Saturday, 29 November 2008

Lee Baxandall (1935-2008)

The Naturist Society has announced with profound sadness that its founder, Lee Baxandall, has died in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Baxandall, who had suffered from Parkinson's Disease, was 73 years old at the time of his death on November 27, 2008.

Baxandall began his work as a naturist activist more than 30 years ago. With a background in writing and publishing, Lee's naturist passion led him in 1976 to form the Free Beaches Documentation Center, which he located in his hometown of Oshkosh. By 1980, Lee had founded The Naturist Society (TNS), and TNS had presented its first Gathering for naturists. 'Clothed with the Sun,' the flagship publication of TNS in its early years, was renamed 'Nude & Natural,' or more simply, 'N' magazine in 1989. Today, the magazine has a staff of professional and volunteer writers, but in the early days, much of the content of the magazine was pure Baxandall.

Lee was also the initiating force behind other familiar naturist organizations. In 1983, it was a Baxandall idea (and $70 in seed money that Lee pulled from his own pocket and gave to Murray Kaufman) that led to the TNS special interest group that would become Gay Naturists International. In 1990, Baxandall jump-started the Naturist Action Committee as an adjunct to TNS. The Naturist Education Foundation followed in 1993.

For the decades of the 1980s and 1990s, 'Lee Baxandall's World Guide to Nude Beaches and Resorts' was the standard companion for those seeking information on naturist destinations throughout the world. Each edition of the World Guide reflected Lee's naturist philosophy, not only for growing numbers of naturists, but also for the benefit of an expanding mainstream audience. Baxandall's World Guide is the inspiration for 'The World's Best Nude Beaches and Resorts,' a recent TNS publication that carries on the tradition.

In 2002, recognizing the inevitable effect of his declining health, Baxandall transferred ownership of The Naturist Society to a carefully selected handful of longtime associates. TNS is necessarily a dynamic organization that responds to the changing needs of its members. Nevertheless, owners Nicky Hoffman Lee and Margaret Thornton have remained remarkably faithful to the vision of Lee Baxandall.


Arrangements are pending. Lee's family has not yet announced details. More complete obituaries will, of course, appear in N magazine and in The Newsletter. The Naturist Action Committee will distribute further information in the form of NAC Updates, as details become available.

The directors of the Naturist Action Committee and the Naturist Education Foundation join with the ownership and staff of The Naturist Society in marking, with respect and appreciation, the passing of an exceptional individual.

"Body acceptance is the idea. Nude recreation is the way."
- Lee R. Baxandall (1935-2008)


Bob Morton
Executive Director
Naturist Action Committee (NAC) - PO Box 132, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Executive Director Bob Morton -
Naturist Society: Nicky Hoffman Lee -
Online Rep. Dennis Kirkpatrick -

Friday, 28 November 2008

The Hot Tub is BACK!

The hot tub is now operational again. Hopefully, it will keep working for a while longer.

We had hoped to replace the tub with a newer and larger one. Most of the current hot tub's equipment has been replaced at least once in the last 2 years. However, equipment failures continue to happen because of the poor design of the current hot tub shell. The tub that is there is the original one installed by Eric Jarvis in the early 1980's and it is showing its age. In addition, it doesn't work well with the newer equipment which demands greater water flow for the enhanced treatment capabilities.

Unfortunately, replacing the entire tub is a much more elaborate and expensive endeavour than expected. As such, we spent good money after bad by fixing the existing system. We didn't want our members to be without the use of the hot tub for several months. (especially those upcoming cold winter months!)

We hope you enjoy the hot tub (hopefully uninterrupted for the next few months) and we apologize for the disappointment and inconvenience the latest breakdown may have caused.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Nipples on TV

Of all of society's irrational and arbitrary attitudes towards the human body, breasts and nipples are the ones that feature the most contradictions.

The ongoing fight for a woman's right to breastfeed her baby in public illustrates the contradictory view of breasts as both sex objects and sources of nutrition and nurturing for babies.

The main argument seems to be that breasts are sexual. The truth is that people are sexual. While men may find the female breast sexy, it is certainly not women's exclusive source of sexuality. Conversely, women may find men's chests sexual but men are not forced to hide them. This inconsistency is likely derived from the archaic notion that women must hide to save men from themselves.

Even the definition of breasts is problematic. You can't differentiate between men and women by breast size. Some men have larger breasts than some women. Trying to define where the breast starts and ends is almost impossible. Where is the edge of the breast?

So we are generally left with legal definitions that only refer to the nipple and areola. That means that breasts are not bare if pasties cover the nipple and areola area. Clearly, society is now telling us that the only part of concern is the nipple and areola area on a woman's body.

So if women's nipples are so much more sexual than men's that they must be covered, then there must be a clear difference between a man's nipple and a woman's nipple. So take a look at this close-up nipple photo. Is it a man's nipple or a woman's? If it is a woman's nipple, you are supposed to be offended but not if it's a man's. Are you offended? And if women's nipples are more sexual, you should be able to tell whether it is a woman's nipple by your physiological reaction. Are you turned on? (answer at the bottom of the page)

But the very best example of the arbitrariness of it all comes courtesy of a TV show called Dr. 90210. This is a reality show that follows the lives of plastic surgeons as they "improve" people's lives through surgery. Most of the surgery is comprised of the predictable facial changes and breast enhancements. However, one episode focused on a woman who was in the process of a sex change. Calahan's treatment has clearly been effective. Dressed, it was impossible to see that he had started life as a woman. He sported a beard and muscular forearms.

But during the initial exam, one could clearly see the outline of female breasts but the nipples were obscured. As the operation began, the shows producers protected us from those upsetting female nipples by scrambling that portion of the image. No attempt was made to shield us from the blood and gore of the operation. The image of the incision and the cutting and hacking away of the internal breast material was crystal clear.

Less than 3 minutes later, the same nipples that were the cause of such consternation are now revealed because they are now deemed to be men's nipples! The same skin and nipple material is now acceptable for public consumption because some biological material had been removed. Most of the material was never even visible in the first place as it consisted of breast tissue beneath the skin. But with the removal of the mammary glands, the nipples had lost their offensive nature.

Interestingly, the same episode also featured labiaplasty. This is where a woman gets her labia reduced to "increase her self-confidence." Not surprisingly, the woman's labia was masked during the surgery. However, the show was more than willing to show the parts of the labia that were removed after the surgery. The message: the labia is only offensive when it is attached to a living woman. What does that say about our society's view of the human body?

Think you know whether that is a man or woman's nipple?
To see the original, full photo click here.

Breastfeeding photo by: Mike.Hanlon
Pasties photo from the Creative Commons.