107-113. Naturism is growing in acceptance.
107. Most world societies are much more open about nudity than the United States.144 For example, many
cultures, especially in Europe, are more open to nudity on beaches and in other recreational settings.
A 1995 poll conducted by a French fashion magazine found that only 7% of the population was shocked by
the sight of naked breasts on the beach, and that 40% of women had tried going topfree.145 A 1983 poll found that
27% of French women went topfree on the beach on a regular basis, while another 6% went nude. A 1982 Harris
poll found that 86% of French citizens favor nudity on public beaches.146 In Munich and Zurich, topfree and nude
sunbathing are permitted in many parks. A Zurich municipal ordinance in 1989 officially accepted nudity in
municipal pools after a public opinion poll found only 18% opposition.147 Two separate polls conducted in the mid-1980s
found that 68% of Germans did not object to nude bathing.148 A 1983 public opinion survey in Greece found
that 65% of the population favored legislative establishment of four official nudist facilities.149 A 1984 poll found
that 82% of a cross section of Lisbon residents approved of nude beaches reserved for that purpose.150 In Denmark,
judicious nudity is legal on the seashore except on a few specifically clothed beaches!151 Sweden's coastline is
nearly as tolerant as Denmark's.152 Beach nudity has also become the norm in inflation-stricken Romania, where
the average monthly wage is about $65 and a swimsuit costs from $4 to $20.153 Saunas are ubiquitous in Finland,
with a sauna for every 3.5 inhabitants, and are always used nude, commonly in mixed company.154
108. Participation in nudist organizations is high in other parts of the world.
In Holland, 1 in 422 members of the population is a dues-paying nudist. In Switzerland, the number is 1 in
519; in France, 1 in 630; in Belgium, 1 in 890; in New Zealand, 1 in 1250; in the U.K., 1 in 2784; in English-speaking
Canada, 1 in 5200; and in the U.S., 1 in 6856.155 According to a French survey, one in ten members of the
nation's population have tried nudism at least once, and an equal number are ready to give it a try.156
109. Naturist vacations are a significant part of the tourist trade in many countries.
As of 1983, about 2 million people vacationed at French Naturist clubs and resorts each year.157 Before its
devastating fragmentation and civil war, more than one hundred thousand tourists visited Yugoslavian nudist camps
and resorts every summer.158 According to the president of the Naturism and Camping Department of Yugoslav
Tourism, Naturist vacations in 1984 accounted for 25% of the foreign tourism income.159 And while American
travel brochures make almost no mention at all of nude or topfree beaches in other countries--essentially lying to
vacationers--foreign travel agencies offer opulent, uncensored brochures, and openly advertise and promote Naturist
110. Nudity is much more common in foreign media.
For example, one of Brazil's most popular T.V. shows, "Pantanal," has featured frequent nudity; a survey
conducted by the local newspaper found that 83% of viewers were "comfortable" with the nude scenes. A University
of Sao Paulo survey in June 1990 counted 1,145 displays of nudity in one week of television.161
111. Public nudity, including clothing-optional recreation, enjoys growing acceptance in North America.
A 1983 Gallup poll revealed that 72% of Americans don't think designated clothing-optional beaches
should be against the law, and 39% agreed that such areas should be set aside by the government. One third said
they might try going to one. Fourteen percent said they'd already tried coed nude recreation.162 A 1985 Roper Poll
agreed, reporting that 18% of all Americans--including 27% of those age 18-28, and 24% of college-educated
Americans--had already gone swimming in the nude with a group that included members of the other sex; other
studies suggest these numbers are on the increase.163 A Psychology Today study found that 28% of couples under
the age of 35 swim in the nude together, 24% of couples age 35-49, and 9% of couples 50 or older, and that such
activities tended to correspond to a higher level of satisfaction in the marriage.164 A 1990 Martini and Rossi poll
reported that 35% of Americans would "bare it all" on a nude beach.165 A 1986 poll conducted by People Weekly
asked people how guilty they would feel if they engaged in any of 51 activities, rating their probable guilt on a scale
of 1 to 10, where 10 represented the greatest feeling of guilt. Nude sunbathing came in second to last with a rating of
2.76, behind not voting (3.07), swearing (3.34), smoking (3.38), and overeating (4.43).166
In 1991, visitation at Wreck Beach, British Columbia on a nice day was estimated at 15,000, and 90,000
beach users were recorded in one month on a single access trail.167 A survey conducted by West Area Park Staff
revealed that half of those visitors go nude. When that option was threatened in 1991, more than 10,000 people sent
letters or signed petitions to protect the beach's clothing-optional status.168
Given the opportunity and license to do so, women do take advantage of the option of going topfree.
