Late Summer Nights with Naturist Friends: My Humble Attempt at Writing a How-To Guide

Following a busy summer of European Travel – a few weeks for business, then a few for vacation travel – it was pretty jarring to return home to the oppressively humid days of the northeastern USA where my administrative job awaited me with an insurmountable to-do list. The previous weeks had scarcely required me to bother with clothing at any time of the day as we found refuge at naturist resorts in the South of France and Catalonia. In that region, the summer air is warm and dry, sunny more often than not. At home, adorned in the requisite button-down shirt and dress shoes, each day vacillates between the sweltering heat of late August, countered by the abrasive gale force winds of office air conditioning systems. Regardless, in either situation, clothing seems a nuisance and a hindrance to regulating body temperature – all of which  routinely landed on the family room floor the minute I walked through the door at the end of each day. 

Fortunately, we have cultivated a naturist friendly refuge in our home located a few miles beyond the suburbs of the northeast corridor, and time has worked on our side with the careful addition of fast-growing hedges and shrubs that has resulted in what I affectionately call my “naturist man cave.” While it seems that most man caves are found in windowless basements featuring an overstuffed couch, a widescreen TV, and a fridge full of beer, mine looks quite different. Imagine a screened porch, a deck extending to the hot tub, and even a fire pit for the late summer nights when the chill starts to set in. After years in the making, it’s been a long time since I’ve needed to worry about clothing in my back yard. While our neighbors on each side are rarely inclined to wander into our backyard unannounced, they are all aware that doing so may well result in the sighting of a middle-aged guy sitting buck-naked with a glass of wine, reading his kindle on the porch. It’s happened once or twice, and guess what? Nobody much cared.

But the serendipity of the past year has been the increasing success rate of creating clothing-optional evenings with others who have been amazingly willing to bare all, when the conditions are right. At the urging of one such friend, I offer a few common-sensical thoughts about how you might facilitate a naked gathering in your home. Granted, it has taken us a while to put the necessary amenities in place, but for most of us hell-bent on the virtues of social nudity, it doesn’t hurt to work out a plan for the long game.

  • LANDSCAPING: Creative landscaping can do what fences never will. For us, that involves a robust barrier of forsythia on one side, a brawny forest of Leland Cypress on the other, and a strategic row of privet hedges which are now in excess of twelve feet (four meters) in height. Aesthetically, it creates a park-like environment, but pragmatically, someone has to work pretty hard to see a naked person in the backyard. 
  • THE HOT TUB: Hot tubs are tricky, and earlier ploys to invite people over with the express purpose of getting naked in the spa have been mostly met with blushing resistance and stuttering responses. (Seems that might have worked a bit better back in the swinging 70s. But we’re not interested in swingers, and the stigma of free love seems to have left an indelible legacy embedded in nude recreation.) BUT… Inviting friends to bring along swimsuits and towels on a chilly night, along with a bit of banter about our naturist travels, has resulted in a few surprises where we have actually under-estimated someone’s willingness to drop their towel and jump in. Unlike those who enforce a “strictly no swimsuits” rule, offering to wear one at first is often just exactly the option some people need to realize that clothing optional is actually the rule, thereby providing a choice to get naked. Think you can’t afford a hot tub, by the way? Check out home improvement stores or Craig’s List. Or watch for a moving sale. When people need to get rid of a spa, sometimes they’ll literally give it away.
  • THE SCREENED PORCH & PROPANE HEATER: A winning combination. The screened porch is not really inside (That feels weird to some people), but not really outside (Oh, that’s too exposed!). And the propane heater helps extend the season on both ends of summer. That and an ample supply of beach towels helps the newbie naturist feel more at ease as they’re figuring out the decorum of being naked around others. (If I’m wrapped in a towel, I’m not really dressed, but I’m not really naked. The gateway drug!) 
  • THE WOOD-BURNING STOVE: We made the investment several years ago to install a wood-burning stove in our family room in an effort to actually create a toasty living environment in our otherwise drafty, east-coast, vinyl siding house. I’ve been following a young couple from NYC that has been quite successful in connecting with other naturist-curious humans on social media while sponsoring a series of modest home-based naked gatherings. That all sounds good, but then suddenly not so much when the ambient temperature hovers around “annoyingly chilly.” By contrast, a glass of red wine in front of the wood burning stove is an enticement even when dressed. Couple that with a dash in from the hot tub on a snowy winter evening and you have your own little European spa. This is the stuff converts are made of!
  • Perhaps most importantly, you have to find a way to identify other would be naturist friends, which is always better if you’re already friends in the first place. (See The Demographics of Nakedness) Simply volunteer that you’re a nudist as a one-off at a cocktail party and you’re more likely than not to get an awkwardly blank stare as the conversation comes unraveled right in front of your eyes. But mention your summer trip to Florida, San Diego, or France with a quick aside that you have a thing for seeking out idyllic nude beaches, and you might pique just enough curiosity to entice someone into a chain of follow-up questions. “Really? You do that? Don’t know if I’d ever do that. How did you get into that?” In one such conversation of recent years, that thread led to the discovery that a professional colleague and her husband vacation at a naturist place (CHM Montalivet) just up the coast from our favorite naturist place (La Jenny) in France. Now they have become regular guests for naturist BBQ evenings on our back porch. You simply never know who’s out there, just waiting for a chance for a staycation-nakation.

