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Naturism/Nudism: Facts, Features and Issues

  1. Introduction 10. Beach Naturism in South Africa by Pikolian
  2. Naturist/Nudist Terminology 11. Naturism: Right or Wrong???
  3. Taking a Look at the Naturism and Nudism Terminology by 12. Home Naturism in South Africa
  4. A Modern-day Perspective on Naturism’s Philosophical Underpinnings 13. Family Naturism in South Africa (Part I)
  5. Naturism’s High-level Ideals 14. Family Naturism in South Africa (Part II)
  6. Some Basic Aspects of Naturist Values 15. Introducing the Family to Naturism
  7. Body Acceptance 16. Children and Naturism
  8. Body Size and Naturism 17. Senior Naturism in South Africa
  9. Social Nudity  

1. INTRODUCTION

At any point in time within the annals of modern human history, going about in the nude or being supportive of a lifestyle that involves nudity or aspects of nudity has invited comments, reactions and responses – with all of the aforementioned reflecting either rejection or acceptance and possibly less frequently indifference.  It would appear as though it truly can be said that all and sundry do hold opinions in this regard.  Also, one would have to deal with the collective opinions of society as a whole as well as a plethora of individual opinions.  Over the past decades there has been everything ranging from fierce condemnation to enthusiastic propagating of the nudist or naturist lifestyle.
But, what has to be accepted is that human attitudes and approaches do change and indeed could be perceived to be moving in cycles.  It can further be assumed that there is no consistency from the one point in time to the next.  Possibly, one could see it as a case of there being phases within a long cycle; but, within any such long a cycle there could be shorter cycles and possible aberrations.  However, it would appear as though from the beginning of the 20th century there has been a long phase of increasing acceptance of a lifestyle that involves nudity within a social environment.
Since the commencement of the current upswing phase in acceptance of the nude human form and of a lifestyle involving nudity or aspects of nudity, adherents and persons averse or opposed to the lifestyle have gone to considerable lengths to write up their beliefs and thinking.  From the early years of the 20th century much has therefore been published.  With repressive attitudes largely holding sway within the official, judicial and administrative domains, such documentation has not always been that readily accessible, but the emergence of the internet has led to a succession of fundamental changes inthis regard.

This section of the SANFED website seeks to include and develop any number of topics on the basics and the practicing of the naturist or nudist lifestyle and nudity within a social context.  The underlying idea is to build up the discussion of the relevant issues and to present a comprehensive picture of what could be involved to interested parties and also to those new to the naturist lifestyle.  By pursuing suchan approach it is hopedto address the apprehensions entertained by many individualswithin South African society and also to refute many of the fallacies, untruths and half-truths being bandied around.  It will of course take the compilers and contributors time to work their way through not only what is available, but also deserving of attention. 

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2. Naturist/Nudist Terminology
Compiled from different sources by Dionysius

In addition to the terms of naturism and nudism, there are a number of terms that are common currency within the global naturist environment.  The most frequently used of these consist of the following:

1. Body acceptance amounts to a disposition or orientation on the part of any individual in terms of which he/she has come to terms with the physical outward appearance of his/her body in many instances even to the extent that he/she is not averse to going nude in a social setting; also, that he/she is not averse to seeing the unclad bodies of other persons within a social setting.  A good self-image is conducive to body acceptance; conversely, body acceptance promotes a good self-image.

2. Clothing optional and '''nude optional''' can describe a policy or a venue that allows or encourages nudity but tolerates the wearing of clothes.

3. Clothism amounts to the disallowing or discouraging of nudity, thus requiring the wearing of clothes, especially swimsuits, e.g. on beaches, as opposed to toleration of nudity. Can also refer to how a person feels – that they feel compelled to wear clothing.

4. A Clothist is a person who feels compelled to wear clothes.

5. A cottontail is someone whose buttocks are paler than his or her legs and back, caused by sun tanning while wearing a swimsuit, making that person, when nude, look somewhat like a bunny with a white tail.

6. Family naturism is the practicing of naturism/nudism within a social setting that is such that all members of the family from 1 month to 100

years in age can participate with impunity – with there essentially being an absence of public sexual activities, lewdness, lasciviousness and pornography.

7. Family values are those values as would reflect moral principles and ethical conduct that are in attune with the philosophy and practicing of family naturism; and, that additionally would reflect an approach to morals and ethics as is in line with conduct regarded as fit and proper by broader society.

8. Freehiking or “free hiking” is the practice of hiking in the wilderness while nude.

9. Freikorperkultur (FKK) or '''Free Body Culture''' is the name for another variant of the general movement in primarily Germany (and Austria).

10. Gymnophobia is an irrational fear or anxiety about being seen naked, or about seeing others naked. [Note - The ancient Greek word "gymnos," means "nude,"]

11. Gymnosophy originally was the doctrines of a sect of philosophers who practiced nudity, ascetism and meditation.  In the early 20th century, the term was appropriated by several groups to denote a broad philosophy that included as a central thought that the nude human body is a natural condition and should be accepted widely for the betterment of society.  This philosophy is perceived to be closely related to nudism and naturism, and the word is often used interchangeably with nudism and naturism.

12. Home naturism involves two basic alternatives: firstly, members of a household could go nude within the privacy of their own abode unburdened by any consciousness

of bodily shame; and, secondly, people – be they members of a family and/or friends/acquaintances – could choose to relax and socialise without clothing within a home environment.

13. Alanded naturist/nudist club is one that owns the real estate on which its facilities are housed.

14. A “Non-landed” (or travel) club is one that meets at various locations, such as private residences, hot springs, landed naturist/nudist clubs and various types of rented facilities.

15. A nude beach or '''free beach''' is not so much one without an admission cost, but one on which people can be entirely free of wearing clothes.

16. Prude is a somewhat derogatory term for someone who is too afraid, nervous, or scornful to be nude or partially nude socially or to tolerate others who are.

17. Public nudity is nudity in public spaces and environments as well as at public events. Another common reference is “nude in public (NIP)”. It can also refer to “clothing-optional activities on public lands”. It is less commonly referred to as “public naturism” or “public nudism”, “free range nakedness” or “free range nudity”.

18. A shaved or smoothieindividual is one who shaves off much of his/her body hair.

19. Skinny dipping is a colloquially-used term for swimming in the nude and consists of swimming without clothes or “clothes-free” in natural bodies of water, swimming pools and hot-tubs.

20. Social nudity is communal nudity (more often than not with members of both genders present) in private and public spaces.

21. Textile is a nickname for a person who does not practice social nudity; a clothist.

22. Topfree means bare-chested (leaving chest and breasts uncovered), or a place that allows uncovered female and male chests. The term was coined by activists to use instead of the term "topless", which has a negative connotation to some, in part because it is used by strip clubs.

23. Topfree equality/topfreedom is a social movement in mainly North America, where resistance to a showing of the female torso is much greaterthan in mainland Europe or Australia. The goal of the movement is to give females the right to remove their clothing above the waist in public wherever males can legally do so (e.g., at a beach, swimming pool or park). The reasons cited for the launching of this initiative include keeping nursing mothers from having to find a hidden place for breastfeeding, sun tanning, comfort in places such as pools and beaches, and legal equality.

24. Wild naturism or “wild nuding” consists of the indulging in nude or au naturel activities – more often than not at the spur of the moment and/or on an impromptu basis.  Also, part of the wild naturism experience is a measure of opportunism and a greater or lessersense of excitement.  The setting usually is a secluded location out in the wilds – be it a kloof, river bank, wilderness trail, wood, farm dam, derelict and deserted farmstead or seaside cove.

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3. Taking a Look at the Naturism and Nudism Terminology
by Dionysius

Mankind has an inborn inclination to devise and consistently develop terminology to describe experiences and observations as far as any object or phenomenon that may be encountered is concerned.  Yet there may remain a lesser or greater degree of uncertainty as to what any accepted terminology could involve and lengthy debates may ensue as to what exactly is being meant – particularly in the case of more abstract terms.  All this has occurred and still occurs when there is talk of naturism and nudism – with both these terms being used to describe going around without those garments that are often considered as being essential for the preservation of human dignity and for the promotion of what could be called public and in some instances even private decency.

Perhaps the most effective way of getting to grips with the terms of naturism and nudism is to depart from the most basic propositions that can readily be put forward.  Taken at face value these terms are defined as the practice of going nude in a mixed-gender social setting.  In addition, such conduct is considered to occur within a non-sexualised context – with proponents of a lifestyle without clothes often opting to describe it as being “family-friendly” (although this description in itself could be vague and imprecise).  At times naturism/nudism is seen as being a movement with a cultural and some would say even a political agenda.  But, whatever views are held and however the circumstances may differ and change, nudity and the nude human form invariably have at both the societal and individual

levels invited diverse responses – be it rejection, acceptance or indifference.  Accordingly witnessed over time has been anything from fierce criticism to enthusiastic propagating of a more liberated approach towards the living of life.

However, the differences between naturism and nudism do become much clearer when one looks at the people professing to be followers of either the one or the other.  An adherent of the lifestyle whose primary objective is just to enjoy being in the nude in a social environment is usually called a nudist, while a naturist is perceived as coupling such enjoyment with deeply held beliefs on social nudity and as further being someone who sees communal nudity as just one of many important principles of his/her purported lifestyle.   More often than not a naturist is regarded as being an individual who for his/her nude or clothing-optional activities prefers a natural setting – such as a beach, a lake, the woods, or the mountains.  Also in some quarters he/she is seen as being less inclined to be a “joiner” of a club, movement and any other body than would be a nudist.

The usage of the terms naturism and nudism vary geographically and historically.  The term nudist is more widely used in North America by broader society, but it would appear as though adherents of the lifestyle there are increasingly converting to use of the term naturism.
Australians have for long stuck with the term nudism, but have by the turn of the century converted to the term naturism.  In the Introduction to  his 2003 book Cinema au Naturel

American author Mark Storey has noted that "two related terms that we will continually run across are ‘nudist’ and ‘naturist’. Although the meanings of the two terms are virtually identical, they often have different connotations for those who prefer one to the other. In the United States people who believe that it is physically, socially, emotionally, and perhaps spiritually healthy to go about fully nude individually and in groups of mixed sex whenever weather permits and others are not offended generally refer to themselves as ‘nudists’. In Europe such people more often than not refer to themselves as ‘naturists’.”  The term “naturist” can therefore be seen as having European roots.

But what should ultimately be considered as being of prime importance are the philosophical underpinnings of the lifestyle – irrespective of the terminology being used or how the context of the terminology used is being understood.  The current-day philosophical basis can be seen as having widely diversified origins, but the majority of them can be traced back to the early 20th century health and fitness philosophies held in high esteem by German society way back when.  However, the concepts of returning to nature and creating equality are often cited as providing the necessary inspiration for following this lifestyle. 

What could be seen as the culmination of the long-enduring and exhaustive debates on the essence of naturism was the 1974 International Naturist Federation’s (INF-FNI’s) official definition, which

states that “Naturism is a way of life in harmony with nature characterized by the practice of communal nudity, with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others and for the environment.”  Still used today, this definition is often claimed to have been a compromise between the nudists who just enjoy a nude lifestyle (at the one end of the spectrum), and the naturists who attach deeper meanings to the lifestyle (at other end of the spectrum).  In it one can see what could be regarded as constituting the essential elements: lifestyle,harmony with nature, social nudity, self respect, differing opinions, respect for the environment.

Whatever format naturism/nudism assumes, modern society – at least modern Western and/or westernised society – has come to accept that there should be organised social settings for the practicing of the lifestyle.  This usually takes the form of membership in a landed or non-landed nudist club, with a well-defined system of conduct and social structure.  But reality has moved beyond the all this when the French in the 1950s gave the world resort naturism.  With the subsequent introduction of package tourism products the tourism industry proceeded to launch naturist tourism and thereby broadened the scope for manypeople.  Ultimately the creation ofsuch predictableenvironments has led to the participants in the lifestyle experiencing safe and unhassled enjoyment of lawful and secluded nudity (without there being the threat of legal action or observation by outsiders with prurient intentions).

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4. A Modern-day Perspective on Naturism’s Philosophical Underpinnings
by Dionysius

Since naturism/nudism had started up in the early 20th century, much has from time to time been made of its philosophical underpinnings.  Given how controversial nudity and also going around in the nude have for most of the time been in the modern era, it should come as no surprise that many naturist authors and thinkers have sought to present the world with their respective views as to what a naturist philosophy should involve.  While there are no readily available sources with cohesive statements on such a philosophy, it has been consistently maintained that it does indeed exists and that it provides a rational and a high-minded basis for practicing the lifestyle.  A cynic would in all probability charge that all this was deliberately designed to provide a seemingly more profound justification for naturism/nudism rather than have its adherents merely proclaim that it affords them with enjoyable if not hedonistic experiences.

