Articles & Opinions

As the cornerstone of the charter of the Southern California Naturist Association is our educational obligation. These articles will examine both issues specific to the naturist movement and also public policy issues from a naturist perspective. Through this examination we hope to suggest options for bringing naturism and clothing-optional recreation more into the public mainstream. SCNA invites the reader to submit articles, stories, and opinion pieces on relevant topics.

Nudity and the Law

Federal Land

There is no federal law against nudity but neither is it a guaranteed right. This means that state, county and local laws can take precedence. Federal lands may operate under Concurrent Jurisdiction where state and county laws will be enforced on federal lands within those regions.

As a practical matter, limitations on nudity on federal land is up to the discretion of the Superintendent in charge of each individual National Park, Monument, and Forest. A good example is what happened at Saline Valley a few years ago when the Clothing Optional sign was removed from the Hot Springs area when a new Park Superintendent was appointed. The Golden Rule seems to be whoever is in charge makes the rules so check out your destination with the locals before assuming anything.

Nudist Movement Issues

Nude Etiquette
A Guide to Courtesy & Common Sense Behavior at Beaches and Hiking Trails Supporting Clothing-Optional Use

Free beach etiquette is not much different from the same good manners that you should exhibit wherever you go. Be polite and respect the rights of others and others will do the same for you.

Gawking, or staring at nude sunbathers, is impolite. It is always rude to stare at others, but it is especially so when you use binoculars or a camera to look at nude people. If you came to a clothing-optional (CO) beach to see for yourself what the experience is like, please, join in. You will have a great time. If you came to "look at the nudies," do yourself a favor and buy a magazine and read it at home.

Park only in designated areas. In some areas parking is limited and fills up early. If this is true at your beach you can:
  • Arrive Early - before the crowds.
  • Carpool - saving both gas and parking spots.
  • Help others carry their stuff from the parking area to the beach. Someone may do the same for you.

Keep out of areas that may be environmentally sensitive. Leave any wild animals (seagulls, sea lions, etc.) alone. We can loose access to CO areas by impairing the environment or preventing the wild animals from roaming free.

Bring and use trash bags. Always try to carry out more trash than you carried in. Leave nothing but footprints, take only memories.

Many of the clothing optional beaches, while not strictly legal, are accepted by the local population. To avoid offending people, do not go nude into parking lots or textile beaches. Always be dressed if taking a stroll outside the boundary of the CO area.

Avoid any hint of sexual activity in clothing-optional areas. Complaints about sex in public have caused problems at some CO beaches. Please, do not give the prudes an excuse to close down another CO recreation site.

Show respect for the private property of others as you go to and from the beach. Don't litter or park on private property. That means don’t park your blanket directly alongside or below another person if there is plenty of other space left on the beach. Respect the privacy of others. Many folks come to the beach to enjoy nature and do not want to be disturbed. It is OK to be friendly, but if someone doesn't seem to respond, please respect their right to privacy. It is okay to ask someone to apply sunscreen to areas you cannot reach. It is not okay to ask to apply sunscreen to another without them asking you first. Remember: “No” means “No!”

We recommend you leave the camera at home - including the one in your cell phone. If you insist on taking a picture, confine it to just the people in your party, and that means avoiding having anyone in the background without their verbal (if not written) consent. Also, totally avoid taking photos of nude under-age children at the beach as it just isn't worth the confrontation you will be inviting.

Most CO beaches are remote and do not offer the services and amenities found at textile beaches. Therefore you should bring everything you may need including: water/beverages, food, cooler, sunscreen, towel, chair or mattress. Use the bathroom in the parking lot before coming down the ramp to the beach.

If you see someone who is violating the accepted standards, please explain to them clearly and politely just how they are violating the rules and just what the proper behavior is. You will find most voyeurs will leave immediately after being discovered.

Nudity and The Bible

The Bible Supports Nakedness: Chapter and Verse

By Paul Bowman,
(Legal Symposium Speech)

Reprinted with permission of B.E.A.C.H.E.S.
CLICK HERE to view a printable (PDF) version

Twenty years ago, I heard about a natural hot spring in northern Idaho, called Jerry Johnson Hot Springs, that had been used by the local Indians for centuries. It sounded like an idyllic place to visit on a summer weekend, so my wife and I decided to try it. After we were set up at a nearby campground, I took my two-year-old daughter and started on the mile hike up to the hot springs.

To my surprise, when I arrived at the clearing in the forest, there were about forty-five to fifty people scattered over the hillside in small groups at the several hot pools – and almost all were naked! I decided to walk across the hillside to the top of the clearing to peruse this unexpected sight. As I carried my daughter by one of the pools, a college-age girl looked up at us and simply said, “Hi.” I guess I mumbled something appropriate, all the while thinking of the old saying, “What do you say to a naked lady?” One feature of the scene I observed was that it looked much more like the Garden of Eden to me than the Den of Hedonistic Iniquity I had always been taught that open nakedness would bring. I could not see anything untoward; everybody was behaving just as they would if they had all been clothed at a church camp. Clearly, this challenged my Christian education related to nudity.

Being a long-time Evangelical Christian, I did not wish to do anything contrary to Scripture. On the other hand, I am 100% Swedish and I could recall, as a child, envying my cousins back in Sweden because they did not have to wear a cold, clammy bathing suit when they went to the lake or beach. I didn’t think my cousins were hedonistic sexual sinners (and indeed, at least my Swedish relatives aren’t) so, clearly, I needed to study the Church doctrines regarding nakedness a bit more.

That weekend, we did not join the naturist because I needed to be absolutely sure, Biblically, that it was not inconsistent with Christian Scripture. When I got home to my personal library (now approaching 5,000 volumes), my initial study quickly showed that most of the Biblical arguments against nakedness are based on passages that did not directly mention nakedness. This seemed strange, since I believed that it made more sense, in determining a Biblical doctrine, to use first the verses that directly address the matter in question. I knew there were many such passages.

For example, one of the frequently used arguments against nudity is the comment that Jesus made that “Whoever looks upon a woman to lust commits adultery.” The arguement they make is that since seeing a naked woman causes lust, and that’s as good as breaking the seventh Commandment, it is a sin to view a naked person of the opposite sex. This is often combined with St. Paul’s remark that a Christian should do nothing to cause a brother to stumble (from the faith). Since nakedness arouses lust, merely being naked (especially women) is a sin because it is likely to cause a brother to stray from the faith. All of these seemed to me to be based on assumptions that, as a practical matter, were not true. The naked tribes of the South American jungles manage to maintain their society and culture in spite of their nakedness. They did not burn uncontrollably with lust or hedonism, although they may be more openly sexual than Americans. I knew that my Swedish cousins also managed to live reasonably moral lives. Therefore, I decided to begin my Biblical study of nakedness only with Scripture that directly addressed the question of nakedness.

The first mention of nakedness in the Bible comes in the second chapter of Genesis, where it is reported that when God finished creating Man and Woman “the man and his wife were naked and not ashamed.” For a would-be naturist, that’s a pretty good start! One should note, also, that in this passage, “ashamed” is not synonymous with “embarrassed.” The Hebrew word translated as “ashamed” implies more than an internal emotion; it suggests that the feeling should be strong enough to prevent an action.

Finally, God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, clothed them, and then sent them out from the Garden of Eden. However, right on the heels of creation we have the third chapter of Genesis. This is the chapter that relates what is generally known as The Fall of Man, or, simply, The Fall. We all know the story where the serpent comes and tempts Eve to eat the fruit of the tree; that by doing so she will be like God, knowing good from evil. Soon, Adam ate of the fruit as well, and when they did, “the eyes of both of the were opened and they knew they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.” Later, in the cool of the day, when they heard God moving in the Garden, they hid so He called to them, “Where are you?”

Adam replied, “I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked.” Finally, God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, clothed them, and then sent them out from the Garden of Eden. It is often argued, not only in Judeo-Christian theology, but also in Muslim theology, that this shows that Man is obliged by God to wear clothes. There are a few problems with this interpretation, however.

First, the passage says plainly that God came to Adam and Eve in the “cool of the day.” This suggests that, once they left the paradise of the Garden, they would feel the chill if their bodies were naked. By making warm skin garments, God was probably showing His love for them because He knew they would need the garments for warmth. Even more important, God did not simply kick Adam and Eve out into the cold world to fend for themselves. For their sin, He declared several consequences. He told the woman that because of their sin, He would “multiply your pain in childbirth,” yet her sexual “desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” For Adam, God mandated that “In toil you shall eat of your life – thorns and thistles shall grow” in his fields and it would be “by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.” Finally, they would die. These are the only consequences of their sin that God proclaimed. It seems reasonable that if God deemed clothes to be used as punishment or as a moral necessity, He would have stated that as well.

The shame Adam and Eve felt was not specifically for their nakedness; it was that once they ate of the fruit, their perfect spiritual relationship with God was broken. Sin of any kind always interferes with Man’s spiritual relationship with God. It was because their sin broke their spiritual relationship with God, therefore, that they were ashamed. When that spiritual perfection was broken, Adam and Eve then became aware of their physical dimension and how it conflicted with their spiritual natures. In their failed attempt to conceal the breach in their spiritual relationship with God, they tried to hide their physical dimension. Indeed, one could argue that to insist that people cover their bodies, they are continuing to try to hide an enduring breach of Man’s spiritual relationship with God!

Before continuing, I should comment a little bit on the relationship of shame to nakedness. We have just seen that when Adam and Eve sinned, they became ashamed by their nakedness.

Many times in Scripture, nakedness is associated with shame, and this seems to have caused a lot of confusion among Christian and Jewish theologians. Modern theologians seize on the shame aspect to link it to nakedness to bolster their notion that nakedness is shameful.

What they fail to notice – or at least to emphasize – is that in every Biblical incidence where shame is associated with nakedness, a sin against God has already been committed. The shame is for their sin, not their nakedness. It seems to be human nature, starting with Adam and Eve, to try to cover one’s body to hide the “evidence” of sin. Therefore, God says that He will expose later people’s nakedness to expose the shame of their sin; they cannot hide their bodies to hide their sin any more than Adam and Eve could.

After Adam and Eve, probably the most commonly used Biblical argument to condemn nakedness is the story of Noah . In this story, Noah planted a vineyard and eventually he got drunk. While he was drunk in his tent, he was undressed. Ham, one of Noah’s sons saw him and told his two brothers. The brothers took a garment and, walking backwards into Noah’s tent, they covered their father. The Bible plainly says that they did not see their father’s nakedness.

The simplistic explanation of this situation is that this shows we are not to be naked nor look upon another’s nakedness. Our example is Shem and Japeth, Noah’s sons, because they refused to look at their father’s naked body. If one takes the time to look at the whole story, this makes no sense at all!

In the first place, Noah was naked inside his tent. If one is to take this story as a condemnation of nakedness, they would have to argue that it is even a wrongdoing to be naked within the walls of one’s own home! Some might try to argue that, at least, children should not see their parents naked by following this example. This, too, would be a misinterpretation.

To understand this narration of Noah, his sons and his grandson, Canaan, one must take a close look at the original Hebrew meanings of the word we translate as “naked.” If either the words “arom” or “erom” were used, a case could be made that mere nakedness should not be seen, at least by a person’s children. Arom is the Hebrew word used to describe Adam and Eve’s innocent nakedness while in the Garden of Eden. Erom is the Hebrew word the prophet Ezekiel used in an allegory centuries later to describe the adolescent nakedness portrayed as God’s chosen people.

In the passage describing Noah’s nakedness, however, the Hebrew word used is “ervah.” This word carries the connotation of nakedness connected with indecency or something shameful. Clearly, by the author’s choice of the word ervah, more than simple, innocent nakedness is portrayed in this story of Noah. Let me take a few moments here to make a few observations on the relationship of drunkenness to nakedness. Centuries after Noah, the prophet Habakkuk proclaimed:

Woe to you who make your neighbors drunk,
Who mix in your venom even to make them drunk
So as to look on their nakedness!
You will be filled with disgrace rather than honor
Now you yourself drink and expose your own nakedness . . .
and utter disgrace will come upon your glory.
In this passage, the word translated as nakedness comes from the Hebrew word “maor”, which refers to the pudendum, or the visible sexual organs. This would suggest that getting someone drunk to get them to remove their clothes is shameful. Jeremiah, in his Lamentation , also connected being bare in relation to drunkenness is something shameful. Therefore, one could argue that Noah’s drunkenness in relationship to his being naked was something reprehensible. When Noah sobered up, and realized what his youngest son had done to him, he cursed Ham’s son, Canaan. It’s possible that Noah cursed Canaan for getting him drunk and exposing his nakedness, but a lifetime, generational curse for such a transgression seems overly harsh. Even more important, the Hebrew word, ervah, used to describe Noah’s nakedness is the same word used repeatedly throughout the Old Testament to describe sexual intercourse or sexual activity.

Of course, the story says Noah was so drunk that he must have fallen asleep – “he awoke from his wine.” This makes it unlikely that he was engaging in sexual intercourse when his two sons walked backwards into his tent to cover him. Still, the words clearly suggest that there was some sexual component to Noah’s nakedness. One Rabbi comments that the word applied in this situation was “used for ‘to take to wife’ in alliances that can never be regarded as ‘marriage’.” However, no woman is mentioned in the account, so it is doubtful that the sexual conduct was heterosexual.

Whatever actually happened to Noah has long been forgotten today. It does seem reasonable to infer, however, that whatever it was happened between Noah and his grandson, Canaan. Perhaps, Noah’s youngest son (Canaan’s father) saw what was happening and reported it to his older brothers. Two possibilities have been suggested to have happened to cause Noah to curse Canaan. They may be sodomy and castration. Both, of course, were soundly condemned in later Israelite Law. At any rate, it should be clear that whatever occurred in this story of Noah, it was strongly tinged with a sexual component. It, clearly, was not innocent, non-erotic nakedness. Therefore, it cannot be used to condemn nakedness per se. One of my favorite Biblical passages that I like to “spring” on so-called Scriptural opponents of nakedness is the story of Isaiah. When a Fundamentalist tries to convince me that God condemns nakedness, I like to set them up for a little surprise. I first ask them if their God ever asks or instructs His people to sin. Of course, they always emphatically say He doesn’t.

If that is true, I inquire of them, why did God command Isaiah to sin? After the King of Assyria had captured a place called Ashdod, God told Isaiah to “go naked and barefoot” for three years! This was to be a sign that even those who fled to Egypt would be led away captive, naked and barefoot, by the Assyrian king.

Therefore, as a faithful servant of God, Isaiah went naked and barefoot a full three years. When it is no longer possible to deny that God said every Biblical incidence where shame is associated with nakedness, a sin against God has already been committed. The shame is for their sin, not their nakedness. should go naked, the fundamentalists typically seize on the last part that says “the king of Assyria will lead away the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Cush, young and old, naked and barefoot with buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. . .” This, they say, shows that nakedness is shameful. Again, we find two different Hebrew words used in this short passage. Yes, the word translated as shame is ervah – the Hebrew word that depicts a shameful or sexual nakedness. All the references to merely being naked come from the word arom. This, we have already seen, describes the nakedness of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Thus, both Isaiah and the captive’s nakedness are equated with the nakedness Adam and Eve experienced when they were not ashamed.

