Features

Attack of the nudist lawyers

My favourite beach has been invaded. But perhaps a little bird can stop them…

10 August 2013

9:00 AM

10 August 2013

9:00 AM

Carla, my Italian wife, has a small house in a little town on the Adriatic near Ravenna called Lido di Dante, right next to one of the last unspoilt beaches in Italy.

But we cannot go to this spectacular beach because even though it is una spiaggia libera (open to all and free) and therefore di tutti (everyone’s) it is infested with nudists and their related sub-species: guardoni (voyeurs), scambisti (wife-swappers), group-sex freaks, transsexuals, bisexuals — plus several other creatures yet to be classified by scientists.

Needless to say Dante’s Beach, which is named after the poet who died in Ravenna in 1321, has got a bit of a reputation and is very popular with a certain type of German and Swiss.

Even if we did not have five small children, and even if the nudists were just nudists, we would not be able to use the beach because we find the sight of other people’s naked bodies in a public place frankly obscene and disturbingly insane. A nudist would not shop in the high street, or turn up for work stark naked, would he? (They are nearly all men.) So why on a beach?


Like us, the silent majority finds such mass nudity obscene, so it cannot use the beach either. The silent majority, unlike the obscene minority, therefore has no rights in this infernal paradise: Lido di Dante is thus a perfect metaphor for modern Europe.

I am a libertarian and have nothing against nudism on nudist beaches, just as I have nothing against lunatics in lunatic asylums. But here’s the funny thing: Dante’s Beach is not a nudist beach. In fact, nudism is a criminal offence, as the signs clearly state: ‘Naturism is not allowed on this beach. Indecent exposure is punishable under the Penal Code (art. 527 of the Penal Code: Imprisonment for a term between three months and three years). Any offence against public decency is also punishable (art. 726 of the Penal Code: Imprisonment for a period up to one month or fine ranging from €10 to €206).’

But, hey, this is Italy. So moral, legal and political chaos is the result. The nudists started to colonise Dante’s Beach at about the time of the Summer of Love in 1967. The mere sight of them was enough to scare nearly everyone else off but the police and politicians did nothing. They were afraid to upset the locals: Dante’s Beach had rapidly become a very lucrative open-air version of New York’s Plato’s Retreat.

In 2002, the mayor of Ravenna city council, an ex-communist (they all are round here), authorised nudism for the first time on a one-kilometre stretch of the three-and-a-half-kilometre beach. The nudists had won. But then in 2006 the regional government of the Emilia-Romagna decided to get all teutonic for some weird reason: yes, nudist beaches could exist in the region but only with toilets and lifeguards. Dante’s Beach is in a nature reserve and so nothing can be built on it, not even a toilet. No more nudismo! I recall high-fiving Carla when I read the news. But of course, this being Italy, the law is one thing, the reality quite another.

The Guardia Forestale (park rangers) are in charge of policing Dante’s Beach, its gentle dunes and the perfumed pine forest behind it. Last spring they at long last decided to enforce the law and in the space of a month or so swooped from the dunes to pounce on about 80 nudists and fine them. But when the nudists appealed against the fines (many nudists are lawyers), judges in Ravenna took their side: nudism, said the judges, even if against the law, is permissible on the beach because it has been ‘normally and traditionally frequented’ by nudists. Message: in Italy, if you break the law and get away with it for long enough, you no longer break the law!

There is, however, a small light at the end of the tunnel. Green politics is all the rage these days and the beach is home to a tiny, once-common species of bird called the fratino (Kentish plover in English) which is now under threat of extinction. At Lido di Dante, thanks to the presence of all those nudists and their sub-species, only a dozen of these birds which nest directly on the sand in the dunes and line their nests with tiny sea-shells remain. Last year, they failed to produce any young. And then, on 19 July 2012, arsonists — who have never been caught — set fire to the priceless pine forest and destroyed 65 hectares of it (about half), destroying much of the fratino’s habitat.

Perhaps God himself had intervened to stop the destructive human obscenity. Or Dante. Because this year the Forestale closed nearly all the beach and the entire forest to ‘the public’ — i.e. the nudists — who were literally fenced inside what they call ‘a ghetto’, on a few hundred metres of beach — until the fratino finished breeding on 29  July. The nudists are hopping mad but being so very ex-communist and so very in touch with nature and such devout believers in man-made global warming and all that nonsense, what could they possibly say? Green power trumps naked power.

On the 29th the Forestale opened a further kilometre of beach to ‘the public’ for the rest of the summer. But check this out: no umbrellas or protective constructions of any kind, in wood or any other material, will be tolerated. In the heat of the Italian summer, without shade, Dante’s Beach becomes infernal. Roast nudist, anyone?

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

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Show comments
  • Jeffrey

    Since today is August 8, 2013 how did this attempt at being funny ( and fails miserably) get published in the future? H.G. Wells anyone?

    • george

      What makes you think it’s an attempt at being funny? It seems perfectly serious to me. Or did you (wrongly) mark it down as failed humour because Italians are involved?

  • bigcitycanadian

    Oh, this was supposed to be funny? Not even close. A beach that has been frequented for over 45 years by nudists is clearly a nudist beach, and most judges in civilised countries would recognise it as such. The sweeping generalisations made in this article are immature and offensive.

  • It is understandable how people who have never tried nudity are afraid of it, and fear is often directly translated as anger, including insults, name calling etc. It is alsways amazing how people (naked bodies underneath it all) can continually bash the naked human form as obscene, disgusting etc. It must be terribly schizophrenic to look in the mirror after showering with such a view of human nudity. As regards the references to various sexually anomolous lifestyles – all those abberations exist on textile beaches as well.

    • george

      I like my own body fine but most human bodies are not actually best displayed without clothes. Humans, alas, aren’t leopards or birds of paradise. How many Apollos and Aphrodites do you honestly see walking about? Exactly.

      Also, there’s a little detail about the story of Lido di Dante that seems to have passed you by. It’s called LAW.

      • lbartley

        Would you tell a man who was born with a deformaty on his face that he doesn’t look good enough to be seen in public and should always keep his face covered? Would you say he has no right to appear in public like that or that you have a right to not have to see that? Also, don’t confuse “code” with “law”, or more specifically, the Common Law. ALL of UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) is NOT law, but is in fact fraudulently operating under color of law. All “laws” that regulate personal choices are against the Common Law and are null and void.

        • george

          I think that most people would agree that bums and reproductive organs are in a different category from faces, bartley babes. Even though your bottom may well be your most handsome feature, for all I know.

          • Daniel Maris

            It’s certainly a marvellous organ since he seems able to talk through it.

          • george

            Chortle!

          • lbartley

            Bums and reproductive organs are seen as a different category only because you have been conditioned to believe that. A bit over a century ago, a bare ankle was considered taboo, and until 1935, even a man’s chest was required BY LAW to be covered, until tens of thousands of men began going shirtless, and thousands of them were arrested too, but eventually the law was changed and society’s attitudes about ankles and men’s chests changed, and today no one thinks twice about seeing a man without a shirt at the beach.

