Reality Of Nudism

A frank discussion group about the realities of nudism

Is Nudism Dying in the US?

Return to Discussions

I've been thinking about this for a while now, based on some observations I've made in the past year.

A little background here: I became exposed to social nudism in Germany in the late 1960s. At the FKK events I attended with friends, there was a mix of ages and sexes that mirrored, in large part, the mix you would see at any clothed event: lots of old people, lots of young marrieds, lots of children running around, lots of teenagers like myself. And what I remember as a pretty even balance of the sexes.

Since those days, I've had little contact with social nudism until this year. Once the COVID pandemic had eased (at least for a while), I've been to four clothing-optional venues in Oregon and California, and a couple of smaller parties held by my local non-landed club.

There were three striking differences between the scenes there and what I saw in Germany:

1. There were hardly any children and practically no teenagers to be seen there. Some people I talked to about it blamed it on the culture of over-protecting children from pedophiles, although all the resorts took precautions to do Megan's Law checks before admitting visitors. And teenagers who were raised by nudist families were more interested in hanging out with their (clothed) school peers than with older people, so they opted out of nudist events.

2. Which brings me to point 2: The attendance at all the events I went to was overwhelmingly older people, usually well past fifty years of age, True, there were a smattering of people in their thirties and forties, but most of them were older than that. I myself am in my seventies, so I'm not judging here. But it seems to me that when the great majority of these people stop going to nudist venues for reasons of health or death, there are not going to be as many people to sustain these institutions. How long can your landed resort stay clothing-optional when all its clientele go away?

3. The balance of male to female participation is very lopsided. This was less apparent in the bigger events like Nudestock, and at a resort where the focus was on meditation rather than social nudism, but elsewhere the ratio was usually 4:1 in favor of males. (I'll grant you that the balance may have also been somewhat lopsided at the FKK events I went to back in the day, but I didn't notice it as much, possibly because seeing nude women at all was such a novelty to me.) If you'll look at the entries on this forum, you'll find that this topic has been discussed ad nauseam, with little light shed on the reasons. One of the usual suspects is the negative body images women have with themselves, especially when compared to the images plugged as "desirable" by the media and by fashion, where normally sagging breasts and accumulated weight are considered ugly. Another is the woman's fear of being incessantly hit on, or worse, by males when confronting them in the nude. A third is that women simply don't have any interest in seeing other nude people, or being seen by other nude people, regardless of how nude they are in private situations. But these are largely conjecture... mainly conjecture by men, since women don't contribute as much to this forum.

But as a result of these three factors, I don't see much hope for social nudity advancing in this century and sustaining the institutions that make it possible. And with the weakening of these institutions, I fear that nudist will have a weaker voice in determining the legality of nudity in public venues like parks, beaches, and woodlands.

Perhaps those of you who have been around the US scene longer than I've been can help me understand whether these concerns are valid. How do you see social nudism appearing in the next twenty years, or forty years?

This topic was edited
RE:Is Nudism Dying in the US?

Good thread.
Nudism is definitely dying, at least in my corner of the more puritanical midwestern US. Here there are essentially no publicly sanctioned outdoor nudist areas and nudist resorts are hostile to any males unchaperoned by women. At least that's been my experience. Whereas I have more flexibility as 55+, when I was in my 40's and a single dad looking for family friendly weekend destinations, I was dissed by local resorts without my ex-wife or someone in her stead. If my sons could have ever played naked with their peers, they missed the opportunity. That makes them nude friendly - they consider my casual attitude to clothes a bit weird but follow. But don't call us nudists.

I also lived in Germany for a year as a university exchange student and am familiar with their nudism or FKK which I understand has also aged. The key difference there is that it was mainstream with sections of city parks and local spas near public transportation. To me that's the accessibility and unstructured appeal for the younger generation which is totally missing in the US Midwest. From what I understand, the Germans including the younger generations are still happy to go to the spa or the park for sunning, but don't differentiate much if they're wearing clothes.

I also agree that there is a lot of hostility by older generations (including mine) against younger ones. In my opinion it is also prevalent on TN, and we should do better! There are a lot of complaints for example about young "towel dancers" in men's locker rooms. Instead of being critical we need to empathize that 1) locker rooms are foreign environments to many young men 2) they've grown up in a mass media culture of male body objectification and 3) their expectation may be that locker rooms are gay cruising sites than safe "we all have a penis get over it" environments 4) they may be as nude oriented as the best nudists where and when they feel comfortable.

In conclusion, I see nudism in my corner and culture as already dead with the exception of some naked retiree and gay niches. On the US coasts I understand there's more vitality. All good. I'm not interested in the fate of the local resorts with their institutional discrimination by old white raisins in the sun. I look forward to learning how the younger generations will live a clothing casual lifestyle on their terms. What they'll call is not clear, though it's obvious it won't be nudism. They deserve better than the legacy we've left them, so hats and pants off to them.

This post was edited
RE:Is Nudism Dying in the US?

