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Embracing Nudism at Solair Recreation League

by R.K. Roberts

Nestled in a quiet corner of Connecticut, Solair Recreation League welcomes unclothed folks of all ages to its family-friendly nudist camping resort in Woodstock. Many Solair members find that nudism becomes happily entrenched as a generational family tradition, returning year after year to participate in safe, child-appropriate activities such as swimming, playing volleyball, hiking and sitting by a campfire with one another. Grandparents can be seen gathering around the pool with their grandchildren, as they too grow up with this healthy and natural way of life, and except for a bunch of towels, no one spends much time doing laundry.

Nudism, or naturism, is both a philosophy and a way of life that promotes daily activities clothes-free, in a non-sexual social setting such as a camp, resort, club or beach. People that enjoy social nudism reflect an economic, political and social cross-section of society.

Nudists cite significant physical and psychological health benefits, especially for women and children, including body acceptance, personal confidence, and freedom from shame; a sense of freedom, relaxation and peace; a realistic view of diversity instead of supermodel depictions, and acceptance of ourselves and those around us regardless of size or shape; and the knowledge that nudity and sex are not synonymous.

As one Solair member puts it, “As a woman who has always been ‘of size,’ becoming a nudist was the first time I could truly and thoroughly accept myself and feel comfortable in my own skin.”

Just last year, the Journal of Happiness Studies published the first-ever full research study of the benefits of nudism. It demonstrated measurably that “individuals do experience increases in positive body-image, self-esteem and life satisfaction after participating in real naturist activities.” The key, it was found, is getting naked around strangers—social nudity.

“People seem to be realizing that there’s enough horror in the world without needing to worry about the odd swimmer or bunch of naked people on a beach,” says Andrew Welch in his article “The Misunderstood World of Naturism,” in The Telegraph (UK). “The fact you’re all there with no clothes on brings you together; it’s a kind of understanding between human beings. I’m being me and they’re being them,” he observes.

Maureen Cary, publisher of Natural Awakenings Rhode Island, observes, “There is something about removing clothes that removes some masks, too.” Another regular visitor to Solair Recreation League says, “Going without clothes makes you feel alive and healthy.”

More than a decade ago, a Roper poll found that one in four American adults report having skinny-dipped or sunbathed nude, and 74 percent of Americans approve of designated legal public nude beaches. The phenomenal recent growth of groups like Young Naturists of America (YNA) indicates increasingly more acceptance of nude living. YNA’s website even advocates nudism as a path toward tolerance, acceptance, positive body image, ending censorship and many other social causes.

Despite the myriad benefits of nudism, our society is still suspicious of it. Many individuals keep their nudist life secret for fear of misunderstanding and even job loss. That’s why the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) maintains a stringent behavioral code, and nudist resorts like Solair uphold this code and respect its members’ and visitors’ anonymity. Sexual-offender and criminal background checks are performed on all visitors, who must present positive ID. Photography is never allowed, and anyone behaving inappropriately is immediately shown the gate. A quick Internet search will yield hundreds of AANR-affiliated clubs, campgrounds and resorts like Solair Recreation League.

Those that come to nudism as adults, but wish they had learned about nudism when they were younger, can gift it—and its benefits—to their children and grandchildren. Research shows that children that are raised with nudism are confident, at ease with themselves and more accepting of differences. These are characteristics that build good citizens and democratic leaders.

R.K. Roberts and his family are longtime members of Solair Recreation League, in Woodstock, CT. For more information, visit SolairRL.com. Solair is a member of AANR. See ad on page XX.