Summer Survey results for 2017

Having over 3000 naturist followers on Twitter still humbles me, and I realised along with the everyday interactions and conversations, it might be interesting to dig a bit deeper into the collective’s opinions in the form of a Summer Survey…

The response was great, warm and helpful. Thank you to everyone who helped share the link, discussed and retweeted it. As a result of the community, that initial Tweet gained 9,180 impressions and 461 engagements. That’s Twitter for “it reached a lot of people!”

The survey ran between 26th June and 10th July 2017 and finished up with 215 individual responses.

My analysis follows, but in the spirit of naturism, this post, its conclusions and all the raw data are available free of charge and under a Creative Commons licence (CC BY-NC 4.0). A download link is at the end of this post.

Please feel free to analyse, write about and draw your own conclusions on the survey. If you Tweet me or comment on this article, I’m excited to read and share your work with the crowd.


The questions

Every survey needs some questions, and this one had 28 of them. They were shown to each respondent in a random order. I wrote them focussed on a few themes which I’d seen come up in various discussions, naturist blog posts, and news articles recently.

You can download the full questions and their options. There’s a link at the end of this post.

Demographics, identity, involvement

  • How old are you?
  • Do you identify as a naturist?
  • Which of these have you done? [list of naturist activities]
  • Where have you practiced nudity/naturism?
  • What country are you from?

Social naturism

  • Does your partner join you in naturism?
  • Do your children join you in naturism?
  • What do you think about the naturist places in your area?

Family naturism

  • Is family naturism a good thing?
  • What do you think about family naturism?

Security and safety

  • Do you feel safe being naked outside your own home?
  • What do you think about single men in naturism?
  • Have you ever experienced something untoward at a naturist club or beach?

Diversity and accessibility

  • Is there enough diversity in naturism?
  • Have you ever taken friends to a naturist event, beach, or skinny dipped with friends?
  • If a friend asked you to a naturist club, beach or event, would you go?
  • Have you ever been refused entry to a naturist place or event?

Experience

  • How old are most of the naturists you meet?
  • What do you hate about naturism?
  • What do you love about naturism?
  • What do you love about being naked?
  • What do you hate about being naked?

Clubs

  • Do you have any advice for naturist club owners?

Personal interest and attitude

  • I keep naturism… [secret/private/open…]
  • What age did you become interested in naturism?
  • Does naturism have anything to do with sex?
  • Does ‘naturist pornography’, voyeurism, swinging, impact naturism?
  • Would you lose your job if your colleagues knew you were interested in naturism?

The results

We received 215 responses overall. Most people answered every question. There’s nothing to stop someone submitting the survey a number of times, however the variation in the long-form answers leads me to believe the responses were individual and honest.

Demographics, identity, involvement

More than 3/4 of respondents were over 40. Just two were 18–25. None were under 18.
Nearly every survey respondent was a naturist.
77% had been to a naturist club or resort.
Naturists are an international bunch.
Most respondents were from the UK (with a good spread across the UK countries); it was great to see a good number of international responses.

Social naturism

Over half of the respondents had a partner who joined them.
It was slightly more common for children not to join their parents in naturism.

What do you think about the naturist places in your area?

This was a free-form question where respondents could write a longer answer.

A big issue for people were the lack of local naturist establishments, and the quality and price of the ones that are there:

Mostly run-down and a lot of them have shut down / Not enough of them / Far too few / Expensive / Poor / Shoddy / Not enough. Those that are are too disabled unfriendly

A few responses had praise for a specific club, or local area:

Springwood is like a second home / Heritage club is lovely, everywhere else feels too far away / In Germany we have a wide variety of places to chouse of / Cornwall, great beaches

And some noted a problem with other groups using the term Naturist as a cover for sex:

Too few and too sex oriented most of them / The only official venue is actually a sexy sauna. More legit communities needed / Studland is great, just a shame the local gay scene advertise it as a place to meet up / There are few in london ,just a sunday swim and few massage venue, some very dubious (Rio’s in kentish town etc)

Family naturism

Almost everybody thought family naturism was a good thing.

