Desert Sun Resort chosen to be featured in article for Just Luxe Travel
The Naked Truth About Nudist Resorts: What Really Goes On Inside
Exerts from Article Posted: May. 9th, 2013
by Tara Imperatore
We’ve covered a wide variety of luxury travel over the years—million dollar tours of India, women’s solo travel destinations, and extravagant private jet tours around the world; but we have yet to explore another popular way to stay: in the nude. As someone who didn’t know much/anything about nudism or nudist resorts, I set out to dispel, or confirm, my own, and perhaps society’s, common perceptions about these places and the people that frequent them.
So let’s take a look at some of these potential misconceptions and see how our insiders and experts fielded them.
Myth: Nudity is mandatory everywhere on property at a nudist resort.
What I imagine: An intense doubles tennis match naked; a couple enjoying a romantic candlelight dinner naked; a playful belly flop into the pool naked; sunbathers catching some rays in lounge chairs naked. I see any and every activity in the nude and assume that it’s required considering the premise of these resorts.
Reality: This rule varies a bit from resort to resort, and tends to lean more on the “optional” side. At Desert Sun, clothing isn’t required anywhere on the property, however nudity is a must at the pools, Jacuzzis and while on the pool decks. And no need to bring a swimsuit since those are banned too. Owner Elizabeth Young says, “Unlike some places, requiring nudity in and around the pool puts everyone on the same level and there is no judgment. Desert Sun Resort has found that this works well for first timers to feel comfortable. There is nothing worse than being at a clothing optional resort and you are the only one nude in the pool.”
While the term ‘clothing optional’ may have different definitions at different nudist resorts, there is one practice that seems to be standard across the board: all guests must sit on a towel when nude.
Myth: Guests are free to engage in sexual activity in the resort’s public areas.
What I imagine: Considering everyone is indeed naked and most are couples, it seems safe to assume that they’ll just feel comfortable expressing their affection openly whenever and however they want.
Reality: It may seem hard to believe, what with all the naked people running around, but nudist resorts are not sexually charged environments.
Participating in the naturist lifestyle is about repose and real people escaping the confinement of their careers or everyday stresses. “I think that some people automatically assume nudity equals sex and that is not what a clothing optional resort is about,” says Elizabeth Young of Desert Sun. “It is a place that you would not be embarrassed to tell your neighbor that you went to because it is about relaxation.“ Resort staff ensures that visitors feel comfortable during their stay, with gawking or insults from other guests being taken very seriously. “Guests are very respectful and we enforce the fact that clients cannot be involved in sexual activities in the public areas of the hotel,”
Myth: Nudist resorts are only frequented by an older, retirement age demographic.
What I imagine: My mind goes right to grandma and grandpa sitting around a Jacuzzi naked with like-minded and similar-age friends discussing the youth of America, social security benefits and the perks of retirement.
Reality: While this age group is infamous for being attracted to the nudist lifestyle, they’re certainly not the only ones baring it all these days. Guests do need to be at least 18 years of age to stay, but all three insiders say that people from all walks of life and all around the world choose a nudist getaway. Because of its vacation destination locale in Palm Springs, the common age range of guests at Desert Sun is 35-55. In some research done by Professor Aldag on participation in nudism, he is also able to confirm an excessive number of people in their 30s and 40s in the nudist population.
Myth: Nudist resorts are a great place for singles to come and meet other singles.
What I imagine: The nightclub is packed, but across the bar a man sees a woman with two of the biggest…earrings he’s ever seen and he must go over and compliment her on them. “That is some gorgeous jewelry you’re wearing, do you come here often?” he asks. She giggles and they have a great conversation and dance the night away while Cupid shoots his arrows sans diaper.
Reality: While this might not be entirely untrue, most nudist resorts are geared toward romance and couples. Professor Aldag’s research states that 75%-80% of nudists are indeed married, with many being introduced to the lifestyle through their spouse. At Desert Sun, they attempt to keep the gender ratio even by making a limited number of rooms available for singles, as well as not allowing them to obtain memberships or day passes unless they are a part of a couple.
Myth: First-timers tend to feel extremely awkward walking around without clothing in front of a bunch of strangers.
What I imagine: People sitting in the Jacuzzi until their whole body feels like one big wrinkly prune, too shy to exit and walk around freely. Some women wear sarongs and others stand or sit in awkward positions to cover up their flaws.
Reality: Not the case, the insiders claim. “After 15 minutes, you will forget you are nude,” says Elizabeth Young. Nudists have reported some reasons for participation including a ‘sense of freedom, honesty and openness’, a ‘basis for social collegiality’, and the ‘removal of social differences cued by the nature and quality of clothing’, Professor Aldag shared. And while some other reasons were ‘curiosity about how others look, and how their looks compare to one's own’ (that’s only natural, right?), and a ‘means to work through problems of self-concept’, for the most part nudists seem rather genial and lean more toward instilling a sense of community than slinging judgment.
Elizabeth continues, “You will find that most people are friendlier at a nudist resort. Today’s society is so self-conscience about what we do or don’t look like that it is refreshing to be at a place where you are accepted just as you are. Many guests find lifelong friends at nudist resorts. It is like being a member at the same club.”