Welcome to MARNA.

Naturism is a growth industry in the American tourism market, hence nude airline flights, cruises bed and breakfast, and other nude tourist attractions. While some of the older clubs have closed, other clubs are not only doing well, but thriving or expending their facilities. Many young people either do not like or can not afford traditional naturist resorts and seek inexpensive and open minded venues in which to practice nudism. Traditional naturist clubs tend cater to families and couples, believing single persons (mostly men) are undesirable. Clubs calling themselves “naturist” are sometimes swingers clubs which causes misconceptions about what naturism represents. A wide range of venues for nudist activities exists world wide.

The Maryland Area Naturist Association (MARNA) is an open minded club. We emphasize family oriented naturism for everyone not just families. Our emphasis is mainly on single persons, and we introduce people to naturism as an opportunity to socialize. We offer a purely non-sexual environment for people of all ages. We are a non landed (travel) club, some of our venues do not allow us to have children. This is not by choice, the owners of some of facilities do not allow children, other events allow for all ages. We have had all ages as well as all professions and religions at past events. So call us to inquire which events allow persons under 18 before bringing them. All persons under 18 require “adult” supervision.

We accept people who new to naturism, and therefore do not have “enforced” nudity, we maintain a clothing optional attitude to newbies and non-nudist spouses. You may wear bathing suits during your introduction to naturism. However, after a few visits we do expect progress, and hope you begin to be able to attend nude or at least partially nude. If our event occurs during medical or personal times where full nudity is not possible, we can and do make exceptions. Our objective is a safe and enjoyable environment while allowing you to be comfortable with who you are. Naturism is both a life style and a way of enjoying recreation in a natural, wholesome and safe environment.

Nudity was once considered pure and by some of us it still is. In fact, some cultures had royal virgins who wore clothing which intentionally exposed their breast to show how pure they were. Western European Cultures between the Renaissance and the 19th century, exposed breasts were more acceptable than today, bared legs, ankles or shoulders were considered more risqué. [Reference]

Prior to religions becoming prudish, nudity was not taboo. Christians were baptized nude, no clothing, jewelry, or even bandages were permitted to touch water that had been consecrated. [Image] All foreign objects were removed, otherwise the water became impure by such objects. [Reference]

Many early civilizations never made use of clothing for anything but protection. [Reference] Small animal skins and pieces of expensive fabric also served as protection or to carry tools. Only the wealthy or powerful could afford and wear cloth, the poor often needed a years salary to buy one garment. Only when cloth became less expensive did common folk begin to wear it.

The poor who were unable to afford homes or clothing often labored nude in fields paying for housing by their labor taking a small percentage to barter. Working in the fields, on fishing boats or other dirty smelly jobs, working nude preserved the few garments they had. Nude bathing was done in streams and public baths along side neighbors and visitors to the towns. The rich bathed upstream, the poor bathed downstream often in streams that were less than clean.

Nudity was common place, and the Olympic athletes were nude. In Sparta, and a few other places both male and female athletes performed nude, however most places only male nudity was allowed during the games with a few exceptions. In places where only males athletes performed nude, the females performed nude in parades and celebrations prior athletic events.

The first Christian baptisms took place in streams and rivers large enough for the purpose. Those to be baptized would remove all clothing (shed the old life), be led into the water, and their entire body submerged three times. They were led still nude from the water, and escorted into the arms of those who would rap them in a clean clothing ( white robe if available) representing their new life.

In seventeen and eighteen hundreds nude swimming and skinny-dipping was normal but not a wide spread activity. Swim suits were not invented until later in the Victorian Era. Skinny dipping in secluded swimming holes among friends or family was and is still normal in some areas of North America. On beaches prior to the Victorian Era men walked around fully nude for all to see. Women used special horse drawn wagons, the front half was a fully enclosed dressing room, last half had shielded sides and a roof with descending stairs. This allowed the women to exit and enter the water unseen. The women submerged themselves and the cart pulled away so a “lady” could enjoy the water and never expose her nude body.

During Queen Victoria’s reign, her moral codes changed everything, the nudity taboo advanced so far that no bare legs were to be seen, cloth sleeves were made to hide “bare” table legs. No part of the human body was allowed to be seen, no bare legs, no cleavage, or bare arms. Things were only slightly more relaxed in the United States of America, but her influence spread to across the ocean. Americans already had sexual taboos from Puritan influence, plus Victorian influences helped the shape the society we have today.

Public nudity however was not dead, just more secret. Single sex groups still publicly socialized nude in steam houses and swimming pools, though were generally male oriented groups. Women were held to a higher and stricter morality and still are today. The Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was one such group where males swam, showered, and were generally nude. Only after the YMCA began to admit females in the 1960’s did swimming trunks become required pools in common areas. Some YMCA’s continued the practice into the early 1970’s and remained exclusively male longer possibly because they had nearby YWCA’s.

Nude swimming classes weren’t just a YMCA thing. In fact, they were a national thing. [Reference] The American Public Health Association mandated them from 1926 until 1962, and thousands of high schools around the country enforced the tradition. Many middle and high school swimming classes for boys had similar policies, citing the impracticality of providing and maintaining sanitary swimming gear and because lint from the swimsuits was clogging swimming pools’ filtration systems. These practices were common and perceived as healthy and non sexual and took place in public as well as some religiously oriented schools. Woman’s sports including swimming were either scarce or non existent, even today woman’s sports still take a back seat to men’s sports are unfortunately less funded and less popular.