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(NOTE: This sites FAQ is presently out of date by several years.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.)

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