Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Spending a Day at a Nudist Resort

So you've decided to spend a day at a nudist resort? Here's what you might be able to expect. Keep in mind that my experience is limited to only a couple resorts in an isolated section of the United States, but I think some generalizations can be made. Certainly, one of the biggest differences between resorts will be the location, and I can't speak for how similar or different resorts are in other countries. Also, beaches may operate a bit differently than private resorts, possibly having more freedom and less of a "club membership" sort of atmosphere (I don't know, I haven't yet had the opportunity to visit one).

Unfortunately, those that participate in social nudism still constitute a minority of the population, and the understanding and acceptance of nudist practices by the public at large is spotty at best. So, private resorts where nudists can gather and practice their preferred lifestyle without interruption tend to be few and far between, although they are scattered liberally across the country (try AANR's club locator to find one near you). Unless you are lucky to be living very close to one such club, you will likely find that you have to head out on the road to reach the nearest designated clothing optional resort.

As you approach the resort - being located in a remote, out-of-the-way place, in the interest of privacy - you will likely find that the last leg of the journey constitutes a long and winding country road through what appears to be undisturbed wilderness. It is perfectly natural for some nervousness to settle in at this point - I've been going to nudist resorts for five seasons now and I still get that feeling sometimes. The resort will be clearly marked, although it may not be evident from the outside that it is, in fact, a clothing optional facility. There will be a tall fence around the property (or other privacy measures in place), and a gate to control access. At some times, and on some days, this gate may be open in anticipation of visitors. On other days, you may need to utilize the call box to announce your arrival, and ensure that there is someone in the gatehouse or office to receive you.

At the office, you will be met by a friendly proprietor (or volunteering member) of the resort, who may or may not be clothed. Either way, he or she will not have a supermodel-rate body. If you do not have a lot of experience in social nudism, this may understandably be a jarring sight; but once you get your own clothes off (which usually may occur at any point of your convenience, after you've entered the property), and are surrounded by naked people who are not all fashion models, you are bound to become accustomed to such sights remarkably quickly. At the office, you will be expected to check in (with positive ID), pay whatever fees are required for the time you'll be spending at the resort, and (especially if this is your first visit to this particular resort) sign a form acknowledging that you understand the rules of the resort.

Among these rules will be a blanket prohibition of cameras (often including the use of cell phones outside of designated areas), restrictions on any kind of overt sexual behaviors, a warning about engaging in any sort of inappropriate conduct with children (especially children that are not your own), and a reminder to use a towel when sitting on shared community resources (for hygiene and simple politeness). Penalties range from a friendly reprimand to being banned from the resort, to the involvement of law enforcement, depending on the severity of the infraction (as common sense dictates). You may feel that these rules are a little strict (personally, I think nudists are too uptight about photography, though I understand their reasons), but they are merely designed to keep the resort in business and its visitors safe, and to maintain a family-friendly (i.e. non-sexual) atmosphere.

Aside from these specific social taboos, and with the exception of the outsider who may not have internalized the nudist ethos yet, nudist resorts tend to foster an exceptionally friendly and laid-back atmosphere. People are there to relax and enjoy the good life. You'll find that nudists are notoriously friendly to one another. I've lived in the suburbs, in the city, on a college campus - and nowhere outside of a nudist resort is the friendly wave and greeting of two strangers more ubiquitous. This is keeping in line with the "social" part of social nudism, and though introverts like myself might find it a little awkward, it ultimately reinforces the welcoming and accepting attitude of the community.

After you have been checked in, you may be given a tour of the grounds if this is your first visit. Either way, you will eventually make your way to the campgrounds to pick out your campsite (or to find the campsite that's been designated for you). Often times there will be a common area close to the central action of the resort, as well as a more distant (and larger) campground for people who like a little more quiet and privacy. My experience has been exclusively with tent camping, but trailers and RVs are very popular, and some resorts have lodge rooms or condos for rent (you may have to call ahead for reservations). In spite of this, and the tourist-friendly label "resort", I've found that nudist clubs are more accurately described as nudist camps, albeit with a number of amenities. But your experience may vary.

At this point, you may be wanting to familiarize yourself with the nearest bathhouse. Contrary to what you may be thinking, it's more of a public restroom than a Roman spa, but with curtains instead of doors in front of the stalls - probably owing to nudists' general openness regarding the body. If this concerns you, rest assured - I am very shy about these sorts of things, and this type of environment has actually helped me a lot to get over my anxieties. Outside the building will be installed a row of communal showers for all to use - male and female, the young and the old - without dividers or privacy screens. If you're new to the nudist lifestyle, you might find showering out in the open, with complete strangers, to be unusual, but it's a valued part of the nudist experience. You might just find yourself making a new friend one day in a conversation while washing up. Those who want more privacy, however, will usually be able to find more secluded stalls inside the bathhouses.

So, you've set up camp, and you're ready to explore the resort! If you're lucky, and the weather's nice, you're bound to see lots of nude people engaged in sports and recreation, many of which will have dark all-over tans, showing their dedication to the lifestyle. But you can't always count on the weather, and if it's cooler, it's not unusual to see people in robes, or t-shirts (the infamous "shirtcock", as goofy as it looks, is well represented among nudists who are more concerned with practicality than vanity), or wraps, or other forms and combinations of full or partial clothing. Volleyball is the official sport of nudists; if you have the opportunity, you should give it a try! Nothing is more fun than sweating out in the sun with nothing but your sunscreen on - and do remember to put on sunscreen, or else you'll be red and tender by the next morning.

Nudist resort activity - on warm, sunny days - will be expectedly centered around the pool. Many people will be laid out in the sun, tanning, and others will periodically take a dip in the pool. Note that even where clothing is optional elsewhere in the resort, nudity is usually required in the pool area. That means absolutely no swimsuits! But what would you need a swimsuit for, anyway? Also remember to wash up in the shower (there'll usually be some located right next to the pool) before hopping in the pool or the hot tub, to keep it clean and easier for the owners to maintain. Kids will be drawn to the water for the excitement and recreation it promises - they tend to be far more active than the adults, who more typically like to wade around and chat with one another; the pool is a great place to pick up gossip!

The resort may have a snack bar or restaurant where you can buy food. There may be any number of other amenities that are specific to the particular resort, including libraries, clubhouses, activity rooms (sometimes designed specifically either for children or adults), and various recreational facilities, such as tennis courts, basketball courts, and what have you. Massages and body painting are also popular nudist pastimes, but I have yet to try either one. Most resorts make an effort to keep their guests entertained on weekend evenings during the summer. They may have live bands scheduled to perform, or DJs ready to spin discs while people let loose on the dance floor - some dressed up for the occasion, many others still nude. There may be potlucks or raffles or other festivities. Drinking is popular, and loud music may play until late on Saturday nights.

When you're all partied out, you'll probably make your way back to your campsite to get some rest. And in the morning, you can get up and do it all again - until it's time for you to leave. The resort tends to get a little empty on the last day of the weekend, as people shuffle out to return to their everyday lives. Exit from the nudist resort is usually much more streamlined than entrance - chances are that once you have your stuff all packed up and ready, you can simply drive out. If you experience a little sadness due to vacation withdrawal - do not be alarmed, this is completely normal. If you've enjoyed your stay, chances are you'll find yourself wanting to repeat the experience sometime soon. Congratulations, you are now a social nudist! Welcome to the club. :-)

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