What do you think about family naturism?

I asked this question because a number of articles (including one of mine) have been popping up around the positive effects of naturism on children. Naturists are normally quite universal in agreement, and I’d hoped to gauge non-naturist responses too.

Responses seemed split between a positive, healthy view, and others who hid naturism or had disinterest from their families:

Great! / Good thing / Healthy / They dont know / They are OK with it but do not want to join in with it. / Natural / Family are unaware. Try to steer well clear of the sarky comments / Healthy and normal / Not bothered they not interested / Awesome, but my children won’t / Not my cup of tea

Others reminded that children shouldn’t be pushed into naturism:

as long as every body in the house is comfortable with it / We took our daughter to her first naturist event today. She loved it. / I suppose it’s okay if every family member has a choice. / Far more likely to have a positive effect than negative provided it is not forced on any family member. / It perfectly normal as long as all members of the family are happy

A couple of responses hinted at safety and security:

It’s great as long as the people you are naked with are all genuine naturists / Ok when kids are young / It’s fine but safeguarding can be a problem at some events

A number pointed nudity in shaping a child’s body image, education, and empathy in a positive way:

Extremely beneficial for breaking body image problems / We raised our 2 daughters with no body shame / The best environment for a healthy honest family / Open-minded family, nice education / I think it’s great, it brings up children not to be ashamed of there body’s and promotes positive body image / It teaches good values and awareness / Good for confidence

Security and safety

Only one person din’t tick anything; most felt safe in a naturist environment but did not feel safe in public generally.

What do you think about single men in naturism?

To a non-naturist, this question might not make sense, and to many naturists, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher too. What’s special about this particular gender and relationship combination?

Well, it’s often used as a shorthand to mean “creepy guys” or “perverts” or “gay men” or “swingers.” If you search Twitter or any naturist forum, you’re sure to see a world of discussion — people who’ve been wrongly discriminated against, people who are reinforcing the stereotype, battling away. This question was deliberately vague and open-ended to see what the community had to say.

The majority are fine but there are a few weird autistic ones / My perception is most of us are gay or MSM / I am a single man and viewed as suspicious at best or a pervert at worst. / Too many use it as a cover to discuss sexualised topics overtly / Up to them long as no ulterior motives / A bit creepy / Most single men are ok but the odd few still give them a bad name

A lot of people said discrimination of single men wasn’t acceptable:

The number who misbehave are so small that the current prejudice against the single male by some people is just ridiculous. / They’re fine, it’s not right to single them out just because they haven’t got a partner, they’re naturists just like everyone else / Single men have every right to partake in naturism, as does anyone. / I think they get a raw deal sometimes / You can’t exclude single people / Dislike the unfair fees charged to single men

Finally, the majority made the point that a few ‘creeps and weirdos’ were the problem, and that men were paying the price.

I think single men should be welcomed like everyone else. Strong steps should be taken to exclude creeps and weirdos, but most single men aren’t creeps or weirdos. / Men, women, couples… it doesn’t matter / Should not be an issue / Should be allowed/ They should have the same rights and responsibilities as anyone else. / Nothing wrong with it. Being single does not affect a single woman’s ability to be nude, why should it matter for a man / Not an issue. People need to stop stigmatising them based on poor behaviour of others. Have seen plenty straight couple behaving poorly in public it not just single men / Their no different to single women. / There is nothing wrong with single men, just the media image

Have you ever experienced something untoward at a naturist club or beach?

Naturist clubs are generally very safe places. I can leave my phone laying around at a naturist club and it’ll always find its way back to me. Beaches on the other hand are public and naturists are not the only users of the space.

