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Jeana who lives part time at the nudist resort, and during the week lives in PhoenixJeana who lives part time at the nudist resort, and during the week lives in Phoenix

American Nudist, Living Naked in the California Desert- Page Two

By Max Hartshorne, GoNOMAD Editor

Not "Lifestyle"

Nudism, Dave said, should not be confused with adult alternative, or "lifestyle." These are code words for swinger clubs, where sexual partners are shared and recreational sex is the theme.

There is a huge sector of the travel business called Adult Alternative. That's sex tourism, or swinger travel. Popular destinations are Cancun Mexico and Thailand where men can enjoy sex holidays and both straight and homosexual dalliances.

None of this takes place at AANR member clubs, who agree to keep the atmosphere clear of sexual vibes and attitudes. The only thing that is sexy are the outfits that come out at the Saturday night dance.

"Not all nudists are swingers, but some swingers are nudists." Dave explained.

The main difference is that swingers just want to be nude with their sex partners, but nudists just want to be nude period. Sex with strangers isn't part of the experience at these resorts.

It Goes Like This

Dave talked about the consistent pattern he sees when couples come to De Anza for the first time. It goes like this: The male member of the couple talks the woman into coming...she is reluctant but finally agrees to his wishes, perhaps surprising him with her consent as a birthday or Christmas gift.

They show up at the resort, and by about 10 am, he is lying nude by the pool and she is wearing a sarong, tied up near her shoulder, covering her up. By 11 the sarong goes down to her waist, she is comfortably topless and enjoying it. But by 2 pm, she is totally nude, and lying on her back. At this point she is totally comfortable and relaxed, and he is ready to go.

As Dave says, he's done what he came to do. He has seen what he came to see. She, however, is just getting into it. So she convinces him to get a hotel room or stay in one of the rental RVs, and they stay for the night. Many, many guests become regulars, at De Anza, and about 100 live this life full time. There is a collegiality among them, this solidarity versus the “textiled,” or clothed, comes up again and again here as I spoke with residents and guests.

Besides being able to be nude all the time, this is one of the most affordable places you could possibly live in expensive San Diego County. Rents for RV hookups with available electricity, phone and utilities are just $275 per month.

Getting Your Friends Involved

Another situation that comes up again and again, Dave said, is the couple with friends they want to come join them at the nudist club. One couple is reluctant to ask the other, but think that if they got just one of them to agree to try it, the other would eventually fall in line. Having experienced this situation so often, Dave has a special letter he sends out to friends if a couple wants him to, inviting them to come try it out with a free pass. It works.

Games and More Games

Lots of activities take place at the resort; these nudists are an active bunch, with a zeal for games like bingo, water volleyball, tennis and card games of all sorts. In various states of undress, they mingle; it is as if taking off one’s shirt (when you’re a woman) is about being liberated. There is a freedom, since you just can’t do that in the rest of society. So you see entertaining different states of undress, just more non chalance about what you ultimately look like.

Water volleyball is played in an indoor swimming pool, covered by a corrugated steel building, and there are five showers on the end. Everyone has to shower before stepping into the hot tub or the pool. There are parts of people’s bodies that you usually don’t see. There are magazines, I guess, that purport to show the readers “real women,” or “old women” or “one-legged women,” but you never really know what bodies can look like until you observe life in a nudist resort.

People have scars in every which place, and some people’s legs are all tangled up, and others have tremendous gouges taken out of their skin. Many have such huge barrel rolls of fat that their privates are nearly hidden in the fleshy abundance. One man at the resort was missing both of his arms, but he was welcomed and even signed up as a member after his short visit.

The mixture of sveldt and fat and in-between is fascinating, I found myself distracted as we played water volleyball watching the various people coming and going to the shower.

People You Don’t Wanna See Naked

There is an old saying (well maybe I am making this up) that nudist resorts are where you go and see people you don’t want to see naked. But I never lost interest in seeing all that I saw, hoping that more people would come strolling out off the mountain, or walking into the restaurant bare-assed.

As the day went by, it was clear that the sparse crowds last night were due to the weather in San Diego…It was cloudy and about fifty five--not exactly weather that would you make you decide to drive an hour to your RV out in the desert. But later that day, the crowds began to arrive. Nudism is perhaps the most weather dependent recreation of any. Who wants to be cold?

I thought about the average age of any nudist here— about 55. So where are tomorrow’s nudists going to come from? That’s a challenge that the AANR is facing right now. Like Italians and Japanese, nudists are not creating enough new nudists to sustain the number needed to keep an active nudist organization for many more decades

Nude Youth Camps.

Buffeted by the tacky publicity about Michael Jackson, hearing so many tales about convicted child molesters dressed as priests, many Americans are turning against the idea of youth nudism. There are three camps that are organized by age 11-18 year olds, 18-25 go to "Nude U," altogether about 80 kids go to these camps in three locations around the US.

These summer camps have been the target of many state legislators, sensing a moral angle and easy points with the religious right. Virginia passed a law requiring a parent or guardian to be present during the camp sessions. But according to Carolyn Hawkins of AANR, this hasn't dimmed the enrollment, it has just turned camp into a family outing. She said that every time there is a burst of publicity over an event such as the youth camps, they see a surge in interest at the website and in the member clubs.

But the facts don’t bear out the hyperbolic solons' pursuit against the immorality of boys and girls being naked around each other. Time after time, and in just about every other country where this has been studied, there is a confirmation: Nudists do not turn into pedophiles and nudism does not equate with sodomy, homosexuality, child abuse, nor wife swapping. Children raised among nudists have the least likely chance of becoming abusers. This is usually the done by people who have been abused.

Over and over, the nudists I met here said there is something about being a nudist that makes you more honest, and more real with the world.

First, you’re showing everybody exactly what you look like. Second, you can’t conceal weapons, contraband or anything else—hell, you don’t even have your wallet on you. Read more


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Max Hartshorne is the editor of GoNOMAD. Read his accounts of the resort visit on Readuponit, his editor's blog. in the May 2005 archives.



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Location: California,North America,United States
author: Max Hartshorne
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