the list for that particular. Maybe they are mostly in one category, but slightly in another. Then, let each club decide for itself which category it wants to advertise itself as. With AANR being able to have a veto in extreme cases if it feels a club is way off the mark in its self-assessment. A resort would most likely want to be accurate in choosing a category because it would want to attract the kind of people that, in the end, will want to be there. There categories could range from family oriented, to places that are very family focussed during the day, but has a nightclub for adults at night, to full on swinger clubs. Whatever the number of categories or types is to be determined. Another way to look at it is rather than having a few distinct categories, each resort can choose a la carte from a large list of descriptions. Perhaps it gets an icon from a list of icons the way any campground listed campground catalog can show an particular icon if it has laundry services, another icon indicates it has a pool, and yet another for grocery store. The same sort of icons can be used to designate: no genital body adornment allowed, occasional adult themed parties, strongly encourages families, etc.

      • Anna Liddell says:

        I think one trap we fall into is when we use the term “Family Friendly” to mean nonsexualized. It makes people think that only families appreciate a non-sexualized environment.

        Many adults who would never think about getting naked in a sexualized setting has found much comfort in participating in a type of nudity where it’s only about camp fires, volleyball, nude swimming, hot tubs, sauna, sun bathing, etc.

        So it’s not only “for the children” that such an environment should be maintained. Actually it’s a core tenet of nudism that nude does not have to be lewd. It’s about body acceptance.

        For many no doubt you can’t have nudity without sexuality. To them I say, have fun at Burning man, Rainbow family, Confest (in Australia), NFNC summer camps, pagan festivals, etc. If that’s your way, there’s surely enough room on the planet for you, but what you do isn’t nudism.

        Not all nude activity is nudist/naturist activity.

    • Anna Liddell says:

      “…by welcoming some of the clubs that have been shunned in the past.”

      But these clubs deserved to be shunned. Well, the term shunned is harsh but the fact of the matter these clubs aren’t providing a nudist environment and therefore shouldn’t be labeled as such.

      And if they don’t want to provide a nudist environment, why would they want to hang on to the term nudist? Think of that. They are trying to deceive someone.

      A rating system would just confuse the outside world. There needs to be a clean distinction of what is nudism and what isn’t nudism.

      While of course we want to increase membership we shouldn’t do that at the expense of ruining what nudism is all about. I guess there are those who don’t value what nudism is all about and they should find other opportunities to express their nudity. No harsh feelings, but when you are at a nudist club you need to maintain a nudist atmosphere for the enjoyment of others.

      • Andrew says:

        I think the nuance of this discussion comes in how someone defines nudist. I think most non-nudists label swingers as nudists. Its a stereo type we fight. But I think its wrong that we try to change societies definition of nudists. We will never succeed. We can’t choose the definition, society does. Why should only the family friendly nudists be able to call themselves that. It may not be the historic definition, but meanings of words change and it in fact does include swingers. I’m not a swinger, but I have no right saying they can’t use the word nudist to describe themselves. That is why we should focus on showing there are different types of nudists rather than trying to convince everybody else in the world they should change their definition of a nudist.

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  8. stephen russell says:

    Urge these:
    Rating System for clubs
    OR &
    Uniform regs for AANR clubs alone that Mgmt & members can agree on
    Then who will?
    Make usable & doable.
    Or lose members etc.

  9. Jasen says:

    Ugh. A high school English teacher would destroy that article. Is this the quality of communication AANR wants to share with the world? Please, use an editor.

    As to the content…
    AANR is in a difficult position as they do not claim to be strictly “naturist” as defined by INF or “ethical naturist” as coined by Bare Oaks’ Stéphane Deschênes. I understand AANR’s desire to have “R” rated resorts, or times at resorts. But it puts AANR in the position of advocating that nudity does not equal sex, but sometimes they go together just fine. It’s a mixed message.

    • Chet Kresiak says:

      Yes, this is not a well-written piece, and speaks poorly for how AANR goes about spreading its message. That aside, the “message” of nudism has always been “mixed” – this is nothing new. It can be argued quite convincingly that the “no sex” policy long held by organized nudism is a form of repression, requiring people to bottle up or control natural urges. True body acceptance must include some semblance of free sexual expression.

      Gloria Waryas stated above that “we bring our sexuality out into the open and are able to control it”. This clearly implies that the simple act of being nude with others is a form of sexual expression. The “control” aspect of this is that we do not act on our natural urges, we control where our eyes look, we don’t make rude or other untoward comments, and we don’t engage in overt sexual activity.

