Frequently Asked Questions

Contents

Why be nude?
Isn’t nudity offensive?
What is the difference between a nudist and a naturist?
Isn’t nudity sexual?
Aren’t all naturists/nudists exhibitionists?
Is being nude illegal?
Doesn’t nudity violate religious beliefs?

First-time Questions

What is the difference between a club and a clothing-optional beach?
Will I have to undress right away?
Do I have to be naked all the time?
How do I act when talking to others?
Do I have to join to visit?
How do I find a club/beach?
What if I meet someone I know?
Are single people welcome?
What should I take with me?

Children and Naturism

Is it good for children?
Is naturism safe for children?
Don’t children get confused as to when and where they can be nude?


Why Be Nude?

Many naturists would answer, “Why not be nude?” Why would you wear clothing while swimming? You don’t wear clothing in the bath or shower.

Naturists are not against clothing. Rather, we believe that you should dress only when appropriate.

Being nude feels good. It makes people feel free. It takes away artificial inhibitions that were forced upon us after we were born. Naturists believe in body acceptance. Most report feeling less self-conscious on a nude beach than on a traditional clothed beach.

The body parts which we cover are arbitrary. It has been suggested that we cover the genital area because of its sexual nature. However, a quick survey of your day would show that that area is used for non-sexual purposes the most of the time. In fact, an equally sexual body part is your lips. Yet we do not have any problems walking around with our lips exposed!


Isn’t nudity offensive?

Naturists are obviously not offended by nudity. What about others? There is no question that some people find nudity offensive. However, why they should be offended is debatable; their reaction is often closer to confusion or embarrassment. One could just as easily be offended by the colour of a person’s clothing. In a free society, people should be free to do what they want except under certain conditions, such as causing others harm. It is difficult to understand how looking at the human body may harm anyone.

One intent of naturism nonetheless is not to offend. Most naturist organizations are working to identify areas where naturists may enjoy being nude without bothering anyone.


What is the difference between being a nudist and being a naturist?

Depending on whom you ask, there could be no difference. In Europe, the term naturist is the most common, with nudist being the older term.

In North America, some people use the two words interchangeably. Others define two different philosophies which have nudity in common. Those who find a difference define naturists as closer to nature and more interested in free beaches, and nudists as people who practice nudity more in an urban club setting.

Not all people who practice naturism/nudism like the labels. They don’t see themselves as different from anyone else. As well, not all nude people at a free beach or club espouse the naturist/nudist philosophy.


Isn’t nudity sexual?

Most of the people who visit a naturist club/beach for the first time are surprised by the lack of sexuality. Some expect a sexually charged atmosphere, since in North America, we see others nude in sexual situations such as love scenes in movies, in magazines and in videos.

However, the link between nudity and sexuality is arbitrary. In Victorian times, to see a woman’s knees was very sexual because they were supposed to be hidden all the time. We expose some parts of our bodies which are as sexual as those which we hide. Our lips, for example, are probably as involved in sexuality as our genital areas. Yet people walk around exposing their lips without causing mass arousal.

You will probably find that suggestively clothed people are more arousing than completely nude people. It can be more sexual to wear a bathing suit which subtly hides and emphasizes certain parts of the body.

That nudity implies sexuality is the biggest misconception that naturists have to fight. As a result, you may find them to be over-sensitive to it. This is not to say that naturists are against sexuality. They just believe, like most of society, that there is an appropriate time and place for it. It also means that there is nothing wrong with finding a person attractive, whether he or she is nude or not.


Aren’t all naturists/nudists exhibitionists?

Exhibitionists expose themselves primarily to shock others. Exhibitionism does not occur in naturism. Exhibitionists find no thrill in naturist environments because of the lack of overt sexuality and their inability to shock anyone. Naturists just want to be nude. If they like to be with others, it’s because humans are social creatures.


Is being nude illegal?

