North Texas Daily

Group promotes nudism for younger generations

Group promotes nudism for younger generations

April 17
01:36 2014

Caitlyn Jones // Staff Writer

Nestled among 66 acres of gently rolling hills, Bluebonnet Park offers North Texas families a chance to escape the city by taking advantage of swimming pools, a sauna, nature trails, volleyball, a club-house and camping sites. There’s only one difference between Bluebonnet and other nature parks in the area: everyone is nude.

Bluebonnet Nudist Park, located in Alvord, Texas, is about a 40-minute drive northwest of Denton and hosts a multitude of events throughout the year for Dallas-area nudists. This Memorial Day weekend, it will be the site of the first annual Nude Games, hosted by the fledging group Young Nudists of Texas United (YNOTU).

“There’s always a low turnout for younger age groups,” founder of YNOTU and UNT alumnus Chris Lopez said. “Everyone is aging and we wanted people we could relate to.”

An aging movement

In fact, the majority of local nudists tend to be over the age of 35, according to an article by Larry Darter, a Dallas nudist culture expert. He says this can be contributed to a combination of stereotypes and the social culture of the 1960s.

“In the sixties, people were rebelling against social norms and nudism was just another way to do it,” Darter said. “There are also negative connotations that nudists are perverts or swingers but that’s not true at all.”

People are hesitant to embrace the nudist lifestyle but become hooked once they’ve tried it. Most nudists describe it as a freeing experience to de-robe.

“There’s a lot of negativity with it and people don’t really get it,” Darter said. “Unless they try it, they won’t understand the feeling.”

Nudism, often called naturism, can trace its roots back to the ancient Greek civilization. When that empire fell, so did nudism until Germans picked it back up in the 1900s. A German immigrant named Kurt Barthel brought the lifestyle to the United States in the 1920s. Organizations and clubs sprung up soon after.

The longest-standing national nudist organization is the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR). It began in 1931and now has 213,000 members. The organization also sponsors 260 nudist resorts across North America.

Recreation clubs and parks for nudists also became popular during the movement.

Clubs in the Dallas/Fort Worth include more than Bluebonnet Park, such as Armadillo Resort in Poolville, Pondarosa Resort in Wills Point, Sunbirds Sun Club in Dallas and Wildwood Naturist’s Resort in Decatur.

Edy Moss and his family were practicing nudists in California in the 1980s when his father saw an advertisement in the Wall Street Journal for the Bluebonnet Nudist Park in Alvord, Texas. The man bought the property and moved his family down to Texas to run the club.

“It was always my dad’s dream to have his own club and we’ve kept it running ever since,” said Moss, now the owner and manager.

The gated property requires membership but members can bring guests at any time. Clothing is optional for women and children while men are expected to be nude.

In addition to the Nude Games, the club also hosts the annual Bare as You Dare 5K, a nude racing series with events all over Texas nudist parks, as well as potluck dinners, movie nights and dances.

Making modern strides

Chris Lopez is working to break through the generation gap by founding YNOTU.

“We’re trying to target a younger crowd, around 18-35, to go to these events with and build a net-work with,” the 27-year-old said.

Lopez, now a personal trainer and yoga instructor, wasn’t always at peace with his physique.

“When I was younger, I used to work out a lot but then I thought, ‘Why?’” he said.

Lopez was introduced to the nudist lifestyle at age 22 when he ran in his first nude 5K. He was apprehensive at first but soon felt at ease, even taking home first place in the race.

“It was awkward for the first 15 minutes,” he said. “Then you realize that no one cares that you’re naked and you don’t care that others are naked.”

Soon, Lopez became a regular at nude races and events, fully embracing the lifestyle.

“Everyone is so laid-back,” he said. “No one pushes you to do anything.”

After realizing that there wasn’t much of a younger presence at the events, Lopez took matters into his own hands and created YNOTU, which is in its first year and looking to recruit more people.

Lopez hopes that the Nude Games will help to bring young nudists in. The entry fee is $50 and will be from May 23 to 26. Although clothing is optional for women at the park, participants in the games must be nude.

“We’re doing events designed for younger people like flag football, sand volleyball and tug-of-war,” he said.

Other events include yoga, water volleyball, a three-legged race, sack race, hula-hoop contests and Latin dance lessons.

Lopez is not alone in his quest to recruit a younger group as organizations like Vita Nuda, Florida Young Naturists and Young Naturists America are also taking strides to get young adults involved. The AANR also offers discounted memberships for those in the 18-to-35 age group.

Living the lifestyle, now and later

Since public nudity is considered taboo in today’s modern society, nudists follow certain rules and guidelines to maintain a comfortable and carefree environment for everyone.

“It’s a little bit of a paradox,” Darter said. “When I was growing up, unwed mothers were looked down upon but today, it’s common for women to have children and not be married. Society has become more liberal that way, but modesty has become more conservative.”

A towel is the only article that is a must-have for nudists. Since there is no clothing to act as a barrier between a bare bum and a seat, the towel serves that purpose.

Another regulation that is generally followed concerns privacy. Usually, only first names are ex-changed at the parks as to not interfere with a person’s job or public life.

The most important rules to follow at nudist parks are ones that deal with inappropriate behavior. Staring, gawking or overtly sexual acts are not tolerated and body piercings with straps or chains are prohibited at most clubs and parks.

“I’ve never encountered any negative behavior,” Lopez said. “There’s nothing sexual about it.”

He compares the clubs to going to the beach.

“At the beach, people wear swim trunks and bikinis,” Lopez said. “Here, it’s the same thing. We just wear a little less.”

Nudism membership hit its peak in the 1990s but have dwindled down since.

However, Darter doesn’t see the nudist lifestyle going extinct anytime soon.

“Unorganized nudism is on the uptick,” Darter said. “Young people are interested and participating, just not in the way it used to be done.”


Graphic by: Caitlyn Jones / Staff Writer 

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1 Comment

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