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An Interview with Jonathan F.


As part of ANW's want to enhance understanding and appreciation of naturism we aim to share a selection of interviews with ANW members to show that naturism is for everyone, and explore the all important human element of the naturist and ANW community. ANW believes in safeguarding naturism with a genuine, healthy and respectful approach to social nudity and in doing so has an ever growing membership of friendly and appropriate users.

We also believe that naturism unites us and connects us. Beyond national boundaries, age, gender, religion sexual orientation and culture. These interviews aim to show that ANW members , like naturism itself, come from all over the world with many different backgrounds connected by our mutual respect and understanding of social nudity. 



In this interview we have asked a series of questions to Jonathan a naturist from Eastern USA.  

Tell us a little about yourself and your part of the world.


My family would tell you that I was born old. I’ve achieved 70 years and only went to my first concert last week (Barry Manilow). I went to university for a degree in Glass Science since I was part of a family business involved with glass but I spent half my working life as an IT professional working on the IBM i (formerly the iSeries and before that the AS/400). My tastes run to what my family calls “elevator music”. I have two children (one boy, one girl, both married) and four grandchildren.



What was the attitude towards nudity and naturism in your home and upbringing as a child and teen?


As I’ve mentioned in posts on ANW I would say that my upbringing was nudity-neutral. We were not a naturist family but with only one bathroom and two siblings (I’m the eldest) there were many times that I was given a bath with either my brother or sister. This pretty much continued until two of us would not fit comfortably in the bathtub. We didn’t spend time naked but there was no obsession with covering up immediately.



How did you first get involved in naturism and what were your initial thoughts?


Again, as I’ve posted in the past I found a stack of naturist magazines in the woods around our house. Who had left them there will always be a mystery but I was both excited and intrigued when I found them. Excited because, as a pre-teen, I was excited about finding pictures of naked women – I am a male! However, the initial excitement was replaced by finding the concept of doing normal everyday things while not wearing clothes most intriguing. Since we also had our own swimming pool I started to ask if we could go swimming without swimsuits. Initially the answer was No but eventually my parents decided to try it one time. My mother was not a swimmer (she got a doctor’s excuse to avoid a swimming test while in college) but one day my father and my siblings all went in the pool nude. I thought it was great. My mother, however, must not have been in favor because this was never repeated.


As I grew older, I would often strip when left alone at home. I also continued to ask about nude swimming and the agreement became that I could go skinny dipping as long as I was alone in the pool. This continued for as long as I lived at home.


My first experience with social naturism occurred while I was serving with the US Army and stationed in (West) Germany. I had enrolled in what is called the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) while in college and graduated as a 2nd Lieutenant. I was sent to central Germany (Mainz area) after officer basic and spent 39 months there. I had learned that FKK stood for Free Body Culture (naturism) and found a small guidebook of naturist sites in Germany. This is how I figured out that there were naturist swims at the municipal pool in neighboring Weisbaden. Once I figured out what night (Mondays) and time (19:00) I went over there regularly. With an assignment change I moved to Hanau and found that the pool in that city also had a naturist swim on Tuesdays. My outdoor experience was at a site called the Langener Waldsee, a water body created by quarrying of sand near Langer, a suburb of Frankfurt. It was informally called “the sand pits” by us GIs. Outdoor bodies of water were technically “off limits” but that didn’t stop any of us.




Do you think your initial reasons and attitudes towards naturism have changed since then?


I don’t believe mine have changed. I have to say that I felt good to not wear clothes then and I still feel that way (I’m nude as I’m typing all this). What I can add is that I did see a change in my mother’s attitude towards nudity as I got older. While still at home, she let me get away with being nude in her presence if my siblings were not around. There was also a change after I got married. We did not have our own pool until about our third year of marriage. Our house was only a mile away from my parent’s home so we would often be invited for dinner. My son came with my wife as a “package deal” (I did formally adopt him) and one evening before dinner it was suggested that we both go swimming. I had not come prepared for this and my son at the time was all of 6 years old. I can’t remember if my son was nude or in underwear but I know that I was nude. The swimming session was watched by my wife and both my parents. I had no problem with the situation and neither did anyone else.



