Naturist News from Brazil

Did you know that Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, in both size and population? Personally I wish everyone knew a lot more about Brazil, a nation whose rich culture and fascinating history should command more of the world’s attention. I’ve had the good fortune to travel to Brazil several times and meet Brazilian naturist leaders. This month – January 2022 – there have been some developments to report on related to two very important figures in Brazilian naturism, past and present: Luz del Fuego, and Jorge Bandeira (photo above).

Brazil has a stable and growing system of naturist parks, clubs and resorts through the Federação Brasileira de Naturismo, and it also has a national naturist pioneer: the mid-twentieth-century performance artist, author and politician Luz del Fuego. Much has been written about her already, including by my good friend and naturist superstar Jorge Bandeira (my translation here), but there has been a surge of recent interest in her thanks to a new edition of a biography that came out in 2019. A long-lost documentary about Luz del Fuego, A Nativa Solitária, that was restored in the 90s, was only made available on YouTube earlier this month. She was also featured this month in an episode of Eduardo Bueno’s popular program about Brazilian history, Buenas Idéias. True to his style, Eduardo Bueno often goes for the easy laugh or the hyperbolic caricature of Dora Vivacqua (who chose the stage name Luz del Fuego), but he does manage to foreground her contributions as an ahead-of-her-time pioneer in naturism as well as in women’s rights. In contrast, the thirty-minute, black-and-white documentary A Nativa Solitária provides personal footage of Luz del Fuego as a dancer learning to handle the snakes that often accompanied her on stage, and as a writer/philosopher explaining naturism (as she did in her 1950 book A Verdade Nua [The Naked Truth]). The final half of the documentary features stunning footage of a group of athletic naturists on the beach of Ilha do Sol (Island of the Sun), which was Luz del Fuego’s personal property in Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay as well as Brazil’s first naturist destination.

My friend Jorge Bandeira founded GRAUNA, the only naturist group in northern Brazil, in 2003. He is an actor, activist, director and playwright, as well as the owner of a used book and vinyl shop in Manaus – a fascinating person I’ve written about here and here. I even created a fictional version of him in my novel Aglow! For Jorge’s latest project, he brought together a new exhibit and performance event highlighting the social nudist traditions of the Brazilian Indigenous peoples long before the arrival of Europeans or concepts such as “naturism.” The exhibit focuses on how Indigenous traditions in the Amazon region interface with two very present dangers: the current Covid pandemic, and the highly environmentally destructive practice of garimpo, a kind of surface mining for gold that often leaves streams and rivers contaminated with mercury. The exhibit and performance took place this month, not in Jorge’s home state of Amazonas, but in the Atlantic coast state of Bahia (far from the Amazon region), at the renowned naturist community Ecoparque da Mata. The exhibit consisted of various artifacts as well as Jorge’s own drawings and other art. His performance was a loose adaptation in Portuguese of “The Vision” by Exuma. The exhibit was made possible by support from the Secretaria de Cultura e Economia Criativa do Estado do Amazonas (Amazonas State Department of Culture and the Creative Economy).

Social nudism has always had some sort of context in all human societies – it’s international by definition. I know I always feel stronger and more grounded as a naturist when I learn about naturist initiatives and events taking place around the world. Many thanks to Jorge for keeping me up to date and for permission to feature his materials here. Para a frente! (Onward!)

Traveling with the Nomadic Nudists

It’s always a pleasure to discover the work of another naturist writer, and Scott Lunt is a great one to discover. He’s a professional advertising copywriter who began writing for NUSA SUN magazine about traveling with his wife Julie to nudist destinations around the country – all while decidedly *not* retired! His new book, Sun Blocked: Traveling by RV in the states of undress, contains all 39 of his NUSA SUN columns spanning 2014-2019, plus one extra.

If you’re a nudist and/or an RV owner, this book is definitely for you. As an avowed naturist, I found out a lot more about nudist parks I haven’t had the opportunity to visit yet. And having no experience with RVs, I appreciated the many tips and tricks, trials and travails of RV operating that Scott describes.

With titles like “Naked, and Sometimes Afraid” and “Flight of the Snowbirds,” these three-page chronicles are just plain fun to read. Scott has a sense of humor that comes through very clearly in his writing. He would not write, for example, that there was a horse walking down the lane toward the school. Through his lens of humorous hyperbole, it would probably be expressed something like, “There was a large mammal stomping down the road toward the unsuspecting children.” Here’s an example:

Apparently, one of my favorite hobbies is smacking various body parts (usually my head) against cupboards, door frames, and whatever part of the motorhome is handy at the time. Thankfully evolution had me in mind when human skulls developed to their current protective state, and nothing serious has happened yet.

