For other uses, see Naturism (disambiguation).
A group of naturists at a nude beach in Crimea, 2008

Naturism, or nudism, is a cultural and political movement practising, advocating and defending personal and social nudity, most but not all of which takes place on private property. The term may also refer to a lifestyle based on personal, family and/or social nudism.[1]

Naturism may take a number of forms. It may be practised individually, within a family, socially or in public. Additionally, there is also militant naturism, including campaigning and extreme naturism is sometimes considered a separate category.[2]


The XIV Congress of the International Naturist Federation (Agde, France, 1974) defined naturism as:

a way of life in harmony with nature characterised by the practice of communal nudity with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others and for the environment.[3]

Several other terms ("social nudity", "public nudity", "skinny dipping", "sunning", and "clothes-free") have been proposed as alternative terms for naturism, but none has found the same widespread public acceptance as the older terms "naturism" and (in much of the United States) "nudism".

People interested in social nudity can attend clothes-free beaches and other types of ad-hoc nudist events. At these venues, participants generally need not belong to a naturist club.

Many contemporary naturists and naturist organisations feel that the practice of social nudity should be asexual. For various social, cultural, and historical reasons the lay public, the media, and many contemporary naturists and their organisations often oversimplify the relationship between naturism and sexuality. Current research has begun to explore this complex relationship.[4]

Sign at a naturist swimming pool with a warning that no clothing (including underwear) is permitted.

The International Naturist Federation explains:

"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."[1][lower-alpha 1]

The usage and definition of these terms varies geographically and historically.[lower-alpha 2] Though in the United States, naturism and nudism have the same meaning,[6] in Britain there is a clear distinction.[lower-alpha 3]

Nudism is the act of being naked, while naturism is a lifestyle which at various times embraced nature, environment, respect for others, self-respect, crafts, healthy eating, vegetarianism, teetotalism, non-smoking, yoga, physical exercise and pacifism as well as nudity.[lower-alpha 4][lower-alpha 5]

In naturist parlance, textile or textilist is a non-naturist person, non-naturist behaviour or non-naturist facilities. e.g. the textile beach starts at the flag, they are a mixed couple  he is naturist, she is textile. Textile is the predominant term used in the UK ('textilist' is unknown in British naturist magazines including H&E naturist), although some naturists avoid it due to perceived negative or derogatory connotations. Textilist is said to be used interchangeably, but no dictionary definition to this effect exists, nor are there any equivalent examples of use in mainstream literature such as those for textile.[8] Clothing optional and nude optional (US specific) describe a policy or a venue that allows or encourages nudity but tolerates the wearing of clothes. The opposite is clothing compulsory; that is, prohibiting nudity. Adjectival phrases clothes free and clothing free prescribe where naturism is permitted in an otherwise textile environment, or define the preferred state of a naturist.

The social nudity movement includes a large range of variants including "naturism", "nudism", "Freikörperkultur (FKK)", the "free beach movement" as well as generalized "public lands/public nudity" advocacy. There is a large amount of shared history and common themes, issues and philosophy, but differences between these separate movements remain contentious.

See also: labels, associations and terminology for an extended discussion and disambiguation.

Personal and family nudity

Carl Larsson, Model writing postcards, watercolor, 1906

Many people are often nude in the privacy of their home or garden, either alone or with members of the family; they are called at-home-nudists. This may be occasional nudity or as a naturist lifestyle. There are differences of opinion as to whether, and if so to what extent, parents should appear naked in front of their children, and whether children should be nude within the home in the view of their family as well as visitors. This has attracted a great deal of academic study.

A United States study by Alfred Kinsey (19481953) found that 75% of the participants stated that there was never nudity in the home when they were growing up, 5% of the participants said that there was "seldom" nudity in the home, 3% said "often", and 17% said that it was "usual". The study found that there was no significant difference between what was reported by men and by women with respect to frequency of nudity in the home.[9]

Gordon and Schroeder in 1995 reported that parental nudity varies considerably from family to family. They say that "there is nothing inherently wrong with bathing with children or otherwise appearing naked in front of them", noting that doing so may provide an opportunity for parents to provide important information. They note that by ages 5 to 6 children begin to develop a sense of modesty, and recommend to parents who wish to be sensitive to their children's wishes that they limit such activities from that age onwards.[10]

Barbara Bonner in 1999 cautioned against nudity in the home if children exhibit sexual play of a type that is considered problematic.[11]

In a 1995 review of the literature, Paul Okami concluded that there was no reliable evidence linking exposure to parental nudity to any negative effect.[12] Three years later, his team finished an 18-year longitudinal study that showed that, if anything, such exposure was associated with slight beneficial effects, particularly for boys.[13]

Social nudism

A group meal

The rhetoric of the nudism and anti-nudism movements emphasizes freedom from many of the normal constraints which regulate human interaction in nudist settings, although for different reasons. Using data from French and German beaches, this hypothesis was tested using five different indicators. Little significant variation between nudists and non-nudists within French and German settings is found in their patterns of interactional spacing, while more significant main effects for differences of cultures are found regardless of nudity status. As a subculture, nudists would appear to differ from nonnudists only in their propensity to like to sunbathe in the nude. Their nude status would appear to have none of the de-inhibiting effects often attributed to nudism. By contrast, clear cultural differences between German and French cultures are shown consistent with Hall's high-low context distinction and the Francoeur's hot-cool sexuality continuum.[14]

Naturist facilities

At naturist organised events or venues clothing is usually optional, except by swimming pools or sunbathing lawns where complete nudity is expected, weather permitting. This rule is sometimes a source of controversy among some naturists. Staff at a naturist facility are usually required to be clothed due to health and safety regulations.[2]

Facilities for naturists are classified in various ways. A landed or members' naturist club is one that owns its own facilities, while non-landed (or travel) clubs meet at various locations, such as private residences, swimming pools, hot springs, landed clubs and resorts, and rented facilities. Landed clubs can be run by members on democratic lines or by one or more owners who make the rules. In either case, they can determine membership criteria and the obligations of members. This usually involves sharing work necessary to maintain or develop the site.[15]

Families swimming nude at a hot spring in Taiwan

Some clubs have stricter entrance requirements than some traditional 'country clubs', including the requirement to supply references, a sponsoring member, a trial membership, committee approval and/or, criminal background checks. UK clubs are now required to have child-protection policies in place, and designated child-protection officers. Many clubs promote frequent social activities.

