The Key to Nudism's Success Is...

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...numbers. Nudists and naturists need numbers. Vast numbers of people with money. In a society which worships the almighty dollar over the forces of nature, nudists cannot survive merely on a philosophy which espouses freedom, comfort, and body acceptance, it must have political clout that can only come with financial success.

In DeSoto County, Florida, there is a church for every 168 people. It is a rural area in which the idea of being naked in mixed-sex social settings is a moral taboo. And when a developer targets such a conservative area for a major naturist development of 1034 homes, one would expect a major backlash from the population - people carrying torches down the main street, demanding the capture and execution of the monster in their midst. And there is indeed some of that, but beneath the moral outrage simmers some unabashed greed for the potential financial boon such a development could have during tough economic times.
Don Wagner, who has developed mostly small office and commercial buildings in the Naples area, believes he has a recession-proof business plan in the growing popularity of nude recreation, an industry that has increased from $150 million to $450 million in revenues over the past 10 years.

With only one other nudist resort between Tampa and Miami, he says a resort in DeSoto -- centrally located between Florida's coasts -- would bring 60 jobs and $30 million to the local tax base. That is more than a third of the county's current budget, which dropped by $11 million this year because of the economic downturn.

"This could be a major, major economic boost for the community," said Wagner, who is joined by three other Naples real estate agents in the venture.
While many in the area are vocally opposed to the nudist development, some are expressing their independent thinking, to "live and let live". And there is a precedent for a nudist retreat in the area.
"They were out there ever since I can remember," (Jeanette) Foley said, as waitresses exchanged jokes about naked cowboys and hunters using their deer stands to peep in on the resort. "They didn't bother us and we didn't bother them. If they want to be butt naked, then let them be butt naked -- who cares?"
The American Association of Nude Recreation (AANR) claims only 50,000 members. That's about the equivalent of the size of a crowd at a single baseball game. But research shows that about 5 million people are interested in nude recreation. Tapping into those numbers is the key to nudism's success.

A mainstream development like the one in Florida would be a major boon to the industry, taking it from the status of "colony" to the far more preferable level of "community". A community which pays taxes, owns real estate, spends money in stores and restaurants, and has kids in the local schools. When nudists have the numbers, they become neighbors instead of intruders, friends instead of strangers. Keep an eye on the Naples development to gauge the future of naturism and nudism.

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