Thursday, January 6, 2005

Taking the Plunge - The FAQ on Nudisim from the REC-NUDE Newsgroup

1. Naturist Etiquette

These are some generally accepted rules of Naturist Etiquette.

o Stay Out of the Dunes and other environmentally sensitive areas.

o Obey Parking Regulations and other posted rules.

o Help With Litter - bring along a trash bag. Carry out more litter
than you create.

o Don't Go Out of Established Nude Areas. To wander nude into a
clothed beach or parking area will offend many.

o No Overt Sexual Activity. Leave exhibitionism to those attending
clothed beaches.

o Respect the Property of Others.

o Ask Prior Consent For Photography.

o Privacy Is Fundamental. Many are at a club or beach for quiet time.
Body language should tell you they don't want to be disturbed. It's
not wrong to look for new friends - but it is rude to intrude when
you're unwelcome.

o Come Prepared. Bring beach supplies: beverage, food, sunscreen,
towel. Mooching is not a cool way to make friends.

o Speak Up for Standards. Don't let some newcomer who doesn't
understand the situation or our values cause trouble. Instead of
doing a slow burn, go talk, politely but firmly, to the couple
starting sexual activity, the can-tosser, the wanderer into the

This list comes to us courtesy of the Naturist Society.

2. Taking The Plunge

If you've read this far, you're probably interested in trying naturism
for yourself. Here are some tips for making your first naturist
experience as painless and enjoyable as possible:

2.1. Find a site

The best way to do this is to find an organization in your area and
ask for information. The readers of rec.nude can be of great
assistance in this area, as can parts II and III of this FAQ, as well
as the Site Reports FAQ


(NOTE: This sites FAQ is presently out of date by several years.
Due to the availability of information on sites from localized support
groups, the internet, and various commercial publications, this FAQ
appears to have been abandoned. DMK - 1-Jul-02)

When contacting an organization by mail, remember to include a self-
addressed stamped envelope for the reply - it's polite and saves much-
needed funds.) As we said earlier, you might prefer a private facility
for your first time - or you might not. It's up to you.

2.2. Don't go alone

If you're married, by all means take your spouse. If not, take a
friend of either gender. You can go alone if you want, but you'll
probably enjoy the experience a lot more with some companionship.
(Also, you should know that some private naturist facilities will not
admit single visitors - generally, this policy is applied to men more
than to women. And many facilities frown upon one-half of a married
couple attending alone. These are old attitudes which are starting to
change, but they remain in some cases.)

2.3. Review Naturist Etiquette

Naturism is built on respect - for fellow naturists, for non-
naturists, and for the environment. Naturists have a few simple rules
of etiquette; read them, and remember that the respect is mutual. See
"Naturist Etiquette" above.

2.4. Come prepared

Bring a towel, a good sunscreen (SPF 15+), reading material,
sunglasses, food & beverage, etc., especially if you're heading into a
remote area. You will not want to dress to return to your car, so make
sure you don't forget anything! (And remember to take your trash out
with you!)

2.5. Allow plenty of time

You're not going to want to leave! So it's best to devote a day or
more to your trip. Give yourself time to enjoy the experience!

2.6. Make sure to pay fees, obtain permits, etc.

If you're heading into the wilderness of a national forest, for
example, you may need a Back-country Permit. Don't let legal
technicalities ruin your enjoyment.

2.7. Relax!

You are about to have one of the greatest experiences of your life!
Don't worry about it!

When you arrive at your site, you should make yourself comfortable.
This may mean not removing all your clothing at once. That's OK. Just
make sure you're comfortable and that you appear comfortable. Relax
and enjoy the experience - don't be tense and edgy.

Once you are comfortably nude and enjoying yourself, it's easy to be
friendly and approachable. Don't just sit off in a corner by yourself
- walk around, chat, etc. If people don't want to talk to you, you'll
notice, but a lot of naturists are very friendly and enjoy meeting new
people. Go for it!

Congratulations! You're a naturist! (And it didn't kill you!) Do you
see how good it feels? You're already making plans to come back,
aren't you?

3. Naturist Glossary

Following are some terms, abbreviations, and other things you might
run into in your naturist experiences.

American Association for Nude Recreation .
A national naturist organization of North America.

