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An Interview with ANW Member Roy - From Sussex, England


As part of ANW's want to enhance understanding and appreciation of naturism we are sharing a selection of articles and interviews with ANW members exploring naturism around the world. 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 articles aim to show our connect through our mutual respect and understanding of social nudity. Inspiring people to get involved with naturism and the various naturist opportunities the world has to offer. 


We welcome Roy from Sussex, England:

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your part of the world.
I am one of the many middle-aged (I still call 63 years old middle-aged!) male naturists. Now living in West Sussex, I have been married for 34 years, and have two grown-up daughters, the younger of whom has just produced our first grandchild, a granddaughter. My wife and I are naturists, although – as is often the case – I am the more enthusiastic naturist of the two of us. We brought up our girls to be naturist from a fairly young age but – again as is often the case – they lost interest in their teens
and have not [yet!] returned to naturism. I am semi-retired but self-employed as a consultant, massage therapist, and life model (not at the same time!). Most readers will no doubt be familiar with naturism in the UK generally, and West Sussex is typical in that regard.

2.What was the attitude towards nudity and naturism in your home and upbringing as a child and teen? 
Naturism was not a thing in my family. Nudity was far from the norm, and I don’t recall ever seeing either of my parents, or my brother, naked. Naturism was not a term that I ever heard mentioned apart from when I chanced upon a TV programme that showed some video taken in a naturist resort (no doubt referred to as a ‘camp’!) somewhere. It left a lasting impression but was certainly not something that I saw as appropriate for our family. Nudity was not a ‘shameful’ thing, though; on reflection I think it was, or would have been, something seen as amusing and probably sexual. However, sex was never a topic in my family, so I cannot say that whether my parents would have definitely equated the two.
When I told my mother about being a naturist much later in life, she remarked that I never did [as a child] like to keep my clothes on! I was never allowed to run around naked, as far as I recall, though. I do not recall ever being nude in a school environment, but I think taking communal showers was the norm in my early years at secondary school. I don’t think that lasted beyond the second year; it would have been pre-puberty.

3. How did you first get involved in naturism and what were your initial thoughts.
Apart for the aforementioned TV programme that I saw as a child, I did not become aware of people liking to live naked until I was working as a student in Dorset, and my landlady referred to the nudies on the beach nearby [Studland]. I never asked her about it, nor went there, but I guess it did spark my interest. I had never had any interest in clothes, and recall never feeling comfortable in them. I would sunbathe naked in our back garden as a child when my parents and brother were out, and I slept naked from young age, both because they just seemed more natural and comfortable.

My next brush with naturism was when I visited the beach at Birling Gap with a college friend. We sunbathed naked, and I was completely hooked. There was a gay overtone to the experience, though, although I’m not entirely sure why. It certainly didn’t feel at all sexual to me at the time, but it transpired later that my friend was gay, and perhaps I subconsciously picked up on that. After that, I would always try to find opportunities to sunbathe naked, and my wife and I visited Holkham Beach whilst on holiday
in Norfolk in our early married life. However, I think I gradually became more aware of naturism as a thing from H&E magazine, and began to realise that my enjoyment of being without clothes was actually quite common and normal. I had an epiphany about naturism when I was around my mid- thirties, and I decided to start taking part in naturist activities.
I visited the Alton naked swim but felt very out of place. Not long after this, my wife, realising that naturism was something important to me, and having no particular objection to it, suggested that we go as a family to a naked swim in Southampton. Our girls, who were around 6-8 I think, thought it all it bit strange but really enjoyed the experience. We decided to join a naturist club, and found South Hants. We were members there until we moved out the area after a year or two. From then on, I have known that naturism would always be a part of my life.

