Saturday, December 15, 2007

Australia Story (p2) - Maggie

It's a quick ferry ride from Townsville to Magnetic Island. All I had for the trip was a backpack full of stuff, my bicycle, and a hostel reservation for a few days. From my previous research, I knew that there were three unofficial nude beaches on the island, each of which had a geocache nearby.

My impressions from the textile beaches were a bit disappointing. There were a good number of people at the beaches, but most had full clothing on. Maybe half of the men had swim shorts, and only a few women had bikini tops and shorts. For an island full of beaches, this seemed like odd attire.

I went to Picnic Bay on the southern part of the island and took the 20 minute hike down to the Rocky Bay unofficial nude beach. The trail is hard to stay on at the top of the hill, and the hike down gets somewhat steep. When I got there, I noticed a home-made wooden sign declaring the area as a traditional nude beach.

Behind one of the first rocks was a middle-aged woman, topless, reading a book and enjoying the company of her small dog. She was the only person that I saw at the beach, so I decided to talk to her for a bit. (Normally this is a bad idea, since women see this as a coming-on gesture. I was as non-intrusive and as friendly as I could be.) I asked her what she knew about the other two nude beaches on the island, but she didn't know anything about them. She said that this one suits her just fine, because she lives in Picnic Bay during the winter months. During our quick conversation, she mentioned that there were some other people further down the beach. She also suggested that I go for a swim.

For the record, I had previously decided to NOT go in the water in Australia, because there are a large number of critters in those waters that can kill me. I'm not much of a swimmer anyway, so I figured it was best to play it safe. I went to a lot of beaches during my trip, but never went in the water.

I politely told her that I didn't have much time, since I had to walk/bike back to the hostel. I didn't think it was safe to be naked here, because there is a lookout point on the hill next to the beach, and the ferry goes by at regular intervals. (The picture at the top of this post was taken from the lookout, and the first beach that you see is Rocky Bay.)

I approached the other people on the beach. One middle-aged man was enjoying a swim, and the other was an older man (clothed) who was there to watch him as a safety measure. I talked with the older man for a little while. He knew about the other nude beaches, and said that Balding Bay was pretty good but was too much hiking for him. I asked him what he thought about the ferry and the lookout point, and he said "they're too far away to really see anything, so don't even worry about them." (I could see the clothing they were wearing at the lookout point, so I didn't really believe his answer.) I asked him why there were only three people at the beach -- which ended up being a dumb question. He pointed at the sky, and said "no sun". It was a cloudy day. There were 10 or so that routinely enjoy the beach on the sunny days.

The walk back to Picnic Bay ended up with me losing the trail, bush-walking a bit, and ending up on a random street. I was looking around slightly dumbfounded, and noticed the woman from the beach. She saw me and pointed me in the direction of where the trail started, and where my bike was parked. I thanked her and went on my way. Rocky Bay was a decent beach, but I was convinced that Balding Bay was the place to go to try nudism.

The next day I went north to the Horseshoe Bay area. The east side of Horseshoe Bay is probably the biggest and most popular textile beach on the island. That's not where I was going... Instead, I took small gravel roads through the trees to get to the far west end of the beach. I emerged and took in the amazing view. There was an older couple, one nude guy swimming, and nobody else for a long way down the beach. I climbed the rocks to find the geocache, and observed that this wasn't much of a nude beach. There is a horse-riding tour that goes through, and occasional textilers that like really long walks down the beach. I'm sure this was a great area, but tourism (mostly periodic horse rides) has made this side of the beach not-so nude friendly. I didn't want to try nudism here. Bummer... This was strike number two.

Back on the east side of the Bay was the trail head to Balding Bay. Balding Bay is the most secluded beach that people can get to without a boat. The tourist literature says that it's the most beautiful beach on the island, but didn't mention the clothing-optional nature of it. The trail is about a 25 minute hike from the far east end of Horseshoe Bay. It looked new, and had a different (older) trail blocked off with signs mentioning death. (The wording on most Australian signs is a bit extreme.) I passed several tourists along the trail. There weren't any signs declaring it as a nude beach. Was this beach also damaged by tourism?

Sort-of. There were about 10 textilers there, but there were naked people as well. There was a group of four older people hanging out and chatting at the back of the beach, and a middle-aged couple at the side of the beach. The guy was taking closeup pictures of the girl, and the group was packing up to head out, so I figured I shouldn't bug any of them.

I didn't want to try nudism with so many textilers around. I figured that if the majority were nude, I'd join in. Being in the minority just doesn't feel right, especially for a first-timer... This was my third and final nude beach for the trip -- the one I was looking forward to since Rocky Bay -- and it was about as disappointing as the other ones. My goal was to try nudism on at least one of the beaches, but they have all been disappointing so far. It's still early afternoon, so I have at least a few hours to wonder around here. I haven't given up hope just yet...


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Australia Story (p1) - Intro.

This is the untold story of my trip to Australia. (You know, the bits dealing with all the nudity.) I'll be writing it in 10 parts through the rest of the winter. I encourage you to follow along because there are many important lessons to be learned from it. Also, it offers a peek into Australian nudism and the tells the story of my lonely, persistent journey into social nudism.

Sometimes, life can put you in some very unique situations. As I was finishing my bachelors degree, I was having a lot of trouble finding a good job. Just as I was giving up hope, I got an email from the university: Something like "most of you have already found jobs or graduate programs, and we wish you the best of luck on your future careers. However, if you don't fit into either category, you may want to consider our masters program." Their timing was perfect -- I signed up. There was just one issue -- the program requires a semester of study in either frosty Europe or sunny Australia. I ended up being the first person from my university to go to JCU in Townsville, Australia.

I spent the fall semester of 2006 on the other side of the world. I had no idea what to expect since I was the first person to be sent there, I had a shoestring budget, and my family, girlfriend, and everything that I knew was 8,000 miles away. Keeping in contact was difficult, because the phone system was expensive and nearly impossible to use, and internet wasn't cheap. (JCU charged $22 AUD per gigabyte, so Skype was certainly not an option.) My main forms of communication were a blog, photo album, email, and IM. Anyone who knows me personally can have a link the first two, if they ask, but they only cover half of the story. (The other half is here.)

I had three main goals during my stay:
1. Do well in school (to keep my 4.0).
2. Do as much as I can as a poor temporary local. (Don't be a tourist!)
3. Visit every nude beach I can.

I have been interested in nudism for many years previously, and often went nude at home. I have never before been nude outside, but I knew this was the place to try it. Australia has a lot of legal nude beaches, and the beaches are paradise. Townsville is in the tropical north-east, where the tropical rain-forest meets the big white sandy beaches, and where the big white sandy beaches meet the clear water and great barrier reef. This place was just as beautiful as any other pacific island. Every day was sunny (about 5 rainy days during my 5 month stay) and the temperatures were perfect (highs of 75 to 88F year-round). This was the perfect place to be nude, so I knew I had to try it!

Come to find out, Queensland is the ONLY state in Australia that has NO legal nude beaches! In fact, Queensland doesn't even allow topless sunbathing at their beaches. Bummer!