Sun Blocked p. 45

This self-deprecating description comes from a how-to section on medical care, something that can be difficult to find or afford when traveling around the country. It’s an example of taking something serious and adding a good dose of humor.

Here’s another tragicomic passage that makes for very engaging reading. Our intrepid naturists Scott and Julie are getting settled in at Sun Meadow, a nudist resort in Idaho:

Lost in thought, I didn’t realize that at that very moment Julie was having an intimate encounter with a sociopathic yellow jacket wasp.

“Quit dancing and come check out this view,” I said, a bit put out.

“I just got stung!”

“Oh no. Well, careful dear,” I cautioned, expecting a cascade of profanities. “This is a family resort. Think of the children!”

OK maybe I wasn’t that callous, and in fact I was impressed with how stoically she quietly rubbed her arm.

Sun Blocked p. 66

See what he did there? Not only did he thwart your expectations as to how a husband might react to his spouse’s dilemma, but also he threw in that line that is so often used against naturists–Think of the children!–in an unexpected way: not because a nude woman is hopping around in pain in an open-air setting, but because she might utter (or holler!) a few unpleasantries. Very clever writing indeed!

I wouldn’t be able to pick a favorite chapter out of so much great prose, but the one I found most interesting is “Trail Ride,” about the park where I’m currently a member and have frequented over the past twenty years: Oaklake Trails in central Oklahoma. Thing is, I haven’t yet had the pleasure of participating in a midnight trail ride (golf cart caravan through the woods) at Oaklake… and wow, is it on my bucket list now!

11 p.m. [of Friday night, June 16, 2017]

We pass through a corridor of trees by a lake, and a naked woman wearing a furry animal head lunges out at me. It’s Kathy, and I thought she had been behind us. I’m pretty lost and it’s a good thing I’m not driving.

The convoy parks in circle on the shore. There’s a flag pole here and a naked guy is inching his way to the top. “Your turn,” he says, but I like my goolies too much to shimmy up the cold steel. The lake shimmers in the starlight, lightening bugs flicker in the brush and we listen to the cicadas serenade us.

Sun Blocked p. 135

Another highlight of this book is its title – there is a meaning to it beyond skincare products, and I refuse to spoil it for you! You’ll just have to find out for yourself, in the chapter of the same name, “Sun Blocked.” It’ll afford you a new appreciation of the stellar book cover image!

It takes a lot of work to get a book written, full stop. Then after that there is still more work: getting it laid out properly, copy-edited, paginated (*this is much, much harder than you would think*) designed and marketed and distributed to the various formats, and–hopefully–actually read by real live readers. I know all this from experience, and in my estimation, Sun Blocked is very handsomely produced. Between amusing anecdotes and tips for nudist travel–on a sliding scale from facetious to earnest–the book also includes several destination photos, and a couple of images of Julie’s attractive art. It’s an all-around terrific read, and you can find it on Amazon and Kobo, as well as Nook, Scribd and other formats here.

Are the Nomadic Nudists still out there somewhere in the world, doing their thing? Find out the latest at nomadicnudists.com!

Naturism and the Compulsion to Write

I’m grateful to have been interviewed a couple times this year by naturist activist Héctor Martínez on naturism and writing. Click on the photo below for a three-minute clip from our dialogue earlier this month on how naturism, and also Latin America, have been inspirational for my writing. Thanks, Héctor! Thanks also to Björ, another outstanding naturist activist, for his participation in the interview. For the full video, please support Héctor on his Patreon page.

For an interview with Héctor from January of this year, available for anyone to view on YouTube, click on the photo below. We cover similar topics in both interviews, but the one below is a little longer and more focused on naturism as a social movement.

Héctor is an outstanding example of naturist activism not only in Mexico, but around the world, and I’m honored to have some of our conversations recorded and available.

A Nude Revolution Is In The Cards

He’s a nude hiker, like me. Also like me, he seems to be middle-aged, a little serious, in fairly good shape, and with gray hair and beard. His matching purple shoes and hat are definitely more stylish than what I would choose. No matter: with his heavy backpack and his walking sticks, his message for me was, Keep going. Stay steady. We all have a burden to bear.