4. Do you think that your initial reasons and attitudes towards naturism have changed since then and how?
At first, I resisted being referred to as a ‘naturist’, as I felt that the term encompassed much more than just enjoying being naked, and that there were perhaps aspects to it that I wouldn’t be comfortable with. However, as I became more familiar with naturism, and through finding out about other naturists, I gradually accepted that it was absolutely the appropriate label! I have been perfectly at ease being referred to as a naturist ever since, and I fully embrace everything that naturism is. I would like to say that the term doesn’t define me, as we all like to be more than just a single label; but for me, it is as important a description of me as being male, a husband, a father, heterosexual, white Caucasian, meat eating, etc. Naturism has always been for me about nudity being the natural human state, and that covering the body is unhealthy (physically, mentally and socially) unless it is required for protection. My main motivation for being naturist at first was the enjoyment of being naked, but has since developed into a passionate belief that it supports healthy attitudes to the body.

5. Tell us about your naturist adventures so far.
Since embracing naturism in my mid-thirties, I have typically lived naked at home (house and garden where I am not overlooked), and I always look for naturist opportunities when away from home. I dislike the cold, so am dressed far more that I would like to be, and I am keen not to upset others, be they my family, friends, neighbours or the general public, so will dress when outside the house unless in a situation where nudity might be expected. I would probably be more adventurous than I am but resist that for the sake of my wife, who is more sensitive to what other people think than I am.
We have belonged to naturist clubs for years but tend not to frequent them often due to them always being miles away and/or because we find them rather cliquey. Our holidays are always naturist unless we are with wider family and non-naturist friends. Typical UK destinations for us are: Studland, Holkham and Brighton. I am a life model, which I actually see is a part of my naturism.
Oversees naturist destinations are Euronat (annually), Lanzarote (once), Cypress Cove (once), Gran Canaria (once). I tend to be discrete about being a naturist, as we have family members, friends and neighbours who would not simply accept it non-judgementally. In the last couple of years, I have been doing some naked hiking. However, my wife just doesn’t get that, and can only do it when alone of within an organised group.

6.You brought up you children with naturism as part of your lives tell us a little about that experience.
Although we became naturists when our daughters were small, they were too old to have become completely accustomed to it before becoming teenagers. They had no naturist friends, and for them it was just a ‘thing that Dad does’. One daughter is now not at all interested, and says that it definitely isn’t for her (she has never been able to explain to me why). The other daughter says that she could embrace naturism again but is with a partner who probably would not. Neither daughter nor their boyfriends have a problem with my wife and me being naturists. I can be naked with my daughters but not when they have their partners with them. I like to think that being a part of a naturist family has helped them develop into body-confident young women. Certainly, their attitudes towards their and others’ bodies is very well-balanced and accepting. I recall with great fondness our naturist holidays as a young family, and believe that naturism helped us develop a closeness and openness with each other (if that’s not an oxymoron!) about anything and everything that perhaps we would not have had without it.

7. How important are families for naturism?
I have very strong feelings about children in naturism. I sometimes feel wary about stating that, as it could be misconstrued. However, unless we encourage families to be an intrinsic part of naturism, children will not be included.
Why do I feel this way?
Firstly, as a I said before, for me naturism is about nudity being the natural state for humans. That is regardless of age, gender, sexuality, race, religion, appearance, disability, etc. Naturism needs to be open and accessible to all ‘groups’.
Secondly, adults’ attitudes towards themselves, others, health and wellbeing, were formed when they were children. For naturism to have the full physical, mental and social benefits I think it can have, children need to be familiar with it so that they can fully embrace it as adults. If they are not exposed to it as children, they will not seem as something normal, safe and healthy when they grow up.
Thirdly, the family-unit is the ideal situation in which to deal with all aspects of growing up and learning about life. Unless naturism is seen as a normal part of family life, a child will not grow up to understand it properly. It should be as much family-business as is hygiene, diet, manners, self- confidence, etc.
Fourthly, although it is obvious that for some there is a link between naturism and sex, it is not an implicit one. Naturism does not equal sex, unless one wants to make it so. If naturism excludes (or at least appears to exclude) families, it will be seen as ‘adults-only’, which is a term that is seen by many as sexual. For naturism to have a proper widespread appeal, it must not be routinely seen as something sexual.
Fifthly (and I suppose this is an extension of my first point), it is well-recognised that the strongest communities are typically diverse ones. This is something nowadays stressed in all walks of life, and I believe equally applies to naturism. In my opinion, naturism is strengthened with the involvement of people of all types. Life is enriched by diversity, and so is naturism.