The good news? While social nudity remains taboo for many, the very concept is becoming more and more common in the mainstream news. (See Things Are Getting Better for Naked People) To be sure, people are still confused about the sexuality piece of the whole equation, but as it happens, that’s precisely why I started this blog. Every time we – the collective naturist community – get another article or blog post out there about non-sexual social nudity, there is one more invaluable resource for the naked-curious out there that might help them figure the whole thing out. And thus… I’m hoping THIS blog will become a participatory exercise…


Have you been successful in introducing your friends to home naturism? COMMENT BELOW. This blog typically gets about 1500 hits a day. Share a good idea and you might even liberate a new naturist from the oppression of their restrictive clothing!

Talk to us, my naked friends!

All images were taken from a Google search and are believed to be in the public domain. If you find an image that belongs to you, and you’d like to have it removed, just let me know.

Reflections on a Naturist Life: La Jenny, France 2019

After an absence of five years, we finally made it back to La Jenny this summer, the place I’ve often cited as the best naturist place in the world. [See previous post here] As it goes with the best of anything, such classifications are highly subjective, and even in this case, we’ve wavered a good bit on that assessment over the years, depending on the weather during our most recent visit. A rainy week at La Jenny doth not a fabulous nakation make.

You can read the long version of our naturist saga here, which highlights our first visit to La Jenny in 1997 as a pivotal event in our naked lives. That first time, we only stayed for four nights, but we were immediately smitten with the place, and with the concept of French family naturism in general. (Check out this recent post by Nick and Lins about family naturism in France. Compelling, at least!) We returned for two weeks in 1999 with our pre-adolescent kids, at which point it became a perennial project to figure out how we could manage the airline tickets for a family of five to get back for subsequent nakations. By this time, we had tried several naturist places in America with our children in tow, but they were quickly moving into the “This is really awkward and dumb” state of mind about going on vacation with parents, let alone taking your clothes off. La Jenny was an immediate game changer, and our summers there still live among our most cherished family memories – nudity notwithstanding.

We would return to La Jenny at least a dozen times over the ensuing years, sometimes with kids, then as they were out on their own, sometimes as a couple. In 2014, we even “coerced” some of our naturist friends from home to join us a weeklong visit, but alas, it was one of those iffy weather weeks which left the lasting impression, “This place would be perfect if the sun shone a bit more.” After that, summers got busy with other things to do and  places to be, and La Jenny fell off our travel itinerary… until this year.

La Jenny, 1999

Though our adult children don’t really consider themselves naturists, they don’t bat an eye at getting naked for a family vacation, especially if it turns out to be an all-inclusive sort of deal where they get room, board, and a free plane ticket. Two of the three took the bait this summer, so we found ourselves – naked – on the porch of our chalet near the La Jenny golf course, playing Uno into the wee hours of the morning again. It felt reminiscent to be back in this charming naturist village, sitting near the pool, watching an entirely new generation of naturist families, providing evidence – in the flesh – that family naturism is a booming business in France. 

As a blogger and avid advocate of family naturism, it has occurred to me on many occasion that our naturist travelogue probably seems someplace between irrelevant and unreachable to many a would-be American naturist. I suspect that many feel just like we did back in 1997, saddled with three small children and barely enough money to buy shoes and lunch makings for the coming school week. “Nakation in France? Never gonna happen.” [There’s a whole separate story that goes here about my friend David who taught me how to earn airline miles with a credit card, but I won’t go down that rabbit hole right now.] And I also remember the “Ah-Ha” moment when we realized that a short week in a Disney park carries roughly the same price tag as three weeks in Europe, if we could figure out how to get everybody from this continent to that one. 

La Jenny, 2003

But as I read so many blog posts, tweets, and reddit musings from frustrated husbands and fathers who simply can’t find a way to sell naturism to their spouses and families, I can’t help but think, “That’s because you simply can’t find a place in close proximity to where you live to replicate the everyday normal naturist experience in France… or Croatia…or Spain.” Family naturism will never feel normal when you’re in an environment where it simply isn’t… NORMAL!” Where the people you see at the pool and the beach and at the restaurant that evening are the same people you would encounter at Disneyland, or Six Flags, or even at the local grocery store or restaurant. 

La Jenny, 2005

I’ve ranted a good bit in these pages over the years about the “nudist colony” feel of naturist places in the US. Indeed, there are a few places in North America that have broken that boundary, but making a quick weekend jaunt to Toronto or Palm Springs may even be more cost prohibitive than going to Europe. And then there are the family naturism casualties in the US, like Caliente in Florida, which finally gave up on their business plan for family naturism when they realized that catering to those seeking a sexual adventure became a necessity for keeping the cash flow in the positive. Or Desert Sun (formerly Desert Shadows) in Palm Springs, which first opened as a family naturist destination, where many units sold under the banner of “my grandkids can come visit me here,” only later to have children banned from the premises altogether as the potential of aiding and abetting a child predator outweighed the prospects of attracting clients who would pay for a family nakation. We Americans like to think we’re really progressive, but when it comes to intergenerational nudity, we simply can’t seem to figure it out.

La Jenny, 2007

Like Nick and Lins say in their piece, the French have totally figured out the formula for making family nakation acceptable, even to those who would rather vacation with their clothes on. (Imagine that! Telling your friends you went with your family on naked vacation without worrying about getting reported to Child Protective Services!?) France has also learned to embrace mainstream and social media in a way that doesn’t just sexualize or poke fun at social nudity, but portrays it as a viable recreational option for everyday people who simply want to de-stress, snooze by the pool, and walk on the beach, then come home without tan lines. 

La Jenny 2013

So now it’s 2019. As I rode my bike (naked) down to the village for croissants and a baguette from the market (also naked), before spending the rest of the day (naked) with my wife, friends, and adult children, I couldn’t help but get a bit nostalgic about that first visit to naturist France some 20+ years ago. I remember thinking, as we were in our thirties back then, “Why did it take us so long to discover this magical place? And how will I ever go on another vacation, anyplace, where clothing is required by the pool or on the beach? Why is that even a thing?”

