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Newbie's guide to nudist club etiquette

Nudists follow a code of accepted behavior and conduct.
Nudists follow a code of accepted behavior and conduct.
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Newbie's guides are aimed at making things easier for new nudists.

Just like any subculture nudists have developed an unwritten but customary code of polite behavior within the context of social nudity settings. The list is neither onerous are hard to remember. In many respects the rules of conduct for acceptable behavior are similar to those in clothed social settings. There are a few rules however that are related directly to the fact that everyone is nude.

It is always a good idea for those planning to visit a nudist club or resort to learn and master these rules of etiquette to avoid a faux pas that results in embarrassment.

This guide pertains to traditional family-friendly, nudist clubs like those affiliated with the American Association for Nude Recreation and The Naturist Society. This information is just as applicable to those who prefer the term naturist to nudist.

Always carry a towel for use when sitting on surfaces used by other people

One thing that even most non-nudists know about nudists, besides the fact that nudists seem to enjoy volleyball, is that nudists always seem to be carrying a towel. Nudists do carry towels and the reason is simply good hygiene.

At clubs you are expected to use a towel as a barrier between your naked bottom and furnishings like chairs, loungers and any other items that others may sit on. It is sort of the same kind of unwritten rule observed by those using the equipment in a public gym.

If sitting or lying on the grass while sunbathing sitting on a towel isn't required but is usually more comfortable. If you plan to swim or use a hot tub, it is a good idea to bring two towels so that you always have a clean dry towel just to use for sitting on.

Do not take photographs without permission

Usually at a club or resort taking photographs isn't an issue because cameras and the use of camera phones is prohibited. In circumstances where all photography isn't prohibited, just remember to never take photographs of anyone without their permission and definitely never photograph other people's children.

Don't gawk or stare at others

One of the basic philosophies of nudism is showing respect to others. Part of that is not gawking at the bodies of others and especially not staring at genitals and female breasts. Experienced nudists understand that natural curiosity comes into play when someone is new to social nudity and are tolerant of that. But after a brief transitional period, people at social nudist gatherings are expected to make eye to eye contact.

There is generally no ban on wearing the Ray-Bans when in the sun at a club or resort but sunglasses should not be used to circumvent this point of etiquette and wearing them in circumstances when they are clearly not needed, unless you are Stevie Wonder, is likely to arouse suspicion.

Respect the privacy of others

Also involved in the privacy category, nudists generally go only by first names at a club unless they are very well acquainted so don't inquire about last names, as it's bad form. Avoid personal questions altogether like asking people where the work, where they live, etc. If a person feels comfortable in divulging that sort of information fine, but it is never okay to ask.

Touching others beyond perhaps a friendly handshake is not appropriate. Unlike some clothed social settings where hugging is common, it isn't practiced in social nudity situations except by those who are very well acquainted. Personal space boundaries also tend to be more extended than in clothed society so don't crowd others.

Don't engage in lewd behavior

Any public overt sexual activity is always considered inappropriate in an atmosphere of family-friendly, non-sexual nudity. That includes inappropriate touching of others as well as self. While other minor mistakes pertaining to etiquette might earn a correction or even be overlooked, violating this one will likely garner a quick invitation to leave the premises.

Deliberately posing in a provocative way also falls under the heading of lewdness. If a person sits or otherwise positions himself or herself so that it appears that they are trying to attract attention to particular body parts they should expect a comment or correction. Social nudity isn't about seeing other people naked, or being seen naked by others.

The dreaded erection is something many men new to nudism worry about happening in a social nudity setting. First, there is no need to be anxious about it because it very rarely happens. If it should, nudists understand that is a natural occurrence for men but sporting one is definitely not accepted behavior. Strutting your stuff isn't going to win friends or impress anyone and would be considered lewd behavior. So when it does happen, men are expected to cover up if sitting, to roll over on their stomach if lying down or to take a quick dip in the pool until the moment passes.

This should go without saying, but urinating in public is definitely not acceptable. Finally before leaving this point of etiquette, off-color jokes, sexual innuendo, comments about the bodies of others as well as excessive use of profanity is no more welcome in a social nudity setting than in a clothed social situation.

Nude when and where appropriate

Your first stop on an initial visit to a club or resort will be an office or other transition area near the entrance. You won't be expected to get naked on arrival. During check in you will receive an orientation, a list of club or resort rules and a brief tour of the facilities. Regardless of the type facility, first timers will be allowed some time to feel comfortable without being pressured to get nude immediately. Actually people find it easier to get naked than they expect because being the only clothed person in a nudist setting is just about as uncomfortable as being the only naked person when everyone else is fully dressed.

Each club and resort has one of two policies, nude only or clothing optional. Occasionally it may be a combination of the two in that sometimes it is clothing optional for women and children but nude only for adult men.

At nude only clubs adults are expected to be nude unless weather conditions or some other legitimate reason makes that impractical. At clothing optional venues it is left up to the individual to get naked when they feel comfortable but still, adults are expected to be nude at some point. Also pools, hot tubs and pool deck areas are typically always nude only. Do know and comply with the rules in force at any club or resort you visit.

Occasionally there are clubs where parking lots or other areas are in public view from outside the property. Do not appear nude in these areas as it could cause problems for the club and for you. Any such areas will be pointed out to you during the orientation at check in. Finally, do of course always get dressed before leaving the premises of a club or resort. That part is never enjoyable after a full day or weekend of being nude but it has to be done.

Know and follow all club or resort rules

Each club will likely have rules for guests and members. The rules will be explained verbally during orientation and generally you will receive a written copy. Rules may include some of the things covered here under etiquette but will also address things like alcohol consumption, where use of tobacco products is permitted if applicable, rules regarding cameras and camera phones, etc. Usually it isn't a long list or hard to remember but during the visit if you aren't sure about something, just ask someone. Even first time guests are expected to know and follow all facility rules.

Talk, listen and mingle

Be friendly, pleasant and mingle. Even if you tend to be something of an introvert don't just keep to yourself. You will find nudists a very friendly and in most cases outgoing bunch. Being a good listener is as much a part of being a good conversationalist as doing the talking so it is fine if you would rather listen than talk, just contribute. The same sort of things people converse about in any social situation are the topics of conversation in a social nudity setting - sports, the economy, travel, movies, current events, etc.

Feel free to ask people about the facility and about things related to nudist culture. But do remember that nudists are just regular people and no one is really interested in talking non-stop about nothing but things directly related to nudism. When it comes to mingling in any social situation, a wise person once said you should always act like a host rather than a guest and conduct yourself accordingly.

Understand that nudist clubs and resorts are somewhat self-policing in that any member or other experienced nudist is apt to speak up if a new person seems to be violating one of the unwritten rules of etiquette or written facility rules. Try not to take it personally or get upset if that happens since that is expected. Staff members can't be everywhere at all times.

Usually it is meant to help newcomers fit in and to keep the atmosphere comfortable for everyone. It isn't however unknown for an older member or veteran nudist to correct a new person based on a personal preference or view when the behavior or conduct didn't actually violate any rule. Like any walk of life, you will likely meet some self-important, opinionated nudists. As long as the correction or comment seems reasonable, it is best to accept it with good grace. But if you feel it is unwarranted or you feel like you are being picked on, don't hesitate to clear up the matter by speaking with a staff member. As long as you follow the guidelines presented here and observe the rules provided at the orientation when you arrive, you should be on solid ground.
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