Naturists Campaigning for Naturism

Clothing Optional: the way forward?

Towards the end of March the Daily Telegraph reported that Welsh naturists wanted part of Newborough Beach in Anglesey to be designated nudist. The article said the beach was often described as one of the best beaches in Wales, and it went on to say how it included Llanddwyn Island – named after the patron saint of Welsh lovers – and that it had been used in filming the romantic thriller Half Light in 2004 (and starred Demi Moore) and Clash of the Titans in 2009. But what really got the journalists’ nose twitching is that Prince William is stationed as a RAF Search and Rescue helicopter pilot not very far away and held out the prospect of our future King and Queen encountering naked subjects while walking their dog.

The beach has been attracting naturists for a number of years and the article stated that British Naturism claimed that ‘official status would make a big difference and benefit local tourism’. Does it? I have in the past agreed that it might provide a boost to the local tourist industry if a town embraced naturism but at the same time I called for research to back up such a claim. Just saying it does, doesn’t make it so and if BN or anyone else is going to be quoted stating that naturism makes good commercial sense then the local authorities will want to know how they arrived at that conclusion. If they cannot point to the research then their statements will ring hollow and any future pronouncements made by them will be dismissed without a second look.

Phil Penson, the landlord of the Joiner’s Arms in the neighbouring town of Malltraeth was quoted as saying that the beach was for everyone’s use and he saw no problem with naturism, as long as ‘it is kept under control’. Control? What did he mean by that! A clue might come from a quote by BN’s Commercial Manager, Andrew Welch, throwing that organisation’s weight behind the designation as ‘It takes away the hassle factor because a lot of people see naturism as illegal.’ They might, but is seeking some kind of “official” status the right way to go about informing the public that there is no law banning public nudity? I contest that it isn’t, in fact I’d go further and suggest that it will only make matters worse.

There is a disparity between the law, allowing public nudity and British social norms that causes much ringing of hands by council officers. A Carmarthenshire council spokesman told the BBC News website that: ‘If genuine naturists turn up and aren’t causing distress, life goes on. … [but] there are other group types who would possibly commit acts of gross indecency or lewd behaviour in front of our visitors.’ In order to “control” these “types” of undesirable people, councils have taken a sledgehammer to the problem by banning naturism from their beaches. A few though have designated certain beaches where nudity is permitted; usually well away from their main beaches and hence from any facilities like toilets or places to obtain refreshments.

The thing about designating a beach, or some other secluded public area, for naturist use is that it suggests to the non-naturist that it is not for them, while at the same time it acts like a magnet to every undesirable scallywag within driving distance. These can range from the almost harmless voyeur to the equally pathetic dogger who sees the naturist designation as permission to excite their otherwise dull sex-lives by fornicating in a public place, which is illegal. Naturism and naturists have been complaining about these hangers on for a very long time, but their protests have largely been impotent simply because the distinction between the legitimate naturist and the illegal dogger has been blurred, and the police can not tell the difference. After all, one naked body looks like any other when it’s running around trying not to get caught.

Yet, in some ways I cannot help thinking that we (naturists) have not helped matters by allowing a “live and let live” attitude to prevail within that portion of the naturist community who prefer open fields and beaches. By not challenging what we would consider as unacceptable behaviour in any other walk of life, we are in essence, accessories to an illegal act and it is up to us to tell these fake naturists that they are not welcome.

Back to the main theme of this piece however, the Naturist Action Group has chosen a different path to BN and our policy is that ALL beaches should be clothes optional. This way the clothed and unclothed, and variations in between can easily be catered for on a hot day. The policy has two main advantages. First, it gets rid of the “hassle factor” cited by Andrew Welch without seemingly barring anyone from using the same location. Second, it disperses the naturists over a much greater portion of the coastline, making it is less likely that they will be found by voyeurs. It will also bring naturism much more out into the open, leading – it is believed – to making the tag naturist less attractive to those who have little interest in the real benefits of a clothes free lifestyle. Something we want to promote, surely.

