Information for Newcomers
Your first experience at social nudity can be both a liberating and slightly unsettling experience. Wanting to join in the fun of social nudity and being ready to do so, are, in fact, two different states of mind. The following list will help you decide if you are ready to join in.
- You should expect to feel some level of anxiety. This is normal. Any new adventure or experience can cause anxiety to increase. If, however, you feel paralyzed by anxiety, you are probably not yet ready. When the thought of the pleasure you expect to get out of being a social nudist overcomes the anxiety, that is when you should consider moving past reading about the experience and trying it out.
- Most people have been brought up to be self-conscious about being nude in front of others. The truth is, being nude in front of people can be very liberating. You will find that most credible research indicates that doing so builds a more positive body image.
- During the first few hours at a nudist resort or other social nudist environment you will likely notice how comfortable you have become. What you thought of as a taboo you will find is now a pleasurable experience.
- Learning how to conduct yourself in the social nudist environment is just like learning how to fit into any other new environment. Just the one really big rule is to respect everyone’s boundaries. Just because people are naked doesn’t give you license intrude on their conversations, flirt with them, touch them, or stare at them.
- Most resorts allow people time to acclimate to the environment of social nudity. That being said, how and when you get undressed in front people is completely up to you. You can get undressed in public, or you might consider undressing at your car, in the restrooms, or if you have booked a room, in your room.
- If your first experience is going to be at nudist resort – READ THEIR WEB PAGE AND THE RULES. Some nude resorts are family-friendly, while others are solely for adults 18 and older.
- Finally, you should remember that everyone you meet in the social nudist world got through that “first visit” and you will too.
FAQs about Nudism
We get frequent calls from people curious about social nudity. Because newbies often ask the same questions, we have compiled the most commonly asked questions on nudism.
A nudist/naturist is someone who enjoys doing the everyday activities of life without the encumberance of clothes.
Although the terms can be used interchangeably, "naturism" is the term more commonly used outside the U.S. while "nudism" is more of an American term. Some people draw a distinction between the terms by defining a naturist as one who embraces a philosophy that includes more than occasional nudity, often environmentalism, vegetarianism or simply more of a closeness to nature.
Naturists reject clothes when possible for the same reason most people avoid wearing a three-piece suit to the beach: It's more comfortable to be free of them. Nudists/Naturists are people who believe the human body is inherently dignified and is nothing to be ashamed of.
In their day to day lives, naturists are not very different at all from the people you know. There are naturists in every profession and socio-economic level. Naturist gatherings bring together people from all walks of life believe this diversity of background combined with a shared belief in body acceptance provides an atmosphere of tolerance and openness unmatched by other social groups and settings.
There are a lot of activities people enjoy at a clothing-optional beach or resort, such as swimming, running, walking, Frisbee, bicycling, picnicking or just reading and relaxing. Many resorts have volleyball, tennis, petanque and other sports facilities, along with swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas, and spas.
For those that enjoy the outdoors, backcountry hiking, camping, sailing, canoeing (sometimes called "canuding"), hot springs soaking, or backpacking are very common activities.
Naturism is very popular! Millions of people have experienced the freedom of nude recreation. Clothing-optional beaches and resorts may be found across the globe and are increasingly popular in the U.S. and Canada. The latest World Guide to Nude Beaches and Resorts lists 1,365 such destinations worldwide.
While laws pertaining to nudity are not uniform across North America, there are jurisdictions that are making a distinction between lewd activity and simple nudity (e.g., skinny-dipping or nude sunbathing). Even those retaining relatively harsh penalties for nudity are beginning to see the benefit of having public places set aside for clothing-optional use.
Most of us are so accustomed to the idealized versions of the human body portrayed in movies, magazines and on television that we've developed an unrealistic idea of what the “average” body is like. As a first-time naturist, you may fear that everyone else will have a 'perfect' body and that you will not. This is not the case. At a clothing-optional beach and resort, you will see body types of all kinds: young and old, tall and short, fat and thin, tanned and pale, and everything in between. Some people will have physical disabilities; others will carry scars from past injuries or surgeries. What's more, you will find that all types of bodies are accepted just as they are.
Typically, no. public lands naturist areas, and many of the resorts today, are clothing-optional, not “nudity required.” That means it is entirely up to the individual whether, when and how to disrobe. However, while many clubs are clothing-optional, they do not allow clothing of any kind in their spas or swimming pools.
Naturism is for all ages, and naturist beaches and resorts, in general, are family-friendly places (though some parents may find those out-of-the-way beaches difficult to reach with the little ones). Parents may wonder whether their children will want to participate in nude activities, and the answer depends a great deal upon the child.
