What the hell is a nudist community?
Simply put, nudist communities are places where people live without their clothes. Some are just collections of mobile home units clustered in the same area where clothing is optional, while others are more upscale, like Caliente Resorts outside Tampa, FL, a walled-in community of upscale homes that can sell well into the 600k range. At spots like Caliente, condos, townhomes, and single-family homes operate as a homeowners association, making it very much like the gated community your grandparents retired to... just with less clothing.
So nudist communities are not nudist resorts?
Many of these fancier spots, like Caliente and Palm Springs’ Desert Sun Resort, have resorts on the premises. While living at Caliente has a higher price tag than trading your clothes in for a spot in one of the mobile home communities, residents can take advantage of the resort amenities like pools, restaurants, and organized activities, which hopefully offsets the excessive sunscreen costs that are accrued while living in Florida naked full-time.
Unsurprisingly, the resort does function as a recruitment tool for making the lifestyle switch. "[People] visit, go on nude cruises and to nude beaches, and then decide, 'This is how I want to live my life,'" says Deb Bowen, marketing director of Caliente.
Are the people who live there all swingers?
This is a common misconception, but one that’s understandable. Nudists know “that people associate them with [swinging], because the only time [regularly clothed people] are naked is when they have sex or when they're taking a bath,” explains Mark Storey, consulting editor of The Naturist Society's N Magazine.
Bowen says that "there's no correlation between nudists and swingers," but it’s worth noting that Caliente does host swinger parties on select weekends. And some of the residents do participate in the "lifestyle," as they call it. One longtime resident estimates that "about a third of residents take their partners to swingers parties." And most nudists who live there respect the swinger lifestyle, and vice versa.
Are the people who live there all super old?
This stereotype isn't a misconception. While the age makeup of nudists vacationing in a resort ranges from people in their 20s to much older, Storey says that typically the people who actually live in nudist communities are retired. "Some people still work," he says. "But these are folks who have moved from their primary residence to this other resort/live-in place, and probably their jobs aren't going to go with them."