Archive for Monday, November 7, 2011

Nudist group that began in Lawrence shows fun, relaxation to be had in a body

November 7, 2011


The group hosts 5K runs, swim parties, potlucks and other social gatherings.

“We have some pretty boring events,” said Kansas City-area man Mark Partin, 38.

But the key difference for the Heartland Naturists is that they check their clothes — all of them — at the door.

Over milkshakes and french fries at an area restaurant, Partin, along with two other members, Mike, 64, and Greg, 57, who asked not to use their last names, talk openly about their group and the frequent misconceptions people have about being a nudist.

For nearly three decades, the group, which started in Lawrence in 1982 and currently has about 50 members, simply provides an outlet for area people who like to go au naturel.

“A lot of people think it’s got to be an orgy going on,” Mike said. Instead, it’s just “talking, conversation.” They typically don’t have alcohol at events, and most of them wrap up before 10 p.m., he said.

Members range in age from children who attend with their parents, to senior citizens in their 80s. Some are government workers, accountants, and they even had a pastor for a while.

“It’s a mix,” said Partin, who’s been a nudist for 20 years.

The origins of the group date back to the early 1980s, when on hot summer days, hundreds of nudists could be found lounging at Lake Henry, now part of Clinton Lake State Park, said Webb Garlinghouse, one of the original members.

“I don’t think I saw a swimsuit there,” he said. However, the lake was eventually closed by the state of Kansas, Garlinghouse said, and members began looking for other places. Some gravitated toward Topeka and the nudist-friendly campsite, Lake Edun, while others, like the Heartland Naturists, moved toward Kansas City.

Keeping it family-oriented

In order to make the events family-friendly and free of any sexual nature, the Heartland Naturists screen anyone interested in joining. There’s a phone interview and criminal background check before anyone’s allowed to come to an event, and first-timers must show identification.

“We’re pretty strict,” said Nicky Hoffman, president of the national Naturists organization, of which the local group is a chapter.

There’s even an etiquette sheet for the 100 or so chapters — with more than 10,000 members — scattered across the country.

Motivations for being a nudist differ in the local group. Some say it’s about promoting a healthy body image. For others, like Jean, a 30-year-old area woman who attends with her husband, it’s just a laid-back, social experience.

“For us, it’s more of a relaxation,” said Jean, who was originally skeptical when her husband first convinced her to attend a nudist event seven years ago. “Everyone’s friendly.”

And the group doesn’t necessarily have an agenda to push, Partin said.

“It’s not a political cause,” said Partin, though the members do work at educating the public on nudism when they can.

Mike, one of the senior members of the group, said he’s often surprised when others have a difficult time understanding the group or their motivations for being nudists.

“It’s just fun and pleasant, and don’t deny yourself,” he said.

Reporter Shaun Hittle can be reached at 832-7173. Follow him at


Peaty Romano 6 years, 3 months ago

Once seen things can not be unseen. I'll pass on the pics myself.

beatrice 6 years, 3 months ago

What ever you do, don't do a google search for the videos while at work.

Bob Forer 6 years, 3 months ago

Oh, do I. "Who has put pubic hair on my Coke? Now, what kind of bizarre and convoluted mind comes up with a statement like that?

Bob Forer 6 years, 3 months ago

Oh, do I. "Who has put pubic hair on my Coke? Now, what kind of bizarre and convoluted mind comes up with a statement like that?

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 3 months ago

Remember Arlen Specter pointing out the fact that the statement was found in another court was Anita the law professor who though we all couldn't read...

lunacydetector 6 years, 3 months ago

adults maybe, but why would someone take their children? that's sick.

Tim Quest 6 years, 3 months ago

Or maybe you're the sick one, with weird hangups about the body and body image.

Clickker 6 years, 3 months ago

Its one thing to have hangups, and another to expose pre-pubecent kids to that kind of open sex and the like. I was at one of these places, and it DOES go on on occasion, despite what they try to conceal.

Bob Forer 6 years, 3 months ago

I have never been to a "Camp." Not my cup of tea. But I sincerely doubt any sexual activity would be tolerated at the "family" oriented facilities. I understand the family ones have very strict, zero-tolerance "no sex" rules which are strictly enforced, as they should be.

