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Last Sunday my wife and I made our last summer nudist resort outing; and now that it's "over" for 2021, I figured I'd post a recap.
It wasn't super eventful; but it was good. We went to France; and we actually drove right by Cap D'Agde. I was tempted to make a stop there out of curiosity; but Agde's reputation as a swinger haven precedes it, and the last thing I wanted for my wife was to witness "beach sex." So it was a skip. Better safe than sorry.
Instead we went to a nude beach across from St Tropez. And it saddens me to say: beach nudism in France has declined considerably since its heyday when I was a kid there. There were few people; and they were mostly over 40-50 (except for a few younger men). It's quite clear that beach nudism is no longer "attractive" to young French couples. Or maybe we were there on a very slow day. Still; it was nice to swim naked in the Mediterranean.
We went to the nudist resort here in the US quite a few times this year; which at this points pretty much makes us "regulars" there. I think when people recognize you and remember your name: you've pretty much graduated to "regular" status.
My wife's attitude about nudism has increased in a positive direction this year; as she has been totally on board with making social nudity more frequent. She hasn't had any issues being naked for a while; but she has been mindful of the amount of times we visited, as she didn't want nudism to "take over our lives." Now, she is actually now at a point where she will actually miss the resort - and spending the day naked - if we don't go for a while. That's a pretty big deal because we're now "aligned" on the subject of social nudism. :+1:
One conversation we had this summer that was interesting was with a young couple in the hot-tub (not that the conversations we had with other nudists weren't interesting). They recounted their first time at the resort. Our resort, LOTW, is "all nude" (aka nude-mandatory but not strictly enforced.) When they first arrived, a couple of weeks prior to us meeting them, the first thing they noticed was that everyone they saw was naked. They turned around, walked right back to their car, got naked, and then walked back to check in. This was their first time ever at a nudist venue. Their story led credence to my personal belief that most people will actually not take off running when faced with complete nudity on their first nudist trip. I call it the "When in Rome..." effect. It was also refreshing to see young people being so open-minded about social nudity. We chatted for a good while and agreed to meet again next summer.
So this is the end for Summer 2021; but not over for the year. My wife actually wants to continue social nudity through the fall and winter; so we'll be going to the B&B for extended week ends.
Anyway, that's my Summer 2021 recap. Feel free to share your experiences!
It's good to hear you had quite an eventful summer of nudism. Another option for fall/winter nudist activities in the future might include visiting locations in the southern US. I shared on here about my wife and I's trip to a nudist resort in AZ last winter. Even when the locals think it is chilly, those of us from farther north are quite comfortable to be nude there in December. It's usually 30-40 degrees warmer.
Stay nude, stay happy!
Sounds like a great summer! Thanks for the recap. It’s great to hear about positive social nudist experiences.
It may well be that the numbers participating naturism aren't what you saw in your childhood, but Covid is still a thing and that could be affecting what you experienced on that beach this summer.
Nudism has certainly aged in America, but groups such as Florida Young Naturists show that we shouldn't write off the younger generation.
I know that there's a natural tendency of young adults to do what is trendy and that certainly varies from year to year. But when young people gather in clubs such as this, they can change the demographics of the resort by their sheer numbers and consequently overrule any false assertions that naturism is only for seniors. Naturism is for anyone willing to try it!
In a few ways, nudity has timeless appeal: the physical comfort of bare skin on a beach in summer far surpasses even the briefest swim trunks/swim suit, which can be uncomfortable as sand works its way into tight fabric. Being in our natural state comforts the mind as well: there is a powerful sense of connection to nature that many of us experience when we totally shed every inch of fabric that separates us from our world. On a secluded beach or river bank where one is reasonably assured of privacy, this joy of nudity is instantly available.
It is fair to say that some of us need a little more confidence to bare all among a crowd of beach-goers. Worries over phone cameras is off-putting here in the USA, but I hope that there is less concern over embarrassment in much of Europe were someone rude enough to post beach photos online.
Even if the majority culture doesn't widely choose to participate in beach nudity, I would prefer that our culture be blasé about it to the extent that the typical response to the sight of such a revelation would be:
"Ah! Looking online, I see that Misseur Nudony and wife were photographed on the beach au naturel! Not my thing, but good for them! It was a hot summer".
I am glad that your wife is growing more comfortable in her skin.
It helps to have others who are there for moral support and that prevents you from being the crazy solitary man who obsesses over nudity.
There are thousands, perhaps millions of us!
I don't have much to share this year, times being what they are, so tales of your adventures abroad, which are always fascinating, are more valuable than ever!
