Nudism Behavior Etiquette and Guide For Men On How To Avoid Being Labeled A Nudist Creep
Nudism Behavior Etiquette – Last year, I published a blog about gender and harassment issues in naturism. As a continuation of this topic, I thought we should delve further into nudist behavioral guidelines and how not to be “creepy” in naturist or social nude settings.
Can We Define The Term “Creepy”?
What does it mean to be “creepy”? There has actually been very little scientific research into this question. But last year a new study was published by researchers at Knox College called “On the nature of creepiness.” They looked into this topic by conducting an international survey of 1,341 people.
The researchers posit that creepiness is not the presence of danger, but rather the ambiguity of whether there is a present danger or not. They describe being “creeped out” as an unpleasant feeling where you’re frozen in a state of uncertainty. They also suggest that humans have evolved to be able to detect whether a person or place is creepy in order to avoid threats to one’s safety.
Much of the survey results were not surprising. For example, most respondents said males were more likely to be creepy than females. It was also found that females were more likely to associate creepiness with a sexual threat.
To further define creepiness, respondents were asked to associate it with certain behaviors and characteristics. Some of the top behaviors were, “not looking the interaction partner in the eye, asking to take a picture of the interaction partner, watching people before interacting with them, asking about details of one’s personal life, having a mental illness, talking about his / her own personal life, displaying too much or too little emotion, being older, and steering the conversation toward sex.”
With physical characteristics, such as “greasy hair” and “being too thin,” the study concluded that a creep is not just defined by appearance or any one specific physical trait.
Obviously all the above behaviors are far too general to define creepiness. They are all subjective to the specific person and situation. But the researchers did confirm their own hypothesis that “unpredictability” would be a significant component of creepiness. People were more likely to be creeped out when the other person’s behavior was “non-normative” and unpredictable (going back to the ambiguity thing).
Interestingly, most respondents also believed that “most creepy people don’t know they are creepy” and that creepy people cannot change.
The study leaves plenty of room for further research but still offers an interesting look at a previously unexplored topic.
How Not To Be A Creepy Nudist
With defining creepy behaviors, a lot of it is about reading social cues. Naturally, some of us are better at this than others. I do think “creepy” people can change and correct their own behavior! Or, at the very least, be more aware of what they are doing and how their behavior may affect others.
Despite the nebulous concept of creepiness, there are some basic rules and guidelines that everyone can follow in a naturist environment that will help ensure no one is made to feel uncomfortable.
First and foremost, people need to understand that when it comes to behavior, we all make assumptions. People from different backgrounds and cultures interact differently. What may seem completely normal for one individual may not be perceived as such by another. So, in any situation, whether naked or clothed, as hard as it may be, it is vital to communicate and address issues immediately and directly.
If you happen to be at a nudist resort or an organized naturist event, the organizers themselves are there to ensure that everyone feels safe and comfortable. If you, at any point in time, feel uncomfortable due to the behavior of someone else, you need to make them aware. This will help mitigate any future issues that you, or others, may have to endure.
Its also important to understand that not reporting an issue right away often makes it very difficult to rectify the situation. This is also why it’s so important for people to feel like they can and should come forward, report whatever happened and be taken seriously. If they have any doubts about how they will be treated, they may keep it to themselves or wait a long time before saying anything – which is exactly what we DON’T want to happen.
Secondly, it is so important to understand that most people are far more aware and sensitive to the behavior of others when they are in a social nude setting. Therefore, it is far easier for people misinterpret the behavior of others in a social or public naked situation.
While some women may make men feel uncomfortable, as we’ve pointed out before, the vast majority of issues are vice versa. Due to the over-sexualized society we live in, the harassment that many girls receive or are subjected to on a daily basis and the emphasis that society puts on sexualizing women’s bodies, women are already primed to be on-guard and wary of others.
If you are a man, here are some points that we feel you need to keep in mind when interacting with women, especially in a nudist or socially nude situation. (Though these guidelines should apply to everyone.)
When it comes to nudism behavior etiquette, these are behaviors to avoid if you don’t want to be perceived as a nudist creep:
- Don’t make comments on others’ bodies or looks, even if it’s meant as a “compliment.” Sometimes if you know the person, compliments are okay. But this should really be avoided if you don’t. Naked women in a non sexual environment are not there for you to appreciate, just like your naked body is not there to be on display for them. So guys, please don’t think women want your feedback on their appearance, even if it’s positive. There’s a reason we refer to unsolicited feedback as “harassment.” If you’re doing it because you’re trying to flirt or put the moves on someone, try getting to know them first instead. Then you’ll have other things to compliment besides their body.
