John's Naturist Pages

Being a collection of pictures and information about naturist sites and activities. Just stuff that I've done or that I find interesting. If you don't agree, your "back" button is at your service! Some people will know me as "Swim_n_Paddle", which is a silly name that I originally used on the Yahoo "Nude Canoeists" board, but I keep using it. It's not very important.

Note for the nervous: there are some pictures of naked people here. If the prospect scares you, go no further. But nude ain't lewd. This is all just good fun, suitable for the most delicate of tastes. Come on in!

This picture was taken during a Memorial Day trip to central Massachusetts. As far as I'm concerned, this is the way we ought to be.

You will find various pictures on this page. If you like the look of them, I have others, but the naturist pictures page which I used to offer is no longer available, as that site shut down. I need to get stuff back online.

A note about pictures on naturist websites. It seems to me that a lot of people want to show happy naturist scenes, but since they haven't had many personal experiences, they end up copying images from magazines or the Internet, never with any credit given to the original source (and somehow, many or all the pictures they use seem to feature women). Stealing other people's work is illegal of course, and it also means that there can never be captions saying who's in the pictures and when and where they were taken. I've seen some of my own pictures (uncredited, naturally) on other websites, and although it's a compliment, it doesn't make me happy. All the pictures on my site were taken by me, or my wife, or friends. I didn't steal anything and I'd appreciate it if you don't either. I'm not featuring a lot of babes, anyway. Look but don't touch.


My Philosophy

That sounds grand, doesn't it. Well, they say that the difference between a nudist and a naturist is that "A nudist goes around naked, whereas a naturist goes around naked, and gives lectures."

Clifton at the Arches, Becket, Massachusetts
It's the fundamental belief of naturism that there's nothing obscene or indecent about the human body, and furthermore that "every body is a good body". That's what I believe, and it's what I try to put into practice. It would be a fine thing if everyone agreed! Instead we've got into a state where most people have a fetish about wearing textiles, acting as though certain body parts are awful to see, with terrible things resulting if anyone exposed them. At the same time, some people wear revealing clothing, which hints at uncovering those forbidden parts but never quite delivers. Surely it would be much more honest and a lot less stressful if we dressed in a dignified manner when clothed, and went naked without shame when we felt like it. I'm certainly aware of people like Richard Collins and Steve Gough in Britain, and the late Andrew Martinez in the USA, whom I'd describe as "radical naturists", who think we ought to have the right to go naked under any and all circumstances, even downtown at high noon. This isn't my objective. Most of us would look askance at a person in a swimsuit downtown at noon, and I'd view nudity in the same category. In fact, that leads to a pretty accurate sense of when I think nudity would be appropriate: anywhere that a person might be seen in a swimsuit, I think it would be fine if that person could alternatively be naked. That's why I've refused to wear a swimsuit for quite a few years now--if someone suggests swimming, I ask if I can do it nude, and if the answer is no, I stay out of the water!

Walking in England with the Singles Outdoor Club.
The bank to the right is the course of a Roman road.

Beyond the issue of nude versus clothed, I feel a particular desire to be without clothes when I'm in a "natural" environment, in the woods or out on the water. As I see it, accepting nature means offering one's body to the spirits of the woods and streams, and I like to think that they appreciate the fact that I meet them without a human-made barrier of cloth between us. (Note: the existence of forest spirits is a useful hypothetical concept and I'm not seriously claiming that they actually exist!) In particular, if one chooses to immerse oneself in a free-flowing stream, I think one does it most respectfully by bringing only one's own, all natural, body to the experience. Fortunately, it seems that people involved in hiking or canoeing have liberal attitudes, and when I've been out in company I've never once had anyone object if I ask if they mind my swimming nude.

As far as other people are concerned, I see us all as creations of nature, and hence if we feel that our fellow humans are benign, nudity in company--regardless of age or gender--is entirely a good thing. In a way this does link up with the childish "I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours", but the message is "I won't hurt you, and I'm sure you won't hurt me". To be naked does indeed leave us feeling vulnerable, but it's only in a psychological sense that clothing protects us from much harm. It's mutual goodwill that is our strongest protection, and that's true regardless of what we wear.