So I guess that’s the point. Despite the best efforts of the most ardent proponents of social nudity in the US of A, it seems unlikely we’ll ever catch up with our European friends when it comes to creating a place where family naturism not only seems normal, but is in demand! Are there safe places to get naked with your family in the United States to enjoy social nudity with your family? A few, scattered across the country. Do any of them measure up, even to the mid grade places in France? Well… not from what we’ve seen, and we’ve been looking for a long time.

So if you’ve made it this far in these wandering musings from a meandering naturist, and you’re still living in the confines of naked and alone at home, I simply encourage you to find a cheap plane ticket, do a bit of careful research, then go get naked in France. It doesn’t have to be La Jenny; there are over 300 options in France alone. But if you get it right, you might end up wrecked… and naked… for life! 

So, What’s the Deal with My Obsession with Nudity? It’s a Thing!

I was in the car the other day with a naturist friend, Jennifer, debriefing about the whole naturist thing.

In fact, we were on the way to the airport as she had just spent a few days hanging out with us at La Jenny, (one France’s premier naturist resorts) it seemed like a good time to grill her for a few moments about her proclivity for doffing her clothes whenever given half a chance to do so. She mused quite a lot about naked time as having become “safe zone,” which is particularly notable in this case as up to a few years ago, the idea of getting naked with other humans in a non-sexual environment wasn’t even something that had crossed her mind! Now, I think she would go as far as to identify herself as a fervent naturist.

So, there’s no question that I’m the most fervent naturist in our immediate family, having spent years creating a naturist friendly environment behind our home with the strategic placement of hedges and other landscape features that protects our neighbors from unsolicited glimpses of sunbathing and naked wine-tasting on our back deck. My wife is a most willing co-conspirator when it comes to naked tubbing, and I think she would tell you that given the choice, she’d choose nakation over vacation if such can be accomplished without compromising the touristic elements of our travel itinerary. (One is hard pressed to find a naturist hotel or campground in Morocco, Turkey, or Singapore, the latter of which has such strict anti-nudity laws that you could get you arrested if spotted naked through the sheers of your hotel window!!) Of our three adult children, all are naturist friendly to varying extents, but I don’t think any of them would drive more than ten minutes out of the way to visit a naturist beach instead of the more convenient textile option next door. BUT I WOULD! And SO would Jen. 

I asked her in the car a few days ago, “Why do you think some humans are simply hard-wired as fervent naturists? Something in our DNA? Is it a philosophical disposition? A psychological crosswire that sets us apart from the rest of the human race who can’t bear that thought of going to bed with two layers of unnecessary clothing?”

She reflected for a bit, then alluded to a common friend we’ve discussed in the past who is big into Second Life, that cyber world where people live in an alternate reality that replicates all the elements of daily life, but interfaces through a computer generated world where your actual identity is completely detached from your day to day existence.

“Getting naked is sort of like that for me. A complete departure from my daily routine. Even the ability to get up in the morning and not worry about what I’m going to wear, how I’m going to accessorize, and just how I want the world to perceive me today is a real game changer.” Jennifer thought a bit more, “When I’m naked, I’m just me. Done.”

We mused a bit more on the topic about whether there’s a correlation between one’s penchant for nudity and the qualities of openness and vulnerability that same person exhibits in their everyday (clothed) lives. I am personally fond of that notion, but as I ran a quick inventory of people we’ve encountered at all the naturist places we’ve visited over the past thirty years, I had to challenge the premise on the grounds that I’ve met a lot of rude and jerky people who seemed neither open, nor genuine, let alone vulnerable – just naked.

“Yup,” I say, “I’d like to think that naturists simply see the world and interact differently with other humans, but in reality, well… I’m not sure that checks out. “

But back to the title of the blog post itself, I’ve never really fully figured out my own disposition that somehow results in a direct correlation to the stress levels of the day, and the subsequent desire to get naked at the end of that day. In that regard, I have to agree with Jen! Especially as I’ve developed an identity as a naturist blogger where I interact (mostly in cyber-space) with a whole community of humans that are neither involved or even interested in what I do for a living and whether or not I’m successful at it. And also like Jen, I find a distinct sense of relief in leaving my textile image at the door, and at least in my case, all the insecurities I have felt that day when my shirt doesn’t quite fit right, or the shoes didn’t coordinate with my pants. Strangely, despite age spots, weight gain, and a host of other typical hang-ups that most of us have about our own bodies, there’s something empowering about simply acknowledging, “This is the skin that I have, and I’m sticking with it. So there!”

When you stop to think about it, it’s a complicated phenomenon. We have friends that will get naked in the hot tub with us but would never consider a nakation. And others who seem intrigued by our naturist endeavors, but would never even consider going topless on a European beach, despite the fact that they may be more fit and “attractive,” – by 2019 cultural standards – than we are. For my wife, it’s really much more an issue of pragmatism. Naturist friends come over for dinner and it’s warm and not too buggy on the screened porch, so off come the clothes. But if she’s working around the house when a trip into the garage or onto the front porch might require a light cover-up, “Meh! It’s not worth the hassle. Better to just stay dressed.”

But I suspect that many of my readers are a lot like me… and like Jennifer. 

“Give me twenty-five minutes of time out of mainstream society, and I’m going to my safe place. Where I can leave my clothes, my identity, and at least someof my stress laying on the floor before I have to cover-up and face the harsh realities of the outside world again.”

We live in a world where appearance is a multi-million-dollar industry; in an age where a woman on the eastern Mediterranean could be arrested for exposing too much of her face. Yet at the same time, hundreds of naked Germans are frolicking in the altogether on a beach just a couple hundred miles across the seal. It makes you wonder how simple nudity became such a controversial subject, or even a subject at all?

