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An Interview with ANW Members Mike and Sue T


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 Mike and Sue T an English couple who have had the pleasure of enjoying naturism since the 1970's.


Mike and Sue have written a couple of Blog posts for the ANW Blog library and also host The Art of Drawing and Painting in the ANW Groups section.

Art has always had a long connection with capturing the human form. We celebrate this on ANW with a section called Naturism in Art which shares some of the most famous examples of capturing social nudity in art form. ANW members also have the use of a project called Images for Art where members can have access to a range of body types, positions and actions to use in their own art. Members can offer images to this body reference library and artists can make specific requests to help in their work.


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


We are 71 & 69 respectively and have lived in a Kentish village of Hadlow since 1988. We met in 1971 and have been married for 49 years so I suppose we have staying power. We have two children, both grown up and married! We brought them up as naturists until their teens.


I, Mike sometimes find it difficult to cope and Sue is the one with the level head.


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


Neither of us were raised with nudity being common around the home with both our parents being very staid and neither were ever aware of our naturist life. Sue's late mum would have been shocked.


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


I, Mike used to see adverts in our local paper whilst in my teens for open days at North Kent Sun Club, now Naturist Foundation but I was too young to apply. In the early 1970's I belonged to a group who had guest speakers and one of the principals from North Kent Sun Club gave a presentation. From that day I wanted to experience naturism. It was in 1977 that I broached the subject with Sue and she reluctantly agreed to go along with me to an open day on a hot May weekend. It took a while for Sue to strip off following her initial reticence. However by the end of the afternoon, we were both happy being naked amongst others.


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


I, Sue am less inclined than Mike to strip off now unless I feel that I am in a safe environment such as a Naturist resort or a club. I also still work so it is Mike who is retired who's far more open than me about it.



Tell us about some of your naturists adventures.


We have enjoyed naturist holidays, both in the UK camping or hiring a caravan, especially whilst the children were young, and abroad in Vera Hotel, Cap D'agde which was our first naturist holiday abroad and three trips to Vritomartis on Crete. We visited German friends who lived near Frankfurt am Main who we had met at the Naturist Foundation. Whilst going with them to Heidelberg they took us all to a massive swimming complex where there was a nude swimming time. As we arrived the session was about to start. We saw members of the public come from the pool to lockers, stripping off swimsuits without hesitation and returning to the pool area. We knew then we were in for a real naturist experience.


Do you think if one of you had disliked naturism the other would have carried on? Could have worked for you both?


This is a hard one to answer. From the answer to the fourth question above Sue's interest has waned a little. I think initially that Sue could take it or leave it. That is not to say she has not enjoyed holidays and membership to the "club". I probably would not have been able to join the Naturist Foundation in any way because of their then jaundiced attitude to single men. I think another trip to Vritomartis is called for.



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


The friendliness of naturists as a whole is the first thing to mention and that nobody is judgmental about body shape or size. I would try getting the idea across that the newbie needs to take one's time if being nervous about being seen in front of a lot of naked strangers. It won't be long before those "strangers" are your friends. Whether one is a highly paid banker or a refuse collector, once the clothes are off it is hard to see the difference.


Albeit not the first thing to mention but it is important to stress that naturism is about social nudity and not sex but in a subtle way.


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


We have joined ANW precisely because it is a naturist site. Within its membership individuals may have interests that others share but the primary reason is to converse and make friends with like-minded people. One wouldn't join an orchestra to learn how to play cricket!!


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


Naturism hopefully teaches us to be more accepting of others, whether it be body image regarding our fellow naturists or our selves. Neither of us have the "ideal" body with all the folds and wrinkles. In that respect it has been a lot of years since we worried about our shape albeit needing to keep as healthy as possible.


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?


We feel that most, if not all people are suited to naturism if that is their mindset. There are others that can spoil it for the majority being exhibitionists who do not believe in communion with nature but are only there for their own pleasure. It gets back to whether you have confidence in your own body.


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?


