gay naturist groups

17 02 2009

There are a number of naturist organizations for gay men out there. Are there corresponding organizations for lesbians? Not really. Why is this?

I expect that a lot of it has to do with the fact that most naturist clubs are always open to couples and single females, but restrict the number of single males who can join. I’ll talk more about this another time, taking a look at what this means for gay men. For now I want to take a talk about the different organizations that cater to gay men and why the segregation of groups exists.

(From Wikipedia) Gay naturist groups emerged in the early 80s in the major metropolitan areas of the U.S. Places like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Atlanta saw the first unaffiliated local gay naturist clubs. In 1983, Gay and Lesbian Naturists (GLN) was formed in affiliation with The Naturist Society. GLN’s first gathering was attended exclusively by men. In 1992, GLN broke away from TNS to become the independent organization Gay Naturists International (GNI). International Men Enjoying Naturism (IMEN) was formed in 1994 by a former employee of GNI.

Nowadays, even smaller metros like Minneapolis-St Paul have naturist groups catering to gay men. In the Twin Cities, that group is called Naked Minnesota. It is exclusively for males, and while straight men are welcome to attend events, but in all likelihood the membership is strictly gay and bisexual men.

(From Wikipedia) GNI and IMEN function similar to TNS and AANR: they include registries of local groups and help new local groups organize, and hold annual gatherings. A number of larger regional gatherings are held by other groups as well, including the CMEN Gathering (by California Men Enjoying Naturism*), the East Coast Gathering (by Philadelphia Area Naked Guys), and the Midwest Male Naturist Gathering.

Looking for a local gay naturist organization? Check out these resources:

Is it a good thing that gay naturists have segregated themselves? I don’t know that a value judgment is really possible; the segregation has both positive and negative aspects. I do think that in some ways the segregation reinforces the differentness of gay men in some ways. Again, this is not necessarily a bad thing – we all have commonalities and differences. Also, this is not to say that non-gay naturists are bigoted; in fact, the opposite is probably true. Rather, my point is that this type of self-imposed segregation suggests that gay men are different from other naturists, and that they might not play well with others.

So why the segregation? As I mentioned above, one reason is that so many naturists organizations restrict the membership of “single” males.** While a gay man might be in a relationship, for the purposes of membership, a male without a female companion is generally considered single. Another reason for the segregation is that some gay men express emotions ranging from mild discomfort to outright disgust with the female form. As a result, they are unlikely to attend mixed-sex naturist events. This sort of attitude is not substantially different from the “I went to a nude beach and the old fat people were gross” perspective.**

What about sex? Aren’t gay men sex hounds? Do their nude events just devolve into orgies?** I don’t think so. Any naturist organization worth its salt wouldn’t allow that type of behavior to occur at a club event. I’ll address this topic more fully in the future, but for now I just want to point out that gay naturists come in the same shapes and sizes as the general naturist population.** It’s not as if bunch of muscle-bound pretty boys looking for action wouldn’t be able to find that activity via other venues. I should also clarify that I am not asserting that people with less than perfect bodies aren’t interested in sex.)

What, if anything, can or should be done to address the segregation between gay-oriented and non-gay-oriented groups? Is it an issue that even needs to be dealt with? Probably not. It’s unlikely that those venues and organizations with single male limits will change their policies soon (for better or worse). And for those gay men who are uncomfortable around nude females, it could be intimidating to attend a mixed-sex event. But these attitudes and policies can change over time. One good way to address the subject is by holding interorganizational events. Minnesota Naturists and Naked Minnesota sometimes hold joint events, for example.

What do you think? Is the separation of gay naturists okay? It’s a primarily self-imposed segregation, not something actively or ideologically enforced by non-gay groups. Even if all naturist groups had no membership restrictions, it’s likely these groups would still exist, because they serve a particular segment of the naturist population. In economic terms, there’s a demand for these groups in the naturist market.  There’s nothing to stop Asian naturists from starting their own groups; there are a number of Christian naturist groups that might be uncomfortable for a non-Christian to attend.

I guess one way to look at it is not as an issue of segregation, but rather as a case of specialization.


* Site includes a soundtrack; see my post on naturism and the web, as well as Nudiarist’s post on the same topic.
** I’ll address these topics in later posts.