I wrote about Sunburnt! (“The Game with no Tanlines”) when it was still in development by The Table Candle, having found out about it from naturist voices on Twitter. And ever since my Sunburnt! game arrived in March, I’ve been looking for ways to introduce it to people. As a game, it’s a lot of fun: you match pairs by activity (as well as color and symbol) and try to avoid being stuck with the card depicting a sunburnt couple at the end of the game. Beyond the game, as I suggested when I wrote about it before, it can serve as a writers’ source for character studies. And yet another way I found recently, that I’ve been enjoying quite a bit, is to use it as an oracle deck. I have it on my meditation table, where I can shuffle the deck and draw a card to interpret a message. This was how the nude hiker spoke to me one day last week.

Some of this past week’s messengers.

All of the cards together illuminate a veritable rainbow of naked humanity, engaged in all sorts of activities such as cycling, painting, reading, gaming (meta!), playing tennis, practicing yoga and parenting. There are younger folks, older folks, thinner folks, thicker folks, alternately abled folks, trans folks and cis folks, goth folks and punk folks, all in a very diverse range of human pigmentation. With naturist and nude-friendly artists on the design team, The Table Candle developed Sunburnt!, in part, as a way to normalize nudity. As they tweeted earlier this month, “How does one normalize a subject? You show it without restriction.”

In conversation with @ALMOSTWILD, a strong voice for naturism and a fellow Sunburnt! fan, I realized that I wanted to write this post to say more about this impactful creation. We were both recognizing the great job the artists did in depicting such a wide variety of people–wider than probably would be found on any given day at a particular naturist park or nude beach–and my remark was, “That really is the power of these images, because having been presented with an imagined range, the viewer’s idea of normal has been stretched. A mind becomes opened.” To which @ALMOSTWILD replied, “Absolutely! That’s the power of representation. You don’t realize it’s missing sometimes until you finally see it, and it’s powerful how inspiring it can be!”

There is POWER in these cards, and INSPIRATION – yes indeed. And much of it is manifest in the simple conceit that the people here just happen to be nude. It’s a wholesome, “nonchalant” nudity, as singer and activist Ton Dou has called it. Wanna play a card game? one might ask… and BAM! an unsuspecting not-yet-nudist is introduced to something as wonderful as REPRESENTATION: (1) of nudity in and of itself as art and as non-erotic, (2) of normalized nudity through depiction of common activities or hobbies, and (3) of the variety of bodies. In the same way that you can’t play the game without all the cards, you can’t represent normalized nudity without casting such a diverse set of characters.

In the image above, you can see some of the other characters who have delivered messages to me recently. The woman with the long green stockings, when I saw her without my glasses on, suddenly looked to me like a mermaid. In that way she reminded me of an important person in my life. Dive deep into your emotions, she told me. The woman at target practice, pressing against herself tightly, offered me this advice: Sometimes you have to get out of your own way to meet your goal. And the green-socked basket-weaver, who has a subtle pair of cowlicks that suggest horns (a detail I noticed only in the moment of trying to discern his message), spoke to me as an avatar of the Green Man, a nude archetypal figure I had just written about the day before. Focus on your craft, he said, and Accept that what goes around, comes around. The coolest thing about “listening” to these characters is that in addition to their unique individual statements, every single one of them prioritizes the same fundamental, powerful message: GET NAKED!

You can support and enjoy this Nude Revolution in the Cards by purchasing Sunburnt! here.

Interview with Naturist Queen

The Internet can be beneficial for helping naturists build community. I happened to meet Naturist Queen online and, in the interest of building a greater representation of naturist women on my site, I took her up on her suggestion of posting an interview with her. All photos are hers and used with her permission and approval.

(1) I only know you as Naturist Queen. What’s your name?

My name is Michelle Campbell.


(2) You’ve worked as a model. What’s it like working for the clothing industry when you’re a nudist? Did you already consider yourself a nudist when you were modeling, or was there something about modeling that led you to naturism?

I have been modeling for the last 25 years. Today is October 7, 2020 – the exact one-year anniversary of my retirement. When I started modeling, I was doing swimwear and lingerie. Later I entered nude modeling. It was nude modeling that propelled me to follow a nudist lifestyle. I have been into swimwear, lingerie, nude and sex art. So it’s been 27 years now that I have been following the nudist lifestyle.

(3) A lot of naturists feel that social nudism is great for body acceptance. Do you agree? Is there a message about body acceptance you’d like to give to people, maybe especially to women?

There’s a lot of truth to it. When I started nudism, unlike many women, I had this low confidence of going nude in front of many people, despite doing modeling. It’s all about body positivity. There’s a saying, that if you have stagefright or are shy, or nervous to speak in front of a lot of people, they say: Imagine the people looking at you are naked, and you’re laughing at them. It’s supposed to help you to not be nervous. In the same way, if you’re going into social nudism, you’re surrounded by many nude bodies. So just think how these people might have entered into social nudism and do the same. Now, for people who think that social nudism is not required, I agree with them as well. It’s just the opinions of the people. In the end, everyone should accept their bodies and be comfortable in them. That’s important. Women: Just be confident in yourself. I don’t think I can emphasize any further.