Whatever one would have to say about fundamentals, there is no denying that different aspects of the external environment – such as social pressures, religious convictions and even economic and political circumstances – could have had a formative impact on the philosophical underpinnings as we understand them today.  The original philosophy of course reflects the particular concerns of the early 20th century.  Today’s societies have moved on and concerns about new and perhaps even very different issues currently dominate.   Nevertheless, a number of very basic tenets have remained in place – although perceptions on them as well as attitudes towards them might have shifted.

The origins of what constitutes modern-day naturist philosophy are considered to lie in a series of philosophical papers published in Germany in the early 1890s by Heinrich Pudor (1865 – 1943),

writing under the pseudonym of Heinrich Scham.  In 1894 he published his book Nackende Menschen und Jauchzen der Zukunft(Naked people and the future of Mankind).  But, it is the 1905 book Die Nacktheit (Nakedness) of Richard Ungewitter (1869 – 1958) which is credited as being the seminal work on nudism.  Ungewitter advocated a nude, vegetarian and substance-free Utopian lifestyle – with much wholesomeness to be found in combining physical fitness, sunlight, and fresh air bathing.  He added that this nudist philosophy contributed to mental and psychological fitness, good health, and an improved moral disposition.  Shortly afterwards Pudor’s 1906 3-volume Nacktkultur (Nude Culture) recommended a life of austerity and nudity.  However, as a German ultra-nationalist and an avowed anti-Semitic he saw the practicing of nudism as being the exclusive preserve of the Germanic races.

In the inter-War years nudist philosophy remained focused on promoting a lifestyle directed towards improved health.  Leading the Freikörperkulturbewegung in 1920s Germany, Adolf Koch (1896 – 1970) supported a nudist philosophy based on health – with emphasis placed on nude exercises, which he believed heralded “a new beginning for a new society”.  In France Marcel Kienné de Mongeot (1897 – 1977) with his Sparta Club outside Paris opted for a very similar line of thinking.  Early-1930s immigrants from Germany brought this philosophy to the United States, where people like the former Dutch Reformed minister Ilsley Boone (1879 – 1968) and the eccentric admirer of physical beauty, Bernarr McFadden (1868 – 1955), adopted it.  Both Pudor and Ungewitter had considerable impact on British author Harold Clare Booth’s 1914–15 writings on the ‘Nude Culture Movement’ and subsequent nudist activities.  In the early 1930s

N.J. Barford’s and the Sun Bathing Society’s cautious advocacy of the healthy lifestyle, along with endorsement by personalities such as George Bernard Shaw, avoided the eccentricities and factionalism of other early nudists.  This was what primarily shaped the nudist philosophy as accepted in the then existing global Anglo-Saxon sphere of influence.

The post-War world found itself confronted by a firmly entrenched philosophy that centred around a belief that the naked human body was to be accepted, respected, cherished, and enjoyed.  Naturists/nudists from that time onwards believed that the naked human body was not inherently shameful, corrupting, degrading, or dangerous; and rejected any notion that being naked with other people was morally wrong (indecent), sexual per se, erotic and/or pornographic.  Nudity was seen as a healthy natural state in terms of which one was in one’s purest form and it was thought that people quickly became so accustomed to being nude amongst other nude people that it no longer appeared as unusual and offensive.

But, where does the naturist/nudist philosophy find itself at the beginning of the 21st century?  Particularly since the 1960s the general environment and broad attitudes have changed considerably.  Medical and pharmaceutical advances have caused concerns about health issues to recede.  Attention has been redirected towards a diversity of external factors that could impact on the general state of health – probably one of the more important ones being the creation of environments that would support sustained healthy living.  As regards green issues and matters relating to the ecology (including climate change), naturists have expressed their concerns and have participated in initiatives seeking to address possible negative

implications.  Much less visible is the rising interest in alternative medicines and healthy living practices among naturists.  Health concerns are still there, but ostensibly in very different guises.

Matters relating to the general moral disposition do still feature.  Instead of that much of a focus on basic moral rectitude, specific issues such as countering the upsurge in pornography, sexual abuse of minors and violence against women and children now feature more prominently.  With the emphasis being increasingly on the enjoyment of a natural lifestyle, much of the old austerity embedded in the naturist philosophy has become “unfashionable”.  But vestiges of the philosophy are still very much in place as naturists on their own and also through their organisations seek to support initiatives directed towards addressing and rectifying societal misdemeanors.  Here too, it is very much a case of naturists expressing themselves in very different ways on the long-embedded philosophical underpinnings.

With the rudiments of naturist philosophy by all indications still being adhered to, it is nevertheless important to take due cognisance of the challenges currently presenting themselves.  Perhaps one of the greatest and most immediate challenges comes from the swinging phenomenon – with some adherents thereof on occasion showing signs of wanting to take over naturism and to reformulate its basic tenets.  Then there are parties antagonistic to naturism and in various rather devious ways they are trying to promote negative perceptions of the naturist lifestyle – even going so far as seeking to promote a view that naturism is a spent force.  At the end of the day adherence to the basic tenets of the naturist philosophy – albeit in a very much modernised format – could be central in securing a future for the lifestyle and all that it stands for.

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5. Naturism’s High-level Ideals by Dionysius

Probably the best approach to matters as they relate to the high-level ideals of naturism would be to depart from an assumption that such ideals are based on the basic tenets of the naturist philosophy.  Although frequently referred to in naturist literature, considerable difficulty is bound to be experienced whenever one should attempt to come to grips with what these ideals involve.  More often than not it is simply a case of even the most basic information on what could be at stake not being divulged by almost all of the authors, who take the liberty of alluding to them.  But, by diligently and patiently working through the myriad of material available a fairly comprehensive picture of these ideals could be construed.

As a point of departure as to what should make up these naturist ideals, consideration could be given to the definition adopted by the International Naturist Federation’s (INF’s) 14th Congress at Agde in France in 1974.  After exhaustive deliberations the Congress settled for defining naturism as “a way of life in harmony with nature expressed by the practicing of social nudity and characterised by self-respect, respect for others and respect for the environment”.  While the ideals of naturism could well be viewed in very different ways, the elements contained in this definition offer extremely useable anchor points for a fairly broad-based and hopefully level-headed assessment.  Quite interestingly the INF itself has declared that “each country has its own kind of naturism, and even each club has its own special character, for we too, human beings, have each our own character which is reflected in our surroundings”.   Nevertheless, a number of general features, which present a feasible basis to depart from when attempting to assess naturism’s ideals, can be identified.

What could in all likelihood be seen as the overriding high-level ideal would be the gaining of a general acceptance for the naturist way of life of lifestyle as a legitimate social activity – thereby also dispensing with the long-existing aura of secrecy enveloping it.  Adherents of naturism should therefore aspire to creating the space for what is referred to as social nudity and should work towards cultivating a general disposition in terms of which going nude within a social environment does not invite instant condemnation and in many instances retributive actions from outside parties.  Considering society’s conventions as well as the sensibilities of other parties, naturists will have to accept that not all environments are appropriate for social nudity.  At its most basic such nudity would require that there be nude group activities – with participants including people of all genders, age groups, social strata, economic status, creeds, political persuasions, religious beliefs, cultural identities, ethnicities, etc.  Naturists should accordingly seek to transform the lifestyle so as to be as inclusive as could be possible – but without in any way sacrificing the basic tenets of the naturist philosophy.

Establishing and maintaining naturism as a way of life or lifestyle – i.e. a viable as well as morally justifiable lifestyle – could be seen as the second-most important high-level ideal.  Moves in this direction will involve attempts to legitimise naturism – while relying on the support in one form or another from broader society and also from the authorities.  As a lifestyle naturism should transcend above mere furtive – at times even mischievous or pernicious – activities.  Elevating it to the status of a reputable lifestyle invariably implies that naturists should dispel perceptions of depravity and of it being pornographic in any sense of the word.  Neither should naturism be permitted to degenerate into protests against or the deliberate

mocking of societal conventions and traditions.  As a lifestyle it should aspire to upholding all forms of decorum and should seek to build up appropriate attitudes on what propriety and level-headedness should consist of.  The objective should therefore be one of achieving reverence as well as a deep-seated respect for the unclad human form.

What presents a further high-level ideal is the promotion of self-respect and the building up of the moral fibre of each and every naturist.  Moral issues within the context of naturism have always been subjected to discussion – with there consistently having been differences of opinion and at times even raging controversies between the naturists themselves.  Whatever the views held, any naturist in his/her individual capacity should come to accept that his/her thoughts and motives as far as going nude within a social setting should be “pure” and free of any prurient considerations.   Going about in the nude should accordingly come down to living life in its purest form – and therefore to eschewing all forms of licentiousness and lewdness.

Yet another very challenging high-level ideal is the building and maintaining of respect for others.  Particularly given that modern people spend their lives within a reality where the sexual and sensual aspects of human existence are generally viewed within a context of curiosity, entertainment and at times even derision, they invariably find themselves confronted with a host of challenges.  It is therefore absolutely essential that naturists should focus on finding and for that matter developing a feasible basis for interaction between one another if they are to bestow credibility on naturism’s philosophical underpinnings and also on what is involved at the practical level.

Finally, there is the inculcation of respect for the environment.  Firstly, this necessitates discerning what is being implied by living “in harmony with nature”.  With most people living in a world of high-level technology (or “hi-tech”), excessive artificiality in day-to-day living needs to be avoided or at least countered.  As a naturist the very necessary balance in one’s life – also as regards social, personal and moral issues – therefore has to be found.  Secondly, there has to be the necessary respect for the social environment.  It should be well understood that adherents of naturism do not stand outside the broader social environment.  Effectively this boils down to them conducting themselves within the confines being imposed and making the resultant constraints more amenable.  Thirdly, there is the host of complex issues relating to respect for the natural environment.  Originally the underlying idea was to foster respect for the environment and to get naturists to conduct themselves in ways that would serve to preserve the environment as well as the beauty thereof.  But with the growing emphasis on greening the world and eco-friendliness this has come to assume a totally new meaning and this ideal of naturism accordingly could be seen as having undergone a total metamorphosis in recent times.

Giving adequate and focused support to the above ideals could well transmit to outsiders a clear message as to what naturism is about and also as to what the naturist way of life or lifestyle involves.  As such these ideals could be perceived as constituting the basis of what could be branded a naturist system of values.  Ultimately these ideals are there to serve as guidelines for the practicing of naturism.

[Originally published in SA Naturist, vol 1 No 9, September 2012]

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6. Some Basic Aspects of Naturist Values by Dionysius

Naturist values are hardly ever featured in naturist publications (including the written matter put out by naturist organisations and resorts) or discussed at naturist conventions, conferences and workshops.  Nevertheless, they are usually invoked with singular regularity when naturists find themselves confronted with situations that do not appeal to them or that they happen to disapprove of.  In addition, naturist organisations, resorts and clubs frequently claim to espouse naturist values, but very seldom do they go about setting out what they understand under naturist values.  In fact, readily accessible sources that set out what naturists values consist of, amount to or imply do not seem to exist.  This state of affairs has always been and still is rather unsatisfactory and of little help to anybody – be they dyed-in-the-wool naturists or other parties who are attempting to gain some understanding of what naturism involves.

Accordingly a very obvious need exists for building up some sort of an idea of what naturist values encompass.  One way would be to take a look at value systems – also referred to as moral value systems – as they are generally formulated.  These could then be adapted to the needs of the naturist environment.  Another way would be to look at developments considered contrary to naturist values.  Then attempts could be made to work out what the contents of the concerned values are – almost as though one already has a mirror image and then seeks to determine the characteristics of the image itself.  Yet another way would be to look at what naturism is claimed to be – such as the case is with the definition used by the International Naturist Federation – and then to embark on a course to determine what the underlying values could possibly be.  A workable answer is most likely to be found by drawing on all three of the aforementioned.  This, therefore, will be procedure pursued in the ensuing.

However, before embarking on any type of analysis, cognisance will have to be taken of exactly what is meant by values.  Values as such are the fundamental beliefs held by any party professing to adhere to a

certain creed, standard of conduct or mode of living.  They are the principles used to define that which is right, good and just and provide guidance with regard to determining right versus wrong, good versus bad and just versus unjust.  Alternatively, values could be described as being the standards imposed by some or other body or institution or because of the perceptions collectively held of what should be right, good and/or just.