However, here are some other neat facts:
  • There are over 10 porn shops in Townsville, many along main roads and brightly decorated. (One was right across from a candy shop full of kids!)
  • Australia's media allows nudity, both on TV and in magazines, so it seems to not be as big of a deal as the laws make it out to be. I picked up a few postcards that have topless women on the beaches from a tourist store.
  • Nobody that I saw at the Townsville beaches went top-free, and very few wore anything revealing.
  • There are a lot of laws for a lot of little things! But...
  • There is a sense of lawlessness, especially once you get outside the city.
  • There really isn't much civilization outside the cities, and there are so many beaches and trails that it's easy to have one to yourself. (Therefore, it's difficult and not worth the time for police to patrol anything outside the city.)
Many of my adventures consisted of hiking, biking, geocaching, and seeing places like no other tourist does. When planning a trip, I tried to visit places where either geocaches or unofficial nude beaches were. This really gets you into the wild! Geocachers have good taste and lead you to some amazing places, and nudists generally congregate in very secluded areas. Geocachers pointed me to the tops of mountains and some memorable trails that not many people know exist. And nudists pointed me to some of the most beautiful, and empty, beaches that I have ever seen. Who needs tourism -- this is an adventure! This is exactly the type of adventure that I like!

My first stop was only a ferry-ride away -- Magnetic Island.

* Picture is of Townsville, with Castle Hill in the middle of town and Magnetic Island in the distance. Taken at the break of dawn from Mt. Stuart.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Introducing the WWNCW

I am proud to announce a new website: The World-Wide Nudist Collaboration Wiki.

What is a Wiki?
A wiki is a website that YOU can edit. Just imagine - if you don't like a page, you can change it. If it's out-of-date or inaccurate, you can update it. The entire site is yours to build and tweak to your liking. (Well, except that you share it with everyone else too...) Wiki's can do powerful things. A perfect example is Wikipedia, the biggest, most up-to-date, most multilingual encyclopedia in the world. Go ahead, browse around. People just like you made ALL of that! Another great example is WikiHow, the how-to site for just about everything. However, these sites are geared towards providing information...

Another ideal use for a wiki is to collaborate. That is why they are used in many companies and for other BIG projects where people are located all around the globe. Most open-source projects, such as Ubuntu and OpenOffice, use wiki's to collaborate. My workplace, which makes safety-critical systems, uses a wiki. If it's good enough for them, it should be good enough for nudists as well.

Nudists, who are normally secretive about their activities and keep to themselves in small groups, really need to work together on some bigger goals. Goals such as: keeping or improving freedoms, promoting a clothing-optional lifestyle, and expanding clothing-optional areas. There is currently no framework for working together on these goals, except that we rely on a few organizations to do it for us. They win some, but lose more -- they need our help!

So what happens when everyone gets the freedom to change things? Some initially thought it would be disaster, but they have been proven wrong. The Wikipedia, the most popular wiki in the world, lets even unregistered users make edits. The fact is: 99% of people are genuinely good. They make positive edits, and easily outnumber the 1% who might cause trouble. Nudists also have this quality, which is why almost all nude-friendly places are safe enough for women, children, and the elderly.

A real-word example of crowdsourcing might be this: A town that needs an animal shelter, and a mayor who can't afford to build one. The mayor tells everyone in the town what's needed and asks for help. The crowd would then work it's magic... An architect might volunteer to make a blueprint. A few people might donate some spare lumber. People might do some fundraising and donate some money for whatever other supplies are needed. Construction workers might volunteer their time to putting it together. The animal lovers might volunteer to run it. What is the end result? An animal shelter, completely built and run by volunteers. As you know, nudists have an extremely broad range of talents, and there are certainly a lot of them out there. Just imagine what could be done if we crowdsource to them.

WWNCW Design.
The site is a hierarchy of "webs". The upper-level webs represent a large and specific geographical region, such as a nation or state. The lower-level "regional webs" represent a local club, beach, resort, or any other nudist venue. The WWNCW is NOT meant to replace an existing website, but is instead a valuable addition where the members can do updates and collaborate. All of these webs are completely customizable by anyone.

WWNCW Features.
  • A calendar system, where events can be listed on other calendars. (For example, you can show all your favorite groups calendars and friends calendars on your homepage calendar, or show all regional events on a state-wide calendar.)
  • A project and task management system. Projects are defined, tasks are added, people can sign up for tasks or assign them to someone else, and each users tasks are displayed on their homepages as a reminder.
  • A bare-bones forum, where people can add their own topics and easily post comments.
  • Polls, so people can vote on issues. This is ideal for making choices such as "Should we lobby to change this law?" or "Is the resort's pool too hot, too cold, or at the right temp?"
  • Each region gets their own "web" with the above features that they can customize as much as they want.
  • Each user gets a homepage similar to a social networking site. Mine is WikiAdmin. On it, I keep a calendar of where I'll be, and that also shows events from MazoBeach and from my friends (so I know if they'll be there too!) I also have a reminder of all the tasks I'm signed up to do, and a place where people can write messages to me.
  • Anonymity, just in case you don't want to reveal your true identity. Email addresses are never shown to anyone, and you can choose any WikiName you'd like.
  • Everything can be edited by anyone (almost), so they can add their own features and organize things however they want. The features and framework above are mostly created by me - which shows that you can build just about anything into the wiki.
WWNCW Issues
First is that I paid $200 for 2 years of hosting from a great company called Dreamhost, but it's shared hosting. With all the processing that the wiki needs to do, it ends up being somewhat slow during the evening hours. I'm doing what I can to speed it up, and am willing to switch to a better hosting plan when the site gets more popular.

I hope it DOES get more popular. The more people that use it, the better it becomes. That's an issue right now -- there's not enough people using it yet. There's only a few regional webs defined, and they're waiting for activity. You're regional webs aren't represent yet, because you haven't asked for them. Get the word out - because the more people that join in, the better it gets for everyone.

Join In!
The wiki is a powerful tool because it's driven by smart people, and I believe that a large group of smart people can really make a difference in things.

Improve freedom: Nudist lawyers can help out in legal matters, such as lobbying for change or supporting cases where nudity is involved. There is some serious organization involved when trying to change a law -- and the wiki can handle it. (Even if rallies, protests, or abundantly contacting congressmen are involved.)
Improve safety: If your a woman, it would be nice to know in advance if someone you trust will be at the beach. The regulars can keep the beaches safe by volunteering to do patrol and keep an eye on things. This can be scheduled so that everyone knows who they can contact if something happens.
Improve accessibility: Nudist nurses or doctors could arrange to accompany the elderly if they'd like to go and have trouble going. Also, volunteers could escort newbies to the beach or resort if they have some initial fears about going, or at least act as a contact for questions.
Improve knowledge: People know what events are at the clubs, beaches, and resorts, and know what ones their friends will be at -- all without hours of phone calls. This is the easy way to plan the perfect weekend with your friends.
Improve organization: People also know what tasks need to be done, and have the option to help out with matters and voice their opinion.
Improve whatever needs improving: The wiki can flex into whatever you want it to, and handle needs that we can't yet imagine.

Please join in and help out!

- The Academic Naturist, WikiAdmin of

WWNCW: Background and Modivation

I have a unique talent... Somehow, I'm able to learn a whole bunch about any topic, and figure out exactly what it needs -- and then make it. I have a genuine motivation to make the world a better place, and a whole bunch of knowledge about algorithms, patterns, logistics, models, and theories. In my field of study, we analyze and solve problems in a wide variety of disciplines. It seems that any problem can be modeled, and then can be solved using the model's ideal solution. However, this one is a bit fuzzy. Things don't exactly fit into the models, so there's a lot of fuzzy logic, assumptions, and guess-work that needs to be done. This is also a skill that I have -- accurately making predictions and weighing importance. (Understanding these really help with that...) I'm known for the ability to find a really creative solution to a problem which works surprisingly well. Lucky for you, I'll be doing more writing this winter!

