Nude or clothing-optional beaches allow visitors to sunbathe, swim and take part in other activities completely naked. The first nude beaches opened in the late 1960s, and thanks to the work of nudist and naturalist organizations, there are clothing-optional beaches throughout the United States and in many areas of Western Europe.
The Purposes Of Clothing-Optional Beaches
Visitors attend clothing-optional beaches for a number of reasons. Many feel more "free" nude and do not wish to wear clothes when swimming, exercising or sunbathing. Other attendees simply want to see what a nudist beach is like and make a visit out of curiosity.
Towns with nude beaches see a more tangible benefit: increased tourism revenue. Partially due to their rarity relative to clothing-required beaches, many beaches that allow social nudity bring large numbers of curious visitors to their towns, which in turn generates significant income for hotels, restaurants and other businesses.
Rules And Regulations
Most beaches that allow nudism have rules to prevent sexual harassment. Visitors cannot take pictures, make lewd gestures or make other guests feel unwelcome. Typically, nudist beaches allow men, women and children of all ages to attend, so the vast majority of nude beaches around the world ban all types of sexual activity on beach premises.
However, nude beach rules are usually enforced by attendees and not by any official security force. Most clothing-optional beaches are on public land, but do not have an official staff. Many attendees see the relatively lax rule enforcement of nudist beaches as an advantage over traditional beaches, but in turn, nude beaches usually have fewer public facilities such as bathrooms and water fountains as compared to clothing-required beaches.
The legality of nude beaches varies from country to country and from state to state. Some of the beaches are technically illegal, but local law enforcement agencies tolerate them. Many are officially legal. Official beaches often have signs that explain their rules and optional clothing status to visitors, which keeps non-interested beach-goers from accidentally stumbling onto a nude beach.
There is an important distinction between topless beaches and nude beaches. Topless beaches require all attendees to wear swimsuit bottoms and are relatively more common than completely nude beaches.