A Guide to Courtesy & Behavior at AANR Beaches, Resorts, and Clubs
Etiquette at AANR beaches, resorts, and clubs is not much different from the same good manners and behavior that you should exhibit wherever you go. Be polite and respect the rights of others and others will do the same for you.
Each Club or location has its own set of rules. Before you go, it is essential that you familiarize yourself with those rules. All clubs share at least a couple of rules in common.
- Do not put your bare butt on a bare surface. While you are nude, always have a towel with you and do not sit on any surface without placing a towel between your butt and that surface.
- Shower before you enter the pool or hot tub.
- In the past alcohol was not allowed at clubs or parties. That has changed; however, what has not changed is the simple fact that intoxicated behavior will not be tolerated.
- Also in the past, dances were either not allowed or people had to dress for the dance. This too has changed. What is not allowed is overly sexual or lude dancing.
If you are going to a nude beach, here are some general guidelines that will help you more fully enjoy your day.
- Park only in designated areas. In some areas parking is limited and fills up early. 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.
- If you pack it in, pack it out.
- Bring sunscreen and water.
- Don’t crowd other people.
- No Sexual Activity – The authorities most often use this as an excuse to shut down a nude beach. Don’t be the cause of a problem.
Non-landed clubs and pool parties also have their own set of rules. Before you go, it is essential that you familiarize yourself with those rules. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Learn the rules.
- You are a guest in somebody else’s home. Respect the honor that they have accorded you with the invitation.
- If alcohol is allowed do not over indulge. If alcohol is not allowed do not bring it.
- Bring a towel.
- If there is a potluck bring something to share. Also, bring something to drink, such as soda or water.
- If you bring a guest, you are responsible for the behavior of that person.
- Keep out of areas that may be environmentally sensitive. Leave any wild animals (seagulls, sea lions, etc.) alone.
- If you pack it in, pack it out.
- Pickup, at least, some of the trash left by people who are not a socially conscious as yourself.
- Avoid any hint of sexual activity! If you are tempted to fool around under a blanket or in a remote area, remember lewd activity is a felony and could land you in jail.
- The surest way to get kicked out of a resort or arrested on a beach or at a hot springs is to engage in sexual activity.
- The surest way to get a clothing optional beach shut down is sexual activity.
- Show respect for the private property of others as you go to and from the beach, club, or resort.
- Clubs and private homes are indeed private property. It is essential that you respect the rules of the owner.
- Don't litter or park on private property.
- Respect the privacy of others. Many people come to the beach or go to a club 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.
- “No” means no. “No” does not mean “Maybe” or “Later” or anything else but “NO”. It is final and definite word. Respect it or leave.
- Check with the rules of any clubs or resorts you visit, as many have restrictions on taking pictures, or they may prohibit it altogether.
- You may be required to put tape over the lens on your phone. If so, do it.
- If you are going to take a picture, take only pictures of the people in your party. That means avoiding having anyone in the background without their verbal (if not written) consent.
- Also, do not take photos of children who are not your own.
- If you try to surreptitiously take pictures the consequences may be grave. This is a violation of privacy of other people. At some clubs, you may have your phone taken away from you and you will certainly be asked to leave. At a beach you may find your phone floating in the water. This is a very serious offense in the naturist community.
- Don’t ruin your experience by not being prepared.
- Again, if you are going to a club or a pool party – Read the rules!
- Going to the beach – Bottled water and sunscreen are the two most important items. You should bring at least on 12 ounce bottle of water for every hour that you plan to be on the beach, plus one bottle for hiking out. Many people need more, much more.
- A hat, a towel, a sunshade can also add to your enjoyment.
- Light snacks are better than a big picnic. Remember you have to pack it in.
Basic Guidelines for AANR Beaches, Resorts, and Clubs
AANR-West allows each nudist club to establish its own specific set of guidelines appropriate to its own culture, but we do expect these organizations as members of both both AANR and AANR-West, to follow some general principles.
No one has to tell anyone else their name, occupation, or where they live. They have the right to sit by themselves and enjoy the day without having others invade their space.
If someone does decide to interact and enjoy the day with others (most people do!) one of our basic tenants is “No means no,” which means if a person indicates by either words or body language they are not interested in associating with another person, the other person must back off.
If the person does not back off, try to handle the situation yourself by telling the person you are not interested. If that doesn't work, you can talk to the management and ask for them to intercede. Some people may not like to complain and “get the other person in trouble.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Stand up for yourself!
These situations do not happen very often, but we want to be sure all of our members and guests understand they have this right to privacy.
