naturism: see nudism.
Naturism or nudism is a cultural and political movement advocating and defending social nudity in private and in public. It may also be a lifestyle based on personal, family and/or social nudism.

The naturist philosophy has several sources, many of which can be traced back to the health and fitness philosophy in Germany in the early twentieth century, though the concept of returning to nature, and creating equality are also cited as inspiration. From Germany the idea spread to England, Canada, the United States and beyond where a network of clubs developed. The model of German naturism is to promote naturistic family and recreational sports, with the DFK being a member of the German Olympic Sport Federation (DOSB). French naturism, on the other hand, developed on the basis of large holiday complexes. This concept in turn influenced Quebec and then the United States. A subsequent development was tourist naturism, where nudist resorts would be built to cater for the nudist tourist, without any local base. This concept is most noticeable in the Caribbean.

More recently, clothes free beaches and other types of anonymous nudist activities have served those who wish to take part in naturist activities without belonging to any clubs.

Naturism does not include eroticism and blatant sexuality, although it is sometimes associated with this in the media and the public mind.

Naturism today

The word naturism was used for the first time in 1778 by a French-speaking Belgian, Jean Baptiste Luc Planchon (1734-1781), and was advocated as a means of improving the 'l’hygiène de vie' (natural style of life) and health.

According to the international definition adopted by the XIV Congress of the International Naturist Federation (Agde, 1974), Naturism is:

"a lifestyle in harmony with nature, expressed through social nudity, and characterised by self-respect of people with different opinions and of the environment."

The International Naturist Federation explains:

"Each country has its own kind of naturism, and even each club has its own special character, for we too, human beings, have each our own character which is reflected in our surroundings."

The usage and definition of these terms varies geographically and historically. Though in the United States, naturism and nudism have very similar meanings, in Britain there is a clear distinction. Nudism is the act of being naked, while naturism is a lifestyle which at various times embraced nature, environment, respect for others, self-respect, crafts, healthy eating, vegetarianism, teetotalism, non-smoking, yoga, physical exercise and pacifism as well as nudity.

In naturist parlance, the word textilist is used to describe someone who is not a naturist, or the act of not being naturist. e.g.He stayed all week but was textilist all the time. It is also used as an adjective to describe a facility where naturism is not allowed e.g. "the textilist beach starts at the flag". Clothing optional and nude optional (US specific) describe a policy or a venue that allows or encourages nudity but tolerates the wearing of clothes. The opposite is clothing compulsory; that is, disallowing nudity, thus requiring the wearing of clothes. Clothes free/clothes-free and clothing free/clothing-free are used as adjectives to describe when naturism is permitted in an otherwise textilist environment.

The social nudity movement includes a large range of variants including "naturism", "nudism", "Freikörperkultur (FKK)", the "free beach movement" as well as generalized "public lands/public nudity" advocacy. There is a large amount of shared history and common themes, issues and philosophy, but differences between these separate movements remain contentious.

See also: labels, associations and terminology for an extended discussion and disambiguation.

Types of naturism

Naturism is practised in many ways: Marc Alain Descamps, in his study written in French, classified the types as: individual nudism, nudism within family, nudism in the wild, social nudism. To that we can add the militant naturist, campaigning or extreme naturists.

Personal and family nudism

Nudism is often practiced in a person's home or garden, either personally or with members of the family.

A Canadian survey showed that 39% of all Canadians would or have walked around the house nude. And in British Columbia this is as high as 51%. Individual nudism can also include sleeping in the nude, but this is sometimes seen as a health benefit, due to the fact that, when naked in bed, it can be much easier to relax and fall asleep, resulting in longer and more restful sleep but it can also be for the reason of comfort.

Social nudism

Social nudism is nudism in a social context, either at ones home with friends or with acquaintances at a nudist event (e.g., a naked party) or facility, such as a naturist club, community, centre, resort or other facility. (The terms are loosely defined and there are some regional differences.) At naturist events or venues clothing is usually optional, except by swimming pools or sunbathing lawns where complete nudity is expected, weather permitting. This rule is sometimes a source of controversy among some naturists. Staff at a naturist facility are sometimes required to be clothed due to health and safety regulations.