CodeBare wrote:

Most Millennials and below think a basic campground is "boring" and want more events, more facilities, more staff who do interesting things. Indoor recreational nudism is just as appealing (or more in some cases) as outdoor nudism. Just look how things are going over in the UK lately -- they've actually seen a nudist boom during the last two years, and BN have done more "modern" takes on things that are more fun to younger people.

I'm not sure that Millennials think that a basic campground is "boring." I do a lot of camping in local, state, and federal camping areas and I see a lot of younger people there. Granted, they come not only to camp but bike, hike, fish, or whatever. But these people don't seem to want more facilities, etc. If nudity were allowed at these campgrounds, perhaps you'd see a lot more of them naked. But I don't see that happening, since the people in the next campsite over might freak out or complain that their children are being corrupted. That's why I patronize naturist resorts, because I don't have to worry about that.

It's better in the UK, I think, because laws are much less restricted. Simple nudity is not illegal in public places, and it's largely condoned by other citizens as long as it doesn't call attention to itself. In the US, if you go naked at a state campground, you're likely to get ticketed or worse. About the only time you can go naked on federal property is where you you're not likely to be seen by anybody else except the rangers... and even that assumes that they won't go through the trouble of citing you even though they could.

N magazine, the TNS publication, had an article recently on public nudity in the US, and mentioned that the only place it's legally sanctioned is at special events like nude bike rides, gay pride parades, or Mardi Gras celebrations, where it's understood that it won't be happening on a regular basis. And the organizations that run these things have been given special dispensation by the local law authorities.

And harsh of me to say, but... a lot of younger people just aren't that comfortable with the generation that currently dominates the nudist scene. They have little to no common ground, and often some outright hostility. Just look at the memes and pop culture if you're unawares. There's a very real generational divide that probably most people cannot or do not wish to bridge. There will always be one, between the young and the old, but the present one is rather vicious, if we're being honest.

StoneAndy pointed that out, too. In his neck of the woods, there seems to be core of people at the top of the administrative aspects of the local nude scene that don't want younger people, or who don't want single men. I personally haven't seen that at the places I've been to, although I won't disagree that it might exist elsewhere, and that it's a problem. My fear is that if these places continue to discourage younger people and singles, they'll eventually have to convert to clothing-mandatory places to stay in business.

What's the solution to that problem? Maybe a return to allowing public nudity once more in places where it used to be allowed: communal changing rooms and showers in public schools and gymnasiums, tolerance of occasional nude pastimes like skinny-dipping in local lakes and ponds, and a de-emphasis on using near-nude models to sell products and services. And, above all, a sea change in American attitudes toward nudity.

This post was edited
RE:Is Nudism Dying in the US?

stoneandy wrote:

I also lived in Germany for a year as a university exchange student and am familiar with their nudism or FKK which I understand has also aged. The key difference there is that it was mainstream with sections of city parks and local spas near public transportation. To me that's the accessibility and unstructured appeal for the younger generation which is totally missing in the US Midwest. From what I understand, the Germans including the younger generations are still happy to go to the spa or the park for sunning, but don't differentiate much if they're wearing clothes.

I've heard that, too. A young German can now go places to be naked without the sanction of the FKK. He or she doesn't need to be affiliated with the organization, with the result that the FKK's membership is older. Their battles have largely been won. I've heard that it's much the same in other European countries as well. Ironically, I've also heard that the younger generation is less likely to take advantage of that opportunity, for reasons that are still unclear.

What that bodes for the future of nudism is also unclear. I'd settle for a world where nudism is tolerated by mainstream culture, even if fewer people choose to be nude.

This post was edited
RE:Is Nudism Dying in the US?

One of the issue regarding US resorts - both nudist and textile - is that many of them are plain old boring. That's a view I've held since I was a teen. I like to be active with hiking, canoeing and exploring, but resorts seem focused on eating, sleeping, sunning and maybe swimming or golf. At the few US nudist resorts I've gone to I've felt like I'm cowering naked behind someone's bushes than on an adventure away from it all.
There's a different feeling of openness and freedom for me at campgrounds. So I'd rather be in a large state park wearing only shorts than confined to the poolside of a resort where it feels like you go to melt and die. I've heard stories from younger people that speak of a similar wanderlust: hiking several hours or even days to reach that perfect remote waterfall or hot springs. Is that nudism or recreation nerd with no clothes on? I'd take the later.

This post was edited
RE:Is Nudism Dying in the US?

You're right about how some of those resorts are oriented to a limited number of activities. The places I've been to have opportunities for hiking, although some trails impinge on public land and you have to have a wrap or something to put on when you're not on resort property. And one place has paddle-boats and kayaks to use on their small lake. But that's about it.

I can see that some resorts, particularly in the midwest, have more limited opportunities.

But I would like to see nudity permitted in undeveloped areas like national parks and forests, in "dispersed camping" areas, without the fear of being ticketed for "public indecency."

This post was edited
RE:Is Nudism Dying in the US?

Not sure nudism is dying but the way it is practiced is changing as is the definition of what is nudism.

This post was edited
\

This site is only available to users 18 and over and we use cookies

We use cookies for functionality, social media, and google analytics. To view our cookie policy please view Our Cookie Policy