In studying nudism, and the social webs of nudists, I found a few issues that seem to be common:
  1. Nudists are happy to laze in the sun all day.
  2. Nudism is very traditional, and done in traditional areas.
  3. Nudist groups are fairly introverted (and keep to themselves / secretive).
Numbers 1 and 2 mean that there is little change in nudist resorts. They are "graying" because they haven't changed with the times, and haven't really broken number 3 yet. Many resort owners will argue that they have changed with the times, such as making a brand new massage parlor or installing the latest video games. However, they're still living in a slightly-improved "web 1.0" world when we're at "web 2.0". This is a topic which I'll be covering in a later series - "My Future Nudist Resort".

Instead of working towards a common goal, it seems that nudists would prefer to seclude themselves and enjoy lazing in the sun with their close friends. I believe this is why the AANR really hasn't done much in the last couple of years, the FBA or ANF haven't taken any of my suggestions or updated their pages based on my emails (details about that are at the end of my Australia Story, also a later series), and even the INF hasn't done a whole lot recently. You'd think that organizations which cover giant areas or land or the whole world would be a lot busier. On the flip-side is the NAC, which is an excellent freedom fighter! However, it's not that big of a group, so their influence is limited. (I sincerely hope that they decide to use the WWNCW to make their efforts easier to organize and more influential -- the site would be the perfect tool for them!)

I don't intend to take away anybodies sun-bathing time, but instead make use of the other times such as darkness, winter, time at home, and possibly even down-time at work, when the nudist is alone and day-dreaming of the next trip to the sun-bathing area.

There are also some good qualities that I'm betting will be the driver of change:
  1. Nudists are genuinely good people.
  2. Nudists support nudism and would like to see it expand.
  3. People in general are becoming more tech-savvy.
So why don't people become activists? It's because their stuck... First, nobody can cause a revolution by themselves, and the people that try normally result in negative publicity for nudists and new laws. Many don't even try because it would easily damage their reputation. That is understandable -- it's what holds me back too. Second is that they find it difficult to work together. They can't put an ad in the local paper: "Nudist seeking nudists for revolution, call me at ..." because this would also damage reputation. Working together in person as a group is great, but it's difficult to gather many people and difficult to coordinate with other groups. That is why many nude protests are fairly small in size. The textile world is huge, and we're just tiny secluded islands.

I believe that the fundamental bottleneck for the "free body movement" is mass collaboration.

The best tool that is currently provided by any big nudist website is a forum. Forums are great for chatting, but aren't so great at collaboration because they only let people talk in pre-defined topics. The only nudist wiki's that exist are simply for information, which doesn't help much either. We needed a better tool to break this bottleneck! So, I created one...

A wiki, as I've discovered, is THE BEST tool for collaboration, assuming that it is set up for it (instead of for information) and is easy enough to use by common people. The WWNCW is geared specifically for mass collaboration at any geographical level among anyone. Also, it's users can remain anonymous and help out with tasks that won't compromise their anonymity. This tool can harness the three positive qualities above: Tech-savvy nudists can moderate, improve, and promote the tool, and genuinely good naturists can volunteer to help out with regional projects. The result will be organized positive change, which is what we all wish to see.

A bonus, partly to get people to use it, is the social network part of the wiki. Everyone gets a homepage and can tune in to what their friends are doing -- which is a simplistic version of "myspace" or "facebook" that is specifically for nudists. This form of information sharing is great because it allows people to meet up easier and keep in touch with friends no matter what the distance. A week of internet-based coordination among friends can lead to an extra fun weekend at a resort or beach!

Welcome, naturists, to Web 2.0! It's your turn to change the world.

Update: I almost forgot to include a link to some of my original inspiration.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Spencer Tunick - underappreciated revolutionary?

Good ol' Spencer... I've known about him for quite a long time, and have always been intrigued at what he'd do next.

Recently though, an opinion has been raised that maybe his work is going downhill. It's not, just wait and see what he does next. The recent work certainly may not be his best, but the location wasn't the best either. If you've kept up with his work, you'd know that he normally chooses better locations than a simple hotel or a pool. I believe that the champagne shoot was merely him trying something new. Judging from the pictures, it appears that the people were having fun with it.

As for choosing to do an all-female shoot, it's certainly not his first. Back in June he did installations with 250 women and another with 250 men. Previously, he's kept a select group of women around after a large-scale shoot to do some other shoots. He's not being sexist -- it's very common and accepted for photographers and artists to prefer females. (I know this from previous studies.) Even most women photographers prefer to shoot women, and both males and females prefer to look at females. Why? Females are curvy, sleek, and have subtle sexual organs. Males are ridged, fuzzy, and have very overt sexual organs. This same preference can be seen with cars -- do you fancy the sleek curvy ones or the ones that look like a box? I'm just happy that Spencer is still doing mass shoots with anyone and everyone, instead of picking all women all the time.

America (and the world, really) needs a cultural shift into being more comfortable with nudity, to the point where clothing is worn when needed instead of from habit. Some say that being nude with others at some point should be mandatory. The only way to get people to realize the comforts of simple nudity is to strip them down in a positive environment. You and I don't even come close to achieving this task on the scale that is needed. Want to know who does?

In the last 4 years, Specer Tunick has stripped down 38,147 people in a nude-positive environment. A vast majority of those consider the experience of being nude with others quite liberating. (Us nudists already know all that, so I won't detail all the participant's descriptions.) My questions is: How many of those do you think try a nudist resort or beach later on? Or at least have a positive attitude towards nudity? Even 5% is a pretty significant number -- almost 2,000!

Spencer is certainly leading the way in liberating the masses -- I for one am cheering him on! (And even his copycats!)

Friday, October 5, 2007

Review & Guide: Mazo Beach

"Mazo Beach", as many call it, refers the famous nude beach in Mazomanie, Wisconsin. It's had plenty of press coverage over the last several years, and has been active since the 1950's. There are thousands of people who enjoy this unique beach for reasons which you will soon discover... Consider this an "everything you need to know" guide about the beach. If your just looking for a review, here you go: It's perfect, 10 out of 10 for a free beach, and is highly recommended. I've been going there as often as possible all summer. Now onward with the important stuff...

Legal Status:
The beach isn't "legal", but is instead "legal enough". People could still be charged with indecent exposure while enjoying the beach, but the court system has historically thrown out such cases because the beach is a traditional nude bathing area and therefore there's nothing indecent about the exposure. The DNR patrol the area regularly (since it's state-owned land) but only hand out tickets for violations worse than indecent exposure, such as having drugs or sex while at the beach, having glass bottles, or blowing sand at people while landing a helicopter on the beach. (Yes, that sort of stuff happens occasionally!) The news coverage generally lists a number of recorded violations at the beach -- the number is a bit high (sometimes over 100) because some of the DNR people are regulars to the beach and catch almost all violations that happen. There are also a number of people fighting to make it a textile beach. However, they are unable to win over the beach because several government officials (including some very high-up's) frequent the beach. Besides, they have their own textile beaches everywhere else along the Wisconsin River.

It has gotten a bit tougher over the years though. Currently, camping is no longer allowed on the beach or on the islands within the area. People are not allowed to be there during night hours. Lastly, there is no longer car traffic allowed along the gravel road, so beach-go'ers need to walk (or bike) the 1.2 mile long "trail" unless they are handicapped and can get a key from the DNR.