To be considered as foremost amongst naturist values are those which are in line with what society considers as constituting good and appropriate standards of conduct and behaviour.  Essentially an average member of broader society should not find any such conduct or behaviour as are in evidence as going against the grain of what is considered to be proper and also defensible in terms of convictions generally held on decency.  Admittedly, the decision rules to be applied are to some considerable extent subjective, but then again one must remember that all assessments of human conduct are largely subjective.  Therefore, any conduct, behaviour and even attitude on the part of the naturist should not be perverted, degrading and in any way discriminatory.

Also high up on any list of priorities with regard to naturist values are those values reflecting on various guises of respectfulness.   Quite unsurprisingly the International Naturist Federation defines naturism as being “characterised by self-respect, respect for others and respect for the environment.”  As regards self-respect each and every naturist should therefore have the highest regard for his/her bodily or physical integrity.

Accordingly there should be body acceptance in so far as that any person should not in any way feel ashamed about his/her body and the appearance thereof.  Then also naturists should in no way entertain impure thoughts as to why and also how they themselves go about in the nude.  Respect for others would involve having only the highest regard for the bodily integrity of others irrespective of their gender, appearance and/or age.  Here too there will have to be respect for the views other people should happen

 to hold on aspects of naturism – provided of course that the concerned views do not go against what naturism stands for.   Respect for others would also involve not offending such other people as are opposed to nudity or find nudity unacceptable for various reasons of their own.  With the emphasis that naturist philosophy places on the following of a natural lifestyle, it should come as no surprise that there should be respect for the natural environment.  The sustaining and preservation of the natural environment and also the rehabilitation of that environment will therefore have to be high up on the agenda of adherents to the naturist lifestyle.  In every sense of the word every effort should be made to giving credence to naturism as “a way life in harmony with nature” (as stated in the International Naturist Federation’s definition).

Further, values having a bearing on everything that relates to responsibility and responsible behaviour should be held in high esteem.  It goes without saying that every naturist should assume responsibility for how he/she conduct himself/herself – be it in broader society or within naturist environments.  Irresponsible behaviour or conduct or any form of action or inaction involving irresponsible decisions or any form of indifference, callousness or recklessness as regards any issue or any other person should be deemed as being neither acceptable nor justifiable.  What is therefore required is firmness of character and also appropriate consideration of the feelings and sensitivities of other persons.  While having objective aspects attached to it, responsibility is to some considerable extent subjective and perceptions of what constitutes it will vary from one person to the next.  Nevertheless, it could be seen as in one way or another tying in with the various forms of respectfulness.

Values which should under all circumstances be maintained are those that relate to reliability, dependability and consistency.  What is involved here is an unswerving commitment to the philosophy and ideals of naturism.   Naturists should under all

circumstances be prepared to stand by what they profess to believe in and by what they deem to be in accordance with good moral standards and sound judgment.  Fellow naturists and also other individuals must be able to take them at their word and must under no circumstances be left to feel that they have in some way or other been mislead with regard to motives and intentions.  Only by accommodating all of the aforementioned to their fullest extent can naturism really be claimed to be a way of life.

Finally, there are the values that reflect on compassion and caring.  Perhaps this involves just another way of saying that naturists should not be callous and indifferent to the plights and needs of other persons – be they naturists or non-naturists.  In fact, a naturist should be prepared to accept other people as they are.  It is also this that does not make it essential that a person should be physically beautiful or in perfect physical condition in order to be a naturist and/or to participate in the naturist lifestyle.  Bodily imperfections and disabilities therefore stand to be accepted and a sufficient degree of empathy always needs to be in the offing.

Ultimately, values could also be embedded in some sort of structure or system and they could be presented as a code of conduct.  The International Naturist Federation would possibly be doing itself and also naturism a great favour if it would come up with a formalised system of values.  National naturist organisations could also think about doing something similar.  However, as they are invariably linked to culture, provision would have to be made for the accommodating of different backgrounds and beliefs.  What, however, is essential is that any such differences be accommodated without reneging on the ssnaturist philosophy and also without sacrificing the higher level ideals of naturism.

[Originally published in SA Naturist, vol 1 No 10, October 2012]

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7. Body Acceptance – The Key to Embracing the Naturist Lifestyle by Dionysius

Over the years much has been said and written as to why naturists or nudists do what they do – i.e. go about in the nude within social environments which they happen to find secure and accommodative of their specific needs.  Within such spaces a naturist/nudist would have his/her uncovered body seen by other persons and would also be seeing the uncovered bodies of other persons.   While it does of course require an inherent willingness on the part of a naturist or nudist to go about in the nude, many persons unfamiliar with the lifestyle or disapproving thereof are intrigued and sometimes even baffled by what the motivation as well as what the underlying disposition for behaving in such way could be.  Naturists or nudists at times do offer answers such as that it is a natural thing to do or that it is a way of enjoying real or true freedom, but such responses invariably fall short of providing adequate and convincing explanations.

Since the emergence of modern-day nudism at the beginning of the 20th century, practitioners as well as researchers in the different branches of science and also the humanities have sought to put forward explanations or at least clarifications for this kind of behaviour – and in some instances they have even opted to dismiss it as being something trivial and therefore not worthy of their attentions.  As is to be expected many psychologists have come up with any number of theories and many of them have sought to relate it to embedded personality disorders, such as exhibitionism, narcissism, self-centricity and/or a desire to derive some sort of personal gratification from shocking other people.  A few criminologists have opted to see it as a form of deviant behaviour, which could have its roots in some or other form of criminal intent.  At least the majority of the more religiously inclined have ascribed it to improper desires and human sinfulness.  Nevertheless, a need to find answers as to how a person opting to go nude perceives his/her actions or conduct and also the implications and/or consequences of his/her actions or conduct remains.

As a jumping-off point in a quest to gain more insight, it might serve some purpose to have a closer look at the evolution of naturism’s underlying philosophy in the early years of the post-World War II period.  The emergence of the belief that the naked human body

was to be accepted, respected, cherished, and enjoyed, could be deemed to have been crucially important in so far as it impacted onthe way in which going nude was being seen from that time onwards.  What this development has served to facilitate was the introduction of the notion of body acceptance into the realm of naturist thinking.  From about the mid-1970s onwards this notion was indeed promoted and popularised in the United States by The Naturist Society (TNS), which is based in Wisconsin.  At that time the term of body acceptance was defined or rather redefined in order to provide a feasible basis on which to view going about in the nude.  Thus it was from then on being seen and is still being seen as amounting to a disposition or orientation on the part of an individual in terms of which he/she has come to terms with the physical outward appearance of his/her body – in many instances even to the extent that he/she is not averse to going nude in an appropriate social setting, and also, that he/she is not averse to seeing the unclad bodies of other persons within such an appropriate social setting. 

In more general terms body image has been seen as being an important determinant as regards the way in that a person would be acting in his/her social environment.  On 21 December 2009 SABC2 launched a series on alternative lifestyles with an airing of a broadcast entitled My Nudist Family.  As regards its contents, the concerned programme went well beyond what one would have expected to have been the limits of a discussion of family naturism and also focused on very basic aspects underlying the naturist lifestyle.  It is therefore quite noteworthy that Dr Johann Lemmer, principal of the South African Academy of Sexology, mentioned that their research has indicated that many people are not comfortable with the appearance of their bodies and that the resultant attitudes on their part have had negative implications for their interactions with other members of society.  He was most emphatic that much of this type of dissatisfaction could be ascribed to the role models held forth by the media and asserted that this particularly put pressure on women to try to achieve and maintain a body type that was considered to be ideal.  He accordingly recommended that any person with body image problems should be sent to spend some time with a group of naturists as a form of therapy – with the intention being to demonstrate to him/her that there were indeed other possibilities.

However, body acceptance could well be seen as fitting into the broader framework of body image.  Conceptually the latter reflects on the way in which any person would prefer to see his/her body and of course the exposure of parts or the whole of his/her body.  Within the modern world, issues relating to body image have been the subject of study and have at times invited intense discussions.  Problems with regard to body image have been seen as being the causes of medical and also psychological conditions such as bulimia and anorexia – with the implications flowing from such conditions in many instances being harmful for a person’s physical and mental wellbeing.  Proponents of a greater degree of body acceptance accordingly argue that a good self-image is conducive to body acceptance; and conversely, that body acceptance promotes the development and sustaining of a good self-image.

The further question that could be posed reflects on what could underlie the aversion on the part of a person to discard his/her garments and fully expose his/her body to others – and in some cases even to himself/herself.  Impediments to doing just that within a naturist or nudist context could be considered as having exogenous or endogenous origins or both.  As far as the exogenous impediments to body acceptance are concerned, much of them could be considered to have their roots in the societal values being imposed by primarily peer pressure and the natural herd instincts embedded in the human species.   The way in which society is structured and functions compels each and everyone to conform to what is upheld to be appropriate conduct and deemed to constitute decent behaviour.  Of course there are parties that would reject any form of body acceptance that would underpin naturism/nudism.  More often than not such parties would have their own agendas, which are either based on feelings of guilt or distrust lying within themselves or which are fueled by views held on how all members of society should live their lives and conduct themselves.  Anything that could serve their agendas is therefore employed and where and when necessary manipulated and distorted even to theextent that it becomes obviously ridiculous.  Thus religiously-based doctrines or arguments and also psychological observations by respected researchers such as Freud and Ericson have been exploited to condemn nudity and a lifestyle of nudity.

Of overriding importance when it comes to the rejection of any notion of body acceptance are what could be considered to constitute endogenous determinants.  Embedded within the human psyche the workings of these determinants are dependent on the decisions being taken by the individual.  To some considerable degree the way which any decision should happen to go is determined by the extent to which the concerned individual buys into any exogenous influences impacting on him.  Prominent in this regard are subjective elements, which lie within the consciousness of each individual, and these could in one way or another be linked up to the natural reserve which forms part of everyone’s make-up.  Of course, cognisance has to be taken of whether an individual is extrovert or introvert or somewhere in-between.  American naturist thinkers and writers have by and large chosen to designate this in-built reserve by the term of “body shame” and have over the years and in various different forms argued that it is mainly illusory and that it should be dispensed with.  Nevertheless, it remains very real and its existence should not be summarily dismissed.  A further relevant factor appears to be the age of any particular individual.  Older individuals seem to have a greater propensity for body acceptance – almost as though they have resigned themselves to the physical appearance of their bodies.  Younger individuals by all indications have a lesser degree of body acceptance and have shown themselvesmore inclined to use garments to hide bodily imperfections.

Whatever the reasons may be and whatever explanations may be put forward, it seems quite reasonable to claim that body acceptance is indeed the key to participation in the naturist lifestyle.  It provides a basis for any individual in terms of which he/she could become comfortable with his/her own body and the bodies of other people.  It further enables an individual to becomereconciled with his/her bodily imperfections. It ultimately serves to support a frame ofmind in terms of which nudityis being seen neither as objectionable nor as offensive. 

[Originally published in SANaturist, vol 1 No 11, November 2012]

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8. Body Size and Naturism
by Maureen

When I first heard about Naturism, my first thought was… yeah right!  With this body?  I don’t think so!  I love being clothes free and must admit I felt a little rejected in the world of Naturism, in my own mind, long before I visited a resort.  Not only am I40kgs overweight, but gravity has taken its toll at my age!!!!  Everything has gone south!  Then there are stretchmark’s, scars, and many other imperfections.  There was no chance that I would risk the rejection and embarrassment!

However, as fate would have it, we met up with a group of people where all the ladies were queen size.  One of the couples’ was in the Naturist lifestyle, and convinced the group to give the lifestyle a chance.  Everyone, from Twiggy to Queen Latifah, co-exists in this lifestyle.  It

boosts your confidence to know it’s OK to be you.

Luckily I have a helluva sense of adventure, and knowing that I wouldn’t be the only larger sized person there, I was willing to give it a go.  Admittedly, I packed plenty of sarongs and long T-shirts.

On arrival at Sun Eden, my partner unpacked the car VERY slowly.  He was certain I was going to get stage fright and demand to be taken back to my comfort zone at home.  I don’t know who was more surprised him or me, that I immediately adopted the lifestyle as my own.  We soon established the “Whaleway Station Group” and I wouldn’t change the past 8 years for anything, even though my new comfort zone (Whaleway Station) didn’t last long.  