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9 responses

18 02 2009
All Nudist

You’re off to a great start on the subject! Keep building this catagory and, like we said, we’ll add a separate link to it.

And perhaps an article about your site and what’s to be found here. People generally tend to go to sites that they read good things about (or bad, for that matter) and that’s good for you.

You have a talent for keeping things in perspective, recognizing differences between groups, and while realizing that some of those differences are quite deep, we needn’t give up on the idea that most of them can maybe be worked out.

You could find yourself in the position of presenting a purely nudist/naturist view of our lifestyle and, at the same time, become a catylist for understanding and acceptance.

Basically, draw visitors from all sides of the fences, get them interested, then work on removing the fences.

You may have a long task ahead of you if you choose that path. Long but rewarding.

Whatever you do, Angie and Steve are behind you, you’re one of the good guys!

18 02 2009
h

I’m totally surprised gays are creeped out by naked chix. I thought they’d get along great talking recipes and beauty secrets.
For straights its way easier. We never get disgusted with what we don’t want sexually-other guys. We admire healthy naked guys but poke a little fun at the fat guys but we don’t lust for niether. Its a muscle thing that’s all.

19 02 2009
All Nudist

I had a great respone written to h’s last comment but Angie suggested it was more than his limited intellegance could understand. So I deleted it. -S

19 02 2009
local nudist

H,

Not all gay men are creeped out by nude women, just as not all straight men are NOT creeped out by nude men.

Case in point: A couple years back, I was canoeing in the nude (with some friends who were clothed) on an isolated stretch of one of our many rivers. When we encountered a pair of straight guys hanging out along the beach, I was told “I’d love to give you a beer [for having the balls to canoe naked], but I don’t want you to stand up.”

I’ve seen dozens of straight men express attitudes ranging from disdain to disgust at the thought of seeing another man naked.

I’ll be addressing this topic in greater detail in a later post in this series.

19 02 2009
h

I grew up on a farm. So there’s my limited intelligence. We all slept naked and swam naked and nobody ever got disgusted. Naked was every day. I slept with my brother in the same bed and we wizzed out the bed room window. And I never asked another straight guy if he was offended by seeing a naked guy LOL. Why would I? I never met any of the psycho guys who hated nudity that you met neither. I’m surprised there are. So how would I know any different? All I can do is tell you what I know. So don’t dump on me for NOT being a city boy.

20 02 2009
local nudist

I wasn’t trying to dump on you – I grew up on a farm too, though with more uptight attitudes about nudity, regrettably. I think you made a good point about the dichotomy between urbanites & rural folks. Maybe urban folks are more likely to be uptight? I’m not sure.

What I was trying to point out is that there is no all-or-nothing correspondence between sexual orientation and attitudes toward nudity. I have known a lot of straight guys who are uptight about seeing another guy nude, but others who are not; and I’ve known gay men who don’t want to see a naked woman, and gay men who don’t think it’s a big deal.

I think your attitude that “naked is every day” is awesome. I think that’s a wonderful way to look at naturism, and I really wish I’d been raised with the same sort of values.

21 02 2009
h

Like you said it’s urban against rural. Blame feminism. It turned Big City straight guys into real Pussies ashamed of their dicks and muscles and scared of sun and dirt.
I got 4 straight and healthy brothers, 100 cousins. We were naked and barefoot “every day” cuz it was comfortable nobody cared and we were poor and less clothes to buy or wash. Not to mention the heat and no air conditioner. City boys would freak.

22 02 2009
local nudist

I don’t think I said it’s “urban against rural.” I simply pointed out that all-or-nothing thinking is not usually very useful. I cringe whenever I see generalizations about “city boys” and “backwoods hicks,” because I know from personal experience how wrong they are.

7 08 2013
Rick Johnson

I’m a str8 guy, not married, who enjoys the nude lifestyle. I’ve been barred from nudist clubs because I am single which has been kind of a pain. However, I have now joined a men’s gay nudist club and have really enjoyed myself at various gatherings. I love playing volleyball, swimming, being active, and yes, dancing. I’ve found the group to be very open and accepting. It has really opened my eyes to the gay nudist world and I’ve thanked the group for being so nice. I feel so comfortable being nude w/them which was a surprise for me.
My father suggested that I join. He knew a couple of members and thought it would be a good experience for me. As usual, he was right!

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