          • george

            Frankly it’s a sign of a coarsening society and lack of personal taste when a man walks shirtless anywhere but the beach. Same with the explosion of tattoos. Now at a crowded beach — which I avoid whenever possible — one is confronted with everyone’s ugly tattoos as well as their flesh. It’s a massive eyesore. Not everything is progress.

            P. S. I’d like to see evidence for the ankle taboo you claim. I’d be surprised if what you are pointing to is not the simple fact that most people in the past were extensively dressed, in layers, and women wore boots and pumps and long dresses. The ‘taboo’ is an overstatement and misrepresentation of a style of costume that was prevalent in the past. Anything can be erotic if it is usually hidden (including, I suppose, an ear). That doesn’t mean that people had weird ideas about either ankles or ears in the past. I think your own idea about the undistinctiveness of primary sex characteristics is weird, since you mention it.

          • lbartley

            A man without a shirt may be poor taste to you, and you may find tatoos ugly or other such things an eyesore, but none of that gives you or anyone else the right to demand they be covered.
            And about the ankle taboo… ARE YOU SERIOUS!?!?! That is as common knowledge as Earth being the third planet from the sun. If you doubt, there’s a wonderful tool called “Google” that you can use to verify this.
            Now, you are correct when you say “Anything can be erotic if it is usually hidden”… THIS IS PRECISELY THE POINT! Naturists have broken the autoerotic response of simply seeing nude people by the very virtue of being purposely nude in non-sexual situations.

          • george

            Oh dear, darling. Do look out for ‘common knowledge’ and that which ‘everybody knows’. I wouldn’t trust Google or Wikipedia for everything. So often, written by nudists ;^)

          • pedestrianblogger

            It is “common knowledge” that George W. Bush was behind 9/11, that 97% of scientists believe in A.G.W. and that Victorian prudes covered up the legs of their pianos so that their servants did not become uncontrollably sexually aroused by the sight of them. In fact, all MY prejudices are “common knowledge” while all YOURS deserve the “!?!?!?!” treatment.

          • george

            Thank you for enlightening me, P.

      • Martin1900

        Not all animals are so ridiculously (but beautifully) attired as birds of paradise. But it is only a society fixated with celebrity and obsessed with (non-existent) perfection that can relegate the vast majority to ‘ugliness’, such that many daren’t be seen out without being covered from head to foot due to their own embarrassment or for fear of hurtful comments from others. Even an ounce of ‘extra’ fat on the thighs of a celebrity are cause for caustic comments in the media. We would never judge the beauty of animals so harshly.
        It is merely the hangover of old negative religious attitudes to the body re-enforced by media driven commercialisation of the human body.

        • george

          I don’t really agree with that, actually. My point is much simpler and I would hold it at any time, in any era, and that is that most human beings do not share the inherent elegance (deer, cats) or cuteness (red squirrels, some birds) or jewel-like dazzlingness (some fish, etc.) of animals. There ARE some ugly animals — hyenas are Exhibit A, unless it’s chimpanzees — but most animals that are not hideous are uniformly not hideous. The same cannot be said of humans. Furthermore, precisely because humans are not animals, we cannot be judged or even looked at physically as purely biological specimens, since our judgement of what is attractive is coloured by our notions of another person’s place in our life and by his character or personality. In short, if you don’t look like the statue of Poseidon, I need to think you virtuous in order to think you anywhere near something that might be called handsome. I do think that, as a species, human beings can be remarkably ugly.

          • Martin1900

            Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I am afraid that, unlike Michaelangelo, you only seem to see ugliness in humans. This probably says more about yourself.
            But animals are not there for you to appreciate their beauty, you should just accept them for what they are, adapted to their position in nature. Humans are no different, and are indeed animals. You don’t get any say in what style of clothes people wear, why should there be a veto on people being naked just because you and a minority of others find humans ugly, Humans can indeed be remarkably ugly in outlook and thoughts. However, when people shed their clothes they usually shed a lot of the ugliness of our ‘civilised’ society. Getting out with the sun and air on our bodies is healthy (so long as not overdone…), has positive psychological benefits and also promotes more healthy attitudes to the human body with a number of spin-off benefits. Far too much to lose for the sake of your squeamishness.

          • george

            Does it promote ‘more healthy’ attitudes, and among whom? I would say that the Western attitude could hardly be any more liberal than it already is. And again you are attributing attitudes to me (fear is another one popular with your fellow pro-nudists) that I don’t have. I would not describe my attitude to the human body as ‘squeamish’. Slightly disdainful, perhaps — but that’s a different thing.

          • Martin1900

            My experience is that it does, among those who practise it and among those who experience it without taking part but see that it is nothing more than doing things without the need for clothes, and thus braking the modern obsession of connecting nudity with sex and being able to relate to other people directly without the trappings that disguise their real self. But the other, and more important side for me, is the feeling of reconnection with nature, feeling the sun and breeze, the earth or sand beneath my feet engenders a connection with and awareness of nature and our place within it which I find both spiritually uplifting and invigorating – one simply feels ‘more alive’. For me, these feelings encourage greater respect for nature (of which we are a part) and the need for us humans to work with it rather than against it.

          • george

            Yes Martin, but the nude controversial bits you want to expose are ‘connected with sex’: hence Daniel’s pointed questions. No one is trying to prevent you from ‘feeling the sun and breeze’ or the ‘earth or sand beneath [your] feet’. We just fail to see why it is such a hardship to wear some sort of fig-leafy thing when you are among strangers. And in particular, why nudists are so combative and aggressive about not doing so in places marked specifically for the general population — i.e. those that are at least willing to wear a thong and/or beach bras. Anyway, I’ve replied to you but I think I’ve said all I can say about this.

          • Fergus Pickering

            I hardly dare say it, but naked children are often very beautiful. The older we get the uglier we get, but that’s the same with other animals, isn’t it.

          • george

            They can be beautiful without being naked, though.

            Yes, as my mother observed to me years ago as a general principle: ‘you’re prettier when you’re younger’.

            As for animals: it depends. I don’t think elephants get uglier. Or turtles. Or birds. In fact, most animals die rather than get old and ugly. Perhaps the human race, apart from being unshampooed, undepilated, untooth-flossed and unlipsticked, was prettier in the past for that reason….

      • David Lloyd

        It’s not about display. When I’m on a beach, I’m not there to show myself off or to be seen by others. I’m just there to be. If you can’t get over the sight of others then your parents can’t have socialised you sufficiently.
        Dogs are not afraid of the sight of other dogs, nor horses of other horses. It seems to me that humans are the only species that is scared of itself, and we think we’re the intelligent ones?

        • george

          OK, but that does raise the question of why a beach is so important as opposed to just lounging at home. You say it’s not about display but the public nature of it IS part of the experience, so I think it’s disingenuous to say that the public aspect is not part of the appeal. Also, I have seen a nude man (on a non-nudist beach) as I was walking by, and he clearly was not there because he wanted to be nude alone, but because he was hoping for some sort of hook-up.

