This may come as a surprise to some, but nudism is on the rise in the United States. In fact, it is one of the fastest growing recreational activities in the country. The appeal of the activity may be lost on many people. For many others, however, nudism represents an aspect of life that has been lost, a way to get away from the technology the permeates every aspect of modern life or a reason that is altogether different. Nudists even have their own groups. The one of the most influential and largest is the American Association for Nude Recreation.
The AANR, formally known as the American Sunbathing Association, has a mission to remove some of the stigma that most of the public associates with social nudity. 259 independent clubs, parks and resorts operate under the AANR banner. The group even lobbies lawmakers for the rights of nudists. While nudism is growing in popularity among many segments of the population, the AANR is composed mainly of members that are 35 or older.
However, there are also clothing optional alternatives to activities meant specifically for young people. One example of activities designed for the youth population are nude summer camps. One such camp, the AANR sponsored Youth Leadership Camp located in Lutz, Florida, caused some controversy after reports of a nudist camp for children started showing up in the media. After an extensive investigation, the camp was found to have been operating within the law and with no complaints from children or parents for its entire ten year history. This is just one example of the general population's misconceptions about nudism. The AANR believes that skinny dipping is a time honored tradition for kids away at camp, and they simply combine that activity with others.
There are many reasons for this wave of interest in nudism. One such reason is the naturism movement. Naturists believe that there are many benefits to social nudity. The main benefits, they claim, is a greater sense of freedom and more self esteem about their bodies. They believe that we are fed a steady diet of images showing us what a perfect body looks like, but these bodies are not what the vast majority human bodies look like. This helps promote a normal body image and leads people, especially girls and women, to understand that their bodies are normal.
Another benefit of nudism, according to naturists, is that once there is no clothing present some of the barriers to interaction with other go away. Social distinctions that certain dress may imply disappear.
Nudists are also quick to point out that there is no sexual aspect to true naturists. They feel that, over the years, nudity and sex have become so intertwined in the minds of many that it is hard for them to separate the two. They simply enjoy doing regular activities in the nude. They have rules that anyone in a clothing optional area must follow at all times. These rules include that restrictions on touching others or engaging in any type of inappropriate behavior. They are also supposed to refrain gawking at others around them. They feel that these rules create a more comfortable, family-friendly environment.
While nudism is generally seen as okay by a vast majority of Americans, 80 percent responded to a Roper poll that they thought it was okay for there to be nude beach as long as there was a sign, some states have started to crack down on the practice. 13 states have added skinny dipping to the list sex offenses a person is required to register for. Some states have adopted even stronger legislation. In Montana, skinny dipping will get a person six months prison for their first offense. The second offense will result in one year. The thrid offense results in a staggering and ridiculous 100 year sentence.
While much of the nudist population is older, recent years have seen an explosion of interest in younger people. A group specifically created for young nudists, Young Naturists and Young Nudists America, or YNA for short, has helped bring the message of nudism to a younger audience. The group was founded in fall 2010 and caters to people in the age range of 21-35. Their activities occur in the tri-state New York area and include events designed specifically for younger people. These activities include Nude Night Out, where the group rents a private space like a bar and everyone attends in the nude, weekend trips and even a New Year's Eve Party .
While it is tempting to try to assign a single reason that so many people are finding enjoyment in non sexual recreational nudism, it can't be done. Individual reasons that people participate are as varied as they are for any other type of activity. Many people do so for the reasons listed above: getting away from technology, improving their body image and breaking down social barriers. Others may do it for completely different reasons: to bring themselves closer to personal enlightenment, to challenge conventional beliefs about our bodies or the simple enjoyment being naked.
Whatever the reasons behind their activities, the nudistpopulation in America is growing a rapid rate, especially among the younger generation. Groups such as YNA and AANR hope to make nudism in America as much of a nonissue as it is in Europe. Recent news stories do portray an increasing tolerance. Fox Newsrecently reported that nudity on prime-time television rose an astounding 6,300 percent in the last year. Acongressman, Rep. Kevin Yoder, went skinny dipping on a trip to Israel. In Las Vegas, nude photos were taken of England's Prince Harry. If British royalty and a United States congressman from Kansas find social nudity acceptable, how long can it be until the rest of the general public follows suit? If these news stories and other current trends are any indication, then social nudity and the naturist movement are heading into an era of greater acceptance than any they have known in America.
This Article is brought to you by - Young Naturists & Nudists America YNA
Jordan Blum is a lifelong nudist and co-founder of Young Naturists and Nudists America (YNA). YNA is the fastest growing nudist organization and online naturist community based out of the NY / NJ / PA area. We welcome everyone regardless of race, color, sexual orientation, tattoos, piercings. Visit our site today and learn what you can do to help support acceptance!