"Administrative". Put in the subject of rec.nude messages to
indicate that the topic is administrative - discussions about
the newsgroup itself, rather than discussions about naturism.
These posts are supposed to be kept to a minimum. :-) See also
"RNEO" and "ObNude", and the What is RNEO? topic in part 0.

American Sunbathing Association, the former name of what is now

The Bulletin
The monthly publication of "AANR".

Canoeing while nude, a popular naturist activity.

Central Council for British Naturism
A national naturist organization of Great Britain.

CO "Clothing optional."

Eastern Naturist Gathering. See "Naturist Gathering".

ESA (a.k.a AANR-East)
Eastern Sunbathing Association. The eastern regional subdivision
of "AANR".

Florida Association for Nude Recreation. The Florida regional
subdivision of "AANR".

Federation of Canadian Naturists . A
national naturist organization of English-speaking Canada.

Federation Quebecoise de Naturisme. A national naturist
organization of French-speaking Canada.

Frei Korper Kultur. A German term for naturism.

"In My (Humble/Honest) Opinion".

The International Naturist Federation, an international
organization of national naturist organizations (e.g. "AANR",
"TNS", "FCN", etc.) INF's member organizations serve a
majority of the world's nations.

Midwestern Sunbathing Association. The midwestern regional
subdivision of "AANR".

N Nude & Natural, the quarterly magazine of "TNS".

Naturist Action Committee
The political action arm of "TNS".

One who studies nature. Although naturalists may be
"naturists", and vice versa, the two are not fundamentally
related. Asking naturalist questions on rec.nude will make you
look silly, unless they are also naturist questions. :-)

See "Nudist".

Naturist Gathering
(as in "Eastern Naturist Gathering") One of several annual
regional meetings of naturists organized by "TNS". Three or
four are typically held each year (one in mid-winter, the rest
in summer), in various parts of the country. Naturists converge
at these events to meet, greet, participate in activities,
listen to talks, and have fun.

Naturist Festival
Often regional meetings of naturists semi-sponsored by national
organizations but otherwise organized by local or regional naturists.

Naturist Education Foundation
The educational arm of "TNS".

"Nude In Front Of Computer".

See "Naturist".

"Obligatory Nude". Used by some rec.nude readers to introduce an
on-topic statement following an off-topic statement.

Rec.Nude Eyes Only. A spam defeating acronym. When placed at the
beginning of a subject line it allows readers to easily locate
on-topic messages. replies under "RE: RNEO...." It may also be
used in conjunction with news program filters or search services
as an aid to locating topical material in the newsgroup.
(Removed from the FAQ file 1-Jul-02)

SO Significant Other. A spouse, partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.

Southwestern Sunbathing Association. The southwestern regional
subdivision of "AANR".

In naturist parlance, a G-string style swimsuit which exposes
the buttocks. Wearing only a thong is the next best thing to
being nude, in some naturists' minds.

The Naturist Society . An
international naturist organization based in the United States.

Lacking a top. What a non-naturist calls "topless", a naturist
calls "topfree"; the "-less" suffix implies that something
important is missing, while the "-free" suffix implies a lack of
improper additions, such as a foreign piece of clothing. (Also,
"topless" is commonly associated with strip bars and other
commercial exploitation of nudity. "Topfree" has no known
negative connotations.)

Western Naturist Gathering. See "Naturist Gathering".

WSA (a.k.a. AANR-West)
Western Sunbathing Association. The western regional subdivision
of "AANR".

World Guide
The World Guide to Nude Beaches and Resorts
At by Lee Baxandall.
A very good and oft-quoted guide to naturist locations worldwide.
Published by "TNS".

Note: Don't use the term "nudist colony." Most modern naturists
consider this term to be pejorative. Naturists live normally among the
rest of society, not in isolated "colonies." Instead, refer to
nudist/naturist beaches, campgrounds, parks, clubs, resorts, etc.

4. What's the difference between "naturism" and "nudism"?

Some people make distinctions between "naturists" and "nudists." To
some people the differences (whatever they perceive them to be) are
quite important, but many people use the terms interchangeably today.
When asked to use one or the other, I usually call myself a "naturist"
because I like the association of that word with "natural". (However,
in actuality I prefer neither term - I'd rather be known as "a regular
guy who likes to be nude.")

