Improving Naturism

Not having written for a long time, I’m little rusty and very nervous, aware that what I have in mind to write, might not be agreeable to everyone ( I know there is nothing that we all agree on) and whether there is any point. Will this be just another post that people take a casual look at and then ignore, or will it act as a catalyst for something good?

The short answer is; I don’t know, but here goes it anyway. This post is not about me, it is about what I think about the way to improve naturism through increased public acceptance of nudity, it is up to you to consider it in your future plans or ignore it as an idiotic idea.

10 years ago, most people risked getting arrested if they walked nude in the open countryside even, never mind the urban areas. This started changing through a lot of work by individuals, such as Stephen Gough https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_GoughWorld Naked Bike Rides https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Naked_Bike_Rideorganisation like British Naturism https://www.bn.org.uk/aboutus/and a smaller but enthusiastic group of people working as http://naturistactiongroup.org/home/who-are-we/

In addition to the above, there are 100s of other individuals and regional groups who have done a great deal to progress the image of naturism as being natural and good for the soul.

This promotional and naked activities, seem to have triggered various TV shows, showing full nudity and promoting nude living and acceptance of nudity through body acceptance (of whatever kind you have!) I think some credit should also be given to social media in general and the Hollywood productions.

The activities above and additional work carried out by the organisations mentioned, resulted in the UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) publishing a very important guidance on handling cases involving naturism; https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/nudity-public-guidance-handling-cases-naturism

This is not a new law or change of law, it is simply clarification of where the law stands. This was also challenged in 2009 when I participated in the Oneandother art exhibition in Trafalgar Square, where I was amongst many others who went nude in public and were challenged by the public and even an off duty Policeman https://www.webarchive.org.uk/wayback/archive/20100223123427/http://www.oneandother.co.uk/participants/Lady-Godiva

So, where are we now?

Not very far to be honest. Yes, I see people posting pictures of their nude hikes across the countryside, but only a handful. That is not where I had expected us to be by now.

Ten years ago, I set out to with the thought to help and normalise nudity and that hasn’t happened. Have we failed? Yes and No; Yes, progress has. Been made, but it is not something that is in our gift to give, but the good thing is that we’re all still alive (you wouldn’t be reading this otherwise J) so there is time yet!

What Next?

British Naturism and many other organisations and individuals are making great effort to try and bring more people into naturism. I don’t have the figure but I don’t see any major progress being talked about, therefore, I think they need to re-evaluate their approach. This is hard to sell because these people are strong believers in their own vision, and they have limited capability due to lack of funds and volunteers.  I for example, have not had a proper holiday for five years, mainly due to running my own business which takes up all my time. This also means that I don’t have the time for leisure campaigns including WNBR. It was very difficult to find time for WNBR, but I did it for many years.  In the same way, most other people don’t have the time until they retire.. hence why (one of the reasons) most naturists are elderly people!!

Change of Strategy

The issue is that if a bunch of naturists want to help normalise nudity, there is no point in doing it behind closed doors or in isolation of the general public.

For example, the nude fest organised by British Naturism https://www.nudefest.co.ukseems to be a great event but the only people that seem to go there are hardy naturists (I’m making this statement only from what I see on social media). The benefit seen this year is some great publicity, particularly by the Sun reporter https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/9513608/uk-biggest-naturist-festival-undercover/but this article and other positive publicity is not even linked or discussed on the nudefest site linked above.  I don’t have numbers of visitors to nude fest over the past five years, perhaps someone from British Naturism can comment. My point is that this event could attract new visitors if the organisers were to adopt a different strategy.

The approach all naturist organisations have to take is that they need to recruit members, and rightly so, my suggestion is that there needs to be more activities that bring naturism and textile activities together as combined events, in other words, clothing optional, and held in public areas, not secluded or fenced or promoted as naturist/nude only event.

Take WNBR for example, if we were to insist that all participants must be nude and the event was held behind closed off area, there would be far less people attending and the event would die off a natural death. Perhaps nude fest could be promoted as clothing optional to see if the numbers would go up.

New Approach

First of all, I am not going to suggest that this new approach is going to be easy, but I am confident that small steps in the right direction can help us progress our aim.

