Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Is the AANR on our side?

The big news as of late is that the AANR (the American Association for Nude Recreation) has withdrawn from the INF (the International Naturist Federation). This really doesn't come as a big surprise to me, as I've had my questions about the AANR for some time. I'm probably not going to make a lot of friends with this post but it's important to me that the voice of naturism is doing us a good service, so let's take a look at what the AANR has been doing for us lately.

The AANR has always been presented to us as THE organization of nudism. They are the official voice of naturists and nudists, and they seem to have written the book on what is expected of such a lifestyle. AANR membership means you're a real nudist now, and a club or resort with an AANR affiliation is seen as a clean and wholesome place to practice clothes-freedom. When the media wishes to speak with nudists, they can speak to the AANR and get the official response to any pressing issues. Obviously this is a good thing, but lately I've wondered if the AANR is really on our side on some of the big issues that are important to us, and on some of the things that we need to help us gain popularity and acceptance among the general public.

First there's the battle of San Onofre beach. That was a fight that I joined, even though I live over 1300 miles away. I joined the fight because we are united as nudists, and we all need to fight to have our space to enjoy our lifestyle. California Parks removed the clothing-optional status of San Onofre after years of allowing people to safely enjoy nude recreation. So what did the AANR do when our lifestyle was threatened? Pretty much nothing. In an official statement, the AANR stated only that, "California Parks is stressing that this change in managing nudity in its parks is being limited to San Onofre." Wait a minute, seriously!? Our nude beach is being taken away, and as the official voice of nudists, you are only concerned that this is the only beach they are attacking? Thank goodness all our beaches aren't under attack, but how about you stop worrying about stepping on someone's toes and you promote the hell out of nudism and fight to keep San Onofre clothing-optional? Am I asking too much of the official organization of nudism?

Then there was the incident in Arizona in which a mother and stepfather were arrested for practicing nudism in their home around two young boys who said they were uncomfortable with it. As it turned out, the parents did not practice nudism in their home and the boys had only seen them in the nude by accident. Regardless, I find the AANR's statement to be a timid attempt to appease the public. "If a child seems uncomfortable, parents should let the child's views dictate their plans." Well this for one, is crap because kids would run the home if parents let children decide what's best for them. But the point really is that AANR is just trying to sound good, not trying to help nudism. This media incident makes nudism look like a shameful thing that should be practiced by adults behind closed doors, and the AANR did nothing to change that perception. I would have preferred they say something like this:
"While nudism is a healthy family lifestyle that promotes positive self body concept and encourages free thinking, it is important to accomodate all members of the family to ensure comfort in the household." That sentence pushes nudism while acknowledging that we're not a cult that forces nudity upon people. Why the heck can't the AANR come up with a statement like that? Maybe I should get a job as the voice of AANR.

Then there was the issue of the nude man making coffee in his kitchen one morning who was spotted by his neighbour. It was early in the morning, the man was in his own home, and instead of asking him to cover up or close the blinds, Police arrested him. Unbelievable, really. And what did the AANR do? Yes they commented on this issue, and they did it by labelling this guy as one of them and then calling him irresponsible. Wait a minute, who knows whether or not he is a nudist? Why the heck would the AANR again make us look bad by saying this guy is a nudist when they cannot possibly have the answer, and then blast him by saying he should have had the drapes closed. This story doesn't even have anything to do with the AANR, yet they decided to open their mouth and again make us look like shameful people who should hide from the public. Even if it is 5:30am and nobody should be looking into our windows.

Lately AANR has also been bombarded with reports of some of their affiliated clubs and resorts catering to swingers. AANR's denial of this information confirms that it does not support this behaviour, and yet it still supports these resorts. I don't even need to say any more about this, the writing is on the wall.

Oh and then of course there's the issue of the topfree section of the beach in Asbury Park, NJ. This was a bad idea from the start because it supports the concept that women's chests are different from men's, and thus they should only be revealed in a segregated area of beach. This topfree beach goes against everything nudists believe in by denying equality and promoting segregation. However, the AANR supported the idea!! Unbelievable! Are they just not doing their research, or are they just getting involved in all the wrong ways? They blast healthy nudity, and they promote negative nudity!

And my last rant is regarding this year's World Record Skinnydip attempt. This is a very special event because it is a chance for nudists to promote healthy nudity to the world in a fun and harmonizing way. And this is why I am stunned that the AANR did such a poor job of promoting the event this year. This event is our chance to bring healthy nude recreation to the masses, and the AANR went and blew it. The only reason I knew about it was because of the blogs and forums I'm on. None of these forums or blogs are seen by the general public, so it would seem the event was only promoted within our own nudist community. Unfortunately it would appear that AANR's blatant fail has hurt the cause too. I know attendance was down at my own Wreck Beach, along with a number of other resorts in the US. I don't know what this will do to the final count, but at this point it would appear that the AANR's lack of promoting this awesome event may have allowed the record to slip from our grasp this year. Seriously, one of the biggest mainstream nudist events and they let it slide on by.

I don't know how to wrap this post up other than by saying, "what the heck is the AANR doing these days?" I would like to say it's about time they stood up and fought for our rights, and promoted the crap out of the nudist lifestyle, but I think it's too late for that. Their withdrawal from the INF just tells me that I'm right in believing the AANR is following a path all it's own and has no interest in being a part of the greater naturist community. They continue to distance themselves from their fellow naturists, and ultimately the people they are supposed to represent and support.

