Naked NY_Gary HovlandCMYK

Naked in New York: Why More of Us Are Taking It All Off

Will this country soon embrace a more positive approach to the naked body? There is some evidence that we are heading in that direction. Burning Man and the oft-disrobed Lena Dunham aside, social nudity is rising among the younger set, and not just those with washboard abs. Nude recreation has grown to about a $450 million industry. Three years ago, the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) began actively recruiting young adults, speaking on college campuses and offering student memberships. In late August, the Young Nudist Leaders Summit presents its fourth annual confab for nudists between 18 and 35. The three-day event includes a think tank-esque discussion entitled “What Are We Sharing With Others And How Are We Reaching Them” as well as daily Frisbee golf.

“I’m 72 years old—and we’d like to have new blood in,” says AANR spokesperson Carolyn Hawkins.

There are hit TV series like Naked and Afraid and Dating Naked, and events such as Nudestock, “a Nude Rock and Roll Experience” and Bodyfest, a weekend-long extravaganza of music, dance, yoga, massage, and the occasional tug of war. There are naked bike rides, running races and erotically themed naked obstacle courses. (The Blue Balls Dash! The G-String Crawl!) In comparison, skinny-dipping’s a snooze.

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