(4) As an American expat living in Europe, what cultural differences do you see that have to do with body acceptance, nudity and sex?

There’s a hell of a lot of difference. Where I live in Amsterdam, people make love openly in their backyards. Sex, nudism, and body acceptance are very open here. I mean, no one cares about each other’s body.

At Valley View Hot Springs, Orient Land Trust, in Colorado

 
(5) What’s it like to run a shelter for rescue animals?

It has always been my dream to run a shelter for rescue animals – kind of a pet project [literally]. I have loved animals from the beginning and I am a vegan for that reason.

Thanks for the interview, Michelle!

Disrobing Suspense: Wallace Greensage

An installment in the Disrobing Suspense series of interviews with naturist writers

Wallace M Greensage (Wally) has been publishing naturist fiction since 2016, although he began imagining scenarios for naturist storytelling when he discovered his penchant for nudity in his late teens. His New Albion trilogy is named for the fictional island where the novels take place, located somewhere in the middle of the North Atlantic – not quite Europe and not quite North America. The books are Who Is This Naked Lady and What Have They Done With My Wife? (2016), The Naked Truth Shall Set You Free (2016), and Farewell to Summer (2020).

Cover art by Alex Foster

Wally states unequivocally that his own naturist “practices and experiences inform [his] books very strongly.” Having married young, in the 70s, he and his wife quickly began a practice of home naturism, finding little information about the greater naturist world other than H&E magazine. “It took a long time to find our way and this has also informed my stories. What are we supposed to do? What are the practices? Where can we go? What about parents and friends? All of these questions and more had to be researched, understood and put into practice. As a result, I have enjoyed a rich history of all aspects of naturism in many countries with a wide array of fellow devotees and have drawn on these experiences to develop my storylines and characters.”

The description that Wally finds most fitting for himself is “naturist writer of naturist fiction,” recognizing that for any given work, “if the underlying theme is naturist, then the term ‘naturist fiction’ is right; if naturism is incidental, then it is some other genre.” Other than the initial uncertainty of one of the main characters, Charlotte, in the first book of the series, there are not many examples in Wally’s writing of hesitancy to disrobe. “I prefer my characters to be dressed or naked and rarely mention in-between stages,” says Wally, adding: “My preference is to build suspense in other ways, usually situational.”

I asked Wally about his world-building of New Albion, and his answer led to a greater consideration of contemporary naturism in the UK and the world at large. He relates that his decision to create a fictional island, and the historically resonant name he eventually chose for it, involved a long process of research as well as accommodation to his own interests, affinities, and heritage as a Brit with Scottish ancestry. Only in passing, he tells me, did he come across the illustration of the mythical figure Albion by William Blake, which I had asked him about specifically since it seemed so apropos.

William Blake’s image of Albion (source)

The idea is that New Albion, according to Wally’s site, “is more ‘European’ and laissez-faire in its approach to naturism than enjoyed in Britain and USA today where naturist cultures lag behind their Western European counterparts. An increasing acceptance of naturism as a lifestyle amongst Albians is developing. Non-sexual public nudity is legal in New Albion – in fact, it was never illegal and commonly practised until a century ago. […] Naturism, however, is not mainstream in New Albion and remains a minority pursuit. Many of New Albion’s population still exhibit ignorance and misunderstanding of the lifestyle, as they do in Western Europe.”

And yet, in contrast to these fictionalized circumstances, Wally finds that one of the real-world positive outcomes of the current pandemic is that people “working from home have taken to wearing less, often nothing at all, and this has made the press from time to time – a BN [British Naturism]-inspired Zoom meeting of naturists went nationwide on TV and in the press. The press […] seems to be more reasonable in articles where nudity and naturism feature (this still sells, of course), and British Naturism has upped its game and openly and publicly arranged online events. BN’s membership surged.” In spite of some white-knuckle control issues on the part of the current INF-FNI old guard leadership, Wally states, “I don’t believe that naturism’s popularity is waning, though, and new devotees will appear constantly. Naturism will change and be less closed-shop. I hope that my books have reflected this; my future books will do all possible to encourage an open and free naturism-tolerant society.” The goal would be to achieve this without being overly didactic, a tone which Wally says he found somewhat unavoidable at first but has progressively left behind after the first novel: “It was not my intention but as Charlotte learned about the lifestyle, all of this came out, naturally I hope. I try hard not to be overly propagandist in my books but, as an enthusiastic proponent, that is hard to do sometimes.”