- Don’t initiate physical touch with people you just met. Some people aren’t generally comfortable with physical touch from acquaintances. Also, an innocent touch can feel a lot more intimate when naked vs clothed. This includes hugging, putting an arm around someone’s shoulders or waist, kissing a hand and basically any physical contact beyond a handshake. If you don’t know someone that well and if you’re not sure they’d welcome a hug or any kind of touch, it’s cool to ask them if it’s okay first. (And don’t take it personally if the answer is no.)
- Keep a respective distance especially when interacting with a naked woman. Regardless of the intent (or lack thereof) invading personal space is, more often than not, perceived as a creepy or aggressive act that will put a woman on the defense.
- Flirt with caution. Don’t come to a nudist place expecting to find a date or hook-up partner(s). Be aware that people can sense your intentions. Most people are not visiting a nudist club or event for the purpose of dating or hooking up. Women will not feel comfortable in a nudist place if every guy is hitting on them. Obviously, making unwanted sexual advances is also never acceptable. That being said, it’s not against the rules if you do happen to find a romantic connection with someone at a nudist club. (We’ve had a number of couples and even marriages of people who originally met at YNA events.)
- When it comes to casual conversation, keep it non-sexual. Sex is a part of life, and with or without clothes, humans are sexual beings. That being said, there’s a time and place for everything. If you’re deliberately trying to “steer the conversation towards sex” as the research study calls it, this is a surefire way to seem creepy. It may also be taken as a sexual advance and may result in your removal from whatever nudist place or event you’re in.
- Look but don’t stare. In a social situation, we all look and see each other. The issue becomes a problem when you start to stare for an extended period of time. This is one sure way of making someone feel violated. Even when people may happen to gaze off into space, if someone happens to be in the path of that gaze, they may assume that they are being gawked at.
- Be friendly but not clingy. This should be obvious, but most people don’t want to be followed around by someone they just met. Women in particular may perceive a man as creepy if he’s taking any excuse to talk to her again and again, or seems to follow her from place to place.
- Look a person in the eyes when you’re talking to them. The creepiness study above suggests that avoiding eye contact when talking to someone is a universally “creepy” behavior. In a social nude setting, this becomes even more amplified if you’re looking at the other person’s body (such as fixating on someone’s breasts or genitals) instead of looking them in the eye when they’re talking to you.
- Do not even think about taking pictures of naked people in a nudist setting without asking first. Non-consensual photography at nudist resorts and naturist settings is always a problem. Respecting people’s privacy, even at a public setting like a nude beach is the the foundation of being respectful. People are not visiting nude beaches so that others could take pictures of them. It’s not a nudist or nude beauty pageant. It is just people being themselves. Just like people don’t take random pictures of clothed strangers at the park they should not take pictures of strangers when they are naked!
- Don’t keep your shorts on when everyone else is nude. Are you that single man wearing shorts at a nude beach filled with naked people? You might as well be wearing a flashing red sign that says CREEP ALERT. Now wearing clothing in a clothing-optional setting doesn’t automatically mean you’re a perv. Sometimes, a first-timer may be trying to work up the courage to undress (which you can usually tell), and in fact all of us have reasons for sometimes putting on clothing within a nude setting (cooler temperatures, sun protection). But you do have to think about how you will be perceived by others if you’re sitting around dressed on a hot day. Especially in a populated area such as the nude beach. Is this a double-standard for men / women? Absolutely, but this is the society and culture we live in.
- Naturally, behavior such as nudist men walking around with full-on erections in public is so obviously not acceptable in any non-sexual nude event or location.
- It’s possible for intentions to be misinterpreted, and it’s possible to unintentionally make someone uncomfortable. Some people don’t know or don’t realize what they’re doing. Other times people may just be socially awkward. But even if you didn’t have ill intentions, it doesn’t mean you’re not at fault. You still overstepped a boundary or did something that distressed someone else. If you’ve learned that you are in fact guilty of this, then it’s time to listen, apologize and adjust your behavior so as not to do it again in the future.
In an effort to keep any nudist setting safe and positive, people should err on the side of caution. Don’t assume your attention, your conversation or your physical touch is always welcomed. Being respectful requires being aware of your behavior and how it affects others. People make mistakes, but if you do make someone else uncomfortable, be willing to listen and apologize. All of these guidelines can help create a better environment for everyone.
You should also read these articles to familiarize yourself better with nudism behavior etiquette:
- Nudism & Gender Issues: Let’s Talk About Safety and Harassment
- Why Aren’t There More Women In Nudism / Naturism Today?
The Naturist Living Show also did an episode on “How Not To Be Creepy” in 2010, which you can listen to below.