          I think the idea of fear, stated by you and a few others here, is not supported by anything I’ve said. I’m not fearful. That’s a blind alley.

          • Lamdba

            That seems more and more like a rhetorical question. I gave you quite a few reasons, but I don’t think you read them.

            One I haven’t mentioned yet is that it’s called naturism for a reason; being able to immerse yourself in nature is an important aspect. You can’t really do it inside.

          • george

            I did read them, but will read them again less quickly. This is a very active blog section and I’m in the midst of a move and it’s hard to keep up with everything!

          • Lamdba

            Oh. Thank you. I understand can understand that.

          • george

            I’ve just read them again and given them thumbs up.

          • Lamdba

            Thank you for really listening. I have tremendous respect for anyone that can adjust their opinions to new information. It’s rarer than you’d think these days.

          • george

            Cheers, mate. I agree.

          • Lamdba

            …and just because that man was naked doesn’t mean he was a nudist.

          • george

            True.

          • Martin1900

            Many clothed people go to beaches – do they just do it for display? No, they do it because beaches are enjoyable places to go for recreation, swimming, walking, sunbathing – and to take the kids. It is also easier for many to go naked on an accepted naturist beach than in their own back garden (if they have one) where some neighbours may not approve but can’t walk away. Then again, who wants to be confined to their back garden, clothed or otherwise.
            Unfortunately, because public nudity is still relatively rare, many people may still get the wrong idea about it and voyeurs and other ‘undesirables’ may be attracted. This issue diminishes the more open a society becomes in attitudes to simple nudity, and naturists are always keen to discourage such people or better still to educate them.
            You may or may not be fearful of something, but you are the victim of conditioning – we all are to greater or lesser extent. Many will not agree with you that humans are ugly, but it is a very common reaction, as I have already said, related to repressive and outmoded religious views of the body and modern media commercialisation of the body, where only perfection is accepted.

  • One futher thought – if you want to experience social nudity in a non-sexual fun way please check out Young Naturists America – go to their website – there is a ton of information on naturism and nudity, and event postings etc. It is nowhere near as abysmal as this description of the Italian nude beach would mislead one to believe.

  • lbartley

    You are NOT a libertarian, don’t insult those of us who really are by claiming yourself as one. You are just as much an authoritarian as any other who desires to control the behaviour of others.

    • Steve Wsn

      Well said! ‘I find mass nudity obscene’ – in what way is the naked human body obscene or in any way threatening? I think we have made a mistake by confusing nudity and sexual behaviour.

      • george

        I was going to answer this but just couldn’t. The Internet has taught me how much the obvious needs stating, but some things are too obvious even to state without sounding absurd. Nudity in public is uncivil and uncivilized. The Pope is Catholic. Tom Jones can sing. The Rolling Stones are ancient. That’s all the obviousness I can dispense at the moment!

        • David Lloyd

          It’s funny you mention the Pope. Whilst he was still a cardinal, Pope John-Paul II wrote a book called ‘Love and Responsibility.’ In it he preached that a nude human was not immoral by default, but someone who regarded the nude as a sexual object was. So if you are being prejudiced against nudists because you associate their nudity with sex then avert your eyes because it is you that is being immoral. For Christian moralists, being prejudiced is also a breach of the ninth commandment (eighth if you are Catholic) , “Thou shan’t bear false witness.”

        • lbartley

          “The human body can remain nude and uncovered and preserve intact its splendour and its beauty… Nakedness as such is not to be equated with physical shamelessness… Immodesty is present only when nakedness plays a negative role with regard to the value of the person…The human body is not in itself shameful… Shamelessness (just like shame and modesty) is a function of the interior of a person.” – Pope John Paul II

          • george

            Oh blimey, I only mentioned the pope as one random item on my list. The point of my list of obviousness has obviously been lost. Nudists don’t do subtlety, I see.

            Why don’t you comment on ice cream melting, instead? Or will the mods spike you for making rude associations?

          • SpringWinder

            You are the public clown. Making an absolute exhibition of himself. And loving every minute of it. Which considering how anonymous it is, is absolutely mind-numbingly dumb. It is what self-entertainment is. So is masturbation.

          • David Lloyd

            OK. Ice cream melting is less of a problem to naturists as you don’t get it on your clothes. Basic practicality. Those clothes don’t have to be washed. The aircon doesn’t need to be set so high. All very environmentally aware.

          • David Lloyd

            I see you have the book too 😉

        • Ever seen the sistine chapel ceiling?

          • george

            Good non sequitur! Got any others?

            Incidentally, I love the Night sculpture on the Julius tomb — or would, if Michelangelo hadn’t made such a botched job of the body, and especially the boobs. You’d know he was gay just by the loving sculpting of every ounce of male flesh, while Night looks like a male with breasts indifferently clamped on.

          • lbartley

            Female models were very rare at that time, so men were models for most paintings, then the artists put a female face on them. That’s why many of the paitings of that era tend to have masculine looking females.

          • george

            If he had had female lovers, as Caravaggio did, he would not have had a ‘model problem’….

          • Fergus Pickering

            I thought Caravaggio did it with boys of thirteen or so. As well as women perhaps. And didn’t he murder people too. He really got around. Bloody good painter I must say…

          • george

            Yes, one of my faves. But the redhead you see as ‘Mary’ in a couple of his pictures? He knew her.

          • Fergus Pickering

            You mean like Botticelli I suppose. Quite a lot of females do look masculine, particularly if they are old. And quite a lot of men look feminine particularly if they are young..

        • SpringWinder

          What a pretentious clown! And arrogant to boot. Anyone ever accused you of being narcissist? Before now, that is?

        • n8ftc

          Seriously george…get a life. I’ll bet you support violence on the television too.

          • Fergus Pickering

            I love violence on television. Doesn’t everybody?

      • Daniel Maris

        So you find sexual behaviour threatening? Why? It’s natural.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Oh don’t be silly. Rape is sexual behaviour and people find that very threatening.

          • Daniel Maris

            Well now you are assuming that a physical state of being can’t be threatening but of course it can. We see it in the primate world all the time – the puffed ape indicating he is ready for violent combat. Just because someone is naked doesn’t mean they can’t be threatening.

    • Tom C

      He can find nudity obscene if he pleases, he never explained that he wished to prevent nudists from bathing there. Finding people’s habits or pastimes offensive or obscene, but not wishing to infringe upon their liberty to partake in them, does not make a person less libertarian.

      • lbartley

        The author of this article does indeed wish to infringe upon the liberty of other people. A libertarian can find nudity to be offensive, that’s their personal opinion, but to be supportive of “laws” that would ban nudity at the beach is a perfect example of desire to exert your will over others. All such attitudes are anti-libertarian.

  • Lamdba

    It’s worth noting that, at least here in The States, most nudists are as upset about the gaurdoni and the scambisti as you are. Some beaches even have strong communities that do a really good job of warding off the creeps and keeping a family-friendly atmosphere (yes, I know it’s probably hard for to understand that term in this context, but that’s really what it is).