For a representative excerpt of his work, Wally chose the following dialogue among Todd and Charlotte, the protagonists of the series, and Charlotte’s parents Fraser and Patience, who are also their neighbors. The passage is taken from the second New Albion book, The Naked Truth Shall Set You Free:

‘Hi Fraser,’ Todd said pleasantly when Fraser answered his mobile. ‘It’s Todd. Sorry I wasn’t in this morning when you visited.’

‘Hello Todd. No problem. I didn’t actually do much this morning without you there. But of course it was good to see…to see Charlotte.’ A vision had popped into his mind that he preferred to block out.

‘That’s what I wanted to speak about as well as apologising for not being here. I know you talked to Charley about the location of the pool and I wanted to get your views.’

‘I don’t really have any views, Todd. Actually, I was wondering why this is an issue at all. Why does it matter where it is?’

‘It doesn’t matter too much. It’s just that if we put it nearer to the deck it’ll be easier to get to and, of course, it’ll offer more privacy.’

‘Privacy? That again? Charlotte mentioned that this morning too.’ Todd glanced at Charlotte who was biting her bottom lip, eyes closed.

‘Well, you know how it is, Fraser. Between us men, I quite like to skinny dip and don’t want to scare horses and small children.’ He gave a short laugh.

‘Skinny dip? You mean without clothes?’

‘Well, yes. That’s how people skinny dip.’

Fraser paused. ’So this is something you both do, is it?’ Right on cue!

‘We’ve been known to…’

Fraser interrupted. ‘Todd, is it possible that I saw my daughter this morning through your front window? Was she…was she naked?’ he blurted out. Charlotte’s face drained of colour. Her hand went to her head in consternation.

‘Naked? Well…’ Todd wasn’t able to lie and his words died on his lips. This wasn’t on cue! He wasn’t immediately sure how to handle this.

‘I’ll take that as a “yes”, then, Todd.’

Todd and Charlotte clearly heard a voice in the background. ‘What’s going on, Fraser?’ Patience asked loudly.

Fraser took the phone from his ear and spoke to his wife. ‘I was right, she was naked when I looked through their window…’ That didn’t sound quite right, he thought. ‘For my toolbox!’ he added. They could still hear him clearly.

‘Todd, put Charlotte on right this second,’ Patience yelled down the phone that she’d snatched from her husband.

‘I’m here, Mum,’ Charlotte whispered fearfully.

‘Charlotte, tell me this isn’t true. Tell me that Dad’s got it wrong and he didn’t see you…nude!’ Her voice broke on the last word.

Charlotte couldn’t bring herself to admit it. Todd stepped in for her. ‘Hello Patience,’ he said quietly. ‘I’m sure you’ll both understand that in the privacy of our own home, and because we enjoy it, sometimes we don’t wear clothes. I know that you…’

‘You know nothing about me, young man. I guess that this is all your influence, isn’t it? You’ve forced her to become a nudist, haven’t you? Charlotte would never ever do this unless you…’

Charlotte found her voice. ‘Mum, Mum, calm down,’ she told her mother, gaining strength by the second. She no longer had anything to hide. ‘It’s not Todd’s influence, it’s simply that we choose to live our lives as we do and sometimes that means we’re naked together.’

‘But Charlotte, how could you?’

‘And we both like it very much, Mum.’ There! It was out!

Todd and Charlotte also appear in “Charlotte’s Near Miss,” a short story on Wally’s site, and in “The Chase,” Wally’s intriguing and suspenseful entry in the recent short story anthology Murder in the Nudist Colony. Check out Wally’s site at buffprof.com for more information and updates!

Disrobing Suspense: D.H. Jonathan

An installment in the Disrobing Suspense series of interviews with naturist writers

D. H. Jonathan began writing fiction about nudity some ten years ago. His novels have a strong footing in his own experience: The ‘Volunteer’ (2016) has to do with being naked in public, around people who are clothed – something that Dan has experienced numerous times at the Bay to Breakers race in California. His second novel, Life Models (2019), is based on his more than three decades of experience modeling for artists. I had the opportunity to speak with Dan about his work at a writing workshop that I set up for the AANR-SW convention at Oaklake Trails Naturist Park last month, and to ask some follow-up questions afterwards.

