About the Archive: This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.
Long accustomed to casual dress, Americans showed this summer that they were becoming increasingly tolerant of and open about casual undress.
Nudity, both in private and in public, was practiced by large number of Americans with a low‐key openness once associated with Europeans. Some social scientists regard it as the beginning of a trend in which toleration and acceptance of nudity could become commonplace within the next few years.
Both exhibitionists and oglers abounded this summer as nude bathing caught on. But, like fashions, hair styles and lifestyles that seemed bizarre few years ago, nudity in some public places appeared to be slowly becoming no big deal.
The sensational “streaking” of last spring evolved into casual nude saunters at many beaches and lakes around the country at summer’s end. And people too timid to strip at a public beach talked openly something they said they would not have done in the past about going nude around the house, the yard and the pool, either privately or with relatives or close friends.’
Explanations for this new attitude are as diverse as the forms of nudity, which range from topless and bottomless bars to traditional nudist camps. There is disagreement, too. Ironically, nudity at public beaches is deplored by many traditional nudists as sexual exhibitionism and voyeurism—things that give nudity a bad name. Some beach nudists agree; others disagree.
“The so‐called free beaches often have a sexual atsphere,” said Ralph Catino, administrative assistant for the American Sun Bathing Association, a national nudist organization that says it has a membership of 15,000 families. Yet they do indicate a growing public acceptance of nudity, he said.
Source: New York Times
Original publication 3 September, 1974
Posted on NatCorn 30th December 2019
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