The most that could be argued from this passage is that it is shameful to be forcibly stripped naked and led away as captives. However, that has nothing to do with the nakedness within families or as naturists. Also, even if we accept the premise that it is shameful to be forcibly stripped naked, it does not follow that it is also shameful to voluntarily strip naked.

One of the most common arguments against social nakedness is that it is somehow offensive to others who do not wish to see someone else naked. While naturists, as well as anyone else, should always be considerate of other people’s sensibilities, the story of Isaiah shows that there is no Scriptural basis to argue that such consideration is paramount. God certainly would have known that many people would encounter the naked Isaiah; he was to not even wear shoes! Since he was to be naked for three years, surely scores of people would have been faced with his nudity. God would have to be a strange and imperfect deity to order His servant to expose his naked body if it was somehow sinful or immoral. Neither did God offer any provision for those who would somehow be offended.

I’m reminded of a situation I once observed in Vancouver, Canada when I was driving down Marine Drive, one of the main streets in Vancouver. There was a man doing his lunch-hour jog on the sidewalk – totally naked (except, I believe, he did wear running shoes). I don’t know if this was a daily jog or not, but the people along the way merely glanced at him as he ran along. If there was any reaction from the observers, it was an embarrassed smile. The total scene reminded me of Isaiah going naked in his land many centuries ago.

The very fact that God ordered Isaiah to go naked, and that he obeyed God by walking about naked in public for three years should convince even the most anti-nakedness Bible student that public nudity is neither shameful nor offensive. It certainly should convince them at it is not a sin or any kind of immorality. To deny that Isaiah’s nakedness was innocent is to declare that God himself can and will command His servants to sin. Such a notion is preposterous!

Anyone who tries to argue that Isaiah was an exception, and therefore cannot be used to accept public nakedness, needs to be reminded of the other prophets. It was, apparently, somewhat common for God’s prophets to go naked. Saul was the first King of Israel and he temporarily took on the “mantle” of prophet in the first book of Samuel.

Saul was traveling to Naioth in Rama when the Spirit of God came upon him. So, as a prophet, he stripped off his clothes and prophesied in front of Samuel. He was naked all that day and night. When the people saw him, they wondered if King Saul was also one of the prophets.

I probably should point out that the Hebrew word used to describe King Saul’s nakedness is the word arom, the word for innocent, shameless nakedness. It is often argued that after the Fall of Man, the connotation of nakedness changed from one of innocence to one of indecency. If so, the author of this story must have not gotten the message because they used the word for King Saul’s nakedness that refers to innocence, not the other Hebrew words available to depict indecency. It seems from the passage that King Saul was not the only one in that scene who was naked. The text says that King Saul “also” stripped off his clothes, suggesting that there were other prophets present. Since the nakedness of the group of prophets did not seem to be a problem to the spectators, one would suppose that nakedness in that time was rather common. At least, the people paid more attention to the fact that the king was a prophesier than to the fact that he had no clothes!

Next, we have a story of King David dancing naked in the “town square. ” In this situation, the Ark of the Covenant had been held by one of Israel’s enemies and now was being returned to Jerusalem. David was so happy that he met the caravan carrying the ark and as it entered the city, Michael, David’s wife looked out of the palace window to see her husband dancing before the Lord wearing only a linen ephod.

Michael, like many wives today, was scandalized by the sight so when David returned to the palace, she lit into him. “How the King of Israel distinguished himself today! He uncovered himself in the eyes of his servant’s maids as one of the foolish ones shamelessly uncovers himself!” David rebuked her, saying he would be more lightly esteemed and humble in his own eyes, but that with the maidens of whom Michael spoke he would be distinguished.

There can be no mistake in this passage because the Hebrew word translated as “uncovered” is “galah.” This word specifically refers to a genital uncovering. [Often it has a sexual connotation, as well. However, we can assume that David wasn’t having sex since it says he was dancing, although there may have been an erotic overtone to his dance.] The text says he was wearing a linen ephod, one of the priests garments that probably could best be described as the bib or top part of a jumper (without the skirt attached).

Again, from this passage we see that no Scriptural credence is given to those who may be offended by one’s nakedness. Michael’s offense was sternly rebuked. Doesn’t it seem reasonable that if nakedness in a public situation – especially the town square – was against Biblical values that David would have been rebuked, not his wife who claimed to be offended? If we are to take the Bible as our example, it is not the naked one but the one who protested who is going contrary to Scripture. The last verse in this passage also raises an interesting question. It says that Michal had no child to the day of her death. This suggests to me that this verse is inferring that those who cannot cope with nakedness have some kind of sexual hang-up that often prevents pregnancy.

It is no secret that to older children and young adolescents the Sunday sermon is often very boring. Not a few schoolboys – and girls – have taken that opportunity to spice up that time by reading passages from the Song of Solomon! At least, I know that is how it was with my friends – we could look to the congregation like we were following the sermon’s references while being titillated right from the Bible. You can read the wonderful description of the female body given in The Song of Solomon and of the human male body in the same book. These texts include such female descriptions as “your two breasts are like two fawns, twins of a Gazelle” and “your stature is like a palm tree, and your breasts like its clusters (of fruit).” The male is equally well treated: “his abdomen is carved ivory inlaid with sapphires. . .” I cannot add anything to these descriptions that would be more positive of the naked human body.

In the Old Testament references to nakedness there are several mandates where clothes must be worn.

One such passage relating to the body being covered is in the book of Ezekiel. This text says, “Then you grew up, became tall, and reached the age for fine ornaments; your breasts were formed and your (pubic) hair had grown. Yet you were naked and bare. Then I passed by you and saw you, and behold you were at the time for love; so I spread my skirt over you and covered your nakedness.”

For an allegory to be effective as a social example, the basic elements must be familiar to the listeners; at least, they must not be so unfamiliar that the lesson loses its effectiveness because of the circumstances described. In this situation, it is clear that the young girl described was naked and bare. Even as an adolescent, the subject of this allegory was naked. Child, and even adolescent, nakedness could not have been too uncommon at that time, then, because if it had been the nakedness of the heroine would have distracted from the lesson of the parable.

This is probably the best Biblical indication that childhood and early adolescent nakedness is not the shocking, dangerous condition we make of it in our society. [I might add that I have written a small book on this subject. What it attempts to do is show how our American obsession with keeping children from being naked or exposed to other's nakedness may be the etiology of all manner of adult sexual perversions and compulsions. Cases can certainly be made that such sexual anomalies as promiscuity, voyeurism, pedophilia and others may be an outgrowth of our society's hysterical fear of childhood nakedness.] In Ezekiel, the nakedness of the growing maiden is translated from the Hebrew erom which means simply “without clothes.”

There is no sexual or negative connotation.

However, when the maiden reaches “the time for love” we find the word describing that nakedness comes from the Hebrew word ervah. This, we have seen, is a Hebrew word for nakedness with a sexual connotation. For that nakedness, the maiden is covered with a blanket or skirt.

The lesson related to nakedness from Ezekiel is clear. The innocent, non-erotic nakedness of a young child or maiden is of no concern from a Biblical point of view. However, when one is ready for love, the sexual nakedness should be covered. I doubt this means that only sex under blankets is morally acceptable; it probably means that sexual activity should be private, behind closed doors.

It may be appropriate to note here that I have also written an extensive history of nakedness in the West. [I've additionally written a complete study of nakedness in other cultures before much exposure to Western values.] Probably the single biggest factor in any society outlawing public or social nakedness is that it tends to degenerate into public sex acts. This was true from the German public baths during the Middle Ages to the English “living statue” exhibitions late in the Nineteenth Century and in many other instances.

This is one area where naturists probably should be able to join forces with our society's Evangelical religious elements. It may not be that many Christian fundamentalist are not afraid of innocent nakedness per se; I would submit that what they really fear is that it will lead to lasciviousness and sexual immorality. From historical experience, they have good reason for their fear. Naturists, it seems, would do well to make it absolutely clear in the public mind that naturism is social nakedness and not erotic nakedness. They should make it categorically clear that they want laws prohibiting, and serious enforcement prosecuting public sex acts. Live erotica, such as nude barroom dancing, which is clearly intended to sexually arouse the viewers probably could be discouraged since it is much more likely to lead to sexual activity than, say, nudists playing volley ball on the beach.

It seems reasonable for one to conclude from this allegory that sexual activity should be covered. Reading further in this passage, we see how God adorned His partner with fine silks, linens, jewelry and a crown. This enhanced her beauty and increased her status to that of royalty. From this, we can deduce that clothes are Biblically legitimate to enhance one's beauty and to indicate social status. Recalling the story of Adam and Eve, where God gave them skins to cover themselves when He cast them out of the Garden into the cool of the evening, we know that clothes are legitimate for protection from the weather as well.

While we can infer from Ezekial that clothes should cover sexual activity, there is no question about the Israelite priests. In the book of Exodus, God commands that the priests must wear certain vestments. Included in these priestly instructions is the specific statement that “you shall make for them linen breeches to cover their bare flesh; they shall reach from the loins even to the thighs. And they shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they enter the tent of meeting, or when they approach the alter to minister in the Holy Place. . .”

This is the only case in Biblical Scripture where clothes are commanded to be worn. Let me repeat: there is only one place in the Holy Bible where clothes of any sort are required to be worn. This was specifically for the priests, and then only when they were in the meeting place or temple or when they approached the altar. There is nothing that prevents them – or anybody else – from nakedness in other non-erotic situations or elsewhere.

In a very real way, this helps to complete the Biblical perspective on nakedness. By giving many, many instances of nakedness throughout the whole Bible, it is clear that there is no wholesale Biblical prohibition of nakedness. By giving some instances where the body is to be covered, limits to nakedness are set by God. From this, we can know the parameters of where the Bible's God stands on the issue; we are not left to create our own theology.

From several references in the Bible, death may also have been a time for nakedness. Job, noted for his many tribulations, said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return there.” Everyone, of course, is born naked. This verse

suggests that it may have been a common practice to be stripped naked in preparation for impending death. The book of Ecclesiastes, which is traditionally ascribed to Solomon, agrees. We have seen that the Bible seems to accept childhood nakedness – that is, before the age of sexual reproduction, children were probably permitted to go naked. From my studies of the ethnography of nakedness, it is certain that many cultures also sanctioned nakedness in people too old for sexual reproduction. It is likely that this practice occurred in ancient cultures, as well. If so, it is possible that Biblical Israel condoned the same practice for elderly people. We certainly know that it is common practice in many cultures to tear one's clothes in mourning the death of a relative. This also was a custom in ancient Israel. Frequently, throughout the Bible, people in great stress tore their clothes. Indeed, for the ancient Israelites, more than tearing of the clothes was needed. Micah said, speaking about a judgment about to fall on his nation, “Because of this I must lament and wail, I must go barefoot and naked; I must make a lament like the jackals and a mourning like the ostriches.”

Notice that Micah said he must go naked and barefoot. It would seem that it was socially expected to go naked during times of great stress or mourning. At any rate, there is no biblical condemnation for nakedness in these situations. There is one last Biblical passage that may touch on nakedness. God told Abraham, “And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.” It would seem curious that the very sign of the acceptance of God's covenant with His people would be expected to be fastidiously covered. It is possible that circumcision was to be a concealed sign to oneself, but there is no Biblical indication that it was and no reason to expect so.




While there are many references to nakedness in the Old Testament, there are only three specific circumstances in the New Testament. There are also a few instances when nakedness is suggested but not directly stated. Finally, there is indication that keeping the body covered is not as high a priority in the Biblical Christian's life as one would expect from today's theology.

“Who is so barbarous as not to understand
That the foot of a man is nobler than his shoe,
And his skin nobler than that of the sheep
With which he is clothed?”
– Michelangelo
The first reference to nakedness is found in the Book of Mark. “And a certain young man was following Him [Jesus], wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they seized him. But he left the linen sheet behind, and escaped naked.” Another mention of nakedness comes in the Acts of the Apostles, where some Jewish exorcists were trying to cast out a demon and “the evil spirit leaped on them and subdued both of them and overpowered them so they fled out of the house naked and wounded.” The final example of nakedness is found in the book of John where some of the disciples had been out fishing and Jesus showed up on shore. “. . .And so when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea [to swim to shore].”

One needs to look at all three of these references together to discern an accurate picture of New Testament nakedness. In the first two instances, the nakedness was unexpected. The three people were caught by surprise and fled naked. It should be obvious to the readers that it must not have been the custom to wear an undergarment under their outer robes. Even today, in many Middle Eastern countries, it is often the custom to not wear a second garment under the outer robes.

That they did not customarily wear underclothes does not condone nakedness, of course. The fact that they were surprised and their clothes were removed, leaving them naked, has no bearing on the validity of nakedness in public or in a social situation. We are left, then, with the story of Peter fishing to try to determine the New Testament position on nakedness. Some theologians have argued that Peter was wearing a loin cloth when he removed his garment for fishing. However, if we have two random incidences of his contemporaries having lost their outer robes to be left naked, it is reasonable that this was the custom. Peter, being a part of his culture, undoubtedly did the same. Therefore, when the Bible says that he removed his robe, it is very likely that he was naked. As further evidence, contemporary pictures of Egyptian fisherman show them in complete nakedness as they fished.

Even more important are the words used. The New Testament was translated into English from ancient Greek. The word translated as Peter being “stripped” for work comes from the Greek word “gymnos.” This is exactly the same Greek word translated as naked in the previous two examples. Thus, when one goes back to the original, there is compelling evidence that Peter was completely naked when he fished.

I might add that those who try to argue that he was modestly wearing a loin cloth don't make sense for another reason. The loin cloth would get wet while he was fishing and then he would have had to put on his dry robe over the wet loin cloth. Also, what would be the point of keeping his body covered on a fishing boat with only other men on board?

Because there are no more instances of nakedness in the New Testament, we have to depart from considering direct references to other texts. To continue with Peter, some would wonder why he grabbed his clothes and put them on when he swam to meet Jesus. If he wanted his clothes on shore, which would seem reasonable, it would be a lot easier to swim with them on his body rather than carrying them in one arm. It also could be that Peter, who probably perceived Jesus as divine, would feel that he needed his clothes to approach Jesus, just as the priests needed to be properly covered when they approached God in the holy places of the Temple.

Some light may be shed on this event by another instance during the Last Supper. In this case, “[Jesus] rose from the supper, laid aside his garments; and taking a towel, girded Himself about.” The word translated here as “girded” comes from the Greek word “diazonnumi.” This is the same word used to describe Peter as he put on his garment when he was ready to swim to meet Jesus. The word actually means to tie something around oneself like a belt or a girdle. Therefore, it is likely that both Peter while fishing and Jesus during part of the Last supper were both naked except for a garment or towel tied around their waists.

In neither case does it seem to cause any concern that they were naked except for something tied around their waist. Certainly neither Jesus nor Peter were embarrassed or self conscious since they put themselves in that situation willingly. Also, it seems that it did not arouse any concern among other people who were present in those situations – at lease nothing is mentioned of it.

The New Testament mentions several instance where people removed their clothes, but it doesn't specifically say they were naked. This may mean, however, that nudity was simply understood just as if, today, one wrote that a person removed their undershorts or panties it would be assumed that they would be naked. To discern if this may have been true, we need to take a few moments to consider the clothes worn by New Testament figures.