This varies greatly by jurisdiction. In Germany, you will find people legally sunbathing nude in city parks. In Denmark, all but two beaches are clothing-optional (i.e. nudity is permitted).

In most western jurisdictions (including Canada) it is legal to be nude on private property so long as you can’t be seen by others outside the property. Consequently, all naturist clubs are legal.

It is the many public, clothing-optional beaches which need further discussion. There are many traditionally clothing-optional beaches in Canada which are not being challenged by the authorities.

In Canada, the courts have determined that “mere nude sunbathing is not of sufficient moral turpitude to support a charge for doing an indecent act” (R. v. Beaupré, 1971, British Columbia Supreme Court). General public nudity is also illegal under Section 174 of the Criminal Code, but the courts have found that “this offence is not aimed at conduct such as swimming nude at an isolated beach, even where the accused misjudges the loneliness of the beach” (R. v. Benolkin, 1977, Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench).

In December 1996, a female former University of Guelph student was acquitted of a charge of indecency for walking topfree in public. The Ontario Court of Appeal overturned her conviction because “there was nothing degrading or dehumanizing in what the appellant did. The scope of her activity was limited and was entirely non-commercial. No one who was offended was forced to continue looking at her. [The court] cannot conclude that what the appellant did exceeded the community standard of tolerance when all of the relevant circumstances are taken into account.”


Doesn’t nudity violate religious beliefs?

Many naturists are religious people and find no contradiction between their beliefs and nudity. Some Christian naturists worship in the nude. Some naturists feel closer to God when they are nude in nature.

Directives against nudity are generally not part of the basic philosophy of a religion. Rather, they are added to the religion out of fear that nudity will lead to indiscriminate sexual activity. Naturism shows that this fear is groundless (see “Isn’t nudity sexual?”).

The Old Testament tells us that God created man and woman in His own image and they were naked. It is difficult to see how God’s image is shameful or obscene. Indeed, the Bible does not condemn nudity itself.


First-Time Questions

What is the difference between a club and a clothing-optional beach?

Clothing-optional (or CO) beaches are public areas which have become nude through use by naturists. Clubs are private grounds which are owned either by individuals or by the members. They are private businesses.

Will I have to undress right away?

No. Naturists understand that you cannot shed years of socialization as soon as you arrive. Most clubs allow visitors to remain dressed at first. You may feel pressure to undress. That feeling is probably self-induced by the fact that you are the only fully dressed person within sight. Funny, isn’t it, to be uncomfortable because you are dressed?

In most clubs, it is not appropriate to swim with a bathing suit. On naturist beaches, there is no expectation that you need to undress, since they are clothing- optional. If you are clothed and appear to be gawking you may be approached by others. Taking off your clothes helps allay suspicion.

Do I have to be nude all the time?

No. Naturists prefer to be nude but dress when appropriate. Clothes keep us warm in cold weather and protect us when doing dangerous work. We just don’t believe that clothes exist to hide our bodies.

In private clubs, the rules vary on when dressing is appropriate. In some clubs, people are nude all the time. In others, you may find that people dress for dinner.

How do I act when talking to others?

It is often difficult for new people to know where to look. To a naturist, there is no difference between being dressed or nude. Try to act as you normally would.

It is OK to look. Out of curiosity you may initially look longer at others’ genitals and breasts. Just don’t stare. In time, you’ll be less curious about these areas and concentrate again on the face and eyes.

Do I have to join something to visit?

Clothing-optional beaches are public and thus do not require membership. Most clubs will allow you two or three visits before you must decide to join. Members of one club are usually allowed to visit other clubs as many times as they want without joining, for an extra daily fee.

How do I find a club/beach?

There are many sources of information. Most naturist organizations, like the FCN, sell guides which list beaches and clubs. Different locations are often reviewed in the organization’s magazine. There are travel agents which specialize in naturist travel. The Internet has also become a large resource of information for naturists.

For more information on finding a club or resort click below:

FCN list of Canadian Clubs | FCN list of Canadian Beaches

What if I meet someone I know?