And in the same breath, it makes me wonder why I’m so obsessed with the right and the desire to be naked, and even more so, why anyone else would care if I am.

But one thing I do know…. It’s a thing.

All images were taken from a Google search and are believed to be in the public domain. If you find an image that belongs to you, and you’d like to have it removed, just let me know.

That Day I Got My Millennial Friends into Naturism!

Remember Addie? She’s our twenty-something friend who’s not only become a fervent naturist, but quite a prolific blogger as well. She’s particularly keen on what might make naturism more alluring to people in her own demographic, as she’s clearly found it to be most liberating and rejuvenating for herself. Having come to naturism just in recent years, I think she offers timely perspective to encourage others to follow in her (naked) footsteps…

[This post was published previously under the title of “The Joys of Sharing Naturism. “]

When we establish human connections within the context of shared experience we create community wherever we go” –Gina Greenlee 

One of my greatest joys in life stems from moments in which I am lucky enough to introduce others to places and experiences that I have found meaningful; I gain great pleasure from watching someone else experience something for the first time that means a lot to me. Certainly, I would qualify naturism as a defining feature of my life through from which I derive a great amount of joy. Therefore, it naturally follows that I very much enjoy experiencing someone else’s moment of astonishment as they realize, “Wow! I’m not wearing clothes in public and it’s awesome!” 

Certainly, I have not had the joy of experiencing this moment many times, as I’m fairly new to naturism, but witnessing someone experience naturism for the first time constitutes something very special for me, and I can’t wait to continue to share my love for naturism with others. 

In this blog post, I offer two vignettes about sharing in someone’s first moments with naturism, along with a list of tips for how a naturist can help someone navigate their first experience with non-sexual nudity.  

Vignette #1: Naked Breakfast: Northeastern US

As a young, single female in the Northeastern United States, there aren’t a whole lot of opportunities to get naked without establishing an expectation for sex. Therefore, when a situation arises to eat a potato hash with an over-easy egg in the nude with your neighbor, you obviously must take full advantage in the fully monty! 

My neighbor, Joe, and I had known each other for about sixth months when I traversed to Germany. After my return, he asked me about the happenings of the trip over happy hour oysters and wine. I described that relaxing without a swimsuit in the German spas bumped my trip from the “great” category into that of the “unbelievable.” Having never frequented a co-ed spa in the nude, he was initially surprised, but intrigued; he continued to casually follow up in subsequent conversations, asking questions like, “Have you been to naked beaches?” and “Why do you like it so much?” Through his line of questioning, he discovered that I not only have “skinny-dipped,” but I enjoy almost everything more without clothes, including sharing meals. He expressed an interest in trying it out, and eventually one morning, he proposed breakfast- not just a breakfast, but a naturist breakfast. 

            I was already wearing a bathrobe when he arrived at my apartment; I had set out two towels across the kitchen chairs so as to indicate, “this is where we will sit.” While puttering around cooking, my bathrobe came undone-no problem. He followed my lead, getting undressed in the living room, as I continued to cook in the kitchen, affording him a bit of privacy. For several moments, he talked quickly, trying to “cover up” his physical features I had not previously seen before. However, after a few minutes of cooking, all “first time” awkwardness seemed to have washed away, as he laughed about the new sensation of the oven fan blowing air against a body part that was rarely afforded the light of day! Slowly but surely, he became more outspoken for the cause, exclaiming about the serendipity and carefree nature of the moment more than once.

“You know, I’m a fan of over-easy eggs and potato hash in any context, but sharing it in the nude with a friend? It’s a no-brainer; it’s simply the best.” Seriously, what a good morning, filled with ample conversation of body positivity and lots of laughter. 

Vignette #2: Naked Island: South of France

As someone who frequents the south of France, I’ve visited Ile du Levant, an all-naked island, several times; I might even describe it as one of my top 10 favorite places in the world! This time, I took three newbies along for the ride! 

            This July, four friends and I had planned to visit Iles du Porquerolles, a group of three islands off of the southern coast of France. However, I quickly realized that they had an interest in the naturist island, Ile du Levant, when they started asking questions like, “Have you ever been?” and “Can you be naked everywhere?” Each of them wanted to know something different. One asked, “Do you have to be naked?” while another asked, “How beautiful and crowded are the beaches?” The third questioned, “How good is the food?” I answered each to the best of my ability, emphasizing that because it is not a resort, there are truly no Naked Police present on the island; I suspect that this provided an “out” to my friends who had decided to sign on for not just a few hours naked, but a whole day on an all-naked island.

            Upon arriving, I immediately shed my shirt, taking in the glory of the sun on my skin, and setting a precedent for my friends who followed behind. We hiked to a lovely cliff surrounded by crystal clear water, and the water gave each person the courage and the impetus to “dive right in,” both literally and figuratively. As soon as they hit the water, each person seemed to relax. One particularly funny moment consisted of a friend slipping and sliding while exiting the water, her bare butt bobbing up and down in the shallow water amidst her shrieks of desperation and laughter. After that moment, everything seemed to flow naturally; sometimes one person would slip on shorts or a cover-up, but as we passed several people on our walk and at lunch, some in the nude and some in various stages of dress, each person in the group seemed to understand that truly anything goes. 