8. How would you best explain naturism to someone new to it and what advice would you offer to them?
I think the approach I would take would depend upon the person and the situation. I would probably start off by asking what they already think they know about the subject, and take it from there. The points I would stress would be:
a. Being unclothed is the natural human state.
b. The primary purpose of clothing is to protect the naked body
c. Most wearing of clothes is driven by convention and fashion not by necessity
d. Many people simply do not find clothing comfortable, and for some (e.g. some autistic people) clothing is positively uncomfortable
e. Being naked feels liberating
f. Being naked breaks down barriers and is levelling
g. Exposing bare skin is healthier than being clothed
h. Removing the need to worry about having clothes to wear, and what clothes to wear, reduces stress
i. Being naked with others boosts self-confidence
j. Being naked with others desexualises the body
k. Not wearing clothes saves money and environmental costs.
Which points would have the most impact, and in what order, would depend on the person and the situation. I would advise them to try it for themselves, as no amount of arguments will alone win them over if they have a conditioned aversion to being naked. They need to experience it. The arguments will help persuade them to try it but only trying and enjoying will convert them. I think the key would be to get them to try to reset their thinking, away from “what clothes should I put/have on now?” to “do I need to put/have clothes on now?”. Simply staying naked after a shower, or not getting dressed first thing in the morning, or not wearing a swimsuit when sunbathing in a private back garden, is all that’s needed.
I would mention that it may not be for them, and that’s fine, but that typically, once the initial aversion is overcome, being naked in a naturist-friendly environmental quickly comes to feel quite normal.

9. What do you think naturism has taught you about yourself and do you think it has changed you in any way?
Although I understand the sentiment behind this question (or rather two questions), I don’t think it really makes any sense. You might just as well ask me what being male, heterosexual, of average height, of average intelligence (allegedly), having an average penis size, have taught/changed me. It’s really a ‘chicken-and-egg’ question. Am I what I am because I am a naturist? Or am I a naturist because of what I am?
Although I did not have a label for it until my mid-thirties, I think I have always been a naturist. I was simply born that way, and have developed into who I am today. Actually, the more I think about this question, the deeper I think it is! I need to reflect on it for

10. Do you think that there are certain people better suited to naturism and others that are not suited to it and if so why do you think that?
From an innate point of view, I see no reason that naturism should suit some people more than others. I believe that the reasons for not being naturist are social, and relate to conditioning, fear of what others will think, etc, which should all be over-come-able.
It may be easier to ‘convert’ some people to naturism than others, because of past conditioning, but I don’t see that as making them better- or worse-suited to naturism. Some people may feel the cold more than others, but given the right situation they would be as
comfortable naked as any other. Being naturist means nudity is the natural state but naturists don’t stop being naturist just because they put on clothes when they are cold.

11. How does your country consider naturism? How do the laws stand supporting naturism? What are the national and local opportunities like?
The UK’s laws and customs around, and opportunities for, naturism are well known. I am typically more constrained being a naturist in the UK by time and climate than by its acceptability.
Yes, I would love to go shopping naked, but how often would it actually be warm and dry enough to do so?! I do resent the need to cover up when opening the front door, popping out to the car, putting stuff in the bins or putting the bins out, but it's more of a mild irritation rather than anything more.