Nude Swims 

There are many nude swims organised around the country, most of them seem to report difficulties in gaining a good mix of people and numbers. This is because they are published as nude events. Even I felt a little apprehensive about being judged by the ticket office lady when paying on entrance.  How about these events being run as clothing optional and not so late in the evening. Most run between 7-9pm. This automatically excludes anyone with children. If those people want to participate, they have to get baby sitters etc. For young people 7-9pm on Friday/Saturday night is prime social time. The people who would happily go topless on holidays are not going to give up their Sat night, even if they had the courage to go fully nude. I’m aware that, It will be virtually impossible to get the local sports centre to allow clothing optional during early evening or day time. However, there are pools run by naturist organisations and pools that are available for private hire that could be used.

The perfect venue would be the Lidos, if they could be persuaded to run one sat each month of the summer period as clothing optional, it would go a long way towards making nudity normal.

Beach Events

Nude beaches are great places for nudists to visit. Sometimes people meet others who they know, but it is very rare. People who go topless and maybe nude on holidays don’t make the effort to visit a nudist beach. They would rather go to a beach that is nice and has all the facilities of a seaside resort. In the south of England, you have the Studland beach, it is not very popular (busy) because of the location and lack of facilities. A few hundred meters away, the textile beach is very popular even though it has limited facilities, compared to for example the Bournemouth beach.

I think it would be better to work towards having clothing optional days (marked by boards, advertising and general information) on normal textile beaches (like the Bournemouth beach) where the naturists can go nude and those who would go topless on holidays would be more willing to do the same in the UK, the EU visitors would certainly go topless if they saw others and they knew it was legal. This would progress to further promotion of nudity through association and normalisation.

I’m sure it would be hard for the naturists to mix in a clothing optional environment to start with, but being in a much more comfortable and social environment would, in my opinion, lead to greater number of people trying nude sunbathing/swimming, thereby increasing the acceptance of such in normal life.

This can’t be a once a year event, it would have to be at least once a month to start with and then perhaps once a week.

Nude Dining/Other Events

There has been much publicity of nude dining. It hasn’t taken off well because there are too many constraints applied.

There just needs to be a place, which is clothing optional, more often than once a week and not too late at night. Clothing optional is just a step away from summer clothing.  I have dinned out virtually naked many a times in London, but I was not totally nude. Virtually nude was acceptable in a lot of placed but there was ONE restaurant where I was asked to leave, and that was the top end Japanese restauranthttps://www.noburestaurants.com/london-berkeley-st/home/#.VZDfqlJv2Cg   I Had been there a few times before then, never been back since!! My crime was to wear translucent trousers and top. Not too different to their celebrity DJ (but no bra J) https://www.instagram.com/p/BsyO0BLHHBm/

My aim in wearing what I liked and not be limited by the ‘norm’ was to show that nudity in public is OK for an average person and not reserved for the celebrities.  Ten years later (not claiming as my victory) the times have changed and I notice a lot more girls going out wearing similar things to what I would have been criticised for.

And Finally

My point is that, if we continue to organise nude events exclusively for those who are already naturists or will to go nude for the first time, we are not going to get to the point where nudity is acceptable as is in some parts of Europe, or a general acceptance.

We must go fishing where the fish is (I don’t know how to fish by the way!!)

Feel free to comment here or discuss with me on twitter @ladygodivaLDN

16 Responses to “Improving Naturism”

  1. CGHill Says:

    Reblogged this on dustbury.com in reserve and commented:
    How do we encourage people to take off their clothes? Thoughts on the matter…

  2. marcpennings Says:

    In my opinion, the Danish do it best at their beaches: it is not forbidden to bare all, as long as you don’t flaunt or behave lewd.
    That doesn’t rule out you should use common sense and good judgement.

    //Marc

  3. jimella Says:

    I totally agree with every word.