We now visit the resorts on our own and we are comfortable and happy in the lifestyle.  I am totally confident in who and what I am.  Firstly, Naturism brings everyone down to the same level.  When you are in harmony with nature and the freedom of being clothes free, it doesn’t matter who you are in the corporate world, what your bank balance is, what car you drive or what your address is.  Secondly, owing to the asexual concept of Naturism, no one really cares what your body looks like.  True Naturists are warm, friendly, non-judgemental people who will accept you just the way you are.  They will accept you for WHO you are and not for WHAT you are or what your body looks like. 

You will gain a more realistic acceptance of your body when you

see that there are very few, if ANY,perfect bodies out there.  As written by Larry Darter “Differences of body type, size, genetics, gender and age can all seem less important when viewed through the naturist lens. The fact that women typically have more culturally imposed baggage to overcome than men means that they also generally have a great deal more to gain from an environment that promotes total body acceptance.”  Read more at Suite101: Naturist Social Culture and Lifestyle: Antidote to the Myth of the Perfect Body | Suite101.com http://suite101.com/article/naturist-socialculture-and-lifestylea205898#ixzz1zG4OkYwo

FEEL FREE TO BE YOU! Visit one of the resorts and experience the wonderful freedom Naturism offers.

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9. Social Nudity by Dionysius

Throughout the course of human history many cultures have practiced nudity within a social context and quite unsurprisintgly each of them had an own unique approach to it.  Social nudity is still being practiced today, although through the past decades of the modern era it found its prospects seriously impaired by phases during which some societies had sought to curtail it.   However, it could be said that various sub-cultures, such as the sauna and hot-tubbing sub-cultures, have contributed to keeping the flag flying – and the clothes off!!!  As it could be seen as constituting a mainstay of the naturist/nudist lifestyle, social nudity does indeed call for closer investigation.

Amongst the numerous variants of social nudity is included the following: naturism, nudism, Freikörperkultur (FKK), the free beach movement and generalised public lands/ public nudity advocacy.   To a greater or lesser degree the respective variants share the same historical roots and common themes, issues and philosophies can accordingly be identified.  The ideologies or principles followed by the adherents of the respective variants have at various times in the past provided grounds for contention and have indeed led to heated and even acrimonious exchanges.  As regards this discussion the interest of course lies with social nudity within the naturism/nudism context and none of the other variants will therefore feature in the ensuing discussion.

Social nudity could be defined as the practicing of communal nudity (more often than not with members of both genders present) in private as well as public spaces.  What, however, needs to be acknowledged is that social nudity is being enjoyed by many people without them professing adherence to any type of philosophy or doctrine and also without there being any intention on their part to associate with more formalised naturist, nudist or FKK (Freikörperkultur or free-body culture) organisations or groups or movements.  On both an organised and unorganised basis social nudity is to be found in environments where bathing, sunbathing, swimming and also other recreational activities (such as enjoying a sauna, hot tub, braai, dance and even sporting activities) take place – with all of these activities being indulged in by

single-sex groups, by members of a family and by mixed-sex groups.  It is to be seen and experienced on nude beaches, at swimming holes and at home and community swimming pools, and also at events like the Nudestocks (in the United States), the Nudefests (in the United Kingdom), the SANFED Bashes (in South Africa), the Burning Man (in Arizona, United States), the Afrika Burn (in the Tanqua Karoo, South Africa) and the clothing-optional bike rides (in many of the cities across the world).

Social nudity has at times in the past invited considerable controversy due to its confronting, challenging and exploring of a myriad of taboo subjects, stereotypes, the exposure of the human body and mixed gender nudity as well its redefinition of the concepts of personal space, human sexuality, gymnophobia (fear of the nude human body), modesty, physical attractiveness, vanity, objectification, exploitation and consent.  With regard too all of the aforementioned social nudity within the naturist/nudist environment could essentially be taken as involving various forms of social engagement.  It could further be viewed as relying on an essentially unwritten code of conduct, which provides a basis for interaction at the social level between naturists and perhaps even in some instances between naturists and non-naturists.  Social nudity is very much a sort of social accomplishment and is seen as being supportive of all efforts directed towards the growing of the naturist community, which in turn is something on which a very high value is being placed.  The practicing of social nudity could ultimately be seen as being in line with the high-level ideals and values of naturism.

There is no denying that very different views on social nudity are being held.  Proponents of social nudity claim that being nude in groups of varying sizes is bound to make individuals feel more accepted as regards their entire being within the physical, intellectual and emotional senses.  They will in all probability find themselves more accepted, despite differences in age, body shape, fitness, and health.  Also, they could feel themselves more united with the rest of humanity as there is much less emphasis being placed on personal wealth, position, nationality, race/ethnicity, and sex.  It is further a case of a person’s

social rank being generally obscured when he/she is without clothing and the trappings of society.  Those opposed to social nudity would of course summarily dismiss it.   In one way or another they usually argue that social nudity could contribute to an imbalance of power between men and women.  They also charge that women and children could be more vulnerable and more exposed to exploitation when in the nude.  Such allegations would of course be true in situations of commercial nudity.  The opposite is the case in established nude groups with everybody being nude and with nobody in any way giving or seeking to give a “performance”.

Within the naturist/nudist context, participation in social nudity is held forth as including people of all age groups – from children as young as just a few months to those who are almost a century old.  Published articles and even casual anecdotes frequently seek to project social nudity as being the gateway to almost spontaneous interaction between people from various backgrounds and with very different dispositions towards life in general.  While privacy and personal space have to be respected, it is very much the reality that in any naturist community there are groups being formed as people find themselves having the freedom to associate with whomever they want to – thereby making the situation no different from what could be found in any other community.  Any naturist or nudist community is very much a microcosm of society and very much the same dynamics as in other communities could be considered to be at work here.  But, it does seem as though being in the nude just makes social interaction that easier and more relaxed.  Therefore it is not unrealistic to claim that social nudity all the more readily facilitates congeniality and the establishing of new friendships.   In addition, those who do take part in social nudity are generally well-behaved and it could further be said that on average they behave better than people in non-naturist or non-nudist settings.

Very often statements are being bandied about that young adults or persons in the age range of 18 to 30 years (or 18 to 35 years – depending on the definition preferred) have an aversion to social nudity.  But, what could also be said is that there is nothing inherent about being in such an age range that would makehim/her averse to nudity.  The situation here

is indeed very different to what is the case with adolescents, who have to adjust to both major changes in their bodies as well as to taking major steps towards independence from their parents.  In the case of young adults it is assumed that they have the ability to deal with nudity and all it could imply.  Further there is sufficient evidence that many of them do participate in nude events whenever they have the opportunity – as would be the case when vacationing on the Mediterranean coast or the Caribbean or when taking part in some nude college fun.  Also nudity involving young adults appears to well in evidence at various music and alternative festivals and events such as naked bike rides.  Perhaps, perceptions as to young adults being averse to social nudity could be taken to have arisen from indications that young adults are not to be seen at naturist resorts or clubs.  While they might be deterred from joining these by factors such as the cost involved, the dominating presence of older people at such places, preoccupations with other matters and concerns, etc., it cannot forthwith be said that they are inherently opposed to nudity and for that matter having a preference to avoid getting involved with social nudity.  It seems better not to draw any untoward conclusions by placing reliance as to what to a greater or lesser degree appears to be situations pertaining to the more formalised naturist facilities.

Although social nudity might appear to be quite a straightforward concept for the cursory observer, it should obviously be seen as involving several dimensions as well as a diversity of considerations.  Nevertheless, it could be safely assumed that there is nothing that detracts from it constituting the very cornerstone for living the naturist lifestyle in accordance with what the naturist philosophy involves.  While it does require naturists to conduct themselves responsibly and with due consideration for everything within the world that they find themselves in, social nudity at the end of the day does transmit a clear message to all and sundry that it is not a form of or an excuse for anti-social behaviour, debauchery and lustfulness.

[Originally published in SA Naturist, vol 1 No 12, December 2012]

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10. BEACH NATURISM IN SOUTH AFRICA
by Pikolian

When naturism emerged in the first world countries early in the 20th century, it almost immediately became apparent that beach naturism would always stand a better chance of being tolerated than any other form or guise of naturism.  Since way back when it has come to be regarded as a natural part of beach holidays on which society’s conventions were conveniently or perhaps deliberately forgotten.  All along this appears to have been the case in South Africa.

Beach naturism could be seen as needing no defining.  The only things needed are sea, sand and sunshine – with there being no need for swimming apparel.  In a feature on Wikipedia it is asserted that: “unlike a naturist resort or facility, there is normally no membership or vetting requirement for the use of a nude beach.  The use of nude beach facilities is usually casual, not requiring pre-booking.  Nude beaches may be official (legally-sanctioned), unofficial (tolerated by residents and law enforcement), or illegal.  However, … access is at times more difficult than at a regular beach and the facilities at these beaches tend to be very basic.”  Also, “people visit a nude beach for any of a number of reasons. These range from people who see no reason to wear clothing when taking part in water activities or sunning, or who enjoy being nude or partially nude … (to)… people, (who) visit a nude beach because they enjoy looking at people who are nude, or because of curiosity.”

As regards early South African beach naturism, stories of skinny dipping on isolated beaches and photographs of adventurous souls enjoying themselves sans covering still survive.  In an article in Die Burger of 1 April 1972, Jack Viviers reached the furthest back into the past.  He recorded one person reminiscing that he “had come to (Sandy Bay) thirty years ago (i.e. in 1942) with the Boy Scouts and that they had bathed in the nude”.  This person also had “recollections of people who had gone there in the ensuing years and had enjoyed bathing in the nude”.  In the Cape Argus of 28 March 1972, Beverly Roos wrote that while “(her) husband and (she herself) ha(d) frequented Sandy Bay for three or four years, … the old-timers (had done so) for as long as 20 years.”  Apparently both genders had participated in nude beaching at Sandy Bay from about 1950.

South African beach naturism fell foul of the law early on.  Jack Viviers remarked that “when the police pounced on the bare-arsed (at Sandy Bay) during the past Sunday (i.e. on 26 March 1972), even that was in line with tradition.  Annually the cops would come and have a look around and every twelfth year or so they would launch a raid.”  He mentioned that with the 1960 raid (just prior to decimalisation) £10 fines were imposed.   But it was the 26 March 1972 raid that put Sandy Bay and beach naturism on the proverbial map.  The previous weekend a police constable Lourens had put in an appearance there and had ordered the beach-goers to get dressed.  In Die Burger’s column Van Alle Kante of 25 March 1972, André Rossouw branded this action as uncalled for.  Beverley Roos also claimed that prior to March 1971 “each person visiting Sandy Bay more than two or three times was known to everyone by name.    A ‘community’ was built up, a social necessity against those who came merely to stare.  Checks were kept on everyone.  If their behaviour was disapproved of, they were told off in no uncertain terms.  But this rarely happened …”. 

Only Sandy Bay featured in revelations on early-1970s beach naturism.  Viviers did, however, state that “Sandy Bay was also not the only place (for beach nudity).  Roughly estimated about 10 000 South Africans have made a habit of it to discard everything on the beach and to enjoy themselves wearing only their tanned hides.”  How realistic the aforementioned statistic is, iws difficult to determine.  Nevertheless, even in South Africa beach naturism can be seen as a time-honoured practice.  It was an article on Sandy Bay’s “Nudists” in the Scope of 21 February 1975 that brought beach naturism and what it involved to countrywide attention.  Despite most of them seeing the intended article as potentially harmful, several of the people on the beach that day provided comments to the visiting journalists.  Unconcerned about bodily imperfections, an office clerk valued “walk(ing) around there, feel(ing) free, enjoy(ing) the sun; in other words be(ing) like all the others.  Sex doesn’t enter my mind when I’m there.  You feel pure, as pure as nature.”  Having had to sometimes appear in the near nude, a stage performer described Sandy Bay as ideal for tanning all over as she had nobody looking on “with eyes that reveal what’s on the ordinary man’s mind.” 

From the mid-1970s to early 1981 official intervention was in limbo.  Then on 4 February 1981 the police hit the Sandy Bay beaches and 35 nude beachgoers – 4 of them female – between the ages of 18 and 65 years were arrested. 

Magistrate Liebenberg found 32 beachgoers guilty of indecent exposure, while acquitting a French tourist.  On 15 February, 9 beachgoers were arrested.  In four raids from 27 to 29 March 24 male and 19 female nude beachgoers were arrested.  Having been arrested on 15 February 1981, Sea Point receptionist Annette Schultz refused to pay the admission of guilt fine.  On 2 April 1981 she testified in the Retreat Magistrate’s Court that “in the nine years she had gone to the beach, she had never bathed in the nude with the intention of undermining the morals of other people or of offending public morals”.  Fining her R120, the magistrate commented that “society had not yet reached the point where nude bathing had become commonplace or inoffensive”.   On 24 August 1981 the Cape Supreme Court set aside Schultz’s sentence. While in no way according legitimacy to beach nudity, the judgment could be seen as having implied that nudity on secluded beaches was not per se a criminal offence.

