Tag Archives: Nude recreation

Clover Spa’s Ladies-and-Couples-only Weekend: Great Idea or “Discrimination”?

6 Nov

ImageThat there are significantly more male naturists than there are female is widely-acknowledged.  There are a huge number of different explanations as to why this might be the case, many of which have equal merit.  But regardless of cause, the fact is that sometimes, attending a naturist event can feel a little bit like going to a very progressive monastery – almost entirely male.  The few women attending are also almost always in the company of males – I know hardly any single female naturists myself, although I am sure they are out there.

Clover Spa, the naturist hotel and spa in Birmingham, England, have decided that they want to do something to redress this balance, and so are exploring how to encourage more women to attend their establishment.

I would reassure Clover Spa that I personally feel they are already doing a great job of encouraging women and couples to try naturism.  Their hotel and spa is new, modern, well-kept, nicely decorated and pleasant to visit.  The surroundings, friendly majority-female (clothed) staff and the fact that it is a spa (with water, steam, massage and connotations of healthy indulgence), all help to create an atmosphere where it feels safe and easy to take one’s clothes off and enjoy nude relaxation which is very welcoming to women.

Certainly, on our last visit, there were no shortage of female patrons, and my girlfriend (not a day-to-day naturist but more a “when I feel like” sort) very much enjoys visiting Clover Spa and using their hot tub in the nude, maybe more than any other naturist venue we have visited.

However Clover Spa obviously feels that they could do more to encourage women to attend, and have identified what they perceive as an issue for some female customers: namely, that they don’t feel comfortable taking off their clothes in an environment where the vast majority of people are male.  That may not be an issue for all women: I have known female naturists who run the gamut from thinking it would be nice if there were more girls, to those who don’t mind being in the minority as long as there is at least one other lady in attendance, and even girls who don’t mind being the only naked lass in an otherwise all male group.  Still, I can easily accept that for some women, it is definitely an issue.

Clover Spa’s solution is to dedicate a weekend of its use, at the end of November this year, to only couples and single females.  Single males, although reassured that they are welcome at any other time of the year, will not be given admittance on that weekend.  Essentially, if you want to use the spa or hotel on those dates, you must either be a woman or bring one with you.

It seems like a good idea.  Women are in the minority in naturism and that can make naturist venues potentially feel like oppressive environments to women.  Making an effort to remove that feeling by artificially lowering the number of males and raising the number of females in attendance makes a lot of sense, if only to help women unsure about nude recreation get over that initial obstacle of taking off their clothes in company.

However, the announcement made by Clover has led to some criticism from certain quarters that the spa is discriminating against people who aren’t female or in a couple by closing it’s doors to them over that weekend.

These are often the sort arguments which get made whenever a minority is seen to be given something “extra” or a helping hand in the name of equality.  For example, Black History Month is routinely characterised by a few sour-graped individuals complaining about the lack of a “White History Month”, and there are always some terrible people who complain that Gay Pride events should be counterpointed by having “Straight Pride” parades.

People making these arguments so catastrophically miss the point of both the reason behind these events, and the whole concept of equality, that it is seldom worth arguing with them.

In the case of Clover Spa, though, it is perhaps not too charitable to give some attention to the complaint that single males are being discriminated against by not being allowed attendance on that weekend.  After all, it must be sad and frustrating to be told you can’t visit somewhere because of your gender or relationship status.  Implicit in the idea of encouraging more women to become naturists by holding women-and-couples-only events is that for women to participate in naturism more, it is necessary for single males to participate in it less.

I do feel sympathy for any single male who had made plans to visit Clover Spa that weekend, only to be told sorry, no, ladies and couples only – especially as that comes on top of the fact that many naturist clubs take the same policy year-round in an effort to keep out perceived troublemakers.  While in the textile world the single male enjoys many advantages, in the naturist one he is much more maligned, sometimes unfairly so.

