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Of “Traditional Nudism” v. “Free-Love Nudism” (revised)

This is one of my many photos from Timberline Lodge, which is one of the oldest nude venues in the US. It has made the transition from FKK Nudism to Sex-friendly nudism.... though not without bumps in the road. Paula is in the lower left.

Oh... if you are interested both Paula and I have had sex with multiple people beside this hot tub.

The modern nudist or naturist tradition goes back about 125 years and traces back to Germany; however, public nudity in spring and summer goes back to Nordic/Germanic prehistory. The body shaming culture that ruled in southern Christendom never really took hold in the cold north. Perhaps the cultural rejection of body shaming is related to the failure of Rome to conquer the Germanic/Nordic tribes and impose their culture and language.   It was largely as part of a larger ‘back to our roots’ and nationalistic movement in Germany that nudism took hold in the late 1800’s as Freikörperkultur or FKK.

This movement was briefly stigmatized by Nazism but had a revival in both the US and Europe in the 1950’s.   What is distinctive about this type of nudism is its rejection of the link between nudity and sexuality.  This brand of nudism focused on health, freedom from shame, and a neo-pagan type of spirituality that focused on nature (hence the term naturism).  In this form of nudism, family is important and very strict rules about public displays of affection are universal. In this, FKK groups in America and later “traditional nudist” maintained a very conservative approach.  I believe that in the US, most of this approach was for external political reasons, and only part was from a philosophic belief system.  The leaders of the movement rightly supposed that only by denying the sexual context could they avoid entanglements with civil authorities. Inside accounts going back to the 1950’s, speak of the sexual tension and the sexual behavior just out of sight.  Though most definitely a tiny sub-culture, traditional nudism thrived through the highly conservative years of the 50’s and early 60’s.

The counter-movement of free love (free and open sex) is just as old.  For millennia, in North-Western Europe open and public sexuality at summer festivals was accepted even as Christianity began to take over Germanic/Norse society.  Scholars make a strong case that across the globe, the rise of sexual monogamy goes hand in hand with the rise of individual property ownership over tribalism/collectivism.  In many (if not most) hunter/gatherer societies the very concept of monogamy is foreign. Children are raised communally so there is no need to determine paternal links.  It was only as north-western Europe moved from tribal societies to nation-states with high-intensity agriculture did sex and nudity (when it was warm enough) become stigmatized. Monogamy and the related movement of keeping sex out of the public eye are part of an ownership culture, and thus the many experiments of open sexuality have focused on the larger issue of communalism with communal sex as just a byproduct. 

The US, with its large influx of Germanic and Nordic immigrants in the 19th century, was ripe for the emergence of free love culture. Interestingly, in 19th century America, communal societies (including open sex within the community) were mostly expressions of Christianity, not paganism. However, this approach was harshly treated by the larger society over and over again.  The Oneida Community of New York, lasted for a full generation of free-love within the community until local authorities began prosecuting the members for their sexual behavior.

 It was only with the advent of oral contraceptives that the idea of free and open sex emerged from the persecutions of the late 19th century through the middle of the 20th century and began to take root as part of the larger society.  The middle-class swinger movement arose in the 1970’s asserting that both communal nudity and open recreational sex were compatible with the mainstream “ownership” society.  The approach was gaining real traction when AIDS arrived and the coincidental conservative backlash pushed it out of the mainstream again.  But it never died.

From my review of the literature and from conversations with long-time nudists, I have concluded that from the birth of modern American nudism in the years after WW2, contrary to public statements, free-love/recreational sex has always been a part of the nudist culture. Sexual needs and desires have never been far from the world of nudism.  Despite the efforts to sell nudism as asexual, the public statements were never consistent with the reality. Asexual nudism simply was not possible. 