Thanks for the update, Nudony. Sorry to hear beach nudism in France is declining. Wondering why. Cell phone cameras? Influence of immigrants from the Middle East to southern France? Something else?
I agree with Ramblinman that young people aren't necessarily opposed to nudity, but need to be asked by friends they trust. It helps if the place is private.
I saw high temperatures this summer causing a big increase in people wanting to swim. When it's hot, people who have pools get asked by friends whether we invite non-family members to use our pool.
That can be a conversation starter. Depending on how well we know the friend, we may say, "Yes, we do, and we'd love to have you over, but there's something we need to talk about first. Since nobody can see into our yard, we usually swim without swimsuits."
We don't have people at our home unless we know them well, and they wouldn't ask if it's okay to come if they didn't know us well and think we'd probably say yes, so we've got a good idea if they'd respond negatively to nudity. Even with some of our closest friends, because we know they'd be horrified, we don't tell them and instead we dig out the swimsuits and keep them on when those friends come over. But with most who are close enough friends to ask us if they can come over to swim, we feel the friendship is close enough they won't be angry or upset if we tell them we usually swim nude, even if they politely decline to join us. Few object to a husband and wife swimming nude in their own home.
Some friends, when asked by a non-nudist if it's okay to come over to swim, say they usually swim nude. If the non-nudist seems interested, they'll invite a group over to swim, all of them nudists except the non-nudist or non-nudist couple, and at some point one of the nudists will start complaining about their swimsuit and take it off, sometimes asking the non-nudist first if it's okay, sometimes taking it off without asking first.
We don't do that at our home. My personal policy is I don't undress with a man I know until he's already nude, but some of my friends are comfortable with a clothing-optional approach in their homes, and it seems to work for some people.
Nearly all non-nudist guys end up undressing once they come to a group swim, and most women end up at least topless, often eventually going fully nude. Often women go for a swim, get talked into taking swimsuits off underwater, really enjoy the feeling of water caressing their nude bodies as they swim, and end up very nervously climbing out of the pool without putting their swimsuits back on since everybody else is nude. Being next to a man in the pool and realizing the water conceals very little also helps overcome modesty.
We think it works better to invite a "nervous newbie" woman to come to a women-only swim where she can learn to enjoy nude swimming and get an all-over tan with no men around. If she's married or seriously dating, once she learns to enjoy swimming nude, usually it doesn't take long before she's willing to invite her husband or boyfriend. Men almost never say "no" to a nude swim with two couples who know each other well, and once they realize how much fun social nudity is, usually the couple is ready to come to a mixed-gender group swim with more people.
We've made mistakes and had some bad experiences. Some friends we thought would be open to nudity were not, and telling them about our preference to be nude strained our friendship. Some couples had the "reluctant spouse" problem, and even after a wife or girlfriend had undressed, she didn't want to be there. (That's part of why we prefer inviting women first to women-only swims.) Also, nudism got blamed for some bad boyfriend-girlfriend breakups.
Some enjoyed nude swimming but due to personal circumstances it likely won't become part of their lifestyle, but they might seek out a nude beach or a resort on vacation. Others seem "hooked," and if we lived closer to a nude beach like we did in college, we'd probably see them every weekend. With "friends of friends" who we met at other people's homes, I sensed some women were being pressured into nudity, and got the strong feeling they were going to tell their hubby or boyfriend when they left, "Okay, I've done this to satisfy you. Never take me back to that place again."
I think the summer heat opened up opportunities, but like anything else, some people try social nudity and decide it's not for them.
The most common reason women give seems to be poor body image, and that's really sad, especially because lots of women who say that are pretty good looking but don't feel comfortable, as one said, "putting myself on display nude for men other than my husband." Most nudist men don't think that way, and if women would give it time they'd learn that, but one nude visit to a friend's pool where most people are strangers she doesn't know isn't what it takes to build body confidence.
Fear of the unknown is the biggest of them all, isn't it?
The remedy for unease around strangers is of course to make friends. That's why some travel clubs will host a clothed dinner: so you can meet the members in a more accessible setting. Just a bunch of friendly folks having dinner at a private room in a restaurant. Church groups do nothing different.
Your garden variety of AANR-type club is simply made up of plumbers, electricians, car salesmen, realtors, tech workers, lawyers, bankers and even clergy. Some are home with kids; we have singles and grandparents. There are Dems, Repubs, Libertarians and people who want nothing to do with politics!
Most of us are very ordinary-looking people leading ordinary lives and we aren't going to hit on your husband, wife or children.