Naturists do sometimes fret over the issue of "gender balance" but I'm content to share nudity with anyone who'll reciprocate. That means that I'm perfectly happy in all-male company, and I've spent quite a few naked hours that way. As I see it, the question is acceptance, not the exact body parts displayed. Would it be nice if more women chose to participate? Yes it would, but I'm going to enjoy being without clothes and not worry about who else is there.

Another point, one which I think is highly important, is participation by juveniles. I believe we make naturism look like an "adult" activity if we insist on making it "adults only", and if that happens, it stops being naturism. This applies to Internet discussion groups too: for no good reason that I've ever heard, a lot of Internet forums exclude kids. Now I understand (and we all remember) that enduring adult conversation ("adult" again!) is the hardest thing for children to endure. But in spite of that, I think we should always let them join in, to the extent that they want to and are able to. Assuming that they know how to behave, of course! I make a point of not joining any Internet group whose leaders say they won't accept young people. There's nothing about what we're doing that stops it being suitable for kids--is there?

By the way, I have checked, and the law agrees with me. That would be true even if there were pictures involved, and I could you direct you to a few, right out in the open (look up "Sunsport Gardens") and there haven't been any legal problems. As it happens, I don't have pictures of kids here. But I could, and there would be nothing wrong with it.

Hey, it looks as if I'm a naturist!

If you think you might be a naturist too, you should consider joining the Naturist Society. It has various Special Interest Groups including an Outdoor Recreation Interest Group, of which I am the moderator. Please join us! (But not if you want to advertise another group, place a personal ad or make commercial sales of some kind.)

The Topfree Nonsense

In discussion groups on the Internet, I've found myself in conflict with fellow naturists about "topfree rights" or as I like to call it, "The Topfree Nonsense". To most naturists it seems self-evident that we should allow and encourage women to go topless (i.e. without shirts or swimsuit tops etc) anywhere men might do so. I'm not opposed to that in itself, but I strongly feel that naturists should not be the ones advocating it. This might seem illogical at first, but in fact I think the logic is all on my side.

There are various reasons why we should stay away from this issue. They are:

Equality
People say that women should have the freedom to "wear as little as men do" but in fact, it's men rather than women who have to wear excesssive clothing in our society. Go to a wedding in summer and you'll see what I mean, but even a typical office will give you plenty of examples. And at the beach, the young women will be in minimal bikinis, while the young men would rather die than wear less than knee-length shorts. Who's being discriminated against? If we're going to talk about equality in clothing, let's make a complete job of it.

Claudia at Heavenly Hideaway,
Chester, Massachusetts
Pornography and voyeurism.
This is the major point. It's women, and particularly women's breasts, that are exploited in every kind of image, from "great art" to the most awful pornography. And just about every male (if you've managed to be an exception, congratulations) has been a consumer of these images. Maybe some of us still are. As naturists, we say we're not interested in voyeuristic nudity, but when we talk about "topfree rights", what's our level of credibility? If any man wants to argue this point, I'm going to ask if he's ever opened a Playboy centerfold! Or maybe done the equivalent on the Internet, depending on age. Technology changes, while the urge to look at boobs doesn't.

Someone is bound to ask, "If you claim that encouraging women to go topless looks too much like exploitation, how can full nudity not be as bad, or worse?" My response is that ultimately, we can't totally refute this. We've all (almost) got that unfortunate past with voyeurism and pornography, and we can't re-write it. But in the present and for the future, we can say that we're going to do better: when we talk about nudity, we mean that everyone can join in, on an equal basis. Nobody's being particularly pushed into undressing, and you don't need to look very carefully to see that it's men who are more likely to participate. But of course everyone's welcome! I think that's a major change from "topfree rights", where it's mostly men encouraging women to get their erogenous zones on display.

Women don't care.
Without trying at all, I got in an argument in an Internet discussion group about a proposal involving the extension of "topfree rights" in western Massachusettts. I pointed out that the location was very close to New York State, where a legal decision made going topless legal for women back in the 1980s. If women in western Massachusetts wanted the same thing, I said, surely they would be pointing to the freedom that New York women must be enjoying on a daily basis, and talking about the excellent visits that they had made across the state line? The answer, of course, is that very few women in New York go topless in any public place, making the question of legality pretty meaningless. For any practical purpose, it's a non-issue.