            Over lunch and on the walk back to the port, I had a particularly poignant conversation with one of the girls, Kelly, who said that never in her life had she felt so comfortable with her body image at a beach/pool setting. We shared an excellent conversation about naturism, dating for naturists, and seeking out vacation spots specifically on account of their potential for naturism. She seemed almost immediately sold on the concept, citing this day as “one of the best in her life.” Though I enjoy naturism because of its typical features of peace and quiet, this comment struck me as incredibly poignant; one of the only things that I enjoy more than naturism itself is sharing naturist experiences with others. Once again, there’s a parallel: I enjoy sharing clothed vacation spots with others, and I love teaching others my hobbies so that they can experience joy through those hobbies also, so why would I not absolutely love sharing naturist experiences with a newbie naturist? SUCH sweet moments in the south of France; I think each of us felt bummed to board the all-clothed boat to return to the mainland. 

How to Prepare to Share Naturist Experiences with Others

Unless your friends have been carefully following a naturist blog (doubtful), it seems wise to broach the subject with care, as they might have loads of questions and may feel self-conscious talking about the subject. Here are a few helpful tips about how you can prepare a newbie for their first naturist experience. 

  1. Discussion. Make sure that you have fully described why you enjoy naturism. Explain what non-sexual nudity means to you. 
  2. Give them Options. Don’t ever force someone into trying naturism. Instead, express your excitement and openness to share various experiences with others naked. Offer a variety of potential situations in which you enjoy naturism so that people can choose one that seems right for them. For some, swimming seems like a natural entry point, as people tend to wear less clothes at the beach/in a pool/hot tub anyways. Naked breakfast could seem like a larger leap to some, because the thought of sitting at a table without clothes or even in underwear seems like a bit of a stretch. Some might prefer a beer to ease them into the experience. Whatever the options, one must admit to the idea that options provide someone with the ability to choose a situation with which they might feel most comfortable. However, keep in mind that talking about naturism could also make someone feel shy. Read the signals and do your best to help. 
  3. Don’t make them guess the Norms. As a newbie naturist, it can be embarrassing to ask questions. However, the more answers that you give without them asking, the less mysterious and/or scary the experience will be. Depending on their nonverbal cues, explain to them about what to expect in various naturist situations that may apply to them: Is it expected that you wear clothes? Could you wear just bathing suit bottoms but not a top? Do you need to sit on a towel (yes!)? Is there a norm for shaving (no)? Can/should you eat at that restaurant naked/topless? Where can they get undressed/where can they leave their clothes?
  4. Take off your clothes first. It’s always better to have the newbie naturist follow “in your footsteps.” Otherwise, they will wonder where to take off their clothes (in public or privately), when to take off their clothes, etc. Better for you to set the precedent and to show that you’re comfortable than to leave them wondering. 
  5. Ensure them that you are not judging. Body image is a thing! Ironically, after being immersed in naturism, many find that they feel less self-conscious. However, prior to experiencing it for the first time, many feel quite nervous about exposing all. While experienced naturists are used to not judging others for their body shape, shaving preferences, size of their butt, etc., newbies may feel extremely nervous. I tend to share the brief vignette that eased my concerns as someone trying naturism for the first time: When I speak with you, where am I looking when you’re wearing clothes? The only correct answer is “my eyes.” Suddenly, everything falls into place; it’s a good point of reference if someone expresses concern. 
  6. Be willing to answer questions. If someone is nervous, they may have many questions. Be ready to answer questions in a non-judgmental way. 
  7. Give someone an out. Again, read your audience. Assure them that it’s okay to wear clothes at the table, or offer to do another activity (with clothes). It’s easy to tell when someone is squeamish or absolutely squealing with delight (and I’ve been in situations with both). If someone is uncomfortable, help to remove them from the situation or change the circumstances to make them more comfortable. 

Do you have any other tips for helping ease newbie naturists into the practice? Do you prefer naturism alone or with others? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

For me, life is better experienced with others; naturally, naturism is better experienced with others. Go share the joy! 

You might want to check out Addie’s previous posts on The Meandering Naturist:

Vignettes of a Blossoming Naturist

Dating for Naturists: Can I fit “Naturism” into my Tinder Profile Description?

Add This to Your Bucket List: Naked in a Rainstorm

Images for this post where taken from a Google search and are believed to be in the Public Domain. If you find an image that belongs to you and should be removed, let us know and we’ll take it down.

The Curious Phenomenon of Naturism and Pubic Hair

I used to spend a lot of time on naturist forums and message boards, hoping to find a few like-minded humans (largely a fail), learn about some new naked places I hadn’t found on my own (often a hit!), and get a pulse on how naturism was playing on the fringes of mainstream media. But anyone who has spent any significant time in such elusive corners of the world wide web has probably shared my dismay at the number of threads that have been hijacked by one of two following topics: “Erections” and “Pubic Hair.” 

Now five years into my blog, I’ve been quite intentional about avoiding both topics, as it seems to me there were plenty of people on those boards to pontificate on those matters. I’ve been cornered a couple times on the erection topic by goofy reporters who have found my blog and have literally interviewed me to ask how one goes about applying sunscreen… down there… without… you know…

“Ugh! Don’t be a jerk!” Just go to a real naturist place and see what its really all about! Non-starter!

Before you ask… NO! These are not photos of us!

But I have to admit, the pubic hair thing remains an intriguing topic even after all this time. (Remember, my wife and I have been naturists for over thirty years.) It sort of hit home when we encouraged a young colleague to visit Therme Erding – a mega spa near Munich that attracts a LOT of 20/30-somethings. Our friend wrote to my wife after the first day there asking whether “women are expected to be hairless, or is that just a cultural norm in Germany?”

My wife wrote back, “Do what you want. Nobody cares!”

Some weeks later, we were at Erding, and by golly, nearly all the women were hairless! And half of the men – at least in the pubic region – were shaven as well. Since then, we’ve been to naturist places in Montenegro, Spain, and France, and I would have to say that those statistics are near consistent, regardless of age bracket. 