There are several garments mentioned in the New Testament, but there are only two main items. One is an “outer garment” which is translation from the Greek word “himation” and the other is an “inner garment,” usually translated as coat or tunic, which comes from the Greek “chiton.” The himation is mentioned six times more often in the New Testament than the chiton, suggesting that the himation was much more important.

The chiton was not even owned by everyone. Jesus said, “Let the man who has two tunics share with him who has none.” Also, it was the less important garment worn by those who did have one. We can see this because Jesus told his disciples not to own two of them. Even those who did own one did not wear it most of the year in that desert-like Mediterranean land. Jesus gave a hint of His attitude toward the necessity of clothing to cover the naked body when he said, “if anyone wants to sue you, and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.” In this version, “shirt” is translated from chiton and “coat” is translated from himation. Obviously, if a person in Jesus time gave away both his chiton and his himation (that is, both his shirt and coat), he would have been left naked.

I should point out that this passage is really concerned with how people deal with each other, not with nakedness. By saying that it is better to be left without one's clothes than to treat someone unfairly, Jesus certainly placed human relations far above the need to cover they body. In other words, righteousness is more important than covering the naked body.

We can take a look at a few more Biblical reports of people removing their clothes. Probably the best known was when a young man named Saul, who later became known as St. Paul, witnessed the stoning death of the apostle Stephen. Those who stoned Stephen “laid aside their robes (himation) at the feet” of Saul.

Another instance was when a blind beggar, Bartimaeus, was healed by Jesus. He, “casting aside his cloak (himation).” jumped up and came to the Lord to be healed. If the himation was the only garment worn by most people at that time, it is very likely that when they removed their cloaks they were left naked. That being true, it is interesting that their nakedness was not mentioned. It must have been fairly common. The Biblical account of what we now call Palm Sunday presents another interesting sight. It left a pastor-friend at a church I used to attend scratching his head and sighing, “This is not how I ever envisioned Jesus' entry into Jerusalem!” The disciples, when they secured a donkey for Jesus to ride into Jerusalem, placed their garments on the back of the donkey as a sort of saddle.

Then, when Jesus rode through the city, most of the people spread their garments on the road before Him. In both cases, the garments are translated from the word himation. Since many of the people did not own an undergarment (the chiton), and those who did wouldn't wear them unless it was cold, it is very likely that most of the people watching Jesus ride through the city were naked. It should be noted, also, that the people then viewed Jesus as a sort of king entering the city; they may have specifically removed their clothes to show their subservience to Him.

There are several other incidents we could cover. Jesus told his disciples to not be worried about having enough food or clothes. St. Paul asked if nakedness, among other things, could remove the believer from the love of Christ. He also “boasted” about his suffering and nakedness for Christ's sake. In a third incidence, St. Paul described the Church as a human body, saying that one part (even the unseemly parts) was no more honorable than any other – all are needed to make up a complete human or Church body.

What can we conclude, then? When a careful study of actual, or even allegorically illustrated, nakedness in the Holy Bible is completed, the notion that the state of being naked in a public situation is unscriptural is simply unfounded. It may be argued that such nakedness is unchristian (at least, as Christianity is defined today), but such an argument can be made only to the extent that objective Biblical accounts of nakedness are either ignored or distorted. If nakedness is unchristian, it is only because the Church has developed a theology apart from the Bible truthfully teaches.

Nudity and Pornography:

Phone Sexting — Are Your Children Sex Offenders? (2009)

By G. Mussell
This editorial won the Best Original Feature Article Award from the American Association for Nude Recreation in 2009. Reprinted with permission.

Articles on this latest teenage fad have appeared in many of the major city newspapers, Time Magazine, and even Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly – that bastion of American conservative morality – did a segment last month. So okay, it’s time I weighed in on the subject also.

"Sexting," where kids trade X-rated pictures via cell phone text message, has made headlines recently after a rash of cases in which child pornography charges have been brought not against dangerous pedophiles where the law was intended, but against hormonally active teenagers -- potentially leaving them branded sex offenders for life. Some parents are angry to see teens criminalized for simply being sexual, while others find the raunchy shots pornographic, another blinking neon sign of moral decay in a "Girls Gone Wild" era. In both cases, it amounts to a tug of war between teenagers' entitled sense of sexual autonomy and society's desire to protect them.

According to these recent interpretations of the law, a curious teenage girl who embarks on an "Our Bodies, Ourselves" journey of vaginal self-discovery, and simply replaces a hand mirror with a digital camera, is a kiddie pornographer. The same goes for the boy who memorializes his raging boner, or the post-pubescent girl who takes test shots of herself practicing the porn star poses she has studied online. Theoretically, this is true regardless of whether they share the pictures with anyone, and if they do share them, they could be additionally charged with peddling child porn.

There's good reason to be concerned about teens being self-pornographers. But many, especially legal experts, are disturbed by the fact that a healthy horn-dog of a teenager could be grouped in the same criminal category as a clinically ill pedophile.

"These cases are picturing these teenagers as both predators and victims of themselves," says Amy Adler, a law professor at New York University who has studied child porn laws. "Child porn law was founded on a very different vision of what the major threat was."

That major threat, of course, is supposed to be adults who produce and peddle child smut. Reed Lee, a Chicago attorney and board member of the Free Speech Coalition, says: "A law to protect victims shouldn't send those very victims to jail." Nudists have been victimized by these same law for years. We have all heard the stories of parents being arrested for taking photos of their naked children splashing in the family backyard pool to WalMart for developing. More insidious still are those cases where a burglar stole family nude photos from a house he stole items from, only to receive probation after testifying against the very people he stole from – and the family lost their children to Social Services.

One mother wrote on an Internet bog recently that her eight year old has used her cell phone to take pictures of his private parts. She wrote that he showed his siblings, and they giggled a lot. Nothing sexual in it at all. But, until she deleted the images, her phone had a few pictures of naked boy private parts and she could have been arrested has someone else seen them. There also seems to be a sexist double standard at work here. Example: A few months ago we heard from the granddaughter of one of our members about a girl at Westlake High in Agoura who sent a nude image of herself to her boyfriend, who proceeded to share the image with several of his male buddies. The girl was suspended, but the boyfriend? No punishment except a warning not to do it again.

Teens will, as they always have, experiment with their sexuality. At one time, that meant a boy would flip through his father's stash of Playboys and a girl would try on her mother's ample bra. "Older adults have a short memory. There were things we did -- people flashed each other and played spin the bottle," says Elizabeth Schroeder, director of Answer, Rutgers University's program dedicated to promoting sexuality education. "This is this generation's way of doing that."

But today's teens have an entirely different notion of privacy than past generations. They grew up in the exhibitionistic Web culture of LiveJournal, YouTube and MySpace. They've seen girls on TV playfully jiggling their breasts for plastic beads, "Real World" cast members boldly screwing in front of cameras, and Britney, Paris, and Lindsay flashing their shaved privates for the paparazzi. Vanessa Hudgens of High School Musical fame, for heaven’s sake, was outed by her ex-boyfriend for sending full-frontal photos of herself to him while they were a couple. In a Time Magazine article in March, a survey of high school students revealed that one in five teens had sent or posted a naked picture of themselves, and a third had received such a picture or video by text message or email.

In a time when free hardcore porn is ubiquitous, technology is cheap and the Internet is a comfortable channel for expression and experimentation, is it really any surprise that this is a generation of amateur pornographers? In reality, this is all part of how kids initiate themselves into our sexual culture long before they actually have sex. As face-to-face communication seems to be falling out of fashion, they way teens learn to interact socially is to use the tools at hand. Intimate text messaging has been around longer than the Internet, but the ability to send such messages almost instantly – and to strangers one only know by what they disclose while on line – has given rise to far greater dangers for today’s youth.

Clearly, there is a big difference between testifying on the wall of the boy's bathroom about the toe-curling blow jobs the school's head cheerleader gives and sending your buddies photographic proof. These digital offerings bring the potential for humiliation and blackmail if the photos or video get into the wrong hands -- and, let's face it, they often do

We hear news stories far too frequently of young girls coaxed into running away from home to meet an Internet buddy for the first time, only to discover that person’s true intent when it is too late. One of NBC’s higher rated shows is “To Catch a Predator,” a show that confirms the worst fears of every parent. The ratings for the show, by the way, indicate most of its viewers to be over age 45 – so the kids aren’t watching or getting the message.

In a perfect, “nudist-friendly” world, sending images back and forth between friends should not even be an issue. But in this real “skin-phobic” world, do I condone “Sexting”? Absolutely not. There are as yet no foolproof safeguards to prevent these photos from being distributed into the hands of people who would gladly post them on a porn site for the whole word to see – including future prospective employers.

For starters, as a temporary fix, I believe these overreaching pornography laws should be clarified so that someone not attempting to make money off photographs of minors should not be considered pornographers. But what still seems to be overlooked here is that this is primarily a phenomenon of young women exposing themselves to get the attention of boys.

More than anything, I feel badly that the young women feel this is the best way to be noticed and loved, and I feel badly for the young men who are being led to believe that this is what relationships are based upon. But is there an even better solution? Actually I have one. If teens really want to see what other people look like without clothes, arrange to have them visit one of the 270 nudist clubs and resorts scattered across the country. I guarantee any curiosity they have will be satisfied during the first five minutes. Also, since there are no cameras allowed at these parks, there is zero possibility of any images being spread across a Friends and Family network. It also makes the “revealing” dare mutual. A guy can’t bully his girlfriend into revealing herself without him also being forced to show his stuff.

As any nudist knows, our parks are not very sexual, in fact, we are rather boring all together (pun intended). Sexuality always involved clothing anyway, the titillation of hiding something from view. That is why guys who might fantasize about a girl in a bikini quickly loses interest once the bikini is discarded and the women’s is revealed to look “like everyone else.” Hard to explain that to the Morality Crowd who are convinced our parks are “predator magnets.” But the fact that our parks do an excellent job of screening visitors and quickly removing anyone exhibiting questionable behavior, makes nudist parks safer for these teens than a regular beach, or even a shopping mall. In the end, our hormone-driven teens will get a look at all they want to see, find the human body is simply 200 variations on two themes, and return to school better able to cope with all the surrounding peer pressure.

All we have to do is figure out a way to invite them (and their parents?) and have them actually show up. Ironically, one of the other consequences of Sexting is the rising number of adults who refuse to shower naked at health clubs.

Go into any 24 Hour Fitness Center for a workout after work, and you will notice a large majority of the men showering in bathing suits. The ritual is to go to one’s locker, change out of the exercise clothes (be briefly nude) and change into a bathing suit, then after the shower drop the trunks (for about 2 seconds) and change back into one’s underwear. Weird? Not really.

In a story we printed a few years ago, a study revealed that men were afraid of being photographed in the show by other men in the locker room holding hidden cell phone cameras. Showering while wearing something seemed perfectly natural to those under age 40 since they never got to experience in high school what we in the older generation had as a daily ritual – showering after gym class. We raised a generation of stinkers. Literally. But we also raised a generation that had to satisfy their hormonal curiosity in other ways. Cable television and the Internet have stepped in to fulfill that need, yet we old timers know just the viewing of pictures doesn’t really answer all the questions, nor does it resolve the pressure on those young girls who need to be “liked.” And as their photos get copied and recopied, they become less a personal statement of “who I am” to the object of one’s affection, and more likely they become an “object of sexual fulfillment” by some truly sick people out their in the Net.

So I offer my alternative. As your kids are about the reach puberty, if you haven’t brought them to a nudist park already, do so then. Let them splash in the pool with their friends of both sexes. Let them ask all the curious questions and let them see humanity in all its shapes, sags, and ages. They will be more secure in their own changing bodies, and in the friends they keep.

And I bet they no longer will have any desire to send (or receive) sexually explicit photos through their cell phones, not when they have seen the real thing. Our kids who have grown up in nudist parks truly don’t know how lucky they are.

Nudity and The Arts

The World of Nude Modeling

Could you do it? Could you walk into a room of 40 people, take off your robe and let all of those people see, you know, everything? Could you stand there for two or three hours while they studied your every nook, cranny and crevice?

Stripped naked and scrutinized for hours by a room full of strangers. Welcome to the world of the life model. For anybody suffering from a poor body image the idea of standing naked and being scrutinized by a classroom full of school boys would be the ultimate in harrowing nightmares.

The role of artist's model has a troubled history. Modeling for Pablo Picasso (which also included being his lover) tended to lead to breakdown or suicide. When Pierre Bonnard dropped one model for another, the first one killed herself. He married the next one, but he painted her lying in the bathtub so often, she must have turned into a prune. As an old man, Henri Matisse started painting his wife's young nurse. His wife got jealous and tried to get rid of the nurse, who promptly shot herself (although not fatally). Madame Matisse ended up leaving and the young model staying. Edward Hopper's wife, Jo, was the model for every female in all his paintings. This was too intense. He often slapped her around, and she retaliated by biting him.

The lives and experiences of nude models hired to pose for students at university art departments are not as dramatic as those of their famous counterparts, but they all share in common a strong appreciation for artists and a similar goal share a similar goal - to participate in the promotion of the arts.

Practically every college and university in Southern California, whose curriculum we examined, has an art program and advertises for “life drawing” models. Few of the models that we interviewed think of themselves as “nudists” nor have they ever belonged to any naturist organization. Typically they are art students themselves, or friends of art students. A typical art department has about 10 models who are used in rotation so that artists can see a wide range of different ages and body types. "We want students to experience all of it - young and old, thick and thin, male and female," said Brad Loudenback, a Webster University associate professor.

“The class is important for all art students because they must learn to understand the structure beneath before they can draw people with clothes on.” Observation must come first, he said, and then students can draw the person they saw in the coffee shop or have their friends pose for portraits.

He said some art students may feel awkward when asked to draw a naked body for the first time, but few freshmen show any outward signs of discomfort.

Below are a representative sample of models and their experiences as being the object of attention in a life drawing class:

Emily Yoffe, Boston University

I recently spent two classes as a model at Washington, D.C.'s, Corcoran College of Art and Design. This was an activity that perfectly fulfilled the Human Guinea Pig mandate: to humiliate myself doing things normal people are curious about but too normal to do themselves.

I was given a list of guidelines, which included my right to ask that the heat be turned up and my obligation to "use proper hygiene at all times." I would be paid $15 an hour, almost three times the minimum wage – just to sit on your rump. On the appointed night I arrived early. I changed into my bathrobe in the restroom and waited in class while the students arrived. I was relieved to see they were almost all women between the ages of 20 and 60. I walked onto a platform in the middle of the room, and the students stood around me in a semicircle. The instructor told me to start with 10 one-minute poses. I asked if she had any particular poses in mind. She shook her head, "I never tell models what to do."

Here is the distinction between naked and nude. Naked is when you step out of the shower before you've put on your bathrobe. Nude is when you drop your bathrobe in front of a roomful of art students. As I undid the sash to my bathrobe, I had the fleeting thought that I could say, "I don't know what I was thinking," then grab my clothes and run. But I opened the sash, took off my robe, and stepped up on the platform. I stood there, suppressing a strong desire to giggle.

An hour into my first class as a nude art model, the instructor told me to get into a pose I could hold for 20 minutes. One of the rules was that I was not to comment on the students' work unless asked. At the break I looked at the portraits. It was flattering to be the object of so much attention. The drawings were wonderfully varied. The young man in front me did a light pencil sketch, while the young woman next to him created a chiaroscuro of my torso. I posed for classes off and on for about two years before other priorities intervened. Despite my initial fears I enjoyed the experience very much.