The international naturist organizations were mainly composed of representatives of landed clubs.[1] Nudist colony is no longer a favored term, but it is used by naturists as a term of derision for landed clubs that have rigid non-inclusive membership criteria, and in meta-data on naturist websites.

A holiday centre is a facility that specializes in providing apartments, chalets and camping pitches for visiting holidaymakers. The center is run commercially, and visitors are not members and have no say in the management. Most holiday centers expect visitors to hold an INF card, that is, be a member of their national organization, but some have relaxed this restriction, relying on the carrying of a trade card. Holiday centers can be quite small, just a couple of hectares or large occupying over 300 hectares.[lower-alpha 6] In a large holiday centre there will be swimming pools, sports pitches, an entertainment program, kids' clubs, restaurants and supermarkets. Some holiday centres allow regular visitors to purchase their own chalets, and generations of the same families will visit each year.[6] Holiday centres are more tolerant of clothing than members-only clubs; total nudity is usually compulsory in the swimming pools and may be expected on the beaches, while on the football pitches, or in the restaurants in the evening, it is rare.[6]

A naturist resort is, to a European, an essentially urban development where naturism is the norm. Cap d'Agde in France, naturist village Charco del Palo on Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Vera Playa in Spain[16] and Vritomartis[17] in Greece are examples. Some residents use these resorts as a year-round home.

In US usage, a naturist resort can mean a holiday centre.[18]

Freikörperkultur (FKK) literally translated as 'free body culture' is the name for the general movement in Germany. The abbreviation is widely recognised all over Europe and often found on informal signs indicating the direction to a remote naturist beach.

Nude beaches

Clothing is optional at nude beaches (or "free beaches"). A feature of bathing on a nude beach is the anonymity it offers, with membership of a club not being required, nor detailed application processes, nor pre-booking of visits.

In some European countries, such as Denmark,[19] all beaches are clothing optional, while in others like Germany there are naturist sunbathing areas in public parks, e.g., in Munich[20] and Berlin.[21] Beaches in some holiday destinations, such as Crete, are also clothing-optional, except some central urban beaches.[22] There are two centrally located clothes-optional beaches in Barcelona.[23]

Naturism and sports

Naturism encourages a healthy life style, and many naturist clubs at times organize and encourage members to take part in local and international sport events and competitions. The German Association for Free Body Culture (DFK) promotes recreational sports and is a member of the German Olympic Sport Federation (DOSB).

Naturist couple at the Nambassa festival, New Zealand, 1981

Festival naturism

From Woodstock to Edinburgh, and Nambassa in the southern hemisphere communal nudity is commonly recorded at music and counterculture festivals.

The series of 1970s Nambassa hippie festivals held in New Zealand is a further example of non sexualized naturism. Of the 75,000 patrons who attended the 1979 Nambassa 3 day counterculture Festival an estimated 35% of festival attendees spontaneously chose to remove their clothing,[24] preferring complete or part nudity.[25]


Main article: Nudity in History

Nudity in social contexts has been practised in various forms by many cultures at all time periods.[26] In Western society nowadays, social nudity is most frequently encountered in the contexts of bathing, swimming and in saunas, whether in single-sex groups, within the family or with mixed-sex friends, but throughout history and in many tropical cultures until now, nudity is a norm at many sports events and competitions.[27]

It is difficult to nominate exactly when naturism started as a movement. The word 'naturism' was used for the first time in 1778 by a French-speaking Belgian, Jean Baptiste Luc Planchon (1734–1781), and was advocated as a means of improving the hygiène de vie or healthy living.[lower-alpha 7]

The earliest known naturist club in the "western" sense of the word was established in British India in 1891. The 'Fellowship of the Naked Trust' was founded by Charles Edward Gordon Crawford, a widower, who was a District and Sessions Judge for the Bombay Civil Service. The commune was based in Matheran and had just three members at the beginning; Crawford and two sons of an Anglican missionary, Andrew and Kellogg Calderwood. [lower-alpha 8] The commune fell apart when Crawford was transferred to Ratnagiri; he died soon after in 1894.[30]

Max Koch's Freilicht, 1897.

In 1902, a series of philosophical papers was published in Germany by Dr. Heinrich Pudor, under the pseudonym Heinrich Scham, who coined the term Nacktkultur. In 1906 he went on to write a three volume treatise with his new term as its title, which discussed the benefits of nudity in co-education and advocated participating in sports while being free of cumbersome clothing.[31] Richard Ungewitter (Nacktheit, 1906, Nackt, 1908, etc.) proposed that combining physical fitness, sunlight, and fresh air bathing, and then adding the nudist philosophy, contributed to mental and psychological fitness, good health, and an improved moral-life view.[31] Major promoters of these ideas included Adolf Koch and Hans Suren. Germany published the first journal of nudism between 1902 and 1932.[32]

The wide publication of those papers and others, contributed to an explosive worldwide growth of nudism, in which nudists participated in various social, recreational, and physical fitness activities in the nude. The first organized club for nudists on a large scale, Freilichtpark (Free-Light Park), was opened near Hamburg in 1903 by Paul Zimmerman.[31] In 1919, German doctor Kurt Huldschinsky discovered that exposure to sunlight helped to cure rickets in many children, causing sunlight to be associated with improved health.[33]

In France in the early 20th century, the brothers Gaston and André Durville, both of them physicians, studied the effects of psychology, nutrition, and environment on health and healing. They became convinced of the importance of natural foods and the natural environment on human well-being and health. They named this concept French: naturisme. The profound effect of clean air and sunlight on human bodies became evident to them and so nudity became a part of their naturism.

Naturism became a more widespread phenomenon in the 1920s, in Germany, the United Kingdom, France and other European countries and spread to the United States where it became established in the 1930s.

