"Nudist clubs are far less sexually charged than places where bikinis, thongs, or other provocative clothing are worn," according to the AANR website.Steve's party wasn't exactly an AANR gathering with little naked kids running around playing hacky sack.While the group is studiously nonsexual in all its packaging (except for those Steve personally knows, single men are banned, and Steve once kicked out a couple for having sex in his bathroom), many of the participants knew each other from other, more sexually oriented groups.Perhaps because of this, I sensed some underground currents, especially watching certain conversations.
Now he and Sarah, who are both bisexual, often go to a nearby LGBT nudist campground together.Although police don't raid nude beaches the way they did up through the '50s, the practice still remains, for many, shrouded in a number of taboos and misconceptions: primarily, that nakedness is inherently sexual.This is one reason why nudists are, as Eric said, "a punch line in the mainstream"—there's kind of an automatic giggle effect at the image of elderly nudists perched around a campfire.The naked dinner party takes place on about a monthly basis in a well-to-do Virginia suburb, on a quiet winding street. Before the first party, I got coffee with the host, "Steve": an older ("mature," he told me) man who dresses stylishly but conservatively, that afternoon in bright red plastic-framed glasses, an oatmeal cable-knit sweater over a yellow checked shirt, and khakis. There's an upstairs bedroom he reserves as a changing room: an older relative of Steve's used to live there, and it was cluttered with pill bottles, relationship self-help books (), and small heaps of clothing.When I rang the bell at the first party, the door cracked open and Steve poked the top half of his face around the side. As I came in, clutching a bottle of wine, I saw he wasn't wearing anything else. I went upstairs and removed some, although not all, of my clothing, got my towel out of my bag—Steve had told me it's "nudist etiquette" to bring your own towel, to protect the host's furniture from your butt—then came back down to mingle.They're not so into the more AANR-standardized, family-oriented nudist stuff. The main trip-up for outsiders about nudism is the question of sex.