In the too much information department, we are typically not hairless, but coiffed… one might say. Let’s face it, if you’re naked around other people a good bit of the time, you become aware of the fact that your pubes are similar to other hair-related bodily accents; the hair on your head, facial hair, even eyebrows, for god’s sake! There’s a whole separate post to be written about the discretion one employs when catching a glance of another’s pubic region, but to be sure, if someone has a stylish blunt cut on their head, and a seemingly unkept expanse of hairiness between their legs, people are gonna notice – at least in this day and age. Just like that guy in the restaurant the other night with giant bushy caterpillars growing over the top of his eyelids! “Dude! Time to have a heart-to-heart with your barber.”

Before going any farther, let’s reiterate the ideal that most avid naturists agree that social nudity is about body acceptance, and the last thing this should invoke is additional paranoia about what people are thinking about your pubic hair, as I truly believe that in the last place, nobody really cares– any more than they care about the woman who died her hair bright Orangutan Orange, to which one might respond, “Well! That’s a choice.” (If you’ve not traveled much in Europe by the way, this is a fairly common sighting!)

But the psychology of it all becomes a good bit more complicated in the years that followed the Make love, not war era of the Sexual Revolution. Later, this became all but regulated by the porn industry when somebody in the back streets of Hollywood decided that all porn stars should look like pre-pubescent teenagers. Regardless of what you think of porn, I’ve always thought that tenant to be – at least – a bit creepy, but if you read any mainstream magazine like Vogue or Elle, they will tell you straight out how to manage your body hair to keep up with the latest trends, and don’t seem to blush when they identify those trends are set by the pornography industry.

SIDEBAR: You might want to take a look at this most excellent article in The Guardian – where I lifted the cover photo, btw – where the author talks about the intimate decisions related to managing one’s pubes.

For readers younger than myself, you probably can’t recall an era when there wasn’t a proliferation of sex manuals in print along with online advice for maximizing intimate pleasure. And god help you if you go on a date that leads to a home run, only to find your new friend is horrified by your hygienic decisions! (See related post: The Stigma of Social Nudity in the Era of Casual Sex.) So, there are plenty of reasons why one might choose to wax this, shave that, or trim the other, but when it comes the being stylish in naturist circles, I’m going to preach it again. NOBODY CARES!!!

Spiffy guide from a men’s magazine = WOW!

Once more, TMI… but this summer my wife and I went the full monty before departing for naturist Europe this summer. Call us old fashioned, but I think we both still have issues with the pre-pubescent thing, and we both prefer some flavor of neatly manicured accentuation – though such decisions are not easily reversed overnight. I personally much prefer the “punctuation” of a neatly trimmed pubic region – on a male or a female – but can also appreciate the “naked all over” effect one might enjoy whether lying in the sun, or in more personal situations.  But for those of you who might be lying awake the night before your first naturist foray wondering “what will the other naked people think?” I would advise, “WHY ON EARTH DO YOU CARE?” In the past week, I’ve seen a woman with a really full bush, and a man with a crazy thick beard. Neither elicited a response beyond, “Huh. Interesting!”  

An interesting corollary arose last evening as we were sitting at dinner – most of us naked – at a boutique naturist hotel on Mallorca. The crowd, mainly European, started to grill us as the only Americans at the table, about the naturist places near Palm Springs until one brave soul came right out with it! [Insert snarky British accent here] “What’s the deal with all the people with fake boobs at those places in Palm Springs?”

Different body part, but same question, really. Being a male (who is not fond on breast augmentation, I might add,) I can only surmise that women augment their breasts to look better when covered with fabric, and I’m going to go out on a limb that most people choose to manage their pubic region to feel better when intimate with a partner, or perhaps to attend to the whims of even a would-be partner. Maybe it’s a fashion statement when nude, maybe not. But so are tattoos, and nipple piercings, and hair coloring, and mascara, and facial hair. When you realize that being naked with other people is pretty much exactly like being clothed with other people, you come to realize that nobody really cares about your pubes any more than they care about your eyebrows, and even if they do – WHY DO YOU CARE? You’re a naturist who’s come to terms with your body! YAY for YOU!

No wonder I’ve never met a psychologist who doesn’t complain about having more clients than s/he can possibly handle. We humans really do a number on ourselves.

NEWS FLASH: PUBIC HAIR MAKING A COMEBACK?

Shortly after writing this post, we continued on to spend two weeks at naturist resort La Jenny in the South of France; a place with loads of families with an age distribution and demographic that you might experience at Disney World. The big news? At least half of the women in the 20/30-something age range had at least some pubic hair, in every configuration you might imagine. Some were shaven. Some were clean. And the ratio of pubic hair on men was hirer that recently noticed as well?

What does it all mean? It might mean that pubic hair is becoming fashionable again, or maybe it simply means… NOBODY CARES! 🙂

SEX ON THE BEACH: Why a Newbie Naturist Should NOT Visit Cap d’Agde!

We’ve been at least a half dozen times over the past twenty years, usually staying for two or three nights en route to another naturist destination. But this time, we were simply making a day visit with a couple friends – one a confirmed naturist, the other, new to the concept, but most certainty social nudity curious.

We did the best we could to prep them for this visit to the Naked City. For our naturist friend, this was something of a pilgrimage, having read so much about the most expansive naturist enclave in the world. And to be sure, depending where you’re looking on the internet, the place sounds like naturist Utopia. 24/7 nudity – in the shops, restaurants, and even in the post office. You can easily think you’ve got a good pulse on the place on the web without bumping into the language about foam parties and libertines (swingers) if you’re simply searching for the ultimate naturist destination.

