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In our time on the face of the Earth, each of us must choose for him or herself what it is they most need in order to live. Lucky for us, we have more choices then people had in the past. In the past, laws were written by men seeking to maintain order and prevent degradation the quality of life and morals of the people within their society. People in many civilized cultures never thought about clothing and nudity was common place. Simple pieces of leather and later small pieces of expensive fabric served as protection from thorns and weather. Since only rich people could afford cloth at first many used leather. Only the rich wore cloth. Later cloth became less expensive and silk and other finer cloth was used by the rich.
There were no nudity laws then, men and women who were slaves were not given clothing and they could not buy clothing. Poor surfs who were neither slaves, nor able to afford homes or clothing, often labored nude. When working in the fields or on fishing boats or in other dirty and smelly jobs nudity kept the one crude garment they had clean. Bathing was done in streams. The rich bathed upstream, the poor bathed downstream in the dirt that flowed from the rich bathers. Nudity was common place. Later public baths in large towns and cities were created and feed by hot springs or underground streams, constantly replenished with clean water and most were hot or warm.
The first Christian baptisms took place in public streams and rivers large enough for the purpose. Those who were baptized, were baptized in the nude. Nudity at baptisms served to represent the stepping out of ones past life, and stepping into a new purified life. In later times, you would remove your clothing, be guided into the stream or special baptismal pool, and two persons would tip you entire body backward and submerge you in water three times. You would then be lifted clear of the water, and escorted into the arms those who would give you a white robe. Christians later however began associating nudity with the ritual nudity of pagan religions, and saying nudity was following the way of Satan though most pagan faiths don't even believe in Satan's existence.
In more modern times nude swimming sunbathing was the norm, swim suits were yet to be invented, but sun bathing and swimming at the beach was not popular as it is today. Skinny dipping in secluded swimming holes among friends or family was the norm. On beaches men walked around with their genitals exposed for all to see. Women used special wagons, the front half was a fully enclosed dressing room, last half was shielded in the sides, top and bottom but with the rear open. Steps hidden between the shielded sides of the wagon allowed the women to exit and enter unseen. The wagons were horse drawn and were backed into the water so the women could get into that water nude. The women then submerged themselves and the cart pulled away so the lady could enjoy the water while never exposing her nude body. Then came Queen Victoria and her moral code.
Queen Victoria's moral code change everything on beaches and more public forums. During Queen Victoria's reign, the nudity taboo advanced so far that no part of the human leg was allowed to be seen, no cleavage, collars were closed tightly around ones neck, long sleeves were worn even in the summer heat. Things were only slightly relaxed in America, but her influence had us following the British lead. We already had sexual taboos from the Puritans that came to America, this plus nudity taboos helped the shape the society we have today.
Public Nudity however was not dead, just more hidden and secret among mixed gender groups. However, single sex groups still publicly socialized nude in steam houses and swimming pools. These were generally, but not exclusively, male oriented groups. Women were held to a higher more strict ideal of what was expected of a lady, as they are even today. The Young Men's Christian Association was one such group single sex group. The YMCA began to admit females in the early 1960s, until then swimming trunks were not even allowed in the pools. Some YMCA's however continued the practice into the 1970s and these YMCA's remained exclusively male. Soon however YMCA were pressured into allowing females, were seeing more gay oriented activity and increased operational cost, and decided that between these pressures, it was time to open these last male only YMCA's to females. Hence a song by the "Village People" called YMCA based upon gay activities there in the 1970's.
Many high school swimming classes for boys had similar policies, citing the impracticality of providing and maintaining sanitary swimming gear and clogging swimming pools' filtration systems with lint fibers from the swimsuits. These practices were common because of the perception that there was nothing wrong or sexual about seeing members of the same gender in the nude, especially in these indoor contexts among equals in birthday suits. Women's sports including swimming were either scarce or non existent. Today, women's sports still take a back seat to men's sports are less funded and less popular among sports enthusiasts.
Nudism in the last ten years has become a growth industry in the tourism market. However, some older clubs that have been around for years have closed, some because of the costs. Young people either do not want or can not afford to pay traditional fee structures. They seek inexpensive venues to facilitate their nudist and naturist lifestyles, recreational activities, or experimentations with other ways of life. The traditional nudist club caters to families only, often allowing only couples and families to join. Other clubs calling themselves nudist or naturist clubs are actually not either, but are swingers clubs that are under a misconception of naturist and nudist values and don't represent naturist or nudism
MARNA or the "Maryland Area Naturist Association" however is not one of these sex clubs, we start with the emphasis on family oriented nudist and naturist for singles, couples and families. Our emphasis is mainly on single men and women, because we seek to introduce new people into the culture of naturism and nudism as well as have them meet and from new naturist and nudist families. We offer a clean non-sexual environment for people of all ages. Children from birth age, to seniors well past retirement attend our events. We have college students as well as lawyers, cab drivers, and doctors in attendance. People of all races have attended, and religion is also not an issue, Pagans, Christians, Jews, Hindus, others have also attended our swims
Because we are accepting of people new to nudism and naturism, enforced nudity is not part of our practices. You may wear bathing attire during your introduction to nudism. However after a few visits we do expect progress, and hope you begin to be able to attend nude or at least partially nude. If our event occurs during certain medical or personal times and full nudity is not possible, we can and do make exceptions. Our objective is a clean, safe and enjoyable environment where each is free to march to different drummer, not a dictatorship or nudist version of the lock step. We want you to be comfortable with who you are.