Strip poker… at a nudist resort?

Sure, why not?

Paradise Lakes Resort
in Land O’Lakes, Florida has tried it out (Friday, January 27) as part of a promotional event to entice students to visit and learn about the pleasures of clothesfree socializing. They’re especially interested in attracting the attention of some of the 43,000 students scattered around several campuses of the nearby University of South Florida. (Which, being in the Tampa area, isn’t exactly south Florida. But nevermind.)

Resort Nakedly Using Poker To Get Students

A strip poker tournament geared toward students at the University of South Florida will highlight an all-day “Bulls in the Buff” event at the clothing-optional resort just west of Dale Mabry Highway.

Resort owner Joe Lettelleir said Kristy Lucas, an unpaid USF intern, came up with the strip poker idea. Lettelleir has been trying to find ways to introduce younger people to the nudist lifestyle.

“She came up with this idea,” Lettelleir said. “She jumped in the boat, and she has an idea a minute. We’re anxious to hear more of them.

A subsequent op-ed article, while finding the idea amusing, wished the organizers success:

Naked Truth: USF Outreach Makes Sense

Here’s hoping all went well, if not simply for Lucas’ future in the hospitality business, then for the boost to central Pasco’s economy a surge of free-spending college students could bring.

It will be interesting, to say the least, to find out just how successful the event was.

Also, it must be said that, in fact, not all naturists and nudists are happy about the idea. They think it “sexualizes” naturism and does not really represent naturist ideals.

The response might be this: Wouldn’t one have to say the same thing, honestly, regarding (say) almost any form of dancing? Especially dancing than involves lingerie (which is popular at some nudist clubs), exaggerated body movements, etc…. In fact, scientists have recently documented that dancing does play a role in courtship and mate selection for humans: Rutgers Researchers Scientifically Link Dancing Ability To Mate Quality.

To me it seems clear that most forms of dancing either promote physical contact or draw attention to bodies as visual objects. Or both. There are lots of “eroticized” messages in many forms of dancing, IMHO. So, is most dancing — allowed and even encouraged at most naturist places — any less eroticized than strip poker?

Some people say that naturist places should totally avoid eroticized signaling. Even of the sort (like dancing) that’s quite prevalent in the textile world. That just doesn’t make sense to me. And to be honest, such avoidance is not practiced in most nudist/naturist venues.

But if such avoidance were the norm, one shouldn’t be surprised at all if young people avoid naturism.

A more detailed criticism is the claim that most people, especially young people, associate nudity with sex. And so, if invited to a strip poker event at a nudist club, would they be expecting a very sexualized atmosphere and be tempted to act accordingly? Or, on the other hand, on discovering that open sexuality is discouraged, would they be confused and disappointed?

I think that different young people will have different reactions. The desired outcome would be for the young folks to just stay naked after they’ve stripped the first time. As naturists often say, after the first 5 or 10 minutes, it’s easy to forget you’re naked, and it’s no big deal. Seems to me it would feel kind of silly to put on clothes again just so one could play another round of strip poker. Either people would stay naked to keep playing poker (if they like the game), or they’d wander off to try something else — dancing, a dip in the pool, or munching on pizza.

So the whole point is to get them into the resort and have them get comfortable there ASAP.

Of course, you’d want to have some responsible adults (sober grandmotherly types) watching quietly to intervene discreetly in case of any inappropriate behavior. Also, be sure that there’s a majority of experienced naturists around so first-timers can see what’s proper naturist behavior and do like the Romans do.

Hmmm. Speaking of Romans, maybe a toga party might be another good hook to attract college students. One where the togas aren’t really expected to stay on for long, and this is understood beforehand. (The challenge is to dare your date to be first in your group to drop the toga.) Toga parties are a hoary college tradition… (Or maybe they’re passé now… but I doubt it.)

One can object that this hook is sexual too. But maybe the psychology is just the reverse. Maybe young people are less reluctant to try nudity if there’s an excuse for being naked (losing at poker, having a costume malfunction with the toga) that is not overtly about sex. (“Oh crap. This thing just won’t stay on. Mind if I lose it?”)

Originally posted January 29, 2006

Miscellaneous links, 12/23/05

In recognition of the Winter Solstice Season, here’s a gift from the Naturist Place Blog to you — links to a variety of interesting pages about nudity and naturism. This is a very special time for naturists in the northern hemisphere, because the days now start getting longer (if not warmer), and we can look forward to the gradual return of our friend, the Sun — the source of life itself.

There will be more selections of miscellaneous links in the future, but for now, Happy Holidays!

[Note: “*” indicates the link is still valid, as of this update.]

