Today is Thursday and that is our “Anything Goes’ day here at the Art of Adult. Today I decided to touch on the subject of the nudist lifestyle and set the record straight. There are so many falsehoods out there about this lifestyle that many people have a toally wrong idea about it. So with that in mind, hopefully this column will give you the right perception and maybe even the idea of giving it a try.
For a country that is considered by many Europeans as prudish and puritanical when it comes to nudism, that form of lifestyle in the U.S. is constantly on the rise. According to surveys from National Leisure Travel Monitor, Trip Advisor, AANR and others the number of people living the nudist or naturist lifestyle has risen from 12% to 17% in the U.S. It is a lifestyle that many have lived generation to generation growing up in the freedom of a clothesless life when they are not at their jobs or school. In addition, the rise in nude cruises and vacations has risen significantly and continues to become more and more popular. While it is on the rise here in the states it is nowhere close to Europe where there are 19 million, yes 19 million, nudists or naturists that are registered with various nude organizations, clubs, etc. The fact is that many of those Euro nudists spend anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks vacationing in the U.S. at various nudist resorts all over the country. One of the leading spots for these vacationers is the Tampa Bay area in Florida, which has been aptly called the nudism capitol of the country. Within the Tampa Bay area that comprises 11 counties, there are more than 40 nude or clothing optional resorts and communities, the greater majority of them centered in Pasco County.
There are several myths when it comes to nudists, naturists and the many resorts that cater to this lifestyle all over the country. People are very quick to associate being a nudist with being in a sexually charged, almost orgy like atmosphere and that these places are very seedy looking and a cover up for open sexual play. Nothing could be further from the truth! First of all, I can tell you as a member of a nude/clothing optional resort, that it is truly a very unsexual atmosphere. You have people of all ages, all sizes who enjoy the lifestyle and the freedom of being nude. They enjoy the pool, hot tub, canoeing, volleyball, karaoke nights and many other activities, only they prefer it to be in a nude/clothing optional atmosphere. They are doctors, lawyers, teachers, professors, nurses, business owners, athletes, and just about any profession you can think of that make up the people that belong to and enjoy these resorts. There are strict rules when it comes to behavior and anything the least bit sexual will mean being removed from the premises. The greater majority of nude resorts, more than 300 across the U.S., are members of AANR ( American Association for Nude Recreation) and their rules for these resorts are very strict. So the idea that a nude resort is nothing more than an open sexual playpen is totally wrong. As for seedy, again totally wrong. Many of the resorts are 5 star, first class with very expensive condos, apartments and homes on the premises where people live year round. There are also nude resorts that are very rustic, but in a first class way and the minute you drive into one of these places the word seedy or rundown does not apply. Some people’s perceptions, especially from those who have never been at a nude/clothing optional resort, are totally off base and that is what creates the controversy about this lifestyle.
It is amazing that in a country women can wear thongs, bikinis and even less on the beach. There is the sexual innuendo with many TV commercials and other things of a sexual nature around us every day. Yet people still have this old fashioned and archaic idea that people who are in the nudist lifestyle are nothing more than perverts and undesirable people. Again, nothing could be further from the truth.
Another area that has grown by leaps and bounds are nudist vacations and cruises. One of the leading companies that arranges these cruise “nakactions” is Bare Necessities Tour and Travel based out of Austin, Texas. The company began in 1990 with a 36 passenger dive boat in 1991 and it was a huge success for the nudists and over the years it has grown to the point where and entire ship like the Carnival Legend, with 12 decks, and other large cruise ships are completely taken over by nudists/naturists for cruises to the Caribbean and elsewhere. Lest you think different, these cruises sell out very fast and never have a problem filling the cabins. It has become one of the more popular vacation getaways for people of all ages. My better half and I will be going on a nude cruise on the Carnival Freedom to Cozumel, Costa Rica, and Panama in February 2013 through Bare Necessities and we are really looking forward to it.
The nudist/naturist lifestyle will continue to grow in the U.S. As more and more people find it a comfortable way of life, enjoy the amenities they find at various clothing optional or nude resorts and just enjoy the freedom of being themselves. Granted this not a lifestyle that is for everyone, but for those who have thought about it, it is worth the plunge. You will find that all the old fashioned myths are just that, myths dreamed up by people with no knowledge of the lifestyle and just assume that people being naked means they are perverts, low class, sexually driven and worse. That is NOT the case at all. So, if you have wondered or thought about it, check out a nude-clothing optional resort in your area and give it a try. Many of these places have one day a week that is open to non members, so they can see for themselves just what it is like and what they have to offer. Check out AANR, Bare Necessities, or any of the resorts in your area for more information and then see for yourself what you may have been missing. Have a wonderful day with nature!
Art Koch, National Features & DVD Editor, NightMoves magazine and AAN
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