Posted: September 14, 2022

Mitch London

I would venture to guess, most of us have been in, or overheard a conversation regarding nudism. Everything is going fine until your ears hear the one word most likely to cause fists to clench and teeth to grind … COLONY!

Any time I hear the words ‘nudist colony’, I see it as an opportunity to correct terminology. While we may get inwardly irate when we hear it, we should not be angry with the person as likely, it is the only term they have heard. I have some guidelines I use when trying to correct people.

As Deputy Barney Fife would say, “Nip it in the bud!”. By this I mean, do not let the opportunity pass to correct the language. Try not to put off the correction. Don’t say, “Welll, yeah, no, that’s not, we try to not say ….” The longer you put it off, the less impact the correction will have. I start with, “The correct term is nudist club, or resort. That term is outdated, and some consider it impolite.” What this does is give them new words instantly to use instead. Plus, it suggests that the word “colony” should not be used for two reasons. Most of the time, they say, “Oh, ok.” Simple as that. No need to get upset or angry, not even if they slip up and use the term again as they will usually catch themselves. Remember, you are dealing with a word they have known for potentially decades and have no updated information until now.

Depending on the situation I might refer them to the 1960s TV show “What’s My Line,” where a Nudist Camp owner was on the show and the panel had to guess what she did. In the end one of the panel said, “Do you operate some sort of nudist colony?”. Immediately you can see the guest lean over to the host and she soon says, “Nudist colony is no longer polite, it’s a nudist park resort.” This of course can be readily found on YouTube.

So, why does the term “nudist colony” keep hanging on even after that show was aired nearly 70 years ago? I think it has a lot to do with the media. Almost any time you see or hear a story about nudism, that word pops up. The reason again stems from it being the only descriptor they know, and they do not head over to a thesaurus to find a new word.

A recent story on a radio station in Texas had the headline of “The Naked Truth: Best Nudist Camps in Texas.” ( A great start, however in the first sentence of the piece was that word. You could tell it was not intended to be malicious, it was just a word they knew. The article soon got around to AANR and some emails back and forth among board members prompted a letter to the station with offers of corrections.

The station was grateful for the information and even did an interview with AANR people to get the correction made. The subsequent article, “There’s More to Being a Nudist Than You Think,” did a very respectable job of acknowledging the error and doing this follow-up piece. (

The fact that we found out about this article and were able to send in a respectful response quickly is what led to this outcome. Had we ignored it, or put it off, the trend of vocabulary ignorance would have continued. And, if we are lucky perhaps, the article piqued a few curiosities in the AANR-SW region for some folks that might now try a visit to a nearby nudist c….er… resort.


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