12. How would you like to see the future of naturism developing over the next 30 years and do you feel these ideas are achievable?
Actually, I think a lot of very good work is being done to develop naturism. Your website is a splendid example. So are all of the things that BN are doing. I am little worried about the slightly new direction that H&E has taken, but on the whole, I think it is a good advert for naturism.
My chief worry is that whilst efforts expended on developing naturism are doing a lot to normalise nudity, at the same time the fashion, cosmetics, safeguarding, data protection, child protection, and education industries are doing so much to de-normalise it. The thread on the BN forum about the lack of nudity in changing rooms is a good example of how influential views about people not being seen naked in everyday situations have taken hold.
I think the best that can be hoped for in a 30-year timescale is that naturism will be more widely recognised as a valid and legitimate way of life, and for naturists to be more accepted in everyday life, including naturist children.
The greatest single achievement would be to promote naturism to a level where it is equivalent (in practice if not in law) to gender, race, sexuality, etc. in terms of not being discriminated against. A world in which genuine naturism exists successfully integrated within society is possible, but I’m not sure within 30 years.
The chief reason for there being a fundamental limit on what can be achieved regarding normalising naturism is that sex sells, sex typically involves levels of nudity, and naturism is based upon nudity. That formula will never go away. So, non-sexual nudity will always be niche, or at least not mainstream.
I think there needs to be more clothing optional events and places. Festivals are starting to embrace this by having nudity policies (albeit typically very restrictive ones), and this tend needs to be encouraged. Although I strongly believe that there remains a need for true naturist places and events (for reasons I won’t go into here), if clothing optional opportunities were more commonplace, the normality of many people enjoying non-sexual nudity in everyday life would get into the public consciousness.

13. What are the biggest problems that naturism is currently facing? Do you think these are worldwide concerns? Are these problems any different from when you first became a naturist?
This is a very complex question. I’m not sure that the problems for naturism are, in general, any greater or less than at any other time. The problems themselves are probably different, but overall, they’re probably much the same
in magnitude.
I think what the problems are depend upon complex demographic and political factors, that : a) there really wouldn’t be time to go into here, and b) I certainly don’t know anything like enough about to go into here!
Naturism has an opportunity these days that it didn’t have in the past, which is using social media. Notwithstanding the ridiculous censoring of nudity by the social media giants (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, et al) the ability to ‘sell’ naturism is so much greater than before.

14. 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?
I think the main impact would be on people’s consciousness of the decisions they take regarding what they look like. Rather than dressing a particular way, wearing makeup, or having cosmetic surgery, so as to automatically conform with an accepted norm, there would be greater thought by people about whether those things were the right thing to do for them. People would probably not stop dressing a particular way, wearing makeup, or having cosmetic surgery, but perhaps they would do those things more consciously, and with greater awareness and less anxiety. I think there would be a painful transition period, as people got used to the idea that bodies don’t need to be covered up, but eventually I think there would be a reduction in sexual assaults, which I understand are at an astonishing and shockingly high level. Censorship and sexual segregation are alien to humans. What is denied is wanted more. I am at the risk of oversimplification here, but in principle I think greater clothing optional living would tend to desexualise society, which would lead to less sex-related crime. There is also the oft-repeated and very credible claim that if our children grew up familiar with naked bodies, they may be less sex-obsessed, with a corresponding reduction in teenage pregnancies.
I find it hard to think of any general negatives, although those industries that drive dressing a particular way, wearing makeup, and having cosmetic surgery would probably suffer!

15. Are 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?
Actually, the only aspect that irritates me is the attitude of some naturists to people who are not naturists. Whilst I do not understand why anyone would not be naturist, I fully accept that many are not. I do not judge them. I think their thinking is flawed but I don’t in any way look down on them. I think the term ‘textile’ is derogatory, dismissive, patronising and discriminatory. I simply do not understand why we need to refer to people who are not naturists as anything other than ‘non-naturists’.

16. 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?
I can think of two examples.
Firstly, the French resort of Euronat, where we go each year. Weather-permitting, it is possible to be naked from the moment of arrival to the moment of departure. At no point does one feel any pressure whatsoever to not be naked. Nudity is absolutely accepted everywhere at all times. People of all ages are there, and can all be happily naked together. A greater racial diversity would be nice but I think I have noticed that start to improve. Facilities are such that it can feel like being at home, the only difference being that everything can be done naked.

Secondly, NudeFest, where my wife and I work as massage therapists. Again, weather permitting, one can be naked for the full duration of the festival. It feels like a mainstream (albeit on a small scale) festival (and we love festivals!) but one that can be enjoyed without having to think about what to wear. Furthermore, it is particularly nice to be able to carry out massage treatments on clients for whom nudity is completely natural (so much easier for the therapist!) and to be able to keep cool whilst naked oneself when the sun is beating down on the massage tent!