    It’s also worth mentioning that most nudists think (and again, this is probably a tough concept) that it’s more wholesome to simply be naked than to be packaged in some suggestive swimsuit. Maybe a majority of the nudists that I know personally are extremely close to their faith (Christianity, and in a few cases Judaism).

    If you don’t mind me getting a little confrontational, for a libertarian, you’re very supportive of expanding government power, when it suits you. I’m curious, do you think a vegan libertarian can support a ban on meat? A more nuanced comparison might be: can a libertarian homeowner support an ordinance that stops the building of a nearby prison?

    I know my comment is kind of long. Thank you for reading the whole thing.

  • Regarding “But we cannot go to this spectacular beach because … it is infested with nudists.” I think you need to learn a little tolerance!

    Personally, I find bathing suits offensive, because they are a tangible manifestation of body shame, refusal to accept the human body as God’s divine creation. Yet, I do not seek to prohibit others from wearing them, or avoid beaches where they are worn, as long as those who choose to wear them extend the same tolerance toward those who do not.

  • By the way, the date on this article, 10 August 2013, is a little premature. It is only Thursday, August 8 on my calendar.

  • E Hart

    If it is all in, why wobble? If it all out, try doing anything else. I agree with Signor Farrellisimo. If you are a fat bastard sporting a whelk affixed to an overhang, accompanied by an equally fat woman arrayed with a gravity-obsequious upper deck – it’s a maritime disaster. It’s all about proportion. The more disproportionate you are the less appealing it is. Nudity is for the young and shapely. It’s a matter of aesthetics. This ought to apply – voyeur or not.

    The nudists among you may think that nudity conveys freedom – realists among you will perceive it as a disgusting display about as pleasing to the eye as a plate in an all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant. This not about liberty, it’s about decorum and aesthetics. Too think this looks attractive is be a cyclops with sand in your eye.

    The main problem with Italian beaches is the fascistic control that the hotels exercise over the atomised beach fronts, which is yet another example of how the commercial imperative creates a duplicated, squalid fuck-up. I particularly resent be told that a knee-high swell is dangerous or that I need to pay for something over which the hotel has no real control. After all, given the seismic nature of much of Italy’s south western shoreline, you can never be quite sure the beach or resort will be there after lunch.

    On one point I’d have to agree with Steve Yna NY, though, the beach is the world – clad or unclad. As for body shame. It’s nothing to do with it. Don’t conflate a realistic summation of disproportion with shame. It isn’t. It’s the dawning of the truth that fat and wrinkly aren’t beautiful.

    • JoeDM

      You seem to be suffering from what is called Gymnophobia

      • george

        Joe, did your mummy never teach you the concept of ‘there’s a time and a place’? Evidently not.

        • SpringWinder

          Is that it? Is that the best you can do? Is that the total sum of your intellectual contribution? To lift a knee in reaction? No loss amongst intellectual circles.

      • E Hart

        You’re missing the point. I have no objection to the shapely. There is a case, though, for saying no to gym – especially when it wobbles around the beach like a B Movie monster covered in Factor 60.

  • Tony

    What makes the author think it’s okay to publish this garbage, basically hate speech against a minority, as journalism? Write the same thing about black people, about Asians, or to be more fair to you, short people, fat people, ugly people, and see how far you get. Oh, what’s that?

    You hate fat, short, ugly people too and you have an entire drive devoted to them as well?

    I would not be surprised.

    • MikeF

      There is no such thing as ‘hate speech’. There is legitimate comment and argument, which this article is, and there is abuse and incitement to violence, which this article is not. The concept of ‘hate speech’ speech is a deliberate attempt to elide those two quite different forms of expression in order to stifle free speech.

    • Tom C

      He is at perfect liberty to publish whatever he wishes, hate speech or otherwise.

  • Nudism is NOT about seeing or being seen. It’s about de-stressing, relaxing, and returning to innocence. There’s nothing unbeautiful about any body on the face of this planet. God made those bodies, therefore there’s nothing ugly underneath your clothing.

    • george

      A lot of wishful thinking there, I’m afraid, Hattie.

    • Fergus Pickering

      That is REALLY silly. Have you seen people of forty stone? Good God, have you seen Ed Balls.

      • george

        Titter.

  • SpringWinder

    Keep calm. folks! This article was published, verbatim, in the Daily Torygraph last year, almost to the day. It’s summertime, it’s time to complain about would-be naked people. Yada, yada, yada. I wonder where it will appear August 2014 and what happens when the decidedly un-libertarian author eventually shuffles off his mortal coil.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatlife/9466539/The-nudists-who-spoil-our-holiday-retreat.html

  • chineseassassin

    a lot of nudist nonsense here, i’ve been to plenty of nudist beaches…. well, i like to have a look from time to time – the stuff about it all being all wholesome and healthy is mostly bunk

    gay nudists cannot stay naked long without having sex ….to start with behind bushes and dunes but afterwards completely in the open, perhaps it is a minority but it is common enough to require some kind of isolation

    even on a straight beach amongst all the ‘wholesome and healthy’ naturists it doesn’t take too long for at least one couple to start masturbating one another or to copulate and a crowd starting to form around them

    i enjoyed this article and am sympathetic with what the author writes – i wouldn’t allow any nude beach within a mile of where families might go or would situate them in isolated locations that require at least a mile on foot to reach

    • Daniel Maris

      A sensible comment. There is a place for naturist camps and beaches – even whole resorts as in France – but we shouldn’t accept it as a normal part of culture.

  • Billy Smith

    Nicholas clearly is not a libertarian. If he finds God’s creation obscene, he has a problem. Glad to see that most commentators so far agree!

    • george

      I don’t.

      • JoeDM

        That’s your problem.

        • george

          Hardly. I find Nicholas’s article a breath of fresh air and I love the cut and thrust of blog comment galleries.

          • SpringWinder

            You just like to see your own voice ‘in print’. Nothing remarkable about you at all. Certainly not any deep thinking, that’s for sure.

          • george

            Why so angry, Tightlywound?

  • Ian Walker

    You poor thing. I’ve asked some starving children in the third world if they could organise a charity concert for you.

  • george

    I love it! Charming article. And reminds me how attractive Italian is (vastly more so than French).

    The real term for ‘nudist’ is ‘nude exhibitionist’. I say this because 1) no nudist wants to be nude alone, but always seeing and seen by others; and 2) in a civilization that permits the briefest of bottoms and the teeniest of tit-covers, what the nudists really want is to air their naughty bits, visibly. It’s not about giving air and sun to your limbs and torso. In the end, it’s really about genitals.

    • Lamdba

      Do you honestly believe that having brightly coloured fabric stretched across your genitals makes them *less* conspicuous – particularly with some of the current styles?

