I was having a conversation with my boyfriend a couple of weeks ago. He had only been back a few days after having visited family, and we were going out to dinner. The previous day I had talked to him about my interest in exploring social nudism and had decided to tell him that I was starting this blog to talk about that journey. We got to talking about why naturism was not about “flaunting” and I broached the subject of maybe visiting a clothing optional place sometime together instead of going to a place that did not allow clothing to sorta ease into it and allow me to go nude while he was not necessarily required to. He said maybe someday, and when I teased about when, he said: “maybe when I am old and wrinkly and don’t care what people think about my body anymore”.
At the time I then steered the conversation to body image at our current age, but what he said is interesting. So often, I hear/read about the community mostly comprising of older people, and the issue with attracting younger adults to the naturist lifestyle. And as someone who is a young adult and is exploring social nudism, it got me thinking: what are some barriers or things that can be done to help attract younger adults into naturism?
1. Modern Websites!
As anyone would do these days, the internet was the very first place I turned to find places where I can be nude in public and not necessarily be seen as a weirdo or get arrested. I know as someone who builds websites for a living that I may be particularly biased, but nudist clubs are in desperate need of a facelift for their websites.
At the end of the day, naturist clubs are first and foremost a business. We live in a capitalist society and without money, these clubs simply cannot operate. And I would be willing to guess that 99% of people don’t have their first experience with a landed nudist location from just driving down the road and stumbling into the parking lot and saying “Oh, look what I found. Guess I’ll just go in and get naked!”
A modern website is crucial because it is the first impression someone will have into a club. First impressions are critical! The website doesn’t have to be anything groundbreaking, nor does it need to be something that tens of thousands of dollars was invested into making. However, you don’t want a website that looks like it was made back when Windows ’97 was the premier operating system. All that will do is make the facility itself seem old and dated. And if a website looks old and dated, my assumption is then that the clientele will all be older. As a young adult, I would get the impression that I may be the only young adult at the resort, and young people want to go to places where they feel other young people will also be.
2. Social Media Presence
To go along with the need for updated websites, it would also be extremely beneficial if clubs had a larger social media presence. Worldwide, there are over 3.2 billion people who use social media, and it has been shown that 90.4% of millennial’s are on social media platforms. If more young adults are going to be attracted to social nudism, it is crucial that there be a stronger social media presence. I was unable to find a SINGLE Twitter account for any Indiana landed resorts! I was able to find the Twitter account for the Indiana Naturists non-landed club, but that was it.
If I cannot go onto something like Twitter and see an active account, my first impression is again that these resorts around where I live are not going to have people similar to my age if I visit. That makes me worry about the possibility that I will show up, instantly stand out for both being younger than everyone else and also being there as a “single male”, and my experience will be one where I am given the vibe that I am not welcome.
Similar to a website, however, these social media accounts do not have to be anything groundbreaking. Just make a Facebook post once a month with a picture of how beautiful the grounds look, and send out a Tweet about an upcoming event to encourage people to come. Maybe even make a post about a special deal where people can show up for a discounted price (see point 6 below).
The internet is the prime avenue to attract younger people, and it is being heavily underutilized and not living up to its potential!
3. More appealing activities for younger people
One of the things I am looking into during my search for my first resort to visit is what I can do while there. I am personally a very laid back person, and the idea of sitting next to the pool with a nice book and maybe a hike sounds perfect to me, which is exactly what most places are offering. But I also know that a majority of my friends that are my age would want to do much more. We may not want to necessarily go on a bender and get super trashed and destroy the place, but we also want to feel like we can go to a place where we could enjoy ourselves and not have to worry about being kicked out for being too rowdy.
It could also be possible to play up a unique event for the sole intention of attracting younger people. I do think it is wonderful that most clubs seem to have things like volleyball tournaments, but what about something crazy like a giant nighttime game of Hide N’ Seek?! Or perhaps something like “Humans Vs. Zombies“, where for 24 hours you have people bring in nerf guns and try not to be tagged to survive until the next day, only everyone is nude the whole time (except maybe backpacks and extra ammo for their nerf guns). I have recently been reading a lot about the different naked bike rides that are going on around the world, and if I had to guess, I would say that a large majority of those people are participating because they want to try something fun and unique to say that they did it. I very well could be wrong, but I would also venture that most of the participants have never actually gone to a nudist resort. So maybe allowing people to participate in an event just so they can say that they did it will lead into people leaving the resort afterward and saying, “Wow, I had fun at this place and I was surprisingly comfortable with being naked after a little bit. Maybe I’ll come back sometime just for fun one weekend.”
4. Don’t ban single men
This one is admittedly a bit more complex than just outright no longer having clubs that ban single men or limit the number of single men at a location/event. Beyond attracting young naturists, I also understand that there is an issue with attracting female naturists, and I totally can understand how many women may feel uncomfortable if they go to a place to be naked and 80% of the people there are men who are there by themselves.
With that being said, outright banning single men can also be a deterrent from attracting a younger crowd. I say this simply because there are young people who fall into the category of “single man”. This can include men who are single, or people who are interested and their partner isn’t, such as myself. I can imagine that those who fall into the latter are most likely not going to be problematic since we are already in committed relationships. We aren’t coming to ogle because we are already in a relationship, so we truly want to just come because we want to partake in social nudism and don’t yet have anyone else we know who is available to do it with us.
5. Body Image Issues
This point is not necessarily something we can easily change, but it is nonetheless one of the reasons younger adults are not partaking in social nudism events. Young adults are the generation that grew up with so much media trying to depict what an “attractive” person looks like. So many magazines and TV shows depict what the “perfect body size” is and what needs to happen to consider yourself good looking. We find it so easy to just see a picture of a celebrity somewhere on the internet and tell ourselves how much worse we look when compared to them.
Body image is not necessarily an issue that only affects younger people, but also many young people probably think as my boyfriend does. His train of thought was right now, he is at an age where his appearance is supposed to be at a certain level and he can just stop caring what other people think when he is ten years older and then he might consider walking around naked. We need to try and take steps now to change how we portray beauty in our society and to help people understand that everybody and every body is beautiful in its own way and that none of us are perfect. We should embrace an environment where we can be open and vulnerable about our appearance with other people to truly discover our beauty.
6. The Cost
Not too long ago it wasn’t uncommon to see news articles with titles like, “Millennials are killing the XXXX industry” with how much less money we are spending. But we aren’t just trying to destroy industries in our spare time for fun (even if that does sound like fun). We just simply do not have the money.
If you look at the cost of most resorts, the price can seem a bit high. There are some places where I’d be looking upwards of $50 for a single day (not even staying overnight) if I was not an AANR member. And even if I am, that only goes down an extra $10-20, so I would need to be going multiple times to offset what I would pay for an AANR membership.
The cost of attending is simply too high of a barrier. This can be resolved in multiple ways. For instance, what about special offers or maybe something like a Groupon? You could allow new members to come for only $10 on a specific day as a “new member” event. Another idea is to maybe offer a special price for younger members in general. Or just lower the whole price for everyone altogether. If the prices were more accessible, and clubs combined it with larger marketing efforts, membership levels could rise, so the need to charge such high fees would not be necessary.
Young adults ultimately are not foreign creatures who are tough to understand. Our wants are very simple. Our dream is not to own a mansion, but to be able to go to a restaurant and not worry that our car will be declined. We are holding off on starting families and not rushing into marriage. We want to enjoy our freedom and be able to express ourselves, which is a perfect reason for a young adult to join a nudist club. So I believe with some changes in the way different clubs present themselves, social nudism can be an activity many more young adults will take to participating in.