The rest of this section, contributed by Durand Stieger, goes into
more detail (more than I did, anyway) about the differences between
"naturists" and "nudists." Please note that I have not edited Durand's
words - any opinions expressed are his, although I agree with much of
what he has to say.

While nudism has long been defined in dictionaries, naturism has not.
Indeed, the word "naturist" is only recently beginning to be added. In
the USA today, the words nudism and naturism may be best defined by
the two principal organizations representing these "-ism's": the
American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) and The Naturist
Society (TNS). Both organizations believe in the essential
wholesomeness, naturalness, and healthfulness of social nudity. AANR
has, since its beginning as the American Sunbathing Association (ASA),
represented nudists on private property -- generally at its privately-
owned nudist campgrounds and resorts -- and expects its members to be
"clothed when practical, unclothed when possible." TNS has been the
primary champion of clothing-optional use of appropriate public lands.
And both organizations have some areas of overlap, both in activities
and membership.

However, most of us wonder less about the "-ism's" and more about the
differences, if any, between nudist and naturist -- and, more
particularly: which should we consider ourself to be? Nudist and
naturist can perhaps best be defined by their stereotypes, both of
which relate to their typical environments. Of course, all nudists and
naturists have that common belief in the essential wholesomeness,
naturalness, and healthfulness of social nudity.

The stereotypical nudist prefers to enjoy social nudity at enclosed
private-property sites, safe from prying eyes or harassment from the
law. She enjoys use of the facilities and amenities which these
campgrounds and resorts provide. She prefers organizational structure
-- if not to participate in, then at least for the rules and
regulations afforded. And she enjoys the social structure and
activities which many private sites provide.

The stereotypical naturist prefers to commune with nature in the open
outdoors -- e.g., at a lake, stream, beach, or wilderness setting --
without the feeling of being enclosed behind tall fences. She needs
few, if any, facilities or amenities -- preferring, instead, an
undisturbed natural setting. She wants no organizational structure,
thank you, nor any list of rules or regulations imposed on her (beyond
basic beach etiquette, that is). And she needs no social structure or
activities; if there are some friends to visit with, that's fine, but
it's also fine to be alone or with just a companion or two. Further,
since the stereotypical naturist usually uses public lands for her
nude recreation, she realizes that these clothing-optional areas may
have clothed users as well.

Many of us nude recreators do not entirely match either above
stereotype; instead, we are somewhere along the continuum between
these two (and even extending somewhat beyond each). For example, if
half the time you prefer a naturist site on a beach or stream, while
the other half you prefer nudist activities at a resort with
amenities, then you are about halfway between these two on that

Before Lee Baxandall formed The Naturist Society, "naturist" was the
European equivalent to the American word "nudist" (as in the
International Naturist Federation, the international nudist
organization headquartered in Europe). Americans formerly known as
"free beachers," or just "skinny-dippers," overnight became
"naturists" -- when Lee then pulled the term out from under the
nudists and gave it new meaning in America. The former free beachers
readily adopted the new term, particularly as it emphasized the
aspects of "nature" and "natural" so dear to free beachers.

There are those of us who believe that the use of two different labels
for us, nudist and naturist, is divisive -- and that we are really all
pretty much the same, so we should treat the two terms as synonymous.
While they are entitled to their synonymous-view opinion, they should
not take umbrage when others wish to use the two terms separately --
in reference to organizational and/or philosophical denotations.
Perhaps when the day arrives that AANR and TNS are either no longer
needed or have identical objectives, then a common label will suit

Thus, each of us is free to choose whatever label for ourself that we
like best. Nudist, naturist, skinny-dipper, free beacher -- whatever
-- and we are free to use one label at one time and another at another
time, as our mood fancies. Some Naturists also see purpose to
considering Naturism as a belief, to be respected and afforded
protections, and these people (plus those of us who wish to show
respect for this view) use Naturist and Naturism in their capitalized

Almost every adult in America knows (or think they know) what "nudist"
means, while very few know what "naturist" means. However, it is far
better and more accurate for us to identify ourselves as naturists as
we influence the public toward tolerance of appropriate clothing-
optional areas on public lands.