  4. John Wilson Says:

    Very very good article and writing with very detailed information
    ” Nude or nothing ” was the attitude to attend the naturist swim i first went to and i still very much agree with that approach to a certain extent but see the point of clothing optional at certain places

  5. Bob Says:

    Thank you for this thoughtful piece. I agree with much of what you have to say. I have only recently become an advocate for mainstream public nudity. In the past, I would limit myself to skinny dipping in secluded locations. And now I enjoy being nude in all public venues where it is appropriate to do so. I have begun to discuss my passion with coworkers and I believe this is an important step in the normalization of public nudity. A similar strategy was effective in the gay movement, where people were encouraged to “come out”, so that members of the public could know people around them who were gay, and were just like them. When people know someone who is a nudist, be it a family member, friend or coworker, I feel like they would be more likely to be open to the idea. And at the very least it would open up dialogue to hopefully promote more understanding, acceptance and participation in social nudity.

  6. Nudie News Says:

    […] https://ladygod1va.wordpress.com/2019/07/20/improving-naturism/ […]

  7. Julie Says:

    There is sadly a fine line between nudity, exhibitionism and voyeurism. Some people are attracted to events for all of these reasons. You were/are brilliant at setting a standard and attitude of doing normal things and being ‘naturally naked’. I sleep naked, get up naked, walk around the house naked and sometime go out to the bin forgetting I am naked. I find it ‘natural’, However for many the only time they are naked is in the shower locked in the bathroom, or when having sex. Social nudity will only be accepted when personal nudity is accepted, There seems to be less ‘clothing optional’ events and suitable venues here and abroad. I don’t know either why this trend is happening, but nudity behind locked doors and exclusive naked events are not the answer.
    Thank you Kiran for being you. We chatted in Lincoln’s Inn fields on the 2017 ride -naturally naked!
    Julie

  8. Larry Holman Says:

    A great blog topic. I agree with you however here in the USA it’s different it seems than where you are at. I mean I’m always reading something promoting nudism/naturism in Great Britain or other European countries but not so much here. Sure we have resorts and a few beaches but no one seems to be promoting it as much. Hopefully one day nudism/naturism will be accepted here and everywhere as being a norm and we can all live the way we would like to.

  9. Rafiq Mansour Says:

    Nice to hear your thoughts again, LadyGodiva.

    I have thought about the low numbers of people who roam about the countryside unclothed in the UK since the law change and publication of the CPS’s clarification on the legality of public nudity.
    I suspect that despite the law change most people still feel like they would be doing something very wrong if they walked naked, particularly in recent times when society has become much more sensitised about sexual harassment of women and minors.

    Also, historically, the legal and social taboo against public nudity was maintained with a two-pronged strategy; criminalisation and socially-mediated internalisation of body shame. While the former has been recently reversed in the UK, the annulment of body shame is slower and harder to quash. Popular TV shows that feature nonsexual nudity help in that respect but nonetheless, will only prompt a bolder minority to abandon their body shame.

    From a social anthropology perspective, I find it helpful to consider the relative balance of strength that independent reasoning versus cultural mores hold sway in people’s minds over issues like public nudity where they can point in opposite directions, both at the individual and the collective, social level. It varies from society to society. NW European societies are exceptional in relation to the rest of the world in the level of individualism adopted and tolerated. In many fields, for centuries now, individuals have consciously thought and acted in line with lines of reasoning that represent a stark departure from cultural norms. In most other human societies around the world, people allow their society’s cultural norms to dictate everything they do and believe, and departure from norms is unthinkable.

    The British historically have an ambivalent relationship with individualism. On the one hand, religious and political nonconformity, eccentricity and unusual, specialised hobbies and interests have been a very noticeable feature of British society, for centuries now. But on the other hand, until recently, the British were famously intolerant of both sexual diversity and public nudity.

  10. SM Denham (@smdenham3) Says:

    OK, Lady G, you’ve challenged me, so here goes:

    First Point:

    “If a bunch of naturists want to help normalise nudity, there is no point in doing it behind closed doors or in isolation of the general public.”

    This is actually the only crucial point. You cannot aspire to take a minority interest mainstream by keeping it under wraps, or secretive, or exclusive; it has to be all-encompassing, all-embracing. How can an association swell its ranks with close vetting, or clandestine meetings?

    The renowned, open nude cultures of France, Croatia, Spain, Scandinavia, Holland, Germany, etc. are not based on closed, private spaces; quite the opposite – open, public beaches, parks, saunas, lakes, rivers, mountains, etc, etc.

