Eight years ago, when we launched Naturist Action Group, we had two aims; to campaign for the lifestyle’s wider acceptance and to represent a broad range of views within UK Naturism. We thought we had a reasonable grasp of the issues involved, and we had the beginnings of a plan.
Today though, NAG is announcing what will arguably be its biggest project to date, it is an attempt to learn more about UK naturism, the opinions of naturists in this country to find out how we think collectively. Let me ask the question that must be forming on your lips by now: Why?
In part it is in response to Rayner Otter, who last year wrote an essay [H&E Naturist, March 2017] about what he saw as the future of naturism following his nine-years of observing the European naturist scene. You could say, I’m putting my money where my mouth is, for I argued that naturism didn’t need conclusions based on observation but from robust research [H&E Naturist, July 2017]. To be fair, Rayner responded generously saying he too agreed with the premise. However, as a British-based organisation we are chiefly concerned about UK naturism, so the survey we shall be conducting will be restricted to those living in the United Kingdom, or British nationals living abroad while maintaining strong links with the UK.
The other part is that it’s really time we took a look at ourselves; are we serving naturism and naturists well? Are the things we think we know, accurate. Could we do things differently, better, smarter? And finally, can we describe the British person attracted to the lifestyle in any detail?
These are our goals and while I cannot promise we will achieve all of them perfectly we shall, with your help, make a good attempt.
This survey is for anyone 18-years and over, so married couples or co-habiting partners can complete separate questionnaires, as can any adult children. Once you have completed the survey, please share this post on social media, or by whatever means is available to you, with your naturist friends and family, encouraging them to complete it too. We want as many replies as possible, from the young and old, male or female, Black, Brown or White, computer savvy or not. The more replies we get, from as broad a spectrum of society as possible, the more accurate the survey will be.
UK NATURISM SURVEY— Closing date for replies: 31/12/2018.
If online forms are not your forte then we have a Word document (.docx) that can be used either as an editable electronic document on your desk top or printed, to be used as a paper survey. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “Survey” in the subject line and you will receive a reply within 24hours. Or send a self-addressed envelope (DL or C5) with a first- or second-class stamp to: UK Naturism Survey, c/o Reg Barlow, 6 Brunswick Street, Bingley, West Yorkshire, BD16 4PL and a pre-printed paper survey will be posted to you. Surveys returned by post and postmarked 31/12/2018 will be accepted. Just follow the instructions provided.
Many thanks for your co-operation, and don’t forget to share.
18 November 2018
The Public Nudity Advice and Decision-making Aid from the College of Policing has come some years after the CPS published its own guidance: Nudity in Public, guidance on handling cases of naturism, even so NAG’s Treasurer Duncan Heenan said: ‘It is a welcome addition and should greatly help with educating frontline police officers.’
In the briefing note, officers are told that naturism is ‘a philosophical belief’ and ‘naturists have a right to freedom of expression, which only engages [the] criminal law if they commit sexual offences or use disorderly behaviour’ and they ‘should consider every situation according to its own circumstances’.
While it explained the wide
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