It is also vital that we steadfastly maintain, to ourselves and the
public, that overt sexual activity has nothing whatever to do with
naturism or nudism. A common public myth is that social nudity
involves or promotes sexual activity. And we also know that some
individuals and businesses, with sexual agendas of their own, see us
as a nude, liberal-minded, meat-market hunting ground for their own
purposes. Indeed, some swingers and others with sexual agendas have
infiltrated into our organizations -- and some businesses, promoting
or allowing sexual activity, have masqueraded as nudist/naturist
businesses. These are cancers and must be removed; they are not us,
they hurt us, and they should never be considered part of us. We
cannot tolerate even a few.

5. What's the difference between "nude" and "naked"?

Some people point out a difference between the words "nude" and
"naked." The point made is that the formal definition of "naked"
implies that something normal is missing or that something
abnormal/improper is happening, while "nude" has no such connotation
(see "topfree" above.) I use "nude" most of the time for this
reason. (But, as with "naturist" vs. "nudist", other people disagree
and think "naked" is preferable, and still other people see absolutely
no difference between the two. To each his/her own.)

The Naked Truth Of Freehiking

By Ed Jensen

as posted in Sports Magazine (Online) at

“The best dress for walking is nakedness.”

Colin Fletcher, The Complete Walker III

A great deal at Amazon for a penny for a used copy)

A cool and breezy Sunday afternoon in May found me in Utah’s west desert at an obscure and trail-less canyon in the Stansbury Mountains. A mere 50 minutes from Salt Lake City, this place has provided me many times with all the solitude, serenity, and scenery that a naturist hiker could want so close to the big city. As far as equipment goes, I am about to participate in one of the most cost effective adrenaline addictions since the Greeks invented the Olympics. I’m in the mood to be nude. Devotees of the sport call it free hiking; a euphemism for hiking sans clothing… au naturel… free as a bird… the full Monty… stark raving naked!

With the exception of shoes, hat, and sunglasses, I eagerly strip down at the car, coat myself with repellant, and begin the 300 yard walk to the canyon’s mouth. Still within sight of the paved road, anyone with binoculars could observe my trek up the hill, but the only signs of human activity I can see are the dusty plumes from a couple of ATV’s a mile across the valley. Free of my clothes and laden with only a fanny pack and a small digital camera, I am still wearing far more than I care to. My fanny pack (now officially a “butt bag”) contains only the essentials of sunscreen, repellant, and water. Undaunted by the gathering clouds, I traverse the alluvial plain at the canyon’s entrance and enter its quiet realm.

I don’t even know if this place has a name. Once inside its broad limestone corridor, the V-shaped canyon twists itself upward toward the rugged Cambrian anticline that forms the spine of this arid range and the craggy peaks that were once islands in the ancient Lake Bonneville. The rocky, seasonal streambed that doubles as a trail contains the imprints of fossilized sea creatures now long extinct. I have never been to the end of this canyon, always running out of time, motivation, or daylight before I can get there.

The tactile sensations of being nude in nature bring out the hedonist in me, and I revel in the sensation of the desert breeze skipping and dancing its way down the canyon, pausing just long enough to tiptoe across my pale, pathetic skin before waltzing away to somewhere else. Springtime in the desert is breeding season for a trillion noxious insects, and without this breeze I’d be nothing more than a walking all-you-can-eat buffet. Emphasis on ALL!

It’s not always like this, of course. The insects here, although prolific in the springtime, dwindle away as the summer wears on, until by autumn there is hardly a biting insect to be found. It makes me wonder how they survive so far from water and with only the occasional naked hiker to feed on.

Mosquitoes, sunburn, and cold weather are the only real deterrents to free hiking, although such inconveniences don’t bother hardcore enthusiasts like Ben Miller. Miller is the moderator of a free hiking Yahoo group and has over 300 free hikes under his belt, as it were. Unlike me, he doesn’t always seek out the most desolate desert locations, preferring on occasion to hike the shady alpine trails of the Wasatch Front in nothing but his birthday suit. In so doing, he has become an unofficial ambassador of free hiking etiquette and good will.

While the legal ramifications of free hiking can vary by jurisdiction, Utah State Law trumps agencies like the BLM and Forest Service with regard to perceived obscenity violations. With some of the most provincial nudity laws in the country, Utah is a difficult place to be a nude recreationist. Frequent practitioners of the sport know this, and go out of their way (literally) to avoid confrontations with “textiles.” Fortunately, there is an unspoken code amongst trail users of all types, and an encounter with a naked hiker often results in nothing more than a smile and a nod. Others react with confusion.