How to Introduce a Friend to Naturism

Here are some great tips from the Federation of Canadian Naturists on how to turn your friends on to the pleasures of going naked.
* Naturist Guide to the Movies

ClothesFree International has prepared a very useful list of movies that contain scenes with non-sexual nudity. There’s a brief description of the movie, an indication of suitability for the whole family (i. e. whether there’s sex or violence as well as nudity), and still images from a few of the movies.
Bibliographie Naturiste

My friend Rouslan, who lives in France, has compiled an extensive list of books in many languages (mainly English, French, and German) that deal with nudity and naturism. It’s organized into categories, like children’s books, guides, essays, art, and health. The home page of this site is a directory of links to many sites in France and elsewhere outside the U. S. that should be of interest to people who like nudity.
The Offense of Public Nudity

Mark Storey offers a thoughtful essay that critiques the idea of public nudity as being “offensive”. It provides good arguments to use with people (such as public officials) who object to nudity in any public context (such as beaches) on the grounds that some people might be “offended”. The essay is located on the Body Freedom Collaborative site, which has a great deal of information about non-sexual public nudity in various forms.
Bare Bushwalking in Australia

This looks like a pretty comprehensive guide to nude hiking just about anywhere (within reason) in Australia. It includes news, opinions, and general information provided by an extensive list of nude bushwalkers. There’s a page of good advice for nude hikers anywhere, and a list of relevant external links.
* Nude Hiking in the Yukon & Alaska

Here’s another site for people who enjoy both nudity and hiking in the great outdoors. It includes a page of nude hiking etiquette and tips and a list of online sites that can help you find hiking partners. This main page contains lists of useful external links and books about nudity and naturism.
* Nudity in Ancient to Modern Cultures

This is a chapter from the book Therapy, Nudity & Joy: The Therapeutic Use of Nudity Through the Ages from Ancient Ritual to Modern Psychology by Aileen Goodson. It provides a quick historical overview of nudity in many societies and cultures from “primitive” ones, through ancient Egypt, Greece, and India. From there the focus narrows to China, Japan, and European cultures such as Wicca, early Christianity, the Victorian age, and 20th century naturism.

Originally posted December 23, 2005

Anything but naked

I wouldn’t normally spend any time on such a gloomy, antagonistic view of naturism as the following. But it seems easy enough to answer handily, so I offer that after a brief excerpt. Perhaps it will help others deal with people they know who have similar peevish attitudes.

Anything but naked

Freelance journalist Carol Glassman writes:

I won’t say some of my best friends are nudists, but I do know one couple that goes to nude resorts regularly, considering themselves to be naturists. We have never discussed it, and I couldn’t imagine asking nudists to share photos of their vacation.

For most of us, it’s difficult to think of nudity without the obvious, and unfortunately that elicits all the old jokes and clich├ęs with sexual connotations.

My response:

It’s a pity you feel this way about nudity and naturism. I’m sorry for you, since you’re missing one of life’s gentle pleasures and so much simple, uncomplicated joie de vivre.

Talk to your friends about naturism. Ask them to share their pictures with you. Unless your mien telegraphs disapproval, I’m sure they’ll be glad to.

If you are unable to think of nudity without the “obvious” clichés and sexual connotations, then that suggests to me your creative spark and ability to see life in new ways is failing. What a shame that you seem to be dying inside before the appointed time.

Florida has so many beautiful places to enjoy nudity. If you can’t bring yourself to try one of the fine naturist resorts around Tampa or the lively Haulover Beach in Miami, then take a day off to rent a canoe. Pick one of Florida’s endless, spring-fed streams somewhere, remove your clothes, and enjoy it to the fullest.

Remind yourself of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings friend Dess written about in Cross Creek:

She lives a sophisticate’s life among worldly people. At the slightest excuse she steps out of civilization, naked and relieved, as I should step out of a soiled chemise.

Read Rawlings’ Cross Creek yourself. It has only indirect allusions to nudity, like the above, but try to understand how a naturist vision suffuses parts of the book. Then visit Rawlings’ homestead at Cross Creek, near Gainesville. It’s a state park now. See if you can’t conjure in your imagination what a fine place it must have been in Rawlings’ day 60 or 70 years ago to enjoy life without clothes.

If you can summon the courage to experience a taste of naturism in whatever way suits you best, and if you still feel so negatively about it afterward, I’ll be very surprised.

Originally posted September 16, 2005

Literary nudity

For folks interested in the theory of literature or literary criticism, there’s an interesting book review in the latest eSkeptic — Reading Homo sapiens. It didn’t deal with nudity at all, but was otherwise so interesting that I wrote a long article about it on another blog.

That article of mine didn’t touch on nudity either, but I think it’s worth raising the issue here.

In a nutshell, what I’m talking about is a theory of literature which considers it to be simply an outgrowth of something humans do naturally all the time: creating what-if stories about people (usually including themselves, possibly in disguise) that place them in interesting situations and attempt to figure out what will happen.