Mostly the response was:

No / Nothing significant. / Never / Nope

However of those that did report something, it was nearly always sexual and a problem with a separate group using the same [public] space:

People who want to swing/have sex at a public beach / At beaches, yes / Yes. Mostly sexual avtivities. / Not at a club. At beaches I have. / St Osyth beach, a couple having sex in the open and another man watching and playing with himself! / Mainly just “meerkats” in the dunes. / Yes, Spanish gays tend to kiss and fondle in the pool / people watching you / Touched up / Yes I was accosted by a gay male at Morfa Dyffryn beach. / From time to time, yes — a hidden camera, a man making sexual propositions.

Diversity and accessibility

Is there enough diversity in naturism?

I left the definition of diversity open to interpretation.

There were a few ‘yes’ responses, but the majority said some from of ‘no.’ Gender imbalance, age imbalance (and in particular a lack of young people) both came up.

It’s getting there, but more can be done / Not enough young people / Nope, most are man. / No. mostly middle class middle aged and white. / Very few ‘younger’ people enjoy it, but she’s seem to be on the rise — as I get older / no, it’s a very white and straight community on the whole. / Not everyone welcome esp younger men & women 18–40

Lack of ethnic diversity, and accessibility was also cited:

Not enough ethnic minorities / No — more men than women and certain races are still resistant / Anyone can take their clothes off. However naturist beaches are not always accessible to those with disabilities or the very young or very old. / It’s hugely dependant on culture and religion. / No, not many same sex couples, visible disabilities and racial diversity / LGBT folks at our club. Other ethnic groups too. It is a mostly white thing though.
Around two-thirds of respondents had.
Two people said ‘No’; one who’d taken friends before and one who hadn’t.

Interestingly, all of the non-naturist respondents said they’d go to a club, beach or event if asked by a friend.

Naturists had a one-in-ten chance of being refused entry.

This question didn’t ask why people had been refused entry, and it could be something as simple as my own recent experience:

However, a 10% chance of rejection does show there are deeper issues at work preventing genuine naturists connecting with their clubs and events.


Experience

One response [purple] said 18–25. The responder was also in that age bracket.

What do you hate about naturism?

The responses to the four questions about love and hate for naturism and nudity were were varied. As with all questions, you can download the full responses to read through at the end of this post. I’ve picked out some that stood out to me:

The perceived idea that there’s something sexual about it. / Being viewed as a weirdo / Swingers and pervs / The cold weather / Secrecy and taboo / Committees! The old fashioned and selfish attitude many at clubs adopt. / People that are judgmental without knowing anything about it / Over zealous enforcing of sometime “silly” rules / BN. / Stigma / That it is not more widely accepted

What do you love about naturism?

The feeling of well being and complete freedom being one with nature / Friendly open people / Open friendship. No judgement on designer clothes etc. / naked swimming / A general feeling of freedom / Social empathy / Healthy, unrestricted, uncomplicated life

What do you love about being naked?

Not having to deal with ill-fitting clothes / Sun on my skin / I feel the most me when I’m naked, when I clothed I feel like I’m playing a role / It relaxes me / The freedom, and sun on skin

What do you hate about being naked?

Having cold feet. / No pockets in skin / Cold weather / Getting burnt or stung / Having to get dressed again / people with phone cameras / [not having] somewhere to put my phone / Insects / I live in an area where I have to keep the curtains shut to keep the peace / Fear that people will judge me

Clubs

Do you have any advice for naturist club owners?

A number of club owners follow me on Twitter and will read this survey. Most of the UK club owners I meet say the same thing: They are struggling for money [for repairs] and people [to do them], they really want to improve their club, they’ll try anything to get new naturists (especially young people) through the door.