Miller chuckles as he recalls the following run-in with a textile hiker: “We (I was in a group) encountered a man on the trail. He looked at us and said ‘That’s one way to avoid tan lines!’ I was still in the habit of getting dressed when encountering others, but I was laughing so hard at that comment that I couldn’t pull my shorts on! He didn’t really seem all that bothered by it, just amused. From that day forward I realized that most people are not as irrational about nudity as the vocal (and obviously “hung-up”) minority would lead us to believe.”

On another occasion, Miller surprised a male hiker who, looking totally perplexed, asked “Hot today?” Miller smiled and replied “EXTREMELY hot!” Says Miller, “I do try to avoid these situations. But when and if they are inevitable, I try to make the best of them. I try to leave the impression that I mean no harm. I’m just there to be myself and nothing more.”

One logical but erroneous assumption is that naturists in general are either exhibitionists or voyeurs or worse. I remember questioning my own desires to enjoy nature in the buff, but it wasn’t until I discovered that I was not alone in this pursuit that I dismissed those notions. After meeting other like minded folks, I have come to the conclusion that we just enjoy a good outing more than most people do, trading the imposition of shame and social restriction for the chance to experience life through eyes of renewed innocence and a heightened sensory awareness.

An avid free hiker from Virginia explains it this way: “It is hard to explain why I enjoy (free hiking) so much. Clearly it feels good to be without clothing now and then, provided the weather is cooperating… One certainly feels more alive when naked outdoors… It is a very healthy thing to do, mentally as well as physically.”

As I wend my way across the hardscrabble ground, I feel the sun at my back, the earth beneath my feet, and a sense of belonging. For the moment, I am a part of this place: alone but not lonely, naked but not vulnerable, unseen but not invisible, wary but not worried. I have never seen another soul here, but the occasional beer can or gum wrapper tells me that this is someone else’s sanctuary too. Actually, I’m not totally alone, for I can hear muted gobbles from the flock of wild turkeys that live here, concealed by the sagebrush and juniper trees that line the dry, eroded banks. I frightened them once, and they burst into a collective cloud of feathered hysteria, squawking and fleeing in flightless desperation. I wasn’t much better off, for we surprised each other, and it took me a few moments to get my heart rate back to normal. I can’t see them today, but I am reassured by their presence.

Using my self-timer, I capture a few images of myself in this place. If they pass the censorship test, one or two of them may adorn this article. The rest will serve as wintertime reminders of hikes past and hikes yet to come.

I got here late, and as the sun crouches below the jagged horizon, I reluctantly begin my journey back. Even though I am in no hurry, the car comes into view all too soon. As I drive away, still undressed, still happy to be away from a world of convention and pretense, I wonder about the people who would perceive my actions as some sort of perversion. Why do I have to drive so far to avoid being seen by them? What are they so afraid of? What’s the big deal? Still, in the interest of prudence, I pull on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt before entering the Interstate, and drive home through the desert darkness.

I will spend the next five days toiling away in anonymous servitude, a corporate prisoner in a cubicle cell, chained to the promise of a paycheck and my image as a civilized citizen. But I’ll just smile, content in the knowledge that the trail awaits, and that underneath the clothes they make me wear, I’m still very naked!

Guidelines For Freehiking Responsibly

1. Drink lots of liquid. Damp clothing is an indicator of how much you’re perspiring. Without clothing, you may not realize how much liquid you’ve been losing to evaporation. Use an effective sunscreen to avoid burning.

2. While hiking bare, keep a towel or pair of elastic shorts in hand (or under your hat!)

3. Try to avoid confrontations with other trail users who
may not appreciate your desire to be bare. When chance encounters do occur, be polite, use humor to put the other party at ease, and continue on your way. Remember that modesty is a state of mind and not a state of dress. Some people will be offended no matter what, but you may just make someone’s day!

4. Hike in hot weather. Fewer people hike on extremely hot days, and those who do will be more understanding about your wanting to be bare.

5. Never use freehiking as an excuse to be lewd or vulgar.
If you’re into that sort of thing, buy yourself a raincoat and hang out on Main Street.

6. Give back to the sport by participating in organized trail
restoration projects. At the very least, leave every trail better than you found it by picking up litter along your way.

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