Dare to Ask: Mom seeks nudist camp for 14-year-old son
By Phillip Milano
The Florida Times-Union
Is there a nudist camp in Europe that can handle my request that my son of 14
be made to stay completely nude for an entire stay next summer when he is out of
school? -- Megan, 34, nudist, Paris
That is a horrible thing to do to someone. -- Norbert, 17, Minnesota.
If my parent forced me to be nude, whether I liked it or not, I would hate
them and question their motives. Camp is supposed to be fun, not a summer of
hell. -- Britt, female, Washington, D.C.
That's called "child abuse." I'm not sure what you think you're accomplishing
by planning to shove your lifestyle down his throat, but ... he'll hate you for
the rest of his life. Have fun with that. -- Ann, 39, Kansas City, Mo.
Don't most parents "shove" their lifestyle down their kids' throats? --
Rochelle, Williston, N.D.
We're not sure what they make young'uns do in those high-falutin' Europe
parts, but in these good ol' U.S. of A. parts, we don't like to force 'em to
show their parts.
Sure, we may dress our 5-year-olds in stripper-tops that say "Juicy" or "You
Want This" on them, but just because someone's got a sleazy mom, does anyone
really put stock in that famous saying about the apple not falling far from the
Nicky Hoffman of the 25,000-member Naturist Society, which "promotes body
acceptance through clothing-optional recreation," said most 14-year-olds are
body-conscious and don't want to be in the buff.
"And they're certainly not going to a camp with Mom and Dad. That's all
teens, not just naturists."
The worst thing to do is force them, she said.
"They might be very embarrassed. And I'm sorry to say, but if a child is very
upset and talks about it and it gets out, a mother could lose custody."
But are there long-term negative psychological effects on a kid going
"I don't think so. We've done polls and found that just about everyone has
skinny-dipped with others at some point. The key thing is it has to be their
Some might wonder if it's OK at all to raise a child in a nudist culture.
Hoffman said that first, measures are taken to protect children at resorts or
beaches, through self-policing and guidelines. More importantly, letting it all
hang out fosters a healthy body image.
"We call our parts by the appropriate names and aren't ashamed of them.
There's no 'pee-pee' in naturism. We know our parts and what they are for."
Naturists tend to have lower numbers of teen pregnancies, she said. Girls and
boys learn about inappropriate actions, and how not to clamor for attention or
denigrate themselves or others for "imperfections."
"They end up with a deeper respect for the opposite sex," she said. "It's
like there's no surprises. We look deeper than the surface ... you may grow up
feeling intimidated talking to a doctor if he's got his suit and tie on, but
when there's no clothes on anyone, it's an even playing field."
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Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
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