What do you have to hide, if you al already naked?
Utah’s one of the best states for being an independent naturist,” claims Ed Stimpson. Independent naturist? Sounds like it could be a new green movement political party, but what Stimpson, former CEO of the Utah Naturists Club, is talking about is being alone and in nature…naturally. Naturally, asin naked. Also referred to as nudists, naturists are people who prefer to spend time in the buff whether alone or hanging out, so to speak, with friends. For those who don’t understand why anyone might want to disrobe publicly, Ed has one word: freedom. Freedom? Like the freedom of feeling the sun and wind on your skin? No, freedom as in the freedom of not being judged, especially women, who often spend their lives and a fortune trying to look like women portrayed in magazines.” For Ed, that feeling of freedom is “being able to just enjoy being a person as if you were a child. If you’ve never done it, go do it!” Naturists share the common value of accepting people as they are, warts and all. “Naturism is a mindset,” says Tex, a Utah transplant (from guess where) and lifelong naturist. “We’re taught to be embarrassed about ourselves. Sure, we all have challenges, but so often people are fighting their own little battle of perceptions of themselves. Naturism is about accepting your humble humanity. When you’re naked, what’s there to hide?”
“Clothing,” Tex expounds, “serves two purposes. It’s for protection and pretension.” He adds with a chuckle, “If God had intended for us to run around naked, we’d be born that way.”Like any other pastime, there’s a time and place for naturism. Utah has no formal resort or privately-owned recreational area where naturists can shed their clothes and attitudes about body image. There are opportunities for the clothes-free crowd to engage in socializing au naturel. Alas,the sign for Beaver Creek Nudist Ranch in Samak is simply an expresson of
local humor. No such facility exists. Naturist organizations are present in Utah and members represent a diversity of age, gender, marital status and religion. Tex is very clear though about dispelling misconceptions regarding social nudity. “These are not sex clubs or swingers clubs.” Misbehavior will be recognized and behavior that implies a certain intention is grounds for removal from a club, or for being asked to leave a private social event, because yes, naturists do get together for parties at people’s homes. Just as any like-minded group chooses to get together to share food and conversation, naturists gather at people’s homes to do what people do at parties, only without clothes.
“If you are someone who likes the freedom of being naked, there’s potential for people to misjudge your intentions,” Tex explains, “so it’s a pleasure to be in an environment where everyone’s just as comfortable socializing as you are.” Legally, Attorney Andrew Mc-Cullough explains, people may gather in a clothes-free environment as long as, and this is the legal term, a “casual passerby” is not witness to nudity. “You avoid being in public where you can be seen,” he elucidates. “What I tell naturists is to look around. Make sure you’re not where there are other people.” On public lands the same reasonable rule applies.
“The fact that a place is public is not relevant,” McCullough continues. “What is, is whether or not the public can see you.” But if you do choose to be naked somewhere that is also frequented by the clothing compulsive, a situation that arises, for example, at unimproved hot springs, McCullough advises that you cover yourself so as not to offend. “The textiles,” as naturists call them, “have the say. You don’t get to say, that you were there first so they just have to deal with it.”
“People have different comfort zones,” Ed shares, “but if they can get out of that, they’re
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