As with any nude beach or resort, it's mostly male. There are gay males that go, but they congregate at the south end of the beach. Don't worry about the "south-ender's" though -- they're far enough away to be out of sight, and the trouble they cause (a majority of the legal violations) is generally very rare. I've been in their area a few times and have never witnessed anything bad happening. The rest of the beach is much better in terms of demographics: During the week, there's usually less than 100 people, but a good weekend can see almost 1,000 visiting the beach. Women, some even single, make up probably 1/4 to 1/3 of the beach-goers. There are even a fair number of kids, since the place is a great family weekend get-away. I've seen a peak of about 10 families around with the kids all playing at the shore. It's not just kids that are playing around -- people love to bring their dogs with too. Lastly, I should mention age. This beach doesn't suffer the age problem as most resorts do. Older people want a place to live that they can drive to. Mazo beach doesn't let people camp, and people must walk or bike the 1.2 mile trail to get there. Older people don't want to do that, so the beach is full of younger and middle-aged physically fit people.

There are several regulars that are there almost daily, and even more that try to go every weekend. The regulars do an excellent job of keeping the beach clean! They are very friendly, and will likely come over and visit with you at some point. They know who the newbies are, and they know who the troublemakers are. (The troublemakers get kicked out quick. Also, people with camera's are very closely watched -- it's best not to bring one. If you really want a picture, ask a regular to take one for you otherwise keep it put away.) They are great at keeping a friendly and safe environment for everyone.

It's not just the regulars though -- everyone that we've met has been outstanding! Everyone has a positive attitude regarding the beach and they all keep the place safe, fun, and social. Several even bring games on the weekends -- there's usually a few different volleyball nets and other games around. The culture here is just as good as any resort, and way better than all other beaches I've been to so far.

Mazo beach is along the Wisconsin River, north-west of Mazomanie. It's a good-sized area of sandy beach, with two nearby islands that you can walk to. The river is shallow but gets deeper towards the southern end of the beach. The shallow water gets heated by the sun, which makes sitting in the river very pleasant. The river is frequented by canoers. They have the option of going on the far-side of the islands and skipping past the nude beach, but many take the near-side and smile on their way by or stop and join in for a bit. If you want to skip the 1.2 mile trail, boating in is certainly an option too.

The scenery is beautiful. It's all river and bluffs -- out of sight from civilization. After my beach visits in tropical Australia, I was still blown away by Mazo beach. It's the most beautiful river-beach I have ever seen! Watching the ducks, geese, turtles, and humans is the perfect way to relax and enjoy nature the way it should be. Since a lot of the willow trees were cut down (to increase turtle sex and decrease human sex), the area looks a lot more open than it used to. The only problem with the area is the trail -- it's a mosquito hangout. The beach has some gnats but is mostly insect free.

You're First Visit:
Park HERE and follow the other people. The trail is always busy with people. If possible, bring a bike, otherwise pile on some bug spray and start walking. Bring a towel to lay on or a chair to sit in -- whatever is comfortable for you. Bring the bug spray with to prepare for the walk back. Make sure to bring food and water! Bring everything that you need for the amount of time that you'll be there. There's a porta-potty at the main parking lot, and another at the mini-lot right by the beach. (You need to be dressed in both of those areas.) Once you make it to the edge of the beach, the layout is as follows: To the far left (beyond what you can see) is the "south-enders". To the far right and the whole back the back of the beach (where you're at) are the people who want a bit of privacy. In front along the waterfront are the rest of the population (and the regulars), who are all probably chatting endlessly. You have the choice to hang back and probably not be bothered by anyone, or head to the front and meet some people. I highly recommend that you meet some people! Beyond the water is two islands, which probably also have a few people at them. I recommend that you walk out to them at some point just to enjoy the water and view of the beach. Note that only the main beach is the "traditional" nude bathing area, and it's more likely that you'll get a ticket if you wander. It's proper to undress after you find a place on the beach -- don't undress or otherwise be naked in the mini-lot. Please help out by keeping the beach clean and safe, both trash-wise and people-wise. Enjoy you're visit, because I know you'll love it and be back for more!

Other notes:
Beach location; Dated photos; The overly outdated sites; The Badger Naturists site.

Nudists aren't supposed to walk out to the island, since it's beyond the traditional nude bathing area. If you stay on the beach-side, you'll be OK for a quick visit. If you go on the other side, which is right on the main channel, the DNR and people on the river get angry.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Help Earth by Going Naked

Being an environmentalist and a nudist (or, in better terms, a 'smart person'), I feel that I need to comment on the blog post "How Nudism Can Save You Money." More specifically, I'd like to elaborate on Nathan's "Laundry", "Cooling Down", and "Stuff" sections. Everything in his writeup is pretty good and accurate information -- plus he even cites some sources! Make sure to read it before continuing with this post... It is my intent to fill in some of his gaps with a few numbers.

Nathan says that nudists have less of a wardrobe, which I don't agree with. A nudist can have a lot of clothing to choose from, and it doesn't affect the amount of laundry that they do. Clothing doesn't really save any money for nudists, since we still need a full wardrobe for going out into the textiler world. If the world were nudist friendly, then perhaps we would buy less clothes.

More importantly, he says that nudists do less laundry. Why? I believe the reason is because it breaks a logical cycle. Humans love to keep things in simple numbers. Rent is $450 a month -- never $437.58. We don't listen to the Weekly Top 42. "1" makes a nice round number. If we've worn our clothing for 1 day (1 awake-cycle), it must be dirty, and since we're taking it off anyway it's easy to toss it in the hamper. Nudists break this by observing that the clothing was worn for only a few hours, instead of 1 day. Is it still clean? Wear it for another few hours... It might take a good 37 hours of wear before it's considered dirty. A textiler would rarely consider putting on yesterday's clothes, which makes for 7 sets of clothes to wash in a week -- at least a full load. A home nudist might only need to do a single full load of laundry every three weeks, as-is the case with me.

Since 5% of residential energy use is in washing (and drying) clothes, taking out 2/3 of that would be fairly substantial. You could take out even more than that if you skip the dryer and hang the clothes outside...but don't scare the neighbors. It seems fair to say that a person could knock off 3% of their utility bill by going nude more often. If everyone in the US did this, it would reduce our total energy consumption by 0.63% and save 12,600,000 tons of carbon dioxide from entering our atmosphere. (Plus quite a few soap chemicals, and less demand for soap, causing a reduction in energy use for soap production and shipping...)

Cooling Down:
Nathan doesn't provide much detail in this section -- so I will! We save about 2% per degree for turning the thermostat up in our air conditioned residence. Wearing clothes, I am comfortable at about 75 degrees. Nude, I'm comfortable up to 80 degrees (or more with a fan). That would amount to a 10% reduction of my electric bill by being nude and comfortable. (Logically though, why would someone crank down the AC and then wear clothing that keeps them warm? It just doesn't make sense...) A 10% reduction of all US residential electric bills (2.1% over-all US energy reduction) would save another 42,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

In one year, it would take 6,006,000,000 tree in order to offset that much carbon dioxide. The textilers had better get planting!

Although nudity isn't involved, I should comment on the other more significant residential energy use. (You're all smart people, so I know you'll listen!)
  • Space heating -- wear clothes, set the thermostat low, and consider an efficient heater like one that is water-based. Green building design also works great for heating efficiency. Seal the place up, and don't use the fireplace or bathroom vents unless needed. (They suck the heat right out of your house!)
  • Water heating -- Use a solar pre-heater or on-demand heaters like the InSinkErator.
  • Lighting -- Use fluorescent in higher-traffic areas, it'll pay for itself in about a year.
There's plenty more ideas at the WorldChanging site. (Read those whenever you have time -- you'll be glad you did.) Now...back to Nathan's post.