Catherine Kustelski

Kustelski, 35, majored in English while in college and has since traveled all over the United States. She chose to live in St. Louis because of the art community. She has been figure modeling for about six years, but her first figure modeling experience wasn't a professional one. While living in Louisville, Ky., she and a group of women used to get together every Saturday. Since they were all artists who didn't have the resources to take more classes, they decided to draw straws to see who would pose for figure modeling - and Kustelski got the short straw. All of the women were very supportive, she said, because they could've been up there instead of her.

During a trip to New Mexico, she met a woman who taught figure drawing and modeled for her. She began modeling at Washington University in 2000. She is now a full-time figure model, scheduling sessions at many area universities and colleges. Kustelski said she loves working with artists and art teachers and being a part of the college community. She loves inspiring artists. She uses her knowledge of dance and visual art to come up with interesting poses. Kustelski said she views her body as a good example of a figure for artists. She hopes other women can see how comfortable she is with her body and follow her example. "If a woman in class is looking at me and sees how comfortable I am with my body, maybe they can be comfortable with their's," Kustelski said.

She said while her body isn't perfect, no one's body is.


Bruce Williams

Bruce Williams celebrated his 52nd birthday this month, but his nudist beliefs are as strong now as they were back in college. Williams was one of the original University of Missouri-Columbia streakers during the 1970s and he graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism. In Austin, Texas, he was part of a nudist group. Taking the next step to figure modeling was a natural decision for Williams. "Since I followed a nudist philosophy, I didn't have a problem being nude in front of artists," Williams said. Despite his nudist philosophy, Williams said it is human to be a little self-conscious. Most people prefer to draw female figure models, because they are curvy and more marketable. Flaws are often more noticeable on the male body, he said. In addition, many people are close-minded when it comes to the naked body in general. Williams said few people understand the effort required to figure model, as well. It takes time and energy. He is a perfectionist with his poses, so he tries his best not to move. Some poses require him to twist his body or to extend muscles in a certain way. Williams said he has posed in a handstand for 45 minutes before. In order to maintain these poses, Williams said he turns inward and meditates, utilizing his knowledge of yoga. Williams says he enjoys the flexible hours of figure modeling, and the pay of $10 to $14 an hour is decent.

ulie Wheat

Wheat, 29, is a full-time figure model who first tried figure modeling because she wanted to know what it was like to be the subject instead of the artist.

Wheat was voted most hyper in high school, so her family was more than a little shocked when they learned she had taken a job where she had to be quiet for two to three hours. Wheat said she was very nervous the first time until she took off her robe. After that, it wasn't a problem for her, she said. She didn't care what people were thinking about her. "If people want to scrutinize me for the way I look, it's not that big of a deal," Wheat said. "If they got a problem with me, they don't have to draw me."

Wheat said she didn't always have high self-esteem. In high school, she wouldn't leave the house unless her hair was perfect. Now she doesn't care, even though more people are looking at her. She said people realize things about themselves as they get older and self-esteem gets better as people age. Including weekends, she works about 50 hours a week. She has become accustomed to seeing others' drawings and paintings of her, but she remembers how surreal it was when she first started. Wheat said she received a 360-degree perspective of herself that she had never seen before. Now she doesn't bother to look at the artists' work unless she just completed an interesting pose. She said some people assume that figure models like to dress with a "stripper look," but this isn't true. Others assume being a figure model is an easy job, but Wheat said it is very physically taxing. She has training as a dancer and in yoga, but some of the poses are still difficult.


Rosemarie Orwin

For Rosemarie Orwin this extreme form of personal therapy has not only proved to be a confidence booster but has turned out to be a nice little earner as well. Rosemarie, a former manager at WH Smith in Swindon, found she just couldn't bear office work anymore and decided it was time to bare all instead. So, a year ago, she decided to become a life model.

“I had a friend who used to model at Newbury College," says Rosemarie. “She said she really enjoyed it and said it was easy. I've never had any confidence in my body and thought, well, it's a bit extreme, but I'll give it a go." Rosemarie's debut class in the buff turned out to be a group of 40 year old art buffs from Oxford: "It was very nerve racking because I'd never been in front of a group of strangers with my clothes off before. And of course they're standing behind their easels measuring you and pencils are coming out at you.”

"But literally after I'd finished, I came out and punched the air with complete euphoria saying, ‘'I did it, I did it’.” Despite not being the quintessential voluptuous, big breasted muse, since taking her clothes off Rosemarie's career has quite literally taken off.

She now poses for art classes, sketching groups, sculptors and photographers all over the south of England. But even as a seasoned model, some classes can still prove to be a bit of a challenge.

"The first boy's school I went to, I didn't realize it was a boy's school, and I actually did blush. I went into the room and the first boy came in, and than another, and than another, and I thought this is obviously a boy's school.” "I thought 'Calm down, just control yourself, you're old enough to be their mother. Anyway, I just calmed myself down, and it was fine, but I could feel the beads of sweat coming up and it was quite nerve racking."

For life models, stripping off and posing for anything from a few minutes up to an hour without a break, it pays not to get too artistic with your poses.

"You don't know if it's going to be comfortable after 20 minutes, and even now I'll choose a pose quite often that I'll think after 20 minutes 'I really shouldn't have done this one'.

"When I first started, I was obviously very keen to please everybody and do what they wanted. I would sit in a lot of pain without saying anything, and I've almost literally crawled out of the door I've been in so much pain."

And as for trying to keep still, no matter what, for Rosemarie it's all a question of mind over matter.

"Sometimes when you have a really desperate itch and you have to scratch it, you can make yourself believe that it's not itching and it does go away. It's amazing what your mind can do to stop certain bodily functions… shall we say."

But pain, tedium, boredom and chilly drafts aside, are the final artistic results flattering? "Facially, I would say most of the time, it's not flattering. I look quite gruesome, body wise that varies, but I don't take that as a personal thing.”

And you can see why…

Rosemarie's schedule is filled to the end of May. She has body painting bookings for a corporate event in Reading, is being turned into a range of ornaments for an international ceramics company, and may become a model for a mannequin sculptor. Just in case there's a chance of Rosemarie spending too much time with her clothes on, she's organized a series of life drawing workshops herself, several of which are already sold out. Rosemarie is sitting pretty in every sense of the word.

“It sounds odd, I know, but I do feel a lot more confident. I don't know why, it’s just the way that’s happened.”




This is so exciting! I plan to do it for sure. I'm a student at San Diego State University. I cannot ignore the sexual excitement of stripping naked in front of an entire class of students. I can hardly wait! It's a combination of fear, embarrassment, and excitement that turns me on.

“Nude Pete:”

Well done! I used to be a nude model at Newbury many years ago, and in the London area. It’s a rewarding thing and the artists are very friendly. I must be one of the most drawn nudes having been a model for over 30 years. I was a RAM member too, but I moved to Spain so had to give up. I now run a nudist club so I am nude all the time. Over the years nature got the better of me sometimes, but no one minded. It becomes an accepted thing nothing to panic over. Carry on - the good work!

Vincent Ravening:

Good article. I was a RAM member in UK, worked for colleges in Reading Have another advert on net now I am in Australia, mainly for requests to do modeling at hen nights Much more than just standing naked, men have to control certain areas and can be hard work but I enjoy the different poses involved, got into it through my naturist group and going into an art class for work It is great to be naked and liberated, wish i had posed with a lady too

“Ed From Oklahoma:”

I have been modeling for many years. I have trained many models. The most important part is don’t look at the artist.

“Dave From NZ:”

As an occasional model in Auckland standing still for long periods can be tiring but enjoyable. I became life model as a result of a dare from a female flatmate who said I would be too shy to try. I also will admit to being a bundle of nerves the first time, but did my 2-hour class without blushing. The ironic thing is I met my present lady in this class who no longer wants me to model nude.

Victoria Lynn:

It's 12:26pm right now, and I decided to be a nude model for my college. I will be modeling tonight from 6pm-10pm. I've never done anything like this before, so naturally I'm nervous, but being that its so out there, I have to do it! I'm doing research on it right now, and coming across your site has helped me in thinking of what I should do if I have an itch and on what to focus on. I'm really, really nervous! :)


I think that Nude Models are special individuals because they truly appreciate art. I myself modeled before, and I think it's not that easy to stand au naturel in front of strangers.


As a life model I find nothing disgusting about posing nude. We are all born naked. As a very shy person, taking my clothes off has given me greater confidence. Trying new things like this has kept me on my toes. If showing my nude body helps me to be part of the creative process, then I am all for it.

"Mrs. Wilson:”



Thank you for your insight... I am looking into becoming a figure model and appreciate you sharing your experience.


I think that nude modeling is a good thing because it makes you be part of the art process the students are discovering. I model from time to time in South Florida. I admire this art form.


I used to life model in my 20's. After initial embarrassment you feel really empowered and liberated. Being completely naked in a room full of clothed people is the ultimate high! Would love to do it again.


Showing full-frontal nudity to a crowd of strangers is a strange feeling at first but you soon get used to it. A bare penis is perhaps more disconcerting for the novice artist than for the model!

James Post:

As a life model myself in the Philadelphia area, I have to agree with your article. Every thing you said I have experienced. It was if I had written the article.

Verity Stanley:

I think that the responses here show a common misconception. Modeling is not simply a case of taking your clothes off and standing there, nor is it an easy option for nudists to earn money. When delivered properly, it is a highly specialized and vital part of the artists portfolio. The model is the muse, the catalyst - the inspiration for the work and not a passive "bowl of fruit with a pulse." It is a serious and far from simple career choice that demands dedication to achieve success.

Carroll Peterson:

When in college, I did nude modeling and enjoyed it. I am now a confirmed nudist and started a nudist group in the mostly rural state of South Dakota in the US.

Richard Antony:

Rosemarie is obviously a very talented model to be getting so much work. The difference here seems to be that she has turned it into a successful business. But what a gutsy lady to respond to a situation that normally throws any one out by taking such a bold step, - well done!


I started nude modeling last month. I was more nervous the second time because the first time I had no idea what to expect. After that, baby, it became a lot easier!!

Compiled from articles in The Journal, Webster University, The Daily Free Press, Boston University, and an article by Michelle Olyola in The Daily Free Press. Reprinted with permission.
Source for article and emails at:

Nudity and Health

Coming Soon to Your Town: Nude Yoga Classes!

Some fitness fads require sporty gear and equipment, but the practice of yoga requires only the bare essentials: loose clothes, a mat and time to do the exercises. But in some Amrican cities, the latest trend in yoga requires a lot less: just a mat and a smile.

Nude yoga's popularity is spreading across the world like wildfire. Only found in major cities in the past, courses are now being offered in smaller communities. Such is the case of Morristown, New Jersey, a sleeping suburb of New York City, where Dan Speers offers nude yoga classes as well as naturist kirtan (more on the latter at the end of this article).

By day, Speers telecommutes as a technical consultant for a California software company, but Three years ago he started teaching yoga at Sky Farm, a local nudist club. Nude yoga was a very natural idea for me. Even before I became a teacher I would often do my own yoga at home nude, he told us.

More recently, Speers relocated the class to his home studio. Classes are generally small, Consisting of as few as two students and as many as nine. Most don't attend classes regularly, treating it as a special event, according to Speers. More men than women participate, which Speers sees as rather odd given that women far outnumber men in the clothed yoga classes he teaches. All the classes are mixed gender: I've never seriously considered making the class for one gender as I don't really feel it helps with the idea of body acceptance - even though for some people it can be a big step to be nude in mixed company of the same sex, he explains.

Most students are nudists, although not all might refer to themselves as such, Speers confided. When asked about how he screened students, Speers responded: I (also) like to know why they are interested in the class and how they think they will benefit from a nude yoga class. People who are not serious typically don't respond, and if I think someone isn't serious about it I may either turn them away, or suggest a clothed yoga class.

As for Kirtan, Speers reveals, is basically where a leader sings a line of a sacred mantra or Chant, and the audience repeats that line. Modern Kirtan includes contemporary music and singing, and a naturist Kirtan obviously adds nudity to the mix, …which is simply in keeping with my naturist and yogic philosophy of body/self acceptance, adds Speers. Speers, whose spiritual name is Prithu, along with his wife recently founded The Au-Natural Health SIG, a special interest group within the Naturist Society. The main concept behind it is body/self acceptance taken to the next level: Taking care of yourself in a more holistic and natural way, he told us.

In San Francisco, a local community center promotes a 90-minute naked yoga class on Sunday mornings. At the One Taste Urban Retreat Center on Folsom Street has both men and women participating completely without clothes. That's a concept that American culture, with its taboos on nudity, might find difficult to grasp. The center, which opened 10 months ago, offers dance classes and massage, has a small cafe and an art gallery, and hosts various events.

The class is about the challenge of yoga, and about the challenge of accepting — and even revering — one's own body. It's not a sexual experience, said Rob Kandell, the center's business manager. It's a heart-opening experience. On a recent Sunday morning, yoga instructor Meredith Medland, 33, gave students a sort of pep talk before entering the classroom, emphasizing the idea of the body as a vessel and getting them to calm their thoughts. Five women and four men entered fully clothed, carrying their mats. Many were in their 20s and 30s, but some were decades older.

As we begin to disrobe, start to notice how you clothe this temple, this body, this thing you own, your home, Medland said. As you take off your clothes, there's a level of precision, of consciousness, in the way you fold your clothes. We're honoring the preciousness, the sacredness, the delicateness of the body. The first movements involved stretching arms above the head. Medland, as naked as the rest of the class, faced the group, arms over her head, her patter providing a point of focus for any student distracted by selfconsciousness.

When you lift up, remember you've got these limbs — now whoosh! she said, exhaling. Bring the arms down, bring the head down.

In the unlit studio, two skylights sent soft shafts of white onto the students' bodies, highlighting the curves of their forms as if they were museum statues come to life, moving deliberately and slowly from pose to pose. Despite the variety in figures, some thin, some heavy, some taut, some sagging, there were no furtive glances at one another's bodies, no signs of arousal, just deep concentration on the tasks at hand: proper alignment, stretching and breathing.

Lying facedown on mats, students pushed themselves up at Medland's urging into the cobra pose, legs and pelvis still on the mat, back arching, torso erect.

Let yourself feel good, she urged. This is the body you've been given… breathing… breathing… good! You look great! Later, students stood in the warrior position, left knee bent, right leg extended behind, arms extended outward, parallel to the floor. Afterward, they shifted to the floor for a series of backbend-like moves. With 30 minutes left in the 90-minute class, she had students lie down on their backs and place their left hand on their hearts. One taste, one touch, one life, one city, one world, one heart, she said.

After class, fully clothed, participants explained the appeal.

Guy Jara, 36, a computer programmer from Brisbane, is getting back into yoga after an 11-year break from the practice. "I like the sheer vulnerability of having no clothing and letting everything hang, he said. There's no concealing anything anymore. There's no place to hide.

A real estate investor who identified himself only as Ronaldo, 60, said being naked helped him to concentrate on bringing the mind, body and spirit together — the essential purpose of yoga. I've been doing yoga for 14 years and working two times a week with a private instructor, but my problem is monkey mind, he said. I want to be present in the moment, and my mind wanders — ‘Is the class going to be over?’ 