Perhaps they are just trying to be diplomatic and not overstep boundaries. Unfortunately nothing ever changes if you don't say a few off-the-wall comments and push your cause hard, like you actually believe in it. They are acting like scared pansies who don't want to say the wrong thing, when in fact they should be telling the world that we are good people and the lifestyle is great. At this rate, nudists will always be labelled as outcasts, and the only time the public will hear about us is when someone gets in trouble, and then the negative image just gets reinforced. Come on AANR, the rest of us are breaking our backs pushing this thing to the masses, don't leave us alone in the cold.


  1. Very good post. I share your frustration (particularly as a single male in an area with no active nudist groups that will have me as a member).

    As for this year's skinny dip event: how long does it take to get headcounts in and do some simple arithmetic? It's been 2 and a half months, and the AANR web site still says "totals are still being tabulated". What this says to me is that last year's record was not broken, and they don't have a faintest clue how to break the news without making themselves look bad.

    And their own image is the only thing they care about, as far as I can tell. They promote their member clubs while doing nothing at all for non-member organizations or for nudism in general. Any time there's an issue involving nudism outside of an AANR-sanctioned club, their position is, "Well, we shouldn't be having nudity in public if it's going to upset people."

    I guess if nude beaches were readily available, a lot of people would decide they don't need to shell out membership dues every year. On the other hand, if the AANR was more effective and more actively pro-nudism, maybe they'd open themselves up to a much wider base of potential members.

    They also need a PR campaign that consists of more than "Take a Nakation! See what we did there, with the words 'naked' and 'vacation'? Isn't that cool?"

  2. I agree with your opinion of AANR. I'm in my last year of membership. When my card expires I will probably join TNS. Most of their members are only there because their Nudist Club requires it as part of joining.

    I was in LA during the skinny dip and was surprised I couldn't take part. There were no locations on the coast south of SF. In LA the only 2 places were almost 100 miles east of the beach, out in the desert. Not even Blacks Beach was counted. That's about 12 million people who were shut out from the record. Makes no sense.

  3. Great post. The "credible voice of nudism" has said some pretty dumb things lately. I agree with what you've said, they aren't representing all of us. I think both AANR and TNS need to adapt to the changes in technology and in nudism. They need to be promoting it better and watching out for the interests of all nudists, not just their members.

  4. Well said and I share your frustration.


  5. Be part of the solution... run for office. Elect those who DO represent the views of the AANR members.

  6. What is perhaps most frustrating is that the AANR never responds to this sort of commentary. They never try to explain their actions or the logic behind them, they just stay in the background, accepting and reinforcing the public perception that nudism is deviant. It would be nice if they'd make an effort to engage their critics, but I doubt that will ever happen.

  7. I agree with you wholeheartedly. I've been disillusioned with AANR for several years now regarding numerous different issues. Perhaps as their membership declines (I did not renew this year), they'll finally get the message. Peace!

  8. I share your frustration and I agree when it comes to AANR they are all about their clubs and those nudists they don't seem to be very proactive when it comes to beach nudists. I suggest switching to TNS though the are smaller and not as well known they are much more pro-active when it comes to fighting for the cause of nude beaches and nudity on public lands. Their legal are NAC is great about sending out alerts on proposed legal actions and getting the word out to write letters to representatives and things.

  9. Late getting here but, good post. AANR continues to move away from mainstream nudists and to mainly represent their member resorts and clubs.

    It appears that the pursuit of money has more attraction to them than representing all nudists. There's little profit in defending a beach full of non-paying folks!

    TNS is much more involved in the business of everyday nudists and promoting the lifestyle in general, but they lack the revenue stream and polish that AANR enjoys. YNA is an up-and-comer perhaps, but is a niche group and also underfunded.

    I don't know of any solution to this; the groups are unlikely to band together for the common good since they are competing for customers. Resorts don't care about TNS, AANR doesn't care about beaches, and nobody cares about a bunch of NY kids.

    The problem is, if more public options were available, fewer people would go to nudist venues and that would not suit AANR and it's clients. The last thing they want to do is encourage the relaxing of anti-nudity laws.

    Our best bet is to support and promote TNS if we hope to nuture a true ally. They need to be pushed into the media mainstream so that it's TNS that the media goes to for answers, not AANR.

    If you currently hold membership in both, consider dropping AANR and contributing that amount to TNS along with your membership dues!

    By the way, the previous comment is SPAM...

  10. Hello Ryan,

    My name is Brice Ferré,
    I am a Vancouver based photographer.
    Originally from France I moved to Vancouver 2 years ago.
    I am contacting you today because I just discovered your website and I think it's an amazing idea to have created nudestate. I love the fact that people can have regular activities like yoga in the nude if they want to.
    As a photographer I am currently working on a fine art series of nudes.
    You can have a look at it here:
    I have worked with 35 models so far (all of them non professional), for the past 6 months.
    I am trying to expand my collection and to collaborate with more and more people in Vancouver.
    I know you must have quite the network of nudist and naturist people and I would love to know if it possible to collaborate with you to communicate a little bit around my work.
    I have been raised in France by naturist parents so being nude is completely normal to me of course, and I think it's important to celebrate the human body by taking beautiful photos.
    Please let me know if you think some of your members would be interested in collaborating.
    It would be my pleasure to come and visit you to discuss my project a little bit more in depth with you. (my goal is eventually to photograph as many Vancouverites as possible and to create a buzz and awareness around the beauty of the people here)
    Also if you were in need of a photographer for any of your events or for you communication and website, I would love to offer my services to you.

    Please feel free to have a look at my portfolio and check out my bio to know more about me.
    Also please check out my blog here:

    Looking forward to hearing from you.


    Brice Ferré Photography