In the following years of the 1980s beach naturism continued to grow.  Nude beach activities at Port Elizabeth’s Secrets Beach and Durban’s Umhlanga Lagoon came out in the open right at the beginning of the 1980s.  In July 1980 an exposé by the Sunday newspaper Rapportblew the cover on Secrets Beach, but very shortly afterwards it melted away into comparative obscurity.  More or less simultaneously wild naturism put in an appearance on the more isolated Kwazulu-Natal beaches.  It was then that the Umhlanga Lagoon area became that province’s primary spot for beach naturism.  Sandy Bay continued to see a steady stream of visitors.  With the authorities not giving up on ending beach nuding, Hilary King was arrested for indecent exposure and immoral conduct in September 1985 and her case ended up before the Cape Supreme Court.  According to Die Burger of 18 December 1985 Ms Justice Leonora van den Heever acquitted her and stated in her judgment that “to tan in the nude under a boulder and in an isolated spot on a public beach, would not amount to the public exposure of oneself in an indecent way as is being suggested in the concerned section of the Immorality Act”.

During 1987/88 summer season there was an entirely different turn in events.  Female topless bathing made its way up along the Atlantic seaboard from Sandy Bay.  In December 1987 the Cape City Council decided that a beach attendant should only on receiving a complaint from a member of the public order a bather to cover up, and should she refuse then the Council would bring a charge against her.  On 15 December 1987 Die Burger reported that the council had decided against “ask(ing) the police to act against such people.”   In its promotional supplement to the Financial Mail of 1 April 1988, the City Council stated that “the situation will be monitored, but it does not look like becoming an issue.  Over the holiday period (of December 1987 and January 1988) there were no complaints made to beach attendants.  Subsequently there has been one telephone call, a sprinkling of letters and a petition of 115 signatures against topless bathing.”  Topless female bathing and tanning subsequently spread to other mainstream beaches across the country.  In 1993 the Durban City Council opted for a dispensation on its beaches very similar to that of Cape Town.

Published by an avowed South African naturist from 1990 to 1996, the magazine Naturism to some extent lifted the veil on the country’s other nude beaches.  In the Mailbag section of Naturism vol 5 (1993) Hilton Payne announced his intention to establish a beach group for Port Elizabeth’s Secrets Beach – possibly the first such known attempt in South Africa.  Stevie James, an Eastern Cape naturist of the time, in an article in Naturism vol 6 (1993) highlighted discreet topless female tanning on some of the Eastern Cape’s more popular beaches.  As regards the Sunshine Coast, which stretches from west of Boknesstrand to East London, James noted that “… total nudity is not practiced, except in very secluded spots by a select few, ardent naturists …”.  Eastern Cape naturists also ventured forth onto the more secluded Wild Coast beaches to the north-east of East London.  In Naturism vol 8 (1994) Gerhard Enslin from Durban, while confirming that the Natal beaches were topless, lamented that there was no place for naturists.  Obviously Umhlanga Lagoon was by then not that widely known.  But what at least provided a boost for beach naturism at Sandy Bay was when (according to the Saturday Star of 12 July 1996) “the National Parks Board Administration … announced that Sandy Bay c(ould) still be used by nude sunbathers when it bec(a)me part of the new Table Mountain and Peninsula National Park.” (according to the Saturday Star of 12 July 1996) “the National Parks Board Administration … announced that Sandy Bay c(ould) still be used by nude sunbathers when it bec(a)me part of the new Table Mountain and Peninsula National Park.”

From the mid-1990s onwards beach naturism received the attentions of the South African tourism industry.  Already in 1982 the privately issued

When in Cape Town – Bob Molloy’s Guide to the Cape Peninsulamentioned Sandy Bay as “South Africa’s famed nudist area”.  From about 1990 tourist agencies openly promoted Sandy Bay.  By the mid-1990s tourism promotion by the Cape City Council also mentioned Sandy Bay and its beach naturism.  But the ultimate was Craig Nancarrow’s proposal for specifically designated Eastern Cape naturist beaches.  The 8 May 1999 Daily Dispatch ‘s editorial applauded the Tourism East London’s chief’s “bare-faced cheek to consider nudist tourism for the Sunshine Coast” and commented that “if the Eastern Cape lays on facilities for those who feel free and relaxed au naturel, a whole new market could be enticed to our shores.”  While nothing came of the proposal, it at the time reflected a positive shift in attitudes towards beach naturism.

With the dawning of the new century beach naturism in South Africa sallied forth from what could with the benefit of hindsight be regarded as a high point, but very shortly afterwards found that its fortunes were dramatically reversed.  In the wake of a succession of negative developments the country’s beach naturists became increasingly disillusioned and their opponents were emboldened to become more scathing about the lifestyle.  Beach naturism can be considered to have also suffered at the hand of the social changes and the changing attitudes (particularly towards sex) of the late 1990s.  However, from 2008 onwards attempts were increasingly being made to launch beach naturism in South Africa on a more sustainable course.  Although confronted by waves of negativity, seasoned naturists remained undaunted and continued frequenting the beaches.  Despite consistent complaints and laments about reigning conditions on the part of naturists, the established beaches (Sandy Bay, the Umhlanga Lagoon and Secrets Beach) saw continued use.  Other secluded beaches were thought to be seeing sustained naturist use, but their staying power was subject to doubt.  Salt River close to Nature’s Valley and secluded spots near Kidd’s Beach to the south-west of East London eventually proved to be exceptions.  In the Western Cape, Sunset Beach near Milnerton to the north of Cape Town tentatively emerged as an alternative to Sandy Bay.

East London Tourism chief Craig Nancarrow kicked off the new century by seeking to propel Eastern Cape naturist tourism forward with a nude hike, which skirted the Wild Coast beaches.  The Daily Dispatch of 19 February 2000 reported that Marieke van Schaik, a Dutch tour operator, Cheryl Kirsten of DaimlerChrysler South Africa and the chairman and a representative of the South African Naturist Federation, John Haffner and Eric Salberg, were to undertake the five day hike in order to determine its tourism potential.  Producing nothing constructive, this endeavour soon faded into oblivion.  Although Nancarrow had left East London for Hibiscus Coast Tourism in 2002, another attempt was launched to commercially exploit beach naturism’s potential.  The Cape Town-based Weekend Argus of 23 September 2003 reported that in order “to entice open-minded Europeans into the area”, the Ndlambe Tourism Board opted to pronounce a secluded strip below the Great Fish Point Lighthouse near Port Alfred a naturist beach.  Despite vehement opposition from several church bodies and the African Christian Democratic Party’s Eastern Cape branch, it persisted.  While subsequently captivating the popular imagination, there were doubts as to whether a tourism board could legally introduce such a dispensation for a beach.  At the end of 2010 the Ndlambe Tourism Board announced that it would no longer accord nude beach status to this beach.

It was, however, sexually-oriented conduct and other regrettable developments at Sandy Bay that fuelled growing negative perceptions of beach naturism.  The year 2002 saw such perceptions underpinning contentions that Sandy Bay was unsuitable for families.  Also, Sandy Bay had become crime-ridden.
By 2005 comments as to whether Sandy Bay was suitability for beach naturism regularly featured on the South African Naturist Federation’s (SANFED’s) then existing discussion  forum,   On 24 November 2005 one Grant commented that when he and his partner had gone there “the place was full of pervs”, although there were several naturists around.  To this one Shannon responded on 3 December 2005 that she “love(s) Sandy Bay for its beautiful people and glorious scenery.  I go there with my boyfriend, and enjoy what the day has to offer.”  On 16 December 2005 one Cheriden responded that “Sandy Bay is no longer for the familynudist exclusively. People go there for a variety of reasons,some to perv, some to flash, some to have sex in public, someto watch public sex.”   She recommended that one should “either stay away or go and enjoy yourself and let others enjoy themselves.”

Posting on the SANFED discussion forum on 9 October 2006, one Jeff was much more positive.  He described “Sandy Bay (as) a nice spot. It is busier during summer (of course) and during weekends and holidays. It is busier during the late morning and early afternoon. I’ve never had it crowded … and (i)t is shared with dog-walkers, surfers, hikers, the occasional tourist and yes there are some gawkers though I’ve never seen any major problems.”  On 17 January 2007 he commented that “(w)e spent Sunday late morning and afternoon (on 14 January 2007) at Sandy Bay. It was refreshing to see at least four young couples at the smaller beach.”  Considering the beach regulars a major drawcard, he further commented that “(t)heir friendliness and comfortability welcome all strangers and often I see newcomers having long conversations with (them).”  An article by Biénne Huisman in the Sunday Times of 22 December 2007 also struck a generally positive tone and she quoted 52-year old beach regular David as saying that “(he) enjoy(ed) being able to go nude (t)here …”

The presence of non-whites at Sandy Bay generated further controversy.  According to Die Burger of 26 February 2002 Beau Brummel – purporting to act on complaints from Germans, French, British and Dutch – had requested then Cape Premier Pieter Marais to bar Coloureds and Blacks from Sandy Bay as “they (while fully clothed) (we)re intent on gawking at visiting European women.”  Marais refused as he saw the request as conflicting with the Constitution, freedom of movement and freedom of association.   In January 2007 this issue again surfaced on the Sanfed discussion forum and the Haakbos blog.  On 4 March 2007 one Shannon remarked that “the so-called non-whites issue is not up for discussion!  …  Naturism is about social acceptance, body appreciation, confidence building, making new friends, feeling comfortable at the beach and in nature, and the list goes on.”

By early 2008 naturist beaches – particularly Sandy Bay – apparently were still on their way down.  On 26 January 2008 Deon Johnston from Pretoria cautioned on the Haakbos blog that the main problem was “the type of person recently frequenting the beach.  Coupled with our own failures and inabilities to speak up for standards and accepted norms, these are the problems that lie at the heart of the decline of Sandy Bay.”   But organised naturism then stepped in.  Founded in 2009, Western Cape Naturists (WCN) soon afterwards embarked on an initiative aimed at reclaiming Sandy Bay for the genuine naturist.  It organised get-togethers for members and invited other interested parties to join in.  Commenting on a Sandy Bay visit in January 2011 by his wife and himself, Tony Smith wrote in the May 2011 Nudes in the News that “(while) some people have mentioned problems … with voyeurism and petty theft, … we would like to report that at no time did we feel threatened or worried about that.”  Also, in mid-2010 Sanfed announced that it was to launch an initiative to establish naturist beaches all along the country’s coastline.

With the commencement of the second decade of the 21st century beach naturism in South Africa by all indications found itself emerging rather tentatively from the doldrums in which it had been languishing for some years.  Keen observers and even those critical of beach naturism and nude beaching are bound to detect signs pointing towards a sustained turn-around.  Currently the situation still is one of that there are no legalised naturist or nudist beaches within the borders of South Africa.  But, it could be contended that the successive developments as set in the above have led to a place being carved out for beach naturism and nude beaching within the South African context.  Although not without its risks, it could indeed be said that South Africans as well as foreign visitors to our shores do have opportunities for enjoying beach naturism and savouring the freedom of living life in the nude.  While there is but little reason for being complacent about the reigning circumstances, one could well argue that SANFED should persevere with endeavours to create a more congenial general dispensation for beach naturism – and in this regard a realistic selling point with the authorities is that there are decided benefits to be derived from creating and developing naturist tourism so as to draw more foreign visitors to the country.  It of course remains as important as ever that the South African naturist should conduct himself/herself responsibly when participating in beach naturism.  With the beaches remainingpopular, the challenges facing beach naturism – including those of giving organisational structure and direction to it – could be considered as still being firmly in place.

[Based upon a 3-part series on beach naturism published in SA Naturist, Vol 1, No 3 – 5, March – May 2012]

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11. Naturism: Right or Wrong???
by Carl Nudi

I have often wondered what it must have been like in Paradise.  Not the synthetic idealism on the Garden of Eden to which we sometimes hark back to, but the true Paradise. No pescy insects or thorns that can hook into my flesh; only serenity in abundance.