Facilities for naturists are classified in various ways. A landed or members' naturist club is one that owns its own facilities, while non-landed (or travel) clubs meet at various locations, such as private residences, swimming pools, hot springs, landed clubs and resorts, and rented facilities. Landed clubs can be run by members on democratic lines or by one or more owners who make the rules. In either case, they can determine membership criteria and the obligations of members. This usually involves sharing work necessary to maintain or develop the site.

Some clubs have stricter entrance requirements than some traditional 'country clubs', including the requirement to supply references, a sponsoring member, a trial membership, committee approval and/or, criminal background checks. UK clubs are now required to have child protection policies in place, and designated child protection officers. Many clubs promote frequent social activities.

The international naturist organisations were mainly composed of representatives of landed clubs. A nudist colony is no longer a favored term, but it is used by naturists as a term of derision for landed clubs that have rigid non inclusive membership criteria, and in meta-data on naturist websites.

A holiday centre is a facility that specialises in providing apartments, chalets and camping pitches for visiting holidaymakers. The centre is run commercially, and visitors are not members and have no say in the management. Most holiday centres expect visitors to hold an INF card, that is be a member of their national organisation, but some have relaxed this restriction, relying on the carrying of a trade card. Holiday centres can be quite small, just a couple of hectares or large occupying over 300 hectares. In a large holiday centre there will be swimming pools, sports pitches, an entertainment program, kid's clubs, restaurants and supermarkets. Some holiday centre's allow regular visitors to purchase their own chalets, and generations of the same families will visit each year. Holiday centres are more relaxed about textilists than members clubs; total nudity is usual in the swimming pools and the beaches, while on the football pitches, or in the restaurants in the evening, it is rare.

A naturist resort is, to a European, an essentially urban development where naturism is the norm. Cap d'Agde in France, naturist village Charco del Palo on Lanzarote, Canary Islands, and Vera Playa in Spain are examples. Here there are apartment blocks, with privately-owned and rented apartments. For some residents this is their year-round home. One finds all the usual facilities of a small town. In the US usage, a naturist resort can mean a holiday centre.

Freikörperkultur (FKK) (see Freikörperkultur) literally translated as free body culture is the name for the general movement in Germany. The abbreviation is widely recognised all over Europe and often found on informal signs indicating the direction to a remote naturist beach.

Nude beaches

Clothing is optional at nude beaches (or free beaches). Some beaches have been clothes free beyond living memory, and their status has been formalised by becoming official nude beaches, while others, though not official, have become unofficial nude beaches through toleration by local authorities. In some European countries, such as Denmark and Norway, all beaches are clothing optional, while in others like Germany there are naturist sunbathing areas in public parks, e.g., in Munich.

A feature of bathing on a nude beach is the anonymity it offers, where membership of a club is not required with detailed application processes, nor pre-booking of visits.

Though free beaches developed separately from national naturist bodies, these bodies are taking an interest and helping to protect them legally, and through the publication of guidelines of acceptable behaviour. In North America, the Free Beach Movement was the name of a group that was opposed to the direction of the official nudist organisation, the ASA, and set up the rival body The Naturist Society.

Nudism in the wild

  • Skinny dipping is swimming naked in a river, lake, swimming hole or other body of water. Ernest Thompson Seton describes skinny dipping as one of the first activities of his Woodcraft Indians, a forerunner of the Boy Scouts, in 1902. Swimming was done nude at the YMCA until the 1960s in single sex groups. In some English schools, Manchester Grammar School for example, nude swimming was compulsory until the 1970s. This was also the case for some US junior high schools. A Gallup poll in 2000 showed that 25% of all American adults had been skinny dipping at least once.
  • Nude snorkeling and nude diving
  • Canuding is the practice of nude canoeing or kayaking
  • Free hiking, naked hiking or naked rambling is the practice of hiking in the remote countryside as a social activity while nude. The French term is 'Randonnue'. It happens worldwide from mountain forests on Tenerife to densely populated areas like South East England.
  • Free riding is the practice of riding in the remote countryside while nude. The German term is 'Nacktreiten'. The term can also be used to refer to naked cycle riding.

Campaigning naturism

Nude protests have a long history :Doukhobor. Womens Institute Calendar


Naturism had many different philosophical sources and means many things to different people. There is no one definition. The INF have framed this definition:

Naturism is a lifestyle in harmony with nature, expressed through social nudity, and characterised by self-respect of people with different opinions and of the environment.