I am well aware of the odd groups that give nudists a bad name, but the vast majority of us are not those people.
You can find plenty of weirdness in a state park or public textile beach.
Naturist venues are usually friendlier and far better supervised than your garden variety of beach park or camp site.
So, once people can get past rumor and preconceptions and learn what nudists and naturists are really like and actually know us by name, it is far less daunting.
It wasn't until college that I learned that it wasn't just something that happened on French beaches or among west coast New Agers.
Nudists have been misunderstood and mistreated, so it is understandable that we keep a low profile. In fact, we are much more common in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, New England and Deep South than folks realize.
Day-One of social nudity is a big leap for some people, even when they are among friends, but if you remove as many other fears as possible, eventually you realize that we all have bodies; your nakedness is no great revelation. Get over it and have fun! In my case, I simply said, "I may still have some anxiety, but I am ready enough; let's get to it!
In a small campground, there's a bit of extra attention to newcomers, but if you can realize that's what it is, you will be a friend among friends in an hour or two.
A lot of newcomers forget that they are naked. It may surprise them how quickly bare skin becomes the "new normal". Our friendly community works that magic!
Having grown up in France in the eighties I would agree with Nudony that nudity and body acceptance used to be more accepted. One noticeable difference is the number of women being top free at any beach, it used to be the majority and now it is the exception. It may be partially cellphones but that wouldn't entirely explain the decline that started in nineties. It could also be that American culture through movie and music and later on through social media has had an increasing influence in Europe.
So whatever happened to the widespread acceptance of women going bra-free in the '60s and '70s? It became "uncool", as a new generation of women arose who, like most youth, didn't want to be caught dead looking like their mothers. What's fascinating is that this is exactly the same line of reasoning that came up repeatedly in the articles I've read about the decline of topfreedom on French beaches. When surveys interviewed French women to ask why they were choosing to wear bikini tops again, more often than not, the answer was "our mothers went topfree, and still do it as older women, so it's an uncool thing we associate with old women past their prime".
It's much the same way with how a bra-free woman is often perceived today in America. It is mentally associated with '60s and '70s bra-burning "hippies" with a chip on their shoulder...many of whom experienced accelerated body aging due to drug-heavy lifestyles and are now old, saggy, permanently over-tanned, and reek of cigarettes. (I'm stereotyping a bit, but this is what you see in pictures of places like Woodstock and is what many of those involved have aged into today.)
Some of that perception may be starting to change recently with the push for "body acceptance" in certain corners of social media (mostly among "girls talking to girls" rather than a general audience); but for the most part, except in a few rare situations where celebrities get away with it as part of a flamboyant, boastful fashion statement (often as part of a ridiculously complicated getup that removes any "naturalness" from the overall look), if a young woman is seen without some form of breast support in public today, the reaction often seems to be along the lines of "wow, she really let herself go today" - i.e. that she's not taking care about her appearance. Or - if she happens to be blessed with bosoms that don't "need" much support - she might fear being looked down upon as trying to "cheaply" attract men's attention. These perceptions are in line with the survey answers given by French women regarding the decline of topfreedom: they eschewed going topfree because they didn't want to be seen as "cheap" or "easy" by men.
The cyclical nature of fashion trends is evident throughout this. In the '50s and early '60s, we had the era of the "bullet bras", bright red lipstick, and wigs, where the fashion world increasingly rejected the natural form in favor of a Jetsons-like "high-tech" look where the body was squeezed and painted in order to project a "modern", artificial sense of beauty. Elements of the '60s and '70s rejected that in favor of a more "natural" (but often unkempt) look that was expressly intended to offend their parents. In the '80s, Hollywood sex icons donned tight turtlenecks and latex catsuits, returning to the "high-tech", artificial look; and in the '90s and '00s, visible undergarments and superfluous bra straps became vogue, strangely blending the rejection of "naturalness" with the "dumpy", unkempt look of the '60s hippies. (As for the 2010s and 2020s, I'm somewhat at a loss to categorize them, becuase everything in popular culture is so chaotic right now that it's hard to pick out a singular "style". Ask me again in 10 years. :-) )
Painting entire decades with a broad brush like this is bound to oversimplify; there were, of course, contrary style movements parallel to each of these throughout. Whatever the "high fasion world" was pushing, there were plenty of people in the '50s that went with more "homely" natural looks; and plenty of non-hippies in the '60s who rejected the unkempt "Woodstock look" in favor of "modern" styles; and in the '80s, outside of Hollywood "sex icons", mainstream fashions actually became far more "modest". Etc., etc. But there were nonetheless clear shifts that can be charted in the interpretation (acceptance or rejection) of the natural human form, and how it was seen as serving or disserving the cause of "sexy" vs. "modest" looks.