During the 1984 Olympics in L.A., Police decided not to arrest European women who went topfree on local
beaches. American women, noting the double standard, took their tops off too, and feigned inability to understand
English when told to cover up. Police called it "taking advantage of the relaxed rule," 169 though it should more
accurately be considered "taking advantage of a more civilized custom."
112. Membership in nudist organizations is growing rapidly.
Membership in the American Association for Nude Recreation, for example, topped 40,000 in 1992, up
15,000 in just five years!170 By 1995, the number had climbed past 46,000. According to a study commissioned by
the Trade Association for Nude Recreation, participation in nudism is currently growing by about 20% per year.171
113. The tourism industry is discovering that it is in their economic best interests to accept clothing-optional
When it became a favorite vacation spot for Europeans in the mid-1980s, Miami Beach began permitting
G-string swimsuits on its beaches, and ceased enforcing its ordinance against topfree swimming and sunning.172
Dade County is the only county in Florida that experienced an increase of tourism in 1991, a year of deep recession.
All other counties, and Disney World, had significant losses in tourism.173 Nikki Grossman, director of the Ft.
Lauderdale Convention and Visitors' Bureau, acknowledges that "requests for nude or top-free beaches rank among
the top five priorities of international conventioneers," 174 and Fodor's Travel Guide has observed that "nudism" is
"tourism's fastest growing sector." 175 Nudism, in the United States, brings in about $120 million per year in direct
144. For details on the tolerance of nudity in countries worldwide, see Baxandall, World Guide to Nude Beaches and
145. "Body Acceptance in France" 10.
146. "France" 51.
147. Baxandall, World Guide to Nude Beaches and Resorts 198-99; 232. See also North American Guide 21.
148. "West Germany" 47; "Germans Say" 6.
149. "Greece" 56.
150. "Portugal" 57.
151. Baxandall, World Guide to Nude Beaches and Resorts 178; "Topfree, Bottomfree" 19.
152. Baxandall, World Guide to Nude Beaches and Resorts 230.
153. Noted by the July 14, 1993 edition of the Bucharest paper Evenimentul Zilei, reported in "Romanians Pass Up
154. Edelsward 192, 196. For more details about Finnish sauna customs, see Baxandall, "The Communal Heat
155. 1987 International Naturist Federation statistics, reported in "Counting Naked Noses & Toeses" 8.
156. Survey conducted by the weekly La Point; reported in "One in Ten French."
157. "France's Naturist Tourism" 61.
158. North American Guide 22. For an excellent description of naturism in pre-war Yugoslavia, see Fussell 205-
159. Zalubowski 61, 63.
160. The American bias against nudity is so pervasive--and so different from the rest of the world--that Club Med
even produces special, censored brochures for Americans! See "Prudishness" 41.
161. Fardell 40.
162. "Gallup Poll" 4; D. Smith 139; O'Brien, "The Naked Truth" 46. A 1992 Gallup poll found that 58% of
Americans would support legalization of topfree sunbathing on designated beaches (Saad and Hugick 37).
163. "Polls Show" 3; D. Smith 139; O'Brien, "The Naked Truth" 46; Coleman and Rees 138. The Roper poll found
that 28% of "liberals" and 15% of "conservatives" say they've gone skinnydipping.
164. Greeley 176-77, 80. A 1990 Gallup poll concurred, finding that, overall, 19% of married couples sometimes
"swim in the nude together." ("Gallup Asks" 5)
165. "35% of Americans" 5.
166. Wallace 108-09.
167. Dunn and Kearney 100-01.
168. Williams 88-90. See also D. Smith 25, 150.
169. "The Un-Olympics" 6.
170. Goldberger 1, 6. (The "American Association for Nude Recreation" was formerly known as the "American
171. Coleman and Rees 138.
172. "Losses on Germany's Nude Coast" 34-35.
173. S. Mason 20.
174. R. Mason 19, quoting from the September 7, 1995 edition of the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.
175. "Tourism's Fastest Growth Sector" 5, quoting from Fodor's "Europe 1988" edition.
176. Coleman and Rees 138.