The first nudist resort was planted in central Europe exactly a century
ago in 1903. Before many years had passed nudism also became an American
phenomenon with nudist camps and resorts springing up throughout the country.
Today hundreds of nudist camps and resorts exist in the United States. Over
60,000 Americans are card carrying members of the American Association for
Nude Recreation (AANR), the largest and oldest of several nudist associations.
Beyond the traditional camps and resorts, a burgeoning nude travel business
has sprung up which offers nude ship cruises, nude beach tours and even nude
airplane rides. In a success story as American as apple pie, U.S. entrepreneurs
are satisfying public demand for nudist recreation to the tune of about $400
million a year in nudist clubs alone.
Recently while reading the New York Times,
Rep. Mark Foley of Florida learned the astonishing fact that nudists have
children and raise their children to become nudists. Rep. Foley read this
story because for several years AANR has realized that nudists needed to
better inform the American public about nudism. The problem is that, in spite
of the growing nudist market, too few people know anything about nudism.
In the nudist view this is bad because nudists get tired of bad jokes, bad
laws and trying to explain it all to non-nudists.
the usual period of more talk than action, on the hundredth anniversary of
modern nudism AANR swung into high gear and actually got the media to publish
a few widely distributed stories. One of those stories was a story about
wholesome youth doing wholesome things in the century-old setting of a nudist
A few weeks before he discovered nudism in the New York Times,
the Honorable Rep. Foley, a self declared conservative and candidate for
the U.S. Senate, had a political problem. Some folks who said they had reason
to know said that Rep. Foley is a homosexual. Rep. Foley’s response was that
he would not dignify such an accusation with a response except that they
should mind their own business. Rep. Foley’s response was a great response.
He should have left it at that. But he did not. Instead Rep. Foley had a
Eureka moment and embarked on a crusade to protect his endangered candidacy
by persecuting a group more vulnerable than homosexuals - families. In this
case, nudist families. As a Florida Republican voter, I don’t care whether
Rep. Foley is gay or not. But I do care about a couple of other issues.
of all, as far as I can tell Rep. Foley has never married and has never fathered
or raised a child. As a married heterosexual parent I am occasionally amused
or annoyed by certain single people who believe they have found the absolute
truth about marriage and parenting by theory alone, without having any actual
experience. Usually this is a temporary phase that ends when theory collides
with experience and no real harm is done.
Rep. Foley, as a single man, doesn’t just believe he knows better than parents
how to raise their children. Rep. Foley wants to force his theories on parents
with all the power of the government. Rep. Foley justifies his crusade to
have the government parent nudist children rather than the parents of these
children with the famous “Theory A” of why nudism must be bad. Theory A posits
that nudism is bad because nudity inevitably causes sexual thoughts and feelings.
Because nudity equals sex, and the combination of sex and teenagers is bad,
therefore nudist youth camps must be bad. QED.
problem with Theory A is that in the technical jargon it is pure bovine excrement.
The only people who believe in Theory A are people who have no firsthand
experience whatsoever with real life nudism. Real life nudists know that
real life experience is exactly the opposite. That is why real life nudist
parents take their real life nudist children to real nudist camps. They know
that what they and their children will experience will be fun, family friendly
innocent freedom and a chance to relax and recreate. Sex is not a part of
psychologists - those who actually study nudism instead of just talking about
stuff they don’t know about - have known that nudism is not erotic for a
very long time. The first American psychologist to figure this out was the
prominent Dr. Howard Warren of Princeton University exactly 70 years ago.
Dr. Warren went native among the nudists to perform professional observational
science and concluded a number of things, including (1) It is amazing how
fast people get over the nudity taboo, and (2) that “social nudism does not
in any way foster eroticism - that it tends if anything to promote a saner
sex outlook and more natural relations between men and women, even during
the years of early sexual maturity.” (Rep. Foley, note that last conclusion.)