These are not our people.
The (few) women who want to go topless are not interested in being fully nude. Once in a while the male topfreedom advocates find an individual woman here or there (I might mention Gwen Jacob, I might mention Elizabeth Book) who wants to go topless. But do any of them have the slightest interest in nudity? I've never once heard of it. It's as if being topless is an issue all on its own, never to be connected to full nudity.

It's not nudity...
In line with the previous point--being topless is about being clothed, not being nude. The major philosophical point about naturism is "Nobody needs to wear clothes." If you say you want to go topless (or more likely, you want women to do so) but you think that keeping pants on is good or necessary, you aren't a naturist and you're not advocating a naturist program. It's something else, maybe not the worst idea in the world, but--not naturism.

...in fact it dilutes nudity.
If being topless is presented as something valid to naturists, it invites women who aren't comfortable with nudity to be topless but not nude, while claiming that they're conforming to naturist expectations. Again, the meaningful distinction is between nudity and non-nudity, not between one style of dress and another. Not that I'd ever advocate forcing nudity on unwilling people, but we stand for certain things, and if you're going to participate, being naked is what you have to do. You may scoff at this item, but people say they've seen all too many sarongs and other cover-ups at naturist resorts and gatherings.

Naturist Stuff

Here's a web page about a naturist Canoe trip in Maine which I did in 2005 with three friends. Featuring lots of pictures and not too much text! Unlike this page, sadly.

Here is a picture from a Naturist Society Outdoor Recreation Interest Group hike, on Carr Mountain, NH, a few years ago. John, John and Tom. The big concrete block is part of the foundation of a fire tower that used to stand on the mountaintop. Sad to say, within six months of this trip, John H. died. Nature gets the last word.

Here is the first page I set up, a guide to and about the nude beach at Cummington, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, the level of sexual activity (and I've been there, and seen it, and been invited to participate by "Tony from Hartford") has left me discouraged about it, but some people might be interested.

This link will take you to a site that's all about swimmin' holes, mostly but not entirely in the eastern United States. Featuring (ahem) my pictures from the Punch Bowl, on the Mad River in Vermont. One of the things that's fun about this site is it has a notation for each place saying whether swimsuits are required or not. Of course, if you can't go nude, I say why bother.

Here is information about the Green River Reservoir, near Morrisville, Vermont. The interesting point about this place is that it's the largest lake in the state on which powerboats are not allowed. You can camp around the lake and in 2000 it was free, but by the time I got to camp there in 2001, they were charging $12 per site per night. And now I believe it's up to $20. Pretty easy money for the state, there.

Warning! I visited Green River Reservoir and the Punch Bowl (and a couple of other spots in Vermont) the same summer day. I then developed an unpleasant case of poison ivy. I don't know which apparently-idyllic place betrayed me--so watch your step! No, I didn't get poison ivy in any spots where naturists are more vulnerable than those who wear textiles all the time. I must have walked through the stuff, because it got me around the ankles.

Here are some pictures from my trip to the Northwest some years ago. I visited two hot springs and became insane (well, slightly more than usual) and climbed under a waterfall.

Did you know that the label on a "Nantucket Nectars" brand juice bottle used to show a picture of a naked man? He was there making an implausible leap from the roof of a building into Nantucket Harbor. Thanks to Steve "The Cliff Diver" for telling me about this one.

There used to be a Web site listing the little factoids about Nantucket that appeared in the bottle caps, where you could read that 'The naked guy jumping off the roof is Paul "The Pelican" Conti.'

Unfortunately, it's all in the past now. Listed here with nostalgia.

Here's a picture of a certain individual enjoying Grout Pond in southern Vermont. This was a last chance to enjoy some warm weather in the first few days of October. See the fall colors beginning to appear! Photo by Paul L.

Now go and look at the Green River Reservoir pictures and see the difference between Vermont on the first weekend of October, and the same state on the last weekend in the same month!

Outdoor naturism doesn't have to end when the weather turns cold. If it's not absolutely arctic, and the wind isn't blowing, and it's not actually snowing, you can have a great time on skis. The ideal day is calm and sunny. Beginning cross-country skiers are told to "dress in layers" and to remove the layers as they warm up. Well, when you get completely warm, it's time to take off all the layers!

Email the author if you have comments on this document.

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