Tell us about your naturists adventures so far.


In conjunction with my answer above, once we did have our own pool I never wore a swimsuit. My wife and I let our children make their own decision and when younger my son also skinny dipped with me. As a baby, my daughter also went nude in the pool but she’s not the swimmer that my son and I am. My wife initially also went nude with us but she’s not an enthusiastic swimmer and in recent years has not been in the pool at all.


My wife is not a naturist herself but once the kids were older she did let me visit naturist resorts by myself. I started going to Eden Bay in the Dominican Republic (later changed to Caliente Caribe when the owners sold to Caliente resort in Florida) from 2005 until 2011 when the resort was closed a second time. I also discovered Sorobon Beach Naturist Resort on the Dutch island of Bonaire (more on that later) and went there from 2007 to 2009 when it too went textile.


Recently I tried a 5K run at a local resort (Sunnyrest in Palmerton, PA) and will be participating in a 5.5K run there in a week.




How has naturism worked in your marriage and your partner’s views.


As I’ve mentioned, my wife is not a naturist. She does however let me be nude around the house and outside. We have a large property and the house is about 75 meters back from the road. I planted evergreens along the road when we first moved in and 30+ years later I have a good screen.


My naturism is tolerated and there are the occasional jokes about my not wearing clothes. My kids think I’m just a bit eccentric but my son does realize that the concept is not that bad. He also married into a pre- made family and his stepsons and wife are fearful of nudity.


My daughter has told me she’s worried what will happen when she has to put me in a senior center!

How would you best explain naturism to someone new to it and what advice would you offer to them?


I would tell them that it’s a wonderful feeling to feel the air and sun on your skin. As to advice, I would say that you will find naturists a very accepting bunch of people. I would also tell them that you will only be known as a PERSON. Without your clothes, many of the markers we use to determine things about someone are gone.


Probably the best example would be what I found at the municipal pools in Germany. Everyone (Germans and Americans) knew I was a GI – the haircut in the mid-seventies was a dead giveaway. The Germans didn’t give me a second glance. The Americans who did attend these sessions were as clueless about me as I was about them. Was I enlisted or officer? What rank? When you wear that on your collar for all to see removing it strips you of your identity.


If ANW wasn’t a naturist site what other life choice/hobby/interest/passion. . .would have made you consider joining it?


I’m not a big fan of general social media like Facebook and post virtually nothing there. Besides naturism I enjoy photography and recently entered the digital age. I’d had a real darkroom before I was married and always wanted to build one in my home. Silver-based photography is pretty much dead so I’m disposing of all of my old equipment. While you know me as a scuba diver, were it not for naturism that probably would not have happened. More on that later.



What do you think naturism has taught you about yourself and do you think it has changed you in any way?


While I never felt that I was not self-confident I will say that naturism did improve this area of me. I find that naturists can get along with most anyone, even if their views in other areas may be diametrically opposed. I also don’t obsess with my body image. Do I have a tummy? Yes. Would I like to lose it? Sure, but if I don’t it’s not the end of the world.



Do you think that there are certain people better suited to naturism and others that are not suited to naturism and if so why do you think that?


I don’t think anyone is not suited to naturism from birth, but environment is a critical factor. If someone is raised in an environment where the body is viewed as something to be hidden at all times it will probably be impossible to change that mindset. It’s not that they’re not suited to be a naturist but rather they are unwilling to consider the concept.


How does your country and state consider naturism? How do the laws stand supporting naturism. What are the national and local opportunities like? You have experienced naturism abroad and in your own country – do you see differences in attitudes from naturists towards naturism and from non-naturists towards naturism?


I’m a Yank – what can I say? The US is still very Puritan in this area. Pennsylvania’s laws here are ambiguous. Technically I could probably be charged with “indecent exposure” if someone saw me from 75 meters away (the street to my back yard). I think much of this depends on the individual law enforcement person but I err on the side of caution. There are many national opportunities (naturist resorts) and one or two locally but given my property why bother? As an unaccompanied male (I’m not technically “single”) there is a certain bias.


