Added June 2000
If you're trying out Nudism
for the first time, there's a number of things you should be
aware of in the "nudist community".
I've never met anyone who cared about staring in Nudism. Never the less, it's generally accepted that staring for a long time is a no no. But then again that goes for textile society too, so there's nothing new there.
Most nudists have at handy disposal a small towel or shirt that they can use to sit on, especially indoors. It's good manners to have something of your own between your backside and somebody else's chair. It becomes less important in a spa, pool or beach atmosphere where backsides tend to be clean anyway.
It depends. General accepted policy in most nudist venues is that cameras are allowed but should be used with discretion and only ever with permission of people being photographed. Some more conservative venues ban them altogether. Publishers of magazines who take photos at nudist events such as beach carnivals and resort parties will generally have been given permission to be there by the management of the event. If you don't want to be photographed and yet knowlingly attend an event where you know cameras are allowed, then you're a bit out of line. Certainly "pose" photography is only ever carried out after a special "legal waiver" is signed, giving the photographer permission to use the photo only in the ways that were explained in the waiver.
Bending over, Spreading legs etc:
Nobody ever gives a damn. Bend, Spread, Contort.. do whatever you want to do. You're not displaying anything that anyone hasn't seen before - nor would anyone care. Anuses (anii??), vaginas penises and testicles are as much a part of our body as our mouths - something which in textile society we hardly ever cover - but perhaps should sometimes use less frequently!
This has been touched on (excuse the pun..) in other sections of my homepage. At nudist venues such as River Island and Nude Beaches, it's generally accepted that you don't touch without permission (good advice at any location..). Games, Crowded spas and occasional brushes are excepted, of course - where it can be assumed that merely your participation in the game, or presence in the spa (etc) is permission to the others present that the "normal" level of touch likely in such a situation has been given.
Be warned - sexual advances will likely land you in hot water - much hotter than any Spa. Grabbing for sexual organs or buttocks without permission is a sure fire way to put people off very quickly. If you want to grope people you'll have to do it the old fashioned way - get their permission first!
Dressing and Undressing :
In some overseas contries (particularly the UK) it is generally accepted that you undress and dress out of sight. But in most places (including Australia) Nudists have realised the ridiculousness of this approach and will quite accept dressing and undressing anywhere, anytime. A hint though - the Lost Property boxes at Nudist venues are very popular - because people so easily lose their clothes and belongings after removing them. Don't be a dilly, plan your movements. If the venue you are at has a "bar tab" facility, use it (i.e. a facility where you can leave a deposit of money at the shop or counter, which you and your family can use as a "credit line" during your stay without having to carry around cash, etc). Keys are another often lost item.
A good investment is a "Towel Gown" for colder climates. It's simply two beach towels sewn together with holes in the top and sides for your head and arms. It's perfect for that trip from your cabin to the spa, and doubles as a towel to dry yourself off afterwards.
Swimming, Spas, Saunas etc :
This varies from venue to venue. Some venues require nudity in spas and saunas but not pools. For example, River Island doesn't care what you wear, but suggests that clothes are not a good idea in the sauna, and that baggy clothing is not appropriate in the spas and that if you want to wear clothes in the water, then they should be conventional swimming costumes.
Likewise some venues will require you to shower before entering spas or saunas (this is common in many public pools and spas). Still others (like River Island) don't particularly care, but the expectation is that you should be reasonably clean before jumping in. Public spas (at least in Australia, and this includes River Island) are often subject to strict public health guidelines regarding clorination and filtering of water. The result is that nothing can live in that chlorine anyway, and the highflow filters are so ridiculously oversized as to completely remove any impurities in the water within minutes. Smaller venues and more "private" spas however are different - so the smaller the venue, the more likely it will be that you should shower first before jumping into the spa or pool.
As for limiting the number of people in a spa.. use common sense. if the water is overflowing or very close to the top, then don't be the one to send it over, as you'll probably suffer the wrath of the venue owner shortly afterwards. Ultimately it comes down to the old rule. If in doubt, ASK.
You should be very wary of overheating and becoming dehydrated in spas. Drinking (especially Alcohol) in the spa is extremely foolish and most larger venues will not permit it. So you need to be very concious of your body temperature and need for water. You should drink water before getting in, and have at least a glass of water for every 30 minutes spent in a spa, as this is how much water your body will lose (sweat out) in the process. depending on how hot the spa is, you should get out and have a break every 15 minutes or so. Even better is to take a jump in the pool and cool off every 15 minutes or so, and you will be rewarded when you get back in the spa, as your body will enjoy the experience.
You should sit on a towel in the Sauna. Some venues don't care, but it's certainly good etiquette to do so. And you'll find the towel far more forgiving on your backside than hot varnished wood, which is what most saunas are made of. Don't be afraid to put some water on the coals if the air is dry. But use it sparingly, and always with respect to the wishes of others who might be present.
I've never heard of any venues limiting spa occupation by gender - either by insisting all male or all female, or by insisting on gender balances. Venues who do wish to control gender balance usually do so at the entrance gate, and rarely at the pool or spa. Some venues do however get agitated with Children in the spas and saunas, and so it's good to keep your kids "under control". Larger venues (again River Island is a good example) have a separate "Kid's Spa" where the kids can splash, crawl all over each other and generally misbehave and have fun without upsetting the adults in the more "serious spas". But be warned - one thing many people hate is kids running in and out of the sauna (and thus constantly opening the door and letting cold air in.)