Oh, just as a matter of record. The Telegraph article mentioned also said that local residents are yet to see the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at the beach, but if they read the article and now know that there was a naturist beach, even an unofficial one, nearby…. Well, you never know!

An edited version of this is blog will appear in the June issue of H&E Naturist.

4 Responses to Clothing Optional: the way forward?

  • Generally, of course “clothes-optional” is the only route for the naturist principle of freedom. Enforcing nudity is as unacceptable as enforcing dress. I believe any club or event that forces its attendees to undress should be banned from all naturist organizations. Teenagers, for instance, do not feel particularly comfortable flashing their bits at ageing voyeurs trying to regain a life beyond them. Let them be!

    Specifically on this topic, you mention “the prospect of our future King and Queen encountering naked subjects while walking their dog.” Might I point out that, last June, Her Majesty, Her Goodself, was definitely “in” when 1,200 naked cyclists parked in her front yard and basked in her water features! Do you really think quality people like HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, HRH the Prince of Wales et al are going to be so low-brow as to be bothered by a herd of creatures behaving as nature created them?

    The naturist is the definition of the “organic” human …..no additives!

    Sex in public is illegal. That is why we have “official” sex saunas; to legalize it. So if we naturists support the concept of “official” naturist beaches, then we are equally accepting the precept that public nudity is illegal. That is a valid argument. It is the same argument that if you are out nudewalking, to don a pair of shorts when someone approaches is a clear admission that you were doing something wrong.

    The belief that naturist beaches will always attract the lascivious elements is valid. We are I am afraid living in a perverted nation, as I say ad nauseam, brainwashed by big business, mass media, religious doctrinaria and social enterprise ino a mass-sexual-OCD. The mainstream archetype cannot see nudity without defaulting to sex. You only have to look at those on the fringe of nudism or newcomers. Do they go to naturist clubs or swims, where there is always a shortage of females to the point that they have to turn away new male members? Or do they go to the alleged (and I emphasize “alleged” regarding these very welcoming clubs) swinger venues like Silverleigh and Eureka, where they always report a gender balance? Well, where the females go is always an indicator of social trends.

    So there is no surprise, is there, that perverts also orientate to wherever there is naked skin? There is no policy that can do anything to change that in a prurient society. We are stuck with it in the same way that football is stuck with tribal extremists.

    Turning to what we can do rather than what we cannot, NAG supports the Clothes-optional approach to integration. This is the same to textilism/naturism as metrosexuality is to heterosexuality/gay. There are barely any gay clubs in Brighton any more. Even Revenge has a mixed-orientation crowd. All the different factions in the LGBT communities worked together not to be “tolerated” or “accepted” ….but to become “integrated”. What a vast difference in context? The principle is that everyone in a nightclub is on the same page; looking to get merry, dance the night away and to meet people, maybe even a partner.

    Translate that to the beaches! Everyone there is seeking a tan, a swim in the sea and to meet people, maybe even that partner. We cannot achieve this if we are esconced in our own “gay clubs” …..official beaches.

    This environment will never attract young people. The us and them stand-off is always the biggest barrier to recruiting the younger generations. They already have their friend circles; then a few discover naked freedom. What if their pals do not wish to be publicly naked? Do they go their separate ways? No; friendship comes first and the budding naturist, being in the minority, concedes to the mainstream norm. The new generation is lost.

    This then mandates integration, the move towards clothing optional beaches and parks too, à la Englische Garten in München. Then clothed and naked people can mingle in the same way that straight and gay friends share time together.

    But do we have the collective will to change it? Naturism is mostly an antisocial community, if you pardon the oxymoron, hiding naked behind windshields, in caravans and under trees, emerging only occasionally to startle animals and small children. This breed of naturist will never intermingle with mainstream society. They will always stick to their remote corners.

    At the end of the day we are only seeking what we believe in as a few individuals, the bulk of naturism is not behind us; it is behind high walls. ….clothing-exceptional!