Let’s face it, modern society does not have a clue what Paradise must have been like. We run from port side to starboard side to make ends meet and many times this rat race is filled with the modern version of worry: STRESS – a silent killer of the soul.  Being free of this is one of the reasons why I enjoy naturism so much.  Getting rid of my clothes denotes more than just shedding a societal skin.  For me it symbolises the return to innocence. Yet, I cannot help but wonder what God’s Word has to say about this.

I have studied all the information on the internet that I could lay my hands on.  Alas, none of the blogs, articles, documentaries or even biblical guides could provide me with an answer that satisfied my needs.  Call me stubborn, but I just had to know: “Does being nude within a social context constitute sin?”

Being a bit of a diplomat, I set off on a little quest of my own. Starting with a few elders whom I knew to be against the lifestyle, I asked them to prove to me that naturism or nudism is a sin.  From them I went on to family-orientated friends whose opinions I value a lot due to the true faith that they have displayed over the years.  Lastly, I went to our pastor and asked him the same

question that I asked all of the aforementioned:  “Is it a sin being nude? Or more specifically, is it a sin being nude in public?”

The answers I received were diverse, to say the least, and personal opinions ranged from the completely negative to that it was something to resort to only in dire circumstances.  This left me suspended somewhere between confusion and disbelief and I then decided to up the ante with: “But, what does the Bible say?”  This time around the answers were more restrained although diverse – as regards the quotes used, they ranged from Genesis toRevelations.  But I already knew all that and so I asked one last time:

“Does the Bible say that it is a sin being devoid of clothing?” 

Everybody was stumped by my last question.  No one could give me a definite answer from the Bible that stated nudism is a sin.  The pastor gave me the best answer: “Nudity in the Bible is seen as a sign of poverty, but nowhere is there any indication that it is a sin.  We are made to be without clothes, but it is our sins from within that give us the need to cover our shame.”

At last I had beengiven an answer I could work with.  But there were a wholelot of new questions starting with: “If I can go beyond the shame of being naked, does that make my sins less?”

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12. Home Naturism in South Africa - A Concealed Reality
by Pikolian

During all the while that modern-day naturism has been around, the home environment has been offering opportunities for living the lifestyle.  Admittedly, the family home has not always been that ideal as constraints have been imposed by the lack of privacy in particularly the suburbia.  Nevertheless, despite its inherent freedoms and vibrancy, home naturism has not been accorded the recognition that it obviously warrants.  Because of the secluded surroundings in which it has always been practiced, home naturism has seldom featured in discussions on naturism and in the media.  Accordingly, outsiders were hardly ever afforded a glimpse of what could prove to be very comfortable and gratifying way of living.

Fundamentally home naturism involves going without clothes within the confines of one’s own home. But merely being without clothes – such as furtive skinny dipping in a home pool under cover of darkness – does not necessarily amount to being naturist.  A more comprehensive definition of home naturism involves two basic alternatives: firstly, members of a household could go nude within the privacy of their own abode unburdened by any consciousness of bodily shame; and, secondly, people – be they members of a family and/or friends/acquaintances – could choose to relax and socialise without clothing within a home environment.  Devoid of social interaction, the first alternative should not necessarily be seen as full-blown naturism, but nothing would prevent it from being motivated by a naturist mindset.  Presenting itself in various guises, the second alternative could occur either on a casual basis or could be more structured in that people could gather at the homes of family members or friends (or acquaintances) for the pursuance of the lifestyle.  However, if too organised and involving too many participants, one would be moving beyond home naturism and towards a sort of a mini-club.

In former times South Africa has obviously seen all possible variants of the above.  With limited opportunities for naturism in the past, home naturism indeed was an

alternative for beach, resort and even wild naturism.  Possibly the earliest South African references to home naturism featured in journalist Charles Norman’s Special Report “Nudism in South Africa” in the Scope of 4 December 1981.  It covered his visit to the then three-year old Beau Valley Country Club and he reported Pretoria housewife Marie du Plessis, then probably in her mid-thirties, as saying “I grew up on a farm in this area (i.e. the surrounds of Warm Baths and Nylstroom) and nudism has always been natural to me.  I remember getting into bed with my parents in the morning when I was seventeen or eighteen and thinking nothing of it. We were a very open family and used to seeing each other’s bodies.  It never bothered us.”  Her experiences within the family home could comfortably be backdated to the mid-1960s.  But Marie du Plessis also provided some insight into her attitudes as in 1981 by saying: “I’ve brought up my own children like that.  My son is thirteen now and he’ll still come and cuddle with us in the mornings.  It doesn’t bother him that we are naked.  Or he will come and sit with me for a chat while I’m having a bath.”

Further on in his Special Report Norman recorded Johannesburg-based Chris (then a committed Beau Valley member) as mentioning that he and his wife Pam would “often sunbathe in the nude at home with friends.”  He also disclosed that their three children – boys of eight and twelve and a girl of five – had been the first to strip off on their first visit to Beau Valley.  The necessary implication of this disclosure was that the children were used to going nude at home with their parents and the family’s friends.  Chris’s remarks could be seen as reflecting more on nude recreation within the home environment than on consciously living in the nude.  Also, it transmitted the message that home naturism was a stepping stone to resort naturism, i.e. naturism in more of a public environment.

It was only in the 1990s that a broader audience was presented with home naturism – most likely because of the changes that the country was then experiencing.  Stillt o be regarded as a total

aberration was an advertisement by Aerolite in the locally distributed advertising brochures of mid-1993.  Also transmitted on the SABC TV channels, it suggested to the broader public that a nude lifestyle was possible in the dead of winter – provided that it was indoors and the company’s ceiling insulation was used.  It was probably the first time that many South Africans were confronted by the prospect of living nude within the home environment – with most of them possibly not even being aware that there was something called home naturism. 

However, a much smaller audience was subjected to photographs of nudity in the home environment by the South African magazine Naturism, which was published from 1990 to 1996.  Its contributors never really discussed the possibilities and issues of home naturism.  A notable exception was Steve McVeigh who, in an article under the title of “Nude in the New South Africa” in Naturism vol 9, presented home naturism as a jumping-off point for involvement with naturism.  He recommended that “as a first step (towards naturism), (you should) try going naked around the house.  This you may do on those days off when no-one else is around.  Get used to the idea of freedom.  If you have a pool that is suitably secluded from the public eye, then swim in the nude.  Start at night, when no-one can see you.  Get used to the feeling of freedom and enjoy it.  Then progress to day-time swims and tanning sessions.”  While the photographs in Naturism presented the readers with quite a comprehensive picture, they were often with articles on totally divergent issues and sometimes were even randomly scattered through the successive editions.  Subsequently photographs reflecting South African-style home naturism featured on the Internet and more recently in other publications.  Of course permanent residents of naturist resorts have always enjoyed this privilege.  But some of the photographs did show that one could also use the home’s dining room, lounge and TV-room for just this – as Soli and Toni Philander in their posed photograph for the February 2009 Marie Claire feature against woman abuse so

adequately illustrated.  Doubtlessly many of the household chores can be dispensed with in the nude and there are photographs of naturists doing the washing and gardening.  Even performing mundane tasks such as handling the home finances and using the home PC can be performed without clothing.

Nevertheless, it would appear as though outdoor recreation in the nude always featured as a mainstay for South African home naturism.  Here a less appreciated variable had entered into the equation.  Since the late 1980s home life has become decidedly more private.  Enhanced security needs led to the erection of more solid boundary walls and passers-by had more difficulty seeing into gardens and particularly backyard areas.  Modern house design provided for more secluded outdoor recreation areas.  The lawns and garden nooks could from then on double as nude tanning areas.  The home pool in many instances was shielded from the general public’s prying eyes and even the home braai offered possibilities for recreating in the nude.  Unfortunately, a negative aspect was presented by greater densification (with high-rise buildings) flowing from high property prices and also local government policiesand initiatives promoting such densification.  A very modern threat to an unsuspecting home naturist can of course be the security cameras and the modern technology being put to use.

Despite its potential for popularising the naturist lifestyle, home naturism has all along very much remained under the proverbial wraps.  With organised naturism virtually non-existent in South Africa in the past, no concerted efforts were made to promote its possibilities.  Also the prevailing social climate and the ingrained prejudices on what constituted decency and appropriate morals militated against going nude within thehome environment.  However, anargument can now be put forward that the South African Naturist Federation would do well to consider the options that are available to spread the message on home naturism.

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13. Family Naturism in South Africa (Part I) – The Early Start-ups
by Pikolian

Within naturist circles the terminology of family naturism has always seen regular use – with perhaps little thought being given as to what it implies.  But be that as it may, this terminology appears to have been widely used to promote naturism and to justify pursuance of the lifestyle particularly in instances where naturism was considered morally depraved, lascivious, lewd, rude and/or exhibitionist.    

Since its inception the term family naturism has invited diverse interpretations, which by and large are dependant on the cultural environment within which it is used and also on the disposition towards the moral, religious and societal values of the individual using it.   Nevertheless, family naturism has been defined “as the practicing of naturism within a social setting that is such that all members of the family from 1 month to 100 years can participate in it with impunity – with there essentially being an absence of public sexual activities, lewdness, lasciviousness and pornography”.  Whether practiced within the confines of a resort, on a beach, out in the wilds or within the home environment, family naturism has involved adherence to what is described as family values.  These in turn are comprised of “such values as would reflect the moral principals and ethical conduct that are in attune with the philosophy and practicing of naturism; and, that additionally would reflect an approach to morals and ethics as is in line with conduct regarded as fit and proper by broader society”.

These definitions must be viewed within their historical context.  In the early 1900s nudism/naturism emerged as a “family culture” movement, which was based on a philosophy of “living naturally nude” aimed at promoting physical and mental health.  Nudist activities centered around participation in social activities and recreation in the nude.  It was, however, from 1950 onwards that more pronounced differences emerged between what came to pass in Continental Europe and the Anglo-Saxon sphere of influence.  The development of family naturism in South Africa invariably has to be seen within an Anglo-Saxon context.

While in about 1960 practically no attention was being paid to family naturism in South Africa, available evidence suggests that under-aged persons were already then participating in naturist activities.  In her article written in the wake of the police raids of 26 March 1972 and titled “Sad Saga of Sandy Bay” in the Cape Argus of 28 March 1972, Beverley Roos mentioned in passing that “although young married couples would bring their small children and dogs down (to Sandy Bay), there were a few older children and practically no teenagers.”  In his article on Sandy Bay’s nude-bathing in Die Burger of 1 April 1972 journalist Jack Viviers suggested that mostly immigrants or people with strong bonds to their countries of origins indulged in these activities.  However, he immediately refuted this by conceding that there were some people who could only be referred to as being South African.  He then proceeded to quote a Swedish woman as saying that she and her family regularly tanned on the beach at Sandy Bay in the nude.

An article on Sandy Bay in the magazine Scope of 21 February 1975 contained the first direct references to South African family naturism.  The subscript to an accompanying photograph boldly proclaimed that the beach had “the Raquel Welch figures, Tarzan shapes, children – yes, everyone is represented on Sandy Bay.”   In the text journalists David Mullany and Udo Rypstra noted that “(the beach’s nudists) came in all shapes and sizes.  Big ones.  Little ones.  Males.  Females.  Businessmen.  Secretaries.  Housewives.  Mothers.  Fathers.  Children.  Young and Old.”  They further recorded that “not far from us, kaalgat kiddies were shaping sand castles.  …  Further down the beach, a little girl stood at the water’s edge bouncing a bright beach ball.  A bigger girl ran past her.  …   Family groups clustered under the rainbows of beach umbrellas.”  Having recorded the opinions of some beachgoers about being au naturel on the beach, the journalists apparently did not press for any opinions on family naturism – perhaps because it was at the time not seen as being an issue.

In 1980 Cape photographer Des Harding published his photobook Sandy Bay.  With only minimal text, he obviously sought to present an overall picture of Sandy Bay and the activities taking place there.  He did not as much as mention family naturism, but among the included pictures are images that reflect the very essence of it.  He left posterity with no doubts that family naturism by then was very much part of the Sandy Bay scene. 

Family naturism was subsequently subjected to more intensive scrutiny.  In his Special Report titled “Nudism in South Africa” in the 4 December 1981 Scope, journalist Charles Norman for the first time recorded South Africans expressing themselves on naturism within a family context.  He reported Pretoria housewife Marie du Plessis, then in her mid-thirties, as saying “I grew up on a farm in this area (i.e. the surrounds of Warm Baths) and nudism has always been natural to me.  I remember getting into bed with my parents in the morning when I was seventeen or eighteen and thinking nothing of it.  We were a very open family and used to seeing each other’s bodies.  It never bothered us.”  Her experiences could be comfortably backdated to the mid-1960s.  But Marie du Plessis also revealed her attitude as in 1981 by stating: “I’ve brought up my own children like that.” 