      Personally, I’d have no trouble going to a nude beach with my sister, but I was recently subjected to her modeling her new swimsuits, and it was just a little awkward, to say the least. I’ve also talked to a number of nudist women who are uncomfortable in a bikini, and I know I’d feel really weird in a speedo.

      Also, imagine that suddenly shoes and socks became mandatory at beaches worldwide (and don’t say that feet aren’t genitals, that’s not my point). You might say, “What’s the big deal? It’s only from the ankle down; you don’t have to cover much (What are you, a foot fetishist?)” and yet, you must agree, it would make the whole beach experience that much less immersive.

      I could go into great detail about how clothing creates social barriers, about how the naturist community is more tolerant of diverse body types, and how these factors – plus the simple fact that you’re all taking such a leap from the status quo – can create a strong sense of kinship among strangers that I have yet to encounter anywhere else…

      …but I won’t. At this point you’re either listening, or you’re not. I’m hoping you’re more than just a troll, and that you’re willing to at least consider that people with more first-hand knowledge on a topic might have some ideas worth thinking about

      • george

        Of course I’m more than just a troll! But I have a feeling that you are not interested in a) the legality of the case described in N. F.’s article; b) the broader implications of being willing to bare all in public; c) the fact that human beings mainly, sadly, do not in any real way resemble this:
        http://bama.ua.edu/~ksummers/cl222/LECT5/slide0001_image002.jpg

        The human body, in its ugly variation, is a huge disappointment — unlike lynxes, all of which are healthy else they die; and all of which are uniformly beautiful to the eye. Most humans to be beautiful need the radiation of character to illuminate and grace them. And character is something that nudists never want to talk about.

        • Lamdba

          Ok, I’ll bite. You are keeping a somewhat civil tone, and I appreciate that.

          a) I’m sorry, I was responding to your comment, and you weren’t talking about the legal aspect. Though, from my amateur point of view, it seems reasonable that common law has simply taken precedence over the original statute.

          b) I thought I mentioned a few of the broader implications in my previous comment, but could you go into a little more detail about the implications you’re referring to? Also, when you say “public,” do you mean on Main Street or on a designated beach, like this one?

          c) Yeah. It’s nice. It means that instead of focusing on how you look in a swimsuit, you can just focus on listening to the waves and soaking up some sun. As for the other people, after about a minute you stop thinking about their bodies and just look at their faces, and eventually they all just look like people (I realize this probably sounds hopelessly naive, but it’s really the best way to describe it).

          Also, I’d love to talk about character. I touched on it a little in my last comment (“greater tolerance of physical diversity” – though, maybe you don’t think tolerance is an important virtue). I’m not sure why (I think it might be the fact that you need a certain amount self-confidence to try naturism to begin with), but some of the nicest, most caring and most genuine people I know are naturists.

          • Lamdba

            Actually, I think that when you don’t have clothing to stereotype people with, character has more of a chance to shine.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Baboons are pretty ugly, particularly male baboons. And I’m not greatly taken with vultures, at least facially.

          • george

            Agreed. Vultures are best seen from a distance.

            To my mind, chimps are hideous. They remind one vaguely at times of humanity without the personal grooming, morals, or manners. Orang utans are a mixed bag: their young are cute in a straightforward neotonous way. Gorillas, I think, are handsome. Man is strange because he is sometimes as ugly as the chimps, usually as plain as the orangs, and sometimes (rarely) as impressive as gorillas.

            This is said light-heartedly: just wait and see what the nudists do with it!

          • Fergus Pickering

            Ah George. Light-hearted will score you nothing. These nudists are joyless fellows. Not a joke to be found in all their high-minded prating. And no delight in a pretty girl. Or a pretty boy, come to that.

          • george

            Apparently not, FP.

  • JoeDM

    “…we find the sight of other people’s naked bodies in a public place frankly obscene and disturbingly insane”

    Mmm.. That says rather a lot about you.

    The naked human body is our natural state. Nothing to be ashamed of.

    • george

      My reply about a time and a place was supposed to go here, but it’s up above by your other unenlightening remark.

      But since I’m here: had I been the writer, I would have stopped at ‘disturbing’ rather than bring in insanity — which it isn’t, however unpleasant it is to look at and disturbing to the other would-be users of the beach. Nudism is mildly nutty and genital-obsessed (as I say elsewhere) but doesn’t prevent employment, quiet use of public transport, etc.

      • DarrenS

        Genital obsessed? George you clearly know nothing at all about the naturist lifestyle. I live at home naked. I don’t like to dress, and I don’t need to dress, so I don’t dress. If I want to go to the beach, and there is an opportunity to be naked I’m going to take it.

        My guess is that there are some people whose body you’d be quite happy to see naked, but I’ve never understood the need to feel disgust at those you don’t find sexually attractive. How sad it must be for you that you can only see perfection without disgust!

        I’ve been to many naturist events and never seen any sexual activity. I’ve sat in a bar and chatted naked for hours, I’ve been to sauna and swim events and even to a naturist studio photographic course. The simple fact is that I could dress how I wished at these events and I didn’t have people like you making judgements on my appearance – as if I care!.

        • george

          Darren: Let me put it to you this way. Isn’t it a strange thing to pin your colours to the mast over? I mean, of all causes to champion, of all hobbies to indulge in, of all pursuits to argue over, why being naked? What is so important and so salutary about it? If someone said to me ‘I consider it a badge of honour to appear in public naked’, I’d have to say ‘have a nice day’. I don’t see what is admirable about either the public nudity or the upsetting of other people such as Farrell and the Italians of Dante beach in the cause of that nudity. To the contrary, I tend to revel in that which distinguishes us from other animals, and that is that we are capable of making love (i.e. with a whole person not a body part) and that we are dressed.

          • DarrenS

            No George. You’re attacking my lifestyle, and doing it with incorrect and prejudiced assumptions. That needs to be challenged.

            If you were attacking the virtues of my greatest hobby, astronomy, I would be pinning my colours to ITS mast!

            But there, you see, you’ve shown how ignorant of nudism you really are. It’s not a hobby or a pastime, it’s a LIFESTYLE! I live naked because that’s what I prefer. It’s MY choice. If I could, I’d be naked 24/7/365.

          • george

            Yes Darren, thank you for clarifying that. The question is why.

            I keep coming back to this again and again, and no nudist here has addressed the question: how are the people on Lido di Dante in the right to make it a nudist beach by squatting on it, when the law and the public opinion supporting that law do not want them there?

            In short, if you want a nudist club and you go there and it’s your property to do what you like with — or you have come to some arrangement with the forester/coastguard in question — then I have no complaint about that. But despite my personal bafflement at the appeal and virtue of nudism, my comments have to be seen as anchored to the article, and the fact that many nudists seem to want to impose their nudity on other people. (At least, the ones in this article do.)

          • DarrenS

            Well looking at the history of the place, it’s been used by naturists for 46 years. Whatever the legal status, it has been accepted as a place where being naked was accepted for nearly half a century.

