history of nudism goes back many centuries. I will try to touch lightly
on some of the time lines and other significant factors. It will be an
overview of the renewal of social nudity during the times of the early
Greeks to modern European and American cultures.
In the early times before Judeo-Christian-Moslem
concepts were brought about, most of the tropical and temperate climates
of the world were nothing more than one big nudist colony. The Greeks
and Romans lived in a society of "clothing when necessary", frame of mind.
Bathing, as well as sports, was enjoyed in the nude, as witnessed by the
early olympic games in Greece. The term Gymnos, Greek for naked, was how
these athletes competed. They also trained nude in their respective sports.
With the demise of the ancient civilizations and the beginning of a religion
that stressed the sinfulness of sensuality, nudism was on the decline.
Body shame was on the rise.
A 16th century Christian group of
Puritans strongly opposed the religious tolerance of the Church of England.
With their exile to New England, they became the non pleasure, morality
enforcing people associated with puritanism. They were so afraid of the
lust that they refrained from bathing, because in their eyes, it promoted
nudity. Many religions that are outraged at nudity avoid the fact that
Jesus was naked at his baptism.
Europe, the Renaissance period had risen the awareness of body acceptance
in the field of art. As the Renaissance progressed, America remained in
a mindset of religiously reinforced ideas that would dictate cultural
morality for centuries. There were some so called, "radical thinkers",
including Henry David Thoreau and Benjamin Franklin. They found benefits
in their daily naked walks, or as they were called, "air baths", but they
were in the minority.
By the turn of the twentieth century,
mainland England was far more advanced and tolerant of the nude body than
the Unites States. Many classic works of art considered masterpieces in
England, were banned in the United States. One such work of art was "September
Morn", a painting of a nude bather. This work was banned by The New York
Society for the Suppression of Vice and its leader, Anthony Comstock.
While the U.S. was banning art work
of naked bathers, the first nudists were freeing themselves of Victorian
era prudence and bathing naked in Lubeck, Germany at Freilichtpark (free
light park). (1903-1981). They stressed a healthy naked lifestyle. It
included daily exercise, a spartan like outdoor living, and vegetarian
diets. By 1929, immigrant Germans and visiting Germans brought this lifestyle
to America. After some arrests, there was a favorable court ruling in
New York allowing social nudity between men and women, without being lewd.
For the first time in America, the concept of social nudism got national
National Nudist Conference was formed in America in 1933. It later became
the American Sunbathing Association. By the mid 1930's there were approximately
eighty nudist camps across America. Most of these nudist camps still followed
the philosophy of nudism as a healthy regiment. Many organized, "landed
clubs", were very selective of who could become members.
The rebellious outspoken flower
children of the 1960's were not about to hide the open acceptance of nudity.
The new free spirit of, "make love not war", attitude was based on an
honest body acceptance. The only question was, why not be open about it.
Acceptance of the nude body was the natural attitude of this generation.
They experienced the freedom of being nude at the beach and in streams,
as well as at home. Sometimes called "The Free Beach Movement", the 1970
philosophy of open nudism would later be coined Naturism.
of the overbearing religious beliefs in America, Europeans have enjoyed
more personal freedoms than Americans. For many years European tourist
beaches have enjoyed a topree environment for women. Nude beaches are
not uncommon in many parts of Europe.
Modern nudism began in Germany and
France. A nudist resort city on the Mediterranean, Cap d' Agde, now exists
in France. Nudity in general has become acceptable in Denmark and The
Netherlands. There have been many public nudist activities in both countries.
All but two of Denmark's beaches are clothing optional.
The Naturist Society was formed
in America to provide information and support for naturist and nudist
groups in the country. The Naturist Action Committee is a monitoring and
support group that supports the rights of nudists and naturists nationwide.
One of its goals is to protect our rights from the closed and narrow minded
fanatics that do not understand the theory of our lifestyle.
opinion polls taken in the years of 1983 and 1990 show that 72% of Americans
polled approve of designated clothing optional beaches. To this date,
roughly 30 million Americans have had some form of mixed social nudity.
Other polls show that some 73% of Americans have skinny dipped with the
opposite sex in their life.
The research and views within this
document are that of the unknown author. If you have any corrections, additions,
or would like to contribute, feel free to send it to me. Corrections and
constructive criticism are always welcome.