By 1951, the national federations united to form the International Naturist Federation or INF.[2] Some naturists preferred not to join clubs, and after 1945, pressure was put to designate beaches for naturist use. From the middle of the 20th century, with changing leisure patterns, commercial organisations began opening holiday resorts to attract naturists who expected the same – or better – standards of comfort and amenity offered to non-naturists. More recently, naturist holiday options have expanded to include cruises.[31]


Finnish Sauna (1802)

Naturism had many different philosophical sources and means many things to different people.[34] There is no one definition. In 1974, the INF defined naturism as:

a way of life in harmony with nature characterised by the practice of social nudity with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others and for the environment.[3]

At one end of the spectrum are the nudists who just enjoy a nude life style, and at the other are the naturists, who have deeply held beliefs and see communal nudity as just one of many important principles.

The naturist philosophy has several sources, many of which can be traced back to early 20th century health and fitness philosophies in Germany and England, although the concepts of returning to nature and creating equality have much deeper roots.

Naturist writers

Naturist ideals

Family in Praia do Abricó, Brazil

Individuals have formed naturist groups for a variety of specific purposes.[2] It is generally agreed by naturist organisations that eroticism and blatant sexuality have no place in naturism and are, in fact, antithetical to its ideals. Reasons that have at times been given:

Naturism and the romantics

Walt Whitman American writer, A Sun-bathed Nakedness:

Never before did I get so close to Nature; never before did she come so close to me... Nature was naked, and I was also... Sweet, sane, still Nakedness in Nature! - ah if poor, sick, prurient humanity in cities might really know you once more! Is not nakedness indecent? No, not inherently. It is your thought, your sophistication, your fear, your respectability, that is indecent. There come moods when these clothes of ours are not only too irksome to wear, but are themselves indecent.[37]

Henry David Thoreau, In wildness is the preservation of the world., Walking:

We cannot adequately appreciate this aspect of nature if we approach it with any taint of human pretense. It will elude us if we allow artifacts like clothing to intervene between ourselves and this Other. To apprehend it, we cannot be naked enough.[37]

Naturism was part of a literary movement in the late 1800s (see the writings of André Gide) which also influenced the art movements of the time specifically Henri Matisse and other Fauve painters. This movement was based on the French concept of joie de vivre, the idea of reveling freely in physical sensations and direct experiences and a spontaneous approach to life.[38]

Naturism for health

Sunlight has been shown to be beneficial in some skin conditions and enables the body to make vitamin D,[39] but with the increased awareness of skin cancer, wearing of sunscreen is now part of the culture.[39] Sun exposure prompts the body to produce nitric oxide that helps support the cardiovascular system and the feelgood brain-chemical serotonin. [40]

World Naked Bike Ride

WNBR passing Holborn underground station 11 June 2016

The World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is an international clothing-optional bike ride and exercise in public nudity, that has developed outside the organised naturism movement. Participants plan, meet and ride together en masse on human-powered transport (the vast majority on bicycles, but some on skateboards and inline skates), to "deliver a vision of a cleaner, safer, body-positive world."[41] The WBNR shares some aspects of the philosophy of naturism in that it promotes a return to healthy exercise in unpolluted air at the same time promoting positive body image.


USA: 1983/2000 Gallup poll
Year 1983 2000
Question Yes No Yes No
Do you believe that people who enjoy nude sunbathing should be able to do so without interference from officials as long as they do so at a beach that is accepted for that purpose? 72 24 80 17
Local and state governments now set aside public land for special types of recreation such as snowmobiling, surfing and hunting. Do you think special and secluded areas should be set aside for people who enjoy nude sunbathing? 39 54 48 48
Have you, personally, ever gone "skinny dipping" or nude sunbathing in a mixed group of men and women at a beach, at a pool, or somewhere else? 15 83 25 73
How we (British people) discovered naturism:
Beach abroad 29%
Beach in UK 20%
Newspaper 15%
Friend 9%
Parents 8%
Conviction 6%
TV/Radio 5%
The Web 3%
H&E magazine 3%
Other 2%
Ever been member of a club?
Yes 58.5%
No 41.5%
Do you use UK naturist beaches?
Often 22.4%
Sometimes 40.1%
Rarely 18.7%
Never 18.7%
If you use a naturist holiday facility abroad:
Self-catering 58.5%
Hotel 41.5%
Own Tent 12.7%
Hire Caravan 10%
Own Caravan 8.7%
Bed and Breakfast 6.6%
Friends 4.4%
Motor home 4.2%
Own accommodation 3.1%
Hire Tent 2.4%
Other 3.3%

Naturism in Europe


In Finnish culture, nudism is considered to be a relatively normal way to live. It is not uncommon to see entire families spending time together naked. Families may be naked while bathing in a sauna, swimming in a pool, or playing on a beach, and it's not unusual to see children playing naked in a kindergarten or family yard for example. Nudity as a whole is considered less taboo than many other countries.[44][45][46][47][48]


Main article: Naturism in France

In 1903 la Revue des deux mondes published a report on German naturism and S. Gay created a naturist community at Bois-Fourgon. In 1907, supported by his superiors, Abbé Legrée encouraged the students at his catholic college to bathe nude on the rocky beaches near Marseille.

Sign on the beach at Cap d'Agde

Marcel Kienné de Mongeot is credited with starting naturism in France in 1920. His family had suffered from tuberculosis, and he saw naturism as a cure and a continuation of the traditions of the ancient Greeks. In 1926, he started the magazine Vivre intégralement (later called Vivre) and the first French naturist club, Sparta Club at Garambouville, near Evreux. The court action that he initiated, established that nudism was legal on private property that was fenced and screened.[2]

Randonue in Les Concluses, Gard, 2008

Drs. André and Gaston Durville bought a 70 hectare site on the Île du Levant where they established the village of Héliopolis. The village was open to the public. In 1925 Dr François Fougerat de David de Lastours wrote a thesis on heliotherapy. and in that year opened the Club gymnique de France. In 1936, the naturist movement was officially recognised.[2]

Albert and Christine Lecocq were active members of many of these clubs, but after disagreements left and In 1944 Albert and Christine Lecocq founded the Club du Soleil with members in 84 cities. In 1948 they founded the FFN, in 1949 they started the magazine, Vie au Soleil and in 1950 opened the CHM Montalivet, the world's first naturist holiday centre where the INF was formed.[2]

The naturist village Leucate and Cap d'Agde offers a different form of social nudity. Euronat is the largest holiday centre (335ha) situated 10 km north of Montalivet. Naturism employs more than 3000 people, and is estimated to be worth 250 million Euro to the French economy. France is represented on the INF by the FFN.