Katara 6 years, 3 months ago

The Scandinavian countries seem to have very little issues about it.

Nudity is perfectly normal there and they have among the lowest rates in teen pregnancy.

Naturistfam 6 years, 3 months ago

Lunacydetector why should my wife and I (or any other family with children) not take our children to our organization's events? What is so sick about it?

Our children have been raised since almost birth in naturism, they are not forced to do anything they don't want to, if our son or daughter say they don't want to go to one of our organization's event or any other event we are attending we don't make them, if they want to have clothes on while at home or while at events it's okay by us. Our children don't have the same hangups and negative body image that their friends and classmates do, our children are described by their teachers and the parents of their friends as being well adjusted and well behaved, respectful and more mature for their age. Sounds like they are doing pretty well being raised as a part of a naturist family and we are doing pretty good as their parents.

To me what is sick is teaching children that if they don't look like or dress a certain way that others won't approve of them. To me what is sick is the parents who tell their children all sorts of horrible things about their appearance and cause their children to have self-esteem and body image issues, parents who raise their children to be ashamed of their bodies and how the human body functions, parents who don't teach their children at age and maturity appropriate times about what is going to happen in their lives to their bodies and instead leave it to the child to find out from their friends, school mates, or their health teacher or the nurse at the school.

Clickker I would sure love to know which resort/club it was that you were at, I can tell you from my experiences the TNS and AANR affiliated resorts and groups around here (MO, KS, OK, NE, IA) sure would not tolerate that sort of behavior and behavior like that would have asked to leave and never come back. That sort of behavior would get you not only banned from our organization but would also get that person's name and information forwarded to the national organizations as well as to the other area organizations and resorts.

Our organization's events are family friendly and kid safe, as the article mentioned anyone who attends is background checked against the national and state registries, they are required to show their ID once they arrive at our events (don't match, don't attend), and our events are closely monitored by myself, Mark and the other Officers of our organization.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 3 months ago

"who asked not to use their last names, talked openly..." A slight contradiction.

Bob Forer 6 years, 3 months ago

Wrong. In fact, the opposite is probably true. On sensitive topics like this I think folks would tend to be more frank in their statements knowing that their full identities were not being disclosed to the public. Isn't that why you choose to remain anonymous?

jhawkinsf 6 years, 3 months ago

Some are more frank with their comments. Some make fools of themselves. Some try to be funny. Some are hateful. Some exaggerate. Anonymous posts might lead to more truthful statements. They might not.

Shaun Hittle 6 years, 3 months ago

No people. We have no video or pictures with this piece.

Shaun Hittle LJW

sherbert 6 years, 3 months ago

does seem like there'd be a law regarding minor children and naked adults.

droppinplates 6 years, 3 months ago

Face it, they're checking out each others' junk.

Alex Parker 6 years, 3 months ago

The man's name is Mark Partin, as stated in the second paragraph; he did not request anonymity. The restaurant is not named.

blindrabbit 6 years, 3 months ago

Brings back memories (also mammaries) from Sycamore Hollow Nudist Camp that operated just west of Lawrence in the 1950-60's. To get a "feel" for the action there, look it up, and specifically for Donna. She was the "talk" of the midwest nudist set back in those days.

Shawn: Why don't you (LJW) do a back story on Sycamore, I'm sure it would be well received.

shadowlady 6 years, 3 months ago

I remember sycamore Hollow, it was when I was a kid, and it was just down the road from the one room school house, and if I remember right, there was one of the owners kids that went to school there.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 3 months ago

You never know; this could be an idea for the Gov. Encourage nudity and call it an income preservation program for the poor. Think of all the money they would save on clothes. One potential problem: school uniforms for private schools.

babyboycat 6 years, 3 months ago

OH no no no no ........ drinking milkshakes with naked people.......Oh hell no....

Liberty275 6 years, 3 months ago

Walking barefoot outside can be pretty painful if you have to cross gravel.

tbaker 6 years, 3 months ago

Thanks LJW, for finally finding a way to unite this group so accustomed to bickering and insulting each other. Everyone can be friends when they are talking about getting naked. Politics just melt away at the first mention of it. I wonder how many excursions to our local fabric-free entertainment venue may be prompted by this! Bravo!