            The insistence that people shouldn’t be allowed to use the beach, just because there are by laws that have been ignored (also by the authorities) for years is brought about by people wishing to infringe on others personal freedoms. As for public opinion, in all the surveys I’ve ever seen that asked the questions, the general public tend to quite ambivalent about naturist beaches, and the majority, whilst maybe not wanting to use one themselves, have no issue with others being naked on a nude beach. “Silent majority”? We need a citation. Where is the information that shows this silent majority exists?

            My question would be why, if this is a long established nude beach, would someone choose to move nearby, when they are so obviously offended by the sight of a naked human?

          • DarrenS
          • george

            Perhaps he’s trying to take back legally what was taken illegally by the nudists. There’s a thought.

            This case does show — perhaps we have here an area of agreement! — that the authorities should have enforced their code or ditched it, a long time ago, instead of wibbling and wobbling about it. That way, everyone would have known from the beginning where they stood.

          • DarrenS

            Well, yes, if they authorities HAD enforced the rules, but they didn’t. It’s been that way for almost as long as I’ve been alive. These arguments might have been valid in 1967, but now they are not.

            This has never been about naturists breaking laws, it’s about intolerance of others’ freedoms. If they don’t like to see naked people, go to a different beach and leave them in peace.

          • george

            Ah. What if the naturists pick the best beach on the coastline? (??????)

          • DarrenS

            Naturists don’t get to choose beach locations. If they did, they would all be easily accessible and with good facilities. Instead, they tend to be half a mile hike down some track, down a steep cliff or over a load of rocky coastline, with nothing on the beach except sand. Accessible nude beaches are rarity.

      • lbartley

        “A time and place” smacks the same as those who establish “free-speech zones” and will arrest anyone who is protesting or petitioning the government for a redress of greivances if they step outside of those free-speech zones which are always placed miles away from the government center that’s being protested against. This is blatantly unconstitutional, but the government does it anyway. It is also un-libertarian, which again demonstrates the error of the author of this article calling himself a libertarian. “Change your ways, or change your name.”

    • Daniel Maris

      Well so is the sexually aroused state – perfectly natural. Are you suggesting you be allowed to walk down the high street in such a state?

  • David Lloyd

    Did you not check out the area before you bought your property, or did you move in there just to moan about the neighbours?

    • george

      Missing. the. point. Spectacularly.

  • duncanheenan

    What a bigoted idiot the author is. It is he who needs to see a psychiatrist, with such a fear of the human body, which is where we all reside! Why he thinks a few pieces of cloth make such a difference to people I can’t imagine.

    • george

      He doesn’t want nudists on a beach not set aside for nudists. It’s quite straightforward. Do you do the backstroke or butterfly? And when you’re swimming, you don’t have much clothing on, I take it. But when you go to the supermarket, you don’t walk about in your goggles, with nothing but a cart for a fig leaf, do you?

      It really is the silly season at The Speccie right now.

      • duncanheenan

        So do we now have separate beaches for people in red swimsuits, blue swimsuits, one piece suits, bikinis, those with tattoos, those without tattoos etc? The point is to the true naturist, nudity is no big deal, it’s just a personal choice. We all tolerate each other’s personal choice of most things which don’t actually harm us, so why can’t we tolerate the sight of each other’s bodies?
        By the way, what’s the relevance of what stroke I swim? Oh, I forgot, it’s the silly season.

        • george

          I was just trying to be genial.

          • SpringWinder

            No you weren’t, far from it. You were trying to demonstrate how intolerant you are. Not just about nudism but just about anything that doesn’t meet your requirements and expectations and demands. You are, per se, a demanding person.

          • pedestrianblogger

            You are really rather dim, aren’t you? George asked Duncan which stroke he preferred to swim. Duncan asked George the relevance of this question and George replied that he asked it in order to be “genial”. To you, this exchange proves George’s “intolerance” and “not just about nudism”, either. Either you have a unique ability to fathom people’s personalities and opinions from brief and light-hearted exchanges on subjects such as preferred swimming styles or you are really rather dim. I think that the latter alternative is probably the more likely.

          • SpringWinder

            You wouldn’t know “dim” if it ran you over. I’ve read ALL his responses to this article and all I see is a rather repugnant, vacuous, self-centred, opinionated, self-entitled individual who I simply do not want to ever have to countenance in real life. Much the same as yourself, given your comments here and elsewhere in response to the article. Neither of you even begin to comprehend the meaning of the word ‘genial’. You just like to abuse it and other terms like it, to satisfy your need to gratify yourselves.

            The prospect of seeing a naked person on the high street is nowhere as near disturbing as the prospect of meeting the like of you in the high street dressed, making your worthless opinions known to everyone who doesn’t want or need them. Frankly, compared to any nudist, exhibitionist, no matter how corpulent or unbecoming, the pair of you are absolutely nauseating without dropping as much as a stitch.

        • Daniel Maris

          Can you guarantee complete lack of arousal in areas where families may be present? If yes, are you asexual then? If not, well I suggest you stick to well defined naturist areas.

          Remember e rections are perfectly natural and maybe it’s the personal choice of some people to walk around with a massive h ard on.

          • george

            That’s an excellent point, Daniel. Women can generally hide their responses but men — as anyone that has tried to hide behind a flimsy towel or stretchy swimming trunks/trousers will attest — cannot.

          • Lamdba

            It’s basically a non-issue. I’ve been to a number of nude beaches and resorts, and I have yet to see an erection. I’ve never even talked to anyone who’s seen it happen more than twice in their whole life (and her life was quite a bit longer than mine).

          • Daniel Maris

            You are dodging the issue. You say the body is “natural” and to be enjoyed in public. But when I mention erections you get all coy. You don’t seem to think they are natural and to be enjoyed in public. Why ever not?

          • duncanheenan

            Can you guarantee no arousal on a textile beach? Of course not. Different things arouse different people, and I have seen sexual behaviour in all sorts of places. Clothes don’t prevent that, in fact fashion encourages it. It is good manners which controls that, and that is universal.

      • SpringWinder

        The nudists were using the beach years before him and his wife arrived whining like the privileged that they think they are entitled to be.

        • george

          Exactly: they were using the beach, against the law and against general public opinion — and I use the word using in the negative sense not just the neutral one.

          • SpringWinder

            You just made that assertion up out of thin air with no supporting evidence, whatsoever. People who are unwelcome, like the author, usually are bright enough to take a hint and just get lost. But people like him and you think you have rights that others don’t. Keep on whining about your privileges, not that it will impress or amuse anyone.

          • george

            Are you an anarchist? The law said that the beach was not for nudists and you’re abusing everyone that points out that central fact. You think the world should get lost on your say-so? I don’t think so.

