The Naturist LifestylePhilosophy / Acceptance
Like everyone else, naturists' views and beliefs vary - for many people naturism means holiday freedom - freedom to swim and play and sunbathe without indulging in the bizarre pantomime of wearing tiny strips of cloth to cover their "private" parts. Almost invariably, those who experience swimming, running, beach games and sunbathing naked, find it liberating and enjoyable.
For many, that is the extent of their philosophising. To others, naturism is an important aspect of their approach to life, their moral values and guiding philosophy. For those people naturism is about more than just nudity, it is about personal liberation, equality, even democracy. The ancient Greeks didn't give nudity a second thought and early modern naturists in Germany, the Netherlands,Scandinavia, Britain and other European countries in the 1920s and 30s often perceived naturism as one aspect of a better socialistic life.
It certainly is the case that naturism is a great leveller; when you are naked together with your fellow men and women, the trappings of wealth, status and position drop away and mean nothing. For a world obsessed with image, status and material possessions, this is, in itself, liberating. Designer labels have little significance when you are not wearing any clothes! / Because societies and governments tended to disapprove or even prohibit all or any forms of nudity, naturism was for a long time something which could only be practised behind the high walls of private clubs or centres, or furtively on deserted beaches. In recent decades, people, and governments have become somewhat more relaxed about public nudity. A recent survey conducted by Mori for the British naturist organisation revealed that most people felt that people should be able to swim and sunbathe naked if they wished.
The growth in popularity of naturist package holidays and in using naturist beaches whilst staying in conventional (textile) holiday accommodation has no doubted both formed and reflected this change in public attitude. Nowhere is this more clear than in Spain, where, in the days of General Franco, naturism was prohibited, and where now many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Spaniards enjoy holidays at centres such as Vera Playa or at one or other of dozens of beaches where naturism is approved.
At Vera Playa there is no high wall or isolation of the naturist zone. The beach, cafes, bars and restaurants and streets are open to all. The developments at the naturist zone are accompanied by textile developments adjoining and availability of the naturist beach has certainly been a feature in the marketing of these developments.
Sex and Naturism / Naturist Etiquette
To many people, sex and nudity seem inextricably inter-related and they think that going naked amongst other naked people must inevitably be sexually stimulating and arousing. Much of sexual arousal is about mystery and concealment - when everyone is naked there is little of either. A naturist holiday is probably less sexually stimulating than a conventional clothed holiday and, almost certainly, more overt sexual activity goes on in public at textile holiday resorts than at naturist resorts. This is not to say that naturists are necessarily sexless or celibate, but that, like most people, they keep sexual activity for the privacy of their own accommodation.
Men going to a naturist beach or staying at a naturist hotel or centre for the first time may be worried that they will have uncontrollable erections at the very sight of naked women (or men), and women may be worried that such things could be embarassing. This, fortunately, is an unnecessary concern - it can safely be said that an erect penis is even rarer than a bathing costume at naturist centres or beaches. If, untypically, a man does initially feel aroused to the point of having an erection, this phenomenon is most unlikely to persist - naturism is no substitute for Viagra - sadly perhaps!
Bombarded as we are by advertising and media images, it is not surprising that many people have unrealistic views about the need for perfection in the human body and, quite often, they feel inadequate if they don't themselves achieve that perfection. Naturists tend not to have such hang-ups - when you spend time in a naturist environment you realise that (a) there's no such thing as a perfect body and (b) it doesn't matter - what is important is the person in the body. Naturists come in all shapes and sizes and with all the imperfections that the vagaries of life and luck bestow. There is no reason for anyone to fear that they won't compare well with others and naturism is by no means a pursuit only for the young and fit - far from it. / Before coming on a naturist holiday for the first time it is natural to feel that you don't know "the rules" or the general etiquette:
- Naturists are not, generally, masochists, so if it is too cold to be naked naturists wear clothes. Conversely, if it is warm enough to be naked, many/most naturists will want to be so, whether indoors or out - though there are many people who enjoy swimming and sun-bathing naked but prefer to be clothed at other times or for other activities. It's a matter of personal choice.
- The practice at most naturist centres is for total nudity to be the norm throughout the day and wherever it is legal - which normally means throughout the hotel or centre, in shops and other facilities. Sometimes - as for instance at the Vera Playa Club Hotel - it is expected that clients will be clothed in the evenings/night in the public areas, restaurants and bars. A basic rule of residential urbanizacions at Vera Playa is that no bathing costumes are worn in the pools.
- Bars, restaurants and cafes usually have conventions or rules about whether clients can be naked or whether they must be clothed. Sometimes at least a towel is expected and quite often there is one rule during the day and another for evening/night.
- The normal naturist etiquette is ALWAYS to have a towel to sit on, not necessarily to cover up with. This is for reasons of hygiene and, frankly, consideration of friends' or the hotel's chairs and seats - protecting them from suntan oils, sweat etc.
- The normal naturist etiquette is not to indulge in any overtly sexual behaviour in a public place - no different from textile etiquette. In the unlikely event of becoming sexually aroused, a naturist would be expected to turn away or cover up to avoid embarrassing anyone, including himself.
- Photography is only permissible in a naturist resort if the explicit permission of people appearing in the photographs and who could be recognisable is obtained by the photographer - most naturists, like everyone else, like to preserve their privacy and to decide for themselves whether and where any photographs of them or their families appear.
- There is no need to worry that you may unwittingly break the rules - observing what others do, or asking their advice, will put you on the right tracks - and remember, naturist communities are generally very friendly and, unless you behave outrageously, you will quickly be accepted into the community.