A few years later, a research team led by Professor William E. Hartman of
that not exactly bastion of liberal secular humanism, Brigham Young University,
studied nudism with modern scientific statistical methods, wrote a thick
book, and concluded the same thing. A surprising number of people understand
very well that common nudity does not foster eroticism. Since some of these
people think that, regardless of the facts, nudism must be bad anyway, they
create “Theory B” as to why nudism is bad.
B is exactly contradictory to Theory A, and more than a little bit weird.
Theory B posits that because nudism is not sexual, nudists will lose their
sexuality. Theory B predicts that nudists will get so turned off by seeing
too much nudity that they won’t want sex anymore. In other words, nudists
will become a bunch of asexual drones. Because turning an innocent teenager
into a sexless pod person is bad, therefore nudist youth camp is bad. QED.
Theory B also suffers from a collision with the facts. One of those facts
is that nudists - including nudists who grow up as nudists - get married,
have children, send them to nudist youth camp, and thereby offend the people
who believe in Theory A. Hundreds of thousands of nudists past and present
have not experienced the prediction of Theory B that they will become sexless
pod people. We fall in love, get married, have sex, and produce children
at absolutely normal statistical rates. No psychological or sociological
study has ever found that nudists become asexual.
The boring truth is that although nudism is not erotic, naked people are
neither sex fiends nor sex drones. We’re just normal. Please retire both
Theory A and Theory B. (Well, OK, research does show that nudists are psychologically
healthier, less likely to commit sex crimes and more likely - especially
nudist women - to live by conservative family values than other people, but
that is another story.) That brings us back to Rep. Foley and parenting.
At this point, let me describe my parenting. I am a nudist. My wife is a
nudist. My daughter is a nudist. This year we almost sent our daughter to
the famous nudist youth camp that bothers Rep. Foley, which is not too many
miles from our home. Instead we decided to sign her up for a Shakespeare
play and maybe a summer camp at Kennedy Space Center. Next year maybe she
will do the nudist youth camp thing if the government hasn’t stamped out
freedom by then.
highly resent Rep. Foley’s belief that he knows better than we do what camps
our daughter should attend. These kinds of private decisions are our business.
Neither Rep. Foley nor the government has the wisdom or the right to dictate
who our daughter will associate with or the conditions of her association.
That is my and my wife’s job as parents. Rep. Foley might also recall, however
dimly, that this land is governed by the U.S. Constitution. A long time ago
the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that parents have the right to decide how their
children will be educated, not politicians with a campaign problem.
we don’t like how the nudist youth program is run then we will pull her out
of it. If some butts need kicking, we will kick them. If perchance criminal
charges ever need to be filed then we will make sure they get filed. In the
meantime we have full confidence in the people who run the nudist youth camp.
If we ever change our minds then it will be by our judgment. We don’t want
or need Rep. Foley or the government’s crusading do-gooder “help” to run
our lives. Thank you but no thank you.
brings me to the second issue that bothers me about Rep. Foley. Rep. Foley
is Catholic. I personally don’t care about Rep. Foley’s religious affiliation
but it matters here in two ways. First, Rep. Foley happens to belong to the
church that is experiencing the worst child abuse scandal in United States
history. Oddly Rep. Foley is not calling for investigations or special laws
to stop child abuse in the Catholic Church. Why not? The churches, schools
and the youth organizations Rep. Foley likes best are where my daughter is
most in danger. Not nudist camps. Second,
in the Bible Rep. Foley’s God commanded him not to judge others when there
is a mote in the other person’s eye but a beam in his own.
Foley should obey his God and stop judging and crusading against other people
when he needs to fix his own house. Whether or not his own house ever
gets fixed, Rep. Foley should leave the parenting of nudist children to the
nudist parents. Neither he nor his government are qualified to do my job
as a parent.
Marvin Frandsen is
a physicist living in Melbourne, Florida. Marvin is a Republican who votes
in all elections. Marvin does not plan to vote for Rep. Foley. Marvin’s daughter
plans to run for President in 2028 so she can stop the adults from doing
all the stupid stuff they do in government.
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