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Are family friendly nudist clubs a good idea?

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An interesting article published last month on a weblog I follow (home clothes free), brought to mind the idea for this discussion about family-friendly nudism. Unless there have been any recent policy changes that I missed, all the Dallas-area landed nudist clubs are family-friendly, meaning adult members are free to bring their children to clubs if they wish.

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In the article mentioned, the author wrote, "I know this is not very acceptable by some nudist to say but I am uncomfortable with the idea of family resorts. I am concerned with the fact of creepy people checking out kids at resorts and you can’t say there are no pedophiles at nudist resorts its statistically impossible." She was correct in that many nudists would take exception to a nudist saying that there is anything wrong with families with children visiting a nudist club together. After all, non-sexual nudity, the nudity practiced at traditional nudist clubs, like those affiliated with the American Association for Nude Recreation, is wholesome and natural. In fact one of the red flags that a club might be of a more hedonist flavor and may lean more towards swingers than those who practice non-erotic nudity is the existence of an "adults only" policy. But in fairness there is nothing wrong in my opinion about a nudist expressing concerns about the wisdom of children being permitted at landed nudist clubs.

Actually extensive scientific research exists that demonstrates the positive benefits of nudism for children. For example, studies have shown that children raised in a nudist setting tend to be more self-confident, more self-accepting and grow up to be more sexually well-adjusted. They feel better about their bodies and are more comfortable with their sexuality. While some experts like Joyce Brothers and Dr. Benjamin Spock have claimed that exposure to nudity is damaging for children, the truth is no credible empirical evidence has ever been offered that supports such opinions.

While it is certainly up to the individual family to decide whether it is appropriate to take their children to a nudist club, I think there is room in the nudist community for nudists who aren't comfortable with the idea of family-friendly nudist clubs. They aren't making any statement that there is anything unnatural or unwholesome about nudity. Some are merely concerned enough about children that they worry about any possibility existing where children might be victimized, no matter how remote.

[More from Dallas Nudist Culture Examiner: Considerations for Dallas nudist families]

Just like the observation made by the author of the referenced article mentioned, even though rare, there have been instances of children being exploited by pedophiles on the grounds of nudist clubs. Clubs do conduct fairly extensive background checks on members and guests before admitting them but let's face facts. The nudist community is simply a microcosm of general society and unfortunately pedophiles are found throughout; in schools, churches and youth organizations like the Boy Scouts of America. It would be ridiculous to assert and risky to believe that there is absolutely no chance that a pedophile posing as a nudist could get into a family-friendly nudist club and gain access to children.

While comfortable with social nudity in the company of other adults some nudists simply aren't comfortable being nude around children. Non-landed clubs typically do not allow guests to bring children to their pool or home parties, not because anything untoward or sexual is planned but simply because parents having to supervise their children would be a distraction from the intended social interaction. Few nudists have an issue with such policies.

Whether a club advertises itself as family-friendly or not, if you have visited several of the landed clubs near Dallas, you likely found some that are frequented by nudist families and others where children are rarely if ever present. There really isn't any good reason to be critical of nudists who prefer to visit the latter and if you personally prefer a club setting where only adults are present you won't have difficulty finding a local club you would be comfortable visiting.

Despite the fact that nudism is a culture that prides itself on acceptance and respect for others, the unfortunate truth is it never takes long to meet some very opinionated people who believe that if you don't do nude the way they do nude then you are doing it wrong and you just aren't a real nudist. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nudism is intended to be inclusive not exclusive and respect for others means respecting their opinions, even if they differ from your own. It isn't wrong for people to disagree on certain points about the lifestyle as long as they share a belief in the guiding principle that nudity is natural and wholesome.

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