I'm not really sure where Nathan was going with his paragraph on 'stuff'. Nudists like to collect stuff too, like cars and boats. His argument is convincing, but it may not be correct. Many camps that have somewhat permanent residents seem to have the same sort of competition, but on a smaller scale. They like to have the newest / biggest campers, and the fanciest golf carts. The 'in' thing is having an electric golf cart. One person I met even added a sound system to theirs, and another was contemplating a custom-made steering wheel. Nudists may not be as class-conscious, but they still like their stuff!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

How To: Try Nudism as a Woman

I've been reading some of the slightly older posts from a new-to-me blog feed: Nude Freedom. [UPDATE: This blog has since been deleted.] In mid-June, he tackled the topic of the gender imbalance, but only concluded that there's a lack of young females. He suspects that this is due to them being gawked at (which they don't like), and that their boyfriends may not like that either. I'm sure that many other bloggers have talked about this subject as well.

What I find funny is this: I bet none of the male bloggers have ever truly experienced being the "hot girl at the party" (as I like to call it). None of them know first-hand exactly what it feels like to be gawked at, and hit on, just like the hottest girl at any party.

I have.

No, seriously, I have!

I'll be writing about this in great detail later on. (It's actually part of my Australia story.)

However, the point of my post is this: Yeah, that's why young women don't go. There's two attitudes though: First is that they don't care and maybe enjoy the attention. If all women had this attitude, they'd be just as common as the guys. Second is that they dislike being gawked at and hit on by creepy guys. Most women have the second attitude, and the reason some appear is because they feel they have some sort of safety against this either via friends, resort policy, or a lack of creepy guys in the area. This doesn't just apply to nudist places either, but any other place where creepy guys might be.


Nude Freedom posted a video that backs up my writings above... However, this question hit me after I watched the video: Why do they never try it again?

[UPDATE: Video is gone -- from the comments below: The first video is something two young women made, where they talk about stuff before they go to a small nude beach. Then, it cuts to them talking about what happened. Being two women, unprotected, they were a magnet for creepy guys. They promised to never try naturism again.]

A cute blond walks into a bar, and gets hit on and annoyed by every creepy guy in the place. Does she go to another bar? You bet'cha! So why is it different with the nude beach?

My theory is this: Women who want to try nudism are more likely to go to a free beach, simply because they don't want to feel like it's a waste of money if they don't like it. (The girls in the video did this, and I did this in Australia.) What they don't know is that you get what you pay for in terms of security. Any resort or managed place will immediately kick out a person who is harassing another. These people instead go to the free beach, where they can't be kicked out unless done so by a volunteer or two. Getting approached and bothered by one of these people is seriously disturbing...even for me! Nudity makes people more open and free, but also makes people more volatile. Although similar to a bar, being nude makes it hurt much deeper, and it's understandable that they'd be scarred for life. It takes a strong-minded and confident person to overcome that, which some are and do.

Women, seriously, TAKE A GOOD MAN WITH who will protect you from the other men at a free beach. OR, pay a little bit and go to a resort or camp instead. This will lead you to a much better first experience in nudism!

Now...if only newbie women actually read this blog...

Also posted on Nude Freedom is this documentary. [UPDATE: This video is also gone, but it showed a great gender and age balance at the beaches.] Were the beaches and clubs of yesteryear (yesterdecade? yestercentury?) really this full of young people and balanced gender?? If so...what happened?? Or are they just showing off for the camera and the video editors just picking the good stuff? Am I completely wrong? Please answer in the comments...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Review: VVRC's Car Show

A couple pulled up to the gate Saturday morning in a fancy car, and asked if they could enter the car show. Then, the woman noticed a naked person, covered her eyes, and began to freak out. The man did too, and asked the people at the gate about it. This was a nude car show! They left in a hurry!

We were there a full day before that couple. We had no problems checking in and finding our back-corner tenting spot. We had the tent up in no time, but since it's small we kept our stuff in two bags outside the tent. As per the rules this year, we had to move the car to the field on the other side of the grounds.

Our neighbors were great! On one side, there was a very generous middle-aged couple in a truck-mounted camper. On the other side of us was an empty spot, then a slightly-crazy 40 y/o motorcycler. He had ridden from New York to Sturgis, and was on his way back. The crazy part is that he did this on a tiny, crappy motorcycle that had broken down a few times already. He's been stopping at nudist places along the way because the people there are much nicer, and it's much more relaxed. Once his cycle was fixed again Friday evening, he was off to get through Chicago while the traffic was tolerable. Also on Friday, a middle-aged couple moved in to the empty spot by us. They were very fun people, and introduced us to the group across the lawn. Another middle-aged couple with a beautiful rebuilt classic streetrod and an older couple right next to them. We spent most of our time over the weekend with this group. (They had shade!)

The demographics were almost all middle-aged to upper-aged. In fact, we might've been the youngest couple there. It seemed that everyone younger than us were brought by their parents, and it seemed that everyone we were around were our parents' age. I guess car shows are for that age-range... But, car shows are also for men. I was surprised at how many women were there. It was, as usual, dominated by men, but it seemed that most of them brought their women along for the weekend too. Lastly, it seems that none of them read my blog. My earlier description [which has since been removed] was dead-on. We were the youngest couple in the smallest tent, I wore the hat almost the whole time, and nobody else had a hat like it. Nobody said "hi" and mentioned anything about the blog. Oh well, it was worth a try!

The food was reasonable. VVRC provided meals either at the clubhouse or at the food tent over most of the weekend. Advice: bring money! We didn't have enough, and had to make a trip to Cambridge. The meals were about the same price as a cheap restaurant, and were enough to fill you up. Friday evening was taco's and baked potatoes. Saturday morning was eggs benedict and other breakfasty items. Sunday morning was free donuts and cereal. Lunch Saturday and Sunday were dogs/brats/burgers/corn at the food tent. Saturday evening was an expensive steak or chicken dinner, which we didn't get. Instead, our neighbors invited us to have brats with them since they brought way too many and didn't want to take them back.

The place filled up over the weekend. VVRC told us that the official count was almost 500 people!!! The pool became human soup, and the pool area sunbathers extended outward well beyond the pool fence. Every RV spot was taken, and every tent spot was taken. There were extra RV spots along the inner edge of the parking-field, and extra tent spots at the east end of the grounds (top part of their map). The cornfields are high enough where you can't see the roads from either location. When we were at the extra tent spots, we noticed that there was a lot more shade and more breeze up there, so we'll probably get a spot there next year if we can.

There's always stuff going on. Each day, there was a DJ playing music from 10am until late afternoon. Also, there were raffles and occasional horseshoe and volleyball games. Friday night was karaoke. Most textilers have nightmares of being on stage naked, but these people do it voluntarily and have a great time! Some were pretty good, and some weren't so good, but the tent was full and everyone was enjoying it. Saturday night was the highlight -- they had a live band named "Who'z Playing". They played a wonderful mix of covers and had an excellent sound to them. This was their first time playing at a nudist area, so they kept their clothes first. Being surrounded by over 100 naked people, they decided to slowly undress between songs. Sometimes they made a show of it, such as revealing patriotic undies and then playing a patriotic song. One of the guys was hesitant on taking his clothes off, so a group of women decided to help him! By the end, everyone was naked, dancing, and having a great time! (And I learned that some guys shouldn't do the twist naked...)

Oh, and there was a car show going on too! They had about 30 cars, many of them beautiful classics. They even had several specialty cars, a snowmobile, and a class for motorcycles (although I didn't see any). There were about a dozen different classes, so everyone had a pretty good shot at winning a trophy. We rode in the streetrod for the parade -- I got to ride in the back with the motor-driven waving kid dolls. He won a trophy!