          • SpringWinder

            The law was changed by people like you to suit people like you, even though it was used by nudists for decades. That is an example of bad law passed for a vociferous and irrelevant minority. The majority of people really don’t really care one way or another. The fact that people chose to ignore it and that the authorities chose not to enforce it is just inevitable and typical. People like you just expect that the tail should be able to wag the dog simply because you shout loudly and rudely. You and your ilk are self-centred, narcissistic and full of a distorted sense of entitlement. Your favourite phrases are whimsical quips like “the majority of people”, or just “we” when what you really mean is “I”. You like imposing authority, vicariously, for the sake of it because you psychologically, emotionally and even sexually get off on it because you are really pathetically inadequate and incapable people. You need your rules and regulations like other people need oxygen because you simply can’t contemplate coping without them, such is your level of personal inadequacy and fear. If the world simply obeyed you, as you are certain that it should be required to, it would simply grind to a halt. If the fact that it has to patently ignore you while you rant and rave relentlessly, yeah, then I guess that is anarchy. I just call it coping with and by-passing idiots, like a minor but sadly inevitable irritation, who insist on being a trivial and irrelevant irritation to humanity. You are completely incapable and, indeed, unwilling to make choices between what is important and what is not. You believe in the irrational, like the existence of God, but not only that, you worship other people and entities, like royalty and institutions, because they have always been there, are traditional, without as much as a nod to logic. You secretly or openly admired and supported extreme personalities such as Enoch Powell, in the past. You simply loved Margaret Thatcher in a way that would otherwise be deemed unhealthy and you will almost certainly vote UKIP and Nigel Farage at the next general election because you intuitively admire his cheeky boy, non-politically-correct attitude even though he is transparently devoid of substance, logic or consistency or much real decency. And the current Conservative party aren’t anywhere right-wing enough for your liking. You don’t think there was really anything wrong in what Geoffrey Bloom said recently about bongo-bongo land and you, for sure, think that it’s pretty pathetic that Jacob Rees Mogg has been abjectly apologising for having anything to to with the British Traditional Group and think what Gregory Lauder-Frost said is just the simple truth. Above all else, you are entirely and tediously predictable. Change isn’t for you, unless it is a change to the past and what is to you, it’s only too obvious advantages. The notion that you might just chose to wrinkle your nose at and then ignore something that is patently mildly disagreeable but otherwise patently unharmful is a concept that you are unwilling and incapable of entertaining. You are absolutely certain that whatever it is that you find objectionable has to be, by default, the thin end of the stick ,even if there is absolutely no evidence to support any such assumption. It is to the chagrin of mankind that you exist. And you self-perpetuate like some irrelevant genetic aberration that simply hasn’t acknowledged the singular irrelevancy that you are to humanity. You use the law and authority to enable you to simply survive when otherwise you would simply be incapable of the ability to adapt in order to survive. In all you are simply, figuratively and literally, an irrelevant dinosaur, for which evolution will not make a place. Above all, you are incapable of original or interesting thought, so this is the end of this exchange, whether you welcome it or not.

          • pedestrianblogger

            I am not a qualified psycho-analyst but I am fairly sure that you are really talking to your dead father here. Am I right?

          • SpringWinder

            No, you certainly are not. You are not anything of even remote importance or significance, trying ineffectively to get a rise out of anyone for your personal amusement. In reality, you are just a predictably tedious idiot. Born an idiot, you will die an idiot. You deem it virtuous and think that it entitles you to run interference in the lives of others merely because it amuses you and gives a totally delusional meaning to your otherwise pointless life. Make the biggest contribution you possibly can to humanity. Stop breathing, now. You have already been brain-dead for decades. Some poor soul will take on the job of scraping your sad remains into a bag and feed you into a an incinerator somewhere to pollute the atmosphere one last time. There won’t be anyone else in attendance, except officialdom, nor will there be flowers, or tears, or for that matter, anyone cheering. That would mean that somehow you mattered. Bye.

          • pedestrianblogger

            “Ineffectively”?

          • SpringWinder

            If you think that someone as insignificant as you is going to wind me up. you are even more delusional and arrogant than you already are. I really, really expected you to come back with that comment. You really are that tediously predictable. And worthless to boot.

          • pedestrianblogger

            You ARE a funny little fellow, aren’t you?

          • SpringWinder

            Is that the best you can offer? You moved on from falling into rather obvious traps to using vacuous cliches? Well that really is mighty impressive. Can you reduce it a single syllable? That is where you are inexorably heading, like a mindless automaton. Predictable unto the end.

          • pedestrianblogger

            Pooh!

  • pedestrianblogger

    If certain perverted exhibitionists really do find it enjoyable and satisfying to expose their private parts to each other, I have no objection to their doing so in a very few places set aside for this peculiar activity but I am at a loss to understand why they should not only want to expose themselves to the rest of us but also claim the moral high ground in doing so.

    • SpringWinder

      What irony! They don’t but you do.

    • Lamdba

      Like I explained to George below, it has nothing to do with genitals or exhibitionism. If you’re willing to entertain a different perspective, give it a read.

      • pedestrianblogger

        Thank you for your reply, Lamdba.

        My objection to the tone of your less moderate co-enthusiasts is that they seem to think that anyone who doesn’t share their tastes is in need of psychiatric treatment or is a bigot. They also seem to make a habit of missing points. If people such as yourself enjoy nudity and like to share the company of other like-minded persons in a state of undress, I am all in favour of you having the freedom to do so but I do not and I don’t see why your freedom to take your clothes off should trump mine not to see you in the raw, as it were.

        If you think that this makes me mad or intolerant then so be it.

  • P Windsor

    Why are people so afraid of naked bodies? Are they not denying their own existance?

    • pedestrianblogger

      No.

    • Daniel Maris

      Why are naturists so afraid of erections? Are they not denying the existence of men with sexual needs?

      • P Windsor

        Never had one so I don’t know. I have seen the odd one on the beach but no problem to me. Had more problems at the office party.

  • george

    Having read the article, and having read also the responses to the article, it seems to me that nudism is confirmed as an essentially exhibitionist enterprise. The nudists or nudey-friends commenting here are all adamant that nudism must be allowed wherever nudists de-clothe; that no one else has any claims on a beach or stretch of land (why not a busy city street or park?); and that any objection to nudism is an objection to the body, rather than an objection to a type of behaviour that might clash with what others wish to do.

    If we follow the trail of evidence closely, it would seem that nudists enjoy being put-upon, and are exhibitionist even in trying to expropriate a non-nudist beach for their own purposes — this itself is exhibitionist. (‘Hey, look at me! I’m a nudist in a non-nudist spot! I’m not doing this on private land or licit property! Want to make something of it?!’)

    Nudism is fundamentally about the fundament and exhibitionism.

    • SpringWinder

      This is solely a conversation with an audience of one, only intended for an audience of one, completely devoid of any supporting evidence. Not that you are untypical. Far from it.

  • george

    Someone I’m chatting to made the point that humans (especially males) have particularly prominent genitalia. And — unlike every other mammal on the planet — our genitalia face front (more or less, but especially the males’), instead of being tucked away with the back legs. Something to think about.

    The other point he made is that human beings have notions of justice. Justice exists for no other creature than the human being. Justice requires us at times to moderate, control, constrain, and sublimate (the word means elevate not suppress) our natural inclinations and even the bodies that go with them.