At one end of the spectrum are the nudists who just enjoy a nude life style, and at the other are the naturists, who have deeply held beliefs and see communal nudity as just one of many important principles. The INF definition is a compromise that has held since 1974. In it you can see the elements: lifestyle, harmony with nature, social nudity, self respect, differing opinions, respect for the environment.


see also Gymnosophist

In the fourth century BC, Alexander the Great of Macedonia encountered, in India, wandering groups of naked holy men which he dubbed the naked philosophers. (Gr gymnos: naked; sophist: knowledge ). Onesicritus, the philosopher, investigated their beliefs and lifestyle. Pyrrho, the Sceptic, was impressed and incorporated nudity into his philosophy. The Gymnosophists were Hindus, but Jain and Ajivika monks practised nudity as a statement that they had given up all worldly goods. Nudity was not a new concept to the Greeks as the Olympic Games (founded in 776 BC) were exclusively male and nude events. Gymnastics and gymnasium share the same root word (Gr gymnos).

The first English naturists adopted the name Gymnosophy as a thinly disguised euphemism for their pastime. The English Gymnosophical Society was formed in 1922 and became the New Gymnosophy Society in 1926, they purchased the land at 'Bricketts Wood' to become Britain's first nudist colony. One of the first members was Gerald Gardner, who in 1945, established the 'Five Acres Club' nearby, ostensibly as a nudist club, but as a front for Wiccans, as witchcraft was illegal in England until 1951.

The Digambar, one of the two main divisions of the Jain religion of India, remain 'skyclad', or naked, though generally it is practised by males. Digambar means 'clothed with the sky'. Wiccans have adopted this wording and some practise their rituals 'skyclad'.

The Adamites, a Gnostic sect, practised religious nudism.

Another religious sect, the Doukhobors, migrated from Russia to western Canada. They practise or practised occasional nudity, such as while working in the farm fields. Members of one of the three subdivisions of Canadian Doukhobors, the small radical Sons of Freedom group, went so far in the 1900s as to publicly strip in mass public demonstrations to protest against government policies which were meant to assimilate them.

Naturist ideals

Groups have been formed to live their dreams, and then split up over questions of principles. There are many examples of the differences between various groups, often resulting in two or more national organisations. Here is a non-exclusive list, taken from Descamps, of the ideas that have united various naturists and become points of fierce contention for others.

Some of these ideas have become mainstream. Others have been quietly forgotten. It is generally agreed among naturists that erotism and blatant sexuality have no place in naturism and are, in fact, antithetical to its ideals.

Naturism and the Romantics

Walt Whitman American writer, A Sun-bathed Nakedness:

Never before did I get so close to Nature; never before did she come so close to me... Nature was naked, and I was also... Sweet, sane, still Nakedness in Nature! - ah if poor, sick, prurient humanity in cities might really know you once more! Is not nakedness indecent? No, not inherently. It is your thought, your sophistication, your fear, your respectability, that is indecent. There come moods when these clothes of ours are not only too irksome to wear, but are themselves indecent.

Henry David Thoreau, Walking, in In wildness is the preservation of the world.

We cannot adequately appreciate this aspect of nature if we approach it with any taint of human pretense. It will elude us if we allow artifacts like clothing to intervene between ourselves and this Other.
To apprehend it, we cannot be naked enough.

Naturism was part of a literary movement in the late 1800s (see the writings of André Gide) which also influenced the art movements of the time specifically Henri Matisse and other Fauve painters. This movement was based on the French concept of joie de vivre, the idea of revelling freely in physical sensations and direct experiences and a spontaneous approach to life. Later this movement became called Naturalism.

Naturism for health

German naturism came from the Lebensreform movement. The Wandervogel youth movement of 1896, from Steiglitz, Berlin promoted ideas of fitness and vigour inspired by thoughts of nationalism, rebelling against the thoughts of their parents. At the same time doctors of the Naturheilbewegung were using heliotherapy, treating diseases such as TB, rheumatism and scrofula with exposure to sunlight. (Sunlight has been shown to be beneficial in some skin conditions and enables the body to make vitamin D).