At 3am Sunday morning, we were awaken by a big thunderstorm. I had to quickly fix the top tent screen to keep the rain out, and we just cuddled tight in our sleeping bag until it was over. We had our clothing in a cloth bag, and everything else in a waterproof military bag. Luckily, we were in a place where we could crawl out of the tent naked and not scare the neighbors! The sun was out in the morning and I put all the clothes on an ad-hoc clothesline to dry. They were dry by the time we had to leave.

Overall, VVRC's nude car show was absolutely great! It gets a full 10 out of 10 as an event! However, based on what I know about VVRC, I need to give the club a lower score such as a 6 out of 10. I was told by several people that members have to pay full membership and are expected to work. So mowing the grass or cleaning the office is expected if you're a member. Several people said that they prefer either Sun Ray Hills (review) or Blue Lake simply because they don't have to work.

We're sunburned, but we had fun! We're both looking forward to next year!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Competing with Life

I always enjoy Nudist Day's Great Naked Debate, where they pose a question to "some of the top seven bloggers" and always get varied insightful answers. (Why 7? Seems a bit arbitrary to me... And why am I not one of them? Probably because they know I'm too busy.)

This time, they asked "What can be done to attract younger people to the nudist lifestyle?" My answer would be to hire them or educate them.

The nudist lifestyle is an inverse of the non-nudist lifestyle. When people participate in the non-nudist lifestyle, then they are unable to participate in the nudist lifestyle. Take a look:
  • Ages -0.75 to 16: Most likely to only travel to nudist area with parent, since they have no car.
  • Ages 5 to 18: Has homework and is under parental control. Attends a textile school. Can only be at nudist area if parent takes them, on a weekend.
  • Ages 18 to 22: Can drive themselves and are free to do so, but are swamped with textile college, or do something in a group labeled "fun". (This group may include nudist activities, but is also full of activities in which clothing is required.).
  • Ages 22 to 30's: Full-time work in textile industry. Weekends are spent doing chores around the house, or something "fun".
  • Ages 30's to Retirement: Still full-time work, but benefits allow more free time.
  • Ages Retirement+: No school, no work -- can spend all the time doing "fun" or being a full-time nudist.

So the fact that we see mostly older people at the nudist areas, I believe, is quite expected. The younger folks are far too busy with "life" to be able to spend time at nudist areas.

If you want to have younger people in a nudist area, then you have to compete with something that "life" provides, such as a shopping area, a job, or education. Currently, nudist areas mostly only provide "fun", which is a small slice of a young persons life. If you want more college-age people at your nudist area, open up a college! (Then let me know what grad opportunities it provides, or if I have tenure.) If you want more females/families/couples, open up a shopping center. The best way to balance out your membership is to give them a life.


More ideas

I mentioned previously that the resort owners need to compete with life in order to attract the types of people and the numbers that they hope for. I listed some pretty far-fetched ideas, even though two of them have been done before. Shopping centers exist in many of the really big resorts. Offering a job has been done at least by The White Cockatoo (work options w/ pics) that I know of. As-for nudist educational institutions, I don't think that's been done yet... Like I said, I'm more than willing to have tenure! :-)

Update 2/13/2010: Since the original post, The White Cockatoo has become an adults-only sex club. It's a shame -- it seemed like a really nice place!

As for more practical ideas, VVRC has a great one -- their annual Nude Car Show. This is a unique annual event that brings in huge crowds. What does it cost them? Not much; all they need to do is get the word out, and have the regulars volunteer (or get paid) to help coordinate the event. (I plan to go this year and check it out.)

Create your own unique event. Ideas that come to mind could be some sort of annual play (although it's difficult to do roles without clothing). Sun Ray Hills has a RC plane hobbiest who keeps a landing strip in their field, why not promote a mini air show? Maybe some golf cart races, if you have enough space or some form of track? How about tournaments in random sports and games? You never know, you might gain popularity for having the best Battleship or Scrabble tournament. However, I don't think you'll beat out the World Rock Paper Scissors Society anytime soon, so avoid that one. Maybe mix it up a bit and have a "dress poker" tournament. (Players start naked, and perhaps is best played on a hot day where clothing is punishment. "Strip poker" just isn't as exciting at a nudist resort.)

Universities compete for peoples interest by bringing in speakers and offering lectures on various topics. If I had a nudist resort, I'd certainly try sending Mr. Cunningham an email asking him to come speak. His book, "Nudity & Christianity", has been making waves through the recent news. If he came to speak, he'd attract an audience that enjoys nudity, or is Christian, or is just plain curious to hear him speak. It would likely be a good turnout.

If your on a budget, you can always hire me instead. :-) I'm pretty good at public speaking, but haven't tried it nude yet. (It would be interesting!) However, despite whatever exciting headline I can think up, I doubt there would be much of a turnout. It seems that only the famous people draw the crowds.

Update 2/13/2010: I did eventually do naked public speaking, and it went great! See my Eastover post.

So why not draw in the big-shots? Host an annual conference. There's a few out there, but none seem to be the primary big conference on nudity. Let me know, and I'll present a paper or two...or four. One of the successful conferences I attend is one that hops around to a different university each year, and I could see a nudity-related one doing the same thing among resorts. Anyone want to start it with me? Anyone else think it's a good idea? Well, it's at least food for thought...

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

What About the Children?!

Indeed, what about the children? [All references are non-bias research studies, so the conclusions drawn are statistical facts. All have links for your reading convenience.]

The APA (?) has published a report [1] on the sexualization of girls, part of which lists substantial evidence that sexualization and objectification is happening (by both males and females) and getting worse in US culture and other Westernized cultures. These are proven to "undermine confidence in and comfort with one's own body, leading to a host of negative emotional consequences, such as shame, anxiety, and self-disgust." [1] The three most common mental health problems in girls/women (eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression) can also be brought on by sexualization. [1] Self-objectification has been repeatedly shown to cause problems concentrating, focusing attention, and thus impairing mental activities such as math and logic. [1] Lastly, self-objectification has been linked to sexual problems in adulthood. [1] These links can be strengthened by the research that shows a link between lack of education and higher rates of teen pregnancy. [2] Of course, teen pregnancy leads to all sorts of problems for the teen, their offspring, and society as a whole. [2]

So how can you lead your child away from this path? To start with, be a sexually liberal parent, because children that come from sexually liberal families are more likely to be sexually liberal themselves. [3] Research shows that children who are exposed to non-sexual nudity develop a positive attitude towards sexuality, which will likely benefit his or her own sexual comfort. [4] And having more body acceptance and sexual comfort is linked to a decrease in teenage pregnancy. [5]

It's interesting to note that textilers (?), both children and adults, often dislike their genitals. Nudists, on the other hand, like all body parts somewhat evenly, including the genitals. [6, 7] This supports the evidence that family nudism has a higher correlation to body self-concept than does sex, race, or location. [7] Also, nudist children have much higher body acceptance and self-image than do non-nudist children. [7] Non-nudist US children somewhat strongly believe that clothing is required, even in hot climates, but are unable to explain why. [8]

It seems that nudism is of benefit to children, but you shouldn't believe my bias opinion. Instead, here's a description (from [9]) from Lawrence Casler, a non-nudist professor and researcher:
"I was able to interview several of these children, in addition to a number of older children who visited Sunshine Village [Nudist Resort] with their parents but were not involved in the children’s camp. For the younger children, nudism chiefly meant nude swimming, having fun without getting one’s clothes dirty, being with friends, etc.