For him, being naked helps to keep his focus on himself. I can see where I wasn't present before and be more with the instructions to guide me into the positions, he said. I could stay in them longer, and go deeper. Being present gives a feeling of timelessness.

Others liked the fact that being unclothed meant they could see the proper body positioning more easily, and make adjustments more quickly, by watching Medland's husband, Ted McElwee, who acted as a model. 

I wanted to approach yoga from a nonphysical, non-superficial way, because a lot of it is about cute outfits and competitiveness, she said. Doing it nude, I thought there wouldn't be any of that. It would be internal, about me. Without clothes, I was able to move even more, she said. Man! Not having anything on is so freeing. I don't know if I could do yoga with clothes on.

Her classmates apparently don't take the naked truth too seriously. Everyone laughed.

Men and Women


We have heard from many first-timers at our monthly Meetups that they are confused by the correct usage of some of the colloquial terminology used at nudist venues and events. Nudists’ vocabulary, like the language in all areas of culture, morphs over time, and clubs in different regions of the country or members of specific clubs use some terms of these differently than members of other groups. However, the terms below should shed a little light on general definitions and help you navigate your way around the lawn during your first visit to a naturist event:

Clothing-optional – While this may seem pretty selfexplanatory, clothing optional resorts often require visitors who wish to use the swimming pool, Jacuzzi, or sauna to do so naked. People who remain dressed during their entire visit to a clothing-optional facility may be viewed as a voyeur and, appropriately, asked to leave. Check the club’s policies before assuming that the choice is yours throughout the place.

Clothing-free – Most nudists practice “dressing for comfort” – putting on or taking off clothing according to weather conditions, for example. However, clothing-free resorts, cruises, etc. expect members and visitors to remain nude as much as possible.

Naturist vs. Nudist– Although many use these terms interchangeably, especially in the United States, “naturist” is the preferred term in Europe. Naturist also implies a person with a greater appreciation for nature in general. Many naturist sites are campgrounds and beaches, focused less on the high-end amenities than other nudist resorts. Naturists are more active physically (volleyball, hiking, etc.) and practice healthy eating and a minimal impact on the environment. Many (but not all) also are non-smokers and drink very little (or no) alcohol.

Nude vs. Naked – Art historians have been debating the differences between the words "nude" and "naked" for centuries. Traditionally, "nude" is a term used to describe an unclothed person who has a degree of body acceptance and who is comfortable in his/her surroundings. Uninformed people like to use "naked" interchangeably with "nude", which is not the same. We define "naked" as meaning "exposed" or "vulnerable." Example: “She was buck naked on the beach” implies some jeopardy. "She was nude on the beach" does not.

Nakation – A term invented by AANR (the American Association for Nude Recreation) a few years ago as a play on the over-used term "stay-cation" (staying at home during one's vacation). On a "Nakation" the participants are partially or totally nude during all or part of it, usually at some nudist resort or on a cruise with other nudists. Skinny-dipping – Nude swimming.

Topless vs. Top-Free – “Topless” brings images of dancers on poles with dollar bills in their G-strings. The term preferred among nudists is “top-free.” Non-landed – This term refers to clubs or organizations that do not own property on which they gather. Members of non-landed (otherwise known as “travel”) clubs often meet for special events, such as a camping trip, volleyball tournament, or beach outing, or may gather at members’ homes to enjoy each other’s company. SCNA is a "nonlanded" club.

Landed – A clubs or destination resort which owns land on which they may or may not have club houses, swimming pools, or other amenities which members and guests enjoy without clothes. An outdated term from the 1940's to describe landed clubs was "nudist camp" or "nudist colony." We are not lepers. Please do not use these archaic terms as nudists deem them offensive.

Lifestyle – This word is often a “code” for “swinger clubs” in which sexual behavior in front of others is condoned. While people often refer to a nudist’s "lifestyle" when discussing the general attitude of naturists or nudists, talking about a “lifestyle resort” typically refers to one patronized by swingers. Many nudists use the phrase "chosen way of life" instead. Textiles – Those who wear bathing suits. Nudists use this pejorative term to describe a non-nudist who endlessly speculates as to what is beneath the cloth of others, who peeks whenever possible, who believes on faith without ever having been to a nudist place that nudity equates to sex.

Cotton-Tails – A fun commentary on a newbie's tan lines as opposed to the veteran nudist who has none. It is not meant to be insulting but be careful who you say it to!

Smoothie – A person who shaves much of his/her body hair off. Hairless genitals has become a popular form of self-expression during the past decade, as is body jewelry (placed in various places besides ear lobes) and tattoos. Remember, it’s not polite to stare (or to make a comment).

Nudist Family Values

Editorial: "Nudist Family Values"

This editorial won Best Original Article in a Club Newsletter for 2008, awarded by the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) at its national convention in August of that year.
Reprinted with permission.

Each time I hear a news commentator or politician preach about “family values” I cringe. It is scary sometimes how so many of us want the power to impose our own sense of morality onto others around us. Nudists have been an especially easy target of these attacks over the years as people who just don’t get us try to save our children from our “den of sexual and moral depravity” or something like that. Some of these meddlers are well-meaning, and some just want to save us to get reelected.

What brought these thoughts to the forefront was everyone’s nominee for Mother of the Year, Britney Spears. If you read her story this month you will find a young woman who seems out of control and, according to these same pundits and politicians, ill-equipped for the responsibilities of parenthood. She doesn’t seem to know how to drive, dress, or drink responsibly. Yet all of her antics recently have occurred when her kids are tucked in bed under the supervision of the nanny. So what if she skinny-dips, cavorts with friends and lovers, or thinks a shirt is a dress? Is this how I would act, or is it what I would do? Of course not, and we can smirk and shake our heads. But the point is she gets to make those choices, and raise her kids as she chooses, because I want that right also.

If a parent wants their kids to be home schooled and go to church every day, they get to do that. And, in the extreme (according to my values) if a Muslim parent wants to raise their daughters to wear a burka, they get to do that also because I want the right to send my kids to an AANR Youth Camp every summer.

Have no doubt, when kids reach 18 they probably will rebel against their parent’s beliefs and find their own moral path – just as Britney is doing now for herself. Whether sitting around naked in Brattlesboro, Vermont, or pushing their baggy pants down to their crotch, or wearing baseball caps in reverse, these are all part of growing up. Of course Britney’s errors are magnified because of the cameras recording her every waking minute. How many fashion and social faux pas errors did you make growing up, or raising your kids, and would you want all of them on film?

I just don’t want someone else deciding for me that I am a bad person or a bad parent – or that I am endangering my children – just because my moral compass points in a different direction than someone else’s.

Nudist Youth Camps:

AANR Nude Youth Tells His Story
Youth Perspective: "My First Time at a Nudist Youth Camp"

By Kyle Hofmann, age 16

I attended my first Nudist Youth Camp in June 2003 at Lake Como Family Nudist Resort in Lutz, FL. Lutz is about 10 miles north of Tampa. My grandmother, who is retired, lives at the resort all year.

I had a great time. In fact it was one of the best times I had in my life. I would have never known about the camp if it wasn’t for my grandmother. She heard about it and wanted my sister and cousin, who are both 11 years old, to attend too, so Gramma sponsored the 3 of us. She knew it would be safe, and we would meet kids our age and learn to feel more comfortable with ourselves and with the nudist life.

First , there were rules: like the etiquette of sitting on your own towel whenever you sat down. This , most of us already knew from previous experience at nudist resorts and campgrounds with our parents. Also , we had a buddy system with another camper when we left the youth camp are a to visit the pool or other area of the resort , and always had to have a counselor with us. We were told about inappropriate behavior, staring at others , touching, improper dress , belittling talk and proper manners. You were given one warning if you broke a rule. If you broke a small rule again then you had to go to “jail”. There was a so-called “ jail ” which was a screened room with one chair in it. We called this the “Hot Box”. No one misbehaved and had to go in there though. If you broke a major rule your parents were called and they had to come and take you home, but no one did.

Our camp looked like a tent city. There were about 35 sleeping tents for the kids and some of the counselors to sleep in. Everyone slept in his own tent. There was a large tent with food supplies. Other tents made a kitchen, a large dining area, and a first aid station, plus there were miscellaneous covered areas for workshops and activities. There were Port-A-Potties in the “Camp Tent City”, as well as showers.

We did get a lot of rain the first day or two, but it was warm and we didn’t have to worry about getting our clothes wet, because we didn’t have any on. Although, inside some of our tents, our sleeping bags, pillows and belongings did get wet. It didn’t take long for them to dry, thankfully.

The food was fantastic and before meals healthy smoothies were freshly made and served, and we all really enjoyed them.

We were broken up into 3 different age groups. “Youth” is 11-14, “Leadership” is 15-18, and “Nude U” is the 18-25 year olds. Most of the “Nude U” participants had already gone to earlier Youth Camps when they were younger. The oldest group arrives first for leadership orientation, and then greets and helps orient the middle age group the next day when they arrive. Then that group greets and helps orients the youngest age group when they arrive the day after that. So the camp lasts 8 to 10 days, depending on what age group you’re in. There are also chores assigned to everyone, like cleaning up around the area, taking turns doing dishes, etc.

The many various activities were loads of fun as well as educational. There were of course swimming and pool games, volleyball, nature hikes, daily meditation time, writing an essay, optional lessons for tennis, golf, Petanque, arts and crafts, etc. During our nightly campfire, with a hot dog and marshmallow roast, we had a different topic of conversation. Each person had his or her time to talk, and each held a lantern at that time which meant no one else could talk or interrupt. That is the individuals’ time to express their thoughts and feelings on the topic for the night. Singing and music was also usually a nightly event. Sleep time was 11 PM till 7 AM. We were exhausted when we went to bed, so sleep was surely no problem.

We also had serious discussions on drugs, alcohol, smoking, and body changes, and the older kids were taught how to do a resume.

There was never any smoking or drinking allowed in our large camping area by any one, including the counselors. Also, only those with the appropriate bracelets on were allowed in the kids’ camp area at any time. The counselors and volunteers also patrolled the camp area 24 hours a day. My Gramma was on watch from 3AM till 7AM.

The night before the camp closed the older groups did the meal preparation and served a spaghetti dinner for about 125 people. That included the rest of the kids, counselors, family members and invited guests. Some kids had relatives living at Lake Como, or at nearby resorts, who visited for this meal. Some parents who brought their kids from farther away were staying at one of the resorts in the area while their kids were at the camp, and they visited too. After the dessert, there was a talent show that was prepared and planned by us kids the 5 previous days. There were 19 various acts that would match any TV talent show. Almost, that is. I was elected by the other campers to be the male Vice President of the camp. So I was picked to be the MC for the evening along with the female Vice President. The show was named, “The Sunny and Bare Show.” The nudist version of the “Sonny and Cher Show.” The audience loved it and laughed a lot, there was even a camper raising the “applause” sign, when appropriate.

Awards were also given out to the many volunteers. My Gramma was one of them. She worked in the kitchen, did night watch and other various duties. I was also named “Man Of The Year” and received a trophy I am proud of. One other award I won was $25 for the essay I wrote. It is going before the AANR National Essays and that prize is $100. When it was time to leave, there were tears and hugs of new friends found and formed, counselors and kids alike. I am so thankful to JFANR (Junior Florida Association for Nude Recreation) for having worked so hard to form and provide the Youth Camp and for raising the donations that help make it possible.

After the camp was over I was provided the opportunity to appear before Rep. Mark Foley in his office, along with my Gramma and about a dozen other leaders in the nudist life. We discussed what was written about the Youth Camp in the papers and shown on T V. OK, I don’t think he was a good listener. I can’t believe someone goes so far to try and ruin something so special to all us nudists. I can’t understand why he won’t let us live our lives the way we want to. Can’t he see what he is doing to us?

Gramma, Shirley Mason and I also went to Tallahassee to appear before the prestigious movers and shakers at the Capital Tiger Bay Club. Some of them admitted that they had been Skinny-Dipping before.

As I write this we are scheduled to fly to NYC to tape an appearance on the “John Walsh Show”. It is being broadcast sometime in September.


Kyle Hofmann, a 16-year-old High School student, along with his sister and cousin, was a participant in the 2003 Florida Association for Nude Recreation (FANR) Youth Leadership Camp. His grandmother was a camp volunteer.

Reprinted with permission from BEACH BUZZ, Fall 2003 Volume 3, Number 6
A publication of B.E.A.C.H.E.S. Foundation

FCC and the National Debate:

Janet Jackson's Wardrobe Malfunction Aftermath (2004-2010)

Date: February 1, 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show

I missed the moment, all 0.7 seconds of it. It was over in (pardon the pun) a flash. The biggest television moment of the year, and I spent it reaching for more chips and dip. I suspect about 98% of those tuned in to the Super Bowl halftime “extravaganza” did the same. It was a "what did you say just happened?" non-event.

It was only a few hours later when I watched Fox News after the game did I realise “the morals of the country had been corrupted” right in front of me. Fox replayed the 1.3 seconds over and over and over (in slow motion, stop-motion, reverse, and always pixilated) to be sure I knew I had been offended. Yessir, nothing like a little “skin” to boost those network ratings!

In my opinion, it was a stupid, self-centered act by a spoiled rock star who thought she could get away with it because, well, she IS who she is. Only this time, someone pushed back.

Let’s also face this fact: Janet’s little stunt is going to hurt the naturist movement. It further cemented the public perception that exposed skin is “sinful” and that children need protection from such vile exhibitionism (although I have yet to hear anyone under 20 complaining who actually saw it, have you?)

Fallout from the incident has already occurred over at NBC, which cut a 1-second view of an exposed chest on ER during an attempt to save the 75-year old woman’s life. 75-years old!!! I guess a one-second flash of an elderly person’s breast is now too hot to handle.

You can bet other “reality” shows (Richard Hatch’s weekly nudity on “Survivor” comes to mind) are feeling the heat this week too. No doubt, legislators will rise to the occasion also, citing this incident as proof that the ANNR Youth Camps should be closed down for good. Can a Congressional investigation or class action lawsuit be far behind?

In a perfect “body-accepting” world, Ms. Jackson could have performed the entire song entirely nude and nobody would have cared. Instead she opened the door to self-appointed moralists pushing their own anti-nudity agendas. (Funny how quickly those agendas got on the air too, like they were all ready to go?)

By the way, I have yet to hear any protests about the x-rated language of the LYRICS of the songs that were sung on the same halftime show! Hmmm…another double standard?


March, 2004

The uproar continues unabated this month over Janet Jackson’s breast.

As predicted here last month, the US House of Representatives opened hearings and were so “shocked and appalled,” that they raised the fine for network indecency from $27,000 to $500,000 per incident, with a license-revoking hearing required after three offenses.

Some members of Congress voiced support to extend the current restrictions on regular network shows against sexually explicit (including “nude”) material to all cable and satellite channels. A parade of network CEOs (CBS, NBC, Viacom, Cox) announced they had voluntarily imposed a 5 to 10 second delay in all live programming (radio as well as TV) so that “it couldn’t happen again.” Exactly WHO will have their finger on that “delay button” was not disclosed (Ashcroft? Falwell?)

Since my last column, long-running television shows that occasionally have brief partial nudity in their story lines, like NYPD Blue and ER, have now had those scenes cut before airing.

On Feb 25, Clear Channel radio cancelled shock jock Howard Stern’s show on all its stations. After 10 years of continued high ratings.