  • Arnold Rickli in 1853, opened a light bathing clinic in Switzerland.
  • Heinrich Pudor wrote on methods to improve social hygiene in his book Nackende Menchen und Jauchzen der Zukunft (Naked people and the future of Mankind) and then Nacktkultur (The cult of the nude). It prescribes an austere lifestyle and nudity.
  • Paul Zimmermann, opened the Freilicht Park in Lübeck which was open to those who subscribed to Nacktkultur principles.
  • Richard Ungewitter wrote Die Nacktheit (Nakedness) which sold 90,000 copies, prescribed a similar Utopian lifestyle, where everyone would be nude, eat only vegetables and abstain from alcohol and tobacco. In his Utopia, everyone was to be Germanic with blue eyes and blonde hair.
  • Adolf Koch, a left wing primary school teacher, sought to use social nudity to free the people from 'authority fixated conditioning which held proletarians in deference of their masters: parental authority, paternalism of the church, the mass media and organs of law and order. He used Organic-Rhythmic exercises in Berlin schools in the 1920s. In 1932 there were about 100,000 Germans involved with Naturism, of which 70,000 were in Koch's Körperschülen schools.
  • Werner Zimmermann, a Swiss, preached against body guilt and encouraged naked education. He sought to eliminate body guilt and encourage openness and end the repression of the human spirit,which he saw as the cause of sexual deviation.
  • Hans Suren taught nude gymnastics to soldiers for five years, and on being forced to leave the army, he wrote in 1924, Mensch und die Sonne (Men and the Sun) which ran to 61 reprints. Later, in 1936, Surén proposed physical exercise and naturism as a means of creating a pure German race and of beauty.. In the early 1940s he was out of favour and arrested. By 1945, he had turned full circle and was writing religious texts. Though never a member of any FKK club he was awarded honorary membership of the DFK in 1952.
  • Nudists became a large element in German Left Wing Politics. The Proletarische Freikörperkulturbewegung subsection of the Workers Sports Organisation had 60000 members.

With the increased awareness of skin cancer, wearing of sunscreen is now part of the culture.

Naturism and equality

Many people say that being nude in groups makes them feel more accepted for their entire being — physical, intellectual and emotional. They say that they tend to be more accepted, in spite of differences in age, body shape, fitness, and health. Without clothing, one's social rank is generally obscured. They report feeling more united with humanity, with less regard to a person's wealth, position, nationality, race, and sex.

History of social nudity

Nudity in social contexts has been practised in various forms by many cultures at all time periods. Social nudity is most frequently encountered in the contexts of bathing, swimming and in saunas, whether in single-sex groups, within the family or with mixed-sex friends.

It is difficult to nominate exactly when naturism started as a movement. In 1903 Paul Zimmermann opened the first club, Freilichtpark, near Hamburg. By 1951, the national federations united to form the International Naturist Federation or INF. Some naturists preferred not to join clubs, and after 1945, pressure was put to designate beaches for naturist use. The two groups did not cooperate until 2000.

In the twenty-first century, with changing leisure patterns, commercial organisations began opening holiday resorts to attract naturists who expected a standard of comfort and amenity equal to, or exceeding, that found at textilist resorts.

Historical era

See main article Nudity in History

The spread of philosophy and the rise of formal communities

The earliest known naturist club in the "western" sense of the word was established in British India in 1891. It was founded by Charles Edward Gordon Crawford, a widower, who was a District and Sessions Judge for the Bombay Civil Service at Thana. Evidence for its existence is only known by a few letters he sent to friends, and the club which had three members, reportedly closed in 1892.

In the early 1900s, a series of philosophical papers was published in Germany. Dr. Heinrich Pudor, under the pseudonym Heinrich Scham, wrote a book titled Nacktkultur, which discussed the benefits of nudity in co-education and advocated participating in sports while being free of cumbersome clothing.Richard Ungewitter (Nacktheit, 1906, Nackt, 1908, etc.) proposed that combining physical fitness, sunlight, and fresh air bathing, and then adding the nudist philosophy, contributed to mental and psychological fitness, good health, and an improved moral-life view.

The wide publication of those papers and others, contributed to an explosive worldwide growth of nudism, in which nudists participated in various social, recreational, and physical fitness activities in the nude.

