Naturists Campaigning for Naturism

Is Clothing Optional the way forward for Naturism?

With NAG launching its photo competition later this month and having nothing to pontificate on, I thought I’d take the opportunity to pick up on something that one of our supporters said recently: “I am happy to help [NAG], but I do have serious misgivings about NAG’s wish to promote the need for ‘dedicated outdoor naturist open space’. As you know, I believe that the attempt to get official recognition of specific naturist locations is misconceived. Official approval of one or two particular naturist places would simply reinforce the common perception that naturism must be unlawful everywhere else. In my view what is needed is a more general recognition that naturism is acceptable anywhere where it does not cause serious disturbance to others.”

The thing is, we don’t actually have a written policy on this and perhaps we should. As this is so central to our purpose, rather than dictate a policy from the top down, I’d like to give what my own view is – the one I’ve based NAG’s public stance on so far – and see if anyone disagrees? I appreciate that a good proportion of registered users are not resident in the UK, but your views and comments are just as welcome. Silence will be taken as tacit approval.

Here in the UK, in itself, being naked in a public place is not illegal but causing harassment, alarm or distress to others is. (Section 5, Public Order Act 1986) Recent amendments to the Section, which both NAG and BN made an input towards, has led to the word ‘insulting’ being removed from the text but Steve Gough’s legal action against the Director of Public Prosecutions appears to have muddied the water once again. What our project The London Question told us, is that it is difficult to find anywhere in a built up area that does not have the potential to ‘cause serious disturbance to others’ Yet, what our researchers also found is that – particularly in the larger open spaces in and around London – naturists are finding somewhere as discrete as possible to sunbath naked, which can lead to the type of confrontation that will do no one’s blood pressure any good.

I believe NAG will eventually persuade society that non-sexual nudity in a public place is not the ‘evil’ they believe it to be and even if they do not participate themselves, people will accept those who use the park space naked, wherever it may occur. Until that happens, however, I imagined what could happen now if managers for London’s open spaces accepted that nude sunbathing is already happening: an area – not defined by posts or notices – adjacent to a large body of water for swimming (perhaps) would be set aside for naturists, but not for their exclusive use. By not having fixed boundaries the size of this area can be adjusted according to its popularity on the day. Park police (or CPSO) will then be able to ask those found ‘outside the area’ to relocate, in order to protect them better, but they will not be able to arrest them unless an actual crime is being committed.

Similarly, I believe that all beaches in the UK should be clothes optional. This is similar to the policy in Denmark and there, it is generally accepted that if the first people on a beach are nudists then the beach is a nudist one. Naturally, if they are textiles then it will be a textile beach. The beauty of having clothing optional beaches though, is that if it is long enough naturists can be at one end and textiles the other, with the naked and the clothed possibly mingling in the middle. Naturally, as naturism becomes more widely accepted, the length of the beach where this division is visible will shorten. Until naturism has gained that wider acceptance then we should campaign for more clothing optional beaches, in less out of the way locations and with better facilities. This will make naturism as a concept more accessible to the curious interested public.

Now I know a policy advocating clothing optional has its own problems with supporters and detractors for both sides of the argument, but I believe that this is the best solution to this particular problem. If you know of another one, I’d love to hear it.

So over to you, is this a sensible basis for a settled, written policy or does it need modifying?

12 Responses to Is Clothing Optional the way forward for Naturism?

  • Not a lot to add, other than to agree with what you say.

    I have always thought that the idea of separate “official” naturist areas only reinforces the perception that Naturism is something that needs to be controlled and contained, and kept away from “normal” people.

  • I’m inclined to agree, having seen the confrontational method used unsuccessfully over the years, accompanied by fines, cell time, and criminal records.

    In the case of London it’s almost impossible to enjoy naked time for very long before you find yourself attracting police attention. This is why I believe that the establishment of a clothing optional zone would normalise nudity far quicker than going head to head with the authorities.

  • The Naked War

    It is all very well and good to read and comment on stories published by naturists on naturist blogs and websites, this keeps us up to date on what is happening in our world and makes us feel good.

    But his doesn’t win the war; it doesn’t even win a battle.

    We need to continue to constantly educate the public as to our beliefs and what we stand for.
    We will never expand our way of life to what it can become and has a right to become unless we do something different than what we have been doing. The internet has given us a leg up on pushing our agenda and has made our statements easy to find for those that want to read and find out about us. But this is only the icing on the cake, we need to give them the whole cake, the whole story, keep it in their face and correct them when they are wrong. Unfortunately international and national organizations are not doing enough or not doing the right things or using the right apparatus to win the war.

