The generation of current 18-30 year olds (please, no more "Generation X", that's so 1993) is often seen as not interested in naturism. How to get them interested has been a topic of some contention in recent memory. What I'm going to talk about might get these people interested. It's quite a bit more general than just applying to 18-30 year olds, but that's where my focus is.
Few things other than being born at some particular time define a "generation", but something that we young'uns seem to have in common is our lack of free time. We're busy. We're career-minded, we work long hours, we spend too much time cursing traffic, and so on. While this is true of 18-30 year olds in large numbers, it's also true of "middle age" folks, and probably of American society in general. (I don't know about society in other countries, but I suspect similar parallels could be drawn in just about any modern "industrialized" nation.)
As one of said generation, and a naturist, and a busy person, it is my opinion that if naturists/nudists/whateverists want naturism/nudism/whateverism to succeed among busy people, it shouldn't really be "marketed" as a movement, or a society, or a philosophy, but rather as an option.
For instance: you have the option to go to resorts/beaches/etc. nude, or sunbathe nude, or do extreme Mountain Dew-style sports nude, etc. For all of our "clothing optional" propaganda, I think nudism (I usually say "naturism", but in this case "nudism" fits better, since many people still think of Audubon and the like when they hear "naturism") is still seen by people my age (at least) as something that people old enough to be their parents or grandparents do on a full-time basis (the "nudist colony" idea, if you will), and not something they can fit into their busy lives.
This is not entirely an irrational view. People work at least 40 hours a week (probably more); free time is non-existent for a lot of people. I have enough trouble fitting my hobbies (playing drums, collecting records, reading, etc.) into that kind of schedule, much less a full-time "nudist lifestyle". (As a naturist I know it's not that big a commitment, but I'm thinking in terms of the "uninitiated" here.)
But here's an idea. Let's suppose that a lot of people my age find time to go to the gym two or three times a week (an entirely reasonable supposition.) Now suppose that gyms offered the option - for those that choose it - to exercise in the nude. In other words, people have the option of doing something nude that they would otherwise still do clothed, something that might actually be more comfortable or desireable to do nude. I think some people, if they had the option of working out nude and knew so, would seriously consider it.
Now, I don't know of any gyms off the top of my head that offer nude hours. (Then again, I rarely go to gyms at all, so maybe I'm lacking in knowledge here.) But I know people who swim daily for the exercise. And I know that any nudist club that doesn't want to be the laughing stock of its peers has swimming facilities. I can't say I know of any CO clubs that open their pools to guests for their morning ritual, but it might be a good idea.
(By the way, I have no particular difficulty resolving naturist "body acceptance" and the desire to exercise and be fit and "attractive to the opposite sex." I think if one can better accept one's body through daily exercise, that's great. But I think people should exercise because they want to achieve some result, not simply because they feel pressured to do so by popular society.)
Some people seem to have picked up on this. For instance, I look at ads for several Palm Springs resorts, where the message is "this is a fabulous resort that just happens to be clothing optional." I think this is a great move. While dedicated naturists plan their vacations around being nude, I doubt most of the non-naturist public does. However, lots of people (naturist or not) do look for vacation destinations that offer lots of fun and/or relaxing activities to do. The fact that you can do things at these resorts without your clothes is probably seen as a "bonus." Think: you probably like to try new things when you're on vacation, right? (If you don't, give it some thought. Vacations are supposed to be a break from the ordinary, silly.)
This type of thought does seem to lend itself best to physical activities. I, for one, might consider taking advantage of a library that offered nude reading rooms, but I may be one of a very few in that area. So this is, of course, not a golden arrow that will solve all our problems. But it's something that might work to get busy people who have no free time - such as career-minded 18-30 year olds, and even people older - to think more about nudity outside the shower and the bedroom, and to consider nude recreation, nude living, etc. beyond the outmoded (but still) popular idea of the "nudist colony."
To summarize, we need to remember that people are people first, and everything else second or third or fourth or wherever. Perhaps it's time to stop marketing in terms of a "nudist lifestyle" and more in terms of how nudity could fit into our current lifestyles. Certainly this isn't a revolutionary idea. I'm seeing it start to happen. It needs to happen more. I'll leave the details to people who, unlike me, specialize in marketing. In the meantime, speaking of things people do nude that they could otherwise do clothed: rather than enraging my fellow drivers, I like to take out my road rage with a daily round of Quake. Think I'll go do that now. Nude, of course. I always play skins, not shirts (although I'll make an exception for armor...)
Editor's note: This article was contributed by Mark Cornick, maintainer of the Rec.nude FAQ. I welcome contributions like this from readers. If you'd like to suggest an article you want to write, just let me know.
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