OLD WORLD NUDISM
In order to more fully understand American nudism, let's first quickly examine the origins of nudism, as we know them, in brief world history.
It is well documented that the Egyptians, Romans and Greeks practiced a cultural form of clothing optional living as far back as 1385 B.C.
Students being nude in school and during exercise in these civilizations was common and considered just a normal part of life and a choice all citizens could make for themselves on a daily basis.
The early Olympic Games in Greece were played in the nude by most athletes as well as all other regular athletic events. The very word "Gymnos" means "Naked" in Greek and, of course, is where the words, gymnastics and gymnasium are derived from. Today we might interpret the Greek meaning as "naked exercise".
The Catholic Church ended the Olympic Games in 393 A.D., declaring the nude games as "Pagan", thus leading the transition into the period known as "The Dark Ages" (500-1000 A.D.)
Now enters "The Renaissance Period" (1300-1700 A.D.), as the Catholic Papal ban was not to last forever. For while the iron fist of the church began to loosen its tightened grip on the citizens of the world, and the freedom of choice slowly reappeared, the confinement of clothing as the only norm of accepted social structural adherence dissipated to a great extent.
Again, nudity was not looked down upon as shameful, but once more as a natural and normal state of being.
NUDISM/NATURISM IN EARLY AMERICA
In the 16th century the Christian Puritans arrived on the shores of America unhappy that the Church of England had embraced a spirit of tolerance, and even admiration, of the human body.
Once in the New England colonies, they actively practiced their strict moral views, and insisted that all sexual pleasures be shunned with a high standard of, their version, of morality adhered to.
One of those standards derived as a result of the early biblical terminology known as …"the lust of the flesh", was seen as “so vile” as to cause a decree of total refrain from even bathing, as a way of preventing such feelings. Yes, you heard it right. No one was allowed to bath as we think of bathing today, in water, without clothes ...I’m not kidding.
That all started to change as some more famous Americans began to emerge amidst the early nudist practitioners leading the way in this most natural form of freedom of expression.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) in his study of medicine believed that "air baths", as he called them, were very healthy for you. And how right he was, as it was scientifically discovered that the sun provides our bodies with much-needed vitamin D, which is absorbed through the skin during such sun-bathing activities, and which lack thereof is the cause of many common, as well as not so common, human ailments to this day.
Famous American poet, Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), also took "air baths" in the form of naked walks around his community.
American President John Quincy Adams was regularly seen nude while bathing in the Potomac River.
It was further common for the early American pioneers of the western frontier to go to the local swimming hole and strip down to bath or swim, which gained today’s slang term, "skinny dipping".
Mark Twain’s fictional characters, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were skinny dippers in the book and was never looked at as the least bit odd to read about in the literature of that day, as it was so common at that time, in real life.
Prior to the yet invented modern-day swim suit, skinny dipping for bathing or recreation, even though mostly segregated by gender, was expected and very common in nearby lakes and rivers.
ENTER THE VICTORIAN ERA (1837-1901)
As with many things in life that tend to reverse themselves from time to time, in came an era of great societal repression, piano legs were covered to alleviate even the most remote possibility of sexual arousal during this time period - yes, you heard it right again, even piano "legs" had to be covered!
Peasant nudity was totally unacceptable in the cultural refinement of the ruling class and elites of that day who demanded total cultural control of the people.
The first domestic swimsuit allowable by the elite's and designed for "decency" appeared circa 1830 in France, but did not become popular in America until the 1890’s These swim suits covered all but the feet, hands and head regardless of the gender of the wearer. In terms of modern day comparison ...can you say Islam anyone?
The first indoor toilets were invented in the 1890’s and affected the acceptability of the nude tradition of the time in various ways.
Prior to this, it was common for the bathtub to be in the kitchen area where the hot water was taken from the stove so that the bathtub could be quickly used by all family members, one after the other. Open family nudity for this, weekly or bi-weekly, event was normal as all quickly used the tub, some even together, to take advantage of the heated aqua prior to its dissipation to a cooler, more unpleasant temperature.
As the outhouse became outdated, new homes were built with plumbing going to a separated room from the rest of the house where both the toilet and the bathtub could share the same water pipe with the added benefit of a door for privacy.
Now, it became rare to see each other in the nude thus leading many to start viewing the human body as an object of shame instead of an object of beauty, as nature intended, thus leading us to where we are today in most cultural circles.