    Hugz Will

  • Most casual naturists (non club) and probably the majority of club naturists feel that clothing optional rather than solely naturist environments are the way forward. There are several reasons for this.

    A lot of us enjoy nude activities out of doors and would go nude much more often if we could. Just as it our choice to be naked there are those who for many reasons do not wish to go naked. I have no problems being amongst clothed people so long as they have no problems with naked people being in their midst. A significant percentage of would be naturists have reluctant partners and for them only clothing optional places are suitable because they do not wish to be separated from their textile partners. There are times when when even dedicated need to cover up, say because they have had just too much sun.

    I have a very broad set rules which I would like to see adopted when permitting nudity in “public”.

    Most beaches where there is no paved promenade.
    Quieter times in all swimming pools
    Saunas and Steam rooms as standard
    Open countryside
    Secluded parts of urban parks

    The acceptance of non-sexual nudity in public is more a matter of culture than law and as such cannot be legislated for. In theory by allowing a gradual extension of naturist freedom the general public could become more accustomed to the idea that nudity can be routine and acceptable. Of this course this may not happen but if it does it could eventually lead to a world where you never needed clothes unless you chose to wear them.

    Clarification of the current law would be a good starting point. Yes non sexual nudity is not an offence but so many officials and the members of the public just do not realise that. We do not need specially designated areas just tolerance in the greater part of our world. Such legislation should a national rather than a local matter as currently different councils have different standards which is simply confusing.

    For too long the balance of acceptance has been totally in favour of saying “Thou shalt be clothed” and most of the time we are content to be clothed but why shouldn’t we be able to swim nude at least at quieter times in our local pools. The arguments against this are when considered purely based on intolerance rather than any more rational. All adults know what naked people look like and where children are concerned it is healthier for them to accept nudity as normal rather than something that should be hidden.

    In Saunas and Steamrooms these are intended to be used nude and in some countries nudity in them is normal even compulsory.

    Anyone who has rambled nude, especially in hot weather, knows just how much nicer it feels. Some us even dare to go nude when we think we are not likely to be seen. We do not want to offend but if we happen to be seen why should it matter.

    No naturist wants the right to have sex in public or engage in lewd behaviour but merely being naked is neither sexual nor lewd. We genuinely simply find that being naked in relaxed and warm situations happen to be more comfortable; until you actually try it for yourself you probably can’t understand just how therapeutic it is.

  • I always thought that naturism was non sexual social nudity.

  • As a point of clarification, “sex in a public” as such is NOT illegal (it is not included in the Sexual Offences Act), only “outraging public decency”, a common law offence. Exactly what constitutes outraging public indecency is not of course defined but must depend to a significant degree on public reaction and any degree of acceptance. However, modern case law has established two elements that must be satisfied for the offence to be committed:
    (1) The act was of such a lewd character as to outrage public decency; this element constituted the nature of the act which had to be proved before the offence could be established, and
    (2) it took place in a public place and must have been capable of being seen by two or more persons who were actually present, even if they had not actually seen it.

    Sexual offences Act 2003 S66 makes illegal “flashing”, ie exposing the genitals with intent that someone will see them and be caused alarm or distress (not limited to “in public”). S67 makes illegal voyeurism ie the viewing of “private acts” for sexual gratification, which would be difficult to claim in public. Fornication (and adultery), whatever your moral viewpoint, is not illegal and is quite normal but not a necessary adjunct to dogging, to my knowledge. I am sure some engage in dogging to spice up their marriages.

    Dogging/overt sexual acts in view of the general public, (rather than other “consenting” doggers) is of course likely to outrage public decency and therefore liable to be prosecuted. However, if you fail to be outraged and/or take no action yourself, you would not be aiding and abetting a crime.

    I am sure we should distance ourselves from such activities, but I think we should be careful how far we go in leading any campaign against them. Be supportive to the genuine public reaction, rather than campaigning.

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