There have recently been a few naturist-themed stories that some people have self-published on the net or through vanity presses. But other than that, almost nothing I can think of in recent times. Decades ago, when naturism/nudism was still somewhat of a new idea, there were a few more mainstream pieces of fiction that featured it, such as The Cool Cottontail (1966), a mystery by John Ball and even earlier (1932) The Bishop’s Jaegers by Thorne Smith. Then there are various novels by Robert Rimmer (mostly 1960s-70s). More recently there was Ready, Okay (2000), which had a sympathetic teenage naturist character but otherwise had little to recommend it. And there was a really badly written novel The Metaphysics of Nudity (1996) by Eric Miller, which was essentially someone’s daydream about a cross-country trip of a guy and two young women, who all eventually get into a little skinny-dipping. And nudity has sometimes appeared in science fiction (especially Heinlein’s). But on the whole, there’s been very little (nonsexual) “literary nudity”. Especially not much with actual quality.

Why? If we could do something about this, it might help spread naturist ideas a little better.

Originally published August 7, 2005

Everybody loves a parade

But what if people in the parade are “parading around naked”?

If Seattle’s Fremont Solstice Parade is any indication, people love the parade just as much, perhaps even more. This year’s version of the annual event took place Saturday, June 18. (Today, June 21, after all, is the actual date of the Summer Solstice, which ought to be a national holiday, if the U. S. had any sense). These these photos will give you some idea what the parade was like, in case you weren’t so fortunate as to be able to attend.

Naked and mostly colorfully painted cyclists have been a favorite part of the parade for a number of years. Others choose to parade in fanciful costumes, such as this pink penis.

When will people in other parts of the country, such as stuffy Middletown, CT, be able to have this much fun? Probably not for a long time.

Seattle seems to be more receptive than average to clothes-free fun. You’ll recall that the city had one of the largest contingents for the WNBR just last week. A significant reason for Seattle’s nude tolerance could be organizations of local activists, such as the Seattle-based Body Freedom Collaborative.

Originally published June 21, 2005

Americans lose their holiday inhibitions

Well, it’s a nice piece of PR from the AANR.

But forgive me, AANR, for I have been cynical, and still am.

To begin with, why is the woman in this image at the top of the AANR home page holding a large hat in front of herself, as if she’s ashamed of something? Is that the message you want to send?

Now for some comments on the PR article itself. First of all, congratulations on getting it picked up by some of the news media. You do that pretty well.

It is called a vacation “au naturel,” using a French expression as a fig leaf to cover up its more common name of naturism.

I’m trying to understand why someone thought the provenance of the term needed to be pointed out. Maybe because the article was carried by the French news service AFP? Perhaps not realizing that the term was appropriated by English long ago. (Wonder whether they’ve heard of the term “euphemism”)

The United States is a deeply conservative country

Got that right! Unfortunately.

Americans are starting to flock to beaches and country parks reserved for nudists, especially at the luxury end of the market.

Of course, the number of beaches officially “reserved” for naturists is very small, actual number depending on one’s interpretation of “official”. And “country parks”? Evidently someone means “private parks”, as there are no public parks at all (apart from the handful of beaches on public land where naturism is tolerated, tenuously). And what would “luxury end of the market” mean in relation to either a beach or “country park”?

The AANR estimates that naturist clubs and beaches for those who soak up the sun “au naturel” earn about 500 million dollars a year now, against 200 million dollars in 1992.

Nice, but to put that number in perspective it is, per capita, less than one gallon of gasoline per person. Or less than one fourth of an average movie ticket per person.

“The interest has been increasing over the last 10 years,” said Carrie Schultz, marketing director for the Caliente Resort, an upmarket nudist colony near Tampa

Nudist colony“? Aauggggh! Wash your mouth out with soap.

“Shields are coming off. We are not afraid to run TV commercials

My, how brave!

Caliente is family oriented, with a children’s playground and events for kids. In terms of luxury accommodations, we are off the scale.”

Whose scale?

Caliente highlights how naturism in the United States has become more sophisticated to reach its market.

If they think this PR-speak is sophistication, it’s no wonder naturism is advancing so slowly…

“Americans are a little spoiled

Now there’s an understatement, but without any hint of irony.

The AANR has listed 270 naturist organizations in the United States, including 18 created in the past year.

AANR habitually makes this claim, but without mentioning that over half the number are “non-landed” social clubs that own no facilities, but meet in members’ homes or at landed clubs.

On its map of “au naturel” beaches are a large number in Florida, with its year-round sunshine. Haulover, near Miami, and Apollo Beach, near the Kennedy Space Center, are among the best known.

In fact, there is exactly one other “au naturel” beach in Florida (Playalinda), which is part of the same National Park System unit as Apollo. Since when is three a “large number”?

Why am I so grumpy today? I don’t know. Maybe because of reading yet another media report that’s so out of touch with reality. Who actually draws a salary for writing this sort of stuff?

The article was evidently written by an AFP staffer, so it can’t all be blamed on AANR. But AANR is to blame for stuff like the very misleading “270 naturist organizations” claim.

Originally published June 18, 2005