MarcoPogo 6 years, 3 months ago

Night Owls!

From the stories I've heard, it was always a bunch of old chubbies standing around playing pool. The college kids wouldn't go near the place.

MarcoPogo 6 years, 3 months ago

Probably a smart thing to do when you're walking around in a bar bathroom.

Joel Hood 6 years, 3 months ago

Q. How can you tell if a nudist is blind?

A. Eh, it isn't hard

topeka52 6 years, 3 months ago

Just think of all the swinging and swaying during those 5K runs!!!!!

Irenaku 6 years, 3 months ago

LJW: Did you really have to show hairy man legs for this story? C'mon! That is grossss!

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 3 months ago

The Bible says that God implemented clothing after the fall of man into sin. God himself clothed Adam and Eve after they realized that they were naked. God himself establishes the fact that humanity in order to limit and control sins of the flesh is to cover up and even be modest in exposing our bodies to those other than our husbands or wives.

MarcoPogo 6 years, 3 months ago

The Bible says lots of things; should we take them all literally?

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 3 months ago

as far as putting on clothing the answer is yes...

ezbreezy 6 years, 3 months ago

American's are so uptight! When I was in Greece and spent time at the beaches, (most if not all beaches), people were nude. It was natural and non sexual. Families eating picnic lunches, people of all ages and sizes having a good time with no judgement. I would never here, because American's are so mean and judgemental and yes, some are perverted. Something so natural and beautiful can be tainted by uptight, rude, immature people.

redneck 6 years, 3 months ago

Sorry, but I don't want to see everybody's junk! There are some things that should be private man. So do the nudists have sex in front of each other? They should if they are so open and non judgemental. Maybe the toilet should be in the front room.

redneck 6 years, 3 months ago

Not trying to be smart, just making a point.

Katara 6 years, 3 months ago

So what exactly is that point?

How do you go from being nude to defecating in front of people?

What a weird leap in logic!

Naturistfam 6 years, 3 months ago

Yes we do, we have runners from here locally and have had runners from as far away as MN, OK, IL, AR, IA, and NY run in our organization's 5K Sun Run.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm naked right now. I started my own nudist colony, but it's pretty much just me hanging out naked and frying bacon.

LadyJ 6 years, 3 months ago

Not always a good idea to do with bacon.

Terry Sexton 6 years, 3 months ago

I remember Dan Rather reporting on the CBS evening news, circa late 70's, about a deep space probe that, in it's cargo/data, included anatomically detailed male & female images of the human race. If other-worldly beings were to discover our probe, they would have pictures of us nekkid.
To get the story past Standards & Practices, I guess, CBS broadcasted copies of the images with all of the boy & girl parts blacked out. Ironic, don't you think? Pimpin' to the Martians, but we're not allowed to look.

redneck 6 years, 3 months ago

They should have a nudist pride parade on Valentines day. I'll be happy to watch them freeze their non-private parts off. lol

beatrice 6 years, 3 months ago

Winter: the cure for nudism.

But hey, we are all naked under our clothes.

Christine Anderson 6 years, 3 months ago

This is just a bit too wierd. It would be criminal of me to frighten other human beings by being a nudist. Just not okay.

brainyguy 6 years, 3 months ago

There are a lot of questions and misinformation here, so I'll try to cover a lot of the topics in one post.

pics and ugly nudists: We nudists aren't here for your entertainment or enjoyment. We frankly don't care what you think of our appearance, which is the point. We are comfortable with who we are, comfortable with who other people are, and are most comfortable nude. We have matured beyond the 12-year-old mentality that most Americans have toward nudity. If you want to see porn models, go buy a Playboy to satisify your prurient interests. We nudists have no desire in satisfying them for you.

But just so you know, nudists range from perfect 10's to perfect 1's, just like society in general. There are many more 5's than 10's, just like in society. If you want to know what nudists look like, go to the mall and look at the first 100 people who come through the door. You'll see a wide range of people - fat, skinny, good-looking, and ugly. Nudists look like those people - a wide range of people. But if you're expecting the same thing you'll see if you Google "nudists", you'll be disappointed. The porn industry has hijacked the fantasy of "nudism" for their own purposes - to sell that fantasy so they can make a quick buck. It is as unlikely that you'd see Jenna Jameson at a nudist event as you would see a real person in Playboy. They sell fantasy. Nudists are not fantasy.