D.H. Jonathan and yours truly at Oaklake Trails Naturist Park, Saturday June 20, 2020

We spoke about narrative voice, and Dan highlighted that The ‘Volunteer’ is told in the first-person voice of the main character, Dani, a college student who reluctantly takes part in a sociology experiment in which she goes about her normal life while nude. Dan says that her reluctance “was essential to maintaining the suspense and the interest of the reader as was her perception of how people saw her, what they must be thinking about her, etc.” In contrast, the main characters in Life Models are quite willing to disrobe – after all, it’s their job. In that novel, it’s rather Lydia’s “tendency to disrobe in not-so-appropriate places that heightens suspense and (I hope) provides some comedy”; for example, in this scene:

“I stood looking at Lydia’s naked body as she opened her eyes and gazed at me. She smiled and increased the pace of her dancing, turning as she bounced and stepped. The other dancers started to notice. Some of them turned toward her, and others moved away, to the other side of the studio. I was struck by how pure she looked compared with all the other dancers, how everyone else could have been described and defined by what they wore, while every contour of Lydia’s body was visible, moving without restraint. She turned back toward me and, just as I was about to say something to her, motioned for me to take off my shirt. Her motions reminded me that we weren’t supposed to talk on the dance floor. I wondered if anyone had thought to include remaining clothed in the rules” (65-66).

When we were setting up a writing exercise for the participants, we talked about how much to describe a character’s physical appearance. It’s an issue that affects any writer, whether characters are clothed or unclothed, because in contrast to an art like painting or photography, writing does not allow for the creation of a complete, instantaneous image in the reader’s mind. The question becomes one of time, suspense, and disclosure – how much is necessary for the reader? For example, to what extent is it necessary for the reader to know the character’s eye color, weight, or height?  In Dan’s practice, he goes into more detail to describe secondary characters, “because the reader is usually going to identify more closely with the main characters, so I leave them more open.” A main character may get a detailed physical description as well, if seen from the perspective of the POV (point of view) character, such as David’s description of Lydia in the first chapter of Life Models, but often a description such as the following, in which The ‘Volunteer’ Dani sees herself in photos, will suffice:

“After breakfast, I went back upstairs to get on my computer and look at my photos. They were amazingly vivid high-definition shots of me. I was, of course, fully naked, but I had a smile on my face and not the sultry look like I had seen on the models in the few adult magazines I had looked at. The photos of me seemed to depict a girl who just liked to be free and naked/ And while the full-frontal photos were rather explicit, they didn’t seem dirty or pornographic. I just looked like a free spirit, plain, with very little makeup. I was OK with them on the university website, given that everyone on campus sees me naked on a daily basis anyway. I just hoped that no one back home saw them” (88).

Another question for writers of naturist fiction is tone. How overtly should one promote the benefits of social nudism and body acceptance? Dan says, “When the characters in both my novels finally visit naturist venues after being nude in situations where everyone else is clothed, like an art class or for a sociology experiment, they all experience epiphanies. They find everything relaxing, and they make new friends easily. In those scenes, the benefits are described rather overtly. But they have already come to realize the benefits of just being nude from their past experiences. I try not to be that overt early on, but my own positive experiences as a nude model for over 35 years tend to just come out.” A related question is, How overtly should one deal with topics such as sexuality? In D. H. Jonathan’s novels, the sensuality of nudity is often depicted. The novels contain descriptions of erotic acts, but never in a social context – only when a character is alone or with their lover.

To find out more about Dan’s work, visit dhjonathan.com.

In each of his books, Dan successfully introduces innovative contexts and characters for advancing the topic of social nudity. In Life Models, there is a nude protest in support of a surprising cause – one not usually associated with nudity. The reactions to the protest on the part of bystanders, the police, and the media are, however, not surprising at all in the sense that they are absolutely believable. One of Dan’s most complex characters is Dr. Slater, in The ‘Volunteer.’ Her motives for promoting social nudity are more complex than the reader may initially suspect, and so deeply held that the character exposes not only her ‘volunteer’ but also herself to considerable long-term fall-out. Dr. Slater’s trajectory as it intersects with Dani’s provides considerable suspense.

Can we expect more writing from D. H. Jonathan? Yes, indeed! He is currently working on The Girl Who Stopped Wearing Clothes, a sequel to The ‘Volunteer. Check out his site for updates and more at dhjonathan.com.

Naturist Bed & Breakfast with Winery

When I described my weekend experience to a friend, the response was, “A naturist winery? Two of my favorite things!” I’ll say! But it’s really three favorite things: Wakefield Country Inn and Winery combines (1) a bed & breakfast and (2) a winery with (3) a naturist philosophy, and the result is an absolutely unique experience that I had the pleasure of living last weekend with my wife. This is my review.