England seems to be more tolerant of naturism though not much has changed since we became naturists. The law was changed supposedly to decriminalise genuine naturism in public but it seems to me that if somebody complains it is difficult to prove one is not causing an offence. I was in a discussion with our local PCSO recently, and having been told that officers were not aware of the directions from the College of Policing. I told him and showed him the leaflet issued by BN in 2018. Practising naturism in our back garden he agreed that as long as it was without sexual undertones it would be okay. He then added a caveat that if I had children next door, that would be different. What if they had children visiting?? I did suggest he gets proper guidance.


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


Personally I feel that unless the lifestyle can attract young people with families, it will slowly die as a movement. When we first joined the Naturist Foundation in 1977 the place was alive with young children joyfully playing on the swings or in the swimming pool. It was sometimes difficult to find a place to settle down. In our last year in 2007 as a member, the sun lawns were depleted of members and especially of children. This of course is only our observation.


What are the biggest problems that naturism is currently facing?


As mentioned above, the decline in younger people enjoying the lifestyle is worrying . With child abuse becoming more in the news the demonstrators are jumping on the bandwagon suggesting that children at naturist swims are in danger of sexual abuse. The general feeling amongst the naturists, and I agree, is that the children are safer with naturists than at any public pool open to all. This type of negative publicity may well have a detrimental effect on our movement.


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?


The world would be a happier place. There would be less pollution as not so many clothes would need to be washed. It would not be necessary to cover up just to cut the front lawn with less electricity use, so energy bills would be lower. However, the clothing industry both manufacturing and retail, would suffer. Hey ho someone has to lose.


Is there any aspect of naturism that frustrates you or annoys you or you feel let down by? Are there any answers that you can think of to put these things right?


Only that we as a movement are generally not taken seriously by the media. There needs to be more exposure (pardon the pun) so that the benefits of naturism can be shared with a wider audience. This should not always be from the same old faces from BN. Of course whether practising naturists would go on national television if they are still working is another thing.


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 - and why?


Although being long standing naturists, the day we joined ANW on 23/07/2021 was really special. It was so refreshing to see the enthusiasm put in by Anna & Steve in enhancing the naturist world. It has opened up connections with others in a safe and secure way.


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?


We carefully choose who we have shared that knowledge with, more open minded people. Sue is an only child and I am one of two brothers. I have never shared that we are naturists. Some of our friends know and some have tried it whilst on holiday abroad. We have never had any negative response but only "it wouldn't be for us." Mind you would they admit it anyway? At the end of September I was in the garden painting when a pal from the neighbouring bowls club poked his head over the hedge. I thought he had seen me in all my glory so when he came around for coffee the following weekend thinking he had spotted my nudity I admitted that we were naturists. He hadn't seen me after all but he informed me that he and his wife had gone to Studland and he had gone Au Natural as had his wife and had also done so in the Canary Islands. Honesty is the best policy.


What five words would you use to describe naturism that people who haven't tried naturism may not have considered...


Freedom, Confidence, Body-shape, Friendliness, Respect.


...and what five words would you say doesn't describe naturism that those same people may wrongly consider to be true.


Sex, Exhibitionism, Body-beautiful, Ethnicity, Judgmental.


If you were to close your eyes and consider naturism as an animal, a colour and a food item what three answers would come to mind?


Shawn Sheep, Brown, Banana


Do you have any naturist regrets?


Our main regret is that neither of our children maintained the naturist way of life. Also we wished we had travelled to more naturist venues and increased our circle of naturist friends.


Why do you think people should join ANW?


Being members of ANW, people can get to know a great number of new friends  and to swap ideas about each other's take on the community. I, Mike feel that any newbie, especially new members of ANW should be made welcome and offered help with any concerns they may have.


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?


Local clubs can be an excellent way for people to dip their toe but the clubs themselves need to shed the image of being for "old" folk. Generally BN does a good job arranging social events nationally as well as on a local level. Again it is attracting the young adults that is the key to naturism's growth.


You, Mike love art and run an art group on ANW - do you feel that naturism helps connect you to your creative side?


I took up oil painting again after many years of doing none. It was about the time that we joined ANW. It has given me the chance to relax and be in tune with nature from which I get my inspiration. It is difficult to explain why as most of my work has had to be carried out indoors; through the last winter and because of weather conditions, like the three bears' porridge, either too cold or too hot in 2022. The paints would not have liked 40 degrees Celsius.



ANW thank Mike and Sue T for taking part in this interview.

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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