The first known organized club for nudists, Freilichtpark (Free-Light Park), was opened near Hamburg in 1903 by Paul Zimmerman.


See also: Freikörperkultur

The nudist movement gained prominence in Germany in the 1920s, but was suppressed during the Nazi Gleichschaltung after Adolf Hitler came to power. The state-controlled leisure organization of the Nazis, Kraft durch Freude, refused to recognize it. However, it was later discovered that Luftwaffe (Air Force) head Hermann Göring had single-handedly written his own strict anti-nudity views into the Gleichschaltung, thereby imposing his views on everyone (he had been one of its main authors). Many in the Nazi party thought he had gone too far, so after nearly a decade, the rules were eventually softened in July 1942. Nevertheless, all naturism clubs had to register with Kraft durch Freude, which meant excluding Jews and Communists. Also, they had to keep all activities well out in the countryside so there would be virtually no chance of being seen by others.

After the war, East Germans enjoyed nudism as one the few freedoms they had under the communist government, chiefly at beaches rather than clubs (private organizations being regarded as potentially subversive by the regime). It quickly rebounded in the west also, and today, united Germany has many clubs, parks and beaches for nudism. Since German reunification, however, nudity is said to have become rare at some locations in the former eastern zone. Vacationing in Mediterranean France at the large Cap d'Agde resort also became popular for Germans when it opened in the late 1960s, and Germans are typically the most commonly-seen foreigners at nude beaches all around Europe.


From 1857 Dr. Duhamel spoke of the importance of heliotherapy, and worked with children suffering from tuberculosis on the beach at Berck. In 1903 S. Gay created a naturist community at Bois-Fourgon. In 1907, supported by his superiors, Abbé Legrée encouraged the students at his catholic college to bathe nude on the rocky beaches near Marseille. A report on German naturism was published in la Revue des deux mondes.

Marcel Kienné de Mongeot, who came from a noble family and who was an aviator in the Great War, is credited with starting naturism in France in 1920. By then he was a journalist who wrote a defense of the dancer, Malkowski, in the journal Vouloir. His family had suffered from tuberculosis, and he saw naturism as a cure and a continuation of the traditions of the ancient Greeks. In 1926, he started the magazine Vivre intégralement (later called Vivre) and the first French naturist club, Sparta Club at Garambouville, near Evreux. Others quickly followed as did local opposition. His victory in court established that nudism was legal on private property that was fenced and screened.

Drs. André and Gaston Durville opened a naturist health centre, edited the La vie sage (1924) and bought a 70 hectare site on the Île du Levant on which they established the Héliopolis. The village was open to the public. Dr François Fougerat de David de Lastours, who was gassed in the Great War and was saved by exposure to the sun, in 1925 wrote a thesis on heliotherapy and in that year opened the Club gymnique de France. Jacque de Marquette wrote on naturism and vegetarianism. In 1936, government minister Léo Lagrange recognised the naturist movement.

Albert and Christine Lecocq were active members of many of these clubs, but after disagreements left and in 1944 founded their own travel club Club du Soleil. It was popular and had members in 84 cities, becoming the worlds largest naturist club. In 1948 they founded the Féderation Française de Naturisme. In 1949 they started a magazine, Vie au Soleil and in 1950 they opened the CHM-Montalivet at Montalivet, the worlds first naturist holiday centre. In 1951 they assisted in the formation of the INF.

The Quartier Naturiste at Agde opened offering a different form of social nudity. In 1975, Euronat, the largest holiday centre (335ha) opened 10 km north of Montalivet which was running at capacity. In 1983 the FFN was accepted as an official tourist and youth movement. SOCNAT provided the management and financial stability to the movement and runs 5 centres in France and one in Spain. Holiday centres started to form cooperative marketing groups and aim for 5 star status. Publicity material was of a quality indistinguishable from textile holiday companies.

In this benign climate, Randonue, an unauthorised form of naturisme sauvage has become popular, and areas traditionally known for discreet sunbathing have been revisited. Naturist is accepted and can even be practised on many popular textilist beaches.

As of 2007, France has 150 members clubs offering holiday accommodation, 50 holiday centres, official naturist beaches, unofficial beaches and many homes where naturist swimming and sunbathing is normal. Naturism employs more than 3000 people, and is estimated to be worth 250 million Euro to the French economy.