Most Europeans are far more tolerant of naturism and naturists than Americans. In many cases, naturists are considered “weird” here. In my travels to Bonaire (a Dutch island) it’s just part of me. On my first visit there the dive shop I used knew I was a naturist because they knew where I was staying – no problem.



How would you like to see the future of naturism developing over the next 30 years and do you feel these ideas are achievable?


I would like to see the attitude that the UK have adopted here. By that I mean it’s legal to be nude on your property without worrying about legal action from others and the ability to be nude in public within reason. You’re not going to go down the High Street (I know what that is!) in the buff but you can be nude on public trails without fear of being arrested. Will it ever happen here in the US? I would have to say not in my lifetime. What I’ve seen is a general increase in body phobia (aka “modesty”) as I have gotten older. In my day we were required to shower after physical education classes (both boys and girls, obviously segregated). Nowadays, I see both adults and younger people doing the “towel dance” in locker rooms. One particular example would be the swimming pool I used while I was still working full-time. A local YMCA was renting the use of a high school pool in the evenings. The locker room had a huge gang shower area with multiple shower heads on columns. None of them worked. I think the school had put three shower heads on one wall when the rental began for use by Y customers. One night the football team came in from practice while I was showering. Not only were they surprised and embarrassed by seeing my naked form but they all went home, hot and sweaty. Ugh!!



What are the biggest problems naturism is currently facing? Do you think these are worldwide concerns? Are these problems any different from when you first became a naturist?


Without getting political, one concern I have because I’ve read about it is the declining birth rate in many countries. My wife and I did our part and we have replaced ourselves. I’ve read that the birth rates in some countries is below the replacement rate. What is happening here? In the Netherlands, for example, the increase in population from the Middle East is causing the traditional Dutch tolerance in many areas to be tested. In Germany, there appears to be a decline in naturism, again perhaps a result of the “guest worker (Gastarbeiter)” population.


The increased emphasis on rooting out child abuse (pedophilia) I think is having an effect as well. While I am obviously totally against child sexual abuse, the trend now is to put simple nudity in that category. The US YMCA does not want to acknowledge that there used to be mandatory nude swimming in the Fifties and Sixties.



If the world was accepting of naturism – happy to take on a clothing optional policy in most situations – how do you think it would change the way society works – what positives could you imagine and do you think there would be any negatives?



Again, something I will not see. I think it would take generations for this to take effect, and initially there could be problems with such a policy. Forgetting the obvious that nudity would not be practical in much of the world much of the time (environmental considerations) you probably would not want to be in the London tube nude with half of London. Eventually, it would all settle down as people got used to the fact that nudity did not equal sex but as I said it would be a long time to get to that state. There would be positives probably in a drop in pornography but the initial negatives would be nudity in inappropriate situations.




Is there any aspect of naturism that frustrates you or annoys you or you feel let down by?


I have to confess that I can’t think of any.




Has there ever been a specific day, location, venue, activity that at the end of it has made you think – this is naturism at its best.


This one is easy. Eden Bay resort, Dominican Republic, all my visits but perhaps the first one in 2005. Eden Bay was built using group funding. It was a condominium association, meaning that the hotel rooms and villas were individually owned. The owners had a yearly Condominium Association meeting in mid-October and I just happened to arrive during that time. As an unaccompanied male (and not an owner) I stood out. I ended up being “packageed” by the owners and had a fantastic time.


The staff would set up the dining area every night with individual tables of four people. We would come in and pull about 3 or 4 tables together to form one big table with 15-20 folks all together. Those meals were some of the best ever I had. I met the most interesting group of people you could imagine. One couple stands out – Art and Janine. Art was a retired electrical engineer and had been the one to set up the electrical grid at the resort. You were talking a property or 120 acres, with the rooms spread over probably 15-20 of those acres. Electricity in the Dominican Republic is iffy so there was a generator building with two big Diesel units. The power was stepped up to utility line voltage to be taken across the site and then stepped down at various locations. Janine was his wife. Both were in their eighties and I was a young 52. I learned a lot from both of them. Janine told me I reminded her of her grandson. I thought she reminded me of my maternal grandmother. I miss them both as they’re both at that big naturist resort in the sky.



Do you speak to friends and family about your naturism? How has that been? Do you have any tips? Has it ever had a bad effect on a relationship?