Main article: Naturism in Germany

German naturism was part of the Lebensreform movement and the Wandervogel youth movement of 1896, from Steglitz, Berlin which promoted ideas of fitness and vigour. At the same time doctors of the Natural Healing Movement were using heliotherapy, treating diseases such as TB, rheumatism and scrofula with exposure to sunlight.[35]

Nude beach on the Unterbacher See, near Düsseldorf, Germany

Nacktkultur, a term coined in 1903 by Heinrich Pudor, flourished.[49] Nacktkultur connected nudity, vegetarianism and social reform. It was practised in a network of 200 members clubs. The movement gained prominence in the 1920s as offering a health giving life-style with Utopian ideals. Germany published the first naturist journal between 1902 and 1932.[32] It became politicised by radical socialists who believed it would lead to classlessness and a breaking down of society. It became associated with pacificism.[50]

In 1926, Adolf Koch established a school of naturism in Berlin; encouraging a mixing of the sexes, open air exercises, and a programme of "sexual hygiene". In 1929, the Berlin school hosted the first International Congress on Nudity.[49]

Young East German women at a naturist beach in 1988.

During the National Socialist Gleichschaltung era, all naturist clubs had to register with the Reichsbund für Leibesübungen, which meant excluding Jews and Communists. Also, they had to keep all activities hidden in the countryside where there was little chance of being seen by others. The status as a West German sports federation member gave the clubs rights and privileges (e.g. tax exemptions) so the naturist clubs remained in the federation after the war had ended.

After the war, East Germans were free to practice naturism, chiefly at beaches rather than clubs (private organizations being regarded as potentially subversive). Naturism became a large element in DDR politics. The Proletarische Freikörperkulturbewegung subsection of the Workers Sports Organisation had 60,000 members.[35] Today, following reunification there are many clubs, parks and beaches open to naturists.[1] though nudity has become less common in the former eastern zone. Germans are typically the most commonly seen foreigners at nude beaches in France and around Europe.[51]


Nude men at the Przystanek Woodstock festival, 2014

First reported naturist society was established in 1897 in Grudziądz. In pre-war and post-war Poland, naturism was practised in closed and secluded areas. Reported places for naturism were Zaleszczyki (in today's Ukraine) and Otwock. Under the communism regime, Poland's naturism became unofficial and was practiced mostly by the artistic boheme near Krynica Morska, Międzyzdroje and Dębki.

In the early 1980s naturism became popular mostly due to increased interest in media. As the pop song "Chałupy Welcome To" (about the naturist beach in Chałupy, featuring beach nudity in the clip) became the 1985 summer hit in Poland, the nude seaside locations like Chałupy or Rowy became known to an average Polish sunbather. Polish Naturist Society was formed and after the number of lawsuits, naturism became tolerated in selected "unofficial" beaches and distant spots.

In today's Poland naturism is practiced in number of the seaside and inland beaches. Most Polish beaches are actually clothes-optional rather than naturist. Among the most popular locations are Międzydroje-Lubiewo, Grzybowo, Rowy, Dębki, Gdańsk-Stogi and Piaski. The most popular inland locations include Warsaw (Wał Miedzeszyński), Kazimierz Dolny and Kryspinów near Kraków. In the winter season, naturism is practiced by organized groups in Warsaw and Tri-City. Public naturist events are held bi-monthly in Poznań-Koziegłowy and Łódź waterpark.


Main article: Naturism in Portugal

Naturism in Portugal had its first historical record around 1920, linked to the Portuguese Naturist Society, of which the anarcho-syndicalist José Peralta was a prominent member. Nudity was already being practiced on Costa da Caparica beaches. With the beginning of the New State authoritarian regime in the 1930s, the naturist movement was limited to vegetarian and alternative medicines, since nudity was banned and associated to the crime of "indecency". Only after the end of the New State regime in 1974 (April, 25th) the activities linked to the practice of nudity were resumed.

The Federação Portuguesa de Naturismo (Portuguese Naturist Federation) or FPN was founded on the March 1st, 1977, at a meeting in Lisbon.

At the present, there are seven official naturist beaches in Portugal. Besides these, there are several dozens of beaches were the practice of naturism is common. There are also several naturist campings and resorts.


Public nudity on the beach is, in general, not illegal in Spain, however some local municipalities do outlaw nudity on beaches that are with in city limits.[52] Topless sunbathing is possible on beaches in front of smaller villages.

United Kingdom

Main article: British Naturism
Duke's Mound, Brighton. The naturist section of the beach is protected by an artificial bank of shingle

In the United Kingdom, the first official nudist club was established in Wickford, Essex in 1924. According to Michael Farrar, writing for British Naturism the club adopted the name "Moonella Group" from the name of the owner of the ground, Moonella, and called its site The Camp. Moonella, who was still living in 1965 but whose identity remains to be discovered, had inherited a house with land in 1923 and made it available to certain members of the New Gymnosophy Society. This society had been founded a few years before by H.C. Booth, M.H. Sorensen and Rex Wellbye under the name of the English Gymnosophical Society. It met for discussions at the Minerva Cafe at 144 High Holborn in London, the headquarters of the Women's Freedom League. Those who were permitted to join the Moonella Group were carefully selected, and the club was run by an "aristocracy" of the original members, all of whom had "club names" to preserve their anonymity. The club closed in 1926 because of building on adjacent land.[53][54]

At the World Naked Bike Ride in Brighton, 2014

By 1943 there were a number of these so-called "sun clubs" and together they formed the British Sun Bathers Association or BSBA. In 1954 a group of clubs unhappy with the way the BSBA was being run split off to form the Federation of British Sun Clubs or FBSC. In 1961, the BSBA Annual Conference agreed that the term nudist was inappropriate and should be discarded in favour of naturist.[53] The two organisations rivalled each other before eventually coming together again in 1964 as the Central Council for British Naturism or CCBN. This organisation structure has remained much the same but it is now called British Naturism which is often abbreviated to BN.[53] BN is currently converting to a company limited by guarantee.