On previous journeys, my wife and I have typically stayed in the modest Hotel Eve, tucked away at the edge of the village. While we’ve seen a few amorous couples there over the years, they have typically remained just within the lines of acceptable public display of affection. We understand “amorous”, and like to think we have cultivated a good appreciation for such in our 30+ years of marriage, but we have never chosen to imbibe in the libertine scene, nor are we likely to put our own affections on public display. 

Admittedly, my wife and I hold differing perspectives on the sexual pulse of Cap d’Agde as you pass a club with pole dancers on the way to the grocery store, or a woman walking by in a negligée that simply exaggerates the body parts that a bikini typically covers up, while keeping her partner close by on a studded collar and leash. “There’s some wild and crazy going on in our midst,” we say. I have always thought it to be a bizarre study in humanity. While she has never felt like we’ve put ourselves in a particularly threatening situation, my wife finds the whole environment someplace between disquieting at least, and disturbing at most. 

Until this time…

I had given a brief history of Cap d’Agde – the great naked city of France – to our friends in the car on our way down the autoroute from Provence, including the details of the original charter that still permeates the regulations to be acknowledged at the entrance today, banning overt sexuality and a wide array of other inappropriate behaviors. Some online reviews even tell stories of being denied admission at the gate due to the lack of an affiliation with a legitimate naturist organization.

In the meantime, I’ve kept up on my reading about the place over the years: the opening of a new “genuine naturist hotel” that hosts getting to know you parties on the terrace (along with alluring photos); the arson reports related to the total destruction of the most prominent swingers’ club (and the subsequent rebuilding) a few years back; and the varied reports of just what happens on the beach, especially around the time the sun begins to set. We certainly had an awareness of all that from our previous visits, but we simply weren’t prepared for what awaited us on this visit.

Once parked with clothing safely secured in the car, we made our way into the heart of the town where we consumed copious amounts of vin rosé beneath the relieving protection of misters that ameliorated the blistering heat during this prolonged heat wave in the South of France. We each ventured down to the beach now and again – the familial section of the beach near all the restaurants and shops – noting an occasional couple riding the waves locked in a suspiciously euphoric embrace. It was the typical intergenerational mixture of young families to senior citizens, with a near 100% compliance with the total nudity regulations. This was the Cap d’Adge we had experienced in the past.

Having made 8:00 pm dinner reservations, the defining moment arrived when we decided to take a stroll down the naturist beach as the sun was beginning to set. I suppose timing is everything on occasions like this, but we were hardly a few meters beyond the first beach bar when we came upon women on their knees pleasing their partners, then circles of spectators watching various displays of human sexuality – and as often as not, a circle of men, gazing on the event, pleasuring themselves in a participatory sort of way.

I should reiterate at this point that we (and thankfully, our friends who were with us) are of the live and let live variety of human. “Do what you want as long as it’s not invasive or hurtful to the other people around you.” But I have to say, this was a country mile beyond the world of bizarre. For me, it was something akin to a visit to the city zoo. “Ah, do you think we’ll see the monkey lick the other monkey’s butt today? And why doesn’t that bear ever come out of his cave!” What it wasn’t, however, (at least for me) was the least bit erotic. And my wife was (quite appropriately) offended by a woman who was simply gyrating in the sand to the pleasure of a circle of dozens of lonely-looking men. Naturist values be damned – this was in no way what we’ve come to associate with the pervasive values of social nudity in France!

It’s impossible to know the psychology at play amidst the people “playing” on the beach that day. Were they liberated? Desperate? Or just out having a good time with strangers and friends? Is that appreciably different than some of the groping and such that goes on at a New York City night club any night of the week? 

Regardless of intent, what Cap d’Agde is not is the naturist Utopia the forefathers set out to create, if simply imagined through the eyes of a person who travels half way across the world to visit this iconic naked city. Even given our recurring experiences with the place, our wandering trek through the sexcapades, as perceived along side our young naturist friends, was simply over the edge! What if an eager husband has been working for years to convince his partner that naturism is a holistic movement intended to embrace body acceptance in a non-threatening environment? It’s difficult to imagine that if Cap d’Adge were the first stop on a journey of naturist exploration that the reluctant partner would ever go near another “naturist place” EVER – again!

I suppose this is really a microcosm representing the confusion in the general public’s perception of social nudity to begin with. We keep trying to convince people that it’s not just one giant orgy in the making, except… when it is! And in this case, the naturist charter that supposedly governs the place has been completely undermined by the actual law of the land. While Cap d’Agde is advertised as the great naked city, it is actually the primary destination for, well… MANY giant orgies, which in turn generates copious amounts of revenue through tourist taxes from the tens of thousands who go there each year to experience exactly that.  I might add that this is not an effort to condemn such activities, nor do I have a desire to pass judgment on people who enjoy such an environment, but if one is trying to make a case for non-sexual social nudity, Cap d’Agde is not going to do much to help your case.

I’ve tried to imagine the dinner conversation for the young families who stay there for weeks at a time each summer. “Mommy, why were those men all standing in a circle around that woman this afternoon?” Perhaps that simply becomes a teachable moment over macaroni and cheese, but such a conversation would require a level of tolerance that most Americans could never imagine. Be that as it may, but just a word to the wise…

If you are curious about social nudity and you’re eager to find out what it’s all about, there are about three-hundred naturist centers in France alone. Cap d’Agde may not be the entry point you were hoping for.  

Photos were found on a Google images search. If you find one that belongs to you, we will be most willing to remove should you ask.

