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Munich's Legalization of Public Nudity is Sexy, But Not Surprising

Where: Munich, Germany
April 17, 2014 at 1:34 PM | by | ()

Though many countries simply tolerate it via unwritten rules and an open mind, Munich has officially legalized public nudity by creating six designated "nudist zones" throughout the city. The zones are mostly centered around or near the Isar River, including two in Englischer Park.

Public nudity has been somewhat of a debate in Munich since statewide laws concerning nude sunbathing expired last fall, but showing skin is nothing new for the Germans. Despite all the hype and attention this news has brought, this writer can testify that nudity was more than tolerated last summer in Munich. On a visit in July, after having a drink at the world's largest beer garden, I took a walk through Englischer Park and saw many people bearing skin. It was absolutely common behavior and nothing that anyone seemed to think twice about. As noted, this was before the laws controlling nude sunbathing expired.

Other news outlets keep including the detail that one designated area is "only ten minutes from Munich's main square," which, to me, suggests a sense of concern or fear that innocent, clothed human beings might see some skin if they're not careful.

It's pretty much common knowledge these days that Europeans, especially Germans and Scandinavians, are some of the least prude people on the planet. Nudity has always been a part of their culture, especially when it comes to the spa and sauna scene, so it is something Americans need to respect when traveling abroad. This means no staring and no cameras.

From the looks of the last photo, it doesn't seem like a bad spot to find yourself on a hot day. This is, without question, a type of nude travel I understand, participating in a cultural difference while lying on the banks of a river. As far as nude resorts go, though, I'm still stumped.

[Photo: The Independent/The Telegraph]

Archived Comments:

nude is not rude

Become a nudist! This will help you reduce your anxieties about being naked. Enjoy our clothing free lifestyle!

Save Your Money

Don't Spend hundreds on a Bathing Suit. Go in your Birthday Suit.

Nudity becomes Invisible

I've traveled parts of the world and lived "elsewhere" for over a year. The biggest mistake people make is being shocked to REALLY see that we aren't all the same. We expect it, but are troubled when we find what we're not used to. It comes down to tunnel vision and thinking in a box. Here, I'm addressing the way Americans regard public nudity. Let's put this in PERSPECTIVE. Two hundred years ago, people considered it indecent and pornographic for women to bare their ankles. I remember the day when women were considered "loose" for having dresses showing their knees. TODAY we don't get aroused when seeing ankles and knees. We've adapted! Why is that hard to believe? Today, some people get aroused from the sight of bare butts on thong wearers; other people are disgusted. Some of us don't blink, stare or even notice. Total nudity is the same thing. We're already expected to know someone is female when we see long hair and a dress (although in reality, that could be a mistaken assumption.) So why are we not to just as okay with knowing the person beside us on a bus is female because we see her pubic zone? Think about it. The most difficult thing I've found in telling the typical American about the nudist culture is that it is NON-SEXUAL. We are indoctrinated to "know" that nude equals sex. I regard this as nothing short of bigotry. I'll always remember living in South Dakota in the 1970's, next door to an elderly Southerner who would stand in front of her house, grumbling curses as she gawked at a black guy a few doors down. She probably never lived long enough to ever realize that skin color could be invisible. Similarly, for more perspective, I had been in a new job for three months before my wife discovered my supervisor was black. She felt astounded that I had never mentioned it. The truth was, I almost didn't notice and I certainly DIDN'T CARE ENOUGH to mention it. There comes a point in the nudist culture when you simply don't notice or care anymore. Would you write home about seeing someone's ankles? No, because ankles are the same, whether on males or females. Same with bare butts. Seeing a penis or the lack of one is as relevant as seeing long hair or short hair on someone's head.