The first official nude beach was opened at Fairlight Glen in Covehurst Bay near Hastings in 1978 (not to be confused with Fairlight Cove, which is 2 km to the east) followed later by the beaches at Brighton and Fraisthorpe. Bridlington opened in April 1980.[53]

Naturism in North America


In Canada, individuals around the country became interested in nudism, skinny-dipping, and physical culture in the early part of the 20th century. After 1940 they had their own Canadian magazine, Sunbathing & Health, which occasionally carried local news. Canadians had scattered groups in several cities during the 1930s and 1940s, and some of these groups attracted enough interest to form clubs on private land.[15] The most significant clubs were the Van Tan Club, formed in 1939, and continues today in North Vancouver, BC.,[15] and, in Ontario, the Sun Air Club.

Canadians who served in the military during the Second World War met like-minded souls from across the country, and often visited clubs while in Europe. They were a ready pool of recruits for post-war organizers. A few years later, the wave of post-war immigration brought many Europeans with their own extensive experience, and they not only swelled the ranks of membership, but often formed their own clubs, helping to expand nudism from coast to coast.[15]

Most of those clubs united in the Canadian Sunbathing Association, which affiliated with the American Sunbathing Association in 1954. Several disagreements between eastern and western members of the CSA resulted in the breakup of CSA into the Western Canadian Sunbathing Association (WCSA) and the Eastern Canadian Sunbathing Association (ECSA) in 1960. The ECSA endured much in-fighting over the next decade and a half, leading to its official demise in 1978. The WCSA continues today as the American Association for Nude Recreation – Western Canadian Region (, a region of the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) which itself was formerly known as the ASA.[15]

In 1977 the Fédération québécoise de naturisme (FQN) was founded in Quebec, by Michel Vaïs, who had experienced European naturism at Montalivet. In 1985 the Federation of Canadian Naturists (FCN) was formed with the support of the FQN. In 1988 the FQN and FCN formed the FQN-FCN Union as the official Canadian representative in the International Naturist Federation (INF).[15]

United States

A group of naturists at Haulover Park.

In 1925, Katherine and Herman Shoshinki were familiar with nudism from Germany from 1918 to 1923. Kurt Barthel founded the American League for Physical Culture in 1929 and organized the first nudist event. In about 1930 they organized the American Gymnosophical Association. Barthel founded America's first official nudist camp, Sky Farm in New Jersey, in May, 1932.[55] Around 1932, AGA established the Rock Lodge Club as a nudist facility in Stockholm, New Jersey and Ilsley Boone, a Dutch Reformed minister, formed the Christian naturism movement. Naturism began expanding nationwide.[56][57][58][59] Nudism venues were teetotal until 1970,[60]

The American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) is the national naturist organization. Arnd Krüger compared nudists in Germany and the United States and came to the conclusion that in Germany the racial aspects (Zuchtwahl) were important for the breakthrough (e.g. the Commanding General of the Army served as patron for nudists events), while in the U.S. nudism was far more commercial and had thus more difficulties.[61] The AANR withdrew from the INF in 2010.

In 2009, a campaign to promote Nudism in the United States occurred with an effort by AANR to record the largest simultaneous Skinny Dip at several U.S. Clubs and beaches, occurring on July 11 of that year.

In 2010, A new organization formed called Young Naturists and Nudists America which is mostly focused around the younger generation as well as social issues, such as body image.[62]

In 2014, an organization called Unconstitutional Arkansas was created to highlight the unconstitutionality of laws that prohibit or impede nudism. The organization uses Arkansas law § 5-68-204 as a case study, but claims all anti-nudism laws infringe the constitutional right to assemble.[63]

Naturism in Asia

Overall, public nudity in Asia is not tolerated although some traditional, religious or cultural nudity has survived the introduction of Western moral values against nudity, such as the Jain Digambara monks in India, hot springs in Taiwan and Japan and some traditional tribes in Papua. Nudism and naked recreation is slowly developing in some countries, mainly Indonesia (Bali) and Thailand. Nudists meet on the internet (e.g. and organize activities in remote or private locations. Several nudists also have their own blogs.


In the seventies, nudity on Bali's remote and deserted beaches was common but with the massive growth of tourism, these beaches have disappeared. In 2002 nudity was declared illegal on Petitenget Beach, the last beach in Seminyak that tolerated discreet nudity. Individuals began to practice nudity in private villas and resorts, first for gay men only at the Laki Uma Villa and in 2004 the first adult-only nudist resort for both genders, Bali au Naturel, opened its doors and expanded from 3 to 15 rooms and added from two more swimming pools.[64]


Nudism is considered taboo in Nepal. Although there are no laws governing nudism, people may be detained, arrested and fined for public nudity. Nevertheless, many Hindu male sages practice nudism and they are not legally detained. Nudist sages can be seen in Pashupatinath.


Nudism has been successfully introduced in Pattaya (Chan Resort and more recently La Sala Villa), and several other small nudist resorts have been created all over Thailand. A gay hotel and sauna (Sansuk Hotel) located in Pattaya now also authorizes nudity in and around the swimming pool.[65]

Issues in social nudity

Naturism addresses, challenges and explores a myriad of sometimes taboo subjects: stereotypes and mores relating to the nude appearance of the human body, mixed sex nudity, personal space, human sexuality, gymnophobia, modesty, physical attractiveness, vanity, objectification, exploitation and consent. It can thus be controversial. Descamps assembled a list of criticisms of naturism: it is too cold; normal bodies look ugly—it is only for the physically beautiful; it is too embarrassing; it is against the laws of nature, against the law, or against religion; "nudism makes me think of sex"; it is for primitive people or animals.[2]

Naturism can sometimes contain aspects of eroticism, although the debate about this is often simplified and seen negatively in the media and the public mind and by many modern naturists and naturist organisations. Historically the experience and discussion of erotic feelings during naturist activities such as dance and gymnastics played an important part in early Germanic naturism and formed part of its 'positive' connection with nature. However, it was when naturism arrived in the more sexually conservative cultures of the UK and the United States that the expression and discussion of eroticism within naturism became frowned upon.[4]

