There is an issue of gender inequality in many landed naturist communities.
While many naturist clubs and organisations are struggling to recruit members, and some may say, struggling to remain relevant in today's socially connected world, many clubs and groups offer barriers to single men looking to join the community.
Shunned by the clubs and organisations that are supposed to be open and welcoming, single males may find it difficult to be included.
The reasons given by the clubs are that they are trying to maintain a balance of membership, or they want to stop inappropriate behaviour from coming into the club. The problem is that they are excluding some in our community from enjoying the positive benefits of social nudity, by banning them for behaviour that they haven’t yet exhibited. How about welcoming everyone, and then dealing with behaviour issues if they arise? By letting in more people and exposing them to the benefits and social conventions of naturism in a controlled environment, aren’t any misguided or ill-conceived ideas dispelled? Doesn’t it make the herd stronger?
I have also heard the excuse that some women feel uncomfortable around single males, and to be honest, male behaviour has done little historically to give women a reason to feel otherwise. One could argue that the only way to get women to feel comfortable around single males, is for women to spend time in the company of single males, and while that may have some merit, I prefer to think that if men behaved more appropriately, there wouldn’t be an issue in the first place. I know… not all men, but guys let's be honest, our gender doesn’t have a great track record, and it is up to us all to call out poor behaviour towards women, at all times, not just when it suits.
It appears that embracing nudity seems to be more prevalent among males. There are many females in the community, and amongst them, some great ambassadors for nude recreation, but women are outnumbered significantly by men. I accept that there are people who don’t identify as either male or female, but my observation is that numbers in the naturist community can be counted on one hand if you work in a sawmill.
There are many reasons why people might want to be part of a club that embraces social nudity, and there are some common attitudes that do indeed conflict with the broad naturist philosophy.
Some may try and join a club for purely voyeuristic reasons. As anyone who spends any time naked in social settings will be quick to tell you, after a very short time, you stop seeing naked people and just see people. Anyone joining with voyeurism in mind will soon find that either their attitudes shift, or that they don’t feel comfortable being the odd one out.
Some may claim the label of nudist or naturist to engage in swinging or other sexual activities, hiding behind a mask of sex positivity as a way of justifying overtly sexual behaviour. Again, people like this will soon find out that the broader naturist community, while regarding themselves as a tolerant bunch, can be quite intolerant of inappropriate sexualised displays. There are other groups and clubs that cater to that particular freedom of expression.
There are opportunistic people (nearly always men) who believe that skulking furtively in the dunes around a nudist beach will increase their chances of random or illicit sexual encounters. It may do so with other meerkats, but highly unlikely to tempt naturists away from enjoying relaxing in the sun, sand and surf. Again, there are other groups geared toward outdoor sexual liaisons.
While inappropriate behaviour is always a concern in naturist venues, the reality is that the risk of this type of behaviour exists in all social groups and in the wider community. Having an appropriate way of dealing with the behaviour as it occurs, rather than banning a group of society from engaging because of behaviour that they haven’t exhibited yet, might be a better approach. I accept that many people are reluctant to engage in confronting others about behaviour but having a process to address poor behaviour is worth nothing unless there is the courage to put the process into action. Banning single males seems to be a lazy way to avoid possible friction and against the inclusive and accepting attitudes that naturist clubs pride themselves on exhibiting.
Male, female or other, we should be welcoming everyone not only to our groups and clubs but into our lives. Many single guys are discriminated against by clubs and organisations that are trying to maintain a balance between male and female members. The issue is that naturism does not seem to be something enjoyed equally by men and women, with far more men willing to get their kit off. Clubs ignoring that social disparity and trying to maintain a balance of genders, may not be reflective of the community that they represent and might be turning away potential members that could strengthen the club and give it more relevance.
Rather than worrying about how to recruit more women into naturism, how about we focus on welcoming people?
Thank you for reading, have a comfortable day.
If you are new to this blog or if you like what you have read, check out my previous rants in the archive.
Here in LA, I've know of 3 different trans nudists, one of whom shows up for hot spring hikes regularly. I also know one who is not a nudist but is nude friendly and quite happy just to hang out. Obviously, I only know a small fraction of the LA nudist community.
One can't say that nudity isn't sexual or even that it isn't inherently sexual. About all a guy can say is, "For me, nudity in a social setting is not sexual." You can't speak for the other guy, even if he says he's a nudist. The only evidence for the statement is your behavior when you're in the socially nude setting. Nothing else you do or say is at all convincing.
And here is where men who are evangelical about nudism fall flat on their face. Suggest to a textile female that they ought to take up social nudism and you will raise all kinds of red flags. The bigger the enthusiasm, the bigger the flags. The only male who can safely broach the subject to a textile female is one who already has a high degree of trust with the female in question. (If they approach you, that's different.) Just accept it and move on.
Even men who are married or otherwise pair bonded do a great disservice when they try to coax their partners into social nudity. They are interested or they are not. It doesn't matter how badly you may want it, if they aren't interested and you keep applying pressure, you are disrespecting them. Just accept it and move on.
OTOH, females can talk to other females about the joys of nudity without coming across as a creep. They can even make it into a feminist issue. But a guy? A textile female will always assume its just an excuse to get her clothes off to see her naked. And as often as not, she will be right.
I can't help but wonder if clubs that are obsessed over gender balance are adding an implicit layer of sexuality. I have been in a fair number of male dominated organizations that did not obsess over trying to coax women in. The activity was the focus and if women joined that was fine and if they didn't, that was fine too.
Letting in all men and then expelling misbehavior isn't workable.. I belong to several naturist / nudist groups, most try to prevent the male % from exceeding 60%. If it's more, the women shy away. I have also attended an all gay men campground and found it worked very well, very kind and welcoming, without the heterosexual male behavior. I do wonder if my main naturist club would do better by breaking down male membership into % gay, %hetro males. That might reassure women attendees that the pool of potential predators is below the 60% de facto limit. Maybe even below 50%. But that info might also cause alarm for the "family friendly" set.