    Associations and private clubs, on the whole, exist to make financial gain. No matter how many people go to a public beach there is zero financial gain, so a course to general, widespread acceptance of public nudity is free public access to areas where to be naked is absolutely fine, just as to walk in the countryside or lie on a beach is free for the non-nudists.

    Second Point:

    Mainstream media coverage and celebrity endorsement is vitally important to ‘normalising’ nudity and shouldn’t be underestimated by hard-core naturists, who also need to be open minded and appreciate the effect this endorsement has on shifting the ‘Overton window’ in favour of the acceptance of public nudity.

    So thank you Orlando Bloom, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Kevin Bacon, Gerry Halliwell, Lily Allen, Kate Humble, Billy Connolly and a long etc. for getting your kit out, because tens of thousands of fans will now argue in defence of getting your kit out.

    And thank you reporters from The Sun, The Guardian, the BBC and many local media outlets for nuding up, even if you weren’t previously nudists and not particularly that way inclined, but did so anyway: you’ve reported, in the main, that once you’ve done it once it really is quite alright and would be something that you would actually quite happily do again.

    Third Point:

    The sheer volume of naked events (WNBR, skinny dips, protests, runs, gallery visits, dining..) has a very similar effect: public nudity becomes so widespread as to become mundane, everyday and, eventually, ‘normal’.

    And a similar argument can be made about social media: the more pics and comments we see about people who go naked hiking, swim naked or have nude barbecues and dinner parties, the more this sort of activity is normalised and becomes part of everyday discussion. In some circles it is completely commonplace to talk about your pubic hair, its style, how you control it or whether you have any at all – absolutely not so in most circles not so long ago.

    To summarise:

    If we want to take nakedness mainstream we need to forget about exclusive clubs, vetted membership, form-filling, ID showing, recommendation-only association. There will always be a place for those who seek luxury and exclusivity as in textile circles, and that’s fine, but for those who just want to go to the beach, for a wander in the mountains, or a swim in the local river, lake, pool, like any other member of the (clothed) public, continued and progressive exposure (pardon the pun) to nakedness will, one day, make this unremarkable, and only then will it be generally accepted.

    I make a (very minor) contribution by hiking naked in the countryside, going to naked swims, nude beaches, participating in the WNBR, etc. and explaining to people what it means to be doing that, as well as letting them see, with their own eyes, that nudity is not necessarily sexual; in fact, in many situations nudity is totally asexual. Therefore, as there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of or intimidated by, naked bodies in the landscape can be confidently accepted as just another facet of society.

    @smdenham3

    • ladygod1va Says:

      Agree with all you say, but the problem is, how? there are many individual contributions but when you try to get them to work together, the different opinions and prejudices, self pride, self promotion etc get in the way. I could name names here but it would only attract negative comments. Naturists, like all other walks of life, are a mixed bunch and you have the good, the bad and the ugly! Trying to make it all look nice, safe, healthy and acceptable as a norm, is a task that can only be achieved through some sort of national/international organisation. Perhaps when I’m 70, I’ll have more time for this 🙂

  11. Bartman Says:

    I find nothing disagreeable in this. Also, change happens very slowly at first, then quickly once nearing resolution. Keep up the good work and don’t feel discouraged by the seemingly lack of progress. Comparing to other cultural changes in history, we only notice the “fast” portion of those changes, but for all of them, there was a long period of slow change preparing the way. If change happens too sudden, then it ends up being a passing fad instead of something that lasts.

  12. Geoff Hood Says:

    my wife and I have been part time naturists from the latw1970;s when BN was CCBN, In the 80’s you saw topless ladies in many London parks & seaside Beaches and even nude of Hampstead heath, Glastonbury which we went to in the 70’s was a Hippy nudity everwhere but by the 1990 the thought police had stopped all that with nudity=Sex or treated as fun as page 3 (sic), i have seen little change except for a minor trend to braless in youngsters 70s/80s

  13. Jitesh Says:

    Very well written. Straight from heart ♥

  14. Ram Says:

    I love to live nude but country law not allow public place. when I alone in my home live nude.

  15. Ben Montgomery Says:

    Good to see your face again. It had been a long time indeed.

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