Another well-established American tradition is something that a big percentage of Americans might not even realize is a tradition that goes back all the way to some of the Founding Fathers who initially gave their all to see that the people of this nation secured the right to govern themselves and that is the tradition of social nudism. That's right, I said social nudism, as in the practice of removing one's clothing and joining together with others of like mind who enjoy being completely clothes free around other people.
Of the Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin is the most well-known as being a practicing nudist, although much has changed concerning the tradition of being clothes-free since Old Ben's time. He has been quoted as stating in a letter, “You know the cold bath has long been in vogue here (London) as a tonic, but the shock of the cold water has always appeared to me as too violent, and I have found it much more agreeable to my constitution to bathe in another element, I mean cold air. With this in view I rise almost every morning and sit in my chamber without any clothes whatever, half an hour or an hour, according to the season, either reading or writing.” Franklin was also an avid swimmer and in those days although there did exist a style of swimwear that some wore, it was so stifling and restrictive (consisting of much more material than the majority of clothing Americans wear as regular everyday-wear in modern times) that many opted for "skinny dipping" or shedding their clothes for swimming and this was the style adhered to by Benjamin Franklin and others in the first century of American society.
American History does not record any type of "nudist club or colony" until the early 1900s, but social nudism in various forms can be found in many historical documents if one knows where to look. Unlike various countries in Europe, the nudism of two hundred years ago was perhaps less popular in America than it is now, but it did exist and was practiced by noted individuals (ie, John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States and son of John Adams, the second President, who served directly after George Washington).
There is much debate over when, how and by whom the more modern version of nudist clubs came into being, but I am not about to get into all of that in this blog. I will post links and if you care to read them you can peruse the various views on how social nudism came into its own in the early 1900s. Suffice it to say that it did indeed eventually move from people's homes to shared country estates and venues so that larger groups could meet together and enjoy the various aspects and health benefits nudism presented.
Today, nudist clubs are spread across the United States and exist in every nation in the world that is not governed by a repressive totalitarian regime of one sort or another. The venues are as assorted as the people who frequent these clubs, but all more or less abide by the same basic tenants of nudism as made popular by such organizations as the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) and The Naturist Society (TNS), both established here in America. Even television programming has recognized the interest many Americans have in nudism and have begun producing TV series based upon people being nude, though so far these shows (Naked and Afraid, Dating Naked, and Buying Naked) basically take non-nudists and place them in situations where they are required to strip off all clothing and participate with others in a completely clothes-free environment. I have yet to see a series based strictly upon actual nudists and their desire to live according to nudist beliefs.
Although many nudist clubs operate year-round still others close their doors when colder seasons begin, simply because most people in those areas of the country don't frequent their favored clubs when the weather is cold, wet, and/or snowy. This is the reason why Independence Day weekend is viewed as the beginning of American nudism and National Nude Week is held the first full week of July of each year, because for many portions of the United States the weather is not as conducive to being clothes free as it is when July rolls around. Thus, nudism is seen as an American Fourth of July tradition as much as fireworks, BBQs, hot dogs, and watermelon.
Social nudism has even begun to find its way into popular literature, as evidence by two recent novels, "Chronicles of a Bare Naked Nudist" and for those who enjoy more of a romance flavor to their reading "Since the Moment We Met". Both involve life within a nudist setting (in fact, Since the Moment We Met was based upon the same setting and characters presented initially in Chronicles of a Bare Naked Nudist, with permission from the book's author).
If you have yet to sample the freedom and joys that being publicly nude in social settings with other people has to offer, search out a nudist club near you (you'll be surprised how many are in some states) and schedule a visit for you and your family. Yes, nudism is a family orientation and kids take to shedding their clothes and running around "nekkid" much easier than adults, simply because most have not been as highly indoctrinated into being ashamed of their bodies as adults have. Nudist clubs are highly protective of children and are more adept at keeping out those who would prey upon children than any other organization in the United States.
For more information on the history of nudism in America, visit these links:
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