"For the older children, nudism seemed also to have a more serious meaning. These adolescent boys and girls seemed unusually alert and aware of the impact nudism had on their lives. With only one exception, they stated that they would like to be nudists even if their parents were not. In addition to the usual ‘fun’ reasons, many of the teenagers referred to the benefits in mental health and emotional stability.

"Many of them recognized that nudism was giving them a more ‘realistic’ outlook towards sex than their non-nudist friends possessed. When with these friends, or out on dates, they could only feel sorry for people whose attitude towards the human body was not as healthy as their own. Unlike the responses of some adult camp members, these seemed completely genuine and spontaneous. Furthermore, the impression was inescapable that these children, taken as a group, were extraordinarily well-adjusted, happy, and thoughtful."

If that's not enough, here's 205 additional arguments in support of naturism. (25 of which are from the Bible, if that's your thing. It's a recommended read nonetheless.) All I ask is that you consider naturism or at least more liberal attitudes towards nudity and sexuality in your home. Nothing beats personal experience, so here is your invite to find a family friendly nudist resort and give it a try.

What about your children?

Additional comments can be found here.


[1] Eileen L. Zurbriggen, et. al., "Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls", 2007. Link to the full PDF or HTML summary.

[2] Joseph P. Allen, et. al., "Preventing Teen Pregnancy and Academic Failure: Experimental Evaluation of a Developmentally Based Approach", Child Development, Vol. 68, No. 4 (Aug., 1997), pp. 729-742. link to the abstract.

[3] Paul Okami, et. al., "Sexual experiences in early childhood: 18-year longitudinal data from the UCLA family lifestyles project.", The Journal of Sex Research, 9/22/1997. Full text.

[4] Robin J. Lewis and Louis H. Janda, "The relationship between adult sexual adjustment and childhood experiences regarding exposure to nudity, sleeping in the parental bed, and parental attitudes toward sexuality", Archives of Sexual Behavior, 8/1/1988. Abstract.

[5] Elise F. Jones, et. al., Teenage Pregnancy in Industrialized Countries, Yale University Press, 1986. Very brief summary.

[6] Marilyn Story, "Comparisons of Body Self-Concept Between Social Nudists and Nonnudists", The Journal of Psychology, Volume 118, First Half, September 1984, pp. 99-112. Full text.

[7] Marilyn Story, "Factors associated with more positive body self-concepts in preschool children", The Journal of Social Psychology, 108, 1979, pp 49-56. Summary.

[8] R. J. Goldman, J. D. Goldman, "Children’s perceptions of clothes and nakedness: a cross-national study", Genetic Psychology Monographs. 104, 1981, pp 163-185. Summary.

[9] Lawrence Casler, “Some Sociopsychological Observations in a Nudist Camp: A Preliminary Study”, Journal of Social Psychology, 64, 1964, 307–323. Quoted via newsletter.


Appendix A: Comments on finding sources.

I've been working on an academic-style post entitled "What about the children?!" to hopefully boost readership. (Or at least get a decent number of links to the post via news story comments, where others have asked that same question.) The goal is to make a short post that uses logic and solid, non-bias linked references in order to prove that children are not harmed by non-sexual nudity and may even benefit from it. Part of the challenge is a concise delivery of the information, and the other part is the sources. I'm sure that all of you have heard of the "205 arguments for nudity" publication. I think it's great, as I'm sure all of you do too. More to the point, it is extremely convincing. However, I noticed that some of the arguments don't have references. No biggie, as long as I can make good use of some of the other numerous sources listed at the bottom of the publication. (It sounded like a good idea at the time...) It may be convincing, but it's not necessarily true.

Have you ever looked through those sources? They're mostly opinion, which doesn't help in my goal one bit. In fact, good research in this area is somewhat difficult to come by. Even if I find a reference that looks good, it's very challenging to dig up the actual publication! I hate places that charge for papers. (Isn't academia all about the free exchange of information?) For some papers, I'll just have to rely on what I can get: abstracts, summaries, and what others have quoted. Fear not though, as I've dug up some good stuff already and am slowly putting it together. Thanks for being patient with me; patience is a virtue!


Appendix B: Afterthoughts.

The goal was to make a short, non-bias, research-backed response to everyone who asks "What about the children?!" Did I succeed? It wasn't easy -- there just isn't a whole lot of research! Hopefully, the statistical facts can put some sense into the textilers that unknowingly support the sexualization of our culture. Remember people: nudity doesn't equal sex, and an exposed nipple isn't the end of the world.

I used the American tactic: Cause fear, then suggest your intention! Does it work? Do you think you can do better? I'd love to hear suggestions for improvement, because I will likely be editing the post a few times. Let's consider it a rough draft for now.

One issue currently is that it's difficult to differentiate between "sex" and "sexuality". People in the US have trouble separating the two, but I'm not sure what I can do to clarify the terms. "Sexuality" is good for children, and "sex" (and sexual abuse) is bad for children. (There is plenty of research linking sexual abuse with later sexual problems and violence.)

Lastly, a link that I found and wanted to put in the post...but didn't. Apparently there is a book that links tight fitting bra's with breast cancer. I assume the same is true with male undies or tight jeans, which may be a reason for the high rate of infertility. Anyway, that's yet another reason why clothing is bad.


Appendix C: A better version.

A better summary of research has been done by Mark Storey. See Nude & Natural 23.4 (Summer 2004), "Children, Social Nudity and Academic Research".

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Review: Sun Ray Hills

We have never been to a clothing optional resort before, and during our recent vacation we decided to try one that was along the way. Sun Ray Hills is a secluded 164 acre resort that is near Burlington, Wisconsin. (A bit south of Milwaukee.)

It was easy to find since they have a sign along the main road. We traveled down the long driveway, which has several signs warning that it is private property and that there are naked people ahead. I was impressed with the camp security -- there was a 7' fence and an electric gate. We didn't have the code to open the gate, so we pressed another button for assistance. (This pages the owner to come let us in and get us registered.) They had all the typical rules: no cameras, no sex, be good or be thrown out. Tent camping and 1 day of being there was $55. That's cheaper than a motel (only slightly), but more expensive than a state park.

We got to our site, got out of our clothes, and got the tent all set up. The rest of the night, people kept telling me that they couldn't believe how small it is. (I'm talking about the tent, by the way.) It's small, but it has an air mattress and a thick almost-2-person sleeping bag. We cuddle up and everything is very comfortable.

We were starving by this time, and were a bit disappointed. At the resort is a nice bar (open 7pm onward) and a snack shop with seemingly random hours and not much for snacks. We left, got a good lunch in Burlington, and came back. Supper was at the bar, which only offers small frozen pizza's. With a little luck, the bartender won't burn it too bad. Food is the only part of the resort that was seriously lacking.

After we returned, we were quickly attacked by the "newbie hunters" (as I like to call them). They were a very fun and friendly couple who were probably in their 30's. The guy was a little eccentric from being in the army, but certainly good natured and fun to be around. They were nice enough to give us the grand tour of the place.

It's a county all by itself. It has the bar (complete with pool, big TV, jukebox, etc.), the swimming pool (with outdoor showers, a water-slide, bathrooms, snack shop, and plenty of lounge chairs), the recreation area (volleyball and other games), the "city area" where there are numerous RV's and campers, a "rural area" where the campers are nestled into the woods and completely private, and the large field which has an RC plane landing strip. It's a big place, and they have something for everyone. Also, the entire community runs on golf carts. It seems that everyone there owns and uses a golf cart for travel around the resort.