Another image of mine from Timberline Lodge. Paul is second to the left

In the past decade or so we have seen traditional nudist clubs one by one converted to “Lifestyle Friendly” clubs.  The provision of out of sight but publicly designated “play areas” is in reality just a semantic difference from the world of traditional nudist who slipped away to their private rooms to fuck mid-day.  That semantic difference is important in that it allows for full body and sexual freedom.  When at such clubs, my wife and a friend have gone into the “playroom” together, it is no shame to me that everyone knows she’s going in to have sex with him (or her); and when they returned she knew full well that everyone knew she’d been fucking and she nor I felt shame in that. At a traditional nudist club this would not be true.  Thus, the new type of club provides more freedom of conscience and more of an escape from the larger world.

The rise of the sex-friendly form of nudism is an effort to merge the reality with the public presentation. The simple freedom to admit sexual desires is important.  The freedom to admit that you are aroused by others around you has value in itself. For instance, the elimination of the prohibition for men to walk around with an erection is important for both men and women.

Today the two nudism movements are, though many might not know it, competing for dominance. Slowly the free-love version of nudism is slowly overtaking the traditional form of nudism.  The general rise in privacy and personal sexual rights in the US and Europe have been contributing factors as has been the waning of religious dominance over popular culture. Perhaps most important in recent years has been the rise of the internet.  

Now people who would never have risked having a nudist or swinger publication coming to their home are regulars on sites that promote nudism/free love. Via the internet, those who are nudists or practitioners of free love can be contacted and an online culture of normalization of these lifestyles is taking place.  Via the net people can meet like-minded people, can find out what these practices are like, and find out where to go to try them out. Because no “public” advertising is necessary, this is all happening beyond the public scrutiny and reach of the morality police (at least for now).

I do believe there will be for the foreseeable future a place for both traditional “family” nudism and for lifestyle-friendly nudism, but I see the decline of the former and growth of the latter.  Perhaps in a generation, the larger cultural and legal climate will be such that the two groups can merge their facilities as sexual behavior becomes less taboo, and more normal as it was with my Germanic ancestors.

One more from Timberline. I was hired to shoot all of these for advertising proposes. And yes, they were all staged. Paula is the female to the far left.

And yes, Paula and I have both had sex in this pool with multiple people because this is no longer a traditional nudist resort.... though to be honest, it is against the rules to do it in the water.

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Apr 18
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Ive been a lifelong nudist who grew up with sex positive parents that encouraged my displays of sexuality in all forms while never wearing clothes at home. So my visits to nude beaches or resorts always resulted in erections masturbation and sex. Onlookers enjoyed and would either join me or watch while masturbating themselves

So sex positive nudism has been the only nudism I have seen


Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Love reading stories like this thanks.


Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Planet Nude has an interesting essay by William J, Schroer, Chairman of the Naturist Action Committee, "Why Aren't More Americans Nudists?" The answer is Puritans and Victorians. The interesting thing to me was that sex doesn't seem to make Schroer uncomfortable.

I believe that America is correcting in the direction of sex positivity fairly quickly. That's in historical time, but it's painfully slow from the point of view of individual Americans whose life expectancy is 3-5 years longer than my current age. The current ascendancy of the "Junior Anti-Sex League" is reactionary and temporary. Some people have things they'd rather do than socialize in their birthday suits, but a majority have no problem with the existence of nudism. A…


I went to a surprisingly local nudist campground once, and it was kinda weird to be going alone. I just walked around, swam, and sat and read by myself and no one talked to me... There were almost exclusively guys there haha. I'd go again, but I wish I had a friend to take, because otherwise, I'm not sure it is worth the day admission price. They were very adamant that there was no sexuality permitted.

In my early days of discovering and researching nudism, I was active on Naturist Christians forums until I was shunned by bringing up sexual topics and generally "stirring the pot" with my open-minded ideas.

I appreciate the mental liberty I have in the sex…


Apr 14
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

We live in a new world where we can be ourselves unless we offend someone else. Then you are canceled. The “cancel culture” has taken it upon themselves to force their morality onto others. Nudity and sex have become targets for the new conservatives and “mean green meme” groups. Humanity has a long way to go before we allow others to live responsibly on their terms.

I agree that being nude is not only an expression of freedom, it is also a sexual statement. There is a place for both family-friendly and lifestyle-friendly resorts. I wouldn’t want small children gawking at me while making love.

Everything we do is a spiritual act: every thought, word, or act comes from our…

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