17. 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?
Not usually. A few family, friends and clients/colleagues know about my naturism, but none are interested in it. I would be happy to talk to them about it, but they don’t want to. I have some old close friends who like to make a joke about it but that is the limit of their interest. It has never had a bad effect on a relationship, but then I have been very careful to only tell people who I know could accept it.

18. 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 doesn't describe naturism that those same people may wrongly consider to be true.

Five words to describe naturism:
  • Freedom
  • Comfort
  • Honesty
  • Openness
  • Natural

Five words to not describe naturism:
  • Sexual
  • Er-otic
  • Exhibitionism
  • Exposure
  • Streaking

21.Why do you think people should join ANW? What can existing naturists get from it and how about "newbies"?
Mainly to support the development and promotion of naturism. New and existing naturists may learn more about naturism and what opportunities exist. For some, they will find friends.

22.If you could go anywhere in the world now as a naturist where would it be?
Probably Cypress Cove in Florida.

23. If ANW wasn't about naturism but something else entirely what other life choice/hobby/interest/passion...would have made you consider joining it?
Life drawing.

24. Many naturists incorporate naturism into the daily home life - how important do you think that is to naturists?
I think the freedom to incorporate it into the daily home life must always be very important, but for many much less so to actually practice it. Not every naturist wants to be naturist whenever possible. However, not being accepted as naturist at home must be very difficult. Naturism is usually a deep part of who they are, and for that not to be accepted must feel like a powerful rejection.

25. If you could send a message out to young families considering naturism what would you tell them? What advice would you offer? What reasons should they consider for bringing the children up as naturists?
If you want your children to grow up with informed and healthy attitudes about their bodies, other people’s bodies, and sex, then bring them up in a naturist family. This can be kept private within the family, if necessary, but the children must understand that keeping it private is due to other people’s attitudes not that there is anything wrong or shameful about nudity. Typically, families find it difficult to meet other naturist families. So, children lack the opportunity to experience it outside of their own family. They need to be taught that naturism outside their family is perfectly normal and natural, even though they may not experience it directly. Making them aware of organised naturism (e.g. clubs, resorts, BN, this website), even if they do not interact directly with them, will help teach them that naturism is a publicly acceptable and common thing.
Children need to understand that nudity is good in environments where they feel safe, comfortable and ‘in control’. It is never shameful and they should never feel embarrassed. They must understand, however, that there are rare occasions where people may take advantage of them as naturist children, and if they ever feel that is happening it is in no way their fault, it is not because being naked is wrong, it is always entirely the fault of the person that is making them feel that way. I would strongly discourage parents from over-emphasising ‘stranger danger’, though and probably to completely ignore the NSPCC Talk PANTS guidance, which whilst well-intended risks being very counterproductive.
Children need to be aware of their environment, and how to sense danger, but not afraid of it,
whether naked or not. I think I have already covered in one or more of my previous answers why I believe bringing up children as naturists is a good thing.

26. You have done a lot of travelling and visited a lot of places. Have you found differences in the way naturism is promoted and treated in various countries both by naturists but also by non-naturists? Do you think there is any one country that seems to have the best attitude?
I have travelled but not as a naturist. And I have been to some naturist places around the world. However, not having actually travelled as a naturist, the only sense I have of attitudes towards it have been from what I have read.
Most countries seem to have a schizophrenic attitude to nudity, where it is typically not acceptable anywhere except where it is acceptable! There seems be little rhyme or reason to this, other than past and current religious beliefs, the strength and exact nature of which can vary markedly.
The country that seems to be most accepting of naturism as a way of life in my limited experience is France, but only in specific places, not generally.

27. Any other thoughts and considerations to add?
Answering these questions has made me appreciate just how complex and multi-layered the topic of naturism and its acceptability is.
At the risk of overstressing children in naturism, I think I must stress how important they are for its future and realisation of its benefits. It is a truism to say that it is young people that change the word. If attitudes towards nudity are to improve, it will probably largely be young people who can
bring that about. If naturism is alien to them, that simply will not happen.

We thank Roy for this wonderful interview and sharing his thoughts with ANW. 

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]

© 2023  Roy and All Rights Reserved