      Certainly organized nudism has changed over time, overcoming the threats of arrest in the formative years, the suppression of nudist literature by the US Postal Service, the hijacking of nudist magazines by pornographers, the splitting in two of the American nudist movement by Lee Baxandall, and the subsequent tug of war between AANR and TNS over the past few decades.

      Yet while organized nudism has been in deep decline, with the resulting fallout of fewer free beaches and affiliated clubs, America has become far more progressive on sex and nudity in general. There is compelling evidence that nudism’s insistence on having absolutely nothing to do with sex, its complete ignorance of gay culture, the widespread failure to attract a younger crowd, and the nearly universal self-closeting of those who practice a clothes-free life, are all contributing to the precipitous decline of the organizations, which are still rooted in philosophies born in Victorian times.

      I firmly believe that the acceptance by AANR and TNS of the idea that nudism can mean different things to different people is central to survival in the 21st Century. We live in a time where gay marriage is becoming the law of the land, women’s topfree equality is seeing major legal and cultural successes, and thousands of people around the world participate in mass public nudity in the form of the World Naked Bike Ride. Yes, the latter is purported to be a political and environmental protest, but the truth is it’s far more about body freedom and acceptance.

      We must learn from the WNBR, which is gaining momentum year after year. It now takes place in 70 cities in 20 countries. We must also learn from Europe, where nude beaches and upscale resorts are simply a normal part of vacationing. We need strength in numbers, and that means that as a movement we must be far more accepting and inclusive. Instead of losing clubs, we need to be bringing more into the fold.

      Look, you can go down to the multiplex cinema and see R rated films playing in theaters right next to those showing Disney movies. The film industry understood in the 1960s that the old Hays code was simply not going to stem the rising tide of adult films like “The Pawnbroker” and “I Am Curious Yellow”, so the obvious answer was to submit films to a board and assess a rating. The public understands that. What people do not understand is when they arrive at an AANR affiliated club with their kids and find events such as lingerie dances taking place. There simply is no longer a once size only policy for nudist resorts.

      So while this post is poorly written, it is a critically important first step in recognizing that there are indeed different types of clubs with different levels of sexual expression. We either deal with this as a reality, or we bury our heads in the sand while the whole nudist idea fades into obscurity.

  10. Debating on whether I want to jump into this fire, but I just wrote a blog post on this topic a fire weeks ago. I would have to agree with Jasen’s comments above. Not sure this is helping AANR strengthen their position amidst the confused.

    In case anyone is interested, here are my musings a similar topic:

    http://meanderingnaturist.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/making-waves-in-the-naturist-pool-sexuality-and-naturism/

    Daniel

  11. Sere Maddox says:

    I’m new to the AANR – didn’t even know you guys existed until my wife and I found one of your campgrounds up in Washington this year. We’re both naturists by inclination ans choice – we mostly wear clothes to keep from embarrassing the people outside our house and as a handy place to store loose change. I am puzzled, however, at the prudishness espoused by many of the commenters above – why is sexual behaviour something that is “not family friendly”? If children see sexual behaviour, is it your contention that they will somehow be emotionally traumatized by the experience or something? That’s the only thing that seems to explain such an arbitrary and bizarre separation of activities – by making physical intimacy a form of “forbidden fruit”, it would perversely give that simple activity far more significance than it should warrant. I suppose that may be the reason why many religions stigmatize such behaviour in the first place as well: Deny a universal pleasurable activity in order to control the masses. It sounds to me like a similar methodology to those passing “anti-nudity” laws. Of course, perhaps “anti-nudity” is just another symptom of the perverse prudishness in American culture as the “anti-intimacy” comments are above.

    I admit, even after twenty years, much of American culture seems quite strange and arbitrary, so perhaps I’m missing something important. I mean no offense to any of you, should my comment be thought somehow non-genuine. Perhaps further respondents could clarify why physical intimacy has such a singular taboo?

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  13. Chris & Leigh says:

    This is the biggest dilemma for us, we have never been to a nudist resort/campground but we want to explore the possibility. We are having the hardest time finding a place to go that we feel comfortable with. It seems that it is either a family friendly place, and I get the argument for families and not opposing anyone’s views, but they are not for us. The whole idea of children running around makes us very uncomfortable. However if it is an adults only place then it is not AANR and is deemed a swinger place, which again, we are not. So outside of us staying in our own home and not being able to experience nudism, we are out of luck.

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