Smith states

the main reason younger people are not becoming naturists is the inability of modern naturism to engage with the issue of sexuality. While it is true that "naturism became popular in a healthy outdoor lifestyle", this lifestyle also included a recognition that, socially, nudity could sometimes be erotic. It was only when naturism arrived in a more sexually conservative Britain that sexual feelings were censored out to make naturism culturally acceptable.[4]

This statement is in response to the quote "The world of naturism is in trouble. Membership is falling, and fewer young people than ever are getting involved. Has the great nude adventure run its course? "[66]

Smith and King pose the following points in their 2009 peer reviewed paper Naturism and Sexuality:broadening our approach to sexual wellbeing [4]

  1. The relationship between naturism and sexuality is managed through social and spatial segregation. In commercial naturist resorts eroticism and sexuality is controlled by applying heteronormative values and strict rules and policing. In other environments eroticism is moderated through self-censorship of actions and behaviour. This can make the practice of naturism an isolating, repressive and anxious experience rather than a liberating and social one.
  2. Mainstream naturism relies on discriminatory and dishonest practices to manage sexuality that limits the diversity of the naturist population and presents an image and culture that lacks integrity and transparency.
  3. Mainstream naturism limits sexual feelings to physical arousal and sexual exploration to deviancy while reinforcing a penetrative understanding of sexual behaviour. This may limit the educative potential of nudity in expanding our experience and understanding of sexual feelings beyond the genitals.
  4. Naturist environments can offer unique public spaces to explore sexual feelings and experiences that may be repressed or limited in conventional public spaces and sexual relationships.
  5. Mainstream naturism may pathologise those who enjoy the eroticism of nudity. An asexual discourse can leave individuals who experience nudity as erotic feeling uneasy, guilty, defensive and marginalised within the naturist community, in the same way that popular culture often pathologises and marginalises naturists.
  6. Mainstream naturism may lead to conscious and unconscious repression of sexual feelings and behaviour that limits the relationship between naturism and nature.
  7. Sexual feelings and behaviour are often negotiated through unspoken consent based on the ebb and flow of feelings and body language. This subtle and non-verbal consent runs counter to government guidelines on clear verbal consent in sexual behaviour. It is possible that the fear of not obtaining this kind of consent may limit future sexual exploration in naturist environments. It is also possible that frank sexual behaviour may sometimes broaden peoples' sexual feelings and consequently enhance sexual well-being. Currently this positive relationship between naturism and sexuality remains undiscussed and repressed.
  8. Some naturist environments can induce sexual feelings. Nudity in public environments that did not tolerate nudity was cited several times as a source of sexual feelings. Sensory rich environments were also cited as potential trigger for sexual feelings, while personal spaces may legitimize an environment in which nudity can become sexual without it contradicting the public image of naturism.
  9. The present law to combat deviant sexual behaviour in a public space is inappropriate for the relationship between nudity and deviancy does not reside in the display of genitals but in the behaviour attached to the nudity. The abuse of nudity to cause ‘alarm’ and ‘distress’ can only exist in an environment in which nudity is absent from everyday spaces. By legislating against public nudity and sexual behaviour, the sexual tension and ‘shock’ value created by being nude in a public space may encourage those who may wish to use nudity as a form of abusive, exploitative and harassing behaviour.

Issues for the naturist community

Many countries and states have laws which adversely affect naturists. Oftentimes, these laws are intended to address "indecent exposure", but are so broadly written that they criminalize ordinary, non-sexual nudity. Some laws, however, specifically target naturism. For example, in Arkansas in the United States, not only is nudism illegal (even on private property), it is a crime to "promote" or "advocate" (i.e. express a favourable opinion about) nudism.[63]

Any social group is said to go through four phases: forming, storming, norming, performing, wrote Bruce Tuckman in 1965. In this context one can understand some of the current pressures on various aspects of naturism:

Naturist and nudist magazines

Magazines published by, for or purportedly about naturists can be grouped:

Magazines in the second and, occasionally, third grouping feature naturist editorial and advertising, while some naturists argue over which magazines belonged in which of these categories – these views may change as publishers and editors change. Many clubs and groups have benefitted from magazines which, while not exclusively or even predominantly naturist in character, made naturist information available to many who would not otherwise have been aware of it.[15] (These days, the information and advertising provided online, and the wide availability of free online porn, has meant the disappearance of old-style 'skin' magazines presenting significant glamour content masquerading as or alongside naturist content. Naturist magazines have to appeal strongly to naturists to succeed – they cannot sit on the fence between naturism and glamour.) Some naturists still feel that the worthwhile editorial content in some magazines is not a fair balance for the disapproved-of photographic content.[15]

Naturist and nudist photography, films and videos

Some naturist clubs have been willing to allow filming by the media on their grounds, though content that proved not to be of genuine naturism can end up being parodied by the media as the norm.[71]

Some commercial 'naturist' DVDs are dominated by imagery of naked children. Such material can be marketed in ways that appear to appeal directly to paedophile inclinations, and ownership of these DVDs (and their earlier video cassette incarnations) has resulted in successful British prosecutions for possession of indecent images of children.[72][73][74] One case was appealed, unsuccessfully, to the European Court of Human Rights.[75] The precedents set by the court cases mean that possession in Britain of any naturist image of a child is, potentially, grounds for prosecution.

Photo shoots, including major high-profile works by Spencer Tunick, are done on public places including beaches.[lower-alpha 9]