Clear Channel radio also fired another shock jock, “Bubba the Love Sponge,” whose ratings were ranked first in his Florida morning time slot. John Hogan, president of Clear Channel told members of the House Energy and Commerce telecommunications subcommittee he was “ashamed” of the “Bubba” show. But not too ashamed to have put it on the air six years ago!

As we were going to press we heard that a local NPR commentator at KCRW was summarily fired for saying "Fuck"on one of her shows. The station engineer fogot to bleep it out, as was the original intent. The station manager is quoted as saying, “Everyone is running scared.”

Are Nudists and Naturist Resorts next?

During the past month several state legislatures (Kansas, Wisconsin, Texas) have had bills introduced to declare as a “sexually violent crime” anyone convicted for nudity or indecent exposure. Similar legislation was beaten back in Washington State. Delicate negotiations have been upset for a proposed nudist beach at Assateague, Maryland.

In Virginia the legislature voted 98-1 to close any nudist resort that allows children to attend summer camp there without their parents (what parent goes to summer camp????)

Locally, the city of El Cajon, CA, is considering a strong anti-nudity city ordinance drafted by the former director of the National Family Legal Foundation, a fiercely anti-nudity organization based in Scottsdale, AZ.

This may get worse for us before it gets better. Thanks again, Janet!


September, 2004

CBS got the bill Wednesday for Janet Jackson's eye-catching flash dance during the Super Bowl halftime show: a record $550,000.

The Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to fine each of the 20 CBS-owned television stations $27,500, which is the maximum penalty for indecency. The singer's right breast was briefly exposed to millions of television viewers during the show.

The fine is the largest against a television broadcaster.

"As countless families gathered around the television to watch one of our nation's most celebrated events, they were rudely greeted with a halftime show stunt more fitting of a burlesque show," said Michael Powell, the commission chairman.

The FCC decided not to fine CBS's more than 200 affiliate stations, which also aired the halftime show but are not owned by the network's parent company, Viacom Inc.

The agency cited the "unexpected nature of the halftime show and the apparent lack of involvement in the selection, planning, and approval of the telecast" by the affiliates.

The two Democrats on the five-member FCC panel said the fine should have been higher. It amounted to a "slap on the wrist" for such a huge company, said one commissioner, Jonathan Adelstein. He said the agency could have sent a stronger message by also reprimanding CBS' affiliates.

A statement issued by CBS said it is reviewing its options to respond to the ruling. The company has 30 days to ask for reconsideration and provide an explanation as to why the network should not be held liable. [Note: In November, 2004 CBS said itr would appeal its fine, saying it had no advanced warning of the stunt and therefore should not be held liable.]

"While we regret that the incident occurred and have apologized to our viewers, we continue to believe that nothing in the Super Bowl broadcast violated indecency laws," the network said. "Furthermore, our investigation proved that no one in our company had any advance knowledge about the incident."

Federal law bars radio and non-cable television stations from airing, between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., references to sexual and excretory functions. Those are the hours when children are more apt to be watching television. Once a complaint is made to the FCC, the agency determines whether the broadcast was indecent.

The FCC has stepped up enforcement of the statute in recent years as complaints mounted about a coarsening of public airwaves. Critics, including radio host Howard Stern, claim the FCC is seeking to stifle free speech.

Jackson was at the end of a racy duet with singer Justin Timberlake when he ripped off a piece of Jackson's black leather top, exposing her right breast.

Timberlake blamed a "wardrobe malfunction." CBS was quick to apologize to viewers. The incident generated a record number of FCC complaints -- more than 500,000!

Earlier this year, both the House and Senate passed legislation that would dramatically raise indecency fines. The House voted to raise the fine to $500,000, while the Senate voted to increase it to $275,000 per indecent incident, with a cap of $3 million per day. Differences between the measures are being reconciled, with final passage assured and a signature from President Bush a slam-dunk before election day.

Since March, all four television networks began using broadcast delays on live programs. CBS, for example, aired the Grammy awards ceremony a week after the Super Bowl with a five-minute delay. More recently, ABC used a 10-second delay for a pregame show to kick off the NFL season.

For her part, Jackson has apologized to all, taking total blame for the "malfunction." But what malfunctioned more were the networks and the Congress, who caved to a small group of loud, self-appointed public moralists who want to make sure that freedom of speech always has a 10-second delay.


July , 2008


A panel for the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has thrown out the fine the FCC levied against CBS for Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction" during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. CBS was fined $550,000 for a fleeting glimpse of Jackson's nipple during her performance with Justin Timberlake. The court ruled that the FCC deviated from its standard practice in issuing the fine for the brief nudity, which it noted lasted just over half a second.

CBS said in a statement that it hoped the decision by the Philadelphia-based court "will lead the FCC to return to the policy of restrained indecency enforcement it followed for decades." "This is an important win for the entire broadcasting industry because it recognizes that there are rare instances, particularly during live programming, when it may not be possible to block unfortunate fleeting material, despite best efforts," CBS said in its statement.

The decision drew a sharp rebuke from the Parents Television Council, an indecency watchdog group. It said the ruling "borders on judicial stupidity" and urged lawmakers in Congress to pass a bill to strengthen anti-indecency enforcement. "If a striptease during the Super Bowl in front of 90 million people, including millions of children, doesn't fit the parameters of broadcast indecency, then what does?" the group asked.


January 2011

01/04/2011, NEW YORK – The Federal Communications Commission cannot fine broadcasters for showing a woman's nude buttocks on a 2003 episode of "NYPD Blue," a federal court ruled Tuesday, citing its earlier decision to strike down FCC rules regarding fleeting expletives uttered on live broadcasts as unconstitutionally vague.

The 2nd U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan decided Tuesday to nullify a $27,500 penalty that the FCC imposed on ABC and 45 of its affiliate stations after the image was broadcast on the police drama for less than seven seconds in February 2003. The combined fine was greater than $1.2 million.

The appeals court said its finding was consistent with its decision last year that TV stations can no longer be fined for fleeting, unscripted profanities uttered during live broadcasts. The FCC had created its fleeting-expletive policy after a January 2003 NBC broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards in which U2 lead singer Bono uttered the phrase "f------ brilliant." The FCC said that word in any context "inherently has a sexual connotation" and can lead to enforcement.

Fox Television Stations, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., and other networks challenged the policy in 2006 after the FCC cited the use of profanity during awards programs that were aired in 2002 and 2003. The FCC has appealed that ruling. In its Tuesday ruling, a three-judge 2nd Circuit panel wrote that there was "no significant distinction" between its decision in the expletives case and its findings in the "NYPD Blue" case. "According to the FCC, 'nudity itself is not per se indecent,'" the judges wrote. "The FCC, therefore, decides in which contexts nudity is permissible and in which contexts it is not pursuant to an indecency policy that a panel of this court has determined is unconstitutionally vague."

In a statement, FCC lawyer Austin Schlick said the ruling confirms that the 2nd Circuit's decision in the earlier case was "excessively broad in rejecting the FCC's ability to use context to evaluate indecency cases." The FCC said it has not yet decided whether to appeal.

"Children and families are the real victims today. This ruling will only serve to embolden the networks to air even more graphic material," said Tim Winter, president of The Parents Television Council, a group that supports strong broadcast-indecency rules and which filed papers with the court before it ruled. "In this instance, ABC intentionally chose to air a scripted visual depiction of a fully naked woman before 10 p.m. There was absolutely nothing fleeting or accidental about it," Winter said in a statement. "The inclusion of the lengthy and ogling scene was intended to pander and titillate. This was a clear breach of the decency law. And now, nearly eight years after the episode aired, ABC is told it doesn't have to abide by the law."

David Kushner, a Raleigh, N.C., lawyer who represented ABC affiliates in the case, said the decision was a "nice New Year's present" for the stations but not the end of the litigation.

"This case is far from over. I would be surprised if the FCC does not seek rehearing," he said. He predicted the decision would not lead to more nudity on network television, just as the decision in the fleeting expletives case has not created an avalanche of controversies over profanities on network television. "No broadcasters are anxious to go out there and step their foot close to the line," Kushner said.

And the fight continues...

Nudity and Community Standards:

Mooning Amtrak Trains is a Local Tradition

In Laguna Nigel, the Mooning of Amtrak Trains is Local Summer Tradition


When is it? It occurs the second Saturday in July each year.

It happens all day from approximately 7 am until about 11 pm. For the approximate times of the trains, check out Amtrak's web site is:

Who is in charge? No one. No one organizes or is responsible for this annual event. Everyone who attends helps make it a safe, fun & successful day.

What does the event cost? There is no admission charge

 What about the police? Sheriff: As in past years, the area will be patrolled by the Orange County Sheriff for the City of Laguna Niguel. That said, there can be absolutely NO "controlled substances", carrying an alchoholic beverage outside, exposing certain prohibited body parts or hasseling with the sheriff deputies. The deputy people have been very considerate and liberal in the past. Please don't ruin it for the future.

Will there be newspapers & TV cameras? Every year you can count on reporters & photographers from the newspapers and Videographers for TV. They usually come around noon, stick around for an hour or so interviewing people, then leave so they can make their late aftrnoon deadline. How you interact with the press is up to you, but since you are in a public place they have the legal right to take your picture.

What if I want to see it from the train? On the train you'll only be able to photograph or video through the glass windows as the train rolls by. Some train engineers slow down for the event, others speed up (like Metrolink.) Some trains will have windows that open (which will eliminate glare on your photos) but most do not. Amtrak has nothing to do with this "show."

What happens after dark? After 8pm, Night Mooning starts. Bring a flash light with plenty of batteries, or better yet, bring a Coleman propane or gasoline fuel camping lantern. Some bring a wire coat hanger to make a hook to hang your lantern from the chain link fence. The area is dark at night as there aren't any street lights along the road here. Night Mooning is better because: it is less crowded, cooler temperature, and more authentic.

Must I "moon", or can I just watch? No, You can watch.

Does It get hot here in July? Yes, mid-day it is usually about 95°F (35°C) and humid.

Should I bring food & drink? If you wish. Mugs Away Saloon will be serving cold beverages. An outdoor vendor will be grilling hamburgers for sale and another selling souvenir event T-shirts.

Are pets O.K. to bring? Yes, you can bring your dog, cat, snake, parrot, or iguana. Don't forget water for them.

Can I decorate my butt? Yes, that's O.K.

What happens in the saloon? There are two successive bands inside the Mugs Away Saloon from Noon till closing, which is about midnight.

Can the physically handicapped get around this area? Yes, a wheel-chair should work just fine. There are no stairs to climb. Close-in car parking spots may be difficult to find.

Disclaimer: Attending this event may be hazardous due to the large concentration of silly people, cars, motorcycles, motorhomes, concrete vehicle wheel-stops, potholes in the parking-lots and pets. Everyone present is responsible for their own actions. If you trip on something, or hurt yourself, you alone are responsible. There is no one to sue. No one either promotes this nor charges admission. If you do come, act safely! If you're accident prone, go somewhere else where you'll be safer. Neither Mugs Away Saloon, The City of Laguna Niguel nor Amtrak are responsible for this event, nor for assuring your safety. The City & the railroad would rather you didn't bother coming to this event. No one is carrying public liability insurance for this. Besides, would any insurance underwriter insure an event called, "Mooning Amtrak"?

Many many thanks to: The City Council of Laguna Niguel, The Sheriff of Orange County, OCRRA (owners of the rail rightof- way), Metrolink Rail Agency and of course, our beloved AMTRAK, for their tolerance and contemporary open-mindedness.


The best answer the story of the birth of the Mooning tradition, says 20 years ago (1979), at The Mugs Away Saloon, a K.T.Smith told his buddies he'd buy a drink for all who would run outside to the rail road tracks and "moon" the next train, which many did. Word spread, and the local newspaper, The Orange Country Register, ran a story about it. The story attracted more people to the bar, and the tradition began. In order to keep the mooning under control the Orange County Sheriff’s Department made a verbal agreement with the bar not to arrest anyone as long as it only happened one day each year and certain rules of decorum were maintained. The mooning tradition has prevailed, but there is no longer a volunteer to buy free drinks for thousands of "Mooners". Locals estimate that more than 8,000 people annually participate in the tradition. \


It occurs the second Saturday in July each year and lasts for but a brief few seconds each hour. At any given time there are bout a hundred people gather along the chain link fence in the parking lot. When that crowd leaves it is replaced by a new group who can’t wait to bare their butts to the next set of passing trains. It is most crowded between 10am and 4pm.

The year we went, there was a definite carnival atmosphere among the crowds of people with cars, camper trucks, motor homes and motorcycles parked all along the street. Some people brought their pets along: I saw dogs, cats, a snake, a parrot, and even an iguana. There was even a guy in a wheelchair, who carefully stood up for a few seconds and dropped his pants as the train rolled by.

“The law enforcement deputies have been very considerate and liberal in the past,” said one non-organizer. “We warn people not to expose anything except their butts to the train. As long as we follow those guidelines, we never get hassled.” Those may be the unofficial rules, but at least once each hour you can count on a pair of female breasts being revealed as well.

For passengers on the train, this also seems to be an anticipated event. The Amtrak line parallels Interstate highway 5, and trains carry passengers between Los Angeles and San Diego. Unlike most Saturdays, the Amtrak cars are filled to near-capacity with passengers to see the "moon show." Most trains actually slow down to half speed as they approach “Ground Zero” so that people with cameras and camcorders can record the view through the large glass windows.

Inside Mugs Away is a wall of photos commemorating the rears of hundreds of people who have participated over the years. The bar also sells souvenir T-shirts and even a DVD movie. Adding to the festivities, a band named the “Moonies” (what else?) plays inside from noon until the last train passes around midnight. During the day the bar serves cold beverages and an outdoor vendor grills hamburgers.

After dark, “Night Mooning” has become popular also. Participants bring flashlights or Coleman propane or gasoline fuel camping lanterns and hang them on the chain link fence with wire coat hangers. Said one mooner, “I like night mooning better because it is less crowded, the air temperature is a little cooler.

Locals claimed that in 26 years they have never made an arrest or ticketed any of the participants, until 2008. That year, police broke up the event after someone complained about public nudity and drinking. Apparantly a very loud pair of drunken women started lifting their tops to the train, and there were a few people who decided to be total nude. No arrests were made, authorities said.

[If you have ever been to the event, this is nothing new. It happens every year and nobody cares. – Ed.]

In anticipation of the 2009 event, the Laguna Niguel City Council approved two new ordinances that will make it unlawful to consume alcoholic beverages in public and urinate in public. According to Laguna Niguel Mayor Robert Ming, “Thousands of rowdy partiers from out of town have forced us to take this action. This event happened for many years without problems, but it has now gotten out of control. We cannot allow a situation where public safety and our local businesses are threatened.”

If you don’t go, you can follow the fun on Twitter at: Also:

Nudist History

History of Nudism in the United States (1933 – 2000)

In the Beginning…

For most of human history, nudity was a natural and normal part of life. People were nude when environment and conditions favored it. The true foundations of nude recreation and social nudism started in Ancient Egypt under Pharaoh Akhen-Aton (1385 – 1353 B.C.). It was during these times that students in Greece exercised and received their education in the nude. Also, most athletes played in the nude including the early Olympic Games in Greece. It is this proof that might lead one to assume that the Greeks and Romans lived in a clothing optional society.

