A new book I’m outlining has me considering whether it might work in the plot if I plopped my characters in the heart of a nudist colony. Now, believe me, I understand that such places specifically emphasize the fact that they have nothing to do with sex or lewd, provocative behavior. But, you know, I’m an erotic romance writer so methinks I can bend those rules a bit. Except I started wondering: do people even go to nudist colonies anymore? Do they even still exist? I decided to do a little research, and what I found was rather revealing.
For starters, people who practice this type of living no longer refer to their residences as “colonies.” The word “colony” has a negative overtone, such as “leper colony,” and it also sounds like it might be a cult. Folks who dig 24/7 naked live in “nudist communities” or “naturist villages” and frequently refer to themselves as “naturists.” There’s an organization that represents these clothes-free fans, the International Naturist Federation. According to their website, naturism is defined as “. . . a way of life in harmony with nature, expressed through social nudity, linked to self-respect, tolerance of differeing views together with respect for the environment.” Now you know.
There are also naturist resorts, where families can go for a vacation to get their naked on and enjoy activities such as swimming or tennis. OK, side note here . . . swimming in the buff is fun and I can totally picture that as a vacation kinda thing to do. But naked tennis? I’m pulling up some images in my mind about that one and they’re not good. Certain . . . appendages . . . would be swinging and shaking during naked tennis. And, sheesh, ow. It just seems painful and, you know, not pretty.
Alrighty then, moving on. So let’s say I do put my characters in a naturist village. What are the rules for living there? Aside from the obvious, sans clothes. From what I could find, there don’t seem to be a lot. Photography is discouraged unless you’re taking a quick shot of the family or your friends. But snapshots of others? Not so much. Put towels down wherever you sit. (good). Men who may show obvious arousal should discreetly cover up until said arousal calms down. Also, naturist resorts also claim not to tolerate “lewd and lascivious behavior.” Oh, but there’s where things get interesting.
One of the most famous naturist resorts is Cap-d’Agde in France. There you can live, work, shop, dine, whatever you want, in the buff. Singles live there, families live there. A large part of the place is a resort for vacationers. It’s touted as a good place to have fun in the sun in the nude. But when the sun goes down, the parties heat up. Several reviews on travel website Trip Adviser mentioned the “swinger like” atmosphere that comes out once darkness hits. People spend the daytime part of their vacation in the nude, and the nighttime part dressed in party clothes (it can get cool at night, apparently) slumming for a good time. The Cap D’Agde website even has a section “for swingers” that provides information on a club called “Le Glamour.” Here we learn that “Downstairs is the sex area. There are some facilities with mattresses, but also a lot of people are just standing around having sex.” Well. That’s interesting. My plotting mind is churning with ideas.
Whether or not I decide to go the naturist route, I’ve certainly learned a thing or two about what I thought was a a leftover relic from the ’70s. For me, when I’m out in public my clothes are staying on. But for my intrepid hero and heroine, perhaps not so much . . .