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Naturism addresses, challenges and explores a myriad of sometimes taboo subjects: stereotypes and mores relating to the nude appearance of the human body, mixed sex nudity, personal space, human sexuality, gymnophobia, modesty, physical attractiveness, vanity, objectification, exploitation and consent. It can thus be controversial.

Problems for the naturist community

Any social group is said to go through four phases: forming, storming, norming, performing, wrote Bruce Tuckman in 1965. In this context one can understand some of the current pressures on various aspects of naturism:

  • Naturist club isolation: established clubs excluding new members and rejecting new ideas.[12]
  • A family movement in a time of social change: a change in needs and expectations, away from one of a permanent commitment towards one of change and choice.
  • Multi-gen preferences: each generation is a specific social group which needs to have its own norms that are consistent with common rules.
  • Clubs vs. holiday centres: organizations with different roots find it difficult to establish common rules. The contention between those espousing a year round commitment to an ideal, and those who see it as summer-only recreation. Club naturism is declining, while the number of people that assume naturist facilities will be available at any holiday resort is rising. The number of users of free beaches may exceed the number of people who wish to join a club.
  • Paid staff and volunteers: many clubs were established as cooperatives, but the values change when a few members put in the capital or work needed.[19] This became more difficult when some members were paid to act as site managers.[12]
  • Infiltration by other groups: for many years clubs had strict "No singles" policies to maintain the family nature of the club.[12] Many other social groups practice non-family nudism, whether it be social singles, gay naturists or swingers.
  • Exhibitionists and voyeurs: as unwelcome in a naturist community as in a clothed community.[29]
  • Naturist media: family naturist groups with concerns of associations with the publishers of Naturist/ Nudist publications and DVDs.
  • Teen nudist summer camps: an example of a movement that some social-advocacy groups believe is growing too fast.
  • Non-conformist naturists: primarily outside the club scene, though they also visit clubs occasionally.

Naturist and nudist magazines

It has been suggested that nudist and naturist magazines can be categorised in four ways.

  • Magazines published by an "official" national organisation, such as BN (CCBN), Going Natural/Au naturel (FCN/FQN), Nude & Natural Magazine TNS.
  • Magazines that are published for naturists, such as Naturally.
  • Independent magazines, such as H&E naturist, which print a percentage of pictures of young female professional models, to which a vocal section of the Naturist community object.
  • Magazines that print photographs only of young female professional models, which are disapproved of by many naturists and their opponents alike.

Magazines in the third grouping here do carry naturist columns (such as Sunny Trails in Sunbathing for Health) and advertisements for genuine naturist clubs and societies when no mainstream publication would include these. Many clubs and groups are indebted to them for that.[19] This has been a dilemma for some naturists, who feel they need the editorial content in some magazines while disapproving of some of their photographic content.[19] Writers who produce copy for magazines in the fourth grouping are not widely respected by naturists, though they are often quoted as authoritative sources by the news media.

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