    What is needed is a Nude Army, a battalion of die hard naturists that jump on any web or news post that puts naturism in the wrong light. Oh, you have seen those posts: Nudist drunk in the streets, nudist having sex on the beach, some movie star’s nude photo leaked to the net, and some starlet exposes her breast. We know that these are not naturist events or incidents, but the public doesn’t and has only the publications or writers point of view to go by. The public has to be informed that the writer or the publication is not correct and they have to be corrected and called on the carpet. When enough people comment as to what is the correct view of naturism in a non-naturist post, we are beginning to winning the war. I don’t mean 5 or 8 posts by naturists, but I am talking hundreds per article, enough to let the writer or the publication know they are wrong and they are facing an organized and well developed movement.

    I don’t mean clicking an article about Kim Kardashian being nude; she has nothing to add to the naturist movement or society for that matter, but in articles like these:
    • Florida nudists busted in child pornography raid: police –
    Though they said they were nudists, nothing they did reflected that they adhered to the basic principles of wholesome family naturism.
    • Swingers and nudist holiday company promises ‘discretion and an all-over tan’ – – Putting swingers and nudist in the same headline is like putting cats and dogs in the same room.

    Then there are articles like this that we must support with positive comments and approval and the more the better.

    It does nothing to defend our way of life against reporters with juvenile attitudes about nude or partially persons or bodies, the religious fanatics that see a nude body as ungodly and would put clothes on nude statues, from swingers who pervert naturism for their own sexual pleasure, and the government and their laws restricting nude beaches without slapping it back in their faces.

    Nudists and naturists are a very small percentage of the total population of any country, but with the use of the internet we can be loud, we can be very loud. We must be factual, use true analogies, and logic. We must not use sexism, racism, insults, bullying or personal attacks on writers or publications. We show our power and cohesiveness, and resolve when the web stats are looked at by the writer and the publication.

    The biggest fight is in the United States where the media has a juvenile view of a nude body, where a nude body represents sex, an invitation to sex or something for sell. The United States publishes more negative media about being nude and how bad it is than any other nation, and the media influences the world. Yes, it is a big fight but it has to be won for us to have our rights and freedom.

    This is not an impossible war. Similar wars for rights of a minority have been won. Just look at the LGBT movement. (The gay liberation movement of the late 1960s through the mid 1980s urged lesbians and gay men to engage in radical direct action, and to counter societal shame with gay pride. In the feminist spirit of the personal being political, the most basic form of activism was an emphasis on coming out to family, friends and colleagues, and living life as an openly lesbian or gay person. In this period, annual political marches through major cities, usually held in June (to commemorate the Stonewall uprising) were still known as “Gay Liberation” marches. It wasn’t until later in the seventies (in urban gay centers) and well into the eighties in smaller communities, that the marches began to be called “gay pride parades.” ) – We need to win what the LGBT movement has won for themselves, the right to our life and beliefs without prejudice, persecution and discrimination. It took them 30-50 years and much of that was without the internet, imagine what we can do using the internet.

    We must and can win this war, then we will have the same rights that aboriginal natives have, to live nude as nature intended without prejudice.

    We need to coordinate our efforts. I suggest that a private social web page be started and select persons can be invited to join. But first they must agree to abide by the rules and prove themselves by commenting on five news articles and providing the links so they can be reviewed. This will not be a secret organization but it will be select, as we would only want members that would be highly active. We could publish the links to articles so members could go and post comments. Members could encourage friends to post on the articles, which then would give added weight to the comments.

    Use Politicians statements

    “A society for everyone is a society where everyone is respected, where everyone is embraced, where everyone has a say at the table.” NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio

    Let us assume that he was also including nudists and naturists, because to be leaving them out would negate the statement.

    I guess my belief is Clothing Optional is only a partial way forward, while never forgetting the true goal.

    Bruce Kendall
    Naturist Association of Thailand

  • I believe that all beaches in the UK should be clothes optional. Yes definitely agreed as well as garden naturism especially when some effort is needed to overlook the garden.

  • I wholly agree with Bruce Kendall.