France is represented on the INF by the Féderation Française de Naturisme.

United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, the first nudist club was established in Wickford, Essex in 1924. According to Michael Farrar, writing for British Naturism the club adopted the name "Moonella Group" from the name of the owner of the ground, Moonella, and called its site The Camp. Moonella, who was still living in 1965 but whose identity remains to be discovered, had inherited a house with land in 1923 and made it available to certain members of the New Gymnosophy Society. This society had been founded a few years before by H.C. Booth, M.H. Sorensen and Rex Wellbye under the name of the English Gymnosophical Society. It met for discussions at the Minerva Cafe at 144 High Holborn in London, the headquarters of the Women's Freedom League. Those who were permitted to join the Moonella Group were carefully selected, and the club was run by an "aristocracy" of the original members, all of whom had "club names" to preserve their anonymity. The club closed in 1926 because of building on adjacent land.

By 1943 there were a number of these so-called "sun clubs" and together they formed the British Sunbathers Association or BSBA. In 1954 a group of clubs unhappy with the way the BSBA was being run split off to form the Federation of British Sun Clubs or FBSC. These two organisations rivalled each other for a while before eventually coming together again in 1964 as the Central Council for British Naturism or CCBN. This organisation has remained much the same but is now more commonly known simply as British Naturism or BN.

In 1961, the BSBA Annual Conference agreed that the term nudist was inappropriate and should be discarded in favour of naturist.

The first official naturist beach was opened at Fairlight Cove, Hastings in 1978, the beaches at Brighton and Fraisthorpe, Bridlington opened in April 1980.

United States and Canada

In the United States, German immigrant Kurt Barthel organized the first nudist event in 1929 in the woods just outside of New York City (NYC) and founded the American League for Physical Culture (ALPC). In 1931, the Christian naturism movement under the leadership of former New Jersey Dutch Reformed minister Ilsley Boone became the first naturism movement in the United States. Initially, Boone was vice president of the American League for Physical Culture but by October 1931 became president. In 1939 Boone renamed the club as the American Sunbathing Association (ASA). Naturism began expanding nationwide. To create a family atmosphere at nudism venues, Boone insisted that alcohol be prohibited at all member clubs. Social nudism in the form of private clubs and campgrounds began appearing in the 1930s.

Rock Lodge Club, about 40 miles (65 km) from New York City in Stockholm, New Jersey, started in 1932 and is still in operation today. Elsewhere in the United States, a 1935 advertisement claims Sea Island Sanctuary, South Carolina, was the "largest and oldest" resort where nudism could be practiced year-round. Nudism first began appearing on the west coast of the U.S. and Canada about 1939. In that year, the first club in Canada, the Van Tan Club, formed and continues today in North Vancouver, BC. Kaniksu Ranch, about 45 miles (70 km) north of Spokane, Washington, opened the same year and is still in operation.

According to the Federation of Canadian Naturists history and the Lupin Naturist Club history, Boone was toppled in 1951 by members dissatisfied with his autocratic style. This, together with Boone's desire to open a new club closer to NYC than others had wanted, led him to form the National Nudist Council. After Boone's passing in the 1960s, the ASA became more secular, along with American society in general.

In 1980 The Naturist Society (TNS) was founded by Lee Baxandall as a successor to the Free Beach Movement. The emphasis of TNS is on nudity in public locations rather than on private premises, though it also sponsors several annual gatherings held at private resorts.

In 1995, the ASA was renamed as the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR). The AANR represents over 270 clubs and resorts, and is the US representative on the INF. The AANR currently has its headquarters in Florida.

With the beginning of the modern internet in the mid-1990s, Christian Naturism became much more organized in the U.S. than ever before. Annual Christian Nudist Convocations began early in the decade of the 2000s.


In Canada, individuals around the country became interested in nudism, skinny-dipping, and physical culture in the early part of the 20th century. After 1940 they had their own Canadian magazine, Sunbathing & Health, which occasionally carried local news. Canadians had scattered groups in several cities during the 1930s and 1940s, and some of these groups attracted enough interest to form clubs on private land. The most significant clubs were the Van Tan Club and, in Ontario, the Sun Air Club.