See also


  1. The Hannover based Bund für freies Lebensgestaltung wrote "Naturism is a new lifestyle caring for the body, the soul and the spirit in society. We live the ideal of freedom, conscious of its limits, taking up our responsibility. The expression of our will is nudity, our admission of sincerity.
  2. In his book, Cinema Au Naturel,[5] author Mark Storey states "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 America 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".
  3. The English version of the Agde definition was translated differently in Guide Mondial de Naturisme 96 97.[7] Naturism (American "nudism") is a way of life in harmony with nature characterised by the practice of communal nudity with the intention of encouraging self-respect, respect for others and the environment.
  4. Ray Connett, Sunny Trails, in Sunbathing for Health Sept 1947 p 8, July 1957 p 14 writes that Naturism is a weasel word that can mean anything
  5. Presently, Mark Storey is authoring an article detailing historical use of the terms naturism and nudism and how they differ between different cultures, countries, and time periods in history. In a telephone interview by Daniel Johnson on 15 April 2006 with Storey he stated that "a draft of the piece was posted on the "References" page of The Naturist Society web site for a few weeks". At the time of its former release in October 2004 it was titled Naturism, Nudism, or Nameless? A History of Terms He is planning on publishing a revised article as soon as additional information and errors are corrected.
  6. The three biggest centres on the Médoc are Euronat 335 ha, CHM 175 ha with a 3 km beach, and La Jenny 127 ha
  7. "Le naturisme est la doctrine qui consiste à laisser agir la nature plutot que d'intervenir de manière artificielle".[28]
  8. Crawford wrote a series of letters discussing his new club and its philosophy to the socialist Edward Carpenter between 1891 and 1892. In his letters to Carpenter, Crawford described his daily activities.
    "Calderwood and I were up at Matheran having two days’ holiday to spend naked from breakfast to evening [...] in June, Calderwood and I had a grand day. We went away to a bungalow in the Tulsi Lake without servants and spent from dinner time Saturday till 5 pm Sunday in nature’s garb".
    The club's dress code required full nudity, with exceptions made for accessories such as rings and glasses. Members of the club had to be plainspoken about sexual related matters and all taboos were consciously discarded. Carpenter suggested that a female branch should be added to the commune, although this was not achieved.[29]
  9. Photography in public nude beaches Nudists who visit public nude beaches may be photographed by street photographers, social documentary photographers, photojournalists or other kinds of photographers without the nudists' knowledge and in the United States and most democratic countries the photographers have the law on their side as no individual has an expectation of privacy in a public place and photographers are not required to have the naturists' consent before photographing them or publishing and selling the pictures or videos.[76] In many countries there exist private nudist areas in which photography is not allowed and naturists who wish to not be photographed can enjoy their activities there. However, naturists who wish to not be photographed in public nude beaches have found various ways to make the photographers leave the beach, such as photographing the photographer and publishing such photos. Some nude beaches provide fences that block the view from nearby streets.[77]


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  3. 1 2 Deschênes, Stéphane (4 January 2016). "The Official INF-FNI Definition of Naturism" (PDF). INF-FNI. International Naturist Federation. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
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  5. Storey 2003, p. 11.
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  27. "naked sport events throughout history". active naturists. 2012-08-30. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  28. Planchon, Jean Baptiste Luc (1778). La naturisme, ou La nature considérée dans les maladies & leur traitement conforme à la doctrine & à la pratique d'Hippocrate et de ses sectateurs. Varlé.
  29. "World's first nudist colony was in Thane (and this man proved it)". Retrieved 2012-12-17.
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  33. 10 inventions that owe their success to World War One
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  36. 1 2 Discussed in:Veltheim, Andrew, Naturism: Naked Beneath Your Clothing, archived from the original on 2010-04-08, retrieved 2012-04-24
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  39. 1 2 BUPA's Health Information Team (24 March 2004), Hot topic – Vitamin D, sunlight and cancer, retrieved 2007-12-02
  40. "New research reveals sun benefits that AREN'T linked to vitamin D". Mail Online. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
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  42. "1999 National Survey on Canadian Attitudes Towards Nudity". Federation of Canadian Naturists. Ontario, Canada: Federation of Canadian Naturists. 1999. Retrieved 2011-09-20.
  43. "BN Members Questionnaire", British Naturism, 164: 26, Summer 2005, ISSN 0264-0406 and two next issue.
  44. Mapes, Terri. "Nudism in Finland". about travel. Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  45. Terp, Peter. "Naturism in Finland". Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  46. Duner, Paul. "A year and a day". Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  47. Woycke, James. "Au Naturel: The History of Nudism in Canada". Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  48. White, Linda. "The Independent Woman's Guide to Europe". Retrieved June 24, 2015.
  49. 1 2 Toepfer 1997.
  50. Hau 2003.
  51. "". Archived from the original on 2 March 2012. Retrieved 2007-12-02.
  52. Heckle, Harold (21 May 2016). "No Clothes? No Beach. Court Rules Against Spanish Naturists". ABC News. Mardid. Retrieved 2016-05-22.
  53. 1 2 3 4 Farrar, Michael (2007), The history of naturism – a timeline, retrieved 2008-01-02
  54. Farrar, Michael (2007), The Moonella Group, retrieved 2008-01-02
  55. Ellensburg Daily Record, Aug 2, 1932
  56. "The History of Social Nudism – Nudist History". Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  57. History of Naturism
  58. "Body Acceptance: A Brief History of Social Nudity". Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  59. "Roberts v. Clement". Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  60. The Bulletin (AANR), March 2010, p.6
  61. Krüger 1992, p. 343.
  62. Fallon, Claire. "Take It Off! The Fine Art Of Getting Naked In A Clothed World". Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  63. 1 2 "Arkansas Law § 5-68-204 Violates First Amendment Rights".
  65. Nudity and naturism in Pattaya Sawatdee Gay Thailand
  66. Barkham 2007.
  67. Boura, Malcolm (Summer 2007), "Campaigning", British Naturism, BN 172: 31, ISSN 0264-0406
  68. Parke, Erin (24 July 2016). "Broome nudists in battle for beach as naturism declines". ABC News. Retrieved 2016-07-24.
  69. "Get naked or take a hike, angry nudists tell 'lookie-loos'". CBC News. 21 July 2016. Retrieved 2016-07-24.
  70. Botelho-Urbanski, Jessica (20 July 2016). "Hanlan's Point nudists want beach-goers to bare all". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2016-07-24.
  71. Edwards, Adam (10 May 2006), "Stark naked ambition", The Daily Telegraph, London: Sunday Telegraph, retrieved 2007-12-02 gives a history of naturism, written in a personal style that attempts to use this type of humour.
  72. "Gay reverend fined over 'indecent' images of boys", Irish Independent, retrieved 3 April 2014
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  75. O'Carroll vs the United Kingdom, 15 May 2005, retrieved 3 April 2014
  76. NJ 2011.
  77. Trip Advisor