Sunset at the old gazebo

I remember learning about “the naturist B&B” in southeastern Oklahoma some years ago, but didn’t make the opportunity to visit until this year. The location is only a couple hours away from Tulsa or Oklahoma City, and a little further from Dallas, but it’s fairly remote… which is why if you make a reservation there, it’s for two nights and includes five meals (from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 3). Your reservation also includes daily tastings of their delicious, on-site produced wines, and a glass of your choice at dinner (that’s the minimum package – higher-priced packages include up to an entire case of wine) all while staying in one of three very nicely furbished bedrooms in a spacious ranch home on a wide-open property that includes vineyards, a pond, a picturesque old shack, a gazebo for watching the sunset, and a large pool and hot tub.

The deep end is 8.5 feet.

For our weekend, the weather was wonderful. We spent most of our time outdoors swimming, sunning and walking the grounds. The property does also include a large covered patio with firepit and plenty of seating, as well as a spacious and comfortable living room with large-screen TV… just in case the weather is uncooperative.

View from our guest room to the covered patio

The homestyle cooking was yummy and abundant, including warm breakfast options, hearty dinners that included salad and dessert, and savory appetizers to accompany the wine tastings. Our stay included a tour of the winery, where Steve and Pam, your fantastic and sincere hosts, showed us how they produce their dozen varieties of wine. Also on tap were tempting, delicious wine slushies, available just about any time you’d want!

The pool warms up nicely.

The Wakefields have been running their business for fifteen years now, with separate websites: oklahomanaturist.com for us nudies, and wakefieldcountryinn.com for those textiles out there. The owners, who won’t combine nude guest bookings with textile reservations, told me they are booked for all the rest of this summer’s weekends… with all nudists. And many of the nudists who have reserved have done so through the textile website, which does include the search term “clothing-optional.” Weeknights are available too, so if you’d still like to visit this summer and can travel during the week, reach out through either website’s contact portal. You can get a preview of their wine offerings at wakefieldwinery.com.

Two of the most popular selections!

A summary for this fantastic three-in-one destination: (1) The bed & breakfast is terrific, and the facilities are beautiful. (2) The winery is wonderful and the wines are outstanding. (3) It’s the people -the owners, the guests – who really bring this lovely establishment to life and who espouse the naturist philosophy. The owners know that their home business has become a gateway for many who are curious about social nudism, and who try it for the first time right there. We met just such a person, who, with her husband, had come back for a weekend for the fourth year in a row, and had become a naturist traveler to other destinations as well. The third couple, like us, were experienced naturists but visiting the Wakefield Country Inn and Winery for the first time. It won’t be our last! I highly recommend making the opportunity to visit.

A view of the old gazebo

The best way to sum it up is to say that I didn’t have to wear one stitch of clothing, nor did I see anybody else wearing any, for about 41 hours total of relaxation.

At the old gazebo

That. Was. Heaven.

Big Oklahoma Sky

Disney’s Pro-Nudity

Here’s what this post is about, in a nutshell: Disney seems to support getting you out of your clothes. No, I don’t mean that now you can go naked at Disney parks (Imagine!) or on Disney cruises. Not yet, anyway. But, way beyond Donald Duck-ing (also known as Winnie the Pooh-ing – when you wear a shirt but no pants), Disney seems to be sending out pop culture messages about the benefits of nudity.

Yes, I know – this is the company that insists on loincloths for Mowgli and Tarzan, and a shell-bra contraption for the Little Mermaid. And yet… especially in the past few years, they seem to be suggesting that, well, we should all be more at home with nudity.

Proof #1: Frozen. I’ve already written about how Frozen, the film, has a strong body-positive message. There’s a very brief sauna scene, and then at a different point the trolls say and sing some supporting messages about body acceptance. I wrote that five years ago. Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to see Frozen on Broadway. Same story, same characters, BUT a big difference is that the sauna scene becomes an entire production number, with a chorus line of some twelve or fifteen cast members, male and female, dancing in a row all the way across the stage. They appear to be naked, but it was evident enough that they were wearing body suits. Even so, their dance is one of those peek-a-boo choreographies where each dancer blocks the groin of the dancer to the left with a branch (they’re holding aromatic branches from the sauna, I guess) and then switches to the other side, etc., all while singing about the joys of the sauna and other wintertime comforts. I thought it was great, but of course, some media outlets generated controversy:

“Some are questioning whether or not Disney went too far when it comes to the opening of the second act. Set in Oaken’s famous sauna the audience was surprised by a rather “risque number” that had the cast members appearing naked.”