Canadians who served in the military during the Second World War met like-minded souls from across the country, and often visited clubs while in Europe. They were a ready pool of recruits for post-war organizers. A few years later the wave of post-war immigration brought many Europeans with their own extensive experience, and they not only swelled the ranks of membership, but often formed their own clubs, helping to expand nudism from coast to coast.

Most of those clubs united in the Canadian Sunbathing Association, which affiliated with the American Sunbathing Association in 1954. Several disagreements between eastern and western members of the CSA resulted in the breakup of CSA into the Western Canadian Sunbathing Association (WCSA) and the Eastern Canadian Sunbathing Association (ECSA) in 1960. The ECSA endured much in-fighting over the next decade and a half, leading to its official demise in 1978. The WCSA continues today as the Western Canadian Association for Nude Recreation (WCANR), a region of the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) which itself was formerly known as the ASA.

In 1977 the Fédération québécoise de naturisme (FQN) was founded in Québec, by Michel Vaïs, who had experienced European naturism at Montalivet. In 1985 the Federation of Canadian Naturists (FCN) was formed with the support of the FQN. In 1988 the FQN and FCN formed the FCN-FQN Union as the official Canadian representative in the International Naturist Federation (INF).

Free beaches

Many people get their first exposure to the clothes free movement through an informal approach (e.g. a clothing optional beach, a friend's place in the woods, a party on the shore or skinny dipping).

Naturism and sports

A naturist race takes place every year in the semi-naturist beach of Barinatxe, in the town of Sopelana, near Bilbao, in northern Spain.

Festival naturism

From Woodstock to Edinburgh, and Nambassa 1981 in the southern hemisphere communal nudity is commonly recorded at music festivals.


  • In 1999 the Federation of Canadian Naturists commissioned a national survey on Canadian attitudes towards nudity which found that 8.9% of Canadian have or would visit a naturist facility. A further 11.6% have or would go skinny dipping in mixed company; that 39% go naked in their own homes; that naturists tend to have above average incomes; that urban dwellers are more likely to be naturist than country dwellers; and that the under 25s are the most likely to be naturists.
  • In 1983 the Naturist Society in the United States sponsored a Gallup poll, which was repeated in 2000, which found the following:

USA: 1983/2000 Gallup poll
Year 1983 2000
Question Yes No Yes No
Do you believe that people who enjoy nude sunbathing should be able to do so without interference from officials as long as they do so at a beach that is accepted for that purpose? 72 24 80 17
Local and state governments now set aside public land for special types of recreation such as snowmobiling, surfing and hunting. Do you think special and secluded areas should be set aside for people who enjoy nude sunbathing? 39 54 48 48
Have you, personally, ever gone "skinny dipping" or nude sunbathing in a mixed group of men and women at a beach, at a pool, or somewhere else? 15 83 25 73

  • In 2005 the British CCBN commissioned a survey of members, which found that, among British people:

How we (British people) discovered naturism:
Beach abroad 29%
Beach in UK 20%
Newspaper 15%
Friend 9%
Parents 8%
Conviction 6%
TV/Radio 5%
The Web 3%
H&E 3%
Other 2%

Ever been member of a club?
Yes 58.5%
No 41.5%

Do you use UK naturist beaches?
Often 22.4%
Sometimes 40.1%
Rarely 18.7%
Never 18.7%

If you use a naturist holiday facility abroad:
Self-catering 58.5%
Hotel 41.5%
Own Tent 12.7%
Hire Caravan 10%
Own Caravan 8.7%
Bed and Breakfast 6.6%
Friends 4.4%
Motor home 4.2%
Own accommodation 3.1%
Hire Tent 2.4%
Other 3.3%


Peng Travel, a UK naturist holiday travel agent was valued at 1.8m GBP when it was sold in 2005.

Issues in social nudity

See Issues in social nudity

Naturism addresses, challenges and explores a myriad of sometimes taboo subjects: stereotypes and mores relating to the nude appearance of the human body, mixed gender nudity, personal space, human sexuality, gymnophobia, modesty, physical attractiveness, vanity, objectification, exploitation and consent. It can thus be controversial.

Problems for the naturist community

Any social group is said to go through four phases: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, wrote Bruce Tuckman in 1965. In this context we can understand some of the current pressures on various aspects of Naturism.