  • Hear hear! Totally agree with Reg and Bruce. I am a free range nudist enjoying most of my outdoor naturism in the countryside. I do choose to walk/hike in the more remote regions but it would be great to promote a greater acceptability. Having said that only once when I’ve encountered other walkers have I had a negative responce and that was not very confrontational. In the main people are complimentary or indifferent.
    I wonder if there’s a degree of irrational fear amongst naturists. Having said that I personally do not go out of my way to visit areas where lots of groups are likely to frequent, preferring solitude, not just because I am naked.
    Keep up the good work. I’d be happy to support any campaign for greater acceptance.

  • I’ve always been in favour of clothing optional rather than Naturist.
    Apart from being a ‘dress code’, Naturism is very much about Freedom. We can hardly claim to be in favour of Freedom when insisting on a dress code on others.

    We should be fighting for freedom of choice, where there is no evidence (not prejudice) of significant harm to others. There is no evidence of significant (any?) harm being done by non-sexual nudity. There is plenty of evidence of real harm being done by prudery.

    Ghettoes should be a thing of the past.

  • As the replies we’ve had so far are all in favour, I thought we should hear a different voice offering an argument against clothes optional. Larry Darter writes on Dallas Nudist Culture for, and he has let me reprint an extract from his latest post:

    “[I] understand the position of clothing optional proponents who believe clothing optional beaches as contrasted with segregated nude beaches offer the best means of gaining wider acceptance of naturist values and practices among general society. [A reader’s comment on NAG’s] article made a very cogent argument in that regard writing, ‘I have always thought that the idea of separate ‘official’ naturist areas only reinforces the perception that Naturism is something that needs to be controlled and contained, and kept away from normal people.’

    “I can agree with that argument to a point, but on the other hand it assumes most people are rational. By that I mean rational people make statements, decisions, or base judgments using reasoned thinking based on facts and then apply sensible and balanced rules to the specific things under consideration. Therein lies the fallacy of the clothing optional argument I think. Life teaches one quite quickly that humans are more often than not quite irrational creatures especially when it comes to polarizing issues like public nudity.

    “It’s difficult to point to one salient reason why nudity makes so many people in modern society so uneasy, but it’s quite clear that many do have an aversion to nakedness, especially the nakedness of others that is long-standing and persistent.”

    I think any policy needs to be flexible enough to accommodate different scenarios. Like naturist clubs/resorts who insist on nudity by members and guests when on site, except in adverse weather. A very understandable rule, yet as we saw in The Naked Village – the More4 documentary about Spielplatz – this too has its problems, especially when they try to reach out to the outside world and entice new members and visitors. Setting a time limit to their tolerance of a dress individual, is an arbitrary limitation and our irrational nature means, for some, that will never be enough.

    Neither strict nudity rules nor clothes optional is THE solution to expanding acceptance of naturism in society. We need both – horses for courses, if you like – supporting each other. It also needs people willing to spend some of their spare time working on behalf of naturism. Bruce Kendall’s ‘army’ if you will. Even an hour per week will be enough, but this is a different subject altogether.

  • I agree with all that Reg has said and most of the rest of the comments as well. I suspect that part of the battle will actually be protests – a naked army descending on an area, a park, beach or other place with placards about body freedom and that this is pre-planned with consultation with the appropriate authorities. In a sense this is a bit like the World Naked Bike Ride protests but without wheels. We should point out the injustice of disabled and mobility challenged naturists being unable to access out of the way “designated beaches” far from the beaten path, and similar issues – right on the main freely accessed places. Only if we stand up and are counted will we be able to make any sort of real impact. The Sidney Skinny Dip get lots of positive coverage and only serves to highlight the positive aspects of Naturism. Let’s go for it.

  • I agree. I believe that beaches and other designated public places being clothes optional is the way forward towards naturism being accepted by the majority the public. No more them and us.

    • Thanks Mike. Yes, I have suggested that naturists need places to be naked – whether in town or coast – but it doesn’t need to be a dedicated place. We only need the authorities to obey the letter of the law. I say “only”. I wish it was as easy as saying that but this is where Bruce’s “naked army” is desperately needed.

      But I digress. What should our – NAG’s – policy be?

  • Hi, I have just joined NAG. Having read the above. My view is we all should try to promote public acceptance of casual nudity by doing it, preferably with others and defiantly include women. If two clothed women were to walk with one naked man through a public park or wooded area where there are just a few passers by, this firstly would test what happens, and secondly would show that nothing happens. We should all keep actively doing this, in quite areas as much as possible. It is not good enough to keep accepting the status quo and say “there’s nothing we can do except keep talking about it”. Rubbish! Yes there is, just keep doing it.

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