So while I applaud Clover Spa for making a real effort to create a female-friendly naturist space, I can also see the point of view of those male patrons who are unhappy with this tactic.  That doesn’t mean I feel for a second that Clover should reconsider having this weekend.  However I do see how single males could feel a bit disappointed that they are being excluded in the name of welcoming some hypothetical women who may or may not feel less likely to enjoy themselves if there are a lot of men present.

I think it is important that women are encouraged to be as represented in naturism as they are in the general population – naturism is for everybody, regardless of gender, sexuality or race.  But creating female-only environments to achieve that can be problematic for the organisers.  Segregating people along gender lines, prioritising one gender over another: these are tactics which invite more criticism than they do praise, as they may risk giving a message to men that the cost of increasing the numbers of female naturists appears to be their own freedom to engage in naturist activity.

Ultimately though, I think Clover Spa has the right idea and I am sure their weekend will be successful – I hope it will also encourage women to visit on more mixed-gender weekends.  And if there are single males who feel aggrieved about the fact they can’t attend on that particular weekend, they can at least be reassured that there are 51 other weekends in the year when the facilities are available for their use and their normal privileges are restored.

(As a footnote, it has also been raised that Clover Spa’s “no single males” weekend is discriminatory against gay men.  That is, I think, something that is almost certainly not deliberate on the part of Clover Spa, but it is nevertheless a side-effect of the terms of admission on that weekend – although it is also worth pointing out that they say they will admit “couples” – they don’t say whether this means male/female and female/female couples only, or whether male/male couples will also be allowed, and that does not make allowances for single gay males, who are still single males regardless of sexuality .  The single male/gay male dichotomy in admission policies for many naturist venues is something worth debating, but it will be a long debate and so I would prefer to leave it for a future article)

How To Be A Naturist

10 Aug

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If you are curious about naturism and want to give it a try, I originally wrote this as a step-by-step guide to how to become a naturist.

Step 1: Take off all your clothes.

Step 2: Enjoy yourself!

That’s it really…

…well, I guess there’s more to say than that.  To me, being a naturist is about being naked and enjoying it.  But if you’re new to it, maybe you need to hear more.

So if you want to be a naturist…

First, just give it a try.  See how you feel about nudity as a casual thing, as a way of being which can be normal to you.

Look to your home environment first.

If you live alone, there is no real reason for you to wear clothes ever if you don’t want to.  You don’t have to worry about privacy or offending others.  So just consider ditching your clothes any time it doesn’t feel too cold to be comfortable.  Give sleeping nude a try, and maybe leave off getting dressed in the morning until it’s time to go out.

If you live with a partner, you should definitely discuss your interest in naturism with them from the start.  Honesty is always the best policy, and you never know, they may be just as interested as you!  You could just start walking around naked and it would probably be fine (very few people don’t want to see their partner naked more!), but if you don’t explain why you’re doing it, they may think it’s just for them, which will make it a little more difficult if you decide you want to move more into social naturism.  But however you decide to manage it, you shouldn’t have any difficulty experimenting with naturism at home at this stage.

If you live with friends or with family, it’s really up to you how you decide handle it.  Manage the situation however you feel most comfortable.  You might feel it is best to restrict your very first naturist steps to only going nude in private areas such as your bedroom – or waiting until you have the house to yourself.  If you feel confident and comfortable discussing your interest in naturism with the others in your household, you can, but you certainly don’t have to.

But whatever your situation, try and make nudity something which is normalised for you.  Unless you were brought up naturist, you have probably always been encouraged to associate nudity with either sex or cleanliness.  Being a naturist is about recognising that being naked can also just be an enjoyable, life-affirming state by itself and that clothes aren’t an essential part of everyday life.  If you sit and play videogames nude, or do your chores nude, or whatever, you may well quickly find that you prefer it that way.

Once you’ve started exploring naturism as a lifestyle at home, the next steps are entirely up to you.  But most people who are naturists have a wish to meet and socialise with others who are the same.  Different people enjoy socialising nude for different reasons, but social activity of some kind has always been a big part of the naturist movement and if you enjoy being nude alone, you will probably enjoy being nude with others just as much.