During the late 19th Century certain Americans continued to resist the pull toward the Victorian lifestyles as we began to see seeds of the continuing movement toward, and need for, the freedom and acceptance of individual liberty as it pertained to nudity in the US.
At a time when modern medicine could not cure or explain disease, it was believed that the industrialization and urbanization of the United States was fostering many of the ailments as a result of unsanitary housing, crowded conditions, restrictive Victorian clothing and bad working conditions causing poor health and illness.
This brought about many beginnings of much of what we think of as today’s modern phenomenons, but is actually far from it – natural healing, clothing reform, vegetarianism, an abstinence from alcohol and tobacco and the practice of Naturopathy. an important part of all this needed natural healthy lifestyle was determined to be nudity and was considered to be an integral part of becoming
In 1901, German sociologist, Heinrich Pudor, wrote the first book on naturism and is considered to be the “Father of Nudism”. In 1903 the world’s first Nudist Park was opened in Lubeck, Germany. By the 1920’s nudist clubs began to open in France and England as well.
The first nudist magazine, called “Gymnos”, again the Greek word for “naked”, was printed in Germany in 1921 and then others followed in Britain and France.
In the US, the pattern of European nudism was quickly followed as a more “natural” form of living and was promoted by Bernard MacFadden, an early pioneer of health reform. Mr MacFadden promoted “natural living” in his newly published magazine called “Physical Culture” and at one of the nation’s first nudist resort area’s he called “Physical Culture City”, which was then followed by William Call and his “Common Sense Club”.
In 1929, Kurt Barthel and a group of German-Americans, familiar with the European style of nudism, held the first formal outdoor nudist gathering in North America, on Labor Day weekend. That very next spring, Mr Barthel formed “The American League for Physical Culture” (ALPC). ALPC then became “Sky Farm” at a site near Spring Valley in Rockland County, New York which enjoyed a membership of 200 the very first year.
Word spread of the nudist resort, which got to the ears of nearby New York authorities who launched a police raid, landing many members in jail. At the trial of the members, the judge determined that everything they were doing was done in private, with no lewd behavior being exhibited, and acquitted everyone involved. The appeal for naturism then soon increased beyond measure with many more soon joining the naturist movement.
Nude beaches originally became popular along some coastal areas of France during the 1950’s where nudity for most French people was not seen as offensive in general French society, which liberal body culture in France still persists to this day.
In Denmark, most all beaches are clothing optional as well as in other Scandinavian countries like Norway. Germany has many clothing optional areas in their public parks and in selected areas of some major cities. In warmer climate popular vacation getaway destinations, there are many clothing optional tourists’ areas in places such as Crete, Barcelona, and more islands than one can count throughout the Caribbean and elsewhere.
Now back to American beaches. It is believed that San Gregoria Private Beach is one of the two oldest nude beaches in the United States, as established in the late 1960’s. San Gregoria Private Beach is in San Mateo, California and since it is a private beach, can only be accessed by way of an entrance fee paid to the Owners.
The second of the oldest beaches, is known as Hippie Hollow on the shores of Lake Travis in Austin, Texas. This is a totally legal public nude area and the only legally sanctioned one in the entire state of Texas. On a sunny day, you will find hundreds of sun loving Texans and other visitors swimming and sunbathing about in the buff here.
There are literally dozens of nude beach areas all around the US ocean and lake front shores.
Solair Recreation League founded in 1934 and located in Woodstock, Connecticut, may be the oldest continually operating nudist resort in the US.
Since that time, Nudist Resorts, once referred to as Nudist Colonies, have sprung up all over the Country with over 180 member resorts listed on the American Association of Nude Recreation website currently in the US alone.
Nudist resorts offer an huge array of social and sports activities, including club houses with pool tables, table tennis, dancing with live bands, bocce ball, tennis and volleyball courts, children’s playgrounds, swimming pools, hot tubes, Jacuzzi's, horse shoe pits, hiking trails and the list goes on.
Yes, plan your next vacations in the nude!
From luxury cruise ships to sail boats to house boats on the lake.
PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS AND THE YMCA – NUDITY REQUIRED FROM 1926 UNTIL 1962
Believe it, or not, all swimming conducted by males of all ages was required to be in the nude by the "American Public Health Association" for all male swimmers from 1926 until 1962 at high schools and at all YMCA’s, as well as any other public swimming pool facilities for health reasons.