“It ‘was a little risque,’ as one of the audience members, Adam Kaufman, 43, described the scene. His friend Jean Mante, 36, said: ‘There was more nudity than expected from Disney.’ CET News reports that the kids attending the show found the scene funny, but some adults were a little taken back by this.”

No surprise that children thought it was fun while some of the uptight adults were concerned. Sigh.

Kevin del Aguila as Oaken

The song is called “Hygge,” a word that the character Oaken translates with examples such as “Hygge means you’re friendly / You stop wanting to be rude / Join us for some super duper hygge / In the sauna in the nude!” Oaken also delivers lines like, “Don’t worry about your body / it’s nothing I haven’t seen” and “Go get in the sauna / Come on, you know you wanna!” The only perhaps slightly problematic reference in the song is to alcohol: “We always have each other / The gloog is brewed / We’re here, we’re nude / And so let’s have another!” Maybe nudists, here in the US anyway, don’t associate saunas with alcoholic beverages, but plenty do associate such beverages with hot tubs or pools. My verdict: It’s an entertaining song with a strong message about the cozy comfort of nudity with friends and loved ones.

Proof #2: Mary Poppins Returns. This film, even though it features an elaborate underwater sequence in which everybody’s wearing ridiculous bathing costumes of the era, nonetheless includes a production-number pro-nudity message. In the song “A Cover is Not the Book,” performed by Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins and Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack, there are examples of how appearances can deceive, how things are not always as they seem. One such example is a verse about “the wealthy widow”:

[JACK:]
Lady Hyacinth Macaw
Brought all her treasures to a reef
[MARY POPPINS:]
Where she only wore a smile
[JACK:]
Plus two feathers, and a leaf
[MARY POPPINS:]
So no one tried to rob her
‘Cause she barely wore a stitch
[JACK:]
For when you’re in your birthday suit
[MARY POPPINS & JACK:]
There ain’t much there to show you’re rich!

In the video (the verse starts at 2’19”), you can see the slapstick use of their hats to cover the body on the line “two feathers, and a leaf” – this is followed by a cut to the children laughing. Obviously, the kids get it, and think it’s great fun. And the message is one we nudists often proclaim: When you’re naked, your social status is invisible. The song even functions as a metaphor for its own message: here we are dancing around, elaborately costumed, in a Disney film, but we are singing about what you might not expect. The cover is not the book, indeed. My verdict: Another fun song with a quick wink at the egalitarian nature of being nude.

(For another look at the relationships between books, covers, and nudity, as well as a review of a fabulous animated film in which there is a lot of natural nudity, see this post.)

Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda
in a scene from “A Cover is Not the Book”
in Mary Poppins Returns

In the end, while these might be only a few examples (there are probably more), they are enough to show that the Mouse House is conflicted. Disney films and shows seem to work like this: They will not show nudity visibly (although they might tease it, as with the body-suited branch-covered chorus line), but they will include messages about nudity being social, comfortable, and egalitarian. It’s like they’re trying to be pro-nudist but have to censor themselves. I think they should just “Let It Go” and use their massive power to show the world nonchalant nudity in appropriate scenes, helping everybody become more acclimated to nudity. Do it, Disney!

Get Naked

I have a wall hanging, a sign that says “get NAKED.” It’s a gift from a loved one who is very special to me, and when I was challenged by her recently to be more open, I remembered this sign. So I used its message to help me reflect on some key points I learned from my conversation with her.

Get naked. Drop the wet blanket of acquired and long-practiced habits. Be vulnerable, be exposed to the big picture. You can extend opportunities to others to do the same – to drop that blanket and show awareness of others’ needs, to act in ways that are generous and caring and that recognize your own needs, or that you have needs that they can help you meet. When they do that, they are not only helping you, but also helping themselves to be their best selves. Don’t foreclose on someone’s ability to respond with their best self. Keep giving opportunities.”

This reflection has to do with metaphorical nudity more than actual nudity, yet the two are related, and the imagery is what helps me remember to be more open. We naturists and nudists often claim that when the clothes are dropped, so are the prejudices and the closed-mindedness, the vulnerabilities and the fears. While that’s not always exactly true, or completely true, it certainly does happen frequently and powerfully. It’s something like that catchy Funkadelic album title, Free Your Mind… and Your Ass Will Follow, except backwards… Maybe it’s more of a feedback loop – one end helps free the other, no matter which gets “free” first!

Funkadelic

Whether literally or figuratively, the message to “get NAKED is a vital one. Spending more time unclothed, especially outdoors and in a group, is terrific for all aspects of health – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. And getting naked in the sense of opening up to others, allowing yourself and others to be their best selves, is just as important on all levels. 

G – E – T – – N – A – K – E – D!