Before the Judeo-Christian-Moslem concept of body shame, most of the tropical and temperate world was one big nudist camp. Greeks and Romans wore clothing when necessary or for certain social functions, but bathing and sports were openly enjoyed while naked. As exhibited by their sculpture and ceramics, the Greeks revered youth and physical fitness. To them the body was truly a work of divinity to be admired in its entirety. The Olympics were an offering of the best young athletes, unencumbered by restrictive and concealing clothes. Gymnos, or naked, was how the athlete trained and competed. The Olympic Games came to an end in 393 A.D. when a Christian emperor banned them because he thought they were Pagan. It wasn't until the Renaissance period that nudity was truly accepted again. In these times nudity was seen as a form of art. Back in Europe, the Renaissance had reawakened the body-acceptance and art of the ancients. Humanism and the celebration of the body were back, and even the reluctant Church had to accept the idea that God created man in his own image, and thought the work looked good.

A 16th century Christian group of Puritans strongly opposed the religious tolerance of the Church of England. With their exile to New England, they became the non-pleasure, morality enforcing people associated with Puritanism. They were so afraid of the lust that they refrained from bathing, because in their eyes, it promoted nudity. (Many religions that are outraged at nudity avoid the fact that Jesus was naked at his baptism.) In the late 18th and early 19th Century, Benjamin Franklin and Henry David Thoreau helped the American public come to terms with nudity for awhile. Thoreau had daily naked walks which he called "air baths". Other nudists of note included President John Quncy Adams, who regularly bathed nude in the Potomac. It was common for Americans who lived in the frontier west to use the local creek or swimming hole to take care of the daily dirt. Mark Twain's beloved fictional characters Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn skinny dipped with joy and abandon, capturing the era perfectly. Bathing suits and brassiers were not invented yet so it was common for groups of co-workers, siblings, or friends to go down to a nearby lake, pond, or river after a hard day's work, separate themselves by gender to different designated locations out of sight from one another, then strip off their clothes and swim naked.

The Victorian Era that followed was not as accepting of nudity. In these times it was common to cover a person's legs, a piano's legs, even a chair's legs in order to prevent sexual arousal. The first domestic swimsuit designed for decency appeared in 1830 in France, but did not become popular in America until the 1890s. These first bathing suits covered nearly the entire body of both men and women, so going all the way from the wrists to the ankles and up to the mid neck. In the 1890s the invention of the indoor toilet had an unintended effect on this nude tradition. Until then, it was common practice for the family bathtub to be located in the kitchen area, near where the necessary hot water was heated on the stove. Once or twice a week, with the entire family would strip one at a time and use the same bath water. When outhouses became outmoded, new houses were redesigned so that plumbing was directed to a separate room where the toilet and bathtub could share a common water pipe. With the ability to close a door for privacy, family members rarely saw each other naked anymore. The human body became an object of shame to be hidden and shaped by layers and layers of clothing.

The Birth of the Modern Naturist Movement, 1890 – 1940

Naturism began as a self-help reform movement in reaction to the debilitating aspects of industrialization and urbanization during the late nineteenth century. At a time when medicine could neither explain nor cure disease, many people believed that crowded and unsanitary cities, tenement housing, restrictive Victorian clothing, and oppressive working conditions all led to poor health and rampant illness. Some observers concluded that what people needed was exposure to the natural healing elements or fresh air, sunlight, and water — preferably with loose or absent clothing. An informal coalition of natural lifestyle reform movements took shape, combining clothing reform, vegetarianism, abstinence from alcohol and tobacco, and naturopathy. Inevitably some pioneers suggested that nudity must be an integral part of lifestyle reform.

In 1896, when the modern Olympics were revived, it sparked a cultural interest in all things Greek and again drew attention to classical nudity. As a result, mainland Europe developed a tolerance of sensuality and body acceptance — but not in the United States. Works of art and literature that were acceptable on the continent were routinely banned in the U.S. as obscene, and persons who sold or purchased such items (such as the oil painting September Morn by French artist Paul Chabas) were often thrown into jail. Anthony Comstock, self-appointed chairman of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice is given credit for stirring up local newspapers and politicians against such evils and even had Margaret Sanger, the early pioneer of birth control and founder of Planned Parenthood, thrown into prison for distributing her pamphlets.

In 1901, the ideas of modern social nudism first found expression in several books written in Germany. German sociologist Heinrich Pudor, sometimes referred to as the father of nudism, wrote The Cult of the Nude promoting naturism. Shortly after, in 1903, Freilichtpark (Free Light Park) in Lubeck, Germany was the first know Nudist Park to be opened. Founder Paul Zimmerman opened another near Hamburg, Germany. It was the beginning of the first organized nudist movement, or as the Germans called it, Freikorperkultur (Free Body Culture.) Participants stressed a healthy naked lifestyle which included daily exercise, a spartan like outdoor living, and vegetarian diets.

After the First World War, tens of thousands of people, especially German youths in their 20s, romped in clubs, free beaches, and city parks and swimming pools. During the Roaring 20s, other European countries began also to see their first nudist clubs established, including the popular Sparta Club in France and the Spielplatz in England. The first nudist magazine, Gymnos, started printing in 1921, soon followed by the popular Health & Efficiency in Britain and Vivre d'Abord in France.

In 1931 representatives from the various clubs and societies gathered in Germany to form an international nudist organization. But the depression years were not the best time to start new ventures, and this early experiment came to an end. Yet the pioneers had established nudism on a sound footing, and it would revive and flourish in Europe after the next war.

Kurt Barthel

Nudism in North America followed the European pattern. Bernard MacFadden, an early pioneer of health reform, promoted natural living in his Physical Culture magazine and at his Physical Culture City, as did William Call in his Common Sense Club. In 1929 the first real nudist outing to be held on American soil was organized by a group of German-Americans who were familiar with European naturism. After group discussions in New York City led by Kurt Barthel, they rented a piece of remote, unimproved property over Labor Day weekend, and enjoyed a pleasant weekend outdoors. The next spring, Barthel decided to form a regular club, which he named The American League for Physical Culture. A year later, the ALPC opened a permanent site near Spring Valley in Rockland County, New York, which they named Sky Farm. Over 200 new members joined that first year. Police raids soon followed as word of Sky Farm spread. When the case came to trial at the end of 1931, to everyone's surprise, the judge acquitted the entire group. He ruled that not only were they doing all they could to maintain their privacy they were not guilty of any lewd behavior.

This unexpected victory gave the nudist movement a tremendous boost. Publicity alone attracted many new members. What had started as an attempt to stop American naturism gave it the publicity it needed to grow. Barthel's plans for the future of naturism in America were restrained and sound. There is no way to know how nudism in America might have developed had he remained its sole leader. But Americans were impatient. Within a short time, an American-born minister, Ilsley Boone, wrested control of the nudist movement away from Barthel. Boone would transform the American Nudist Movement and lead it off in a new, more daring direction.

Rev. Ilsley Uncle Danny Boone

Among these courageous nudist pioneers, none are remembered with greater gratitude than the Rev. Ilsley (Uncle Danny) Boone, who fought successfully to win official recognition for the First Amendment rights of nudist publications. At his side stood Edith Church, the crusader, whose efforts won legal status for nudist clubs in the Bible Belt of the Midwest. In October of 1931, Ilsley Boone, was the ALPC's Executive Secretary. Barthel asked him to take his place as president of the organization. Boone agreed, and immediately renamed the group The American Sunbathing Association, beginning a remarkable 21-year reign as its leader. Boone preferred to call his members nudists to differentiate it from the European term naturist. He wrote that a nudist is one who believes and practices that one may freely go without clothes unless for some specific reason — such as bodily comfort or social requirements — it is essential to wear them. Along with that came a strict set of behavior guidelines.

Nicknamed by his nudist detractors as The Dictator, he began chartering new clubs affiliated with his own across America, and Boone maintained strict control over who could run the clubs and enforced strict guidelines over who could become members. By the mid 1930s there were eighty-one nudist camps across America. Most of these camps, to some degree, were experiments in natural living, they imposed the full natural regimen on all guests: nudity rain or shine, abstinence, vegetarianism, and mandatory calisthenics. In 1935 he bought Sunshine Park near Mays Landing, NJ. The ASA office was housed there and the American Sunbathing Association was incorporated in New Jersey on February 18, 1937. After that, the name Mays Landing was synonymous with American naturism.

Two years earlier Boone published the first illustrated nudist magazine, The Nudist. This was a successful magazine that could be found at newsstands across the nation. The controversy of the magazine drew a lot of public attention to the nudist movement, again. A few years later he changed the magazine's name to the less confrontational Sunshine and Health. Soon thereafter, Jan Gay published his book On Going Naked and in 1935, Mich Mindins released his film, This Nude World. Both helped the public become aware of the size and significance of the nudist movement, and realize that clubs were popping up all across the nation. The public — and the politicians — were starting to feel more comfortable with the idea that showing a little skin wasn't lewd.

In 1936, the law was changed in New York that decriminalized a man going topless. Up until then, if a man took off his shirt to cool off, he could be arrested. But anti-nudist groups fought back and in 1941, Congress reinstated the original 1873 Comstock Law passed to prevent the US Post Office from allowing material it deemed to be obscene from travel through the mail system. Nudist publishers immediately stopped their USPS shipments in fear of fines. Ilsley Boone took up the challenge and filed suite claiming the law was unconstitutional on free speech grounds. The appeal process took years and nearly broke Boone and the organization. But in a landmark decision on January 13, 1958, the U.S. Supreme Court finally agreed with the ASA leader, agreeing that nudist magazines — even those with full-frontal nudity — had the right to be mailed through the U.S. Post Office.

Over the years, several attempts were made to wrest control of ASA from Boone, but none was successful until August 1951 when a very well organized opposition orchestrated his demise. Boone immediately drove home from Penn Sylvan to Sunshine Park and tied up both the membership roster and the funds. It took a court case against him (and a full year) before he would release both to the new, and rightfully elected, directors. In 1952 Mervin Mounce became the first ASA president not directly under the control of Boone.

By 1963, Boone's Sunshine Publishing Company was out of business and Boone was broke. Edith Church of the National Nudist Council let him live at her place in Ohio until his death on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1968. His obituary in the New York Times called him the czar of the nudist movement in the USA.

There is little question that Ilsley Boone has been the most controversial figure in the American nudist scene. Opinions of him range from the fervent and unyielding admiration of some of his contemporary followers… to the loathing of some of his detractors, who considered him a pretentious phony and an unctuous con man…  writes Cec Cinder in his book, The Nudist Idea, a history of the nudist movement.

Despite his controversial reign, Boone's legacy is secure. By the mid-1980s, the national organization he founded, the ASA, grew to its peak of over 50,000 members through the U.S., Canada and Jamaica. In 2007 they even named an award after him.

1945 – 1960: The Golden Age of America's Nudist Colonies

Following the favorable 1958 Supreme Court ruling, nudist (and men's skin magazines) began to flourish. In Michigan a year later, its State Supreme Court ruled that naturists had the right to practice nudism with private resorts.

After World War II, many of the early primitive nudist camps had been replaced by newer locations with a swimming pool, clubhouse, and restaurants. Nudists were no longer content to rough it in order to enjoy nude recreation. They demanded luxuries their dressed friends enjoyed at their summer resorts, as well as trailers and areas reserved for RVs and tents. American nudists, following the tradition of independence established when the colonies broke free of England, began calling these retreats colonies instead pf camps, and thus the term nudist colony came into vogue.

For years, nudists were content to remain behind their fences, aware that the high walls served a dual purpose. They protected the non-nudist public from viewing nakedness, but they also kept people who were unsympathetic and sometimes aggressively condemning from harassing them. Their only deliberate contact with non-nudist society came through the nudist magazines and through the occasional radio interview of an active nudist couple who dared to come out of the closet and speak out for nudism. These few individuals did much to advance the goals of the nudist movement by acquainting non-nudists with the importance of body-acceptance and the joy of nude family recreation. They were aware that in the non-nudist population there were many people who loved to skinny dip and some who swam nude in their private fenced-in pools at home but who, for business reasons, did not choose to join a nudist group.

Beginning along the Eastern seaboard, American naturism spread west, but to this day the greatest number of these nudist sites has remained along the Atlantic coast. Sites opened in New York and Pennsylvania, in Washington D.C. and in the Carolinas, and on both coasts of Florida. Pete McConville opened the first nudist park west of the Mississippi near Lake Elsinore, California, in 1932. He named it Elysia, later renamed Olympic Fields. After its founder's death, it was renamed again as McConville, in his honor.

In many states, law enforcement agencies were opposed to the idea of social nudity. Colonies wishing to practice nude recreation had to locate in the most inaccessible areas and could not advertise in many public newspapers or magazines until the 1970s.

In the Midwest, nudists established sites in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and other central states but from the very start many faced a stronger and more unrelenting opposition than arose on either coast. In America's heartland, the usual legal and political opponents united with fundamentalist religions in the battle. Initially, only a few of the many camps that opened managed to survive. Successful camp owners like Alois Knapp and Edith Church made innovative attempts to publicize nudism and their camps despite legal roadblocks and boycotts in neighboring towns. During this era, nudists club leaders realized that attempts to close down their parks really had a positive effect, resulting in publicity that attracted many new members. Ironically for the anti-nudity lobby, it seemed any action that brought nudism to public attention was providing valuable publicity to the nudist movement. Nudists allowed their children to pose with them for photographs published in magazine stories that described the mental, emotional, and physical advantages of recreating in the nude. Men bought most of these magazines to view the photos of naked bodies, but a high percentage of them read the articles and then, intrigued by what they read, brought the publications home to their wives. Many families who joined nudists groups during that period of time, first learned about nudism in this manner.

As the years passed, the attitude of society in general toward nudity began to change. Movies included nude scenes; general-distribution magazines relaxed their bans on semi-naked photos. And with the change in perspective, came changes in the laws. Nudist magazines began to include full frontal nudity of both men and women of both men and women which they felt was important, if they were to make the point that human bodies are good, and worthy of acceptance. [Note: By comparison, Hugh Hefner's Playboy did not print its first photo of a women's un-airbrushed pubic hair until 1972.] The appearance of these photos emphasized the fact that nakedness was not synonymous with sex, that nude people could enjoy a game of tennis or a swim with the same friendliness as they would feel if they were clothed.

Despite legal progress, public acceptance of nudism in America was slow to develop. There was nothing that could be described as a movement. Nudism in America was cloistered and secretive; not quite an underground activity but far from mainstream. It wasn't until the 1970s, a time of intense social, cultural, and political ferment that attitudes began to change

The Free Beach Movement, 1970 – 2000

There had been free beaches in Europe since the establishment of the one at Sylt, a long German North Sea island, in 1925. (The term free beach is a direct/literal translation of the German freistrand, and that the free has nothing to do with money but means the absence of mandatory swimsuit requirements.) There had been attempts to establish one in America, at Jones Beach, New York, around 1930. But it had failed, and there were no other successful attempts until San Gregorio, outside San Francisco, was unofficially recognized nearly four decades later.