  • Naturist ghetto- established clubs excluding new members and rejecting new ideas.
  • A family movement in a time of social change - a change in needs and expectations, away from one of a permanent commitment towards one of change and choice
  • Youth take up- each generation is a new social group and needs to set its own norms
  • Clubs v Holiday Centres- organisations with different roots find it difficult to establish common norms. It is an issue between those espousing a year round commitment to an ideal, and those who see it as summer recreation. Club naturism is in decline, while the number of people for assume that naturist facilities will be available at any holiday resort is on the rise. The users of free beaches exceeds the number of people who wish to join a club.
  • Paid staff and volunteers- many clubs were established as cooperatives but the values changes when a few members put in the capital needed, or the work. This became more difficult when some members were paid to act as site managers.
  • Infiltration by other groups- for many years clubs had strict "No singles" policies to maintain the family nature of the club. Many other social groups practice non family nudism, whether it be gay naturists or swingers.
  • Exhibitionists and voyeurs are as unwelcome in a naturist community as in a textile community.
  • Relations with 'Naturist Magazines'.
  • A movement that is growing too fast
  • Militant naturism occurs outside the club scene, though they will also visit clubs.

Naturist and nudist magazines

Nudist and naturist magazines can be categorised in four ways.

  • Magazines published by the official national organisation, such as BN (CCBN), Going Natural / Au naturel (FCN/FQN).
  • Magazines that are published for naturists such as Naturally.
  • Independent magazines, such as Health and Efficiency, that claim to be naturist but still print an abnormally large percentage of pictures of young female professional models. They do however carry columns eg Sunny Trails in Sunbathing for Health and advertisements for genuine naturist clubs and societies, when no other newspaper would carry them. Many clubs and groups were indebted to them for that.
  • Magazines that just print photographs of young female professional models, which are disapproved of by naturists and their opponents alike.

This has been a dilemma for naturists, who needed the small amount of editorial content in some magazines while thoroughly disapproving of the photographic content. Writers who produced copy for these magazines are not respected by many naturists though often quoted as authoritative sources by the textilist press.

Naturist clubs were willing to allow film shoots on their grounds, though the content proved not to be naturist and naturism ended up being parodied.

Analysis of the Internet shows the trends. Naturist and nudist websites shows that pages fall into the same categories. There are many pages displaying titillating photographs, and even pornagraphic images which are totally alien to the naturist ideal that use the word naturist or naturism on their pages and metatags. These are then harvested by journalists or pro-censorship campaigners to create a false image of naturism.

Today there are high quality naturist magazines in many European countries that reflect the gender and age groups found at clubs and resorts.


Descamps assembles a list of criticisms of naturism: it is too cold; normal bodies look ugly—it is only for the physically beautiful; it is too embarrassing; it is against the laws of nature, against the law, or against religion; "nudism makes me think of sex"; it is for primitive people or animals.

Most popular criticisms for naturism arise from:

  • situations of accurate usage of the term, criticisms of situations where naturists and textilists would share the same concerns. For example, naturism is often added as a tag to titillating websites that have naturist content.
  • criticisms of activitites which are imagined to be naturist by a writer who has not researched it in the relevant libraries.

See also



Further reading

  • Lee Baxandall's World Guide to Nude Beaches & Resorts: New for the '90s (1997) ISBN 0-934106-21-5
  • No Shoes, No Shirt, No Worries Article on "nakations" in The New York Times
  • Naked Places, A Guide for Gay Men to Nude Recreation and Travel (2006) ISBN 0-9656089-4-8
  • The Canadian Guide to Naturist Resorts & Beaches (2000) ISBN 0-9682332-2-8
  • North American Guide to Nude Recreation (2002) ISBN 1-882033-09-4
  • Bare Beaches (2004) ISBN 0-9544767-1-9
  • Storey, Mark Social Nudity, Sexual Attraction, and Respect Nude & Natural magazine, 24.3 Spring 2005.
  • Storey, Mark Children, Social Nudity and Academic Research Nude & Natural magazine, 23.4 Summer 2004.
  • The Complete Guide To Nudism And Naturism (2006) ISBN 1846852587 ISBN 978-1846852589
  • Alessandro Bertolotti "Books of nudes", Abrams, 2007. ISBN 9780810994447

External links

National organisations

Organization and landed site directories


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