Sex and nudism: It is a common misconception that nudism is about sex. It absolutely is not. Anyone who tells you otherwise is not a nudist. Any resort or club that allows open sex is not a nudist resort. They are a swinger or sex resort. Anyone who engages in any sexual conduct at any established nudist resort or club will be kicked out. Period.

Children and nudism: There is nothing that goes on at a nudist event that a child should not witness. It has been reported time and again that children who are raised in a nudist lifestyle are typically healthier, better-adjusted, and less prone to unwanted pregnancy or STDs than their textile counterparts. And anyone believing that nudist events are stocked with pedophiles are sadly misinformed. Anyone showing any evidence of inappropriate behavior toward a child is kicked out so quick that they won't know what hit them. They will also be added to national "do not admit" lists with all the nudist resorts. We are very protective of each other and especially the children who depend on us for that protection.

brainyguy 6 years, 3 months ago

Anonymity: Most nudists choose to remain anonymous because of the misconceptions that are plainly displayed here. When a majority of people believe that they are fat, ugly, perverted, child molestors, why would they want to announce that they are a nudist and have to explain time and time again ad nauseum what nudism is about? It's better to just enjoy nudism with your friends and keep it a secret. However, that only allows the misconceptions to continue and the porn industry to hijack the term and create the fantasy of "nudist colonies" full of porn stars. The cycle will continue until real nudists come forward from all walks of life to say they are not fat, ugly, perverted, child molestors. They are shopkeepers, police officers, government employees, teachers, pastors, and respected neighbors.

5k Run: The Heartland Naturists have held an annual 5k run/walk followed by a pot-luck lunch and skinny dip each Summer for the past 10 years. The event draws people from many midwestern states (47 people in 2011) to have fun and try something new and exhilirating. Everyone that attended in 2011 had a great time running, walking, eating, swimming, and talking with each other. There were no reports of physical problems caused by running from any of our male or female participants. Despite some people's imaginings, the human body is capable of dealing with the jarring aspects of running. And for information about us "fat nudists", the quickest 5k runner completed the race in just over 23 minutes. The course was over fields, up/down steep, rocky slopes, and through two forested trails.

Nudism isn't for everyone: While we nudists embrace our lifestyle, we understand that it's not for everyone. Some people have been so brainwashed to believe that nudity = sex that no amount of reasoning will allow them to get beyond it. For others, they just prefer to wear clothing. Nudists don't detest textiles, we just wish to receive the same respect that we give others.

If you have serious questions about nudism, check out the Heartland Naturists website and send us an e-mail. We'd be happy to answer serious questions. You can also get more information the American Association for Nude Recreation (AANR) website or The Naturist Society (TNS) website.

If you're comfortable with yourself, or you want to be, consider giving nudism a try. You might like it. You might not. But don't go through life wondering and regretting not giving it a chance.

Clickker 6 years, 3 months ago

Whether or not open sex goes on..I really dont want my 7 yr old daughter seeing some guys erect penis, even if it is only for a brief moment until he finds shelter.

Naturistfam 6 years, 3 months ago

Clickker in YOUR reality this may occur, however in the REAL WORLD it quite simply does not.

My children have attended events with my wife and I and not once have they been subject to the sight of an erect penis and yes there has been multiple times where our children were not in our immediate presence but within sight and again NEVER have they ever been subjected to the sight of an erect penis. Naturism whether you or any other person is willing to believe it is not a sexualized environment, so there is nothing that should be causing a man to get an erection.

My wife who is very attractive feels perfectly comfortable at our events and any of the places we have been to whether I am there with her or not, she has never had a problem with or from any guy and his behavior towards her or our children.

Earlier in the comments you said you were at a resort at some point in your life where you saw open sex and the like occurring, now it is whether or not open sex occurs.... which is it?? What resort was it that you were at again where you claim there was open sex and the like? I seem to have missed your reply where I asked about that.

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