This question was designed so the ‘customers’ can speak directly to that audience — to the people who can let them in and start the change. There were a lot of opinions and I’d advise clubs download and read them from the bottom of this post. I’ve picked some interesting ones below:

To listen to the advice of those people in the target groups you say you want to attract. Do not see any feddback as a criticism and be open to change. Ask “do I run the club for myself and my peers or for us *and* future generations”. If the latter then be brave enough to listen to advice given.
An open-door policy means open to all. If it’s a select circle of friends then don’t make it’s a public club or charge / Cater to a wider audience, don’t expect first timers to take their clothes off immediately / Stop with all the rules and dictatorship
Be a little more understanding towards textile visitors. Banning swimwear in the pool isolates people. More understanding might make them want to join in. / Get online, get pictures of your clubs posted, show people (with consent of course) and not an empty place. / Accept change
Stop refusing single men. We cannot all be fortunate to be part of a naturist couple. Refusal will only go to harming Naturism and will ultimately lead to the demise of club Naturism in this country. / Allow singles, gays and people of colour / Be welcoming. / Please be kinder to single males and the LGBT community
Have open days and get friendly with press and media / Chill out and open your doors / Lower your membership fees to encourage more people to join / Reach out to new people, not just current members. / Go to nudists, don’t expect nudists to go to you

Personal interest and attitude

Half-and-half: About 50% keep some level of secrecy.
Over half were under 25 and 76.8% were 30 or under.

I found this answer particularly interesting. With 3/4 of respondents becoming interested in naturism while 30 or under, they would have been eligible to join most federations’ youth groups at the point their interest started. Yet these groups are typically small and absent at club events.

Certainly in the UK, online groups for the under-30s boast far more members than the federation’s own youth group, which until recently has been completely dormant.

Nearly everyone agreed that it doesn’t.

Does ‘naturist pornography’, voyeurism, swinging, impact naturism?

Swingers and voyeurs occasionally hijack naturism to legitimise their activities or evade the law. They often call their clubs and massage parlours ‘naturist’ which creates confusion among the public. As a counter measure, naturist clubs often have to point out they are “genuine” or “family” clubs or explicitly point out that ‘sex is not welcome.’

Likewise, porn producers have created a genre of ‘naturist pornography’ which is aimed at the exhibitionist/voyeuristic fantasy market. It has nothing to do with reality, but it obliterates genuine clubs in search engine rankings, again confusing the public.

The two don’t mix. There’s no such thing as naturist pornography. / They each have a negative impact, but can be countered with positive balanced media coverage. / yes, one naturst picture of my 60 yrs old wife and I on twitter and that meant i had to block hundreds of accounts / Yes, don’t like voyeur pictures from nude beaches, invasion of privacy. / Yes, puts people off true naturism / Yes it damages naturists reputation

This is frustrating for naturists who often struggle against the noise, to convey the reality of a safe non-sexual environment aimed at enjoying nature, relaxing and being social.

Most people wouldn’t loose their job or weren’t sure. A minority were certain they would.

Wrapping up

Phew! Managing over 200 survey responses when you’re not a data scientist is really hard. I know the results have been eagerly awaited, so I’d like to thank everyone for waiting on me.

I was pleased to see social naturism looking healthy, and in particular, partners and families joining each other at events.

A number of young naturists have told me they worry they’ll find a relationship when naturism is such a big part of their lives (the fear is a partner won’t accept their lifestyle, and there are even specialist dating sites). The results seem to predict the reality: Whomever you meet, you’ll just make another fellow naturist.

It was good to see people feeling safe in a naturist environment, but there is still work to go to make naturism feel safe in public.

Finally, most people became interested in naturism when they were under 30, yet it’s an area where federations, clubs and events are lacking draw, volunteers and ideas. There is huge opportunity for an enterprising naturist in that demographic to completely change [and improve] youth naturism, by being open and providing a space to meet and collaborate.


Over to you

This post, its conclusions and all the raw data are available free of charge and under a Creative Commons licence (CC BY-NC 4.0).

Download here: https://gist.github.com/anonymous/6a5210f9786ccbff1a3148944ec8286a

Please feel free to analyse, write about and draw your own conclusions on the survey. If you Tweet me or comment on this article, I’m excited to read and share your work with the crowd.

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