Most of my friends know of my naturism. It’s primarily resulted in raised eyebrows (“You do WHAT?”) and some giggles but they’re all accepting of my “quirk”. I’ve not lost any friends over it. As to tips, all I can say is try to read a person to anticipate how they may react.




What five words would you use to describe naturism that people who haven’t tried naturism may not have considered and what five words would you say don’t describe naturism that those same people may wrongly consider to be true?


The first part. Freedom, contentment, acceptance, tolerance, satisfaction.


The second part. Licentiousness, exhibitionism, depravity, lacking morality.



Do you have any naturist regrets?


I would have liked to have grown up in a real naturist family, much like what you both are doing with your sons.




Why do you think people should join ANW? What can existing experienced naturists get from it and how about “newbies”?



I think Steve and Anna are doing the best job of any site I’ve found to date. While I’m not a fan of Facebook, the Facebook paradigm does work well here. As you know (and have mentioned), I “put my money where my mouth is” by becoming a Life member and being the first one at that.


What I get from ANW is the ability to connect with like minded individuals and do what people do – exchange ideas and experiences. Newbies can see from the photos that we’re all real people doing real things and that you can interact with others while not wearing clothes.



Independent globe trotting to beautiful beaches and exotic locations is an exciting part of naturism – but naturism has a long history of local clubs, social meet-ups and national bodies – how important do you consider these aspects of naturism to be for today’s naturist and the future growth of naturism?


I think the local clubs are suffering because people are not the “joiners” that they once were. The service clubs (Lions, Rotary, Kiwanis) are all experiencing declines in membership. The social meet-ups don’t exist here. I have never heard of a naturist swim in the US like the ones I attended in Germany and the ones you have in the UK. If I were to broach the subject at my local YMCA I would be told a flat “NO, not ever!” as the reply. The national bodies have a purpose but are they meeting it? I have no experience with the US AANR and I’ve just read what I see on ANW and in H&E about British Naturism. It’s also not my place to comment about BN as well.


If naturism is to continue it will be up to the next generation.



You love scuba diving . Do you think you can get a better experience by enjoying it as a naturist?


I’ve been waiting to answer this one when I saw it. Naturism got me into scuba diving. Eden Bay was managed by a woman the owners hired for that purpose. She and her husband had a dive shop on the island (actually about 50 miles to the west of the resort) and offered what was called “resort certification” at the time. Today PADI (the certifying organization) calls it “Discover Scuba Diving”. What it involves is a short course in a pool on how the gear works and a check by the instructor to see if you’re not going to panic in real open water. If so, you get to do a dive to a maximum of 40 feet (a little over 10 meters) for about 40 minutes or until you’re low on air. I created a bit of the stir at Eden Bay when everyone saw me sitting at the bottom of the pool during the course.


There is an informal tradition in the dive community that you do your 100th dive in the nude, provided that conditions are conducive. Obviously, if you’re diving wrecks in the English channel you’re not going nude – you’ll be in a full wet suit or a dry suit. In warmer climes however it is a relatively common practice. My dive zero (resort certifications don’t count) was done wearing the gear and nothing else. Since then I’ve had many “100th dives” in my 500+ dive history. I’m actually a legend at the dive shop I’ve used in Bonaire. I find it an improvement on nude snorkelling because you can stay down and go deeper. It also makes you a better diver because you do not want to brush up against coral with bare skin.



Any other thoughts and considerations to add?


Not offhand. You’ve definitely covered the waterfront here.


I just want to thank you for wanting to get my thoughts. I hope what I’ve said here will be useful to those who read this.

ANW thank Jonathan for taking part in this interview. Jonathan is one of several members who has followed us from our blog website A Naturist Family to then join us as part of the ANW community. Jonathan was not just the first Life Member of ANW but also the first subscribing member we ever had back in May 2020. He has recently shared his first Blog post with the community and we look forward to more. 

ANW welcomes all who are respectful and interested in naturism and invite all genuine naturist organisations, clubs, events, venues and other opportunities to be part of the ANW community and work with us to encourage the growth and acceptance of naturism around the world. If you have any questions email Anna and Steve at [email protected]

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