The internet is a great resource for finding out more about what naturist opportunities you can access.  Most countries have a national organisation promoting naturism (for example, British Naturism in the UK and both TNS and AANR in the US).  Even if you don’t want to join these, their websites will often have lots of information about more local groups, and activities, events and venues you can visit.  There are several different activities you can try as a newbie naturist to give you a taster.

If you have the funds, you could try visiting a naturist club or resort.  This isn’t for everyone, but resorts and clubs are friendly, welcoming places always keen for new people to visit.  The best thing would be to use a national organisation website or internet search to find a venue that you like the look of, or is close to you, and then contact them directly to find what their visitor policy is, and whether you might be able to do something like visit for a day.  You will find that (weather permitting), a club or resort will give you the best opportunity to be nude for long periods with other people and try a range of sports and activities – or just lying around tanning!

If you don’t fancy the club/resort or just don’t think you could afford the trip, don’t despair, there’s plenty of other fun things you can do as a naturist.

Many local and national organisations stage regular naturist events for people to come to.  For example, a group may hire a venue such as a swimming pool for a few hours, then sell tickets for naturists to come and use the facilities nude.  Or, a group may stage a nude get-together at a private venue or naturist club.  You can usually find out about these events by checking the organisers’ websites, or contacting them and asking what is happening.

Social networking is also good for getting in touch with other naturists and, especially, hearing about smaller and more independently organised nude events, like clothing-optional dinners or bodypainting parties.  Be aware when using Facebook of your own privacy and how much you want people to know about you – but finding smaller events on Facebook and making private contact with the organisers can be a good way to get to know what is around, and make friends.

Of course, if organised events and activities aren’t your cup of tea, or if you just want to try and do your own thing, there are still things you can do to enjoy naturism away from home.  The UK, the USA and Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and Europe, all have a number of beaches around their coasts given over to nude or clothing-optional use.  Your best bet is to search the internet to see if there are any nude beaches in your chosen location or your home area; if there are, try and read up a bit about them before you go, as it can be helpful to know how to get to and get access to the beach, as well as specifics about customs at that beach (for example, if some areas of the beach are accepted as being gay areas, family areas etc).

Even if you don’t have a nearby beach, it is possible to still enjoy nude recreation outdoors.  In the UK, it is perfectly legal to be nude on public property, providing you do not engage in “lewd acts” or cause offence or disturb the peace.  If you are out in an area of the countryside where there are not many people (therefore you could reasonably expect to not be seen), you are within your legal right to sunbathe, walk and picnic nude.  However it is good to bear in mind that everybody has an equal right to enjoy the countryside, so it may be advisable to keep with you some clothing you can put on easily when encountering others, rather than attempting to argue the law with them at the time, should they object to your nudity.

Even if you don’t live in a country where nudity is allowed in such circumstances, you might still have access to large areas of open country, forest, desert etc where you can have every chance to spend time nude in the open air and not encounter a soul.  Be careful and be sensible (and if you are female, consider whether it might be safer to have the company of a friend before going off to roam the local woodland naked – they don’t have to undress themselves, just be comfortable if you do) and you’ll be able to have the full experience of enjoying nature in your natural state.

Lastly, there are events in which nudity is part of the experience, but which are not geared specifically to naturists.  These include things like the World Naked Bike Ride, Bay To Breakers run in San Francisco, the Naked Run at the Roskilde Music Festival, Burning Man Festival, the “Naked Field” at Glastonbury Festival and stunts like Spencer Tunick photoshoots and clothing-optional open nights at art galleries.  These events usually have some other reason besides naturism for people to be naked (protest, challenging taboos, hedonistic celebrations of personal freedom, artistic exploration or just publicity) but remain popular with naturists eager to have the chance to experience the freedom of being nude in a new venue or location.

These are just some of the things you can do to be a naturist.  Whatever you do, do it naked, enjoy yourself, and stay safe!

Originally published on the Get Naked Get Awesome Tumblr 15 Jan 2013