It’s Time for Nudist Clubs to Change Their Policies on Genital Jewelry
There’s an issue in the nudist world that has long been bothering us as an organization that bases our values on acceptance. It’s the issue of nudist clubs and naturist resorts that bar entry to people with body and genital jewelry.
A few years ago, we discussed the issue of nipple piercings. My home club, Rock Lodge, had a rule against them, but they changed this policy not too long after we published the article. Now nipple piercings are allowed. We were really happy about that and felt the change was long overdue.
As we pointed out in discussing nipple piercings, even Susan Weaver, who was then president of AANR, had her nipples pierced. Despite this, AANR hasn’t taken a stance against clubs that would bar entry based on nipple or body jewelry. Even if a club is a “100% AANR club,” they can have a policy that would technically exclude an AANR president from visiting (though to my knowledge, no club ever told Susan that she couldn’t visit, even if they had a rule against nipple jewelry).
I haven’t come across any club or resort that still has a policy forbidding nipple jewelry. (If you know of one please share in the comments.) But the issue of body jewelry policies doesn’t stop at nipples. Rock Lodge, along with a number of other nudist clubs, still has a rule against genital jewelry. This bothers us, for the same reasons as the nipple piercings.
Those who are against genital decoration argue that people are making nudism sexual by having their genitalia pierced, and that they are doing something wrong by drawing attention to that body part.
Let’s explain why this makes no sense. The main tenet of naturism is that the human body can be sexual or not, depending on the context. When people are nude together in a naturist setting, the genitals are no more “sexual,” “dirty” or shameful than the stomach or elbow.
Humans are sexual beings, and of course, being naked doesn’t prevent anyone from thinking sexual thoughts about others. As a result, it becomes quite evident that your biggest sex organ is actually one that you can’t see… your BRAIN.
When it comes to the human body and sexuality, it’s all about context. There’s a time and place for everything.
So it would go that genital jewelry can just be just as innocent as pierced ears or a pierced belly button. Or on the flip side, earrings are just as sexual as genital jewelry. There are definitely people who get sexual pleasure from their piercings, in private, behind closed doors. Unless a person is treating their jewelry like a sex toy in public, there’s really no reason why they shouldn’t be permitted to join a nudist setting.
As for how it “draws attention to the wrong area,” well 1. By saying that, aren’t we treating the genitals like some taboo body part in the same way that society at large does? 2. I can say from experience that unless someone has decorated their crotch like a Christmas tree, nobody seems to have any trouble with staring. You look or you glance at it, just like you would at a necklace, then you go back to looking at the person’s face.
These anti-piercing arguments were even more troubling when it came to nipples, which are not sex organs. The primary function of female breasts / nipples is to feed babies. Some people, of all genders, do get sexual pleasure from their nipples in a sexual context. Just like some people get sexual pleasure from their ears, but we don’t forbid piercings on them.
The other argument against piercings has to do with the idea that they’re inappropriate in family settings where kids are present. But the issue here always falls on the shoulders of those parents who are often afraid to deal with their kids’ innocent questions. (As a side rant to parents, please don’t lie to your kids or deny them information about their bodies. There’s such a thing as age-appropriate answers. We have the Internet now. If you’re not sure how to answer a question, Google it or email someone who might have the information you seek.)
If a kid points at a penis ring and says, “What’s that?” The answer is simple: “It’s a piercing.” If the follow-up question is, “Why does he have it?” then the answer should be something like, “because he thinks it’s pretty.”
The issue of genital jewelry also came up in the context of San Francisco’s nudity ban. Some of the male nudists were wearing cock rings in public. As we noted in this article, a cock ring is typically worn on the base of the penis and is used for maintaining erections, but can also just be worn for decoration. In that same article we also ran a poll on whether cock rings were “too sexual to be worn in public,” even if just worn as decoration.
Some 300+ people took the poll, and these were the results below. Nearly 70% said cock rings should be acceptable in public if they’re just worn as a piece of decorative jewelry. A small percentage said they thought it shouldn’t be worn around children.
In the nudist world, opinions on body jewelry have definitely shifted in recent years. Like it or not, more and more people have nipple and / or genital jewelry, especially young adults. Some clubs have changed their policies out of necessity, as more visitors or members have showed up with body jewelry. Others, however, are holding onto their policies that seem increasingly outdated for 2015.
I wouldn’t argue that a body piercing is crucial to a person’s identity or an aspect of themselves that they can’t change – like race or sexual orientation. Piercings are removable to some extent but they are a form of self-expression. We see this issue as a dent in the naturist philosophy. At least as far as accepting a person as they are, as well as recognizing that nudity doesn’t have to be sexual.
In the northeast, I’ve found just 2* nudist clubs that still forbid genital jewelry: Berkshire Vista (MA) and Rock Lodge Club (NJ). (I’ve also found that many nudist clubs in the U.S. don’t address piercings on their websites at all. I haven’t inquired with every club, but the ones I did contact said they were permitted.)
For clubs that do permit jewelry, many specify that it must be “discrete” or “inconspicuous.” I think this is reasonable. Nobody needs to walk around with big chains and bells on their genitalia.
Solair Nudist Resort in Connecticut is one co-operative club in the northeast that recently changed their rules to permit genital jewelry. We’ve been talking to them about this policy for a few years, and as a co-op it took time to get enough votes to support it. It was changed this past June and we applaud Solair for becoming a more inclusive, accepting club!
Not everyone was on board with their new policy, however. On a recent trip to Solair, we met one member who said he thought it went against “family values.” Unfortunately he was not able to articulate how exactly.
In 2015, I think the nudist community is ready to become more inclusive when it comes to body jewelry. It’s time to better practice what we preach.
(*In fact there are 3 clubs that bar entry to people with genital jewelry if we count Cedar Waters Village in New Hampshire. Cedar Waters is a private resort for heterosexual couples ONLY who don’t want to hang out with gay people. They don’t allow nipple or genital piercings or same-sex couples. You read that right…they openly discriminate against gay people. In 2015.)