Staring or gawking at another person’s body is a major taboo.
AANR and AANR-West are family-friendly organizations, providing a a safe haven for everyone, as we have for over 80 years! That does not mean there aren’t members who in their private lives are in the lifestyle. But at nudist organizations, they agree to not particpate in any lifestyle activities, nor solicit others to it. If they do, they could risk of losing their memberships.
Nudists, like most people, enjoy sex! We just ask that people do it in the privacy of their room or tent, and not in public view. Public exhibitions will result in you being asked to leave.
AANR clubs are required to be open to all races, religions, and special needs. Everyone, including members of the LGBTQ community, is welcome. Some organizations may not allow children under age 18, while others may not allow singles (particularly men).
AANR-West cannot tell an organization how to run its business, but we endeavor to have all the organizations in the region realize that it is both financially and morally beneficial to have a wider customer base.
Club memberships should be based up behavior and the content of the person’s character, nothing more, and most club owners agree.
AANR-West strongly encourages its clubs to have a background check procedure in place for its first-time guests and/or membership applicants, but we leave it up to the club to determine what kind of process is best for them. Some clubs perform extensive checks, using the Megan’s Law California database, or other state or national system as provided by the FBI or county courts.
So, we also encourage clubs to develop their own system for spotting inappropriate behavior on the grounds. Predators of either gender are very rare and are fairly easy to spot.
Parents of children can take comfort in the fact that regular members will help keep an eye on all kids, but parents have ultimate responsibility for their own children.
Not all parks and clubs have these rules, but enough do that we mention them here as guide to good behavior when you visit a nudist club or beach:
It is a universal practice that when you sit down, make sure your bare bottom does not come in contact with chairs, benches, etc. Most people carry a towel to sit on, although some people prefer to wear a sarong, wrap, or shorts. Either way, this is the number one thing you will be called out on at a resort, club or beach.
Members are responsible for the behavior of their guests. If you invite someone to join you, please make certain that whomever you bring knows and agrees with our guidelines.
Keep noise to a minimum. When possible, leave cell phones, pagers to radios, and electronic games at home, silence them, or wear headphones.
Smoking rules will depend upon the facility. Smoking is generally not permitted indoors and may only be permitted outdoors in designated smoking areas. If smoking is permitted, please be considerate with your second-hand smoke.
IMPORTANT: The presence of cameras is unsettling to almost everyone at an AANR location because of their profession or because they have no control where the photo may be used or posted online.
At most places where there are nude people, cameras are inappropriate unless photography is permitted at a specific event or in a specific area. Since most digital devices such as cell phones and computer tablets now have cameras, clubs will ask that members and guests limit their use, especially around the club pool.
If your business or profession requires you stay in touch, many clubs now require that the camera lens be obscured with a sticker that will be available at the club or resort.
Where photographs are permitted, the photographer MUST have explicit permission, in written form, from everyone who is visible in the picture, even those in the background.
At many clubs, photographs of children – even your own - are not permitted without specific permission from the club office.
Basic Nudist Terminology
Sometimes newcomers are confused by some of the terminology used at nudist venues and events. The terms below should shed a little light on some commonly used terms and help you feel more comfortable during your first visit to an event:
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.
While this seems pretty self-explanatory, clothing optional resorts often require visitors to be nude when using the swimming pool, Jacuzzi, or sauna.
A fun term to describe a newcomer's tan lines as opposed to the veteran nudist who has none. It is not meant to be insulting but can sometimes be taken that way.
A club or destination resort which owns land on which they meet. Landed clubs may or may not have club houses, swimming pools, or other amenities. The terms "nudist camp" or "nudist colony" are outdated and some nudists deem them offensive.
This word is used to distinguish a club in which sexual behavior in front of others is permitted. While people often refer to nudism as a lifestyle when discussing the general attitude of naturists or nudists, lifestyle resort typically refers to a club where sexual activity is not prohibitted.
A term invented by the American Association for Nude Recreation a few years ago as a play on the 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 a nudist resort or on a cruise with other nudists.
This term refers to clubs or organizations that do not own property on which they gather. Members of non-landed (often known as “travel”) clubs often meet for special events, such as camping, volleyball, or a beach outing, or may gather at members’ homes to enjoy each other’s company.
While these words are used interchangeably, nude is a term used to describe an unclothed person who is comfortable their body and surroundings. Naked tends to mean void of or missing something, such as naked drinks or furniture.
A person who shaves off much or all of their body hair.
This is a term to describe people who wear clothes bathing suits. it is also used to describe resorts or clubs that are not clothing optional or clothing free.