They are there too, just as nude as you are. They are probably very comfortable with naturism, since they have probably been there before. They will probably be happy to see you. Just think, you have discovered a mutual interest!

Are single people welcome?

All CO beaches and most clubs welcome singles. However, many clubs try to maintain a balance between the sexes. Check ahead for a club’s policy.

What should I take with me?

The same things you would take when going to the beach (except a bathing suit!): a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, two towels (one to sit on), a chair or mattress, something to read, and something to play with (volleyball, Frisbee, etc.). When visiting a club, you will probably need some money. On a CO beach, you may need water and food, since there may not be places to buy anything.


Children and Naturism

Is naturism good for children?

Anyone who has observed children knows that they are enthusiastic naturists. We have never seen young children who are self-conscious when nude. In fact, you may observe them squeal with delight when they are allowed to run around nude. It is only in their later years that they are pressured into being self-conscious and adopt older people’s phobias about the body.

We believe that it is healthier for children to grow up comfortable with their own bodies. We don’t think there is any advantage in teaching them to be ashamed and embarrassed by certain parts of their bodies.

For more information, see: “Children, Social Nudity and Scholarly Study

Is naturism safe for children?

It is clear that being dressed has not kept children safe. The best thing we can do is teach our children the confidence to speak up when people do things which make them uncomfortable. If they are not ashamed of their bodies, they are much more likely to tell their parents when someone does things to them that they don’t like. Whether nude or clothed, children should know that being touched in certain ways is wrong.

Although good parenting is by far the most important factor in raising children, naturism helps to promote their confidence and understanding about their bodies.

Don’t children get confused as to when and where they can be nude?

Everyone has to teach children when and where it is acceptable to be nude. Naturists simply have more places where it is acceptable. Unlike non-naturists, we don’t teach our children that nudity is wrong. We teach them that some people aren’t comfortable with nudity and that sometimes we need to dress for practical reasons (e.g. weather).


Concerns

I’m afraid I’ll get an erection.
What do I do if I am menstruating?
I don’t have a good body, I don’t want others to see me nude.
Isn’t it dangerous to expose myself to so much sun?
Won’t nudity take away intimacy with my partner and desensitize us to sexuality?

What if I get an erection?

This is the most common concern among men. However, we do not know of anyone who actually had an erection on the first visit. The combination of the non-sexual environment and the unfamiliarity of a first-time visit serves to minimize the issue.

In erection is a natural part of life. Naturists realize this and will not take offence as long as it is not being flaunted. If an erection does occur, a strategically placed towel, a dip in a cool pool, or rolling over on your stomach will take care of it.

What do I do if I am menstruating?

Generally, women do the same thing in the naturist world as they do in the clothed world. Many use a tampon. If they prefer, they wear shorts or bikini bottoms. Menstruation is a normal part of being a woman and one which naturists understand.

I don’t have a good body, I don’t want others to see me nude.

The concept of the perfect body is a myth. We believe that the stress caused by the unrealistic expectations of society is very damaging. Naturists practice body acceptance. When you visit a naturist environment, you will find all types of bodies. All shapes, sizes, ages, colours&emdash;many of them with the signs of a full life.

Isn’t it dangerous to expose myself to so much sun?

The removal of a skimpy bathing suit does little to increase your exposure to the sun, but people exposed to the sun should be careful when they enjoy the outdoors. Some evidence is suggesting that moderate sun exposure is good for you. For more details, click here.

Won’t nudity take away intimacy with my partner and desensitize us to sexuality?

Sexuality is in the mind. It is an artificial form of sexuality that causes a person to be aroused merely by seeing a body part which one does not normally see. Attraction does not depend on whether people are nude or not. In fact, you will probably find them more attractive if they are wearing suggestive clothing. We believe that naturists have healthier sexuality, since they are more comfortable with themselves and their bodies. Naturists can enjoy the sexual act with their partner without feeling self-conscious about their nudity.