Benoni pilot Dennis Dobson always brought along his three daughters – one about to leave her teens behind, one just into her teens and the last approaching her teens – to Beau Valley.  He told Norman: “I’ve brought them up this way because I don’t want them growing up with any hang-ups.  …  I want them to know what makes the world go round and not to have to learn about life from drawings on toilet walls.”  Norman quoted the mother of 15 year-old Stephanie as saying that she brought her daughter and teenage son along to Beau Valley as “I felt it was part of their education. … I didn’t want them to grow up being keyhole peepers.  I wanted them to accept people as they were (and) not for the things they represent.”

Norman concluded on family involvement in naturism by giving his impressions on Stephanie’s demeanor.  Describing conversation with her as “refreshingly easy”, he commented that “it’s impossible to believe that you’re talking to a 15 year-old and easy to overlook her nakedness so naturally does she wear it.”  For the whole of the first day her new boyfriend being on his first visit to Beau Valley wore his bathing costume, but by the evening he had discarded it.  Stephanie commented: “We’ve only been going out for two months … and this is the first time we have seen each other naked.  And now that we’ve been naked together all the sexual tensions that were there before have vanished.  It’s a wonderful feeling.”

Disapproval of family naturism has also occurred.  In Die Burger’s column Van Alle Kante of 8 April 1972 André Rossouw reported the then Bellville Member of Parliament, Mr Louis Pienaar, as saying that he had no qualms about people going nude at remote locations, but that steps had to be taken to prevent feeding the curiosity of the youth.  A reader from Worcester wrote in and commented: “Just think about it, 700 people are walking about nude on a public beach within view of young people and children.  Do you really think that this will have no impact on the sensibilities of these young people?” Rossouw responded that it was a widely-held illusion that all nudes were seductively beautiful and pointed out that skimpy beachwear was much moresexually stimulating.  While agreeing to nudity being constrained to specific locations, he wrote that “in my opinion there is no need to totally close off the practicing of nudism.  Children should much rather come and gape at such a venue than sit behind the kraal wall looking at risqué photographs in magazines.”

By 1985 family naturism had by all indications become firmly entrenched within SouthAfrica.  Nevertheless, it remains difficult to determine how widespreadit was at that time.  There was onlylimited discussion as to whether it was beneficial or not as the country’s naturists preferred to maintain a low profile and to keep out of public debates in the media. 

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14. Family Naturism in South Africa (Part II) – Continued and Somewhat Stilted Growth
by Pikolian

The years from 1986 to 2010 saw a minimal number of comments on family naturism in general as well as on the involvement of all age groups in the naturist lifestyle.  However, with the increasing sexualisation of societal attitudes, naturists of a more pure persuasion lost no time in standing up for family values.  But, with the increasing emphasis being placed on the sexual abuse of minors, the criticisms of and hostility towards the naturist lifestyle also increased.  Family naturism now found itself confronted by very different circumstances.

As far as definitions pertaining to family naturism were concerned, the definitional mainstays remained participation by all age groups and adherence to family values.  However, the new concept of “casual family nudity” emerged early in the current century.  This is where families practice honest, sincere, upfront, no holds barred nudity at home.  Restricted to the confines of the family home, this concept was not as comprehensive as that of family naturism and it did not even cover all of what is instinctively understood under home naturism.  It is accordingly considered irrelevant within the context of this discussion.  In the Anglo-Saxon world intensive debates erupted as to the impact of nudity on children and possibilities for sexual misdemeanors occurring were consistently highlighted.  Ironically, it was in the 1990s that the participation of the under-aged in naturist activities came to characterise if not to define family naturism.

Concerns about the sexual abuse of children also rubbed off on South Africa.  In the latter half of the 1980s family naturism was inviting further direct comments.  Sandy Bay activist Lisa Kruger-Liptrot without hesitation supported family naturism.  In her article titled “The Naked Activist” in the June 1986 Style, feature writer Marcelle Katz reported Lisa as having said that she seen children growing up in a naturist environment with a fresh, uninhibited outlook.  She quoted Lisa as saying: “So they’ve seen mommy and daddy in the nude, so what.  There is nothing to hide.  It’s not a nasty thing to be a naturist …”

In April 1987 journalist Barry Comber visited Beau Valley Country Club.  In his article “Is Nudism Really that Naughty?” in Scope of 3 July 1987, he reported that “of course, there were children too, because naturism is ‘a family affair’” – mentioning that the children present ranged in age from a few months to young adults.  Resort members Adrian and Delene had brought their daughters of 12 and 10 years along and believed that “if there was any effect at all, it can only be beneficial”.  Another couple, Barry and Ann, regarded their visits as being of a great advantage to their daughter “especially during her teenage years when she will become sexually aware in open and mature surroundings.”  Perhaps at the time not aware of its significance for family naturism, Beau Brummell commented that “60 percent of all members of his naturist resort keep their membership secret” and that “friends and family are not told; some do not even tell their grown-up children”.  This raised the question as to whether basic family naturism really had that many adherents.

The magazine Naturism (published from 1990 to 1996) did not as much as mention family naturism.  In Naturism vol 2 (the issue for the year 1991) Mirna Lawrence published an article titled “Sex and the Naturist Child”, but its thrust was directed towards the nascent sexual awareness of infants and juveniles.  She refrained from placing it within the context of family naturism.  Nevertheless, pictorial presentations of life at the first generation of naturist resorts – viz. Beau Valley, Thate Kgupe, Jungle Kloof and Sunseekers – served to illustrate that naturism within the family context was alive and well.  In an article in Naturism vol 4, the regular contributor Dirk Swanepoel described the Jungle Kloof as being “family oriented”.

In the former half of the 1990s, family naturism featured in the dispute between Brummel and in the Nylbuffel Shareblock Scheme’s minority shareholders.  The Mail&Guardian of 1 November 1996 reported a board member as saying that “(w)e didn’t want to be associated with a person who peddles pornography.  He has done so many things which are against naturism.”  In the same article

Brummel’s wife, Cecilia, admitted tothe dealing in pornography indeed taking place.  Another board member commented on Beau’s unilateral admission of gays to the resort and stated “I wouldn’t want my children to mingle with them.”  He proceeded with referring to the 1992 shareblock agreement that the resort would only be for families and heterosexual couples.

By the year 2000, family naturism was still receiving no direct mention in public statements on naturism.  Nevertheless, all the while photographs published by the second generation of naturist resorts (Kiepersolkloof, Suneden and Harmony) reflected naturism within the family context.  Specifically to be noted is Harmony’s advertising of itself as being “family oriented”.  After its re-establishment as a totally new organisation in 1999, the South African Naturist Federation (Sanfed) also placed photographs reflecting family naturism on its website.  The 2004 Sanfed video Naturism in South Africa … is taking off unreservedly supported family naturism.  In its opening sequence children were described as “natural naturists” and as taking to the lifestyle without suffering any discomfort.  In the slot on Harmony it was pointed out that age was irrelevant for participating in the lifestyle.  Having stated here that the “naturism is about respect for one’s body, for nature and for each other”, the comment was made that “because of the wholesomeness of these principles, it’s always been a family-orientated activity.”

The ultimate statement on family naturism in South Africa came in 2009 in the form of a SABC2 programme.  Eugene Botha Productions were commissioned to produce a series on alternative family lifestyles.  The programme, My Nudist Family, featured the Jonkers of Haakbos with their 9 year old daughter and sons of 6 and 4 years.  Aired at 9 pm on Sunday, 20 December 2009, the 28 minute programme – recorded in March 2009 – for the first time confronted South Africans with the naturist lifestyle.  While mostly covering general aspects of naturism, the programme contained a few specific remarks on family naturism – essentially describing it as having positive effects.  

Paul Jonker divulged that “just as we not force our nudist lifestyle on other people, we do not force it on our children.  It is brought to their attention, but they are free to exercise their own choices.”  Pretoria-based Academy of Sexology’s Johann Lemmer subscribed to this approach and advised that one “should never force any child into a situation involving nudity.  The moment a child becomes uncomfortable with nudity, it must be clearly understood to be wrong.”  Nevertheless, he considered nudism beneficial for children and pointed out that “in instances where nudity is practiced on a spontaneous basis within a family environment, a child invariably develops a natural appreciation of his own body.”

Lemmer proceeded to emphasise that “there has to be scope for a healthy nudism – scope for such nudism within the home environment and also between man and wife as well as between parent and child and ultimately between the members of any group of people who would opt for going nude within private surroundings.”  While statements in the programme – also those reflecting on family naturism – were not to be faulted, the Haakbos owners had by late 2009 abandoned naturism for rather more dubious sexually-based activities.  This seriously compromised the programme’s contents and rendered it to some considerable extent useless for the promotion of family naturism.

But, despite this unfortunate development, family naturism pulled through and again featured in an article in Rapport of 28 March 2010.  Sanfed vice-president and deputy-chairman, Neels Theron, told journalist Johannes de Villiers that many Afrikaners “came (to Suneden) as families – bringing along pa and ma and then also grandma and grandpa.”  Suneden manager Rentia van Deventer, who, while confirming that 60 percent of visitors were Afrikaans-speaking, opinioned that it was because Suneden was a nudist resort for families.  Naturism can therefore be considered to have over the decades established a firm foothold for itself within the family context.

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15. Introducing the Family to Naturism
by Samantha Taylor

Samantha Taylor of Vasnat Naturist Spa Resort, Western Cape, South Africa and Vassaliki Naturist Club in Kefalonia, Greece writes about how she has introduced her father and younger sister to naturism and about their thoughts on their respective first-time naturist experiences.

When we (my husband Mark and I) decided in 2006 that we were going to set up a naturist resort in Kefalonia Greece, we were initially worried about telling family and friends, but were nevertheless hoping for a positive response. However, we didn’t stop to think about the impact this would have on family members who were unfamiliar with naturism.

Here my Dad, Simon, relates how he felt about his introduction to naturism:

“Forget bungee jumping, sky diving and swimming with sharks.  These extreme challenges pale into insignificance when faced with the prospect of exposing my 55 year old untanned flesh in front of my grown-up daughters and a plethora of equally naked strangers.  When Samantha and new son-in-law Mark first came to me voicing their dream of opening a resort in Greece, I thought: Great!!  Holidays in the sun.  Then the catch – naturist!!  Well, my head made a quick u- turn, losing my daughter forever.  But when the call for help comes from one’s offspring, we’d all dive into the fires of hell to help them, wouldn’t we?

“The implication became more apparent as I sat on the plane. I had not seen my daughter naked since she was 6 when bath time duties dwindled away. As for her seeing me naked!

“On landing, my worst nightmare arrived. The resort was full and everyone was gathered by the pool.  Stars worry about walking down stairs on stage, imagine walking down the same stairs naked!!  As I stood at the top step, I held my breath and took the plunge.  Heart racing, blood pumping, I was greeted with handshakes and ‘good morning’, ‘nice to meet you’ in various languages. No one laughed, no one pointed and in short, the world did not end!!

“Why are we so afraid of nudity?  Why are we so worried about exposing our puny bodies? I found it a liberating experience and one which I have now experienced on many occasions, including a visit to Vasnat last year for a month – which has to be one of the best holidays I have had for many years.

“Of the ‘100 things to do before I die’ this has got to be top of your list.”

My Dad thoroughly enjoys his naturist holidays now and what a difference it makes to us that we can enjoy the family visiting and fully taking part.  As regards the past: “I remember Dad having his long lazy baths on a Sunday night

and taking him a glass of wine or cup of tea, so I wasn’t too concerned about seeing him naked, but I was aware that I was asking him to do quite a big thing.”  My Dad is the sort of person to take on any challenge thrown at him though, so I wasn’t surprised he accepted it.

As regards my sister, however, I was used to being in changing rooms with her: so I was not worried at all, but I didn’t know what she would think and fully expected her to be very cautious. Within seconds of inviting her on a naturist holiday with us there was not an ounce of hesitation on her part.

Here’s how my sister, Caroline, felt:

‘The naturist holidays have become so much more than I expected.  When I got the first phone call from Samantha asking if I wanted to go, I don’t think I really hesitated much. I was at a stage in my life when I wanted to try new things and what better way to do that, than with the support of my family?  Having done 4 years of life-drawing with my art studies, I wasn’t shy about seeing other people nude: so it was only my own appearance that would be the barrier.