When you look at it this way, it's hard to attribute the shift away from nudity (both full and partial) solely or even primarily to "modesty". Both American and European cultures have (on the whole) become increasingly more hyper-sexualized throughout all these style changes. Nudity, and adjacent practices such as going bra-free, were serviceable to that end only so long as they shocked the sensibilities of mainstream culture; once people became desensitized to them and "burned out", as Nudony put it, they went back to trying to use clothing to make themselves "sexier".
The surveys of French women regarding toplessness illustrate this yet further. Even though many of the survey respondents described their choice to return to bikini tops as "more modest", actions speak louder than words. If they really wanted to be more "modest", they would've donned swimsuits that actually covered their bodies, not barely-there bikinis; yet the bikini is as dominant as ever in celebrity culture (in both America and Europe), as social media and news sites won't let us forget. Modern bikinis are far skimpier than the ones French women shed the top halves of a half-century ago, belying the claim that the new generation is "returning" to older standards of modesty. And celebrities today are fonder than ever of posting so-called "topless" pictures of themselves, but it's "funny" how they'll never post uncensored versions of them, even on sites such as Twitter where they could get away with doing so selectively, or in glamor magazines where censorship is purely an editorial decision. There's always a strategically placed arm, or they're shown from the back, etc. They understand all too well that nudity only serves the cause of "sexy" when it's suggested but never really seen. If they didn't "ration" the exposure of their bodies, pretty soon their audience would get "burned out" and cease to be titillated by it. They have far more "power" wearing a suggestive, barely-there garment that makes a mockery of modesty than they would by just being unashamed of their natural appearance. I think the decline of nudity and toplessness in France (and of bra-freedom in America) comes largely as a result of people figuring that out, consciously or not.
What really struck me from the French surveys is that many of the women cited things like "empowerment", "feminism", and "fighting sexism" as reasons why they chose to no longer be top-free. I'm sure their mothers, who fought for the right to wear as little as a man on the beach, would be baffled by the idea that putting on a garment that sexualizes the female form is somehow "empowering" against sexism. But this is very much in line with the new "woke" generation's idea of "freedom". It's no longer about being free from restrictions and constraints placed upon you by other people or society; now it's about being "empowered" to take power over others into your own hands in a dog-eat-dog world where everyone's looked at through a lens of "victim or oppressor". So for them, "fighting sexism" isn't about de-objectifying their bodies, but rather about taking control of how they present their bodies as sexual objects, as they actively encourage men's (and women's) eyes to desire them, supposedly now "on their terms". Suggestive clothing, therefore, is seen as "empowering", both on the beach and on the red carpet. Recent "celebrity events" like the Oscars, Emmys, and Met Gala overflow with examples of this new kind of "feminist empowerment", with bizarrely suggestive outfits that would make the "male chauvinist pigs" of old laugh themselves silly, realizing that they won the war for women's bodies without firing a single shot. :-(
What does this mean for the future? A lot will depend, I think, on which way America and the western world come out of the "culture war" they're now embroiled in. As long as the fashion trend-setters continue to embrace a cynical, worldly philosophy of hyper-sexualized "empowerment" rather than genuine personal freedom and a life that's supposed to be about far more than sex, the kind of openness and acceptance nudism embraces will become increasingly alien to the popular culture.
As paradoxical as this might sound to people who don't truly understand either Christianity or nudism, I don't think the world will be able to truly grow in accepting the natural state of the body until it returns to social views more in line with Christian values. Nudism requires letting go of the haughty pride and "image control" that the secular world teaches us to cultivate through clothing, jewelry, body modification, etc. If your sense of identity and self-worth is wrapped up in your perceived "sex appeal", then it's hard to accept the idea of being "just as you are", because we all know deep down that we're not "good enough" in our fallen state. The Christian's self-esteem comes not from his own cultivated "image" but from the image of God that we bear. We know that we have worth because God has chosen to love us for His own sake, and is working in our hearts to transform us back into His perfect image that we were created to reflect.
Wow! That is actually one of the most insightful and well presented posts I've read in a while.
I basically agree with nearly everything you said.
These are indeed some strange times we live in. All we can hope is that the future generation understands the importance of "natural authenticity."
The point on Christian-based ethics and naturism is spot on. Naturist beaches are being closed as a result of bad behaviour, where respect and wonder were evident before. Freedom and responsibility, free to do right, is a wonderful but accurate paradox.