Part of our grand tour was them showing us several properties for rent. The thought occurred to me: $1325 for full membership per year (incl. water & electric) is really cheap compared to what we pay for rent! If I had a job in the area, I'd certainly consider moving in!

Everyone there is wonderful! Seriously, the best people you will find will be at resorts such as this. However, one thing I noticed is that they were all older than us.

I asked a guy what other places there were for being nude in the area, either resorts or beaches, and if he recommended any of them. His reply was simple, he said that he goes to Sun Ray Hills. In other words, it's the best place to be in the area. I realize that too, and am already planning a return visit. This resort gets a 9 out of 10, with the point loss because of food.

Update 2/13/2010: In retrospect, this resort ranks lower than I initially thought. I enjoyed it mostly because it was a new experience. It's an AANR-only club which really doesn't have much for younger people to do. The bar is the main attraction. It also seems to be a bit of a swinger hangout -- the groups who I would call swingers that go to the VVRC parties are always from Sun Ray Hills.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Redefining Stereotypes

"The people complained as the nudists strolled down the beach."

Stereotypes are great, aren't they? At the mention of a single word, you get all sorts of ideas and emotions that stem from your knowledge of that word. This makes communication much easier since you don't have to describe all the details, but instead convey a general concept. Once key words are spoken, people can make all sorts of assumptions about the topic. These assumptions sometimes get validated, and the stereotype becomes stronger.

Despite the usual definitions, I consider a stereotype to be the extra baggage that comes with a word. This extra baggage varies from person to person, because it is formed from experience. For example, police officers might see college students as troublemakers, but professors see them as smart, creative, and powerful future leaders. (Or smart, creative troublemakers at the very least.) Everybody should have unique stereotypes based on their unique experiences, however, far too many of them share one form of input -- mass media.

Even though there are hundreds of TV channels, magazines, and radio stations in the US, they don't offer much diversity for stereotypes. Part of the reason is because they are mostly all owned by only 5 companies. The other part of the reason is because stereotypes are used as shortcuts in the plots. Smart people are always nerdy looking, jocks are always dumb and wearing sports shirts (or carrying equipment), and everyone always looks picture perfect. Of course, there are many many more. If any type of media goes against these stereotypes, it takes some extra effort on the part of the writers to explain why. Sometimes, this is even the basis for the entire film or TV show. (ex)

So the media has stereotypes and uses them as shortcuts -- how is this a problem? It's not, unless you happen to be an exception of the stereotype. Are there people who are not picture perfect? Or non-nerdy smart people? Smart jocks? Perhaps almost everyone is an exception with stereotypes like these, which makes me question why the stereotypes exist in the first place. It's because they have always existed, since they were first observed, by a feedback cycle that confirms itself with every true instance. That girl did something stupid, and she happened to be blond, so that reinforces the "blond" stereotype. (If her hair was another color, she probably would've been ignored.) With reinforcement like that, the "blond" stereotype will never go away unless all blond girls become geniuses. The same is true with the typical "nudist" stereotype, as long as there are perverts occasionally found near nudists. And sex sells, so the media is more than willing to reinforce this one. The reinforcement cycle for stereotypes is a tough one to break!

The stereotypes tied to medical terms have always bugged me. When someone says they have [insert medical term], others always seem to think that they are "broken" somehow and need medical attention. This isn't so bad with serious illnesses, but now there are medical terms for anything slightly abnormal. We don't seem to understand that people are all different. I have nyctalopia, transient insomnia, border-line scoliosis, some pectus excavatum, and many more -- feel sorry for me yet? You shouldn't, it means that I can't see well in the dark, sometimes can't sleep, and look a little different. The point is that the medical terms strike up thoughts of me being ill or handicapped, when I'm not; I'm merely different. Sometimes an illness pushes people to be better than most, like Lance Armstrong and many others. Do you think people confuse terms like "nudist" with some sort of illness? Perhaps people think that nudists have a mental condition (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?) that makes them want to commit the perversion of being naked. Maybe I should've added "nudism" to my list above.

Using the terms "nudist", "naturist", and "nudism" only strike up good thoughts with people who practise them and know them well. To outsiders, these terms make us appear slightly abnormal and possibly even ill. For this blog, I intend to fix this issue by using alternative terms that have different stereotypes attached, so that any type of reader gets the correct idea:
  • Person (and People) -- The natural form of a human. No clothes, no accessories, and without unnatural modification. This renders the phrase "naked people" obsolete, since people are by default naked. If people happen to be wearing clothes, then they are "clothed people".
  • Textiler -- People who have a compulsive desire to wear clothing, and expect that everyone else also wear clothing. (This may be linked to OCD or garment fetishism?)
  • Beach -- A place with water and sand where people like to go to relax. A beach is by default a "nude beach" simply because beaches cannot wear clothing. The textilers can go to the "textile beach" if they so desire.

"The textilers complained as the people strolled down the beach."

Thanks to the stereotypes attached, the first quote (at the top) makes us think the nudists are the abnormal ones. The revised version makes us think the textilers are the abnormal ones. Which do you think has the favorable impact?

Update 2/13/2010: I didn't follow through for very long using these terms. Should I? A few months down the road I was using the typical language again.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


Greetings and G'Day!

As the name implies, I am an academic. I have a master's degree in the engineering and computing discipline, and I'm currently shopping around for a good PhD program while keeping a great job dealing with safety-critical systems. More importantly though, I have the academic mind-set that allows an excellent mix of realism, creativity, and intellect. People find that I have a very unique and interesting way of seeing things, which hopefully can keep readers of this blog interested and perhaps even inspired.

I like to research and contribute to everything that I see as a good idea. This list includes things like technology (an obvious favorite), environmentalism and the whole "green" movement, and nudity. Although the last doesn't appear to fit in very well, I assure you that it's important and deserving of more research and support. I wouldn't have started this blog if it wasn't.

Currently, I have several different ideas in mind for this blog. My goal is to put out a good post roughly once a week (maybe less?) in one of the following categories:
  • Academic-style paper -- Researching and presenting some sort of emerging trend or issue.
  • Ideas -- Food for thought on some topic or issue, or perhaps a reply to other news.
  • Reviews -- I like to check out new places and people, so expect feedback on things like the Nude Car Show and other area events.
  • Stories -- I at least have a long story to share regarding my trip to Australia, and plenty of other stories.
As always, I encourage discussion and would love to hear your ideas, even if they are posted elsewhere in the blogosphere. (Blogs I read are listed on the side-bar.) Comments are currently open to all for all posts, and I will do my best to moderate posts which are unfavorable.

I admit -- I am fairly new to social nudity. I've been studying the nudist culture and going nude at home for many years, but have only recently joined the crowd. It's the best thing I have ever done, and both my significant other (also new) and I are now hooked. You'll be able to follow along as we explore this brave new world together. Hopefully she will do some writing here as well, since her views are much more fresh and unclouded by years of research.

Hopefully I've captured your interest with this first post. Are you ready? I'm certainly ready... So let's go!

Friday, May 25, 2007

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More About Us

Real Naturist-Related Publications
  • N 28.4, pages 35-36, "Freehiking - Wisconsin Style".
  • N 29.2, page 9, Letter to the Editor
  • N 29.2, pages 32, 36, 38, ENG pictures and recommendation.
  • N 29.3, pages 72-74, "Naked Geocaching".
  • N 32.1, pages 27-28, 30, 38, "More Than Just Car Buffs" and pictures.
N = Nude & Natural Magazine, from The Naturist Society.

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Note: We're the only naturists who have blogged the entire beginning of our social naturism history, 2006 - 2012.