Beach XB58

In June 1958, Stan Sohler and a group of 60 adults spent an historic weekend at Davenport Landing, 12 miles north of Santa Cruz, on the California Coast. There, the group removed their bathing suits and proclaimed the place XB58. It was the first organized nude beach location. An account of the event was published by local newspapers and photos appeared in Life Magazine:

There were 60 of them. 60 typical-looking Americans gathered for the weekend campout at the beach… They were with their children, house trailers, portable barbecues and tents. They were typical except for one thing they weren't wearing a stitch! These were nudists, members of the Western Sunbathing Association, and this was XB58, Experimental Beach 1958. In private life, they come from all walks of life. One is a leading Shriner, another a highly regarded psychiatrist, another an accountant, another an engineer, another a retired navy chief… The group, turned down in their efforts to find a public beach, rented the Davenport Landing beach from former San Francisco police officer Charles Powell (who is not a nudist). There were no complaints.
"Naturism" Is Reborn

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, public social trends finally caught up with social nudism. The sexual revolution produced a generation that was more nonchalant towards nudity and morality, and this affected mass popular culture in magazines such as Playboy) and in movies (Midnight Cowboy and Blow Up.) This new generation assumed that nudity was natural, and therefore appropriate almost anywhere. They also dismissed the quaint restrictions imposed by organized nudism at the ASA camps and colonies — no touching, no hand-holding, no singles.

The result was the Free Beach movement, which started in California and spread rapidly. This casual, informal, unstructured form of nudism acquired the term naturism to distinguish it from the more traditional nudism as defined by the ASA. Rebellious young people across Europe and America experienced the freedom of being nude at the beach, in the stream or wilderness, or on their back porch or sundeck, and to hell with the rules!

Among the first beach pioneers was Jeff Poland, a San Franciscan who braved arrest at San Gregorio beach, establishing a beach head through civil disobedience. His case went to the California Supreme Court where, in 1972, the California Supreme Court declared that nudity was not in itself illegal unless accompanied by lewdness. This ruling opened the doors. Often, naturists simply took over a corner of an existing textile beach and claimed it as their own. If the locals objected too much, the group simply picked up and moved on until they found a beach where nobody (or few) objected and after a few years of use, that beach became known to all as a nude beach.

In 1974 officials in Massachusetts pushed back and attempted to ban skinny-dipping at the Cape Cod National Seashore. One of those on the beach and arrested that day was a freelance writer named Lee Baxandall who was there with his wife and young son. Baxandall had a knack for organizing, and he used local ad hoc (so called Free Press) newspapers to organize beach protests and rallies. Soon, he emerged as an influential voice in the rapidly growing free-beach movement.

1974: Venice Beach, California

In 1974, naturists in Los Angeles attempted to open Venice Beach for social nudity. Nudists and naturists flocked to the beach with visions of establishing a foothold in this populated area that would soon equal the marvelous, open free beaches of Europe. But within a few days, Venice California was overrun with gawkers. Men and women crowded the streets that opened onto the beach, shoving and pushing for the chance to see the nakeds. Property was trampled, traffic slowed to a stop. Members of the L.A. City Council saw this chaos as an ideal opportunity to get rid of the nude beach. Blaming the crowding on the nudists (the objects of the sightseeing), the city fathers hurried to pass an ordinance banning nudity on its beaches. The ordinance was worded to go into effect immediately and, overnight, nudists vanished from Venice waterfront. Eugene Callen, a German-born fighter for freedom, could not accept this defeat without a longer fight. Meeting with other naturists who had enjoyed the brief freedom in Venice, he formed Beachfront USA, with the purpose of re-establishing free beaches (like Venice Beach) that had been closed and to create new accessible free beaches nationwide. His action coincided with the closure of the nude beach at Cape Cod National Seashore and an announcement by Assistant Secretary of the Interior Nathaniel Reed that this ban would soon be extended to Federal lands everywhere.

Callen's Beachfront USA immediately went into action. In 1975, this organized effort helped bring a case (Eckl vs. Davis) to the California Court of Appeals, attempting to knock down the City ordinance. This appeal failed, and ever since all beaches in Los Angeles have been enforced as clothing required.

But Callen was not through fighting. What had started as a fight for one beach quickly became a campaign for equal civil rights for nudists, including the cause of Cape Cod naturists and others in many states throughout the country. One positive result of this action is that Nathaniel Reed's plan to ban nudity on all federal lands never went into effect. To this day there is no ban on nudity while on federal land, although — at the discretion of local park superintendents — rangers may use local state and county laws to issue tickets, if they so choose.

Plans were made to celebrate the first National Nude Weekend, in August of 1976 Eugene Callen was already seriously ill (he died of bone marrow cancer in 1978) so the task of organizing this nationwide protest fell to Lee Baxandall. Curiously, many of the ASA-affiliated nudist camp and park owners were suspicious of the Free Beach Movement, fearing that if it were successful, it might put nudist camps out of business. They refused to acknowledge the free beachers at their conventions and meetings and did not give official support to those trying to social acceptance of nudity outside the confines of the established clubs. It took years for this unofficial policy to be reversed, mostly because as many of the beach pioneers grew older they began migrating to and joining the parks as members.

The 1970s saw the birth of new vacation ideas that catered to the nudist marketplace, such as Windjammer Barefoot Cruises and Club Med. Club Orient opened in the Caribbean. In Texas, Bare Necessities, a travel agency exclusively for nudists, was established and began booking nude cruises. White water nude rafting trips are now common through the Grand Canyon and nude houseboating no longer turns any heads at Lake Mead and Lake Powell, Bed and Breakfast motels from Palm Springs to Palm Beach began to spring up that catered exclusively to naturist travelers. By the end of the 1990s, Forbes Magazine estimated that the nudist tourist industry was generating over $800 million in business annually.

Remote hot springs began attracting many nudist/naturist tourists, and a number of them have developed a clothing-optional policy. Many of these locations, like Stinky Springs and Odgen Hot Springs in Utah are quite primitive. Others, like Desert Reef Beach Club in Colorado, offer cemented hot pools with certain days set aside for clothing-optional use. The ideal for naturists are places like Valley View Hot Springs, also in Colorado, where clothing is optional everywhere on the extensive grounds and water temperatures range from 85 to 105 degrees. Harbin Hot Springs in Northern, California is another example of a clothing-optional resort with many amenities.

But those successes were still in the future. By the late 1970s local authorities were pushing back on nude beaches everywhere and the future of the Free Beach Movement was in doubt. At Hippy Hollow on Lake Travis near Dallas, Texas, local politicians were successful in banning children under 18 from being nude at a site with a long tradition of family nude recreation and no legal trouble. After the Meese Report on Pornography was published in 1984, opponents to social nudity found they had a new wedge issue: if they couldn't ban nudity outright, they could get it labeled as an adult activity and thus get it regulated like a strip club and perhaps, eventually, zoned out of existence. The free beach fight needed a new leader.

The Naturist Society (1980)

In 1980, Lee Baxandall transformed his collection of beach volunteers, local publications, and legal advisors into what he christened The Naturist Society. TNS, as it is often called, is dedicated to a form of naturism that focused on grassroots activism and member participation. The choice of the word naturist in the name is telling. The term was widely used in Europe to denote family-friendly, body-friendly places, activities, and attitudes and, at the same time, it was free of the negative connotations nudist had acquired over the years.

Located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Baxandall's hometown, TNS collected information about every nude beach, hot spring, and nudist park in the world and in 1980 they published the first World Guide to Nude Beaches and Recreation, which soon became a best-selling travel guide and remains today one of the most respected resources of its kind. Baxandall soon launched a new magazine, Clothed with the Sun (later renamed Nude & Natural but referred to by naturists simply as N) to promote a culture of body acceptance, with nude recreation and living at its core.

In the 20-plus years since its founding, TNS has changed with the times. Each year it sponsors what it calls Gatherings at select clubs and resorts across the United States. These get-togethers offer workshops and an array of social, recreational, and cultural activities — all clothing optional, of course. In the early '90s, faced with growing opposition to nude recreation from the religious right, two allied organizations were formed. The nonprofit Naturist Action Committee became TNS's legal, political and lobbying arm while the Naturist Education Foundation, also a nonprofit, took up the challenge of promoting naturism to a sometimes skeptical public. At the turn of the new century, that challenge and others were being met in many ways: through local and regional groups in TNS's Naturist Network; through legal and lobbying activities; through opinion surveys that underscore widespread public tolerance of nude use on select public lands; and through educational and informational efforts that stress the family-friendly nature of TNS-style naturism.

In 2000, The Naturist Society claimed over 40,000 members of its own in the USA and Canada.


Meanwhile, over the years, the 200+ local clubs and nudist parks in the American Sunbathing Association had organized themselves into various regional bodies with such names as the Western Sunbathing Association and The Florida Sunbathing Association. In 1994 ASA members decided to rename itself The American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) and began a 15-year effort to convince all the regional groups to adopt the brand name of the national association, now headquartered in Kissimmee Florida. WSA became AANR-West, the Canadian Sunbathing Association became AANR Western Canada, etc. Florida was the last holdout, and it became AANR-Florida in 2007.

In 2006, AANR celebrated its 75th anniversary with nearly 50,000 members and over 270 affiliated clubs, RV campgrounds, bed & breakfasts and resorts in the U.S., Canada and Jamaica.

The Nudist Movement Today, 2000 – Present

Today the nudist movement still struggles to be accepted by mainstream America. Despite frequent court victories by nudist supporters, there are still enough people in America who consider nudity objectionable to make it necessary for nudists to use common sense and caution before disrobing. Yet things are looking better, slowly, for nudists. More skin (albeit pixilated) is being seen on American television and in commercials despite cries of protest from conservative groups such as the Parents Television Council and the threat of huge fines from the FCC. And many organizations — from the Moose and Elks to Senior Citizen clubs — are selling nude calendars of their members as a fund-raising promotion.

That said, it is very easy for nudists to enjoy back-country travel in canoes, rafts, and houseboats by contacting travel agencies that specialize in such forms of recreation. Ships can be chartered for ocean sailing, and though the crew might remain dressed, the passengers enjoy all the comforts of a nude cruise without embarrassment.

The older nudist colonies of fifty years ago have been upgraded or replaced by upscale and all-inclusive destination parks and resorts with on-site, motel-quality rooms, RV hookups, and full-size mobile homes that can be rented or purchased. Olympic-sized pools, tournament quality tennis and volleyball courts, saunas and hot tubs/Jacuzzis are standard amenities. In 2003, an article in Forbes Magazine said, nudism is now an $800,000 a year industry.

Most parks and resorts also now sell memberships in their clubs, with the understanding that any violation of rules may be cause for cancellation. Bans against all body contact that were instituted fifty or more years ago have for the most part been dropped. This relaxation came about primarily because the true character of nudist resorts was no longer questioned. Not even the most avid objector to public nudity accuses nudists of holding orgies on resort grounds. Freed of this abnormal restraint, nudists have maintained the same high level of decorum as was evidenced before. But now they dare to show normal affection without fear of expulsion. A man and woman may walk arm-in-arm, bodies touching, without condemnation. The feared and unacceptable public sexual activity never did take place. Nudists are, after all, a great deal like their dressed neighbors, sharing with them conventional ideas about relationships and public display of affection.

These nudist parks now attract a definite upscale willing to pay a little extra cost to escape from nearby urban centers. Many of the nudist resorts along the Eastern seaboard are now established as the places to go when European naturists visit this country. Many national and regional organizations work to promote naturism/nudism including AANR, The Naturist Society, Beachfront USA, and the International Naturist Federation. It is these organizations that battle the courts, advertise and promote to the general public, and most importantly, educate those who are unaware of the ideals and benefits of nude recreation.

After more than 75 years, nude recreation continues to grow as more people choose clothes-free vacations. Society's awareness of the naturalness of nudism continues to go forward, and those who practice social nudism/naturism look forward to the day when their chosen lifestyle no longer has to be practiced behind tall wooden fences or on remote sandy beaches.

Nudity and the Workplace

Is Discussing Nude Recreation at Work Sexual Harassment?

Erich Schuttauf is the Executive Director of AANR and a licensed Florida attorney. He received his Juris Doctor from Duke University School of Law and his BA from Purdue University. Erich is the author of two books, The Recruiting Manager's Guide and The Performance Management Guide, published by CCH Press.

Imagine this scenario: It's lunchtime and you're back in the break room with a few co-workers. The conversation turns to one person's account of a recent vacation they enjoyed and, eventually, to the question What's the best vacation you've ever taken? Eventually, the question works its way around the table to you. Should you tell these people about that trip to the nude beach at Club Orient?

Imagine that you do. Lunchtime ends, then it's back to your desk. Two weeks later, you're surprised when your called into the Human Resources Director's office only to learn that there's been a sexual harassment complaint lodged against you. The problem? The discussion about nude beaches offended someone who took it to be sexual in nature. What do you do? Several times a year the AANR office receives telephone calls from members experiencing similar situations. We obviously enjoy nude recreation and we'd like the option of talking to others about it. Is it sexual harassment? Is it illegal? Can you be fired?

Does simply talking about nude recreation in and of itself constitute sexual harassment? The short and perhaps overly technical as well as simplistic answer is no. In the case of Gleason v. Mesirow Fin., 118 F. 3d 1134, 1145 (7th Cir. 1997) the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that a supervisor had not committed harassment, although he told a subordinate that he had visited a nudist club over the weekend and on another occasion left a brochure on her desk with a note inviting her to join him. Employers may restrict conversations.

Does that mean you're free to say anything you want? Not so fast there. Just because a conversation didn't meet the legal test for the judges, doesn't mean that your employer will be okay with it. The fact is, in order to avoid finding themselves in court on close calls, many companies opt to draw a line well clear of anything that might trigger a lawsuit. Keep in mind that most Human Resources staff are not lawyers. They're going to err on the side of caution and may choose to take disciplinary action against you.

With some gray areas in both law and customs, many — and especially those for whom losing a job would be especially costly — wisely and rightfully choose to confine their conversations about nudism to family and friends outside the workplace. For those who feel they know co-workers better (or who have co-workers who already know about their nude travel), there are some guidelines that at a minimum, should be strictly observed:

  • Review your employee handbook and company policies on sexual harassment and acceptable conversations in the workplace;
  • Make sure any conversations occur on personal time, not work time. In some cases, it's not what was said but when and where the person said it that infuriates an employer. After all, you're being paid to further the company's business;
  • Small groups are usually better forums than one-on-one conversations where there are no other witnesses to what was and wasn't said;
  • Avoid directing or targeting comments about nude recreation to members of just one gender;
  • If there happens to be a discussion, it may be best to keep things brief and to points like we went to a club in Florida or a beach in St. Marten at first, and leave it to others to follow up with questions at a later time;
  • This should go without saying, but avoid anything bordering on the suggestive;
  • If anyone appears uncomfortable with the discussion, or voices discomfort with the subject, it's best to end the conversation or turn to a different subject immediately.

Please remember that these general rules of thumb are not a substitute for using common sense. If you are questioned about a discussion on nude recreation, AANR is available to assist you with educating employers or union representatives about the laws concerning sexual harassment and nudism.

A few additional words about some special circumstances:

  • Be especially careful if your workplace involves regular contact with minors who may be in earshot of the discussion such as a school or daycare center.
  • If you have been counseled by an employer or otherwise warned against having these types of discussions, then your company's position is clear.
  • Many workplaces adopt strict Internet usage policies that prohibit using company computers for personal use and, especially for anything bordering on what it considers to be pornography. While you may understand the difference between that and researching your next nude holiday, don't assume that your employer will.
Growing Up Without Shame:
(excerpts from 1996 landmark study)

Southern California Naturist Association

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