    • SpringWinder

      Justice? Yes, but clearly only ever on your terms. I wonder what I can find objectionable about you? Your very existence? You should be ‘sublimated’ from existence. I quite like that idea and like you I simply don’t have to justify it.

  • How Nixonion of you. Take your textile family to some confined space set aside for your kind.

  • Martin1900

    I have rarely read such bigoted tripe. How can the human body, by its very nature, be obscene? Michaelangelo rightly celebrated it in many of his works. Is homo sapiens the only species terrified to see it’s own species in the flesh? Such prudish, intolerant and outdated attitudes are unfortunately extremely harmful, as well as a threat to civil liberties. Issues of body dysmorphia leading to widespread dietary disorders and unnecessary, damaging cosmetic surgery are largely a product of a world in which children increasingly are exposed to images, usually airbrushed,of perfect bodies while rarely seeing ordinary people naked like themselves. Thus the ordinary and normal, like themselves, becomes seen as disgusting, next to the images of unreal perfection that infect our media environment.

    He needs to get a life, and stop pedalling such poisonous attitudes.

    • Daniel Maris

      You have no evidence for your assertions. Would fat girls really feel better about themselves if their lithe peers were free to appear naked in public in all their loveliness? I very much doubt it.

      Body image issues are a product not of clothing but of imaging. We see how women’s magazines talk endlessly about women getting their bikini body in shape . If there were naturism, such mags would simply transfer all that image anxiety on to the nude body.

      • Martin1900

        That is very much the experience of naturist venues where the atmosphere is not one of voyeurism. ‘Fat girls’ may indeed have those anxieties before trying it, but quickly find that people’s bodies come in all shapes and sizes and everyone has their insecurities which renders them accepting of others. Those ‘lithe peers’ usually turn out to have either birth marks, stretch marks, scars etc. They realise for that every ‘lithe beauty’, there are a hundred more ordinary looking women/men.
        No doubt the media industry is in large part responsible for negative attitudes to the body, as few meet up to the media image of perfection. As a result, children get a very false impression of what ordinary people look like under their clothes, with fewer and fewer opportunities to see them, with the resulting reactions of disgust. In tests on teenagers, it has been shown that any natural beauty is found inferior to one who has had cosmetic surgery to appear more like the doctored and artificial media image. The problem is simply lack of familiarity with how ordinary people look in the flesh, so they base their ideas on all the media images of nudity, much of it from online porn or from magazines.
        There is evidence, in the form of much better indicators related to body image issues in other European and Scandinavian countries which have much more relaxed attitudes to nudity, including lower levels of obesity and cosmetic surgery.

  • Martin1900

    and by the way – the majority have no problem with nudity. It is only a minority of vociferous prudes who make it an issue.

  • Christine Wright

    What a load of prejudiced, badly argued drivel this is! How can a publication like the Spectator use it? The author has some serious problems with what is entirely natural, normal and wholesome; the human body in its natural state. Naturism is a widely practised family lifestyle all over Europe and simple non sexual nudity is lawful. It harms no one, certainly not children who are more likely to be harmed by prudish attitudes such as those of the author! Attitudes like this give rise to young people having body image issues. Couple that with the cult of size zero celebrities, and stop young people from seeing what normal human beings look like, and you have serious issues which can lead to problems: eating disorders, lack of body confidence, and confused attitudes to sexuality. Countries like the Netherlands, Germany and the Scandanavian countries where there is openness about the body, explicit sex education and commonplace naturism, have the best outcomes for teenage pregnancies, under age sex, STIs and body image/eating disorders. Prudish countries like the UK have the worst outcomes. The evidence is overwhelming: prudery not nudity harms young people.
    Furthermore, the writer appears to confuse simple nudity, and enjoyment of swimming/sunbathing naked on a beach, with sexual misbehaviour. Obviously he has never spent time with naturists.

    • Daniel Maris

      Well at least you are honest. You aren’t arguing for isolated beaches – you are arguing for nudism to be accepted in the high street and presumably you accept that the male state of arousal is part of nature, and that we should accept that as part of the street scene.

  • n8ftc

    Why is this nitwit writing a “news” article? Obviously has an axe to grind and is quite repressed. I guess if people were meant to be nude they’d be born that way. Stupid bluenose.

    • pedestrianblogger

      You were also born without the ability to speak, reason, fend for yourself or control your bodily functions. Why is the fact that you were born naked so important to you while these other things are not?

  • Thomas Stinson

    Ironic that one invokes the hand of God in intervention of the “obscenity” that God created. People who view the human body as obscene need mental help.

  • george

    This is going to be my last comment on this article. I’ve really enjoyed it, and thank you all — especially Lambda, who is a sweetheart, and Darren, who is very fair — for debating with me. So much more interesting than organizing the electrician and shopping for dental rinse.

    I have a particular appreciation of belly dance and of belly dancers whether amateur or professional. I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that belly dancers do not dance in the nude. I can assure you, it is not because they are ashamed of their bodies. (God knows, Ansuya, Maria Shashkova, and Carla Silveira have no cause to be embarrassed on that score.) They do a dance which can be more or less suggestive, perhaps inevitably because the female body is inherently ‘suggestive’ to the hetero male, but also because they make full use of their primary and secondary sex characteristics (as an anthropologist would put it): their hips, chests, legs, arms, shoulders, faces, hair. The very fact that in this dance they use their entire body is suggestive (gee, what else might that remind you of?).

    But they wear clothes. Not street clothes, not suits. But they wear the bedlah or some form of it: a bra, usually highly decorated; a headdress or necklace or choker; arm cuffs and bracelets; long gloves or detached sleeves; hip belts; anklets; long skirts, no matter how many ‘petals’ or slits that skirt has. Sometimes they wear ‘harem pants’ under the skirt, as well. You see where I’m going with this. The human body, to be really alluring outside of a bedroom, needs a bit of mystery. It needs the glitter and decoration that nature, sod it, hasn’t given us. It’s nothing to do with shame. In fact, to the contrary, it’s something to do with proper pride.

  • Daniel Maris

    I am just so amused about how repressed and Victorian naturists are when it comes to male erections.

    Apparently male naturists never experience them when naked and women never look for them.

    While the body is “elemental”, “God’s creation” and “to be celebrated unashamedly”…the same for some reason doesn’t apply to the engorged pe nis. Why?

    The idea that any individual man might become aroused in a public and might derive pleasure from showing his state of arousal to women is, it seems, completely beyond the ken of the average naturist!

    How innocent and hidebound these naturists are! You almost wonder how they reproduce…

  • Al Mahany

    I am a nudist myself and firmly believe in our right to have nude beaches. But I also believe in the right of those who are offended by nudity to have clothed beaches. The key to success here is a reasonable allocation of beach between the two. I don’t know enough about Italy to know if reasonableness has been achieved here, but i do know that there is plenty of beach to go around. There is no reason to deny either group their beach. We just need to be reasonable.

  • why this happens. Being nude is comfortable and natural

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