“My first experience of naturism was anxiously walking to the pool in my bikini bottoms. I thought, ‘This is okay…I can cope with this’.  So I whipped off my pants and swiftly dived into the beautiful blue water. It was great, so relaxing.  The only problem I had was that I couldn’t

find my sunglasses to read my book on the sun bed afterwards… Then it dawned on me, I’d dived in with them on my head because I was so preoccupied with worry!

“A good few years have passed since my nervous introduction to naturism and it’s been taken over by a craving to get back to naturism wheneverpossible.  Apart from being able to relax by the pool without worrying about a wet swimming costume and visiting my sister, what really draws me back to naturism is meeting the other guests who are always friendly and genuine.

“Now with Mark and Sam opening their second resort in South Africa I can’t wait for my first visit to Cape Town and even better is it will be a naturist visit. Although we have yet to manage to all be on a naturist holiday together, we got a taster when the family all stayed at Samantha’s resort for Dad’s wedding. After a friend had floated all the lilies in the pool the three of us couldn’t resist going for a sneaky skinny dip whilst everyone was upstairs getting ready for the service. We laughed a lot and still do whenever we are in each other’s company - naked or clothed!”

What’s there left to sayexcept “Go on, tell your families, you might be pleasantly surprised and get to enjoy a great naked holiday together, not in secret!!”

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16. Children and Naturism
by Maureen

When that little baby is born, he/she is nude, has lived nude in the womb for 9 months and knows nothing about clothing.  In two seconds flat, they are wrapped up and have their first experience of being constricted with something covering their little bodies.

As they grow up and start having their own little minds, one will often find that they love being in a state of undress.  They have no shame, do not worry about what anyone else thinks, and just love the freedom of being clothes free, until someone, often their own parents or siblings tell them it’s a bad thing.  At first, they may be inquisitive regarding the human body but once their curiosity has been satisfied, they no longer find it strange. So why do children, especially the older children, not adapt easily to the naturist lifestyle? – unless of course they have been brought up in a naturist home.  Firstly, because of the stigma attached to not being clothed.  Secondly, because they are teased by their families or friends and being naked becomes uncomfortable and unnatural for them.

Our children were not raised in a naturist home.  We only learnt about naturism 10 years ago when the children were at a very difficult age.  Michelle was 12 and JJ 11.  At first, we went away for weekends on our own, but, having seen the naturist families at the resorts; we wanted our children to enjoy the lifestyle with us. When we sat them down and explained to them where we went on our weekends away, JJ thought it was awfully funny, whereas Michelle was horrified.  She burst into tears and told me I wasn’t her mother because the mother she knew would never do anything like that.  I was taken by surprise because nudity was never a problem in our home.  However, I found out that she abhorred the thought of me being naked in front of strange people.  I tried to explain the lifestyle to her, but she was not interested at all.

We had planned to spend our December holiday at a naturist resort and this put quite a damper on things for me, especially as it would be over the festive season.  I suggested she should go to her

father for the festive season as Theuns and I were very excited at the idea of spending two weeks in the warm December sun without clothing.  She made the arrangements and everything was fine until it got to nearer the time.  Her father said it was only convenient for her to come from Christmas Day.  I felt very sad that we would have to cancel our plans, and she must have seen it in my eyes as she eventually relented and said she would accompany us, but that she would sit in the tent and read books for the two days prior to Christmas Day.

For the first couple of hours, she sat in the tent reading her magazines, but eventually she needed to go to the bathroom.  She called me and together we almost ran to the ablution block.  However, everyone that walked past us, stopped to find out who she was and spoke kindly to her.  She was utterly amazed.  “Mommy, they are so friendly”, she said.  By that evening, she and JJ were swimming happily in the pool and playing snooker in the bar.  

At bedtime, she asked if she could talk to me and I sat down, expecting the worst.  She couldn’t believe that people were so natural, that she wasn’t forced to take her clothing off and that she was having such a great time and all she really wanted to know was if she could go to her father on the afternoon of the 25th and would
I fetch her on the morning of the 26th so that she could spend the rest of the holiday with us.

That was the beginning of many years of spending weekends and holidays at naturist resorts.  Just a mention of maybe going for a weekend, and their bags were packed and the nagging began.  Unfortunately she is now in a relationship and doesn’t accompany us anymore.  It is simply fear of the unknown, rejection and being forced to do something you are not comfortable with.  Being raised by non-naturist parents, they learn that nakedness is unnatural.  I’m so glad that she had the opportunity to find out that naturism is not evil or unnatural.

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17. Senior Naturism in South Africa – Enjoying the Golden Years to the Fullest by Pikolian

With South Africa’s population having steadily aged since the middle of the 20th century, it should come as no surprise that from about as early as the 1950s there has always been a sizeable group of senior naturists around.  Some of them had tried out the lifestyle when they were younger and had been seduced by its freedom and joys, while others had only come to embrace it when they were well advanced in their years.  Also as global travel became easier as from 1970 onwards, the more affluent amongst them were afforded opportunities to visit the naturist resorts, which had opened up on Europe’s Mediterranean shores, the Caribbean, in the United States and even in Australia.

However, right from the beginning a sustained impetus to participation by senior naturists was also being provided Within South Africa itself.  Since some time in the late 1950s or early 1960s senior naturists of both genders have put in appearances at the naturist spots of the day.  They were well in evidence when the existence of local naturism and the practicing of the naturist lifestyle became broad-based public knowledge.  Nevertheless, there was hardly any references to them in what little were being written on the phenomenon in those times.  But, Cape Town daily Die Burger of 6 February 1972 did report that amongst the 35 people arrested by the police for going nude at Sandy Bay two days earlier were a 65 year-old husband and his 65 year-old wife as well as another 65 year-old male.  Somewhat more could be considered to have emerged with the publication of the 21 February 1975 edition of the magazine Scope.  While informing the nation on Sandy Bay’s existence and what it stood for, the journalists Udo Rypstra and David Mullany reported that amongst the 500 nudes estimated to have been present on the beach during their historic visit were people of all shapes and sizes – ranging from children and the younger set to the elderly.  Although they had taken the trouble to interview several people, they have unfortunately not reported any interaction on their part with any senior naturists. 

About some seven years on another opportunity presented itself for the recording of the viewpoints of the senior naturists   In a special report on “Nudism in South Africa” in the magazine Scope of 4 December 1981 – effectively an exposé of the activities at Beau Valley Country Club halfway between Warmbaths and Nylstroom – journalist Charles Norman noted that “… the members of the club are all very average people, most of them South Africans, ranging in age from toddlers to 70 year olds …”.  The occasion covered in the article was the third birthday party

of the resort and the elderly were full participants in the celebrations together with the other age groups.  It was very obvious that up to that point in time senior naturists had indeed always mingled with the other naturists and had by all indications always been accepted on an equal footing despite being more advanced in years.  They had not withdrawn from the body of naturists at meetings and get-togethers and had always sought to associate themselves with those who could have been their children or even their grand-children.  Yet again no effort was made to record the opinions and perspectives of the senior naturists.

About just more than a decade later, Mirna Lawrence in her article “Bare with Me” in South African Naturism vol 3 of 1992 commented that “it is difficult to pin down why children and adults of all age groups (i.e. mid-20s through to 70s and even 80s) harmonise and are compatible.”  She herself refrained from providing an explanation, but she did subjoin to her article the comments of one Wim, who inter alia stated: “We (the nudists) (a)re ordinary people of all ages (from 1 to 70) who love being surrounded by nature as man was intended to be: naked, vulnerable and humble before the glory of the Lord’s magnificent creation.”  From this it could be inferred that senior naturists were seen as having always had a communality of interests with the naturists of other age groups.  What once again had not featured in her article were specific references to comments made by the senior naturists themselves.

As from the late 1980s onwards senior naturists were among the regular visitors to the very few South African naturist resorts in existence at the time.  At Beau Valley they either arrived on their own or with other members of their family – participating at all levels in the nude living over weekends and during the holidays.   Nothing substantive was said or written about this, but the photographs in the South African magazine Naturism, published from 1990 to 1996, provide testimony as to this.  In his article in the April 1995 edition of the upmarket Afrikaans magazine De Kat, journalist Danie Stoltz wrote about his visit to Beau Valley, which had as its mission determining why 80 percent of the visitors to the resort were Afrikaners.  Brummel introduced Stoltz to an 83-year old male whom he had met on the nudist beach on the island of Corsica in the early 1970s.  Stoltz recorded that at the time he was deeply impressed by the man’s terse assertion: “I’m proud of being me”.  Also in the former half of the 1990s Sunseekers near Howick in what was then Natal had senior naturists as members within its ranks.  These

members evidently had no qualms about socialising with the other younger members and about being involved with the activities at the club.  Even the Jungle Kloof at Silkaatsnek to the north of the Hartbeespoort Dam had a smattering of old-timers joining in their activities during the course of its brief existence from early 1993 up to the third quarter of 1994.

But, as had been pointed out in an earlier article in this magazine, the 1990s witnessed the establishment of a new generation of naturist resorts, which continued to exist into the first decade of the new century and beyond.  First in line in 1991 was Kiepersolkloof  (15 km to the north of the R509 between Koster and Swartruggens), which had been established by naturists who had broken away from Beau Valley.  Then in 1994 came Suneden 40 km to the northeast of Pretoria.  In 1996 Harmony Nature Farm about 60 km to the south-east of Rustanberg was established.  Senior naturists were and still are members of all of these resorts   and some of them have even taken up permanent residence there.  Others have continued to support beach naturism and the adventurous and more affluent amongst them have proceeded to visit naturist resorts and beaches on the Mediterranean coastlines of Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Istria.  In the conclusion of his article on his visit to Suneden in the Getaway of June 2007, South African scorpion expert Jonathan Leeming noted that in attendance “there were fat people, skinny people, old people and young people, but regardless of age, they were all happy and relaxed people”.  

As was reported in another earlier article in this magazine, the first decade of the new century saw even further facilities become available for naturist use.  Kudumanzi (in Limpopo Province), Virginia Waters (near Krugersdorp) and Ezulweni Paradise (to the north-west of Bela-Bela (Warmbaths)) opened their doors – all of them being visited by senior naturists.  In April 2006 Haakbos 10 km to the north-east of Bela-Bela and out on the Modimolle (Nylstroom) road was launched.  It specifically catered for weekend and day visitors and saw a steady stream of senior naturists pass through its gates.  As this resort had adopted a non-discriminatory policy in terms of which it allowed single males, senior naturists who were on their own or who had lost their partners were fairly regular visitors.   A number of these old-timers were new to the lifestyle – and by and large the majority of them kept their newly-found passion a secret from their peers as well as their grown-up children.

 

In the latter half of 2009 the then rather hesitant resurgence of South African Naturist Federation (SANFED) brought yet another dimension to naturism as practiced in the up-country regions of South Africa.  In 2010 it launched a concerted drive to at least rapidly increase its nominal membership and amongst the new members were any number of senior naturists.   Also some of the get-togethers were from that time onwards being held at rented venues and among the attendees there usually were a few old-timers.  The 2010 annual bash at Schoonkloof (100 km to the north of Sun City) was attended by the 90-year old Tony Fry, who took up naturism in the late 1930s.  Speaking to then SANFED Chairman Carrington Laughton during the course of the event, he has been reported in the November 2010 Nudes in the News as remarking: “Most of my old friends are dead now, and making new ones at my age is not easy, BUT because of naturism I make new ones all of the time”.  Tony Fry passed away in January 2012, but up to his last days remained as enthusiastic about the lifestyle as ever.  The dual year-end functions over the weekend of the 3rd to 5th December 2010 at Riverbend Cottages  (28 km to the north-west of Magaliesburg) and Schoonkloof were also attended by the seniors.  At Riverbend Cottages a couple well into their seventies really relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  Wife Jenny readily confessed to having opted for the naturist lifestyle only six years earlier and showed no hesitance in proclaiming: “I have found myself through naturism”.

While South Africa’s senior naturists have shown up at naturist spots right from the beginning and have supported social get-togethers, they have over the years not played that much of a leadership role within the broader movement.  Former generations of senior naturists might have been restrained by the more restrictive social environment, but that could now be seen as largely belonging to the past.  For the remainder the reticence as regards the playing of a greater role could to some considerable degree have been the result of the dissension and disorganisation – at times even chaos – that had permeated the country’s naturism.   In all probability this will become a thing of the past as naturism within the country becomes more representative and better structured.  Then possibly the country’s senior naturists will become more visible and forge ahead of their own accord with making positive contributions to a hopefully burgeoning naturist movement.

[Published in SA Naturist, Vol 2, No 1, January 2013]

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