The “Right to Bare All”… and other news from Ile du Levant

If you’re a keen advocate for naturism, and you haven’t yet made a visit to Ile du Levant, you need to move that up on your bucket list. It’s one of a handful of places that has self-identified as the birthplace of naturism. (Germany and Croatia contend for this distinction as well!) At the very least, it seems to be something of a naked renaissance town at the moment, but more about that later.

Part of the adventure of coming to the naked island in France is catching the ferry from the port of Le Lavandou. Since the boat makes two stops, one at Levant, and the other at neighboring Port Cros, it’s fun to play the “I wonder who will get off the boat on which island” game. This time, the boat was quite full, and nearly every person on board disembarked at the first stop – Ile du Levant!

Mind you, we had been in transit for nearly twenty-four hours having made our way from Newark Liberty Airport, through Brussels, then on to Marseille. After another two hours in the car, and a 40-minute ferry crossing, I was itching to embrace the late day Provençal sunlight, free from the bondage of North American travel-wear!  Thirty meters up the path from the port, a quick bathroom stop, and voila! Naked!!

A few years ago, we brought long-time friends from California along with us to experience this little naturist mecca first hand. They would not call themselves naturists, but have been willing nakation companions over the years. Our friend Tom was particularly intrigued with the history of the island, the prevailing rules regarding nudity, or more acutely, “Why were there so many people walking around the island fully clothed?” Eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit, not a cloud in the sky, and so many a passers-by wearing jeans and a long-sleeve shirt. What’s up with that?

Fair question, I think, particularly on this landmass isolated from the prudish nay-sayers who might suffer the oppression of unwanted nudity. NOBODY comes to Levant without the expectation of seeing naked people. And it seems even more peculiar to me that someone might come here without the expectation of becoming an enthusiastic clothes-free participant. Tom prodded our innkeeper about the politics of it all, unpacking the complicated history of this naturist hamlet island with nearly a hundred years of controversy in defining how naked is naked. (See: Another Round of Crazy on Ile du Levant)

Now, several years later, we’re back for a weekend of naturist serenity and solitude, and I, for one, plan to get my money’s worth! While anecdotal at best, it seems this is not an uncommon perspective amidst visitors from North America, as evidenced by the only other couple at breakfast who were as naked as we were. Perhaps some people come here simply for the pleasure of lying au naturel on the beach or striving for no tan lines by the pool. Or maybe the French people think nudity to be such a non-issue, with so many places “in the neighborhood” to get naked on the day-to-day, that they lack some of the zeal of the prudish American who has waited all year (or years!) for the privilege to bare all.

We have experienced this again and again during our European travels, going to great lengths to find places where nudity is not only allowed, but required– as is the case on the coastal path just beyond the port of Ile du Levant. (Explicit signage near the port tells you where you can’t be naked, where you can be naked, and where you must be naked!) But on this morning trek, we found the demographics to be about 50-50, some fully nude, some donning beach cover-ups, and others dressed as if prepared to take on the Appalachian Trail in early October. Really!?

There is a sub-plot to all of this, pertaining especially to residential naturist places, which Ile du Levant most certainly is. (We’ve experienced this at La Jenny as well.) With increasing frequency, it seems that families have purchased homes in these naturist communities two or three generations back. The home stays in the family, but the naturism gene didn’t carry forward. 

“Hey! We have this lovely home near a beautiful beach in France!”

“Isn’t that one of those places with loads of naked people?”

“Oh yeah… you’ll encounter some of the crazy nudists, but don’t worry about it! You don’t have to get naked with them!”

As with the evolution of any neighborhood, I suppose such unintended outcomes are inevitable, but if it’s a total naturist experience you’re seeking, there’s a compelling case to be made for camping establishments that cater to young family tent-campers – the most transient of communities where the main attraction is the right to bare all. If you didn’t want to get naked, you simply wouldn’t go there.

Which takes us back all the way to our very first experience with Ile du Levant sometime back around 2006, when we came out on the ferry for a day trip for our first exploration of this historic naturist landmark. My wife and I still reminisce about her reticence to get naked that day, despite the hype about a naturist island and her confirmed affinity for naked travel.

“Are you sure we can be naked here? Why aren’t those people naked? Really, I can be topless in the village?”

We laugh about it now, but for the novice naturist, this can be quite a conundrum! As my friend Tom learned from our innkeeper that day, the modus operandus at most naturist places is simply that… “You have the right to bare all,” but there are few places that even attempt to impose any sort of regulations for mandatory nudity. “As you wish” seems to be the presumptive rule of the land.

So last night we frequented one of our favorite bistros on the island where the wait-staff were attired in their typical apparel; sandals and full-length aprons with ample butt cleavage on full display below the apron tie. While they actually advertise that nudity while dining is permitted, if not actively encouraged, I found myself – again – in the midst of that proverbial third grade dream when you realize that you’re the only one in the room with no pants on. (Except, in this case, for the waiters, of course!) It’s a small island, and by now, we’d seen at least half the people in the restaurant earlier in the day, fully nude by the pool or along the sea. But here at dinner, most everyone was fully adorned, some of the women rather provocatively so in sheer fabric that would never make muster for the church covered-dish dinner or a PTA meeting. As I made my way to the restroom, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was the singular freak-show for the evening, dressed in a button-down shirt, but nothing below. Perhaps I was, but alas, we are here in the land of as you wish, and if anyone batted an eye, they were most discrete about it. 

But it was a beautiful evening, on a naturist island, and I simply couldn’t resist the all too infrequent… right to bare all!

As to the renaissance – it seems there are more 20-30 somethings on the island than we’ve seen in recent years, and at least during the day, more naked people than we’ve encountered on previous visits. They say young naturism is on an upswing in France. Maybe the young naked people we reclaim the naturist vision on this remarkable big rock off the Cote d’Azur!