Read more about it at this link...
TOP FREE, NIPPLE FREE, BREAST FEEDING FREEDOM MOVEMENTS
As per Wikipedia … Topfreedom is a cultural and political movement seeking changes in laws to allow women to be topless in public places where men are permitted to be barechested, as a form of gender equality. Specifically, the movement seeks the repeal or overturning of laws which restrict a woman's right not to have her chest covered at all times in public.
In addition, topfreedom advocates seek allowing nursing mothers to openly breastfeed in public.
Find out more history about the topfreedom movement and top freedom laws at these links...
https://gotopless.org/topless-laws (see map)
The green colored states are those where top freedom is in effect.
The orange colored ones have amibiguous state laws on the matter.
The red colored ones are the ones where the mere showing of the female breast in public is illegal according to state law.
Go to this link to learn more...
WHAT IS THE STATE OF NUDISM/NATURISM IN NORTH AMERICA TODAY?
There are literally hundreds of nude, and clothing optional, beaches, resorts and private clubs throughout North America with which to exercise your ability to be nude, top free or to enjoy bathing suit and dressing styles, like thong and g-string style bathing suits, that would otherwise be classified as inappropriate in normal settings.
Nudity is one of the greatest feelings and experiences of total freedom imaginable. Take the time to explore one of today's modern full amenity resorts or private clubs and see for yourself what today’s nudist movement is all about …after some careful research to find the place most suited for you, it’s unlikely that you will have anything less than a delightful experience!
THE ART OF NATURIST ETIQUETTE:
My parents have been practicing nudists since even before they first met. From our births, my sisters, and I, were brought up visiting nudist resorts, beaches and clubs.
We have introduced countless friends to naturism, including both guys and girls. Many others have asked us questions about the lifestyle over the years so I am going to address the most common ones in this Q & A to follow, all of which I have learned first hand over my lifetime experience with nudism/naturism.
Q - Are there sexual activities that go on at nudist clubs, resorts, beaches and other nudist events?
A - NO! There are no public sexual activities that transpire at any formal nudist events in any way.
Q - But what about guys who are new to the lifestyle that may involuntarily sport an erection from excitement over the nudity they see?
A - Guys and girls are required to carry towels to sit on. Should this happen to a guy he is to cover himself immediately the moment he thinks this may be occurring. No one should ever see any sign of male genital stimulation in public. Anyone doing so is told to get dressed and promptly escorted to the exit.
Q - Are nudist events clothing optional, or is there a requirement to be nude?
A - It all depends on the club or resort. Many clubs and resorts require nudity, others are "clothing optional".
Q - Why is nudity required at some clubs and resorts?
A - It is believed that the majority of attendees to the club and resort will feel more comfortable if they are not among the minority of nude attendees and do not want to feel that many others are there only to gawk at the naked people around them, but instead are active participants in the naturist lifestyle.
Resorts that do require nudity, make exception for female members and visitors that are on their periods, who can then wear bikini bottoms during that time.
Q - Are all clubs and resorts equally insistent that no sexual activities transpire at their events?
A - YES! Nudist resorts are licensed by the local municipalities which require strict adherence to non-sexual and/or lewd activates at all times and have municipal codes and guidelines that must be strictly followed. To violate any of these rules could easily mean that their license/permit will be revoked and they will be out of business permanently. That is why you will find a zero tolerance policy at these resorts.
Q - Why are children allowed at many resorts?
A - A true naturist believes that the nude body is natural, normal and never to be ashamed of regardless of age. We are born totally nude. Age only comes to mind when thinking of sexual activities. The naturist lifestyle has nothing whatsoever to do with sex, thus never gets the two confused, and is why background checks are administered.
Q - How are perverts and pedophiles kept away from these clubs?
A - Most all clubs require membership. Visitors are allowed, at which time copies of photo ID are photographed or Xeroxed and kept on file at the club offices. Members at most clubs are required to submit to police sex offender background checks so many times these clubs are safer places to be than almost anywhere out in the general public where you have no idea who's wondering about.
CREDITS AND ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:
American Association for Nude Recreation, The Naturist Society. Clothes free organizations and Naturist Action Committee
I sincerely hope you enjoyed my myTake on "The History of American Nudism" and I want to thank the GAG administrators for allowing me this great forum to present it!
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