There are probably as many answers to this question as there are people who ask it. After owning a clothes-free travel company for more than 20 years, I am still not sure I can answer the question with sufficient clarity, but here's my attempt.
It has been my experience that people who are able to leave their clothing behind in a social setting are also more able to check their egos at the door and be themselves, as they really are, rather than who they think others would like them to be. Of course, what happens to my vacation-mates sans clothing also happens to me. I find myself withholding less of who I am as I hide less of my body. I begin to accept myself, imperfections, and all. I can assure you, for a woman who tried for years to match the unrealistic standards of beauty set by the American advertising industry, this can be very liberating. Clothes-free vacationing leads to body acceptance...your own!
I can recall so many vacations that Tom and I took together before we discovered clothes-free vacationing. We would long to genuinely know some of our fellow vacationers, but never seemed to have the opportunity to push past the boundary of "What's your name? Where are you from? What do you do? How about those Cowboys?"
When I take a clothes-free vacation I know that the trip is more likely to produce friends, in the real sense of the word. Friends I can count on the way good friends should be counted on, during the vacation and after. Now, I not only come home with photos of this mountain or that river, this crane or that seal, but also with a picture of my new friend Robin and her husband Bill and Sally with her roommate, Jill. Now, I no longer measure the quality of my vacation experience only by where I have been and what I have seen but also by the people I've met along the way, people I will no doubt meet again on future vacations (over 95% of clothing optional vacationers repeat the experience). For me, this is the essence of social nudity. One of our company slogans is, "There are no strangers on a Bare Necessities vacation, only friends you have yet to meet." Trite perhaps, but very true.
And what about the sex? After all, nude, naked, clothes-free...they're all about sex, aren't they? I would be the first to admit that social nudity can be a sensual experience, particularly at first when the taboo of centuries of puritan values concerning modesty are broken with one simple yet freeing act of being nude in a social setting. We Americans have been trained from childhood that sex is dirty or sinful and nudity means sex. After all, we pay to see nudity, don't we? It's in our movies to titillate us, isn't it? When I am no longer the voyeur, looking in on someone else's nudity, but rather a participant, as nude as every one else, all that's left is an appreciation for the gift I am given. The gift of knowing that I am ok, exactly the way I am... perfect in my imperfection.
One of the most frequently asked questions by men is, "What happens if I get an erection?" You know, in 21 years of producing 2 or 3 cruise ship charters a year, I have never once seen a man succumb to his worse fear - a public erection! Does that say something about the fantasy of social nudity and its reality? Perhaps.
All that is left for me to say is this: Give social nude recreation a try. Vacation with us just once and we'll change the way you vacation forever. All you have to lose are centuries of false conditioning. Believe me, once free of that extra baggage you will be much lighter... and happier, naturally!
Nancy Tiemann, President
Bare Necessities Tour & Travel Company, Inc.