Journal articles

  • Buchy, Philip Edward (2005), A Nudist Resort, thesis for MA, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, Department of Architecture, retrieved 2007-11-29 
  • Martin, Richard (1991). "The Deceit of Dress: Utopian Visions and the Arguments against Clothing". Utopian Studies. Penn State University Press (4): 79–84. JSTOR 20718951. 
  • Weinberg, Martin S. (1966). "Becoming a nudist". Journal for the Study of Interpersonal Processes. 21 (1): 15–24. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  • Smith, H. W. (1980). "Does Shedding one's Clothes Imply Shedding one's Culture? A Crosscultural Test of Nudism Claims". International Review of Modern Sociology. 10 (2): 255–268. JSTOR 41420756. 
  • B., J. B. (1935). "Criminal Law and Procedure: Indecent Exposure: Nudism". Michigan Law Review. 33 (6): 936. doi:10.2307/1281779. ISSN 0026-2234. 
  • Barcan, Ruth (2001). "'The Moral Bath of Bodily Unconsciousness': Female nudism, bodily exposure and the gaze". Continuum. 15 (3): 303–317. doi:10.1080/10304310120086795. ISSN 1030-4312. 
  • Barcan, Ruth (2004). ""Regaining what Mankind has Lost through Civilisation:" Early Nudism and Ambivalent Moderns". Fashion Theory. 8 (1): 63–82. doi:10.2752/136270404778051870. ISSN 1362-704X. 
  • Bell, D.; Holliday, R. (2000). "Naked as Nature Intended". Body & Society. 6 (3-4): 127–140. doi:10.1177/1357034X00006003007. ISSN 1357-034X. 
  • Bullough, Vern L. (1997). "In memory of William Hartman". Journal of Sex Research. 34 (4): 427–428. doi:10.1080/00224499709551910. ISSN 0022-4499. 
  • Cleminson, Richard (2004). "Making sense of the body: anarchism, nudism and subjective experience". Bulletin of Spanish Studies. 81 (6): 697–716. doi:10.1080/1475382042000272256. ISSN 1475-3820. 
  • Crosby, Donald A. (2003). "Naturism as a Form of Religious Naturalism". Zygon. 38 (1): 117–120. doi:10.1111/1467-9744.00484. ISSN 0591-2385. 
  • Daley, Caroline (2005). "From bush to beach: nudism in Australasia". Journal of Historical Geography. 31 (1): 149–167. doi:10.1016/j.jhg.2004.03.020. ISSN 0305-7488. 
  • Downs, J. F. (1966). ": Social Nudism in America . Fred Ilfeld, Jr., Roger Lauer.". American Anthropologist. 68 (1): 260–262. doi:10.1525/aa.1966.68.1.02a00600. ISSN 0002-7294. 
  • Kerin, Rani (2006). "'Natives Allowed to Remain Naked': An Unorthodox Approach to Medical Work at Ernabella Mission". Health and History. 8 (1): 80. doi:10.2307/40111530. ISSN 1442-1771. 
  • Makarova, Veronika (2013). "Doukhobor 'freedom seeker' nudism: Exploring the sociocultural roots". Culture and Religion. 14 (2): 131–145. doi:10.1080/14755610.2012.706228. ISSN 1475-5610. 
  • McLellan, Josie (2007). "State Socialist Bodies: East German Nudism from Ban to Boom*". The Journal of Modern History. 79 (1): 48–79. doi:10.1086/517544. ISSN 0022-2801. 
  • Morris, N. J. (2009). "Naked in nature: naturism, nature and the senses in early 20th century Britain". Cultural Geographies. 16 (3): 283–308. doi:10.1177/1474474009105049. ISSN 1474-4740. 
  • Okami, Paul; Olmstead, Richard; Abramson, Paul R.; Pendleton, Laura (1998). "Early Childhood Exposure to Parental Nudity and Scenes of Parental Sexuality ("Primal Scenes"): An 18-Year Longitudinal Study of Outcome". Archives of Sexual Behavior. 27 (4): 361–384. doi:10.1023/A:1018736109563. ISSN 0004-0002. PMID 9681119. 
  • Okami, Paul (1995). "Childhood exposure to parental nudity, parent‐child co‐sleeping, and "primal scenes": A review of clinical opinion and empirical evidence". Journal of Sex Research. 32 (1): 51–63. doi:10.1080/00224499509551774. ISSN 0022-4499. 
  • Schrank, S. (2012). "Naked Houses: The Architecture of Nudism and the Rethinking of the American Suburbs". Journal of Urban History. 38 (4): 635–661. doi:10.1177/0096144211434988. ISSN 0096-1442. 
  • Shaffer, M. S. (2008). "Marguerite S. Shaffer on the Environmental Nude". Environmental History. 13 (1): 126–139. doi:10.1093/envhis/13.1.126-a. ISSN 1084-5453. JSTOR 25473196 via Jstor. (subscription required (help)). 
  • Smith, Glenn; King, Michael (2009). "Naturism and sexuality: Broadening our approach to sexual wellbeing". Health & Place. 15 (2): 439–446. doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2008.08.002. ISSN 1353-8292. 
  • Smith, H. W. (1980). "A modest test of cross-cultural differences in sexual modesty, embarrassment and self-disclosure". Qualitative Sociology. 3 (3): 223–241. doi:10.1007/BF00987137. ISSN 0162-0436. 
  • Warren, H. C. (1933). "Social nudism and the body taboo.". Psychological Review. 40 (2): 160–183. doi:10.1037/h0073466. ISSN 0033-295X. 
  • Weinberg, Martin S. (1965). "Sexual Modesty, Social Meanings, and the Nudist Camp". Social Problems. 12 (3): 311–318. doi:10.2307/798936. ISSN 0037-7791. 
  • Woodall, Ellen E. (2003). "The American Nudist Movement: From Cooperative to Capital, the Song Remains the Same". The Journal of Popular Culture. 36 (2): 264–284. doi:10.1111/1540-5931.00006. ISSN 0022-3840. 
  • Lempa, Heikki (2012). "Turning to Nature in Germany: Hiking, Nudism, and Conservation, 1900–1940 (review)". Journal of the History of Sexuality. 21 (2): 350–352. doi:10.1353/sex.2012.0032. ISSN 1535-3605. 

Newspaper articles


A bibliography of the economic impacts of naturism

External links

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Naturism.
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